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Build

Apollo, God of Light

by Vengeance1871

41
41 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

June 3, 2015

Date Built

May 30, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

4.4GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

44.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

68.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.45GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

4.1GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

51.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

74.0° C

Description

Apollo

This is Apollo, named after the god of light. Of course where there is light there is shadow, thus the black and white theme. Originally inspired by StimmerUT's White Knight build, this is my first time building a computer. Having spent the last several years with laptops I was ready for a brand new, powerful desktop. Used primarily for gaming and multitasking, what I really wanted was a computer that would be fast and be able to play the latest games at 1080p. This computer does all that and more. I mostly play strategy games like Total War and Civilization. I also play a lot of Skyrim and have been getting into The Witcher. And, of course, Minecraft. I've been able to run all these without any kind of noticeable frame rate stutter or slow down. So far every game has been settings maxed out and still getting 60 fps and my last startup took 8 seconds. Everything I do takes mere seconds. Whether it's multiple file transfers (thank Hermes for USB 3.0), downloading video games, or just having ten programs open all at the same time. This computer takes it all in stride and keeps asking for more. The build went super easy, no problems, just took a lot of time. Between assembly, cable management, and setting up the software I think I spent four evenings working on this. The end result is totally worth it though.

OVERCLOCK UPDATE

I finally did the light overclock I've been wanting to do. I didn't want to do anything too extreme so I didn't bother messing with any voltages. I settled on a modest, but stable, 4.4 GHz for my CPU. For my GPU I was actually able to get it up to 1450 MHz for the core clock and almost doubled the memory speed at 4100 MHz. Everything has been running smoothly for the last couple days. I've been playing a lot of ARK during that time and even though my GPU has been running at 98-99% for up to ten hours straight my temps have hardly increased at all with the overclock. Just a few degrees to a comfortable 74 degrees. My goal was to get a 10% increase from my overclock and based on my Firestrike score I got a 12.5% increase in system performance.

GPU MOD UPDATE

I painted the red parts of the GPU shroud to make it match the color scheme, as well as painted the cables that connect to my SSD's. While I was putting everything back together I was able to optimize my power cables and remove a couple extra ones. You can't really see much of a difference, but I'm much happier with the cable management. This is also the first time I cleaned my computer, figured I should since it's been a month, and that was surprisingly easy. The air filters kept almost all of the dust out of the case. If I could I would give the case another star just for being that good.

Custom Parts

The sleeve extensions were to add that extra bit of white in the case. I love the way they look and I think they really tie everything together. They are very good quality and if you are looking for some extensions, I highly recommend these.

My case didn't come with any external 5.25" drive bays, which I actually like. I prefer the smooth front and always thought swinging doors were a little tacky. So I picked up this external optical drive from Samsung. It's worked like a dream. I used it to install all the drivers plus a few miscellaneous programs. Now that I'm done using it for the time being it's sitting in a drawer ready for when I need it again.

Stumbled across my mouse pad by accident. From the reviews it sounded exactly like the kind of mouse pad I was looking for. I wanted one that was soft and a little squishy but not necessarily cloth. It has a really nice textured surface that feels great to the touch and my mouse glides easily across. The reverse side is a rubber texture that grips the surface just fine. I haven't had to worry about any kind of slippage at all. Plus I like the look of it with the MSI dragon in the corner.

Conclusion

As I'm sure you've gathered, I absolutely love my new computer. It has far exceeded my expectations and is everything I dreamed it would be. I could go on, but I think I've made my point. I will say though, that anyone who is thinking of building their own PC should definitely do it. It has been a really fun experience and I've learned a lot. The sense of accomplishment from building your own rig is phenomenal. Plus you have a real sense of investment in your computer, versus something you just bought off of a shelf. Like I've been telling all my friends, you can build a really good gaming computer for $600. And if even that is beyond your budget, you can start small and gradually build up. So for anyone who is on the fence about whether they should take the plunge or not, I say do it. You won't regret it.

*A note on the numbers: I got all of my numbers from my NZXT CAM software which I use to monitor my system. I pulled the under load temps while my computer was running the Fire Strike benchmark. The total out of pocket cost for me was approximately $2000. Mostly it was waiting for the right component to come on sale for the right price. I ended up buying all of my pieces over a series of about 3 months. If you're patient you can end up saving a lot of money. In my case, if I bought everything right now at the time of publishing this, it would have cost $2500.

