My latest build is an energy efficient, super quiet gaming rig with ample performance. Aside from gaming I use the machine for software development and photo and video editing. On the OS X spectrum, these components add up to a powerful and no-fuss hackintosh build, if that floats your boat (it does mine.)
I began constructing this build around the specs of the mid-range Steambox prototypes and went from there. The storage options are significantly beefed up, most notably.
- CPU — I settled on the Xeon E3-1230 V2 after initially picking a i5-3350P. Both of these processors offer fantastic performance and value, drop the useless integrated GPU, top out at a very energy efficient 69W, and sit around the $200 pricetag. However, the Xeon includes Hyperthreading support and is effectively an i7 3770 with a slightly reduced operating frequency. Hyperthreading really isn't that useful for this rig's intended purpose, but it's nice to have.
- CPU Cooler — The stock cooler would have been plenty sufficient for this CPU, but meh. I replaced the stock fan on the H55 with a SP120.
- Motherboard — I liked the GA-B75M-D3H because it doesn't include any bells or whistles that would go to waste, and it can boot OS X without DSDT hacks or major kext work. A quick Multibeast pass and it's set for life.
- Memory — I've had good luck with G.Skill's products in the past, and these were the least expensive DDR3-1600 modules available from a brand I trust. Not much more to say about that.
- Storage — I went overboard here but I just love the 840 Pro SSDs. I added a WD Caviar Black 2TB drive for general data storage.
- Video Card — Excellent performance-value balanced card. It's not going to break any benchmark records, but it'll do just fine for my needs.
- Case — Understated and clean with great cable management. The intake filters for the front fans and the power supply are great. Using 4 of the 5 fan slots on this case I've sealed the second (forward most) fan grill at the top to reduce dust settling in and direct airflow. I removed all of the stock fans and replaced them with AF120s or SP120s where appropriate.
- Case Fans — Two in the front of the case, one in the back, and one to replace the stock fan with the H55 at the top of the case. I configured the fans for positive-pressure to reduce dust intake.
- Power Supply — Thanks to the energy efficient components, a 450W will power this build just fine.
- Optical — Just in case.
- Custom — Silverstone Tek 3.5-inch to 2 x 2.5-Inch Bay Converter (SDP08B) — I purchased this to house the 840 Pro SSD, as I found the SSD housing offered by the 350D case left the drive free to flop around fairly easily. This also allowed me to remove the SSD housing that partially obstructed the top-front intake fan and move my SSD into the HDD housing at the bottom of the case, which was already necessary for the storage drive anyway.
The only surprise during this build was the issue I had with the wobbly SSD bay on the Corsair 350D with my 840 Pro. I picked up the Silverstone Tek bay converter to resolve this. Everything else went off without a hitch.
Having had this machine up and running for about a week now, I have to say I couldn't be happier with it. It screams on every game I've thrown at it, runs cool and silent, and has met all of my expectations. Windows 7 and OS X run great on it, and I plan on throwing in an extra drive devoted to SteamOS in the next few weeks to give that a go.
Cloud Gate: 19557
Fire Strike: 5745
Ice Storm: 130817
3DMark 11: http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/7754287