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The Phantom - Updated description for first timers

by jbridgiee


http://imgur.com/a/7avWD - build photos and what went wrong.

Basic Reviews

Item Review
i5-3570K Is a CPU, works. What can I say? It works great and so far I have had no issues with it. I tell it to compute things and it does that fairly quickly. I have not tried OC'ing as I'm a ***** and lazy, also I think it lowers its lifetime? probably isn't true, someone tell me. Runs fairly cool which has more to do with the cooler. Does everything I need it to and well.
Hyper 212 EVO Cools **** down, quietly. The cooler itself is great, temps never go above around maybe 55, never seen it go higher anyways. It is pretty quiet, and the only issue was when I was building, and not sorting out the bracket before I laid the unit down.
GA-Z77X-UD3H Works fine, weird drivers = no hackintoshing. The motherboard is fine, works as it should but requires via audio drivers (not that much of an issue) and drivers for the back panel usb 3.0 connectors (not including the intel chipset ones, which it identifies with a sticker), which I was completely unaware of. A quick search on google found the solution when wondering why they didn't work. I thought about trying a hackintosh but found out the board has incompatabilities with the audio and rear panel usb 3.0 drivers, not much of an issue but a bummer in the least, anyone thinking of specifically building a hackintosh should really head over to the tonymacx86 forums for better suggestions with max compatibility. I have not tested OC'ing on this motherboard so I have no comments on it's reliability.
Corsair Vengeance LP Doesn't spontaneously combust. The memory is great, no issues with it, got the LP for better clearance to the cooler, 8gb was plenty for me but with the imminent release of DDR4, prices were going up and decided I should get the upgrade while they were still readily available and (relatively) cheap - although prices had already gone up by at least 30% by the time I upgraded.
HyperX 3K 120GB Is fast, is quiet, is superman. The SSD is great, boots to desktop in around 20 seconds (maybe more, always forget to time it), just in time for the monitor to finally turn on. The speed is good, havent got around to doing the enhancing tips like changing the mode in BIOS and whatever, but is fine for the moment, I remember a test showing ~220mb/s write speed compared to the hard drives ~120mb/s.
Caviar Black 1TB Spins, holds information, loud. Hard Drive is quite loud when writing / accessing, otherwise unnoticeable. It works great and as I said before it writes at speeds ~120mb/s which is pretty good. Not much more to complain about
EVGA GTX 670 FTW 2GB Plays games, well. Cool-y and quietly. GPU is great, never goes past 80 under load (I think, maybe 70 I'm not sure. Stays cool nonetheless), the FTW edition was definitely better as it has the 680 PCB and is more spread out - staying cooler. Only nitpicks are that it is quite big, bigger than I was expecting a card to be, and that the "Geforce GTX" logo doesn't light up. Again, not real problems for me but just nitpicks. Get playable frame rates at max on just about every game I have (bar Metro 2033 etc), and 60+fps on many games.
Phantom 410 Cases up the joint, a bit plastic-y. Case is a bit plastic-y which I didn't really think about and the front panel requires more force than expected to open, and in the direct spot where the clip is. Also has bit of light leak in certain places and the power button is slightly small but that's all just nitpicking, it's a great case and looks good too, good for anyone who doesn't mind not having complete perfection.
Corsair AF140 Fan Not quiet. The Corsair AF140 fan shown was one of the biggest problems, the screws did not fit into the holes properly and is only silent when not above at least half speed. Anything from 40% upwards is really noticeable and even drowns out all the other standard fans.
XFX 550W PSU 1.21 Gigawatts, has a stiffy. PSU is great, no major issues with it yet. The cables however are a little hard to bend, and combined with the case makes it much harder for cable management, just a little nitpick, the PSU itself works like a charm.
Asus DVD Drive Guess. It works great, not much room for error on these things.
Sidewinder X4 Has buttons, can press them. Keyboard is good, only real issues are that media buttons don't work with itunes (although not due to the keyboard itself but itunes' incompatibility with media keys, just a bummer), the macro keys are a little out of the way and require a bit of force to press. The only other real issue is that it's not mechanical :S
Razer DeathAdder Susceptible to gamer gunk. And Doritos. The mouse is good, just a couple of nitpicks really, the sides are reflective plastic and are not hydrophobic, therefore it build up "gamer gunk" quite easily especially as I'm known to sweat quite a bit. The other thing is the side buttons, they are a little far back for my liking and the closest one is harder to press especially in fps situations.
Headset - Gamecom 780 Plays sounds through the medium of air, likely to break in 2-3 years use. The headset is great, it's definitely good for the low price. Had some minor issues, it didn't work with my back panel usb 3.0 ports which seemed to be a very individual issue, noone else seemed to have the same problem and took me a while to fix with only 2 usb 2.0 ports available. Otherwise, the mic is excellent, very clear and not usually that much background noise. It isn't noise cancelling and definitely leaks sound, but once your wearing them the sound quality is very good and you feel quite isolated. The surround works fine, I never use it because I usually have something that shouldn't be in surround on at the same time, which usually becomes like a god speaking down onto you, which is not exactly what I desire. Lastly it is quite comfortable, no pinpoint load onto your head but as it is plastic, it seems like it will break in a few years at least which a few people have complained about, so don't expect to be using these for an eternity.

