+ Total (United States):
Introduction: Unlike some others, I am not here to brag about an awesome build I completed. I am here to tell of my experience, and what I advise toward or against. My build, while successful, had no goal in mind besides trying to get everything for a good price. There were plenty of items I could have cut and saved a bit of money, but I didn't, and I regret that now. A few months after completing this build, though, Intel released new processors, which was a bad on my part.
If I could do it again, there are a plethora of pieces I would have changed.
My main reason for choosing these parts were not the preferences of myself, but that of my girlfriend. She wanted an i7, liquid cooling, a full tower, and at least a GTX 1060.
If you want my full breakdown of the part list, keep scrolling until you hit part reviews, but here are the highlights telling you what you should know.
What you should takeaway:
1) An i7-6700K is more power than you probably need. Save some money and get an i5-6500 or above.
2) The Deepcool Captain 240 is probably not your best option. Go for Corsair (function) or NZXT (fashion) AIOs or Cryorig/be quiet! air coolers.
3) Go for Mushkin, Kingston, or Corsair. Shoot for a balance between low latency, speed, and price. Unless you need 32GB + of RAM, go for 4GB sticks. Looking at two empty DIMM slots is disappointing, and 8GB is pretty much all you need.
4) Look up the failure rates of your hard drive companies before buying. You'll be surprised.
5) GTX 1060 does best at or under 1440p, and try to get one with a backing plate.
6) I love Phanteks cases, but full towers are overdoing it unless you are doing multi-gpu setups.
7) Fully-modular is unnecessary as semi-modular will offer just the same and will save you money.
8) Go for larger case fans as they can move more air at slower speeds.
9) Membrane keyboards will do just fine, and unless you want each tap of the keyboard ringing through your mind, don't get brown mechanical switches.
10) Let it be known that Logitech mice are known for the cords pinching. I would go with a mouse that has a replaceable cable, like the Steelseries Rival 700, or that is wireless.
What I would change:
|CPU||Intel Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor||$189.88 @ OutletPC|
|CPU Cooler||CRYORIG H7 49.0 CFM CPU Cooler||$34.99 @ Newegg Marketplace|
|Motherboard||MSI Z170A KRAIT GAMING 3X ATX LGA1151 Motherboard||$122.99 @ SuperBiiz|
|Memory||Kingston 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory||$109.99 @ Directron|
|Storage||Western Digital Blue 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive||$0.00|
|Storage||Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive||$54.00|
|Video Card||Asus GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Video Card||$424.99 @ Newegg|
|Case||Phanteks Enthoo Pro M Acrylic ATX Mid Tower Case||$89.99 @ Newegg|
|Power Supply||EVGA BQ 850W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply||$69.99 @ Best Buy|
|Keyboard||Logitech G213 PRODIGY Wired Gaming Keyboard||$69.99 @ Newegg|
|Mouse||SteelSeries Rival 700 Wired Optical Mouse||$81.99 @ Best Buy|
|Other||Generic Optical Drive||$0.00|
|Other||Generic USB 2.0 Wifi Module||$0.00|
|Other||Razer XXL Mouse Pad||$8.00|
|Other||Win 10 Boot||$0.00|
|Other||Insignia TV @ 1360 x 768||$0.00|
|Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts|
|Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-01-05 12:03 EST-0500|
This piece has astounded me at every turn and the installation was easy. At $313.49, it was a mere $15 above the price of the i7-6700 at the time.
Q: Why choose an unlocked processor and not overclock it? A: I wanted a beefy processor but didn't want to risk the higher clock speeds for an even shorter lifespan.
Q: Would I recommend this part? A: Yes, but only after offering a more reasonable substitute.
No stock cooler
Newer processors have replaced this one
Cheaper alternatives include the i7-6700, i5-6600K, and i5-6500
Newer processors such as the i7-7700K or i5-7600K
Bought the 240mm for $73.49 as I was unsure if a 360mm would fit my case. It would have.
Q: Why choose liquid cooling over the much more reliable fan coolers? A: My decision was influenced by my girlfriend.
Q: Would you recommend this part? A: Yes, I would, but not religiously. There are tons of other options out there, but getting this product is not a terrible idea.
Fans provide a large amount of airflow
Came with a fan hub
Cheaper than Corsair
Breathing red light on the pump
Fans have rubber corners
Thermal paste included
Tubes feel really delicate and seem to be made of cheap plastic
Fans are really loud
Bulky water block/pump
Difficult to install (as a whole)
Breathing red light is uncontrollable
Sticker included is oversized
The Deepcool Captain 360 if your case supports it
All-In-Ones by Corsair and NZXT are much more aesthetically pleasing
Air coolers such as the Cryorig H5 or be quiet! Dark Rock Pro
I bought this motherboard as an open box for $127.99, and it came with misc pieces of the Asus Maximus motherboard including the manual, an extra SLI connector, extra cable labels, and stickers. :)
Easy BIOS navigation
Tons of fan headers
Lights are good for easily identifying if the board has power
Difficult to install
Red lights on the motherboard are undesirable
For the price, I know of none, though I will go with a Micro-ATX next time. The new AURA edition may be worth a try for $25 more
MSI and Gigabyte are also real the competitors here. I wouldn't buy an ASRock or Biostar
If not overclocking or not using a dual GPU setup, try a cheaper H or B-series
I have had nothing but trouble with this RAM, but not for reasons you might think. For the first few months, the computer would turn up BSoD's with codes like "Bad Pool Header". After wiping and reinstalling Windows, we thought we had it down. We were wrong, and ended up running MemTest86+ from a boot drive. To our alarm, we received a stick of RAM with 9846 errors. I had to send both sticks back (even the one that worked) as per GEIL's RMA Rules. The customer service was extremely difficult to get in touch with and their website was far out of date. Customer service was based in China, which meant my 12am emails were responded to quite quickly (it being 2pm there) once I found the correct email address.