Part Reviews

CPU

Technically, I could have gotten away with the i5 4690k for the gaming I wanted to do, but I really wanted an i7 and I really enjoy being able to multitask without having to deal with slowdown. So, I bit the bullet and went with the i7 4790k. I was able to overclock this to 4.4 GHz with no problem with my case/cooling setup. I'm really happy with my choice, glad I went with the upgrade. The power that this guy has is ridiculous and I love it.

CPU Cooler

I originally wanted one of the Fractal Design Kelvin coolers, but they weren't released when I was buying my parts. So instead I went with the NZXT Kraken. I was looking for a solid 140mm cooler and this one ended up fitting the bill. Besides matching the case, this one came with variable pump speed and a cool LED (bonus!). It has been working fantastic, keeping my i7 nice and cool. This cooler was well worth the money.

Motherboard

I love this motherboard. Originally, it was chosen since it is one of the only Z97 mobos to have a well done black/white color scheme, but then I really started to love its simplistic no frills look. I was a little leery due to the lack of reviews, but when I pulled it out of the box I fell in love and haven't had any reason to change my mind since. It has space for all my components and installation was super easy.

Memory

I was originally planning to go with a pair of the Kingston's Hyper X in white (holy sexy, Batman!) and only go with 8 gigs of ram. But then Newegg Flash had a really good deal on these. I hadn't heard of Avexir before, but after doing some research about them I was really excited and decided to pick them up. These also have a little LED in them that fades on and off with a blue color. They are slightly offset with their timing which makes for a really neat effect inside the case. And they came in 16 gigs, so you know. There's that. Definitely worth it.

Storage

I wanted SSDs for my operating system and my favorite video games, but then I couldn't decide on which games I wanted to put on the SSD and which ones wouldn't get the special treatment. So I got one SSD for the OS and one for the games. Problem solved. Unless you like spending money I don't think there is any reason to go with anything else besides the 850 EVO. Almost nothing else performs as well (not even the 850 pro) and anything that does has a dumb price tag. So 850 EVOs for me. The 120GB for the OS and 250GB for games, in case you were wondering.

Storage

I wanted extra storage for music, pictures, movies, books, etc. That's what the WD Green is for. Inexpensive and big, perfect for mass storage. The WD Blue is for everything else. I admit, four drives might be a little overdoing it, but each fulfills a certain role and they have been working out fantastically well for me.

Video Card

I wanted amazing graphics power, but I also didn't want to pay through the nose for it. For me the GTX 970 is the perfect combination of performance and value. I've enjoyed the MSI gaming edition, the twin frozr has been great. I love that the fans don't turn on unless it reaches a certain temperature. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to do solid 1080p gaming. The 970 is perfect for that. So far all my games have performed above my expectations. It's also been staying pretty cool, relatively speaking. Even after putting a decent overclock on it it still never goes above 74 degrees after 10+ hours of prolonged gaming. MSI did an amazing job with their cooler on this card. After having both overclocked and modded this graphics card I love it even more. Seriously this thing has been everything I wanted and more.

Case

This is one of the parts I spent the most time deciding on and I changed my mind the most about. I finally decided on the H440 because it looks absolutely gorgeous, people have had nothing but incredible things to say about it, and it comes with four amazing fans. It was an absolute joy to build in with plenty of space for everything. It also made cable management easy, and it's super quiet. Even at max speed for all my fans, it never gets above a pleasant hum.

Power Supply

I think a lot of people tend to overlook the power supply because it isn't that glamorous, but I think it's one of the most important parts. So I wanted to get a very high quality one that I knew I could rely on. After looking into it I found that the new Corsair AX series was based on the Seagate KM3 platform which is a solid improvement over their old KM2, which was already pretty good to start with. That plus the modular design and platinum efficiency rating made it my top pick. I was going to go with the 760 since that would have provided me with more than enough power, even if I was going to run a second GPU but the 860 came up on sale so I got it instead.

Operating System

I know a lot of people aren't a fan of Windows 8, but from what I've read it seems like most of what they don't like is all cosmetic based. There isn't anything wrong with the operating system itself. Plus Windows 8 runs more efficiently than WIndows 7. After I found a fantastic article on Lifehacker about how to make Windows 8 look like Windows 7, I didn't see any reason not to go with it. I haven't had any problems or annoyances with it yet.

Sound Card

Originally I wasn't even going to bother with one of these but then I did some research on my headset and found out that it was unlikely my mobo had enough juice to power it properly. So I grabbed this since it was inexpensive and had good reviews. So far, it's been great and everything sounds amazing through it.

