This is considered my first build since my actual 1st build was more than 15 years ago when I was 10. Anyway, I decided that I needed a new computer that is tailored for what I need it to do rather than continuing to buy retail computers. I mainly will use it for engineering applications since I'm a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering. I also am a huge fan of Japanese pop culture so music/anime encoding is something I do on spare time as well.
CPU: I picked the AMD FX-8320 for several reasons. First it has 8 core so it's going to work really well with applications that can take advantage of all those cores like certain engineering programs. Furthermore, I remembered reading somewhere that x264 loves multicore CPU so the more the better? Same thing for music conversion using programs like XRecodeII would benefit from having many cores. VM machines would also benefit a lot since I can dedicate many cores to it without causing too much of a slow down for the host. Plus it's really cheap for only $129.99.
Memory: I always run into memory issues with all my store bought computers. So I decided to just go for 16GB of RAM so that I won't have to worry too much about memory problems for a while. I would have gone for 8GB considering the ridiculous prices on 16GB lately. However, I was lucky to be able to snatch this 16GB RAM pretty cheaply. Plus it can be overclocked to 1866 with timing 10-10-10. Also with this amount of RAM, I can use it with VM machines without too much worry.
Motherboard: The 2nd-ish best board for this socket type? I just like the look of this board and the reviews for it were quite good. Also it apparently works well with overclocking my choice of CPU compared to the LE or EVO edition. It is a bit expensive I think but still cheaper than the Asus Sabertooth.
SSD: Yes. Definitely. Nothing else to say.
HDD: I got a 1TB although I use much more than that. The reason is with limited internal space, I can be more careful of what I put onto the computer and be organized about things. Otherwise, everything else will go to my externals. I have approximately 8TB of space on externals. I do intend to buy a 4TB internal later to use as a file backup drive and store system images for all computers in my home.
Video Card: I'm a console gamer since I'm heavily into jRPGs so I don't game too much on the computer. I do game on the computer but casually so this video card is perfectly fine for all the games that I do play as well as indie games. Also perfectly fine for MMOs like Ragnarok Online or Mabinogi lol. CAD software works well with it and it has a good amount of CUDA cores that I can use for Mathematica (a Computer Algebra System). SolidWorks is the only one being stupid about it since Solidworks 2013 and above wants workstation cards. I installed version 2012 instead.
Audio Card: I have a Audio-Technica ATH-M50 which is great compared with any of the headphones I had so far. Had it since 2 years ago. Audio quality is important to me and I just need it to sound good so I decided to go for this card that basically uses the same chip as the more expensive card but just without any additional features. Anyways, it's definitely a huge improvement over my previous DAC and all my music sounds even more "alive" now. I love it.
Wireless Card: I have an ASUS RT-N66U router and I don't want to do all these wiring work through the basement so I got this card instead. 450 Mbps and it's great. Do have an odd issue with it sometimes where it disconnects and refuse to connect to the 5GHz band whenever I do something CPU intensive. No problems with the 2.4 GHz band though.
Optical Drive: I actually planning on getting a BD burner later when they're cheaper. In the mean time, this DVD burner is fine for what it does. So why do I need it? I have a lot anime DVDs that I bought. I also burned off a lot of download anime/games/manga/music/misc and stuff onto DVDs during 2003 to 2011. Have around 30 spindles with around 25 DVD per spindle in my room. Plus these 3 spindles that has around 100 DVDs each. Yeah. Lots of stuff. I want to be able to read them lol.
StarTech 3.5-Inch to 5.25-Inch Floppy Mounting Kit Bracket: Crap. Basically it does not work well with the toolless case and does not fit in very well but for the price, I can't complain much and there's not that many options available.
Orico 1105SS SATA HDD Hot Swap Tray: Very nice actually. Pretty awesome to easily change or read drives without having to open up the entire case.
Card Reader: Very good quality and cheap. Reads all memory cards that I have. Very satisfied with it. This is put into the 3.5 to 5.25 mouting kit above so that I can use it in one of the optical bays.
