Was not actually planning on building a PC but the idea quickly became a reality after finding this site. The idea I could build the exact PC I wanted instead of buying yet another off the shelf PC was a good enough reason for me.
I did really need a new computer as the PC this one replaced was 6.5 years old and starting to show its age. My requirements for this PC were pretty simple, I wanted a PC for home use and for light gaming. My son and I love to play video games and my wife and daughter would use it for normal everyday use. With that in mind I set out to pick the right parts and use what I could from the old system. Speaking of the old system I was able to use the 240 GB SSD I had, the windows 7 license key (with the free update to windows 10) and a 500 GB hard disk drive. Having these saved me a few bucks.
For the case I had initially decided to go with the Corsair Carbide Series 88R and ordered it from Amazon. After waiting 2 weeks and still not having it ship I decided to spend a little more money and go with the Corsair 350D Window MicroATX Mid Tower Case. I love this case, really nice design with removable cages, great air flow, room for 5 case fans and a decent amount of room and tie downs for cable management.
I went with the AS rock H97M pro 4 motherboard because of hearing good things about it and having the ability to go up to 32 GB of RAM if needed. I also picked up the EVGA SuperNOVA GS 650W 80+ Gold because I hate not having enough power in the future if I ever needed/wanted to upgrade a part. One of the things that always annoyed me about store bought computers was the weak power supply's they had. I upgraded the video card in my old one and before I could do that I had to upgrade my power supply. Not this time.
For the processor I felt the Intel Core i5-4460 gave me the most value for my money. Since I was not looking into overclocking I had no need of a K series processor and the I7 was overkill for me.
The next big decision came with what video card to go with, AMD or Nvidia. I went back and forth on this one (the MSI R9 390 GAMING 8G was tempting ) but I finally decided to go with Nvidia because of the reputation for better drivers, less power usage and generally running cooler than AMD. Once that decision was made the next step was what Nvidia card to buy. That turned out to be pretty easy when i found the PNY GeForce GTX 970 4GB Video Card on sale for $269.99 after rebate and it included a copy of Tom Clancy's The Division. I know this is not the fastest or best 970 out but it fit my budget and would work well enough for my son and I to play almost any game on ultra settings at 1920 X 1080. Once I found this the build was finalized and i started ordering all the parts.
I got all my parts this past Sunday (3/20/16) and started the build. I got a late start on Sunday night because we just go back in town from visiting relatives. first thing I did was install all the case fans. I know 5 fans sounds like a lot but I wanted to keep air moving through this case quickly and keep it as cool as possible. The two fans in the front pull air in and the one back and two tops fans are pulling air out. After the case fans were in place I put the CPU in the motherboard, popped on the stock CPU cooler added the RAM and put the motherboard in the case. I then added the SSD and power supply. I started arranging all the cable how I wanted them but did not tie anything down, I was going to do that when I had everything in place. Once everything except the video card was in I did a test boot. Hit the power button and got into the UEFI and was able to see everything. So far so good.
I installed windows 7 from a USB drive and quickly upgraded to windows 10. Once I got to this point I quickly added a few programs such as office, AV and Steam and started downloading some of our games to the SSD. After this I called it a night since it was 1:00 AM and I had to work the next day, plus the steam downloads were going to take some time.
The next day I finished all the cable management and got the back cover on. The last thing I needed to do was install the PNY GTX 970 video card. I got the card in and connected both the 6 pin power connections it required. Once i connected it back up and turn it on the card was recognized right away and I was able to download and install drivers for it. I went with the 362.00 drivers after reading about others having problems with the 364.51 drivers. The next step was to test how everything worked in game. My son loves XCOM 2 so we fired that up and set the graphics to maximum. The game looked awesome. It was like playing a completely different game than before since the old PC could only play on 1280 X 1024 with low settings. with the new PC you can see the leaves on the trees, the branches moved in the wind, the logs had moss on them.
I had a lot of fun building this PC and I am sure it will last me a long time. I hope you like it!
I will add some photos as soon as I can