This was my first ever build. I built this around January this year I want to say, but am finally getting around to posting it. My goal was to be able to do 1080p gaming, music production, and various other tasks without breaking the bank (but without going absolute bottom dollar either). I also wanted room to upgrade in the future. The biggest factor for me was the aesthetic for this build. Cool silver and blues needed to be the center as these put me in the right mood to make music.
Anyways, I did a lot of searching and waiting until the right deal came up. At first I was looking into the WaveMaster case because I absolutely loved the look but for my first build I did not want to deal with cooling issues and that seemed to be the biggest downfall of the WaveMaster. As you can probably tell by now, my tastes don't really leave me with many modern options. The vibes that I get from aluminum cases with fun design ... they have a grip on me. The NZXT S340 had just been released and I almost said screw this used case shopping - it's nice and simple and I'll just have to deal with it. Well - I finally found the right case for me. When I laid my eyes upon this ABS Praetorian 732 on eBay I was hooked. It carried everything I loved about the WaveMaster PLUS it sported an upgraded fan size up front (120mm) with actual ventilation so the fan could do something and the case was coming with a few extras. I went back and forth with offers to the seller when suddenly - they took down the listing. I frantically messaged them about the case and luckily they decided to sell it to me when we agreed upon a price.
The rest of the build fell together in pieces - from color matching to spec matching. My younger brother had already built his first PC and here I was wishing that I had gotten into this during the time period when aluminum cases were actually being produced. He helped me decide on a lot of the components. The Sapphire Nitro+ RX470 was a perfect fit in all categories - performance, aesthetic, and price. The processor was the same one that my brother had and I was happy to give it a go myself. The RAM was a no brainer - though had I gone back in time I might have liked to drop the extra money for a 2x8gb setup right off the bat. Since the budget was tight I chose a 1TB HDD with the intention of getting an SSD down the road. For chrimbus, my brother gifted me his old power supply (why it is priced at $0.00). SO now that you know all about how this came to be - here's the nitty gritty.
AMD FX-6300 - I was happy with the price point, though it is fun to see the prices just 6 months later. It came with a free copy of Hitman and if I wanted to cut the box up I could have gotten $10 back in rebate. This thing has done me no wrong - I am still running the stock cooler but once I upgrade to an aftermarket air cooler I will begin testing with overclocking this. If anything is holding me back in my system, I would guess that it would be this CPU. I believe my GPU is capable of handling higher specs and would do well with an improved CPU. That said - for my first build and for how I game, this CPU has been awesome. *for other FX users, make sure to download AMD Overdrive for monitoring temps. I only recently discovered the wonky thermal sensoring with these chips and you need that program to get an accurate reading under load. Check this link for more info - http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-2122665/understanding-temperature-amd-cpus-apus.html
ASUS M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard - TBH I don't know a whole lot about motherboards. This fit the color scheme and price point and I have had no complaints about it thus far.
G.Skill - Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory - Beautiful memory and it isn't too tall either. Performs well as far as I can tell. I just wish I would have gotten more of it but it can easily be upgraded in the future.
Western Digital - Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive - Nothing to say here - you already know the deal.
Sapphire - Radeon RX 470 4GB NITRO+ Video Card - This is what I consider to be the shining star of my system. I love this thing! I am convinced that this is one of the best cards on the market. The price point is even better now (if you can find one in stock) and the performance is outstanding for what it is. This has to be the best budget card out there. Currently OC'd to 1350mHz on stock voltage and GPU temps sit around 70C on high load with fans at a tolerable level. This Sapphire iteration of the 470 gets rid of the cooling issues of the reference cards. This thing is built to impress and honestly the price of the 480 did not bring much of a performance increase. I would like to see how the 8gb model stacks up but for the sub $200 realm - BUY THIS CARD. hahaha
Cooler Master Praetorian 732 (ABS) - This is my second favorite part of my build by far. For anybody out there who likes this sort of design but is unsure if these platforms will hold up - JUST DO IT! I had some naysayers telling me this and that about how it's going to be a pain or it's not up to snuff etc. Screw them. I was up to the challenge and it turned out to not even be that challenging. The motherboard tray is really slick and hides a lot of the cables. Of course the small 80mm fans on the rear and top are considered small now but for my components I have no issues. Once I add an air cooler my airflow will increase heavily. I am still using the stock front fan too so once I upgrade that it will improve yet again.
I had to get screws for the motherboard from my local hardware shop - this is part of buying an used case. There is room for a few HDDs up front as well as disc drive and other peripherals. It will take some creativity to mount SSDs but it wouldn't be that difficult. The front panel has a dust filter in front of the 120mm fan. x2 80mm rear fans for exhaust and x1 80mm fan on top for exhaust as well. The side panel has a cutout with a mesh grille for added air and I believe there exists a small duct to funnel air to the CPU cooler - much like a cold air intake setup for a car. Cooler Master did make an optional and rare windowed side panel for these that looks stunning. One day I might have somebody replicate it for mine but I am hesitant about cutting up this panel. The PSU slot was just large enough to fit the PSU. Top mounted PSUs are a definite sign of the era but it doesn't bother me at all. For what I have to work with I am happy with the cable management. My brother helped me out with that as well.
Feel free to ask me any questions about details regarding the case or anything else. There isn't a whole lot of documentation on dimensions and whatnot. For instance - the max size CPU cooler that will fit is about 145mm. I'll be trying out the Cryorig H7 soon.