Case: It's a pretty nice case! Very roomy and very airy. One issue is that the fan control is proprietary and the power cable for it to the fans is very thin. Tham means the cable have a lot of resistance and heat. Not a good thing. Therefore I don't really use the fan control and just leave it at a low setting. I have read threads where several people had burnt cables due to this very issue especially when they have the fan setting on high. I really like that this case has a dust filter. Although the computer is elevated quite above the ground and I do vacuum the basement and room weekly, it's still very nice to have to clean the case even less with the dust filter.
Power Suppy: I don't intend to skimp out on this component at all. Power supplies are important and a high quality is a must. I don't want to spend too much either so I was lucky that I got this high quality power supply for only $59.99. From what I read, it's also produced by Seasonic and have very high quality components which I can definitely feel when I took it out of the box. Very sturdy and the components look very high quality. The electronic tests on it that I found online also showed that it has very good output signal quality. I'm very happy and lucky to get this for such a price. I plug this into a CyberPower 850 Surge Suppressor. Hopefully it works well.
Windows 7: I got it for free through MSDNaa for being an engineering student. Awesome.
Monitors: I want dual monitors. Before, I hooked an additional monitor (the Asus VS248H-P 24.0") to the laptop to give me the dual monitor setup. Anyways, now I truly have dual monitor setup with screens similar in size. The Asus VS248H-P 24.0" is an excellent monitor and I got it several years ago. The HP 23xi 23.0" is also a very excellent monitor. The HP 23xi is actually a IPS monitor and somehow I managed to stack coupons together and got $70 dollars off of it for a total of $139 which I think is a good price for a 23.0" IPS monitor.
Keyboard & Mouse: The mouse feels a bit plasticky but has customizable weights so it feels very nice with the weight that I chose for it. Also the buttons felt very crisp and overall a pretty good mouse. I got it primarily becaue of the amount of positive reviews I saw on Amazon. You can also customize the LED colors! The keyboard is my first mechanical keyboard. I wantted a keyboard that was backlit since I usually have my lights off and there are times I need to look at a certain key like F2 since I have not muscle memories those function keys so a backlit keyboard would be really nice. On the other hand, I don't any extra feature keys although it would be nice to have them. I do want numpad. Basically this keyboard by Thermaltake fits all my requirements plus it does have media keys that are triggered using the FN key. It's backlit, has numpad, standard keyboard layout, standard key spacing, high quality, and heavy (4 lbs). All for the simple and cheap price of $79.99. Initially I wanted to buy the Logitech G710+ mechanical keyboard and have been playing with it at the store. The quality and heftiness of this Thermaltake Poseidon keyboard completely blows the Logitech G710+ out of the water and yet much much cheaper. Hell, even the rubber feet and plastic stand on the Poseidon is higher quality!
Anyways, I overclocked the CPU to 4.3 GHz and it was quite stable. I then backed it off a bit to 4.24 GHz. I don't need to overclock it too much so I think at 4.24 GHz, it's perfectly fine. I could overclock my memory to 1866 MHz but decided to just leave it at stock of 1600 MHz at 10-10-10. My CPU temperature while idle is quite cool mainly because I'm in the basement and it's quite cold down here. Other than that, I did not do any other overclocking. In terms of benchmarking, the only thing I did was using AIDA64. Generally it lose to server CPUs and the i7. But it beat a lot of the others so I think that's pretty nice! Copy of the HTML AIDA64 benchmark report below: AIDA64 v4.00.2700 https://www.dropbox.com/s/11y40oszbnn86ou/AIDA64_4.0_Benchmark.htm
Wow. I think I wrote too much. Anyway, overall I'm really happy with the build. I do wished that it was a bit cheaper since I intended to spend below $1000. But... for what I got here, it is completely worth it!
On a separate note, I can't seem to get the formatting thing for PCPartPicker to work. Will need to try it again later.