I haven't built a PC for nearly 20 years, and nothing like this. The main them for this build was balance. This build is primarily for gaming. I wanted to be able to play the latest and greatest without struggling and without breaking the bank. Parts were chosen based mainly on performance per dollar, but with consideration for looks, and practicality and longevity. It has been a learning experience. There was no hurry, I changed my mind on pretty much every piece over a couple of months before I committed, there are things I may have don't differently if after getting hands on, but I'm pretty happy with the result.
CPU i5 6600K - it was going to be an i5 6500 with a BCLK OC - when I saw that intel was going to be stingy, I made the hard choice to throw in the bit extra money and get the 6600K just in case they screwed it. I feel horrible for those who paid for a 6500 in order to use the BCLK. intel are jerks for that, but their CPUs tend to out do AMDs. I can OC to 4.6GHz but it takes a core voltage of 1.37V to do it. I've seen others get similar clock speeds with much lower voltages, but the Cinebench R15 score is 771 which is higher than any others I've seen at that speed.
Cooler Silverstone TD02-E This choice was mainly based on budget, it looks... fine ...for the price. it is not perfect - I don't care for the carbon fibre accents, carbon fibre only looks exotic on exotic things, but in this config you cant see them so whatever. I liked the idea of the different radiator configuration, it's solid, not over the top and even at 1.37V my CPU stays well and truly at comfortable temps. The stock fans.. 1500RPM minimum - why bother including fans if they need to be replaced anyway. the pump is practically silent, but those fans at even at idle were pretty loud. I wasn't gonna bother with aftermarket fans but they had to go! plenty of TIM included which is nice. The illuminated logo a bit too bright and unevenly lit.
Mobo ASROCK Z140 Extreme 4 ASROCK used to be a "low budget - high feature" range from ASUS. All the bells and whistles, but without all of that expensive quality! They're a separate entity now, and looks like the quality is pretty damn good now. This board does well, the switchable dual UEFI is simple enough and comprehensive enough to keep a novice like me entertained with, and you can mess with everything. It is a little clunky at times, but it's not a $500 board, it does the job well for me. The aesthetic is exactly what I wanted, clean, and not hell bent on some obnoxious colour scheme. It fills out the case nicely without trying to take over the show.
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 8Gb 3000MHz (xmp) Skylake has been making good use of higher speed ram in gaming. Criteria was mainly speed and price. aesthetics to the point of being black and not too obnoxious, and I went low profile to save any chance of compatibility issues, which was lucky as the radiator clears them by about a layer of paint. I didn't know they required a kind of OC to run at 3000MHz (XMP profile) which was easy to do with the ASROCK, but I'm trying to pinpoint some "less than rare" system crashes, and this appears to be related, which is bad news for me. I'll keep this updated. update: compatibility issues were on the UEFI side. A Bios update from ASROCK seems to have solved the problem.
Storage Primary SSD OCZ 240Gb - Nothing crazy. Stores operating system and a few high use games. Secondary HDD Seagate 2Tb barracuda 7200rpm. cause ..yep.
Video Card Sapphire R9 390 Nitro 8Gb The R9 390 hits a pretty sweet spot on the price/performance slope. There are cheaper cards that still do OK for now, but the little extra spent on the GPU over the entire cost of the system will keep it relevant for a lot longer than going bare minimum. There are faster cards too, but by price; the returns diminish dramatically. option 2 was a GTX970, but for the same price the 390 just performs a little chunk better most of the time. Stock clock is 1040, I can squeeze 1120 without anomalies, but it's not a big gain and requires a bit of overvolt. The card is MASSIVE with 3 fans, but it never goes above about 50% fan speed and is fairly quiet. it keeps on the happy side of 75Deg C most of the time. Performance even at stock is great. I went with the Sapphire because I didn't want a red/black theme, and the Gigabyte (my original preference) is reportedly noisy. Sag is controlled very well as you can see, simply by lifting the tail a bit before tightening the slot screws. There are no obnoxious lights or colours and the card is nice to look at.
Case Corsair Carbide 400c Cases are a hard choice. Wife chose this. What a GREAT case to build in. The door is brilliant - I use it all the time; for no reason! No shortage of airflow - though you CAN hear that. The included case fans (a 120 and 140) are quite good for stock fans - I'm keeping them for now. Although the front is designed for 2x140 or 3x120, I'm actually using 2x120 and a 140 (one of each are the stock fans). The grommets seem a little far from the ATX board at first, but it just means cables don't have to turn hard. I've left the basement separator out because the cable routing and the EVGA power cables and PSU look nicer than the separator that just doesn't really look right, and is a bit tight with the motherboard. I wanted a tidy build and the 400C made that very achievable - Note: You will see Nitto (Duct tape) featured throughout the case. Corsair provide extensive cable routing options in this case. a bit more than I want so the tape just hides a lot of holes and keeps it a little cleaner looking.
PSU EVGA superNOVA NEX 650W 80+ gold This was a compromise - I wanted braided wires, but could only get the bitfenix in a 550W at the time, I settled with the EVGA. the cables are braided in bunches instead of individually but in the end I'm glad I went this way. The cables are perfect in this build! 650W seems a little fine for an AMD build (750 was not available), but it's fine. the whole system only seems to pull about 400-450 W from the wall. The EVGA is not quiet. the fan runs at a single speed and makes up the bulk of the idle case noise. It gets drowned out under load, but I'm still going to look at changing the fan or at least dropping the voltage.
Case fans I didn't get these till after hearing the Silverstone radiator fans, I wasn't going to spend this much on case fans either. They were an impulse purchase in store at MSY. I got a 3pk and a single (their entire stock) which was kind of stupid, I really need 2 more to finish the build properly and they are sold as 1 or 3 (1 is expensive) I didn't think that through. They don't keep with the original "subtle" style either. but they're quiet, have a great range (400-1500rpm) and include an RGB and speed (high/low) controller and are PWM. The RGB provides options. All the cables are wrapped nicely, but for some reason there are exposed coloured wires on the fan chassis on diagonal corners so no matter which way you put them you can see these little rainbow wires. a bit silly.
Results: Cinebench R15 benchmarks CPU: Stock 605 (no XMP profile on RAM) Stock 654 (XMP on ram 3000MHz) OC 4.6 771 (with XMP)
GPU: all stock 127fps (no XMP on RAM) Stock 150fps CPU OC 165fps CPU OC+1140Mhz 172fps
Thanks to SCORPTEC in Melbourne - a front panel cable was faulty in the case, they sent me a new one (no RMA) Thankyou for making a small issue a non issues
playing games is fun
The cables supplied look great. In my opinion they look tidier and less bulky than individually sleeved wires and are much easier to manage. Everything is clean and subtle. The fan is on WAY too hard. At full load the PSU doesnt even feel warm it is cooled so "well"; however, the fan runs at a constant speed and while there is no apparent motor niose, there is a lot of wind noise. A lot! Apparently the NEX (G1) is the worst of the evga psu fans, and while i will recommend EVGA as a brand and the aesthetics are on point, i do not reccomend this specific model. Look for anything other than 1st gen. As a rough guide for you, the noise measured near the psu intake is roughly 10-12dB higher than any other part of my PC at idle, and only starts to get drowned out under full gpu load.