Hey guys, Thanks for checking out my build. This was honestly my first build EVER, so I was a little intimidated at the start. I have not really used or followed pc's in years and have only ran/owned iMacs until now. I needed a decent computer that would last me a while, and that I would not have/want to put money into later down the road. I went for a modest budget of $1000 or under but just kept adding stuff to my cart, and I think I may have went a little crazy, but I like the results.
I debated on components for about a month with daily research. i'm honestly not a big pc gamer, if I can actually say I am at all (remember, only ran iMacs for the last little while, so I couldn't game if I wanted to). I figured if I am building a pc for everyday tasks, and spending the money now, then it might as well play games (TitanFall!!!!!).
I do a lot of streaming in my home and cut cable TV out about a year ago, so I knew I needed a lot of storage. The WD Green drive was a great option to save power and have more storage then I will need for a while. I had to remove one of the HDD bays to make room for my GPU, which put me down to only 2 3.5" bays and one 2.5". I had originally put my OS on a 2.5" HDD I took out of my old PS3, but quickly changed it after Windows gave it a score of 5.2 (Yeah I know, those scored don't really make a difference, but I could see/feel how slow it was). I quickly went out and got my SSD, and boy what a difference!
As far as assembly went, it was kinda like building Lego. Every part has a set location and a set way it goes in, so it was really hard to mess up. The lever on the Cooler Master TX3 scared me a little as I didn't realize the force needed to lock that thing down. My top mounted case fan mounted inverted as an intake vs. an exhaust (My bad, I didn't want the serial # sticking up out of my case), so I had to reverse it after all my cable management so that was kind of a pain. And lastly, the NZXT Fan Controller was slightly difficult, not necessary the plugging in of it (Again, that to me was like building Lego), but insuring all the thermal nodes were in ideal places and working all the extra cables into my cable management.
If I could change anything at all, I may have opted for liquid cooling or a better CPU cooler. Mine is not loud by any means, but I could only auto OC to around 4.1GHz before it crashes, and I've seen much higher #'s from this chip. Also, the XMP on my ram is 2400; however, my board only OC's to 2133... I left it was 1600 just to be safe. If I had have known that, I would have just purchased a board with 2400 slots. The purchased the M5A97 because of all the awesome reviews, and other then that one minor thing, it does not disappoint! The BIOS is amazingly easy to navigate and use, and it was easy to configure.
All in all, this was an evening project that took me maybe 2-3 hours for the 1st time ever. Let me know what you guys think and if you have any questions I will try my best to answer them. Also, don't be scared to send me gifts via Steam @ Qwazyd0gg so I can jump into gaming with this rig LOL!
****Just a quick edit guys. I bumped my OC and re-mounted my cooler and reapplied my paste which made a huge difference. I also added another fan to the Cooler to run a push/pull with pwm support to help during heavy load, and reran all of my wires to clean up cable management a bit more. Re-enabled cool and quick in the BIOS when not in use to downscale all cores to 1.4ghz to reserve energy and destress the system. Automatically jumps back to 4.3ghz when it needs to. Had to up the voltage to lock the OC in. Also clocked the ram to 1833 as it will not post if pushed any higher. Passed a 24 hour stress test with ease. I'm learning so much as I go, which is honestly the funnest part of this build.
****Additional edit 07/03/2013. So I think I may have an addition because I cannot stop looking at parts or buying parts for this thing. I have recently installed a Corsair H80i to insure ample cooling. My case would not hold an H100i without an ugly and uneven mod and honestly the H80i is almost just as good. I have Corsair Link running finally! Small tip for potential buyers, DO NOT save your Link profile with a number or a capitol letter. It ruins the XML file structure and will cause the program to no longer respond on startup. I have to run a few registry edits to clear it out and it works now. I haven't played with the overclock yet since I took off the TX3 but honestly I like where it sits now and have no need to push it just because I got a new cooler. I also upgraded my mouse from the JUNK that came with the CMStorm Devastator to a model from Perixx. My Devastator mouse kept disconnecting and would only reconnect if I wiggled the cable, so it was an internal short. CM wanted me to pay over $20 to ship the mouse to California to repair it... Come on guys, the entire kit was $29! So I research some good mice and found the Perixx MX3000. 1000hz, pooling, up to 8200 DPI, many programmable buttons, weights, and many more features... All for $26 shipped! Lastly, I have since relocated my router to my computer room and removed the wireless NIC to go hardwired. I upgraded my connection to 320mbps down and even on wireless N/5GHZ I was only maxing out around 120mbps.