1/6/16 EDIT: ~1 year anniversery since the original build, wanted to update some scores and reviews. After a semester in a dorm with very poor air circulation I took everything out of my case and cleaned the dust off it. The back blades of the front fans were coated, and the CPU heatsink was awful as well, but it was good practice to take it apart and clean it as well as I could. I've noticed the graphics card and CPU heatsink are starting to slag slightly, so I may look into water cooling/ alternate air cooling, and a different GPU.
8/27/15 EDIT: Fixed some spelling and grammatical errors, and actually moved reviews to reviews section. Also, for some reason a lot of the deeper blues came out looking purple in the pictures. I can assure you in person it's all a deep blue.
Let me start by saying this post, and this build, has been a long time coming. I've always been interested in computers, specifically for gaming, but I've had to put up with some Dell Inspiron brick for far too many years. The initial build was completed in Late December 2014 and was actually my final project for my computer hardware class in college. I understand that not all of these parts make sense, like air cooling the i7 among other things. I wasn't as hardware savvy as when I planned this as I am now. At that time It only had 2 sticks of RAM, a GTX 970 FTW, no Corsair fans, stock CPU cooler, no custom cables, and a TP-Link WDN4800 among other things I'm forgetting. Over the next couple of months I would add upgrades, with the Gigabyte and new wireless card added most recently. Please take the temps with a grain of salt, as they vary ~10 or so. The majority of these items were purchased from Amazon, some from Newegg, the mobo is from Super Biiz, the case from NCIX, and the main Corsair cables from Corsair. Any part with 0.00 as price was a gift, or I already had.The theme is based on Porcupine Tree's album Fear of a Blank Planet, my favorite album.
Rosewill anti static mat and wrist strap Having experience in a computer repair store, I understand the importance of proper ESD protection. These were the cheapest products with the best reviews, and well... As far as I can tell it works, but the cables on these are just coiled too tightly, and the clips will pull out of my grounds if I move at all. I've been stretching them out but they're still just too short most of the time to work properly. But hey, they're cheap and you shouldn't be mucking about in your computer without protection. I'd only recommend it if you're going to be using them on a large flat surface very close to at least 1, preferably 2 grounds.
NZXT LED strip This is a fantastic addition to any case , easy install and set up. I've found the sticky pads it comes with to not stick very well, and one of my LEDs is kind of winking now, but it's easy to route and looks great.
Corsair custom power supply cables So much better than the cables the PSU comes with, easy to work with, incredible build quality. The motherboard cable had to be ordered separately and is a lighter shade of blue than the other cables, but still looks great. Definitely recommend getting these.
SATA cables Blue SATA cables, cheap, 6GB/s as far as I can tell. Gets the job done. These buggers have been annoying me ever since I added my third and eventual fourth hard drive, they just don't bend well and are pretty hard to manage.
Display Port cable It's a short, cheap cable that works. This cable has since been replaced with the 15ft. version.
Fourth Hard Drive Ripped the hard drive from my last computer. This thing has seen hell and I do not keep important files on it. Starting to make clicky noises at me when I boot... Seagate 750GB 7200rpm 3gb/s
Anyway that's the build. This was my first build from scratch, and while it certainly is more expensive than builds of this caliber I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I learned a lot, had a ton of fun, and of course have a - dare I say it, - beast of a computer that plays every game at max settings and stores all my music and stuff. While the fans do produce some noise and it vibrates a little, I'm happy with the temps and performance and can't ask for more. If you have any comments, suggestions, or criticisms please let me know in the comments. Thank you for checking out my build!
Pretty much the best 4 core i7 for the money, especially if you have adequate cooling and are into overclocking. I do recommend getting a cooler that doesn't suck, as my chip was hitting ~70s when under load on the stock cooler. I have run into no problems at all, I've dabbled with a little overclocking and it has handled it very well. Handles multitasking very well, I can stream and play games with no problems at all. Definitely recommend this for the average power user.
An item I picked out without knowing much about hardware, however I'm pleasantly surprised with how it is so far. Bit of a pain to install, and maintenance certainly isn't a walk in the park but it gets the job done. The only problem is I have to move the main fan up a bit to clear my first stick of RAM. Looks great with everything else though, not sure why you can't get anywhere. This item was received as a gift, hence why there is no price. I will say a while ago the LEDs went out and I traced it back to the wire having come out of the solder. While this was an easy fix it was a little frustrating. Something else to note about this cooler is how BIG it is, especially with two fans on it. I've noticed just the slightest bit of sag on it, which might be my fault but is probably pulling the mobo pcb just slightly. Not really something to worry about too much but I'm still looking into water cooling now. I wonder if that's why it's disappeared from the market...
While I had originally been using the compound that comes with the Enermax, because I was helping a friend build a computer at the time I decided to buy this to use with future builds. While my results for using the Enermax compound aren't well documented, I feel like my lows were just a little lower, however this could just be due to the compound having longer to settle. That said the Arctic Silver definitely brought down my highs by at least 5-15, so I definitely consider it a solid purchase.
Couldn't get any better than this honestly. Absolutely stunning build quality, UEFI is intuitive and easy to use. More than enough slots for any build. When upgrade down the road to something utilizing DDR4 memory I'll most likely be using an ASRock build, that's how impressed I am with this board. The only downside is the 'super fast' m.2 slot is PCIE, so if you run SLI it dumps one of the cards to x8, but that's it I think.
