This was my third gaming PC, fourth build(did one for a friend), was built in Feb 2009, and first that I've publicly logged here on PCPartPicker. Originally, I created this as a Completed Build, but then I found in the forums that it requires pictures to be published. I can't find any old pictures of it, so sadly it will have to live here in my Saved Parts Lists. Still, the build and write-up was fun. Carry on for my ridiculously long description:
It was named "Zoe" after Zoe Washburne, and was built to replace my 2nd PC "Sarah" and get me in gaming shape for L4D and Fallout 3 that had released the previous Fall. I decided to look up the old parts and prices I paid (they were all in Newegg order history still) and write it up here for fun and practice while I build a new machine this year.
I am a little ashamed looking at some of these prices. At the time, I am sure they weren't so obscene, and I didn't have the luxury of this site to make price comparisons so easy. It really is shameful how much I spent on some of this though when you consider I didn't do any optimizing. I just chose parts I knew/thought were good and stuck them together.
Now I'm going to do a run down of the things that hurt me to look at all these years later:
RAM - G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory: I salvaged these sticks and a few other things before I gave this machine away. I really liked these parts actually, but they feel so absurdly overpriced looking back, and I know it wasn't even the "best" at the time. That being said, G. Skill has always been good to me, and they look nicer than modern RAM IMO. They did their job well. These will likely make an appearance in an HTPC that I am planning for later this year.
Video Card #1 - ASUS GeForce 9800 GT: If you're wondering why there are two cards, it's because this one died. It was pretty solid while it was running at least, cranking through L4D, TF2, Portal, and L4D2 with ease, and doing well with Fallout 3, but it only lasted about 1.5 years before giving up the ghost. The only part I've ever had die on me personally, thus far.
Video Card #2 - MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB Video Card: This was my replacement. I didn't end up buying it until months later, since a L4D buddy sent me a substitute card for awhile in the interim. This card is pretty solid, though in ages past I was anti-MSI, and I salvaged it from this machine. May make an appearance in a budget machine down the road.
ALL The Hard Drives: I know what my thinking was with the original two HDDs. The 160GB for an OS drive, in an attempt to preserve boot performance. Then the 640GB for games and storage. But... then I picked up a 500GB drive for some reason. I really have no idea why. I saved all three of these drives, and at least two of them will be used in the new machine I am working on. I like Western Digital drives.
Case - Enermax Uber Chakra: Oh my, this is the worst decision I made with this build by far. If I could have corrected anything, it would be this. Where to begin? Here are the cons:
Spending over $100 is, imo, completely ridiculous for the average PC builder. There are many quality cases for sub-$100.
It's MASSIVE. It's nearly two feet tall and deep, and it weighs something like 25lbs empty. It's made almost entirely of steel. Moving this thing once filled was atrocious. The PSU is top mounted also which gave it an awkward weight distribution.
The side grate lets lots of dust in, and has two symmetrical sides, yet only one fan? Also the fan was quite noisy. It ends up being a large window into your PC that is hard to actually see through, and lets tons of dust in. It's the worst of all worlds.
Fans. There are only 3 places for fans, 120mm in the front, 120mm in the rear, and 250mm side monster. This doesn't give you a ton of cooling options, which is bad for "pro" builders(the type who would want to spend this much on a case). Also, if you don't know what you're doing with airflow, you can easily use the big side fan inappropriately (more on this later).
The feet. They're practically the only part made of plastic, and they're weak yet abrasive under the strain of this monster case. The slightest shifting of it's bulk would cause the feet to shred into my wooden desk. Also, imo, they look pretty dopey.
The side panels were kind of a pain in the ass.
It's not all bad though:
It's solid steel. So, it's durable! Except the feet.
The front panel has a bunch of dust covers which is great.
There are an abundance of expansion slots.
Tool-less drive brackets are nice.
Of the 3 fan locations, two are pre-populated for you. This saves time and money. Also the side fan being adjustable and larger than the other two combined let's you customize your airflow need with ease (positive or negative airflow achieved with the flip of a switch). Of course, with the massive gaping hole next door, I don't know that you could realistically achieve positive pressure anyways.
OS - Windows Vista Ultimate: ...really my only regret is that price tag. Seriously, the OS worked flawlessly for me. I still have it and my old copy of XP Home.
Anyways, thanks for taking my journey down memory lane. Re-exploring this build has provided me insight into what to do better this time, as has lurking on this site for a few months, and generally catching myself up to modern PC building. I promise to have a much more thought out and respectable machine coming up, probably by April 2016. I can't wait to build again and share the process here, I've had the "need to build" bug for months.