That's pretty much it, I used most of my characters on the table, so overall I'm really happy with my build, it all works like a dream and going back to my laptop is like watching paint dry compared to this, and even that is only like 3-4 years old. Haven't had a chance to do any proper benchmarking yet but would like to in the future.

I learned:

  1. Be patient.

  2. It's easier than you think.

I got quite stressed throughout because of the minor things that kept going wrong and led me to make even more mistakes. One tip I would definitely follow next time is to keep calm and take your time. You'll want to do it in one sitting but take your time, no need to rush anything.

When choosing your parts, try to avoid spur of the moment decisions. It took me months of browsing to find all the components I wanted, and the one thing I randomly decided on turned out to be an issue (the motherboard - drivers) so make sure when trying to find the best system make sure to find the most reliable parts and the parts that are most compatible with each other, i.e. avoiding the memory touching the cpu cooler by getting low profile memory. Choose parts that you know you will get the most out of and that are best for the price. Think about each one and read reviews on each one to make sure none of the issues are issues that will affect how you will use it in a major way. If you're going to be spending a lot of money on something then you might as well get your dollars worth, get the best you can buy and that way you won't regret anything and you'll have a build that will last as long as you need it to. If you're a little short on money then try not to cut back on the big things like the CPU or GPU, try to cut back on things that can be easily upgraded, like the memory or having an ssd / multiple hard drives or maybe even keyboard and mouse if you already have some, stuff like that you can always get in the future and you won't have compromised your system for something you have the money for in the future, it's a lot harder to upgrade major parts without spending a whole lot more money.

(Looks x Practicality) / Reliability. If it looks good but isn't practical, choose something else. If it looks good and is practical, but is known to be unreliable, look for a safer, more reliable option. If it looks good, is practical, and is very reliable, then BINGO! You've found a winner.

Another thing is for people getting SSD's make sure to read this SSD optimization guide before you build your system, there are some parts that you should do immediately after install such as changing the read mode, which will require lots of backing up to do in the future. http://www.overclock.net/t/1156654/seans-windows-7-install-guide-optimization-for-ssds-hdds.

Lastly make sure to read this guide when you've finished, it has all kinds of programs from ones that change your screen colour with the time of day so as to not blind you and keep you awake when browsing late, to programs used to benchmark. http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/comments/fw0gw

I love my build and the only thing I would really do if I was to go back and do it again is choose a better motherboard, the driver issues are a bummer for me as it lowers the possibilities for things like hackintosh etc. It wasn't that big of a problem as I wasn't set out for it but it would have been better just to be prepared, so check on things like the tonymacx86 forums and /r/hackintosh on reddit just to maximize compatibility whether you want it or not. Furthermore my usb 3.0 drivers were incompatible with my headphones so just another reasons to make sure of stuff like that.

Comments Sorted by:

lenoz 2 Builds 7 points 70 months ago

Probably the best description ever. Would upvote twice if I could. Actually no, I'd just upvote once now that I've had to think about your gamer gunk.

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

I don't like thinking about it either. I don't think there's much way to avoid it other than hydrophobic coatings or maybe gamer grip? Either way I'm not too fussed about it.

IamApropos 3 Builds 4 points 70 months ago

great build, balanced and high quality selected components. Enjoyed looking through the photos, thank you.

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

Thanks man, glad you enjoyed!

sethi 3 points 70 months ago

Great build, very well balanced. Cable management is great.

linkgx1 3 points 70 months ago

Sweetness! I love your review. Thanks for the SSD tip!:)

jakethemp 1 Build 3 points 70 months ago

love how you talked about the build

1lowrado2136 1 Build 2 points 70 months ago

i have those same fans and mine are so quiet i have to check to make sure theyre still spinning and they are at full speed.

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

It might be just how I've connected them, the screws aren't in properly because the holes are too tight so that may be causing vibrations but I've heard other people with the same issues as me

Highwlaker 1 Build 2 points 70 months ago

Awesome description, awesome build. Very nicely done!

