Note: I encourage comments, I will try to reply to all comments after reading them.
So, not so short story time. For the past three years, I've known I wanted a desktop pc that could handle most anything I throw at it from gaming, to image editing, and even possibly video editing. I've never had a desktop pc before this one, I was always a laptop user. I recently (last couple months) started having problems with my laptop, a Lenovo Y50-Touch touting a GTX 860m 4GB, an i7 4710HQ, 16GB of ram, and a 512GB Samsung SSD. It was overheating badly due to poor TIM (cpu paste) and I was getting temps in the 90's when idling. I couldn't use the thing due to it constantly thermal throttling. I took it apart and replaced the TIM (which had solidified) with some Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut paste. The temps on the laptop had an immediate drop, now idling in the 30's and 40's and never getting over 65 degrees celsius. After I corrected the heating issue I realized how slow my laptop's GPU was compared to the new 1000 Series Nvidia graphics cards, and how slow my i7 was (never over 2.5GHz when under load thanks to Lenovo's bios). So I set out planning what I wanted in a desktop pc, and what the cheapest possible method of obtaining the parts was.
I am a Media and Communications Studies at college and will need something that can do image rendering. I have also made a handful of websites for local businesses in my area and do freelance web design as sort of a hobby. My roommate (who has a custom gaming pc) helped me a bit in picking what parts are best for what, and where to splurge and where to cut back to save money. So after watching many LinusTechTips, Gamers Nexus, Awesomesause Network (or is it Bitwit now?), Paul's Hardware, OC3D, and JayzTwoCents videos, and reading reviews on sites like Anandtech I finally settled on what parts I wanted. After making the part list I sat back and had that holy crap moment where I realized I'm poor and cannot afford to buy any of the parts on my list other than the Anti-Static Strap. So, when I got off college for winter break, I got a job mopping floors at a local garage in order to pay for the parts, and as you can probably guess just by the fact of reading this, I was successful in getting the money I needed to build the pc I wanted.
For purchasing parts I got registered as a system builder with a wholesaler hoping to get some cheap parts (which I did). So some parts came from the wholesaler (CPU, Mobo, GPU, HDD, Dust Filter), and others came from Newegg (Cooler, Ram, Anti-Static Strap), and finally, some parts came from Amazon (SSD and PSU) which I was able to purchase using Discover Card Cashback earnings (so It cost me nothing, not even shipping). To top it all off, since I spent over $1000 with the wholesaler, they gave me a $100 pre-paid visa gift card.
For anyone interested, here are some benchmarks:
Aida64 Stress Test Max Temp: 78 Degrees Celsius
Aida64 Stress Test Average Temp: 67 Degrees Celsius
Run Time: 25 Minutes
Thermal Throttling: 0%
CPU Load 100%
Cinebench R15 CPU: 1056
Cinebench R15 OpenGL: 166.52
CPU Temp During Cinebench: 76 Degrees Celsius
Geekbench 4 CPU Single-Core: 6118
Geekbench 4 CPU Multi-Core: 19572
CPU Temp During Testing: 41 Degrees Celsius
Unigine Valley Benchmark (1080p, Extreme HD Preset): 100.9 FPS
Unigine Valley Benchmark (1080p, Extreme HD Preset): Score 4221
CPU Temp During Benchmark: 56 Degrees Celsius
Unigine Valley Benchmark (1440p, Ultra): 57.4 FPS
Unigine Valley Benchmark (1440p, Ultra): Score 2401
3DMark Fire Strike: 15,539
3DMark Time Spy: 6,027
3DMark Sky Diver: 36,779
|-||GTA V Benchmark||GTA V First Mission (Race Lamar)||Tom Clancy's The Division Benchmark||Dirty Bomb (One Round)||Fallout 4 (After Creation To Cryo)|
|1440p Ultra Min||45 FPS||52 FPS||74 FPS||127 FPS||0 FPS|
|1440p Ultra Max||270 FPS||270 FPS||132 FPS||181 FPS||465 FPS|
|1440p Ultra Avg||94.85 FPS||67.77 FPS||94.15 FPS||163.70 FPS||93.72 FPS|
|1080p Ultra Min||63 FPS||69 FPS||104 FPS||147 FPS||0 FPS|
|1080p Ultra Max||270 FPS||269 FPS||170 FPS||182 FPS||758 FPS|
|1080p Ultra Avg||110.83 FPS||94.19 FPS||133.69 FPS||177.94 FPS||143.72 FPS|
I wanted a fast unlocked i7, and since Intel had recently released their 7th gen desktop processors, I decided to go with the 7700k instead of the 6700k.
Chose this water cooler for overclocking, it keeps the CPU at a nice 30° Celsius when idle, and hovers around 60° Celsius under load. Not too bad to install, I did have one issue with the fans, though. The fans would not attach snugly to the radiator, they were loose even after the screws were tightened all the way. My solution was to put the fans between the radiator and the case to allow the case to fill the small gap that was causing the fans to be loose. The included instruction booklet shows the radiator being installed as an exhaust, but since I don't want to try to use hot air from my GPU to cool my CPU, I set it as an intake (and that's the only way it would fit in my case).
Absolutely amazing thermal paste. It costs a pretty penny, but it's worth it. I would highly recommend this paste whether it be for laptops, desktops, or water cooled gaming desktops, this stuff rocks.
