I am a crime fiction author and this is the main machine I do my writing on. I wanted something that had a decent spec and so last me a few years. I also....ah, who am I kidding, there is no way I can justify a GTX 970 just to run Microsoft Office, Open Office and a couple of web browsers! I do write on this machine, but I also play games on it.
The build name Darkchapel is the name of my recent book and was the first thing that came to me when I was trying to think of a name (It's available online at all good Amazonian retailers - book link! )
My previous machine was an antique and over the years I have replaced HDDs, the PSU and even the radiator for the water cooling, so it was on it's last leg. To show how old it was, the GPU was an Nvidia 8600GTS! Going from that to a GTX 970 is like being reborn all over again, I can tell you!!
GPU :- The system, and budget, were built around getting a GTX 970. I studied reviews of the MSI, ASUS Strix and the Gigabyte Windforce, and the MSI seemed the best balance of price and speed.
CPU :- Ideally I would have gone for an i7 4790, but the budget kicked in and, after going through page after page of discussions on the usefulness/importance of (or lack of) Hyper Threading for current and future games, I felt the i5 4690 was a good enough processor. I went for the 4690K as I might look at overclocking in the future.
Cooler :- I have done water cooling in the past, but I don't have the money or time to go for it this time. The Coolermaster is very quiet and I don't miss water cooling at all. This should still cool an overclocked CPU if I do that in the future
Mobo :- Again it was a case of features vs. budget. I have had Asus ROG mobo boards before and have liked the quality and features. The Ranger VII was the balanced choice
RAM :- I splashed out on fast memory and 16GB as this is where a I felt some future proofing comes in. OS and Application upgrades always suck up more memory. Also, when times are hard I have done some web development before now, so the capacity to run development environments and virtual machines is a bonus
PSU :- The PCPartPicker part lists showed the power load and I won't be adding a second card for SLI, so this is hopefully a good enough PSU to provide stable power and allow for some tweaking of clock speeds if I get around to it
Storage :- The SSD was a bit of a treat, not completely justified in the budget, but boot speeds and running my writing apps from it is lightening fast, so I can get writing in seconds when I first turn the machine on in the mornings
Case :- This is where cost came first. I had the space for a full tower and always feel it helps with air flow and the NZXT 530 is good value. Internally you can see it is a budget case, so the cabling is not the prettiest, but I had no real problems with installation. The flexibility to move the HDD mounts is very useful with the long GPU card
Monitor :- I confess this is another treat, but still budged conscious. I wanted to be able to run 1080 HD resolutions and the Asus was in budget. It's a nice solid monitor and I have not encountered any problems whilst gaming.
Talking of games, I have been running Assassins Creed IV, Far Cry 4, Skyrim (Hi-Res Texture pack), Watch Dogs, and Bioshock Infinite on Ultra and Darkchapel copes with them all wonderfully. I know I was on antique equipment before, so I am probably over enthusing on what I am seeing now, but all the above games look fantastic to me.
3DMark Benchmark Results (version 1.4.828 (64-bit)): Cloud Gate (v1.1) - 20661, Sky Diver (v1.0) - 21400, Fire Strike (v1.1) - 8946
The 2 secondary monitors, keyboard and mouse have come from my old machine. I am very used to the Logitech di Novo Edge keyboard when writing so I will be using that until it dies on me. The monitors are so old, they don't appear in the parts list, they are : LG Flatron W2042S & a Samsung SyncMaster 2023BW
Apology :- I wondered whether I should upload a couple of images showing the cabling, as I know it is not the neatest. I promise I will tidy it up! But I have a deadline for my next book and really had to get all my notes transferred and OS & applications installed so I could pick up the writing as soon as possible.