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Project ALPHA - My First Build

by Nicholas0628

29
26 Comments

Details

Date Published

May 4, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

4.6GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

35.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

80.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.86GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

1.25GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

42.0° C

Description

Hello, PcPartpicker community!

First off, I'd like to thank everyone on this website, Reddit, LinusTechTips, BitWit (will always be Awesomesauce Network to me), Hardware Canucks, PC Centric, TechSource, JayzTwoCents, and last but definitely not least, some of my biggest inspirations on this website: JamesCoil's build, chochristian97's build (OMG THE PAINTED GPUs), and dvolkens' build. Links to their builds at the bottom!

Now that we got all those thank you's out of the way, let me give you guys some background. I am a 14-year-old kid and I was first introduced to all this PC part mumbo jumbo while researching for a laptop to game on. As many of you may have similar experiences, you'll understand how my laptop got to be WAY over budget (I got the ROG G751JT, a decision that I now mostly regret). However, through this, I began to learn more about PC parts, their uses, and how they work. I became so involved in this field that I thought of an idea. Why not build one myself?

I started choosing all my parts during the summer of 2015, just a few months after buying my new laptop. Starting off, I found my parts largely through two websites: Amazon and Newegg. I'd go through both sites, finding which had the cheaper price. Once I found the best price, I'd save the page as a bookmark. This was highly inefficient and probably not the best bang for my buck. As well, building a PC right after buying an expensive laptop would be a waste of a perfectly new and working gaming setup, so I decided to wait. Eventually, I'm not exactly sure how, I found this lovely website, PCPP. I immediately made an account and put all my parts for my build here. I've been here ever since.

Fast forward many moons and not a single part that I had in my original part list was on my current. I had made budget cuts, surpassed them, cut them down, and surpassed them again. A tantalizing year and a half after I began my PC building adventure, I've finally done it- Project Alpha:

Heehee, get it? Because Alpha means one? No? Sorry...

Okay, enough of that. On to my parts!

GPU: I was originally gifted a Titan X (Maxwell) by my uncle. However, I for many reasons such as appearance, performance, power efficiency, and the new technologies, I decided to sell the Titan X on Ebay. Luckily, I sold it in time where even subtracting the shipping, Ebay, and Paypal fees from the sale, I still had money to buy a brand new GTX 1080. What a deal! When I received the 1080, I wasn't totally satisfied with the looks. I tried to go with a mostly white theme for my build, and I though a silver GPU with a black backplate would ruin the aesthetic. Chochristian97's build definitely inspired me to paint the GPU the way it is.

CPU: When choosing my CPU, I knew I wanted something fast, efficient, overclockable, and for a good price. I originally wanted the 6700K, but then I thought that by overclocking a bit, I could save almost $150 CAD and still get something with similar performance. I now have it overclocked to 4.6 GHz and am glad that I didn't pay so much extra for the 6700K.

Motherboard: The biggest factor when choosing a motherboard for my system was the looks. This was one of the few that I really liked the look of, while also having all the necessary functions and being relatively cheap. There were some other motherboards that had more white that I would have liked, but I wasn't willing to burn an extra couple hundred bucks just for looks, not even adding that much more functionality.

PSU: Cheap, well rated, has enough power for now and for any future expansion, what more can I say? Full-modular was a must when looking for a PSU, but other than that, there wasn't much else I was looking for. When I was building my system, I really didn't like the look of so much black in the bottom area of the computer. I took the PSU back up and wrapped it up in paper and tape, just leaving two white strips above and below the labeling on the side. I think it turned out wonderful.

Cooling: As I wanted to overclock, I wanted a cooler that would be high performance. Immediately that ruled out air-coolers. I settled on an AIO because a custom loop, though it would look amazing, would cost another $600 at least. As well, it'd add more stress and planning to my first ever build. Since I wanted three fans on top for a better aesthetic, I searched almost exclusively at 240mm radiator coolers. I got the Corsair H100i V2 because it offered great performance and looks compared to many other options. For a while, I was stuck between this and its NZXT counterpart but chose the H100i because I preferred the style and it would save me $40. For the fans, I opted for the Corsair fans because they are just amazing to look at. I love the simplicity of the rings, and leaving fan spaces empty would be a huge waste on the aesthetics department. I also put the radiator in the front of the case just so that all three top fans would line up. I am very happy with the result. Noise isn't much of a problem for me since I am wearing a headset most of the time while gaming, but without the headset and while under load, I can definitely hear the fans spinning.

