This build has been a very long time coming, I've been using the previous gaming rig I built over 8 years ago up until a few months ago when I just couldn't take the outdated sluggishness it had accumulated over the years as technology passed it by... an Intel Core 2 Duo e6600 (man I was stoked about that chip at the time, the C2D line was incredible and like nothing consumers had ever seen before, was a massive jump in technology), my EVGA 8800 GTX ACS3 K.O. edition, even moreso than the cpu that card was unprecedented, and held a wide gap at the top of the GPU pile, that card was...simply put, amazing for the time.... However time beats everyone and everything, and in the end the 8800 GTX died a couple years ago, so after using a friends 8800 GTS (yes, this was from a computer built right alongside my own, it was a horrible card to be using in 2014/15, and it was the frustration from this card that pushed me over the edge from just pitying the relic, to starting anew....
My brother was using a terribly old laptop as his only computer for a few years, and had been hounding me to help him build a good PC, so he ended up just ordering the exact same parts as me with the only exception being the case which he got the Luxe in black instead of white. I built mine and showed him how to build his, as he didn't know the first thing about putting a computer together, which is a shame because he loves games, but has always played on console, I believe with this rig he will quickly turn over to the PC master race, where he belongs.
So here we are, parts in hand and ready to build, but first a quick rundown of the key components and why I chose them over the competition:
I5-6600k SKYLAKE!: Went skylake for obvious reasons, plus it's always exciting to get the newest architecture and see how it compares to the previous, of course I never had a haswell rig so I'm not as familiar with it as I could be, but I've used plenty and have a feel for the chips. I went with the 6600k over the 6700k because I will primarily be gaming, and hyperthreading/additional cores won't be used enough to justify the additional cost of the i7.
Corsair H110i GTX cpu cooler: As a big fan of both low temperatures, and the clean look afforded by a liquid CPU cooler, this was a pretty easy choice, however the Hyper 212 Evo was very nearly the cooler I ended up going with, simply because that thing is amazing and the price is almost unbelievable.
ASUS Z170-A: This was pretty simple, I've always been a fan of Asus boards, the cost was perfect, and it had everything I needed without being loaded up on stuff I'll never use
Corsair Vengeance LPX 8gb: The only thing I'm really regretting when it comes to looking ahead, I should have went with a 16gb kit, 8gb is plenty for gaming, but starting with 2x8gb instead of 2x4gb would have left me a 2nd kit down the line giving me a max of 32gb, whereas the 2x4gb sticks limits me to a max of 16gb unless I go with a different set and ditch the 8gb kit. Not a big deal really, but I should have planned for the future a little better here.
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 4GB G1 Gaming WINDFORCE: Easily the most controversial choice in my build, especially seeing as I had the r9 390 all but shipped at one point, however I ended up going with the 970 for a couple reasons, I like Nvidia's software more, I know it doesn't really matter, but I prefer to work with the Nvidia Control panel and GeForce experience over the AMD software on a regular basis, and since 1080p rarely breaks the 3.5gb threshold of the VRAM (outside of a few specific games on specific settings), I'm not too worried about potential slow downs and poor performance caused by the lower tier 500mb of VRAM. The 970 is still a great card, and will handle everything I need it to, with ease. UIltimately though the deciding factor came down to aesthetics....the 970 just looks better in my build, the MSI r9 390 has so much red, and nothing else in my build is red, so..ya, i'm shallow.
Phanteks Enthoo Luxe WHITE: This case was an instant decision the moment I saw it, it's nice and roomy, has great cable management, and just the right touch of flare, while still managing to maintain a minimalist outward appearance. This case was truly a treat to work in, and will recommend it to anyone looking for a full tower who wants something built very well, looks great, and has very intelligent design decisions that become apparent when you are building in it. Since my brother also got this case, but in black, I built essentially the same computer twice, and it was a complete pleasure both times, this case is so easy, with the only hangups being how exactly to orient the fans on the top mounted radiator for the CPU cooler (ended up going push/intake as I didn't want the fans hanging really low and being visible through the window).
As far as the PSU it was on sale at the local Frys, and had good reviews, from a reputable company in the world of PSU's, I planned on purchasing the Corsair RM750i, but they were all sold out, I'm happy with the Antec, however the cables aren't the sleekest and best looking cables out there, I'll be picking up some white extensions soon, hopefully it really ties the build together.
The monitor was another compromise as the Asus VG248QE was sold out in the local Fry's, despite it being labelled as in stock in clear markings over that specific location. The Benq is 27", for 1080p I prefer a max size of 24", but the pixellation isn't as noticeable on this panel as I thought it would be, and all in all it's a good monitor, the colors out of the box were spot on, I have no backlight bleed whatsoever, and no dead pixels. It was on sale as well, so I saved almost $100 from what the Asus was listed for, so in the end I'm happy with my purchase, even if it is only 60hz, though with some tweaking you can force it to do around 68hz, which is better than 60, but clearly not 144hz like the Asus :/
Pictures are coming shortly, until then feel free to give me any feedback on the build, and if you think I could have done better with the budget I was working under (around $1200 for the PC, not including the monitor or peripherals). So far I've only had a chance to play BF4, Tomb Raider 2013, and CS:GO, all run on maxed settings at well over 60 fps so far, and I haven't even touched overclocking yet, something this GPU is notoriously good at.