Looks incredible, runs without problems, overclocked easily, nothing more to say.
I knew I wanted a large SSD for games and programs, and at the time I really thought Crucial was the best bet. 8 months later and while I can say it's not the fastest one out there I really haven't had any problems. Still boots incredibly fast, read write times blow any HDD out of the water, and it's kept nice and cool at the top of my case. Note that the way it mounts the silver side is facing up, not the cool side with the logo.
Found this in an HTPC I found lying around. Not the fastest HDD, but hey. Free storage.
Lots of storage for cheap. Pretty interesting thinking this might be one of the last mechanical drives I ever purchase, at least for this GB/$. I haven't run into any problems, but we'll see what that's like in 4 years.
Let me begin by saying when I initially designed this build, I was not even aware of this card and instead decided to get the fastest reference 970 and eventually put them in SLI. While that card looked great in the build and I still stand by it is the best price/performance card out there for 1080p gaming, I did run into the memory problems. I also found the card to sag slightly, even when I cabled it to fight that specifically. Once I had the money though I decided I wanted to find the best card I could fit in this system that would not have memory problems and look good as well... I don't know how so many of you can put up with those silver shroud, 1 fan, bright green 'GeForce' cards. While I was initially hesitant to drop this much on a Gigabyte product, let me tell you I have 0 regrets. This card blows 99% of all games on max settings away, getting well over 60fps on a 1080 monitor. Even with a 1440p monitor this card would kick ***, which is the next purchase I plan on making. The only problems I have with this card is the software utility is pretty poor, the white LED silent fans are as annoying as they are useful, and of course this thing is HUGE. I have noticed that there is some slight sag going on, and I would feel more comfortable if this were sitting horizontally. It's so large it overlaps my drive bay and completely covers my SATA ports, so I have to take it out if I want to change those. Other than those I have had no problems with it and definitely recommend.
When I was initially designing my build I wasn't really sure what kind of theme I wanted. That was until I saw this case. It was love at first sight, and I knew then the theme would be blue/black, with square edges. While this case really looks amazing, I'm not sure I would recommend it for novice builders. The paint and finish can scratch easily, and it has rather unconventional internals. While this makes it look better, it certainly makes working in it harder. There is just barely enough space for my board, same with the CPU cooler and cables in the back. Specifically the space on the back is rather small, so cabling and just getting the back on can be tough. Again, if you know how to route cables and such you can really make a great looking build, but I wouldn't recommend it for first time builders.
Looks great, matches the case, came in like a velvet bag, over all great build. I have had no problems with this power supply, however I did find the cables it came with to be rather stiff and... boring. Other than that fantastic part with no problems. Did I mention it came in a velvet bag with about 300 cables?
I know 7, I don't like 8, and I need Pro to access more than 16GB of RAM. Thinking about upgrading to 10, but we'll see
Wireless Network Adapter
Fast, matches the build, works. I'm using a cat5e cable hooked up to my router so I don't use it, but it does work.
Case fan for the rear. Same deal as the 120s.
Quiet fans thanks to the rubber mounting, which can be tricky to install at first. Looks great and cools nicely. These things can kick up a lot of dust, even with a filter. First time I cleaned the case after a semester in a dusty dorm the back blades were coated, but cleaned up well. And yes, I know these are SP, not AF. These were a gift, and I plan on replacing them in the future.
I bought this fan to put on the other side of my CPU cooler, as I wanted to get as close as I could to the fan it came with. However, it looks like you can't get that fan specifically. This is pretty much the same fan, just with more LEDs, manual speed control, and a nifty button I routed to the back of my case to change the type of LED display.
Had this lying around, I'm currently using it as my main monitor, as far as 1080/60 monitors go this one is pretty darn good. Good brightness, good cooler, gamma is kinda ** (darks are really dark). Good movement. Has Displayport.
This monitor can only swivel up and down, the backlight is too bright, and doesn't refresh as well as the the HP, so I use it as my secondary monitor.
Before this board I was using the Logitech wireless S 510 with mouse, and as far as my wireless non mechanical keyboards go it's pretty darn good. But mechanical is better. The switches are just heavenly to use with just enough force needed, although if you aren't positioned correctly the keyboard is raised fairly high so make sure you have a high chair. But yeah it looks amazing, and while the software is a pain to use you can do some really incredible things with it. The media control buttons are much more recessed compared to the other keys so they're a little hard to reach but they work nicely. The volume scroll is a nice addition and I've come to like it more than volume up/down buttons. Over all good keyboard, if it goes on sale I recommend it.
The build is fantastic, the materials are a great combination of comfort and grip. The sensitivity switches work great, as well as the forward backward and sniper buttons. I am disappointed that the wheel doesn't click left and right, and if you aren't careful you can kind of trick it to not work, but for the most part this works great.
I've had these forever, still work great. Definitely recommend for anyone into gaming, music, and movies.
Same deal with the speakers, great sound reproduction for the price, and the metal mesh is a nice touch. The headphone and mic input on them aren't very good but that's to be expected.
I needed a UPS, this covers me unless I'm pushing the system to the max, otherwise it works and was a good price.