I bought this memory on sale on Newegg for about $22.00 less than normal price, which might explain the defective stick.
16GB for the price of some 8GBs
DDR4-3000 with CAS of 15
First piece was defective
Below-par customer service
For the price, it depends on the market. I see a Team Dark 16GB for about $65 at the time of this review
Kingston, Mushkin, or Corsair, and I would honestly do 4GB sticks next time
I had one of these left over from a pervious build I disassembled, so I cleaned it and formatted it as my Media drive.
High rates of failure (already had one go out in three years)
High cost per GB
Some may cringe at the thought of buying a possibly refurbished hard drive, yet I revel in it. The low cost per gigabyte and the low failure rates make these hard drives my ideal choice.
Low cost/GB (You can get a 2TB for the price of a 1TB)
Low failure rates
Slower speeds (but not enough for me to notice)
Not always in stock
This card runs great on lower resolutions, and is VR Capable. Unfortunately, I cannot attest for it at any resolution higher than 1360 x 768 (a little over 720p), but it plays everything on Ultra at this resolution. The GTX 1060 is scores equivalent to the GTX 980 and it succeeds the GTX 970.
Masters 1440p and under
One HDMI port, three Display Ports, and one DVI-D port
Better than the RX 480
LED is controllable with Gigabyte's free software download
Black backing plate
Has trouble with anything over 1440p on Ultra
Unattractive orange design (but is always facing downward)
LED control software is not included in the package
Cheaper: Radeon's RX 480 or NVIDIA's GTX 1050Ti
More Expensive: GTX 980 Ti or GTX 1070
At $89.99, this was the cheapest full-tower available. After much debate between Thermaltake and Phanteks, I chose Phanteks, and was not disappointed. Their case is extremely easy to work with, has a black, minimalistic design, and even included a ton of extra screws and an integrated fan hub.
Q: Why buy a full-tower and not use it to it's fullest extent? A: I believe this case will prove a worthy companion for many more builds to come.
Q: Would you recommend this case? A: Yes, I think Phanteks has me hooked with their cases. Cost wise, this is the best full-tower I can think of.
Q: Would you buy this case again? A: Yes, but only if my other two options are exhausted; I'd like to try a Phanteks mid-tower and the more expensive Phanteks Enthoo Luxe first though.
Made of strong metal and plastic
Power button is pleasing
200mm intake fan in the front, and a 140mm in the rear
Three easily-accessible fan filters
Front and top covers pop off for easy access to install fans or a radiator
Cable management is nice, and comes with reusable Velcro ties already integrated in the case
You can hide or show off your power supply
Window is easily scratched and smudged
Reset button is right next to the headphone jack, meaning that feeling your way in the dark could result in a reset computer
Heavy/Huge, but what can I expect?
Brand wise, there is Deepcool, NZXT, Thermaltake, and Fractal Design
For a Full-Tower with a greater budget, try the Enthoo Luxe or Primo
For a Mid-Tower, try Enthoo Pro M Acryllic, Enthoo EVOLV, or the ECLIPSE Series
Bought it for $99.99 but had a $20 Mail-In Rebate.
Powerful, tons of headroom
Includes tons of black cables and cable bags
For most aesthetically pleasing, an RGB NZXT PSU
EVGA and SeaSonic make good power supplies as well
Semi-Modular will save you cash and still do just the same
Bought them as slot fillers for my full tower. They displace a crazy amount of air, but mostly due to their high fan speeds. This causes them to be extremely loud, similar to that of a window unit A/C.
Cord is multicolored, not black
Not available with LEDs
Bought it as an Open Box on Newegg for $93.99, but unfortunately came with Brown Switches. Keyboard is attractive and has RGB LEDs.
Controllable RGB LEDs
Removable wrist rest
USB, Headphone, and Mic pass-through
Brown Switches are very, very "clacky"
LED control software is not included in the package
No key remover is included
Not washable like Corsair keyboards (not that I would ever...)
Corsair's are highly desired, but come with a greater price tag
I'll go with a Logitech G213, G810, or G910 next time
Bought on Newegg for $29.99.
Plenty of buttons to customize
Laser sensor up to 16400 dpi (excessive)
Logo is too bright
Software is difficult to navigate
Would not buy for full-price
Logitech is always an option, but the cords do tend to mess up
I would go with anything with a removable cable or that is wireless
Personally, I am going to try the SteelSeries Rival 700 next