It's been upgraded quite a bit since I wrote that description, if anyones reading see the part list.
Not exactly a new build, as the last upgrade I made was now nearly two months ago, and it's also really version 4.0 of my Rig of Theseus I've been maintaining since 2012... Lots of history here, with dozens of small parts upgrades and two big overhauls over the years. Without ever restarting from scratch I went from Intel+Nvidia to full AMD, from a big ATX tower to mini-ITX, and from Windows 7 to 10, with 8.1 and experiments with Linux mixed in. Pics in the album in reverse chronological order, apologies for the potato quality and bad lighting in older ones.
The initial build in early 2016 was bought at and assembled by a local shop, and consisted of a i7-2600 and EVGA GTX 570 in an Antec 302. A few months later I made my first upgrade, a 2TB hard drive, and realized how I could have easily built it myself and saved money. Oh well. It took a bit less than a year after that to really start reshaping it, by moving the part in a Corsair 500R and installing a H105 liquid cooler, upgrading the GPU to a GTX 780, the OCZ SSD to a Samsung 840 EVO (the oldest current part in my build!) and the CPU to the overclockable 3770K, as well as making a pathetic attempt at sleeving cables. All spread out over several months as I managed to get money to fund it.
The PC itself as seen in the exterior pics, taken in summer 2015, remained very stable for a while as I mostly upgraded peripherals. Most notably I got an Asus PB278Q 1440p monitor and kept the original 1080p as a vertical secondary. In that period I briefly considered doing a custom liquid cooling loop as my next project, but I was very impressed when I saw the Steam Machine prototype, and the Silverstone RVZ01 inspired from it. A friend then showed me his own premium, aluminum-clad Silverstone case, so when they released the FTZ01B, the perfect mix between the two, I knew what I'd do next.
So in mid-2016 I finally pulled the trigger on the big jump to small form factor. This is the closest it came to being a completely different build, but as it carried over the CPU, GPU and SSD, as well as the Windows 8.1 install I was using, I still consider it to be the same computer. That was an incredibly difficult build, I've built many computers for friends, family and acquaintances, but I never had to work in such a cramped case before. I also made it even harder for myself by choosing a SFX-L PSU, sticking with an AiO and adding an optical drive.
In 2017 my GTX 780 was really starting to show its age and I was considering various options, in particular adaptive sync. When my current monitor, the Nixeus EDG27, went up for preorder on Massdrop, I almost immediately committed. Those specs at that price were an incredible offer, and to go with it I got myself a Sapphire Radeon R9 Fury at a stupidly low price when they were clearing out inventory ahead of the Vega launch. At some points I wondered if it was the right move, but now I regret nothing. Vega was never reasonably priced in Canada and with the crypto craze it went from just bad to completely insane.
My monitor eventually shipped to a good friend of mine in Philadelphia, who sent it to me since the preorder was US only, and I was really impressed with AMD. So much that I started planning a full switch to Team Red, maybe on the second generation Ryzen release... And then we got amazing deals just before Black Friday and I pulled the trigger early. Replacing my 3770K was going to be a tall order since I really had won the silicon lottery with it: even in the miniature case with a single-fan AiO (to be fair I replaced the fan with a Noctua Industrial 2000 RPM) the 4.7 GHz @ 1.3 volts overclock remained stable for 24 hours under stress testing with Prime95. At least by getting the R7 1800X I was stacking the deck in my favor, making sure I could reach 4.0 GHz.
After getting a set of DDR4 memory with Samsung B-die chips (so expensive! But so worth it, 3200 MHz with no effort!) what I had to wait for was the motherboard. It had amazing reviews and I really didn't thrust any other mini-ITX AM4 board to overclock an 8-core CPU, but when it was released it was only quickly available in Australia and Asia, then Europe... It was taking so long I ended up spending way too much to import it from a UK reseller. But hey, I got it a month before anyone else in North America, so I've got that going for me at least. And of course it turned out that the memory heatspreaders were too tall and I couldn't close the case, so I had to replace the fan with a low-profile one. Good thing Ryzen runs so cool. And boy does it run! 4.0 GHz at stock voltage and fast memory makes for pretty much identical single core performance to my old Ivy Bridge i7, and the extra cores allow me to stream to my living room TV without a hiccup among other stuff.
So that 6-years ride takes us to today. Upgrade plans for the foreseeable include upgrading the graphics card if/when prices go back to a reasonable level, then maybe the SSD, keyboard and secondary monitor. For all this time it's truly been a blast to play with both the hardware and he games on it, and to show it off to everyone I can. Nothing converts someone to the Glorious PC Mustard Race faster than seeing a console-sized box running DOOM 2016 or The Witcher 3 at ultra, or Skyrim with so many graphical mods I max out the VRAM. And then those converts pay me to build their PCs, which provides money for future upgrades! MUAHAHAHAHA!
Cheap but well built. Low-profile pump assembly, useful if you're trying to jam it in a SFF case.
Expensive, but you really pay top dollar for top quality, not just branding and shiny RGB. Great build and component quality, frequently updated BIOS, very stable. Only downside is the lack of I/O, but for most people its sufficient and the beefy VRM heatsink is what you want if you're looking to overclock an 8-core CPU in a cramped case.
A luxury version of the RVZ01. Its weight almost defeats the purpose of a small case, but it's sturdy and looks amazing. Not for first time builders.
SFX-L is a bit larger than regular SFX, so even though it's modular it can be really hard to fit in small cases. However it's silent, efficient, and can power a dual-GPU card.
Probably the best low-profile fan out there, similar both in noise and performance to a Noctua NF-F12.
Was an average monitor in 2012, today I'd consider it only for the tightest budgets.
The most impressive monitor I"ve ever laid my eyes on. Freesync makes anything above 40 FPS look pretty good, so even with a less powerful GPU it's a great experience.
All cheap plastic, can<t remove the keys for cleaning. Better feel than most rubber domes but not by much. RGB lighting is controlled in zones. More macro keys than you'll ever use.
The best mouse I've ever used, tied with the Mionix Castor. Feels great for palm grip or even claw, just enough extra buttons, and I dig the more understated look.
Not the best headphones for gaming, but since they're portable and very durable you can use them outside and attach a modmic for a low-cost, high quality all-in-one solution for all your audio needs.
Way too much bass, as expected of Bose, and overpriced. At least the sound through the headphone jack is unaltered.