Originally, I wanted to build an overkill PC with a mid-tower. I came to the realization that as much as i would love it, I would not be able to easily carry it around, especially from home to my dorm with ease or without it taking up valuable car space. So I built this instead, Aurora, my second build, but my first personal built gaming PC!
Star Trek sticker has no relation to the name haha. I name my personal lists off of girl names, and this was named based off the character from one of my favorite games, Child of Light, Aurora. She was small but mighty, and I guess you can say this PC is my child of light (literally... It lights up).
Lets start off with some pricing. I originally built this PC when core parts were at an all time low during Memorial Day sales, 900$ exact without a GPU or monitor (monitor I have yet to buy). This is why in some of the photos, a video card is not visible. I waited for the cards to go down until finally EVGA's highest tier 970 went on sale, and I went for it. Came with a free backplate and game.
You may notice two different monitors, both temporary. I switched to a small Dell one that I own and found in my colleges scrapyard corner (someone dropped it and it fell apart, i simply put it back together), and the widescreen one you see is actually a Sony all in one that I was using for input.
The speakers are an old Altec Lansing 2.1 system i got as a gift, and they sound amazing, especially the bass (you cant really get that much wubs from most modern 2.1 sets). They are old, and when no audio plays through they get static feedback. No biggie.
The headphones are the Plantronics RIG. Amazing sound quality, truly. I am a bit of an audiophile, and these are one of the best sounding headphones. The price may not be attractive or reflect the quality, but the extra features are worth it. The Volume Mixer is an input for optical and a phone, so you can switch the mic in game to your phone and take a call, or listen to music on your phone. It also has 3 EQ settings built in, a call button that also server as play/pause, and a dedicated mute button. Its a nice headset, its immersive, even with music, and the mic quality is clear and crisp.
The LED lighting is custom. I had a roll left over from adding underglow to a scooter, and decided to use some of it for my PC last minute. Just a little soldering, using some fairly thick gauge wire, and the wire fit perfectly into the PSU Molex to Floppy connector.
Yes, that is a RasperryPi on the back of the monitor. And the old router is just to network it with my PC. Also, I just like stickers.
NOW FOR REVIEWS
Air 240: The case is beautiful. I was torn between the 780T and this for a case. I chose this for the extra PCIe slot that comes with microATX, for whatever the heck purpose I decide to use it for, likely a TV Tuner card for my bedroom. But, it is the most difficult thing to build in, especially if your motherboard is not very cooperative. Everything is compact and hard to reach, cable routing options are plenty for miniITX but not for mATX. This is kind of a given, considering the purpose of this case...compactness with good air flow. And its wonderful once everything is settled in, but you will spend more time building this than any other thing. The one complaint I have is the tool-less expansion card clip. It kinda works, but the card does not sag much anyways...I've seen worse, even with screws.
i7-4790K: Holy carp this thing is fast. I have never owned an i7 in my life, and this thing is a dream come true coming from i5's. The temps are low low low with the H100i, 23C (27 when I run my Minecraft server hah) and 63 upon full stress and load.
H100i: It works. I have it in push pull with some Airflow fans for looks mostly. Case has positive pressure. It cools great (see CPU review above). Not much to say, it already has a reputation of its own. The only con is the flimsy Corsair Link fan cables and the SATA/CPUFAN header that is just way too cheap. Flimsy/flexible is good. Cheap material is not. Default mode is very quiet, but put this thing on Balanced or Performance and its decently loud. Put the fans on Maximum and I'm pretty sure my PC will take off on an air strip.
G.Skill Ripjaws X 16GB 2400MHz RAM: RAM is RAM. Nothing special. I would have gotten G.Skill or Corsair RAM no matter what but I got these during a newegg email savings or some sort, and 98$ for 2400MHz RAM is an utter steal. It works well with Intel XMP, no issues at all, and seems to load pretty fast for anything, especially Chrome. Plus, theyre blue! I wasn't planning on "themeing" this build, but hey, it turned out to be Blue and White.
Best bang for your buck, many ports, designed for gaming and overclocking, looks awesome and not like other boards in the similar price range with cheaper components/looks.
ONE COMPLAINT, and HUGE ONE TOO. The USB 3.0 CONNECTION IS RIGHT ANGLE. mATX boards are likely to put in small cases MSI, where its likely going to be edge to edge. Change this horrible design. I had to bend front panel cable so tightly just to fit it in, and one of the ports does not work. I dont know if its the Corsair front panel or the port is slightly damaged, maybe from me trying to put it in. Whatever, I dont have other components to test it, and I do not care to take this thing apart again, it was
fun horrible enough putting it together.
-also the RAM slots is a bit too close to the PCIe..or maybe PCIe too close to RAM? My EVGA card shipped with a free backplate, and I had to maneuver the card in the slot from a downward angle in order to slide it under the RAM clips. Otherwise, the clips block it. So yes, there is a minuscule amount of pressure on the clips. And yes, I could have just not installed the backplate. But hey, life decisions are not always that simple....also free backplate. I wanna use it.
850 EVO: I should have just named this PC Build "Sanic". 3 second boot time from BIOS, about 15 seconds from the moment the power button is pushed. Instant login. Games just pop up after clicking "play". Enough space for games I play at any given time. I have 1TB of OneDrive space with Office 365 (its worth the money, I renewed it after getting 1 year free during the iPad app promotion) anyways, so I only need the drive for games.
the OTHER drive in the pics is from an old laptop that I replaced with an SSD. Figured I'd put it to use, its 100GB, so I dedicated it to Linux (Elementary OS to be specific) as I am a computer science student who requires Linux to program. May change the partitions to allow some for Windows later.
PSU: Honestly, it works. It was on sale, I know I could have gotten "better", but its stable, it provides, and it works great with overclocking ( I have the headroom, Its 80 PLUS Gold anyways, and its not like its wasting more power than an electrical dryer). And if it wasn't "clean" power, well the motherboard VRMs and capacitors will clean that up. It doesn't heat up at all, its quiet, and overall, there are no problems. It provides clean electricity at the watts necessary. I just wish the cables were sleeved.
GTX 970: This is the best card for 1080p gaming. Everything is so smooth, frame rates never go below 60. The EVGA fans are awesome, they don't turn on until high temps. Its quiet, but there is a little bit of coil while if you put your ear to the case. I just wish it lit up the logo. Also, the adaptive V-Sync is nice, especially since I'm stuck with these 60Hz monitors at the moment.
AOC 144Hz: HOLY DANG IT'S HUGE. It barely fit in my desk. The colors were off at first but editing them was no problem. Its.... Flawless. Came with every cable I would ever need. AND THE 144 HZ is amazing, not just in game but in Windows itself.
Finally, I'd like to give thanks to family contributions that helped me save for this thing for a couple of years, as well as LinusTechTips for giving me ideas, knowledge, and motivation since I've started watching them from several years ago. Go support those guys.