Monitor

I grabbed both of these off of Newegg during a shell shocker sale and got an incredible deal on them. I love the way they look. They've been great for gaming and everything looks gorgeous on them. I don't use their speakers so I don't know about that, but the visuals are outstanding. I wanted a 1080p IPS with good response time and these fit the bill perfectly.

Keyboard

At first I wasn't going to get a mechanical keyboard because I found the rather loud switches to be annoying, but after a friend showed me how easy it was to quiet them, I was sold. I love this keyboard for the sleek look, the great feel of the keys and the super comfortable arm rest. And because I think black/red is way overdone, I went out of my way to find the blue backlit version.

Mouse

I had a Logitech MX Revolution back in the day and it was the best mouse by far I have ever used. Until I got my hands on the MX Master. This mouse is amazing. I know it's not a "gamer" mouse, but I love the way it feels, how responsive it is and it looks sexy. I don't play a lot of games that need perfect twitch responses or accuracy, so I don't know how it performs in that regard. What I do use it for, it does perfectly. I love this mouse. The gesture function, while awkward at first, now that I've gotten used to it, is second nature. It makes actions really intuitive now and I think it's a brilliant move. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Headphones

I looked into a lot of different head sets and this one ended up being my perfect fit. It might seem weird to spend 2k on a computer but not want to spend over $100 on a headset but everyone has their line. These are super comfortable and sound great, especially with the aforementioned video card.

Speakers

Just looking for a good pair of speakers for around $50. These were under budget and had super amazing reviews. I've loved them so far. Sound great and look stylish. Surprisingly, I've really enjoyed the volume control "pod" that sits on my desk. The volume is controlled by a rotating top, that really is fun to use. I'm surprised I didn't end up with a Logitech sound system, but this ended up being a great fit.

Comments Sorted by:

floridaboz 4 Builds 4 points 28 months ago

Overall very nice build. +1 for them soild black and white theme, but i can not give you another +1 for the MSI stuff, i would if i could but pcpp just wont let me. I am very impressed all the way around.

I do have a few questions because a few of the things you use, i plan on using on my build. First how do you like those 850 evo's?

Also How is the performance on that video card?

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks! I really like MSI. They're a good company and have been making some fantastic products.

So far the 850 EVO's have been great. Of course they're really fast, especially since I'm used to laptop hard drive speeds. I haven't had any issues so far.

For the GTX 970, I'm in love with it. From what I read while I was looking into video cards, the 980 was overkill for 1080p gaming and twice the price. The 970 is pretty much perfect for me. So far, at 1080p I've been able to turn the graphics all the way up on every game I've played so far and haven't had any kind of performance issues at all. I've played Rome 2 Total War, Bioshock Infinite, and Civilization 5 and none of them have been a problem. Eventually I'll get around to The Witcher 3, which is probably the most graphic intensive game I have right now, but I'm still working my way through the first two.

luis.hd 3 points 28 months ago

I love the stool holding up the monitor!

Great build.I really like black and white computers

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks for the feedback! I got a really great deal on the desk, but didn't think about the second monitor at the time. Thankfully my wife had the stool sitting around and it's pretty much the perfect height. Plus it adds a bit of character

lachie_mcd 1 Build 1 point 28 months ago

i really want that keyboard but i'm worried about the failure rates of the blue LEDs on them, did they fix them with the update to "corsair gaming" keyboards?

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

All I can say is that it's been great for me so far. I'll definitely post an update if I start to have any problems with the LEDs going out. I love the soft blue glow vs the more ominous red LEDs that are more popular.

lachie_mcd 1 Build 1 point 28 months ago

please do, the black blue keyboard is so underrated, and it is absolutely perfect for my planned black blue build.

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

I agree. When you get your build up let me know! I would love to see it.

Phantasion 1 point 28 months ago

really cool build, love the color scheme of black and white with a little red mixed in. and the parts are well picked too. one thing though, apollo is technically the god of the sun and music. not really a big difference, im just picky about that kind of thing. great build!

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

Thanks! I'm really happy with how it all came together. I agree, Apollo is the god of sun and music, but he also has a lot of other titles as well. He is also known as the god of philosophy, medicine, and prophecy.

YeahIamGay 1 point 28 months ago

how are the speaker are they good?

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

The speakers are great. I definitely recommend them if you want an inexpensive pair. The sound quality is probably the best you can get for anything under $100.

fahim_amd 1 point 28 months ago

Hi! Your build looks awesome. I really like the NZXT H440 Case a lot but was skeptical about the ventilation since there are small spaces for air intake which could choke the fans. Have you faced any problems so far?

