Hello. I go by the handle "Mitcheddar93," but you can call me "Mitch" if you want. This is the first complete build of a computer I have ever done. I have a lot of experience replacing parts and shifting cords in computers thanks to my experiences as a kid, but with the tax return I got this year, I decided now would be an excellent time to build a full computer for myself, mostly for gaming and multimedia. Personally, I think it turned out extremely well. Here's the parts I used in order to craft this beautiful machine:
CPU - One of the primary goals for my computer, first and foremost, was to have an Intel processor. Nothing else was going to do it for me. I also wanted to have a processor that cost at least $200, and the Core i5-4590 was the perfect fit. It fit the motherboard like a sock, and the computer has been running as fast as a bullet, for the most part. The processor has also been perfect for Dolphin, being able to run at close to full speed with little-to-no issues in conjunction with my video card. For those who are wondering, I am aware that I am not able to overclock my processor at all; maybe I will try overclocking my processor when I eventually upgrade to a 4790K and I have a proper CPU water cooler installed, but I am very happy with my processor at the moment and will only upgrade when I have the time and money.
Motherboard - In choosing the motherboard, I was looking for something that would perform well without too many features to get bogged down in. As I was looking on various sites detailing which parts to use for computer builds, "Asus" kept coming up in the motherboards section. I was originally set on getting the Z97-A, but I did not see the value of SLI or other related features, since I am keen on using just one graphics card and overclocking is not a priority at the moment. Therefore, I decided to get the Z97-C, which seemed to have all of the features of the Z97-A except those I did not necessarily need. The problem is that when I eventually bought everything, the Z97-A was ONLY 5 BUCKS MORE THAN THE Z97-C!!! In hindsight, I really should have paid more attention before settling on the purchase, but I am not disappointed so far. The board is working like a charm at the moment, and it was easy to set inside the case. Only time will tell whether or not I made the right decision, but so far I am pretty satisfied.
Memory - Looking around for memory was a cinch. All of the reviews I saw for Corsair memory had close to 4 or 5 stars/eggs, and the specs were perfect for what I was going for. Another reason I chose Corsair is because of a weird sense of consistency; I noticed that Corsair produces a lot of other components for computers, including cases, power supplies, and even solid-state drives. I wanted to have the manufacturers for my parts match; call me strange, but that's how I wanted to do it. It also helps that the manufacturers I chose are known for quality computer parts, further leading to this decision. The memory is working like a charm, and I will buy the Vengeance pack again so I can bring up the RAM to 16GB.
Storage - I had a lot of choices when it came to storage, and all of them were fairly appealing, but in the end, I decided to go with one of the most popular options. Western Digital, as far as I know, is a name that is almost synonymous with "computer storage," so it seemed fairly obvious that it would be an excellent option. It's nice to know you don't have to break the bank for 1TB of storage, especially with how hard drives were priced when I was still a kid. I plan on eventually adding a solid-state drive from Corsair, but for now, this is working just fine.
Video Card - After the abysmal gaming experience I had with my now-3-year-old laptop, I absolutely HAD to have a more-than-decent video card. I was originally considering getting the GTX 970, but my tax return wasn't worth THAT much, so I decided to scale back for now. The GTX 960 seemed like the next-best thing, and was more than $100 less expensive. I am glad with my decision so far; Black Mesa, Portal, and Half-Life 2: Update all run at 60 FPS at high settings with little-to-no slowdown, which is something my laptop was almost NEVER capable of. I will need to test more games in order to get a feel for how well the video card performs, but overall, this will serve as an excellent holdover for a higher-end graphics card.
Case - Once again, popularity was the biggest influence in choosing the case. It was also chosen based on the consistency bit I mentioned earlier: if the case was the skeleton, then the power supply was the heart and the memory was the brains. I found it would make sense if they were all from the same manufacturer. It helped that the Corsair 200R is one of the best cases on the market, at least according to reviews. And frankly, after looking and messing with it, I would agree. It comes with everything you need right out of the gate, including a couple of case fans and plenty of screws. Above all, though, it looks amazingly slick while being fairly simple, which was another influence in my decision. For $60, this thing was an absolute steal.
Power Supply - As I was looking for parts for my build, I thought it would make sense to have the manufacturer of the power supply to match the manufacturer of the case; again, weird sense of consistency. Corsair is also well-known for making excellent power supplies, so this seemed like an excellent choice. So far, the CX500 has been working without any problems, and the cables were fairly painless to set up; I wish it were modular so that I could customize it more, but I guess I can save that for upgrading. 500W has been perfect for what I have been doing so far, so I probably won't upgrade until I want to get a feel for overclocking.
Optical Drive - I am addicted to Blu-Ray discs. I have been ripping discs and converting them with Handbrake since I got my first Blu-Ray drive at least three Christmases ago (keeping the files private, of course). It was important, therefore, that I have a Blu-Ray drive right off the bat in order to do the same thing with my new computer. I have not been able to test ripping Blu-Rays yet, but I have run plenty of CDs and burned a couple of DVDs with no issues whatsoever (aside from a couple of mishaps on my part), and I can only expect that ripping Blu-Rays will run just as smoothly.
Operating System - This is where I got lucky. Getting Windows 7 seemed like a no-brainer, but it would have added an extra $100 to my build cost. That is where Dreamspark Premium came in. Being a student has a lot of benefits, especially when you have access to free Office products, Visual Studio, database software, and the latest operating systems, all courtesy of Microsoft. In short, I was able to get Windows 7 Professional for free, practically. I plan on upgrading to Windows 10 when it eventually rolls out, so this was a win-win for me.
So there you go! This is my very first complete build. Let me know what you think!