Description

This is my first ever try at building a PC. My 4 years old Dell XPS 9000 [Core i7-920, 9GB DDR3 1066, GTX 260, 475W PSU] was starting to fail me, so instead of buying replacement (and possibly outdated) parts, I chose to upgrade. I bought all the parts on Sept 30th, except for the video card, which was bought on November 21st. Here's a breakdown of all part choices:

CPU : The PC will be used mostly for gaming on high/ultra settings and usual PC stuff (email, documents, internet). No video editing/encoding here, so I felt like an hyperthreaded Core i7 wasn't worth the extra 100-150$.

CPU Cooler : Since I can't and won't do any overclocking with the CPU, I felt like spending extra on CPU cooling would be a waste. However, after enduring Intel's stock cooler whistle for 2 months, I couldn't take it anymore. I waited for Black Friday and grabbed myself a Be Quiet! Shadow Rock 2. It's a decent cooler at stock clock (not for overclocking, but not an issue here since I can't overclock my i5-4570) but more importantly, it's amazingly quiet! I'm really glad I made the switch.

Motherboard : Considering I have a non-unlockable CPU, the features on Z-type boards didn't feel like they were worth the premium so I stuck with an "H" board. It has more than enough ports for my needs and should do a good job until my next build (4-6 years)

RAM: 8 GB is plenty enough for now. My previous PC had 9 GB but I rarely used over 4GB anyway. I also have 2 free slots to upgrade if the need be.

Storage : The 840 EVO is only 120GB, but it should be large enough to hold the OS and the "flavor of the month" games. The 1TB Seagate Barracuda was salvaged from my previous PC and will hold all other meaningful data : music, videos, photos, etc.

Video Card: I only have time to play 5 hours/week nowadays, so I wouldn't make the most of a higher end card. I came across a sick deal on Newegg.ca for a MSI 7870 GHz Edition and it should be able to handle most games on high/ultra.

Case : I wasn't set on a particular case when I started shopping for parts, but I found this awesome deal on Newegg.ca and just couldn't pass that up. It has plenty of room for cable management and looks very sleek (to me anyway!). On a side note, the case had a faulty USB port when I received it. But after opening a support ticket on Fractal Design's website, they sent me a replacement front USB controller within a week, totally free of charge. I was really pleased not having to RMA the case. This was excellent customer support on their end!

Power Supply : Yeah I know, the PSU is much more than I really need for this build. However, the huge discount (97.59$ instead of 159.99$) made it a viable purchase and should last a very longtime.

Optical Drive : Like the HDD, I salvaged the optical drive from my old PC. Will rarely be used, but I needed it to install the OS.

Operating System : I'm not a fan of Windows 8 at all, so I stuck with Windows 7 this time. And since I have a MSDN license at work, my Windows 7 Ultimate was free of charge. Well, free for me at least!

Monitor : My old 20'' Samsung monitor only had a max resolution of 1600x900 and I really wanted this build to enjoy Full HD gaming. I didn't want something too big (wouldn't fit on my desk anyway), so I felt this 23.6'' Asus would do a good job. The monitor is only rated 4 stars out of 5 because it was delivered with a 1/2'' scratch on the stand and I didn't feel like RMA'ing the whole thing back.

All prices shown below are before taxes. After all taxes and shipping costs, the whole build cost me 1060$. After selling the parts of my old PC for 260$, the net cost of the build is 800$. About 900$ cheaper than my old Dell and it blows it out of the water!

Nothing really fancy, but here's to hoping you enjoy the build and the pics :) Feel free to comment!

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Comments

  • 77 months ago
  • 3 points

Great build, great case! I'm using the same Fractal Design case, so much room and cooling potential in it.

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks guys!

@Radio_Memories: I really like the case too! Got it for 59.99$ (instead of 109.99$) last week, a steal IMO. One of my 2 USB front panel ports wasn't not working, but Fractal Design already resolved the issue and shipped another front panel controller to me. Great case and great customer service!

  • 77 months ago
  • 2 points

solid build

  • 77 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice

  • 77 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice Build!

How did you get your psu and case well below your listed price?

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

Newegg.ca had both items on sale when I bought them on September 29th. The case was 79.99 (instead of 109.99) and the PSU was 134.99 (instead of 159.99). On top of that, both items had a 20$ overstock promo code and the PSU had a 20$ mail-in rebate from Corsair. So I ended up grabbing the Arc MIDI R2 almost 50% off the retail price and the HX750 about 40% off :)

  • 77 months ago
  • 2 points

Dang!!

I have a feeling that your on the show "Extreme Couponing!"

  • 77 months ago
  • 3 points

They all average like 90% discount rates on that show... A 150$ discount on a 1000$ bill is probably "noob-level" couponing haha!

