Hi, this is my second ever build, but my first dedicated gaming build. I am inspired to write about my build so that I may help others who are considering building their own system, as others helped me to build mine.
CPU: My old CPU was an E8400, I can't comment too much on the 4670k other than it appears to be reliable and fast. Many reviews and anecdotes steered me toward this CPU, which was favoured for its overclocking potential and performance in gaming for the price.
CPU COOLER: Originally I intended on using a Noctua D14 air cooler for this build, as I knew it would fit in the Z11 case and not block ram or slots. However, the shop needed to order it in, and after waiting a week I grew impatient, and swapped it out for the Corsair H60. I was impressed with the H60, it performs well idle and under load, was only $7 more than the D14 plus you don't have to worry about using up a stack of space like you do with air coolers. The only thing that bugged me was the fact that the fan is recommended as an intake and it could be mounted on the rear or top of the case. This goes against your typical airflow setup of intake/front and exhaust/rear&top. I had the H60 mounted on the rear of my case as an intake and after being unhappy with my GPU and case temps I rethought my approach. At the sacrifice of my optical drive, I mounted the H60 on the front of the case as an intake, and restored my rear as exhaust in combination with the top fan. I achieved a 10 degree c improvement in GPU temps under load, as the CPU fan ramps up, the GPU actually gets cooled more effectively. Also my mobo temps dropped about 5 degrees.
MOBO: Looks nice, performs well. However, things like Sound Blaster Cinema are a joke, they actually make the sound worse in some instances, I always make sure this is off. The audio manager is nice however, automatically changing the audio I/O when it detects optical or headphone jack etc. Fast boot utility is really great, as I can select boot to bios from the desktop and be there in seconds. The killer lan stuff is fluff I believe, haven't noticed any better or worse ping, however, when downloading files it seems to disable the ability to browse the web (I could probably muck around with settings but feel I shouldn't have to).
RAM: Works, looks nice, nuff said.
SSD: Samsung EVO SSD, great bit of kit. I will never game on a mechanical drive again, the quicker windows boot time and game loads are very tangible and will turn you off mechanical drive for anything other than storage. The downside is obviously price and capacity, on a 120gig EVO you get 111gig out of the box.
GPU: I haven't had much experience with expensive GPU's so can't compare from personal experience to other expensive cards. I am however very pleased with this card. I can run my games maxed (1080p) and it certainly performs over my old 7750. I always had stability issues with AMD so I am quite happy to be with nvidia. The 770 is also a lot quieter at high fan speeds than my old card, so I am satisfied with it audibly. This is a subjective matter however, some may be sensitive to noise from fans, but for me, it's way quieter than my old rig so I am very happy. The precision x software is very nice to use also. note I grabbed the 4gig model to accommodate a hi res display (future upgrade).
PSU: I was recommended this psu through a forum post, I originally considered a Seasonic but opted for less wattage at a cheaper price with Antec. Now I am no expert on psu's, and I know Antec is a reputable company, but, after unboxing the unit and peering into the guts through the grill, I noticed zippy ties everywhere and big, unsightly globs of glue. I can't comment on whether this is normal or not, but it did instill in me a fear that this unit would be doa, as it did look pretty rough.
However it does seem to run well and perform as it should. Also worth mentioning is the fan had the slightest of rattles, something my old Corsair psu did not have. This was not enough for me to want to exchange it for another however, as once the system fans are on it becomes masked. But I am thinking maybe I received a refurb unit. The cables also seem very stiff.
CASE: Not a bad case for the money. CONS: pci covers aren't reusable, a little more cable management space behind the mobo tray would be nice, the side panel fans are prone to having cables hit the fan blades when you close the case, causing a horrible sound (whether or not this will happen to you is dependent on your cable management. I actually unplugged both after mounting the H60 on the front), top panel can be a little finicky to remove, SSD management leaves a lot to be desired, top fan needs to be removed if you want to mount a radiator on the rear, this can be a finicky process. PROS, aesthetically pleasing (subjective), was able to mount my H60 on the front despite there not being any (proper) holes there, I used the perforated grill holes to my advantage here. However I did sacrifice the odd. USB and audio on the top of the case as opposed to the front.
I'll take the good with the bad with this case, for the price, I couldn't pass it up. But, if you have the cash, get something else (better).
Overall a pretty nice build, and was fun to do. Any questions or comments welcomed. Pics show the H60 mounted on the rear first, and then on the front.