Description

After months of researching I finally decided to go ahead and build my first rig. I work as a film editor and though I love my Macbook pro retina I wanted to a desktop and I saw this as a good learning opportunity. I also play a lot of games when I'm not busy and I've never had a great gaming rig so that was even more of a reason to build.

At first I was trying to stay within a $600 budget and reuse a lot of old parts, but then I realize that it might be a good idea now, but I feel like I would have to update parts quicker than I want. So I decided that if I'm going to build a PC especially for work then I might as well build something long-lasting.

Thanks to the communities of PCPartPicker, Reddit, and Tom's Hardware, after about 20 build revisions I was able to come up with a build that met all of my criterias which were it had to be small, powerful, energy-efficient, long lasting, and silent.

CPU: I chose the Xeon because I wanted the i7 for editing, but someone recommended that I take a look at the Xeon E3-1230V3 because performance-wise it was like the i7 4770, but it just didn't have a iGPU and it was $50 cheaper.

MoBo: I realized that I chose a locked CPU, but I went ahead with the MSI Z87I because it had a lot of usb 3.0 ports as well as bluetooth and Wifi. Also if I decided to ever switch to an unlocked Haswell CPU I wouldn't have to change motherboards.

RAM: I bought two single sticks of RAM because I was just going to buy one stick now and buy another later when it was even cheaper, but then I received a gift card from Amazon and so I decided to buy another stick. Luckily combined they're still cheaper than if I had bought the 2 stick kit.

SSD: After having an SSD on my Macbook Pro I knew that I wanted an SDD in my build for faster boot up. My old computer took about 3 mins to boot up so now seeing a 10 second boot up is just insane for a PC.

HDD: The WD was an old drive from my old computer that I bought over because it already had so much stuff on it I didn't feel like migrating it all to a new hard drive. The new Seagate will be used a drive to store all my footage for work.

GPU: Originally I had gone with an MSI R9 270 which I heard was a good card, but I ended up returning it and going all out for the GTX 770 because at the state of games nowadays I felt that the GTX 770 would allow me to play the latest games for a longer period of time.

Case: I was tired of large clunky towers so I knew that I wanted a small form factor for sure, but for the longest time I was stuck between the Bit Fenix Prodigy and the Cooler Master 130. Wanting to keep price down I decided to go with the Cooler Master 130, but when I went to Frys to take a look I saw the Corsair 250D and automatically I knew that it would be the perfect case. Even though the 250D cost more I felt that the quality of the case justified the price so I had no regrets getting that one instead.

PSU: Due to one of my criteria as being energy-efficient I wanted a 80 gold efficiency and because the build was going to be a mini ITX I read that cable management is very important to get right so I wanted modular. Luckily I found that Amazon sells used EVGA 650W PSU through EVGA for almost $50 cheaper than most gold efficient modular PSU so I got this one immediately.

OS: Having been a primarily a OSX user for the last 5 years I was shocked to see how much Windows OS cost and even crazier how Windows 7 and 8 are the same price in most cases. Luckily NCIX had a sale on Windows 8.1 and with a $10 off coupon it made no sense to go with an older OS.

Monitors: The 2 Asus monitors were ones I bought last year on Craiglist for a steal at $220 for both and they were pretty much brand new!

Case Fan: I knew that I was sticking with the stock CPU cooler so I had no need for water cooling, but the 250D supported up to 240mm case fan on the side. The case only came with one so I wanted to get matching fans to make it look better and also help keep the whole machine cool because I've had my fair share of hot computers. I wanted a silent fan, but I didn't want to pay a lot for Noctua fans(though I would if they were on sale) so from research I saw these Cougar Vortex fans as a great choice and so far they're doing exactly as they said.

This has been a great learning experience about computers and also on shopping on a budget(promo codes, price match, returns, and patients are your friends). After this I don't think I'll buy another PC again, but I think I'll still keep buying Macs because I still believe their level of quality is incredible... that is until I figure out the perfect hackintosh ;)

Comments

  • 69 months ago
  • 8 points

Build seems good but how the hell can you look at those monitors all the way up there?

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a chair that can lift up to the monitors or sometimes I like to stand and it's equal height to me.

  • 69 months ago
  • 4 points

Lol, I want to see the chair at its highest position...

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

yeah a lot of people have asked about this, I'll try and post a picture up later on.

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

OP delivers! Is that setup pretty comfortable to use? Pretty creative if it is.

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah its pretty comfortable and convenient when I'm working between my Macbook and PC. Its also fun going up and down between the two.

  • 69 months ago
  • 4 points

Nice choice on the Xeon!!

  • 69 months ago
  • 3 points

Thats a pretty cool case.

  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice! +1!

  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice choice on case and gfx card. I too was facing your decisions, but got a different result!

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

you should really fix up the cable management

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Very detailed and informative description of the build. Plus, nice pictures. Thanks.

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

can i have a link to a 3 pin or 4 pin to molex adaptor for the mix 2

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

ur gpu temp when playing game?

  • 68 months ago
  • 0 points

only a stock cpu cooler? Other than that, noice build :3

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

He is not overclocking, the xeon is a locked procesor

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

I was just saying because stock cpu coolers are kinda loud

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

I have heard that low profile coolers are louder than the full sized ones.. so I believe the only option would be watercooling but yeah you are right they are painfully loud

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

He said he liked the excessive USB3.0 ports as well as Bluetooth and WiFi

  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

I don't know anything about installing OSX, but as far as USB/WiFi/Bluetooth I think the Gigabyte and MSI boards are pretty much the same. I have the Gigabyte board and mine has 4 USB 3.0 ports plus a header for front USB 3.0 and it came with an Intel Wifi/Bluetooth card installed (supports 802.11AC speeds).

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Just pointing out what the OP said

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah and also at the time of buying it there was a discount on it so I went with price as well.