The last time I upgraded any of the parts in my machine was back in May 2015 when I went for a 8-core CPU and from 8GB to 16GB RAM. I recent recieved a major tax rebate and decided to refresh my build.
First on my list was a new GPU - my aging 7770 which replaced my failed 7870 wasn't looking very happy at Just Cause 3 and Tomb Raider. The obvious choice then was an RX 480 - I typically go for XFX cards but as they were not in stock for the supplier I chose Sapphire instead. Very happy with this - yet to fully test it out.
Next up was a new motherboard. I wanted to keep my current CPU as it was perfectly good and didn't want to replace it just yet, so I was after a Red and Black AM3+ socket board, which the MSI 970 Gaming met well. Plenty of fan connectors, well laid out and with a plethora of features, this is an excellent board which I do like. The SATA ports are very very close to the GPU with a few mm clearance but this does not cause an issue. There's some features I'm not fussed about (Killer NIC for one...) but I will very happily tweak this.
SSD. My OCZ was performing as well as I needed it to, however I was running out of space. A 480GB SSD for just under £100 is pretty good considering the amount I paid for my 240GB a few years back. The 480GB SSD will be for OS, main played games, and programs, while the 240GB SSD will be used as a secondary game location and also to run virtual machines. Anything else smaller or less played will go on the 2TB disk.
Finally, Case. I was running a no-brand (iCute Super 9) case, while large (9 5.2" drive bays) and a 12" side fan was horribly dusty as it had no filters. I wanted a case to match the red/black colourscheme with a side window, and the NZXT S340 was a good match. I was concerned about not having a CD/DVD drive but I very rarely use disks at all now anyway.
Everything else was moved across from my old build. The cable management is slightly better than my old case, and I would like to get some solid black or red SATA cables as the only spare ones I had had white tips. Also the power cable for the GPU is not elegantly cabled and the power cables have a multitude of colours - this isn't that bad for me and if I replace the PSU I will try and get leavening. The USB3 header is horridly twisted but there's very little options for me here. The two fans that were included were installed on the front as a pull, with a spare corsair fan I had installed on the rear as an exhaust. Any feedback regarding the fan setup, and about the build is greatly appreciated.
A superb value oct-core CPU that overclocks well but runs hot - be sure to run a good airflow cooler or a liquid cooler if you're pushing the high clocks.
A good third-party cooler that is quiet under load but is a major pain to mount on AMD motherboards.
A decent feature set and a bad-*** colour scheme makes an awesome motherboard. Some features are a bit surplus to requirements (Killer NIC, really?) but plenty of fan headers, ports, and expandability options are all a plus. No onboard video, but if you're trying to run this with no dedicated GPU, well, You're Doing It Wrong.
Typical, dependable, and reliable RAM from Corsair. Not loud and flashy, and no massive heatsinks so they fit under the cooler.
An older OCZ-branded SSD - performance isn't as great as it used to be after a few years of use but is now perfectly happy running the occasional VM.
A 480GB SSD from a recognised name for under £100. Bargain.
Two terabytes of spinning disk for large amounts of data - used in multiple builds and still going.
A superb case with equally superb cable management. Looks neat, slick, and the only downside is no CD/DVD drive bay, but that doesnt matter as much any more.
Actually a Novatech-branded PSU (which is a rebadged OCZ) a decent semi-modular PSU. Only downside is the multi-coloured cables which clashes somewhat with my red/black colour scheme.
A superb set of speakers - my family owned four pairs at one point.