This build represents my second 'from scratch' build ever. The prices listed include shipping, handling, and taxes (where applicable), as well as any mail-in-rebates that were available at the time of purchase.
First, some background on my first 'from scratch' build, which started out running Windows 98 and eventually transitioned over to Windows XP 32-bit. It was built back in 2000 and consisted of the following:
- 1GHz AMD processor with stock heat-sink and thermal paste
- Abit socket 7 raid motherboard
- 512MB turbo speed capable DRAM
- two (one 70GB, one 50GB) IBM Deskstar 7200 rpm HDDs
- Matrox G450 AGP dual head graphics/video card (with 32MB dedicated video memory)
- Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500 sound card
- NewQ Gold DSP graphic equalizer
- D-Link fast NIC
- Kenwood 72x TrueX CD-ROM
- Yamaha 16x CD burner
- 3.5" SuperDisk floppy drive
- several high CFM Sunon cooling fans.
It was a very competitive machine back in its day, and something that I still use to this very day as a dual boot legacy machine (with a few additions such as a PCI-USB controller card, a 3.5" bay flash card reader, an LG DVD burner, etc). The only original component that has ever failed in that build is the Kenwood 72x TrueX CD-ROM drive.
One of the things that I attribute to the overall longevity of my first build is my use (or overuse) of a lot of high quality high CFM cooling fans. Thus, my obsession with component cooling has accordingly carried over to this new build, which is constantly running a total of 7 high CFM fans to keep everything nice and chilly!
The DeepCool UF series of fans are top quality fans (dual ball bearing), run whisper quiet (especially when compared to my old Sunons), and represent an incredible value - I can't recommend them enough! My only regret is that Newegg dropped the price on the 120mm's by $2/ea and on the 140mm's by $2.50/ea a few days after I had purchased them :-( Had I been able to take advantage of those prices, it would have saved me $11 on the build and brought my total spent to within a few dollars of my original $900 target budget.
As you can see in the pics, I'm running the CM Hyper 212 Evo in a push configuration, with case fans in the following configuration: two front 120mm intakes, two rear 120mm exhausts (one in the PSU), one top 140mm intake, and one top 140mm exhaust. All the intakes are running off of the case's three position simple/voltage fan controller (which I constantly leave on the medium setting), while the exhausts (other than the PSU's fan) are running off of the motherboard's PWM headers and controlled by the Asus AI smart controller. I've not seen a monitored temp exceed 32C under load with this arrangement, which I'm extremely satisfied with - especially since the setup is essentially silent for all intent and purposes (the stock cooling fans on my 55" Sony SXRD tv and Mediasonic ProBox are each louder than the 7 combined fans of my new PC)!
As far as storage goes, the reason I only went with a 250GB SSD without any large-volume platter drives mounted in the chassis is because I concurrently built a Mediasonic ProBox loaded with 2 x 4TB Western Digital Purple HDDs that I have connected to my Asus RT-AC68P router, currently giving me 8TB of network storage (the ProBox is expandable up to 32TB). Thus, the internal SSD drive is only used for OS and program hosting, new file acquisition (PVR/DVR), file editing, file conversion/formatting, and temporary storage.
I also converted the case mounted USB 3.0 ports to USB 2.0 ports via an adapter cable for use with the Logitech MK550 wireless keyboard and mouse, as I've read that USB 3.0 can interfere with RF receivers and significantly shorten the usable range of such items. The USB 3.0 ports contained on the NZXT APERTURE M are hooked up to the motherboard's header and function accordingly at full 3.0 speeds. While I wish that the APERTURE M's card reader also functioned at 3.0 speeds, the availability of a SmartMedia (old Olympus flash memory cards) slot made the sacrifice of 2.0 speeds worth it, not to mention that the mesh frame looks great on the build!
Everything else is pretty self explanatory, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer :-)
Needless to say, I'm very please with this build and am looking forward to at least a decade+ of enjoyment from it. The only things that I might be looking to add to this build in the near future is PCI-e Wi-Fi capability via an TP-LINK Archer T9E and possibly a NOS Razer Barracuda AC-1 sound card that I have, though I'm currently doing just fine using the onboard Realtek gigabit NIC and audio codec.
Enjoy the pics and let me know what you think - I'm fully open to constructive criticism and don't take anything personally :-)