Description

I can't remember when the last time I fired up my PS3 was. Ever since I made this huge upgrade (July 2013 actually) it wasn't the same anymore. My PC was meant for a couch & home theater setup. My display is a 1080p/60Hz plasma screen. I believe getting a GTX 760 would've been sufficient for my build but it wasn't out yet by the time I ordered my 770. Still, I can just down clock the GTX770 to lower its temp and just keep it running for years. Plus games like Metro and Crysis can still be run @ that sweet 60fps threshold.

This unit didn't serve just for gaming but it's also a great media center that I hardly switch to TV now. For some reason, movies after this sound different over HDMI 1.4a which GTX700 supports AFAIK (hence my home theater amplifier supports HDMI 1.4 input). Now it's safe for me to upgrade to a 4k display for movies @ 24fps once they become cheaper.

Part Reviews

CPU

Won't take a single star from this old warrior. It has been keeping me spoiled with its power for nearly 6 years. It still has life in it for 2 or 3 more years I think. I won't need to go above i5 for my next pick as this line is sufficient for what I need.

CPU Cooler

The fan died after 5 years. I know it's not a short life span, but I've had intel stock coolers running for longer life than this. I replaced it with Cryorig C7 which is slightly louder but achieved lower temps. It still can have 3 stars from me for the silence though.

Motherboard

I'm blessed with the SPDIF port that I use for audio. Everything else about this mobo was perfect for me. I even installed low power memory modules and it detected their setting right out the box. Gigabyte won my loyalty with this piece.

Video Card

I wasn't happy with the temps. It also was replaced years ago with a 1060 that outperformed it by miles. GPUs don't last long specially while games graphics are evolving fast and is more hungry for VRAM.

Case

An edit in April 2019. I used this case for 6 years now. This case is a champ at what it's intended for! Excellent look as part of the home theater setup. Takes as much space as the amplifier (Onkyo TX-NR525). It gives room to install a 10.5 inch GPU (you can fit a titan in this case!). It is noteworthy that this case is really painful to work with at first. I stopped working in the middle of making the initial build and resumed working the next day. Not very "screw-less" design and you'll be using your screwdrivers a lot working with it. Cable management was also a struggle. If I was to do this all over then I'd throw the case with all the parts at a computer shop and pay them to spare myself the burden of putting together a build in such a crammed up case.

This case also gives you room to install an optical drive (which I only use nowadays for audio CDs), 2 internal 3.5" HDDs (One secured against the the extended part of the hot-swap bay - right above the PSU, and the other one is right under the OD bracket), 1 internal 2.5" storage drive (right inside the hot-swap drive), and a couple of 3.5" HDDs that you can slide in the hot-swap bays. That's a total of 6 SATA ports that I have fully populated on my Mobo. If you needed this much storage units, make sure the mobo is capable of having that much ports. specially if an M.2 SSD is to be added to your build since it might deactivate 2 SATA ports. I use this much storage for Personal Videos, Games, Movies, and ripping my music CDs. If you have another PC and don't that much drives, you might as well scrap this case altogether and go for a smaller one.

The case fans are dead silent and make the case need very little cleaning with all the filters they come with! I live in the desert and I opened the case after 12 months prepared to dust it off with data-vac. But ended up closing it without doing much cause it was sparkling clean in there. I replaced the fans after years to allow more airflow into the case as the need to run the CPU at higher boost clocks increased through the years. The new fans provided better temps for the internal parts but now it gathers dust in there much faster. The USB ports might be of very poor quality. One of the ports died. I use the front ports rarely but could really use the two simultaneously sometimes.

I highly recommend pairing this case with a non-modular PSU. The hot swap part of the case has a plastic bracket supporting its weight that is placed very close to PSU connectors. Using a fully modular PSU was painful as I had to cram all the wirings behind the plastic thing. I replaced the PSU later with a non-modular one that has all wirings coming out of one opening in the back of the PSU and the amount of cables behind the plastic bracket was reduced by this replacement. I Also recommend that the bench where you place this case has sufficient air flow from the back.

tl;dr: This case has many cons which I don't mind to overlook since it's nearly perfect for what it's intended for.

Keyboard

Not perfect for home theater. If you place it in your lap, you'll get input lag. It has a better signal when you only rest the middle part of it on your knee.

