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Build

Blue

by AmbularD

7
9 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

April 8, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

4.0GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.28GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7.01GHz

Description

Second computer I've built, but the first one for my own use and to my own specifications.

This build replaces an i5-2500 (locked, not the K version,) with a Gigabyte Geforce GTX 460 1GB, 16 GB HyperX Blu DDR3-1333, a Kingston SSDNow V300 240GB, Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB, Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB WD20EARS, another Antec 900, and a SeaSonic M12II 620W.

My old Antec 900 was the USB 2 version; this one has the updated USB 3 front ports. I liked the case very much the first time around and it had great cooling, which is why I decided to go with it again despite its famously horrible cable management. Considering what a lousy reputation it has in that department, I'd like to think I did a halfway decent job of controlling my cables. The RM650x's stiff modular cables helped, as they tend to stay where I put them.

Why pair a beast like the i7-4790k with a mere GTX 960? I use this computer more for productivity than gaming, and I multitask heavily all day long as well as dabbling in video editing and the odd other demanding task. Also, my old Dell monitor, which I'm kind of stuck with due to space constraints (see picture) has a maximum resolution of 1680 x 1050, so a better video card might or might not make much difference.

The one game I do play often is The Sims 3, with eighteen expansions and a ton of custom content installed. It's a notoriously CPU-bound game, and since I don't care to overclock my processor, I wanted the best out-of-the-box single-core, single-thread performance I could get for the money I was willing to spend. By all accounts, that's the 4790k. I have however modestly overclocked the GTX 960, and it seems to handle my game very well. I may still upgrade to a 970 if the price drops significantly when Pascal is released.

Why an aftermarket cooler when I don't overclock? My house can be difficult to keep cool in the summer, and I occasionally had heat issues with the i5 with its stock cooler. The i7 runs hotter, so I decided to bite the bullet and just put in a better cooler now so I won't have to worry about it.

The DEMCifilter was a bit pricey to have shipped from South Africa, but the filter itself was very reasonably priced despite being a custom size, and the superior dust control has been worth every penny. I highly recommend them!

Thanks for reading! Comments welcome, but please be kind to the n00b. :)

Part Reviews

CPU

Excellent performance. Runs a bit warm, but this is easily solved with a cheap cooler upgrade. No impediments to installing and updating Windows 7 (or 8.1, if I should so choose.)

CPU Cooler

Not so massive as to dominate my case or interfere with other components. Did not require motherboard removal for installation. MX-2 thermal paste pre-applied. Required a bit of fiddling with the screws to get it set properly, but that was very likely my fault. Dropped my core temperatures by +/- 15 degrees Celcius vs. the stock cooler once it was properly secured.

Motherboard

Acquired open-box on eBay. Working fine; I like the two PS/2 connectors and the potential for M.2 SSD upgrade. The red track lighting was an unwelcome surprise, but was easy enough to disable. SATA connectors are a bit awkwardly placed, but not too bad. The board is a bit narrow and does not reach all the standard ATX standoffs; not too big a problem, just requires a little extra care when plugging in cables near the unsupported edge.

Memory

It's memory, it works. Set to XMP profile 1 @ 1866mHz, no problems.

Storage

Boots up fast and works fine.

Storage

Speedy for a mechanical drive, great warranty, working well so far.

Video Card

Under-rated card, IMO. I've overclocked it to 1500mHz with PrecisionX software with no issues, and could probably take it higher if I wanted to. Runs The Sims 3 Into the Future + other EPs at 1680 x 1050 resolution without a hitch.

Case

Older case, famous for its poor cable management and not toolless. Swapping the front cages around can be a pain. SSD mounting point seems weirdly positioned. Lacks an included filter. But it's solidly built, includes four fans, has spectacular airflow and easily-removable side panels, holds all my components, and looks good doing it.

Power Supply

Tier 1 or 2 unit. 80 Plus Gold certified, fully modular, stiff cables that stay where you put them, nice and quiet, sturdy look and feel, all Japanese capacitors. Hasn't given me a moment's trouble yet.

Optical Drive

Cheap, can be loud at times, does the job.

Operating System

Old reliable OS that does what Windows should do. System Builder OEM edition is still available cheap.

Case Fan

Blows air, pretty blue lights.

Comments Sorted by:

fn230 7 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

I like it, and you definitely did fine with the cable management. Can we have more pictures?

Also, good on you for assessing your graphics requirements carefully. Some people are like "graphics, graphics, graphics!" and then overspend on the GPU. It's refreshing to see someone not doing that.

AmbularD submitter 1 Build 2 points 19 months ago

Thank you!! I've uploaded a few more pictures. I included the front to give a good look at the DEMCifilter; the SSD to show where I used foam mounting tape to stick it in a spot where I could easily run a power cable to all three drives, so I wouldn't need two cables with a bunch of unused power connectors cluttering things up; and a shot of the back of the rig to show the little dust covers I made from small-insect window screen, craft sheet magnets and electrical tape to cut down further on the dust accumulation (it's a real problem in my house.)

