This is the second build log I've created for this 250D, I feel the upgrades warranted a new one, you can find the first log with some insight on parts selection I may miss in this log HERE.
I find keeping the main build downstairs a nice retreat but I do spend most of my time at home upstairs in the family room. I'm also a cable cutter who often uses Chromecast but it's obviously got it's limitations, so I created a Media/ Game Streaming PC. I loved it as it was, but I've had a ton of time off work lately and boredom is the Devil's playground. I got the Red Hydra up to a state I'm satisfied with then the idea's on how to improve my Streaming Box started dancing in my head.
When I first built this PC I focused on budget with room for improvement. I got 1600MHz ram despite my $25 Pentium CPU only supporting 1333MHz with this thought in mind. The H97 motherboard was the cheapest I could find with AC wireless & bluetooth, I needed both, the AC to get a good seamless connection for Steam game streaming and Bluetooth for connecting my PS4 controller (I can even use the trackpad on it as a mouse to pick out games and the light bar goes from green to red to tell me battery level).
Streaming games was all well and good as long as the game didn't use Uplay or Origin, I also had to go downstairs to make sure the PC was on. I eventually used it less and less and decided now was the time to make my Streaming Box stand on it's own. I've been caught up in the GTX 970 hype and they are nearly impossible to find in Canada, so to see this one in stock and on sale(?!) I had to bite. I know EVGA's gpus have been embattled at release this gen but I gave them the benefit of the doubt based on my positive experiences with them, their new 0db fan firmware and free backplate promotion. With the gpu on route I went out to get the rest of the parts I'd need to compliment it.
Summary of the parts I added to turn this from a modest media PC to a capable gaming PC below:
CPU- Based on the H97 board I had to buy a locked cpu. The less I have to tamper with this build the better, I know I'd obsess over it and eventually get a better cooler. Benchmarks show there isn't much difference between Haswell cpu's for gaming performance going down the product line, I just made sure to get a quad core for the increasing amount of games that use more than 2 cores. Opted to get it for $10 more than the i5 4460 since it seemed cheap enough whether I perceive the difference or not, the next jump in clock speed would've cost me another $20 so I hit the brakes there before I kept going and going.
GPU- EVGA recently released a new bios that makes the fans cut out under 50°C in the same vein as an Asus Strix card as well as cut down the fan speed at load. The result is slightly hotter when looping benchmarks but quiet execution, I look forward to reading reviews on this card reflecting the change.
The SSC has a two way bios switch (I will eventually use), an older heat pipe design (two 8mm copper pipes centered down the die with a third 6mm off to the side for support) than the FTW model (a plate over the die with multiple pipes coming off the edges). They both share ACX 2.0 fans and a better vrm controller than lower models.
I put it through it's paces to find it's max OC. It settled at an effective 1505 mhz core clock and +450 on the memory before crashing out or showing it's hitting it's power limit. So now I'm comfortably over a 10,000 Fire Strike score with my locked CPU. The GPU doesn't go over 77C while looping the heaven benchmark and its fan noise isn't offensive (nice whurr) in keeping it there, so no throttling. It's of course even cooler in-game.
To me that's unbelievable, no need for water cooling to reach it's max potential and not only could I find the card in stock but I got it at a $20 discount! (Cdn economy anyways). The SSC comes with a higher stock clock out of the box, I normally don't care but keeping with the theme of hassle free operation I have with the cpu I've opted to leave my OC software turned off. My testing came with the case outside of the stand you see in the last photo. Air is very restricted when I stick the case in there, I noticed the temp climb a bit after I stuck it in and said forget it after playing with the fan speeds a bit, I have my OC profile saved, I'll revisit this again the day I don't squeeze 60fps out of a game.
My free backplate will be on the way soon as well. I'll update this log with photos when it arrives.
HDD- Got this refurbished at my local Memory Express. With the operating system and utilities on the SSD, I needed some space to compliment it now that I was going to store games and media locally vs primarily streaming. Finding space for it was a pain, I use the case's HDD bay to store excess cables so I had to remove a piece of the bracket holding the DVD drive to squeeze it in below where the SSD was. I used velcro to stick the SSD above, it just clears the top panel and sits nicely.
PSU- Overkill. I swapped this out of my last build and didn't have a home for it. Didn't opt to sell it because I still have 9.5 years of warranty left. If I ever find a more appropriate PSU with modular cables I will consider it's purchase but it'd have to be on a smoking sale. As it stands this one still has gold rated efficiency for whatever little power it draws, it' won't bother me that much that I can't take advantage of it's power ceiling.
Up next, I may switch up the color of my cable extensions a bit if I'm really bored. I went for a bit of a blue flair to try and match the gpu. The case is stuck in that cube stand anyways so it's not as pressing as the need for more airflow before I start oc'ing again. I'm going to look into a 200mm fan for the front of the case to see if it helps the rock solid gpu temps that jumped up when I enclosed it in the stand. EVGA also offers a step-up program that allows my to trade this card in at retail value over the next 90 days for another model. I can't see me ever needing something stronger for the 1080p TV it's connecting to but I'll chew on the idea closer to that promotions expiry.
All prices are CDN.