So this is my first build. My dad had done his own, as well as my brother a few years back. I was very much on the track to completing a build in high school, having swapped out components and improved upon my pre-made Dell back at that time. However, having other priorities it never happened. I became a laptop user through college and have been for the past 7 or so years. But now that I've been working full time and had some money to spare on my paychecks, from time to time, I decided to spend a few months grinding together the money and buying parts piece by piece.
What is the purpose of this build? Gaming. Playing around. Re-learning what it is to have a desktop and having the leg room to really stretch out and do what I want to do to the utmost. Having never had anything that could be considered even mid-tier, this machine really is a dream. Is it excessive? A bit. Do I really care? Not really. It was within my means and only a little above budget, but it's becoming a hobby, and hobbies cost money.
First I would like to thank all of you, as well as various other online communities, for being so willing to post comments and opinions that helped me figure out the direction I wanted to point myself as I determine what parts I wanted to buy. In addition I would like to throw out a thanks to my parents for purchasing the CPU for an early birthday present to complete the build (hence the 0.00 USD) and to both my Dad and Brother for putting in the time to assist with the building process itself.
As I use and learn more about my parts I will provide an updated review for each. As I just put it together, it would be premature for me to say all that much at this time. Also each of these parts were individually selected for ME. If it isn't the fastest, most efficient, or most cost effective, that's fine. I picked each part for different merits:
i5-6600K: Well I haven't pushed it to the test yet. I do know that it's fast, even before OC. I can see obvious differences between this and any other processor I have owned, be it on a desktop or a laptop. Just how fluidly tasks are managed from simple to complex is fantastic.
Corsair H100i: Already I can see that this cooler is paying dividends. Having put the computer through some brief stress testing the CPU never exceeded temps of 32C. It sits idle at roughly 25C.
Z170x Gaming 7 MOBO: As far as I can tell everything has been working just fine. Not a terribly difficult board to navigate during build. Looks bloody nice and has some rather nice features. The Creative Sound already stands out. Some of the other software, as of now, has had difficulty loading or working sadly. But I will work on figuring it out over the next few days.
Crucial Ballisix DDR4-2666: It's true RAM is RAM. However, as my Dad has worked at Micron for 20 years now, and my Brother for 6, I certainly do have a bias towards buying products from them. I can definitely attest to the quality and innovation put into their products. And frankly I can't say enough about their ability to put things out to consumer for some of the best bang for the buck products you can buy. As for performance so far, RAM is RAM, so it's working.
SSD: Crucial again, because it's such a great bargain, fantastic product, and I can again attest to the quality of the products because of my family connection to the product manufacturer. It writes and reads super fast. Having moved about 100GB of files over to the SSD with a Lexar Flash Drive, it was the Flash Drive that was limiting the speed of the transfer...at 300+ MB/s. This thing is fast. And it boots like a dream. I can turn on the computer, walk into the kitchen grab a beer, and before I'm even back into the room my computer is already waiting for me.
Hard-Drive: Performed well so far. Fastest HD I've owned to date, and the largest. Solid write/read speeds. No SSD, but still a large upgrade from where I came.
GALAX GeForce GTX 980 Ti HOF: I simply grabbed one of the KFA2 ones on this site. My specific card doesn't seem to be available, and the two are obviously interchangeable. I would like to say that this thing is a brick that's been refined to look flashy. It's heavy and it's solid. Really I'm quite amazed that video cards have become this super massive over the years. As for performance, it seems to fly through what I've got to throw at it. Which isn't much, unfortunately. Ultra High settings are guaranteed on anything right now which is another first for me. Right now I'm gaming on an old TV monitor at 1080P 60hz. Not a bad way to start out, but I didn't build this computer to sit at 1080P and 60hz. So a new 2k 144hz monitor is on the shopping list. But I figure I can get used to gaming and working with these settings and then being able to really tell the difference when I upgrade in the future. Sits idle at 27C and hasn't exceeded 68C in the stress tests I put it through. Ultra on the games I'm playing hasn't pushed it above 40C.
C70X Case: Looks tough. Is tough. Very utilitarian for cable management and moving the unit from place to place (those handy handles). Cannot complain whatsoever. I really like the way it looks and building in it was phenomenally easy, even for my first build.
EVGA 750W. This is a part I very much used others' input when buying. I heard nothing but good reviews for this product and it seemed to shine above the rest. I had to preference in brand or appearance going in, I just wanted as good a power supply as I could get. 750W is more than enough for my rig and would only ever need to be upgraded if I were to SLI (which I won't do).
Blu-Ray Drive: It might be a dying trend to have a disk drive, but I can't help but feel comfortable having one. I've had a physical drive for so many years it's hard to let go.
Windows 10: Moving from 7 to 10 there are obvious benefits and cons. That said it's seemed to work pretty easy for me so far, I'm a minimalist when it comes to OS needs for the most part, so there isn't too much for me to complain about. I'll learn to better navigate it and I'll probably be happy (content) with it.
EVGA Custom Cables: Wow. These things are gorgeous. I cannot iterate just how nice they look in person, even when compared to some of the very nice images others have posted of their rigs using the same or similar cables. Why blue in an otherwise black, red, and white machine? I wanted it to stand out. I don't see anything else with Red, White, and Blue on this site and quite frankly I don't think it's a bad combination whatsoever. So it may or may not be for you, but I think it's gorgeous.
And yes I do plan to replace that window in my C70. I'm living with it for now, but I definitely plan to be rid of those ugly holes taking up half of it.