Temperatures and performance coming soon!
Intro Back in 2013, I asked for a laptop that was capable of running games decently at low settings. Back then I wasn't huge on gaming, so I didn't have much need for a more powerful system. As I got a bit older (I turned 15 this past summer), I began to get more into video games, especially more intensive ones. My laptop simply couldn't keep up. Since I had some experience with computer hardware, I decided that it was time to try my hand at building a computer.
The issue was the budget. My original aim was to stay around $1,500, and the original list (everything but the wireless adapter) added up to around $1,550, including rebates and special deals from Black Friday / Cyber Monday.
I received the parts on Christmas Day, and built it then as well.
Parts I wanted to do my best to remain close to my budget, without sacrificing too much to where I wouldn't be able to play decently at higher settings.
Intel Core i5-6600k The CPU was a no-brainer. I knew I wanted a Skylake system, and the 6700k was way too expensive for my budget. Planning for some light overclocking, I went for the 6600k, which should do me well with the cooler I chose.
Corsair H100i GTX I knew that I would want to do some overclocking in the future. So rather than going with an air cooler, which would have been larger and louder, I chose the Corsair H100i GTX.
Arctic MX4 Thermal Compound Originally, I had Arctic Silver 5 on this list, but some input from some other communities convinced me to go with MX4 instead.
MSI Z170A Gaming M5 This was probably the most switched-out item when I was searching for parts. I ended up going with the Gaming M5 due to price, design, and reviews (both PCPP and a few other sites).
G.Skill TridentZ 16GB (2x8) DDR4-3200 If you want the best way to spend unnecessary money, then make an uneducated decision. I didn't think much about RAM, but the TridentZ has done me perfectly in the past few weeks I've had it, and I probably wouldn't switch it out for another brand if I did this again. 16GB should hold me over for a long time.
Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB Going for a smaller-capacity boot drive, I went with this SSD. I already knew it would be a big step from a Hard Drive, and most other SSD options were too expensive. I went with this drive over others because I feel like 120GB will be plenty to run my most important programs from, leaving mass storage on a HDD.
Seagate Barracuda 2TB For mass storage, I went with the Seagate Barracuda series. I know that WD is the more popular brand for this kind of thing, but Seagate has done us good in the past, so I think it will be a fine hard drive for storage.
MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V I'll be honest. I chose this card without too much forethought. Regardless, it does perfectly fine given the circumstances right now (Current monitor is old--1600x900, but I'll be upgrading in the near future), and the 970 should be able to run games fine (despite the whole .5GB of memory fiasco).
Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Okay, I won't lie here. I chose this case for its aesthetic. However, I don't regret it in the slightest. It has plenty of space, and looks fantastic, especially with its ambient lighting. It matches the rest of the system. My only complaint is that the windows on the side like to creak a lot if they're being handled, which is a bit unnerving. However, this isn't an issue when sitting still.
EVGA 650W ATX12V For my power supply, I wanted to go with a well-known manufacturer, and have a power supply that was going to be efficient and provide space for possible upgrades. This PSU checks all of those boxes. It might be a little much for what I've got now, but it'll last me through a few upgrades.
Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer Optical drives aren't terribly popular these days, but I decided that it would be good to have one, just in case I may happen to need it (I do actually use discs from time to time, so it couldn't hurt). I decided that you couldn't really go wrong with an optical drive, so I chose a drive that had good PCPP reviews and added it to the list.
Windows 10 OS really speaks for itself. Chose Windows 10 mainly for its DX12 support, and turned off majority of the controversial features (Can't turn 'em all off but that's not a huge deal for me anyways).
TP-Link TL-WDN4800 This part wasn't actually ordered until after I assembled the PC. We picked one up from a local store after I realized that I completely forgot a wireless card for the system, and it's been doing fantastic ever since.
SteelSeries APEX For a keyboard, I'm not particular about whether I go mechanical or not. I personally have never used a mechanical keyboard, and most of them were simply too expensive. So in the end, I chose a non-mechanical SteelSeries Apex (based on their website, I believe the Apex 350). It's backlit with RGB lightning, and does exactly what I need it to do.
Corsair M65 RGB Before I even started the list, I knew that I would be getting an M65 RGB. In my opinion, the mouse looks fantastic with its lighting and performance. After getting my hands on it, it was pretty much right what I expected, and it is very comfortable in my hand.
Building I got all of the pieces this past Christmas (Christmas 2015), and assembles it over the course of about 6 hours. I had a bit of a hard time with the Luxe's fan hub and the H100i GTX, but in the end it all came together nicely. I did my best to manage cables the best I could, but the SuperNova's SATA Cords caused a bit of a mess. In the end, I managed to get it all working with minimal issues.
When I hooked it up for the first time, the system didn't start up, but eventually the issue resolved itself. I managed to set up the BIOS and install windows quickly, and I spent majority of the next few days setting up the software side of things.
When I first built it, I didn't have the wireless card, so I used a little USB one that I had been using with my Raspberry PI to hold me over for a day or two, and the installation for that went seamlessly as well.
When I built it for the first time, I installed the H100i's radiator and fans under the top rail. After I had installed the wireless card, I decided that I wanted the radiator in the compartment in the top (to make all of the top fans lie flush, and give space for me to put the optical drive in the top). After a bit of moving stuff around, I managed to move the Radiator no problem.
When I was moving the radiator, I also realized that the fans connected to the fan hub weren't spinning because they weren't connected to a CPU header, but rather were connected to a system header. I fixed this as well, and now all of the fans work fine.