This is my first build since 2002. The purpose of the rig is performance, virtualization, and light gaming. I have been building my dream rig for since 2015 but I was finally able to make this happen last week. All of my parts were purchased at Microcenter St. Davids, PA. They had most of the parts cheaper than I could get online anywhere! I was like a kid in a candy shop. You get a different feeling by going into a brick and mortar store than an online store. Being surrounded by all of those computer parts was bliss. The only part I ordered online was the EVO 960. No one has this in stock right now. I wanted to name this rig Stormtrooper but that name is out there more than once. Let me know your thoughts on the rig. What would you have done differently?
When I started to plan out this build, I was going with the 6700K but the 7700K was released recently. Microcenter was also offering the new Kaby Lake processor for cheaper. I current have this processor OC to 4.8GHz comfortably. At idle the temperature sits around 30C, normal temperature is between 40-50C and the max I have documented is 65C
I went back and forth between the Hyper EVO 212 and a AIO liquid cooler. I was concerned with liquid cooling because I read horror stories of the units leaking and damaging the computer. The Hyper EVO 212 was classically reliable. I decided to go with the H115i instead of the H100i v2 because it completely covered the case from top to bottom. I actually had a hiccup during the install with the H115i. One of the mounting screws had a bad thread on one side. I called Cosair, and they recommended setting up an RMA so that could send me a new hardware kit. I didn't want to wait that long for the parts! I ended up driving back to Microcenter (just over an hour for me) to exchange it for a new one. Everything was good with the new unit. It took me a bit of time to install this unit. The hoses must be towards the top of the case. The unit also gets installed on the front end of the and the 2 x 140mm fans also act as the front case fans. The stock fans have zero noise as well.
This board came with everything I needed and matched the color scheme. The m.2 was a must for me and it has 6 SATA ports but if you are using a m.2 port, it will disable one of the SATA ports. On board sound card is decent. The bios has many options to choose from and auto OC tools too.
Memory is memory.
After the CPU, this was the most important piece to my build. I wanted the 960 EVO and no other drive was acceptable. I intended to purchase the 250GB version but I could not find it anywhere. Everyone is out of stock and Amazon states it will ship within 1-2 months! I found a third party seller on Amazon that had the 500 GB version in stock. I paid more than double the cost of the 250GB version. The speed on this thing is unreal! Max Read is 3200 MB/s and max write is 1900 MB/s. The popular 850 EVO specs are 540 MB/s Read and 520 MB/s Write. Make sure your mobo can use m.2 slot using PCIe x4. This is use all 4 lanes which was use speeds of 32 GB/s. My mobo has the option to set the speed to PCIe x2 (max 16 GB/s) and SATA (Max 6 GB/s)
I actually bought the wrong drive here. I wanted the x300 drive which has 128MB cache instead of 64MB. It was a good price per GB. I want to set this up in a RAID but I decided to purchase a 4TB portable drive instead. To offset the cost, I only got one drive for now.
This rig is not a gaming PC first but I could not build a beast without including a video card. Originally, I planned on the 3GB version but for another $30, I could get the 6GB version. I liked this card because it also matches the color scheme.
I had my heart set on the Cooler Master Storm Stryker but it was pricey and a full tower. I didn't need all that room and wasn't planning on using all those 5.25 bays! The NZXT S340 is a very nice case for the price. I'm very big on air flow. The case came with a 120mm fan in the rear and a 120mm on top. The 2 x 140mm fans from the H115i are up front and the fan on the PSU is underneath. The case is propped up on the bottom to allow air flow under the case. The front panel also has spacing built in to allow for air flow. You cannot use a DVD drive with this case but who uses those anymore? I have a portable dvd drive if I need to use one. This case also comes with nice extra features like the air filters and thumb screws. The back panel space and bottom shield over the bottom allow for nice cable management.
I don't need this much power but the price was good and allows for expansion. I like the fact that it's modular but it was unnecessary because the case hides all of the wires anyway.
I went this windows 10 Pro over windows 7 and/or Home Premium because this machine will need to be connected to a domain at some point. I also wanted to use remote desktop and Hyper-V. I personally like windows 7 over windows 10 but I need to keep current with the OS.
It's 27" and it has a slim bevel. Dual monitor is not needed but will look nicer with the slim bevel.
I wanted a back lit keyword and mouse but didn't want to pay that price for the RGB mechanical keyboards.
I need to protect my investment!