I had previously been using a "desk-top replacement" laptop from 2009 that's motherboard died. So being a 30 y/o gamer, I figured it was finally time for me to spend the money and actually build my own computer. Thus, this machine will be used both as my daily computer and my gaming rig.

Overall installation of all the components went very smooth. I would recommend mapping out the wiring before installing the CPU cooler's rad or the GPU. Also, make sure that the motherboard and IO shield are meshing correctly, before installing other components. Overall these were easy fixes, and it's probably something most would know from experience. Beyond that the most challenging thing was the wiring for the external case buttons, that I had to use the motherboard's manual to figure out. So, I would give it a 10/10 for ease of a first time builder.

As for the individual parts:

CPU: Skylake i5 6500 - I choose to go with a Skylake processor to get the DDR4 ram, which I can hopefully reuse in future builds. However, I don't do video rendering or really any processor intensive activities. So, I decided I didn't need an unlocked or top-of-line version... By my math going up to the 6600k would get me about 10-20% better performance. (depending on if I overclocked) So, paying 30-40% less for the 6500 just made sense, since I didn't need a ton of power.

CPU Cooler: Corsair H75 - I was originally planning on using a Corsair 230T case, which wouldn't fit a double rad for the cooler. So, I ended up buying the H75. I mounted it on the top middle of the case in push-push. And, it seems to be working great and fairly silently... CPU tends to sit in the low 20 degrees Celsius while idle, and max out around the mid 40 degrees Celsius while in a game like SC2.

Motherboard: Asus Z170A - Motherboard looks awesome and has a very cool and easy to use BIOs menu. When using two sticks of memory, they go in the two gray ports. Which is a little confusing as you would naturally think the other. Also, some of the fan headers were in odd spots for the wiring and the IO Shield seems fairly flimsy and was a little difficult to get it to mesh perfectly with the board. In fact one of the prongs on the IO shield went into one of my USB ports and I didn't notice till everything was in the case. I basically had to use pliers to bend the shield from the outside to fix it.

Memory: GSkill Ripjaws V Series DDR4 3200 - Again I mainly went with a fast set of DDR4 memory, because it seems like any future builds are going to at least require as much. And for the extra $20 it seemed like the wise to choose. Installed very easily and seems to be working great.

Storage: 250GB Crucial SSD & 1TB Caviar Blue Drive - This is my first SSD drive and holy cow it is so much faster than expected. Especially since I went with a more basic version rather than a pro, high speed type. As for the mechanical drive, WD just has the name recognition and I went with a Blue drive since it was 1TB or under. For speed, my understanding is that you should go with a Black drive if you go above 1TB. Which I may add in the future.

GPU/Video Card: Gigabyte GTX 970 - Based on my research, the Nvidia 970s and AMD 390 series are the sweet spot for GPUs. I ultimately decided to go with 970 because many people warned me against AMD and I was also worried about the power draw since I had purchased a cheaper PSU. The Gigabyte brand looks nice, has quiet fans, and came very well packaged.

Case: Fractal Design Define R5 - I was originally going to go with a Corsair 230T, but fortunately it came damaged and decided to switch it up for the Define R5. I was very impressed with construction and ease of use of this case. Plus, it's clean simple design looks great. Also awesome cable management for a case in this price range IMO... I think I'm a life-long fractal design customer.

PSU: Corsair 600W Bronze rated - This was the 2nd item I purchased, and I mainly bought it for the $44 price tag I got on it at the time. However, honestly the more I research PSUs the more scared I get that I went cheap. Everything seems to be working smooth right now, but I will probably be upgrading this to a EVGA 750-850W Gold or Platinum rated version sooner, rather than later... Also, I had a hard time figuring out if I should mount it fan up or down, but since my case has nice feet and I plan to set it on a desk, I ultimately went fan down.

Optical Drive: Asus Blue-Ray Writer - I don't really understand why people omit optical drives from builds now. Sure you don't use it a lot, but it makes the OS and Driver install process so much easier. Also, it's just nice to know you have it if you need it... I even went a head and threw a blue ray player in it just in case.

OS: Windows 10 - I much prefer Windows 7, but am afraid Microsoft will stop support much sooner than previous version took to die off. So, I figured I may as well switch over.

Monitor: Asus 27" 1080p 2ms - It's big and quick. Obviously doesn't support 4K, but my machine could barely get there if I tried. Monster difference difference going from a 17" laptop to a 27" monitor.

Keyboard & Mouse: Aula Keyboard & Cobra Blue mouse - I went cheap, because never using a mechanical keyboard I don't know what I'm missing and spending $70+ on a keyboard or mouse seems insane to me. My only real requirements were being back lit and either a gaming or standard shape. These were perfect.


  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Good call on the BX100. The BX200 has had pretty bad reviews. Anandtech even said "[b]ut even being the cheapest SSD on the market wouldn't be sufficient to earn a recommendation; almost anything else would be worth paying extra for."

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Overclock that cpu. Yes you can before you ask

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