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Lightning Justified System Rebuild

by LibraFate



Date Published

Oct. 27, 2014

Date Built

Oct. 11, 2014

CPU Clock Rate

4 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

32.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

72.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

6 GHz


After my last PC was struck by lightning, I decided to do a system build instead of buying an off-the-shelf computer. This is the primary desktop at home, and is used for some casual gaming, sound editing and mastering, and Android / Windows development.

The target budget for the system was in the $1000 ballpark. Deciding last minute to upgrade the graphics and hard drive capacities put me slightly over. Let's be honest, Intel Integrated Graphics is good, but doesn't do much for gaming.

System Thoughts:

  • i7 - performance is really nice. I can easily run multiple VirtualBox VMs / large builds and the system doesn't feel sluggish at all. Running at stock speeds, I'm not happy with the integrated HSF, I'd prefer to see peak temperature in the 60s, this guy is currently posting into the 70s under load.

  • MSI Gaming 5 - Not my original planned motherboard, but I got a really good deal on the i7/MSI combo, and this one advertised some musician friendly features. I generally use a USB soundboard, but the isolated headphone out on this guy is fairly nice. The "Killer" network device uses by default the "Killer Network Manager" which DOES NOT play nice with other network devices. Doing some googling, I found the network drivers-only binaries posted by MSI on their forum. They get me decent performance without more crashy bloatware. I ended up completely tossing the whizz-bang driver & utilities CD, and downloading a limited selection of software from the MSI support site.

  • Intel SSD - Makes the whole thing tick for lightning fast builds. So far, no problems. We'll see if I change my mind in a few years after the drive is getting older.

  • Corsair PSU - It's quiet and does the job. I spent a bit extra for the "semi modular" option. I like the idea of a modular PSU, but find myself a bit frustrated over the modular cable selection options. In the end, I've got an extra cable for one blasted connector, and haven't yet figured a way to get rid of it.

  • Cooler Master Case - For the price, this is a great case. Easily fits the R7 260 with plenty of room to spare. Some nice mounting options for hard drives, and some decent support for cable management. I opted for the non-window option of the case side. If you have a preference, pay attention to the retailer / option at checkout!

  • Windows 8.1 Pro - Using the latest version of Windows and Microsoft tools for development. I'm using Stardock's Start8 and Fences to make it more tolerable / less stupid.

Power Consumption: I see measured steady current use of 60W while running, when idle, it can get down to ~50W.

Comments Sorted by:

FedoraNeckbeard 3 points 52 months ago

I only question putting a 1GB GPU with a CPU that's more than triple the cost. IIRC but you might have been able to do better with integrated graphics.

TheZer0 1 point 52 months ago

Casual gaming

FedoraNeckbeard 0 points 52 months ago

Yea I realised that but the on-board graphics might have done a better job than that card :P

LibraFate submitter 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

Yeah, I tried to ditch the GPU altogether, but wasn't happy with the results. This guy gets better than the Intel integrated setup, and seems to have some better support. I'm probably going to look for a Christmas upgrade to a newer mainstream nVidia board.

FedoraNeckbeard 2 points 52 months ago

Alright :D

Overall great workstation build.

StonerAardvark 2 points 52 months ago

Did you just say that your last PC was struck by lightning? Can I get the story behind that?

LibraFate submitter 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

I live in an older house where at some point (unknown to me) the ground became disconnected and our AC neutral connection also aged away. A nearby lightning strike thus managed to raise/change the voltage on the AC main line and wrecked a lot of havoc. The end result was a dead PSU, hard drive, and malfunctioning motherboard in our previous PC.

Oh... and the surge protector (name brand) that was supposed to protect our electronics burned up internally - there was smoke.

In the end, the power company came out and repaired the service connection to our home, and an electrician friend of mine came out and helped test / repair things as well.

Lesson learned: it's a good idea to at least periodically check the voltage / ground connections on all your outlets. I'm lucky the house is still here.

StonerAardvark 1 point 52 months ago

Daamn, guess you got off kinda lucky, huh?

PerfectDream 1 point 52 months ago

Not your build? Your PSU is 650W and 650M in the pic. Memory looks different too.

LibraFate submitter 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

Thanks... Somehow (even though purchasing through here) the RAM had a slightly off part number. The PSU just appears to be model name weirdness, if you click the link, the right model shows. Don't know why the say M only the PSU when it's only "semi-modular".

For better/worse (including the extra cable I want to nuke), the pic is mine.