Welcome to my First ever build.
45 y.o. here and this is the first computer I've ever put together and I must say I'm very proud of my build. I started researching all the parts in November 2013 and finished purchasing in March of 2014. My budget was around 2,000$ CAN. (That's including the monitor and new Keyboard)
I have to give a big shout out to the folks here at PC PartPickers and Newegg. The two websites were greatly instrumental in my being able to research and then purchase the parts at needed as they came on sale or I was made aware of a price drop.
Side note: For those of you in Canada (more particularly in Quebec) reading this here's a big tip to save money. First of all, specials or "bundles" aren't always the best price. Matter of fact many times over a four month period I notice that TigerDirect would advertise bundles that cost more then if you bought the parts separately. Second if you want to save on provincial taxes take a good look where you're buying. What I did was simple. I would find the lowest advertised price for a part then I would go to Memory Express and they would beat it by 25% of the difference. I managed to save 200$ on the over all price of the build with their price beat and the fact they don't charge Provincial sale tax.
Ok back to the build.
For those wondering this computer will be used for every day computing, work and some light gaming. (Just getting into the gaming part). Also as far as all the part listed below, everything worked right out of the box. Now let's got through the build shall we.
The Case: The Corsair Graphite Series 600T Silver, I just fell in love with it the moment I first saw it. After many comparison with other I kept coming back to it. What can I say it looks great, had plenty of room and great interior cooling. It's a great quality case.
The CPU: I went with the Core i5 4670K simply because after looking at the i7 I realized I would never make use of the Hyper threading it offers and I wanted to be able to Overclock. I've seen many build here go with the i7 and then say their budget was tight. I personally don't think it would have been worth the money. I've looked at comparative testing and the i5 is just as good.
The Motherboard: I chose the ASUS Sabertooth Z87....well for it's looks to be honest. Don't get me wrong I did the research and it offered everything I needed (except maybe a fire wire port). I just liked the thermal armor and the neutral colors of the board plus it reliability.
The RAM: There I went for the sexy look. I chose the Corsair Dominator Platinum 16Gb(4X4Gb). I went with Corsair for the quality and COME ON...look at those puppies.
The PSU: I wanted a good quality, fully modular PSU so again I went with The Corsair RM650. BUT here is maybe one and only negative note. I read up on the RM series and found many saying the flat black cables that come with the PSU were a pain to work with. WELL BELIEVE IT!!! Not only are they a pain to manage behind the scene but they're a pain to plug in. If I knew then what I know now...I would probably change my choice. Not for it's quality...it works great...actually you can barely tell it works at all...fan never goes off. But way way to much work when doing the build. As for the wattage, after checking my build on a few sites and coming up with no more then 450W...I took that up a notch to 650W to give myself room to breath. Don't need anymore than that.
For CPU cooling I went with the Corsair HydroSeries H100i. Cause lets face it those big after market heatsink just look butt ugly to me. So it was in part for the over all look (love the LED on the pump) and for the cooling need. After worrying for many months if this would be difficult to install, it turns out it's pretty easy. It's a solid product and it runs dead quiet with the SP120 Quiet Editions I put. The only downside for me was, I wanted to do a push pull configuration exhausting outwards. Turns out, in the 600T, you can't do that. There's just no room for 4 fans do to the height of the memory and clearance of the motherboard.
Storage: I decided to follow the trend of having one SSD and one HDD. For my needs presently the Samsung 840 EVO combine with a WD Blue 1TB HDD seemed more than enough. I have to say I'm new to SSD but WOW!!! If the time comes I need more storage I'm going full on SSD. Trust me it's worth the money.
GPU: A new GPU is what started all this. I was tired of buying these box computers every 4 to 5 years just because the video card would fail. I first started looking into pre-built systems and then figured why not build my own. The EVGA GTX 660 was my choice. I know, some of you will say, "Why not go with a 780". The answer to that is simple. Right now the 660 meets my need and fit my budget. I'll see how it goes and how into gaming I get and if the time comes where I need more, I'll look in SLI or upgrading to a more powerful card.
Other internal parts: There are a few thing one must look into when you chose a certain mother board, in a certain case etc etc. Two things I found were.
A) The 600T as front panel USB3, BUT it never came with an internal USB3 connector. Egro I had to buy a USB3 external to internal connector if I wanted to use the motherboard's internal port and I wasn't going to have an ugly wire sticking out the back of my case.
B) The Sabertooth Z87, only offers 2 x USB2 ports at the bottom of the card. If I wanted to plug my H100i into the motherboard, and make use of my 4 x USB2 on the front panel of the case I needed to come up with a solution. After a little research I found the NZXT internal USB expansion module. It's a grate way to expende your USB2 ports. That being said, today after some testing I found out that 2 of my front panel USB2 ports, of DOA. The module is working great, but there seems to be something wrong with the wires from the case. Ah well....c'est la vie.
Monitor & Keyboard: Last but not least I decided that if I was going to get a new computer might as well change everything. So I got the new wireless Keyboard and mouse from Microsoft, which I love, only down side the padding for your wrist on the keyboard starts to fade after only a few days of use. To maintain it you'd have to clean it every other day it seems.
As for the Monitor I first wanted to go with the ASUS MX279H but when I noticed it didn't have any Vesa mounts I put that choice aside and decided to go with the ASUS VN248H it's a great IPS monitor 23.8" with EXTREMELY thin bezel. I looks amazing and I'll probably be buying at least one, maybe two more. At 200$ a pop it's worth it to do a double or triple monitor set up with these.
Well that's about it.
As for the build, well as I said at the start this was my first build ever and it took me an entire day to first test and then set up everything. I was very happy that everything worked 100% right out of the box. When you see that first boot screen pop up, I swear it's better than sex. (well almost). The case was great to work with, OH BY THE WAY...take it from me...if someone tells you, you shouldn't use a magnetic screwdriver on a computer build. Hit him in the head with a non magnetic one. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, use a Magnetic tip screwdriver!!! The screws on the motherboard are minuscule and with something like the Sabertooth where you have thermal armor...if you drop a screw (like I did) you're well....screwed. OR you end up playing mister wizard and magnetizing your screwdriver with a small magnet you found in your tool box.
One last thing...save yourself a heart attack, make sure that the wall plug you're using at the time of testing your new computer in fact WORKS!. Nothing more heartbreaking than to have everything in the case, turn the PSU on and push the ON button on the case and see....NOTHING. After doing it 3 times, that when you go for a cigarette. (Kids don't smoke!). When you come back, after reviewing every single connection in your head...you think....it couldn't be THAT stupid could it? IT CAN! Suffice it to say, once plugged into a working wall outlet, my baby came to life.
I hope you enjoy my build, please leave your comments, and remember first time builder here so be kind.
PS: The prices in the parts list reflect Canadian Taxes and Delivery cost for each item.