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice build congrats on your first

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, enjoying it so far!

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks great. I'm curious, how are your temps (idle and load)?

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm back with the info (also updated my build description)

--The CPU load temperature is 57C. --The GPU load temperature is 55C with fans at <40%.

[comment deleted]
  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

really good part choices, psu has a quite a bit more wattage than you need, but that always leaves room for upgrading if you need/want to

  • 77 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, I figured the PSU wattage was more than my system required, but I got it for a really good deal (~95$ instead of 150$) and like you said, it leaves room for future upgrades!

Also, after my experience with my Dell XPS 9000 and its unadvertised underpowered PSU, I wanted to make sure I had more than enough power. My old Dell had a 470W while the GTX 260 "required" 500W, which in turn caused the company to underclock the GTX 260 for it to be able to function correctly (lower power and lower temperature).

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

yeah psu is the thing you really want to get right. not having decent wattage or a reputable brand is a scary thing as the psu may take other parts with it. i also dont like bombs -cough- raidmax - cough - diablotek - :P

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah that's what most review websites seemed to indicate : "Don't cheap out on the PSU or else..."

I believe I should be safe for a while with that Corsair :)

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Cable management :(

Stock CPU cooler :(

Otherwise, a very solid build.

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I agree that cable management could have been better. The fact that I removed the upper drive cage on the right also make it look messier than it would have been otherwise (airflow is much better though). I'll have to plug in my new front panel controller soon (the current one is faulty) so I'll probably improve my wiring job :)

I won't do any overclocking so the stock cooler should be strong enough to handle the job.

Thanks for your comments :)

  • 77 months ago
  • 3 points

You don't necessarily have to overclock to want a replacement cooler. Sometimes it's just better to keep it cool regardless... it still gets hot without an overclock.

  • 77 months ago
  • 3 points

Lower temps can lead to a longer life span.

  • 77 months ago
  • 2 points

I totally agree with you that an aftermarket cooler is much more efficient than the Intel stock cooler. What I meant was that I believe the stock cooler will be able to handle what I'll throw at it.

@theonelonewolf: Indeed, but I don't think the stock cooler will kill my CPU within months (Intel would have serious issues with all casual PC users if that was the case). What you're saying is totally true though, I just think my CPU should survive for the duration I'm expecting to use it (4-6 years)

**EDIT: Well, after suffering through 2 months of Intel Stock Cooler noise, I made the switch to a much more silent Be Quiet! aftermarket cooler. Really happy with the new cooler!

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

I received my new front panel USB controller tonight and like promised, I took the opportunity to improve my cable management as suggested. I also added some more pics. I hope you like it better this time! (I know I do!)

  • 77 months ago
  • 2 points

Good job man. Love the photo editing :P

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha, glad you like it ;)

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

I just purchased the exact same PSU and am kicking myself for not getting this same case when it was $60. Dang. $60 off would be fantastic. This is almost the precise same build I was looking at, being very wary of overclocking. Solid build, great deals (especially the case/PSU, and a rather nice RAM price), but need to improved that cable management, when ya get a chance. Do want.

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

Yeah after looking at many builds on here, I realized my cable management was really poor haha. But as soon as I receive my new front controller, I'll head back into the case and improve the cable management at the same time :)

I was lucky to hit those deals, as I wasn't set on any particular case and PSU. When I stumbled on the terrific discounts on these quality items, it really was a no brainer for me.

Oh BTW, I don't know if you already bought your case, but the Arc Midi R2 is currently a Shell-Shocker deal on Newegg.ca for 64.99$ until 6PM EST. Five dollars more than what I paid for mine, but still an awesome deal IMO ;)

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

You can take a look at my cable management 2.0 if you want. My new USB controller was delivered tonight and while replacing it, I made sure to tidy up my cable management. I hope you like it better that way! (I also added a lot more pics)

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice, solid build, especially for being your first. Great cable-management for your first build. And great part selection. Just one thing. Windows 7 Ultimate? If real, then what was your need of it? Or did you just get from work or something?

Overall, nice work :D

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Cable management was really bad at first, but after I received my replacement USB controller from Fractal, I took advantage of the opportunity by improving my cable management. Even if it's not 100% perfect, it's much more tidier than it was before haha!

As for why I chose Windows 7 Ultimate, two reasons:

-I have a premium MSDN license at work (worth upwards of 6000$), so I can install pretty much any Windows software for free (up to 5 of each every year). So between Windows 7 Home, Ultimate, etc... I chose the most complete version.

-My GF is used to having Windows in French, while I prefer having an English OS. Windows 7 Ultimate allows me to customize the display language for each user.