Great motherboard, but took off one star for the piece of junk IO shield. It had metal tags on the holes cut out for the hdmi, displayport, and usb 3.1 (type A) ports that ended up sticking into the ports on the motherboard. I had to remove the motherboard and bend the tags to keep them from wanting to go into the mentioned ports. The instruction booklet did not mention these tags, nor did it mention having to bend them to keep them from getting jammed into the ports on the motherboard. Also, another thing worth mentioning is the front panel audio doesn't seem to work properly, if I turn the volume over 4, my headphones crackle. I've played around with Asus' audio software, but was unable to resolve the issue. I use the rear line out connector for my headphones now, and have no issues with it. It may be an issue with my case's front panel audio connectors, or the motherboard, or even both, but either way, I thought it was worth mentioning. AI Suite, Asus' software for controlling parts of the motherboard such as cpu clock rate, and fan speed has an issue. At first it caused a memory leak that negatively affected performance. Later it caused BSOD's after login due to a bad driver which forced me to uninstall AI Suite to resolve the problem.
Bought 3000MHz Ram, it only ran at 2133MHz until I overclocked it. I wish it ran at 3000MHz out of the box, but since the 7700K only supports 2133MHz and 2400MHz ram speeds, the overclock was necessary.
As cheap as this SSD can be found for, I have nothing to say negative about it, It's actually quite an impressive little SSD. Only problem was that the logo sticker was rotated 180 degrees from how every other major manufacturer puts it. I had to come up with my own wiring solution to make it right-side-up in my case.
Easy to install, no setup issues, holds a solid ton of data, nothing negative to say here.
Easy to install and setup, the included velcro straps came in handy. This thing is scary silent even when under load and fans spinning. I didn't even know the fans were spinning until I looked under the card and saw that they were no longer stationary. It's quiet, powerful, and nice looking for my monolithic black build.
I had some issues with the motherboard installation in this case due to a standoff coming off when unscrewing the screw it was attached to. That issue arose when I was correcting the problems with the tangs on the motherboard's IO shield. Dealing with fixing the seized up screw alone was so much of a pain to fix that I took off a star. Other than that I had no issues with this case, cable management is heavenly, cooling is adequate, and that glass side panel looks classy.
No issues here, semi-modular, all black cables, quiet, five stars...
Loud, clicky, comfortable to type on. It uses Outemu Blue switches which are a bit louder than Cherry MX Blue switches (and I think they are actually more gratifying to type on than their Cherry MX counterpart). Backlighting is red only. Good keyboard for the $35 I paid for it on Amazon.
This brown switch keyboard is just great. I'm coming to this from a blue switch keyboard, and while I like blue switches, they are just too loud to use for someone in college who has to type a lot of papers. The RGB lighting is nice, but it's not very bright. Corsair's CUE software is okay, but I prefer Razer's Synapse 2.0 software, too bad it only works with Razer products. I have had to restart CUE a few times due to the keyboard's lighting not responding to the software, hopefully this issue gets fixed. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, but I use my own wrist rest instead of the one that came with it. The wrist rest that came with it is just too slippery for my taste. My wrist slides off, it kind of takes the rest out of wrist rest. The keys were a bit clacky when bottoming out and coming back up, so I installed clear o-rings on all the keycaps. The o-rings helped somewhat, but the keys still clack when coming back up. Even though they clack coming back up, they are still worlds quieter than the blue switches I was using before. Overall I really like this keyboard, it looks premium, feels premium, and hopefully will last me for many years.
Great mouse for people with long fingers but smaller (width) hands. For anyone with smaller hands, I would recommend this. For people with wider hands, I'd recommend you try something else as this is a thin width mouse. This mouse can be found for around 1/2 its MSRP on Amazon.
I've had these headphones for a while now. They sound nice and are fairly comfortable to wear. The top headband cracked in half and I rednecked a fix for it with super glue and electrical tape. They still sound as good as the day I got them. Would recommend if you can get them for a good price, otherwise I'd recommend a headphone that uses a metal headband.
It has okay color accuracy, max refresh rate of 60hz, hdmi input for computer, it's a TV. After looking up color profiles online for the tv's panel I was able to adjust it for better color accuracy. During gameplay there is a bit of screen tearing, even when the GPU is pushing out 120+ FPS. There is a setting for low latency which helps a bit, but some tearing is still noticeable. Upside is for dorm life, it's both a television and a computer monitor. The ability to use VESA mounts is nice. At college I clamp a hydraulic arm monitor mount to my desk and attach this tv to it. It makes it really easy to aim the tv at my bed for watching Netflix, and aim it back at my desk for doing work. Would recommend it, if it can be found on sale, otherwise I'd recommend a real monitor.
For $200, this monitor really impressed me. The colors are not 100% accurate, but there is an sRGB mode built in that helps. For image editing or even general web browsing, this monitor kicks butt. It's okay for 1440p gaming, there is some screen tearing, but it's not very noticeable unless you are looking for it. I would recommend this for any gamer on a budget who wants to dip their toe in the water of 1440p gaming. I'd also recommend this for general productivity, reading websites is easier on this monitor, and same goes for typing word documents. So, if you want a solid monitor that is a little less than 99% sRGB, and has great clarity and ease of use, get this. If you want a 144Hz monitor for gaming, this is not for you, if you have to have 100% sRGB, this is not for you, but for everyone else, you might wanna try this.
Very comfortable wrist rest. That is all you need to know.