Yeah, I may go for that GTX 970 yet. But it's always seemed to me that a GPU is much easier to swap out later than a CPU, and I'm just not enough of a gamer to justify dropping a small fortune on that particular component, especially when there's a good chance it would be more than I can actually use.

fn230 7 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

Nice job! You definitely did well here. :D

And indeed. Not everyone's a heavy gamer. In my case personally, a simple 750 Ti or 950 would fulfill my requirements just fine.

Eltech 16 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

Why pair a beast like the i7-4790k with a mere GTX 960? I use this computer more for productivity than gaming, and I multitask heavily all day long as well as dabbling in video editing and the odd other demanding task. Also, my old Dell monitor, which I'm kind of stuck with due to space constraints, has a maximum resolution of 1680 x 1050, so a better video card might or might not make much difference.

Ah I see. Plus knowing it sounds like you had Sims 3. Having "productivity" software with what you have as a GPU seems understandable for now. Especially when you mentioned of a 1680x1050 resolution. Maybe an upgrade for a monitor, someday?

The one game I do play often is The Sims 3, with eighteen expansions and a ton of custom content installed. It's a notoriously CPU-bound game, and since I don't care to overclock my processor, I wanted the best out-of-the-box single-core, single-thread performance I could get for the money I was willing to spend. By all accounts, that's the 4790k. I have however modestly overclocked the GTX 960, and it seems to handle my game very well. I may still upgrade to a 970 if the price drops significantly when Pascal is released.

Yes, when Pascal is released, I am certain some prices will go down a tad. For the GTX 900 series and so forth, that is. The GTX 970 is a great GPU for the workstation, creation substitution when cannot afford a good Quadro. Unless Pascal comes with something affordable which is the best of both worlds with a GTX 1000 series which could be an option too. Of course when prices are reasonable or had enough money saved.

Why an aftermarket cooler when I don't overclock? My house can be difficult to keep cool in the summer, and I occasionally had heat issues with the i5 with its stock cooler. The i7 runs hotter, so I decided to bite the bullet and just put in a better cooler now so I won't have to worry about it.

That i7-4790K can get warm in underload unless someone won the lottery. It's a good thing you have one, regardless whether you did not overclock or had OC'ed. It's good to have an aftermarket cooler to cool down a K processor, no matter what. You made the right choice.
To the main point, great work with your build! Great parts and a nice PC. Thank you for sharing your build and writing a description! +1
AmbularD submitter 1 Build 2 points 19 months ago

Thank you very much! I appreciate the feedback, and I'm glad to hear I'm on the right track.

I've uploaded a few more pictures, including one of my monitor, to illustrate why upgrading it would be a problem right now. My desk just doesn't allow for anything wider, so if I replaced it with a higher-resolution model I'd wind up losing screen real estate.

To be honest, I'm still a little bit annoyed that everything has gone 16:9 these days; I like having the additional vertical screen space of a 16:10 display.

Wolfguy423 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

was wondering what CPU temps you get while idle and under heavy load? i have the same CPU with stock cooler and at idle it sits at 27c under heavy load it hits about 70-75c (Playing Dark souls 3). its not OC'ed either. was gonna get this cooler and was wondering if it would get any better temps than i do with stock.

AmbularD submitter 1 Build 1 point 18 months ago

Hello! Bottom line, after I switched to the Freezer 7 Pro my core temperatures dropped probably 10-15 degrees from where they'd been with the stock cooler. My hottest core would run in the 60's and occasionally spike into the low 70's when I opened everything up before, and afterward it stayed under 50. (This was about a month ago, when ambient temperatures were cooler than they are now...when I tried it an hour or so ago, the hottest core ran around 55-ish, and I couldn't get it to go over 60.)

I didn't record my idle temps with the stock cooler, unfortunately. But if I remember correctly, I did see a drop in those, too. Currently, my idle CPU case temp is actually a little higher than yours, around 32c, but I'm not sure whether that's the cooler's fault or if it's due to other factors (ambient temp in here is about 25.5c or so.)

Anyway, it's not as dramatic an improvement as you'd see with one of the big bad coolers like the Hyper 212 Evo, but it's definitely been worth the $23 and the time and effort it took to put it in, especially since I didn't have to apply paste manually or take the motherboard out to install it . Do watch that you orient the pins correctly and tighten down the screws on either side evenly, though; that caused me some minor headaches at first.

Wolfguy423 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

i actually went with the Cryorig H7, looked good for my price range. if it doesnt work out ill just install it on my other computer. thanks for the input though :-)

[comment deleted by staff]
AmbularD submitter 1 Build 1 point 19 months ago

Thanks very much!