$2500 budget to build a gaming/video rendering PC for Xcal. Even with this healthy budget, we were also able to reuse some of the older parts before such as the Geforce GTX 680, power supply, 2x 2TB HDD, and Windows 7 license. This allowed us to invest the funds elsewhere. Here is the following build log of what we did and why we did it.
Admiring the massive Corsair 900D case we knew at first sight that there would be a lot of potentials. The case is big enough to hold almost any configurations for a gaming PC you could think of. My thoughts when building a PC is that a case is always reusable as ATX standards will hardly ever change. It's because of the if the flexibility and the beautiful looks of this case that we decided to go with it.
Asus makes some of the best motherboards currently and their ROG Maximus VI Forumla offers great flexibility for high end components with great looks. The looks are due to the ROG Armor as it protects their the little capacitors and pins and also acts as a heat sink for the motherboard. Other features on this board is:
10x SATA3 6GB - enough room for storage expansion as the video recordings take up a lot of space. Wifi 802.11ac - the motherboard comes with the wifi module and the external antenna. SupremeFX audio - built in sound component that delivers sound card quality audio. Crosschill hybrid thermal design - a cooler built onto the motherboard chipset to act as a passive air heat sink but could also has hose connectors for liquid cooling capabilities. Fan ports - enough fan ports for the amount of fans we plan on implementing.
The forth generation Intel 4770K CPU is the latest of Intel's processors and we considered the unlocked i7 K-series CPU to be a must have for all serious gamers. The K at the end of model number means that Intel has unlocked the processor so that one may overclock the processor over the advertised speed of the CPU and could be raised as high as what the processor could handle itself.
Now with all advantages there is a disadvantage and overclock anything will lead to over heating. To prevent overheating, we got the Corsair H100i liquid CPU cooler. I picked this CPU cooler because of two things: first being the lighted logo on the top of the cooler and second because this cooler comes pre-sealed! This means I don't have to mess with any radiator fluid or water blocks while making sure that the tubes are secure. Corsair sealed the tubes out of the box saving us a lot time and giving us a little piece of mind that the cooler won't be leaking radiator fluid onto the other expensive parts.
The RAM we picked gave us the best value for performance. At $170 for 16GB the G.Skill Trident X Series offers speeds at DDR3-2400 and a CAS latency of 10. Very fast ram for the price!
We installed a combination of SSD and HDD for speed and storage. We have the 500GB Samsung 840 Evo Solid state drive for speed were the OS, programs, and games are installed. We were able to reused Xcal's two 2TB HDD for storage of the video recordings. Solid state drives provide a solution for the bottleneck of most performance issues. With the increased performance of CPU, RAM, and bus speeds on motherboards, the only bottleneck were the hard drives as physical disk could only spin so fast. A faster solid state drive is the last piece of the puzzle offering optimum performance. Boot time for start to a fully loaded OS that is usable on this new PC is averaging under 10 seconds!
We are reusing Xcal's current EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card which still dispite being almost two generations old is still one of the top rated high-end graphics cards according to videocardbenchmark.com. Xcal has expressed either upgrading the card to the GTX 780 or getting another GTX 680 to setup a dual SLI configuration in the near future.
There are a total of 14 fans installed on the 900D. Because Xcal says his favorite color is blue, all fans are Corsair AF blue LED Quite Edition. I like the Corsair case fans because they provide some of the best CFM to DBa ratio. We wanted enough air flow to cooler the components of the case and the temperate averaging a constant 30-38 degree Celsius. The biggest surprise is quite the PC with all 14 fans on! The last thing the fans want is to hear Xcal's commentary with a loud buzzing sound in the back.
Xcal first called me to build this PC back in July 2013 with the project completion date to be in December 2013. This gave us a lot of time to research and wait for good price deals. Most of the parts were bought right around Black Friday and Cyber Monday which allowed us to come under the $2500 budget. I would say that total cost of new parts that we bought came out to be about $1700 - $1730.
This was a fun build as I also got the chance to bond and hang out with friends and family. Special thanks to my brother Johnny Tran who helped with this build. It's an honor for me to have received the call from Xcal to commission this project. Check out his videos on Youtube and Twitch.
http://www.youtube.com/user/XcalPlays http://www.youtube.com/user/xcalizorz http://www.twitch.tv/zrozilacx https://twitter.com/xcaliz0rz https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bruce-Wrecksauce/223988970980268
See Also: Photos of the build on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/19933998@N07/sets/72157639240213663/