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First Build Ever

by bacgabe



CPU Clock Rate


GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate



I would never have built this computer but for this website, which is terrific, as well as all the excellent guidance and feedback in the forums. The initial motivation for the desktop was for photo editing purposes as an upgrade from an aging and very low-spec laptop. After browsing this website and comparing parts and researching reviews and feedback, I had to indulge my gaming side a little and get a upper tier CPU and GPU. I am extremely happy with the end result of the build, as is my wife (the photographer), but in retrospect I probably would have put a little more money in the MOBO and PSU, and perhaps would have paid an extra $9 and gotten the hd 7870 XT instead of the GHZ edition. Nevertheless, except for trying to achieve higher benchmarks, it definitely serves its purpose flawlessly. I am playing Tomb Raider (thanks to the AMD Radeon never settle promo) and Battlefield 3 at 50-60 FPS at ultra settings, which puts my console (xbox 360) graphics to shame.

I have dabbled in overclocking a little bit so far, but think I may be limited most by my PSU in that regard, although I have achieved a 4.7 GHz overclock on the CPU and a 1150 MHz on the GPU. I usually clock it back down quickly out of fear of doing something wrong, but my temps have been real low (around 30 degrees C) so I have not worried too much.

I made an effort to keep the cable management under control and was fairly pleased with the end result in that regard. I am extremely pleased with the case, except for the fact that the USB3 is a passthrough, and does not connect directly to the motherboard, as others have noted (and which I was aware of before I bought it). But at the price point, I think it is an excellent case. I like the touch of the blue LED's which are not too bright (and which can be controlled via the fan controller on the front of the case.

The build went off without a hitch except for the fact that the gigabyte "ultra durable" motherboard arrived with a heatsink pin broken off which I replaced with two zip ties. I am extremely happy with the build and would love to know what you guys think about it. I can also answer any questions about performance or temps or the like. Thanks.

Comments Sorted by:

bbooiigg 6 points 57 months ago

That's some great cable management! I find Zalman cases to be over-looked most of the time. They provide great features for the price.

Noxity 3 points 55 months ago

Did you have to update your motherboard BIOS for the CPU to work?

bacgabe submitter 1 Build 2 points 57 months ago

Planetside, the temperature dial actually comes pre-installed with the Zalman Z9-U3 case. I am not sure whether they sell it as an individual component. The case is a great one for the money IMO. JRU, I think the GPU performs very well, but I am a bit of a novice with respect to modern pc performance and so do not have a really good point of reference for comparison. The card actually did not have any reviews yet on Newegg when I purchased so I went out on a limb a little. Javanode, I was hoping something just such as that existed, thanks for the link. I think I will have to invest in a pair. Apach, thanks, I paid right around $1100 but overall price should be closer to $1000 once all my rebates come back. Overall I am very pleased with the setup.

Divdor 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

Nice Cable management! Everything looks clean and well put together. Well done.

bacgabe submitter 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

Thank you both, I wanted it to look clean and stay cool.

Javanode 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

I bought this case because it's awesome! waiting for it to arrive...

jru732 1 point 57 months ago

How is that GPU? Quiet? Cool? I love msi cards, but i prefer the twinfrozr design, so i am curious how that one performs. Edit: Maybe I should read the post before commenting.

Apach3 3 Builds 1 point 57 months ago

wow, this is a surprisingly clean and balanced build for what it's worth, and i love the quality of the pictures! that looks like $1100 well-spent!

Planetside2fanboy 1 point 57 months ago

Dat management...


Planetside2fanboy 1 point 57 months ago

What is the name of the temperature dial above your dvd drive? Please answer!

naj42181 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

that's a built in feature of the case. if you're looking for a solution for yourself check out nzxt's fan controller

Hummoose 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

That cable management is orgasmic.

i0am0awesome 1 Build 1 point 54 months ago

I plan on buying basically the same exact computer. The only difference would be the motherboard and im going with windows 8. I plan on going with the sapphire radron 7870 xt and the asrock extreme 3 motherboard because its cheaper and my friend recommended it to me. One question i do have is do i need a cpu cooler or will it work without it since i don't really plan on overclocking?

lemixx 1 point 25 months ago

So I got the case, but I have no idea where to plug in the temp and fan control pins. Its the one with the green/white wires right?

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