RAM: I wanted something white, fast, and light (relatively) on my wallet. I was set on getting 16GB, and just for the looks, I got a 4x4GB kit to fill up all the DIMMs. So far, they work great, and I can't get over how well they complement the rest of my parts. Some of the best looking RAM in my opinion.

Storage: Along with the Titan X, I was gifted an M.2 SSD. For a while, I didn't think much of it, but when I finally started to create the sticker for it, I searched up the product number and discovered that this thing is selling on Amazon Canada at over $950!! I didn't think that 512GB would be enough for me, and I also wanted something blazing fast for my main drive. I got the OCZ TR150 with 240GB because it was cheap, offered enough storage, and looked good for my build. Some of you might be wondering why I ended up using the M.2 SSD as my C: drive and not the OCZ, it was because I had some problems the first time I started windows. Everything worked fine for the first few days, but then the taskbar started freezing, then the entire OS. After many days of trying to fix the problem, I eventually just had to wipe the SSD and reinstall windows. I had to be in the OS to reformat and partition the wiped OCZ, so I just decided to say "screw it" and just use the Samsung SSD. On paper, it is much slower, but everything is pretty fast for me, especially coming from the G751JT.

Case: Finding the right case was one of the hardest decisions of all my parts. I flip flopped between NZXT cases, Fractal cases, some more expensive Lian-Li cases, and many others. It would've been a waste to buy an ugly case when I spent so much money and time finding the perfect internals. Therefore, a large side window was a must. I kept searching, and as soon as I found the Phanteks Evolv ATX, I fell in love. When the tempered glass version came out, I just knew I had to get it. It displayed all my internals beautifully, it was high quality, and it had all the right cooling options for my build.

Peripherals/Accessories:
Mouse: I bought my mouse back in late 2014 to go with my new laptop at the time. I loved it at the time, and I still love it now. If only the RGB version came out sooner... Keyboard: For my keyboard, I decided I wanted to upgrade to mechanical. RGB, USB pass-through, media controls, macro support, and a wrist rest were all big factors as well. The Strafe looks great and satisfied all of these criteria.
Lighting: One of the biggest reasons I chose a white themed build was so that lights would really "pop" in the build. With an RGB keyboard, how could I not get RGB lights as well? The Hue+ was an obvious choice, offering bright lights, good software, and magnetic strips
Cables: Since the rest of my build was white themed, why not have matching cables? These white cables really add a "finishing touch" to my build, and even though they were very expensive, I think they were definitely worth it.

Monitor: When choosing a monitor, I wanted something big with high resolution and fast refresh rates. Ultrawide was too expensive for me, and so was 4K. I got this specific monitor because when compared to other 1440p 144Hz monitors, this one was much cheaper. It has AMD Freesync technology instead of G-Sync, but with the framerates I'd be pushing from the 1080, I didn't think I would need to pay the expensive premium for G-Sync. As well, I've never had any problems with screen tearing in any of my previous computers, so I didn't care too much about these technologies.

JamesCoil's Build

chochristian97's Build

dvolkens' Build

Part Reviews

CPU

Easily overclockable. I got up to 4.6GHz with a Corsair H100i GTX v2 cooler. Works great, no troubles at all. Much more "bang for the buck" than the 6700k

CPU Cooler

It cools my CPU fine, lets me overclock. Not sure how good the stock fans are. Easy to install and is great overall

Thermal Compound

My CPU hasn't died yet, so I think it's good enough

Motherboard

Got this over the Z170-A for the black PCB. It looks great, performs great, is great.

Memory

These look amazing and compliment my build perfectly. They are fast and a great choice for any white-themed build

Storage

Very fast. Looks great too. I use it as my boot drive and I'm up on Chrome within 10 seconds, not a joke

Video Card

I just love the angular look of this GPU. It is fast and performs very well at 1440p.

Case

Is without a doubt one of the best, if not THE best looking case out there. The tempered glass is a must to show off your build. One major problem was mounting the radiator in the front. It is possible, but it involves trying to screw in screws from the power supply area. Big hands will definitely have trouble

Power Supply

It's a power supply, what more can I say?