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

That was one of my concerns at first too, but I haven't had any problems with airflow so far. The highest temp I've seen was on my gpu at 83 degrees. But then I realized that my cpu cooler, which is my primary exhaust fan, was set on silent mode. When I turned that up to performance mode, usually while I'm playing graphic intensive games, I haven't seen any temps higher than 72 degrees.

Mad-Warrior 1 point 28 months ago

LOVE IT! I am building one with the same case and cpu fan, as well as gpu.

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

That's awesome! You should definitely post some pics when it's finished!

Geode1010 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

+1 for Avexir RAM!

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Right? I hadn't heard of them before but when I looked into them it turns out they're really awesome! I love how they've been performing for me so far.

DxtremeHD 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

No offense, when I obtains the funds required to build my PC ($3500), it will surpass yours any day of the week. Just sayin'.

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Haha, I should hope so. When you get it put together you should post some pics!

uaaditya 1 point 27 months ago

I actually looked at the build just after i built mine, and i observed the parts, and i found that there is n problem at all, nice color scheme, and u might be a really nice builder, check me out

P.S: But if the budget was 2500 bucks, i would have done much better, i just thought of a decent gaming build and i did it

bucketface1001 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Great build man.I'm eyeing that Msi Krait for my first ever build. How's it working for you?

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

I couldn't be more happy with it. I was a little leery at first since it was new and there hadn't been a lot of reviews for it, but it's worked like a dream for me. No problems whatsoever. When I toyed around with over clocking, the bios were really easy to use which is really nice. Plus, it looks damn sexy.

Suprpineappleman 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

awesome build man! if it wants so expensive i would totally just use what you've done, but alas my budget is a mere $1200. I am going to use the same video card, cpu cooler, and 120GB ssd though, but they're really popular, so i guess that isn't really that uncommon.

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Those are all solid choices, I think you'll really be happy with them. Since it was my first build I did go a little overboard, especially in hindsight. Do you know what case you want?

Suprpineappleman 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

I have actually already gotten the VIVO CASE-VO3. Its a really awesome case, the only thing is that there is only 3 fan mounts, so i'll have to put my watercooling rad on the top. Other than that, i have no complaints. i have also decided to go with the Cooler Master Nepton 240M rather than the NZXT Kraken X41 (more cooling power for not a lot more money)

Suprpineappleman 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

I have just realized my mistake...

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Oh? Do tell. I was looking at the case and it looks really cool, but I'm not sure how a 240mm rad would look strapped on top of it.

Also, the X41 is more about aesthetics than price/performance. You would totally get more bang for your buck with the Nepton.

Suprpineappleman 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

yeah, i kind of messed up. tbh idk why i ever thought that would work, it was extremely stupid, because (somehow) i forgot that the tubes were attached to the rad and block. duh. i have gone with the Enermax OSTROG case, and back to the X41 becasue the top fan mounts are separated, and therefore 280mm, rather than 240. Again, it was excessively dumb, and i probably shouldn't have said anything, but of course i did.

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Haha, hey for all I know you were just a super determined modder. Either way I do enjoy that Enermax case. It looks sexy. If you wanted, depending on your budget you could go with the X61 since that is 280mm. Not sure how intensive you are planning to OC or utilize your CPU. For my i7 the X41 works fine since it never goes past 50% load for long durations of time. The only time the X41 wasn't enough was when I was doing CPU benchmarking and running it at 100% load. Then it started to get a little toasty.

Persicuta 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Great build mate!

Nothing wrong with getting a cheaper headset. Lot of my friends have amazing head phones but cheaper headsets just for the mic really. Great build otherwise :)

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

Yeah definitely. I have pretty terrible ears anyway, so anything remotely approaching audiophile quality is completely lost on me. The HyperX headset is comfortable and sounds great to me. My friends have no complaints about the mic quality so I would say it's a perfect fit.

BTPraat 1 point 22 months ago

I'm loving the painted graphics card!!!

Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 22 months ago

Thanks! It actually turned out a lot better than I thought it would. Turns out the trick is to use the right paint.

Sirpz 1 Build 1 point 18 months ago

ehem but apollo is actually god of the sun

llamasbetrippin01 1 point 8 months ago

I love how you're profile picture is a picture of you beloved mouse.

+1

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Vengeance1871 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks! And yes, I agree. I've already been thinking about a couple things to make it better.

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