And yes, overclocking does lower the life span. When you force more electrodes through the processor, it will broaden the pathways. Which in turn will lead to needing more power and will generate more heat as it gets older. Or something along those lines. You're basically accelerating the aging of the processor. But considering their life isn't all that long anyway, the performance boost is definitely worth the shorter life. But that's mostly a matter of opinion and financial capabilities.

Destrokk 2 Builds 3 points 70 months ago

Also remember that Intel offers an Overclocking insurance that lasts for 2 years if I remember correctly. It's very affordable as well.

Highwlaker 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

Actually didn't know that. So thanks, that's good to know! :-)

TestBuilds 2 points 70 months ago

Nice headset, I have the Gamecom 380s but they're only stereo. Still, was the best headset I found for $50. Would you recommend that I upgrade to the 780 if I ever wanted surround sound, or is it not that useful when you only have a surround sound channel coming through?

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 2 points 70 months ago

It's good, but as I said I usually have more than one channel, but when I don't it does give the feel of directional audio very well you can find the source of a sound very easily with it on, for me it's still always a bit godlike, any sound not being played in the game environment is even more godlike. So I'd say as long as you don't mind spending the money then sure, but if you have other things you want to be buying then I'd say leave it :)

TestBuilds 1 point 70 months ago

Thanks for the info

istealunderwear 9 Builds 2 points 70 months ago

Fantastic discription of the parts and what you like, what you didn't like, problems and worries. And as I can hear, this seems to be your first build because of all the connector worries. Really enjoyed both reading and looking through all the pictures. Any specific reason to go with the gtx 670? Enjoy your pc! If this was your first build probs for the cable management, I've seen some bad cable management in the first build. But cable manage can always get better! Anyway. Something that could've look awesome was if you got a modular power supply and got white PSU cables. That would be awesome Anyway happy computing!

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

Originally I got it for the CUDA and compatibility with video editing however I don't do that very much anyways so I think I could've gone with a 7950. Yes this is my first build, I didn't go with a modular because my budget was very tight and didn't want to under-spend on the bigger parts. I'm thinking about getting some white braided cable extenders in the future which should definitely help with looks and cable management.

istealunderwear 9 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

Indeed it would would look awesome. anyway awesome build!

ardechey 2 points 70 months ago

Beautiful build.

Bgwood91 1 point 70 months ago

Why would you want to use your headset in a USB 3.0 port, I can't say for sure but I doubt it makes any difference

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

Not so much that, but that I want to use it on the back panel ports and there are no 2.0 ports on the back panel, forcing me to use the ones on top of the case :S

Mincading 12 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

nice mug LOL

JsoN7 1 point 70 months ago

Overall good build and once you're satisfied with it, then that's all that matters. I'd recommend getting some dust filters for your fans if you plan on keeping them on the outside of the case. I may have the same situation with my build and am planning to do the same. Have fun!

corey0407 1 point 70 months ago

this build looks amazing man! im working on building a pc myself and i was wondering how do you know which psu to get for your build? in my build its 300 wattage. could you help me out? and im gonna upgrade in the future. its a budget build for now

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

You'll want to get one that's at least 450w or more, I'd suggest the one I got, because it's 80 plus certified which is something you kinda need to avoid all your parts being fried.

PirateCoffee 1 point 70 months ago

Nice thorough description, seems like you took a long time writing it.

Nice build too!

Marcopolo 1 point 69 months ago

Nice build but should have waited for gtx 770 xD

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

I built it early January so the patience was not within me, or my wallet

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qwerty36 1 point 69 months ago

So, noob question here but what games do you play on it and how well do they run? I am currently in the beginning stages of my own build and yours looks WAY more appealing, both to the eye, and wallet.

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 2 points 69 months ago

It runs like every game I throw at it pretty well, I've play far cry 3, chivalry, counterstrike, bioshock infinite and loads more, far cry gets average around 30fps, and most other games are in the 60+ range

JakeyU72 3 Builds 1 point 68 months ago

When is DDR4 coming out? Will it still be 240-pin?

QuebecXxX123 1 point 68 months ago

Play station 4 will be equipe by DDR5 does DDR4 really exist?

jbridgiee submitter 1 Build 1 point 67 months ago

PS4 has GDDR5, DDR4 should be out soon I'm not sure when

DanJZ0404 1 point 68 months ago

Lovely build. Too lazy to really look at the parts right now :P

mattataki 1 Build 1 point 66 months ago

You were afraid to overclock, don't have shame for being afraid, your PSU is capable of great things and OC'ing voids the warranty anyway.

Elvyn 1 point 54 months ago

Just a random question- how did you do the basic review part like that?

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