Case Fan

These fans look great and perform great. There is some sound but if you have headphones you will be fine

Case Fan

These fans look great and perform great. There is some sound but if you have headphones you will be fine

Case Fan

These fans look great and perform great. There is some sound but if you have headphones you will be fine

Case Accessory

Super easy to mount with the magnets and the light is nice and even. Feels like it is good quality too

Monitor

Great monitor. Is really cheap compared to other monitors that are similar but it still performs great. It has all the inputs you'd need.

Keyboard

Great keyboard with great lighting. The software is pretty intuitive and can give you great lighting if used well

Mouse

Great mouse with great software

Headphones

They work. Great sound but the lack of padding will make your head sore after a few hours of gaming. The mic is surprisingly good but I had problems with it. It would not stay up. I contacted support and they quickly replaced it.

Comments Sorted by:

BLACK5KY 3 points 6 months ago

All that and you ended up spending $300 on a wireless gaming headset... christ. Hop onto /r/headphones sometime. They can set you up with something that'll slaughter the Astro for the same price or less.

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Yeah, I largely regret the decision. I bought the headphones a couple years back. I originally planned on getting the A40s (a much more sensible decision) but suddenly received a scholarship from my school. I felt rich so I threw reason out the window and bought this.

AryanPtl 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

Gets a scholarship... I'm rich!..... Buys a 3k pc..... Living the life...... Ends up selling that pc because the scholarship was a lie.....

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

^^^^

JuiceKingsRevenge 2 points 6 months ago

When did you take those pictures because its basically summer right now, but great build

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

This build was actually finished a few months ago. I planned on tweaking my setup a bit so I didn't get around to posting it for a while. Never had much time either. I originally planned on drilling some holes in the desk for the keyboard cable and attaching the headphones under my desk

AryanPtl 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

Poor pc parts getting wet.

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Haha. I made sure to brush off all the snow first :)

shadowbyte918 4 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

wowser

that's magnificent

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

Thank you! I spent so much time matching the parts and painting stuff. Is definitely worth it in the end!

shadowbyte918 4 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

the photos are super unique as well

EvanRedman 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

Great looking PC, I am 14 as well and have recently (A few weeks ago) built my PC and am hoping to put on PCPP soon, If only I had a nice camera. An iPod camera doesn't really do it justice lol! Anyways I currently have an i7 7700k, a GTX 1060 3gb, an ASUS STRIX Z270 E motherboard, 16 gigs of G.Skill Trident Z RGB ram, a Corsair H115i, a 525 gig crucial Sata ssd, and a Phanteks eclipse p400 in Black and Red. Saving now for a new gpu, hoping that Nvidia's volta architecture will come around by the time I can afford a 2080 or 2080ti and also I am hoping to do a kind of aesthetics upgrade with some RGB fans and custom cables in the future. Nice build though and good luck to you!

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Nice! I'll be looking forward to seeing that build!

Nullarc77 2 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

I have the same cpu and mobo in my $700. And i got them both cheaper. Why didn't you go with the 6700k?

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

I went with the 6600k because it was quite a bit cheaper mainly. I think it was over $150 (Canadian) difference between the two

Nullarc77 2 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

If you are just using this for gaming it is fine but are you doing other stuff with it?

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Just gaming. No rendering anything or any super CPU intensive tasks

Nullarc77 2 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

Ok. An i7 is not really useful if you are just gaming.

jaredt 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

Just so you know, the sticker on that ssd actually does some duty as a heat sink for the drive. I'm not sure if that the Samsung SM951 or SM961, but either way your probably negatively impacting its thermals because of the paper on top. The SM951 was nutorious for running hot, like 100c+ hot, and the SM961 runs cooler but still hot. Cool build, just wanted to let you know about the SSD.

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Thanks for letting me know! I'm only using it as backup storage and not my main drive, so hopefully the temps won't be a problem. Not sure what else I would do though. It looks horrible with a green PCB

Obamas.mama 3 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

+1 for snow

Vreaker12 3 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

Nice build. Chillin' too :):)

AldoApache 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

Nice build ! Wish I was building PCs at your age.

Sealander 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

+1 You took the time to take awesome pictures outside :) The aluminium and the snow in the background looks gorgeous!

Nicholas0628 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Sorry for some of the really bad quality photos of the setup! The camera doesn't perform well in the low light but with the lights on the lighting doesn't stand out as much.

[comment deleted by staff]
ThoughtA staff 2 points 6 months ago

Comments like this are not appropriate for this site.