Hey guys. Long time follower, first time poster! :D
Having been a console gamer all my life, I was torn between an xbox one and PS4 for next gen gaming. Then given the mediocre reviews on them and how the Xbox one doesn't even natively post games in 1080p I decided to call it a day with console and move up into the PC gaming side of the game!
This is my first gaming build. I reconfigured some parts of an old Q6600 775 socket system about 6 years ago but it was only minor upgrades such as RAM and GPU.
I've been to and fro about many of the components used in this build but overall I am very happy with my selection and the performance I get from it. So far it has handled any game on Ultra settings with ease and in some instances managed to get some 2x and 4x Anti-aliasing settings out of it too. My monitor is only 60hz so 100+ FPS isn't over needed atm. As long as I can play the games comfortably I am happy. So far it has blown my mind with the difference in graphics quality over consoles.
So, component choices, here we go:
CASE: This one was a toughy. For weeks I had my heart set on a Bitfenix Prodigy. I loved the thing, I loved its upgrade options and small size and uniqueness. But I also loved the 750D and that epic side window to show off my build. When I realised that there was a micro-atx version in the 350D I was totally hooked. I never wanted a huge tower, just something aesthetically pleasing and on the smallish form factor. The 350D ticked all those boxes. It is an epic case.
MOBO: This was another tough call. I was always considering a mini-itx build, but when I weighed up the extra cost over the micro tax (can't understand how something smaller is dearer) and also the limited expandability with only the 1 GPU slot it was a no brainer. I was going to go for the ASUS RoG Impact board which was £180, but as I got a great deal on the new MSI Z87M Gaming Mobo it was decision well n truly made on changing to M-ATX.
GPU: I let my budget rule my heart in this one. I had my heart set on the new 780ti but if I done that I would have had to wait 1-2 months to finish my build. I didn't want to wait so I opted for the GTX770 2GB as a compromise with the option to SLI later which would still give me 780ti performance. I also got this on a great deal for £250 with 3 games included, Batman Origins, Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed Black Flag. Each retailing for around £30-£40. Bargain. Games played to date are: Far Cry 3, AC Black Flag, BF4, CoD Ghosts, Borderlands 2.
CPU: I had originally wanted the best CPU money could find and in that always had an I7 4770k in mind and in my planned build. But after researching on forums such as Toms Hardware etc I was assured that there was no need to fork out an extra £100 for hyper threading as it wasn't needed for gaming. I am glad I changed my mind and went with the 4670k, so far it has been a revelation. I doubt that I stress it anywhere near what it is actually capable of but the performance feels as if its always there should I need it.
CPU COOLER: H100i was always my number one choice here. I had a bad experience with my last PC's CPU cooler which was an old Arctic Freezer Pro thing and the fan noise and rattle drove me nuts. I swore I never would use an air cooler again. However I hear that the Noctua ones are pretty epic. I also have changed the LED on the CPU Cooler to pulse Red….to resemble a beating heart…. :D
RAM: As my red and black themed build had now pretty much taken hold I decided on getting some Red RAM modules. I did have the Corsair Dominators in there but changed it at the last minute as it was again a luxury item over what I actually needed. The RAM I toyed over was the G.Skill, Vengeance and Vengeance Pro. I decided to stick with the standard Vengeance Ram. To my eyes, it looks the best and is also a great performer. I also wanted to OC my CPU as much as possible and I read reports that anything over 1600mhz on RAM will limit your over clock as the two have to balance out.
STORAGE: Tried and tested Samsung 120gb EVO SSD here. Excellent value for money, solid performer. I have an old 500GB HDD which I used to store my games on.
MONITOR: I was initially gonna hook the pc up to my 32" LCD TV but having played some XBOX on it the screen was just too big. IMO a PC Monitor over 24" limits your experience. Normally they say the bigger the better (oh err) but I find that 22"-24" is the sweet spot for gaming. I paid a little more than I wanted for the monitor but got it through a home order catalogue so can pay it off easily enough via instalments.
POWER SUPPLY: I was going to go for a Seasonic 550w G Series when I had my mini-itx build in mind, but have always read on build forums to never skimp on a PSU. With the mobo upgrade to M-ATX and the possibility of 2 cards in SLI, then my mind was made up to go for the larger wattage PSU. I got a great deal on the PSU at £130 and I hear that the Corsair AX Series of PSU's come with a 7 year warranty and are super quiet and reliable. The fact that it is also red and black colour themed is an added bonus.
KEYBOARD AND MOUSE: I never had a mechanical Keyboard before so had my heart set on one of these bad boys. As my wife is pregnant with a baby due in July (and the fact that my pc is in the bedroom) I decided to go for the quieter red keys over the notoriously loud blues. It was a great choice as they still feel clicky to me (as I still bottom out the keys lol) As for the mouse I chose the Naga Hex as I love playing LoL and DOTA and thought it a great option. I had a Naga epic with the 12 buttons before for when I played (was addicted to) WoW and it never let me down. Both of these options are also red LED backlit to compliment my colour theme. Keyboard was £90 from amazon UK, mouse was £53 from ebay uk.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS:
Definitly upgrading PSU cables from the standard black ones to the RED Braided kit that corsair does for the AX Series. Aesthetics 'til I die. lol
IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS: I will be adding 2x Corsair AF140mm Red Led fans as front intake fans to replace the 1 x 140mm non led one there atm. I also have another AF120mm LED series fan on order for the rear exhaust. With the red ambient glow from the front 2 fans as well as the rear exhaust this should bathe my system in a lovely red glow without being too over-whelming. It will also negate the need for Cold Cathodes as well as LED strips. Updated pics to follow
IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS: I will definitely be adding a 2nd MSI GTX 770 and utilising the extra PSU power and GPU Perfomance. I will also be upgrading my HDD to a WD Caviar Blue 1TB for storage and installing a WD Green 1TB for back up. My SSD although small in capacity will remain as my OS/Boot drive.
NOTE: I decided to not go with a front panel DVD Drive and keep the clean look of the 350D as I feel it was meant to be kept. DVD Drives are a dying hardware and I didn't want to ruin the look of my build as any front drive bay units on the 350D just look plan wrong and very unsightly.
ISSUES: I have had no real issues with this build other than the OC side of things. I had planned on Overclocking my CPU to around 4.5-4.6GHZ but for some reason my MSI bios has locked the core multiplier on AUTO. I can type the multiplyer in to this ok but when I click enter it reverts it back to auto for some reason. There are quite a few forum posts on this and people complaining about broken motherboards and sending them back for refunds etc. I'm not so sure its a motherboard issue tbh, I am a total NOOB to Overclocking so I will keep my motherboard for now. The built in MSI OC Genie still works and this has Overclocked my CPU to 4.0ghz. It will certainly do me for now. I had no real reason for wanting to OC to 4.6ghz, I just read that It was possible so wanted to shoot for that. All I use my system for is gaming and surfing the web, so 4.0ghz is (i guess) more than I need tbh.
Thanks for reading guys, and sorry about the crap pics. I hastily took them this morning with my camera on my phone. I was planning on taking pics of all the boxes too etc, but was just too excited to get the build started and up and running.
PS - Did I mention the CPU LED Pulses with a Red glow to resemble a beating Heart?? :-)