Hello everyone! After about two months of research, ordering, and assembly, I'm happy to present my first ever build.
I got into PC gaming when I purchased a Lenovo y50p a few years ago, and decided it was time for an upgrade. Due to my lifestyle requiring constant travel, I was originally just going to get another laptop (an MSI Ghost-Pro-002 specifically). That was until my wife said
"you should really look at what kind of PC you could build with the money you'd be using on the laptop."
I took a few hours on PCpartpicker and came up with the first draft of this build (which has since changed). I knew I wanted a gaming PC that would last me at least ~3 years on max or high settings, and something that allowed for me to upgrade in the future.
CPU: I went with an i7 after most everyone I showed my build to recommended it, due to the fact that I stream and record/upload content often. I did not plan on overclocking and went with the locked version of the CPU to save a few bucks.
Cooler: My apartment gets very warm, especially in these summer months, so I felt better getting an aftermarket cooler instead of the stock one that came with the i7. This thing was a ***** to install for a first time builder. The diagram they send with isn't the most helpful, and I had a heck of a time figuring out how to put in on correctly.
Mobo: I went with an H-Series mobo due to the fact that I wouldn't be OC'ing. This was a the hardest part of the decision making process in the build for me. I spent the most time of all the parts looking for which mobo to build. I went with the ASRock Fatality due to it's great features for the price point (m.2 slot for starters) and attractive looks. I will admit I realized too late that it doesn't allow for SLI, which I had considered doing in the future. That said, I'm not too upset about it.
RAM: Great reviews, fair price. It's RAM. I went with 16gb because I eventually plan on going dual monitor and I stream often.
Storage: Pretty standard choices here. 240GB SSD and 1TB HDD. I plan on getting an m.2 SSD in the future.
Video Card: Mmmm yes, the 1070. If there was one thing I absolutely knew going into this build, it was that I wanted a 1070. I spent hours on nowinstock.net looking for availability on this thing. I'm very happy I landed a G1. It has 3 cooling fans along the card which fits great with the whole warm apartment thing.
Case: Probably my favourite part of the build. I looooooove how the C70 looks. I travel a lot and do LANs often, so I knew without a doubt that I wanted something with handles. This case fit all my needs with the foldable handles, easy-to-remove side panels, and subtle looks. Also, the power and restart buttons on this case are AWESOME. You have to flip a small panel up to press the restart button. It's like launching a missile.
PSU: Anywhere and everywhere I looked recommended the EVGA Supernova G2. I went with a 650W because it was about double my estimated wattage (thank you pcpp) and was much cheaper than the 750W option.
Optical Drive: Maybe would have liked blu-ray but I don't use blu-ray all that much so I went with the Asus DRW-24b1st because of how cheap it was.
Monitor: This Acer was the only monitor I could find that had 144hz and 1ms for under $200. I knew if I wasn't going 1440p with this 1070 that I wanted a 144hz monitor. I wish this had display port, but all and all I'm pretty happy with this.
Building this thing was an adventure. I learned a TON of things along the way. I had a buddy come over that was a bit more adept at this sort of thing than me, given that he's built 3 of his own PCs.
The majority of our build went about as smooth as it could, though in the future I would do things in a different order. We set the mobo first, followed by the PSU and then the storage drives. In hindsight, I would have assembled the CPU and CPU cooler on the mobo first before installing anything for a few reasons. Firstly, my wife told me plenty of horror stories about little fibers or dust or whatever getting into the CPU socket and screwing everything up. We put the CPU in when we were well into the build, which we agreed was a mistake. Secondly, the CPU cooler was quite difficult for a first time builder like me to install, even with my friend's help. I also applied WAAAAY too much thermal paste. I'll get back to that later.
Another thing I would have done differently is pre-planning my cable management. I did most of it on the fly, and while it did come out looking neat-ish in the end, I do wish it looked cleaner. I found cable management alone to be about half of the build. ***** hard, yo. I'm open to any and all advice on this topic.
Anyway, other than all that the rest of the build went fairly smoothly. After everything was assembled we tried booting it up for the first time, and that's when the real issues started. The PC would boot once, then turn off and on again, except this time it would stay on. We didn't get any POST whatsoever. The monitor kept reading "No Signal," which meant that it detected that it was hooked up to my PC, but it wasn't getting any signal. Over the next two days I tried everything to fix this. It's easiest if I just list it out:
- Reseated/Reconnected everything (multiple times over the course of the fix attempts)
- Reset CMOS by removing the mobo battery for 30 minutes.
- Hooking up monitor to the mobo's integrated graphics.
- Reinstalling CPU/CPU cooler. Cleaned up excess thermal paste around the CPU (again, applied WAY too much). Cleaned with pure isopropyl, then reapplied a pea-sized dot of paste. I also inspected the CPU for any bent pins. Found none.
- Seating the GPU on both PCIe slots.
- Running barebones (CPU, PSU, Mobo, one stick of RAM).
- Tried three different monitors.
Finally, I had another friend come over to troubleshoot with me the next evening. Fortunately for me, he was close friends with a guy who is a professional computer tech, whom he invited to come help. His name was Nick. God bless you, Nick. I owe you one. Nick inspected everything and reseated/reconnected everything again. I talked him through my issue and everything I had done to fix it. I also remembered I had found a random, small spare part on the table the night before (which I placed in the container that contained my RAM) and showed him this, asking if it did anything in particular. Turns out it was a spare jumper for the BIOS pins on my mobo. I was just about convinced I was going to have to RMA the mobo. Anyway, here's a couple messages he sent me on discord, explaining his thought process and how he solved the issue:
"The fact we didn't get any kind of POST results, but the computer wasn't constantly rebooting anymore, which it usually does with overheating processor, and the fact that that "missing" jumper was in the RAM box, made me think it came from somewhere so when I saw that the board had a backup and primary bios, I just wanted to reset the CMOS on each BIOS and then the bios lights came on, which made me think they were indicator lights, as opposed to error lights If I hadn't have seen that extra pin jumper I wouldn't have thought of it I don't think"
"not common to have two corrupt cmos and thought maybe when that battery got pulled, there was still some charge to the bios I dunno, it's all about removing variables until you reach the issue"
"Not all boards have that 3 pin header for jumping between two separate bios chips the fact that there was not current going to any after it was built up, and attempted to boot multiple times, the cmos could have corrupted each of them, or vice versa only explanation i can think of contrary to belief, **** gets corrupted sometimes, for no apparent reason"
Anyway, it's working now! I'm glad to finally have it all done. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think :)