Here is my first build which I decided to build after my 2 year old gaming laptop's motherboard failed (probably due to heat). Along with the persuasion of a friend who had recently completed a build, I decided not to go for a replacement laptop due to the difficulty of replacing parts/overheating problems. Luckily the laptop was insured and I got £750 from the insurance, so I set about planning a build for around that price. I wanted the build to be comfortable gaming on high settings at 1080p, and some room for a bit of CAD/Matlab. The parts were purchased and it was built in early December 2016.
Overall I am very pleased with my first build, and I don't think I'll be making any major upgrades any time soon. I will probably add a second SSD later this year but I'm fine with keeping stuff on a portable drive/cloud storage for now. Almost 5 months in everything is running smoothly, with the case and GPU fans rarely coming on when not gaming (case fans come on at 35 DegC CPU temp).
The next stage is to upgrade my desk for a wider/deeper/stronger one (you might be able to see the current one is bending under the load), and with it will probably come a second larger monitor and monitor arms. I'll keep this post updated with any future mods.
NZXT Hue+ RGB Controller
This kit is great for customising and really showing off your build.. when the software works. I've found the CAM software pretty buggy and every patch seems to come with new bugs, although it has been pretty stable for the last couple months. Can't fault the hardware and I will be buying more RGB strips to mount on the back of my monitor.
Extras- Braided Cables and Cable Combs
I picked up the BitFenix blue braided cable extensions for the mobo and GPU, along with some E22 cable combs from Overclockers. They were an absolute pain to get installed and sat how I wanted, but they look great and are a really nice finishing touch.
With the CPU I wanted a very capable processor that was pretty future proof, and the i5-6500 was the easy choice as I have no interest in overclocking. I made small aesthetic changes by removing the Intel sticker and braiding the fan power cable which is now barely noticeable.
The motherboard was chosen as it was pretty much the cheapest compatible with my build. It's a no thrills board that looks just fine in the case. Drawbacks are that it has no HDMI output, there are only 2 RAM slots, and RAM is limited to 2133MHz. But these drawbacks didn't bother me as I wanted to spend money elsewhere on the build.
16GB of memory seemed to be plenty for my planned use, and at the time this was the best value for money. I went for the 3000MHz type despite my motherboard being able to run at those speeds, as the difference in price was small and I wanted to future proof. For what I'm doing 2133MHz is just fine and I won't notice the difference to 3000MHz.
I chose this SSD as it was the best GB/£ in the price range I was looking at. It boots Windows 10 in about 12 seconds; Samsung 250GB SSDs are claimed to boot a few seconds faster but I wanted the 25GB extra for around the same price.
I am really pleased with this card at the price I paid. At the time I considered going for a slightly cheaper 1060 with less thrills but when this price dropped to £200 it was a no-brainer. The card looks awesome with the radiator pipes reflecting the LEDs, and the shield on top is a really nice touch that cheaper cards don't have. It hasn't struggled at all so far reaching a max of 65 DegC, running everything on max with decent fps.
I decided straight away that I wanted a windowed case with some form of LED lighting. I decided to go for the S340 which is a lovely case that hides cables really well, and was fairly easy to build in. One problem I've had is that the USB3.0 expansion port on the mobo is directly behind the HUE+ and SSD, so it's too tight to connect unfortunately and I have two blank USB ports on the case :/ The biggest problem with this case though is that the window is a cheap plastic that scratches extremely easily. NZXT actually sent me a replacement door and window free of charge when I complained which was great of them, but it is still the cheap plastic. In retrospect the S340 Elite case, with a tempered glass window, would be my choice.
On the advice of a friend I went for a fully modular power supply which was very easy to install, and 550W means I have a good amount of headroom for future upgrades.