Comments

  • 70 months ago
  • 4 points

Any pictures of the final product? I'd be interested to see how cables worked out in that case.

+1

[comment deleted]
  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build. I am looking to build something along the same lines soon with a mid tower case. Trying to keep it under 1K

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

I am going to build an HTPC/file server using this case. I noticed that you bought the Silverstone Strider PSU. One of the pictures shows that you installed the PSU with its fan down. What I was unable to see however is whether you still have the 2 HDD swap cages installed and if it fits with the PSU with its fan down. I have read a lot on the web, and many people say that one has to install the PSU fan up in order to fit. Of course, I really would like to install it fan down. So if you were able to do that I am going to buy a similar PSU. That would end my struggle to find a PSU that fits.

Thanks in advance!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

What you read online is correct. I flipped the PSU during the build process and was too busy to take pictures at that stage. The reason was that the cables were impossible to route when you place the hot swap bay over the PSU cables. The bay has some kind of plastic bracket underneath it that supports the bay weight and keep it in an elevated position above a case fan the really needs an open space in front of it. The plastic bracket might also have a vibration absorption function for the spinning drives in the hot swap bay. But this bracket totally blocks PSU cables space.

After flipping the PSU, I still installed a couple of drives above its fan. One of them is the 1TB SV35 which is still working fine tell this day. The other one was a Samsung SSD which I replaced later with an MX100 of larger capacity. The Samsung SSD still works fine to this day too in an external enclosure. The fan of the PSU seems to have no effect on the lifespan of the HDD positioned right above it.

If I would make another build I'd get a case that's easier to build with. But don't get what I think of it the wrong way. This case is still of solid quality. It also runs cool and quite. In over 3 years it did not accumulate a noticeable amount of dust (although it would be a very painful process if you had to dust your build completely). Adding a couple of 3TB barracudas did not need more than sliding these drives inside their drive bays. I also have a full size optical drive installed in this case and a 3.5 HDD installed underneath its drive bay. I like this case and I will continue to use it for more years.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. Do you use the K400 keyboard for gaming? I have one and the mouse pad doesn't seem that suited to it.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

i think he plays with a controller and just needs a wireless keyboard from time to time to control the PC from his couch.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

How was it building in such a small case? I want to build a computer but keep it very small so it could slide into where my consoles are. I have big hands though so I don't want to cut myself up and have a tough time with cable management lol

  • 70 months ago
  • 0 points

you'd probably enjoy doing a bitfenix prodigy build then. lolz

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Maybe. I don't really like the newest one though, it seems like cable management would be tough.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

have you tried increasing the fan speed of your gpu whilst it's under load? i'm in a similar situation as you are in terms of the lack of gpu airflow, i increased the fan speed to the maximum and i saw my temperatures drop from 78-80 degrees to 68-72 degrees

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

This one looks a lot like this build: http://pcpartpicker.com/b/EcK

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build, that's more or less what I'm looking for :) How is it in terms of noise and temperature? Is it silent enough for the living room?

+1

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

In terms of noise: it's all good while watching movies or playing light games such as street fighter & fifa. During intensive gaming (Like BF4 and Tomb Raider) I enjoy about half an hour of silence until the GPU fan speed exceeds 70%

In terms of temps: everything about the case is excellent except for handling high end video cards. this case is ideal for a GTX 760 or lower. If you want GTX 770 performance, get a cooler master elite 120 or 130 or get a similar case from fractal design. If you still prefer mATX motherboards, get this case with a video card that has a blower cooler. blower coolers are more noisy but the temps will be better than what I have.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

what is the websitie for the key for windows 8?

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Edit: i like that case san, Loook goorrrr.. than b*tc.. (dashiegames cuote=) - but, it's quiet after all? :3 mega´+1

  • 70 months ago
  • 0 points

I wouldn't have gotten an unlocked processor, since you can't really overclock in that case, but that's a minor point.

Your build looks good! Great parts and a good price overall for the build.

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

I totally agree with selecting a locked CPU for a similar case. But in my situation, I have future plans. It's feasible to get this CPU.

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  • 70 months ago
  • 8 points

You're right. but I actually bought it at release date (July 2013).

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