EDIT: pics added
First build since sophmore year in HS back in the~2002 time-frame :) My buddy & I had convinced his mom to build a family PC instead an off the self Dell. It was a good time, good computer for MANY years. Throughout my college + early professional years I've had some decent laptops, but always fantasized on building my own PC one day.... Well I finally pulled the trigger after using PCPP back in October, slowly gathering parts since, and I can't be more happy with the end result!
To start off.... Cost: It would've been a $1750 build instead of $1215 BUT I saved $535 on this build: Motherboard was gifted (~$205 value at the time)... mouse gifted ($45)... slim fan "purchased" with Visa verified use-reward on new egg ($25)... saved $260 at Micro Center from using fantasy football winnings :) (Windows 10.. $99 >"free") (remaining $161 off processor) ...ALSO the Asus 27" monitor was already owned, running a laptop through it for ~1.5 years
If I built this 5 years ago I probably would've chosen a full ATX & a more visually appealing "gamer" case... At 30 & married (not depressing as it sounds, i swear! lol) my priorities now were on fitment into my existing desk area (Micro ATX, max...and where i wouldn't even see fancier cases), function/efficiency, noise levels, & just blending in...a sleeper essentially. I also wanted to future proof but with some budget in mind. All of these priorities lead to my parts list... I'm still hunting for the "right" keyboard though.
Personally i'm an engineer & the wife is a graphic designer. We're both photography enthusiast as well. So'll I run 3D at home at times, game (of course), & she uses Creative Suite among other software...This lead to jumping on the i7 skylake verses the i5. Besides after not building a computer since '02, it does feel good to own the "latest & greatest" including being unlocked.
Some areas I did not fully "attack" were GPU & RAM. I've never owned a dedicated GPU, so the 970 by MSI was more than enough to satisfy my needs & hold me over for a couple years. In the photo album is my 3DMark score w/o tweaking the card at all. For the cost difference I could not justify going to 980 or 980Ti etc...And as for AMD's R9, etc they were in the same boat but also more power hungry, which i wanted to keep controlled with a mATX sized case. (Heat control on this build is perfect IMO.) As for RAM, I also could not justify going to high clock rates above the Skylake/z170 "standard" 2133 MHz. The 2133's lower timings help performance stay near it's higher MHz counterparts, good enough I say. $78 for quality brand 16GB sounds good to me too :)
Overall the build is super quiet. ...I do attribute some of this to the case, but more importantly the components I chose. I cannot hear the WD's blues at all when writing to them. The PSU fan is almost always off, the water pump not noticeable at all (no whine, no air pockets/cavitation...), the 970's frozr fans only have to spin up to 70% to keep a GPU stress test (FurMark) at 75C peak, the case fans I haven't had past 50-60% speed (all we selected so they are PWM, default curve profiles so far) unless running Prime95. The performance of the 950Pro is freaky, see my CrystalDisk pic, I've owned SSDs but this is something else...and at the moment the processor is plenty when using standard Intel Turbo. I do not know much about OC'ing a CPU so i'll be waiting until i read enough to be comfortable. I certainly plan on taking advantage of the MOBO & unlocked processor though.
Thanks for reading & checking out the pics, cheers!
Does what it does well. Have not explored OC'ing yet so no complaints possible.
Good CPU temps, used the standard pre-installed paste. Picked this over the 60 due to likely the push-pull efficiency aspect. Pick it over the 100 due to size/case limitations. I have no cavitation or pump whine at all.
Looks great, works great. Make sure you update the BIOS 1st. Any bad reviews or comments i've seen have been related to prior BIOS versions (including the BIOS tie-in with AI Suite).....ONLY problem I had was the M.2 standoff is extremely fragile aluminum. Be extremely careful tightening it down. You cannot torque it down like essentially every other screw (steel, larger threads too) in a computer build...you WILL break it. Its not a product flaw IMO, just reality & I wanted to point this out. You've been warned. I had to epoxy my standoff together (I read its basically impossible to get Asus to send a replacement) after barely any force...So, fight the urge to "snug" it tight 1/10 turn more like I did :)
Worked & passed on memtest. Cant ask for more. Looks good too. Personally I liked buying this & not having to deal with XMP etc that you would with higher MHz.... 2133 with good timings (for DDR4) is plenty for me.
Works as well as advertised. up to 2200+ MB/s ...Also helped me a lot to have a M.2 SSD on my mATX build. The case needed all the help it could get from me & the components...so having 1 less power & SATA cable was nice.
Only thing that would make me happier is a back-plate...Note to others, do not bother using MSI Gaming App, at least on Windows 10. Seems flawed for sure. MSI Afterburner does the same adjustments but also much more, and it actually works!
This is a decent sleeper case..fit what i wanted well. (2) 3.0 USB in the front, card reader too. No issues with build quality. As others mentioned, cable management can be a pain. I spent a good deal of time routing everything properly & even then it was soooo tight at the very end of it all. Just realize its possible to use this case well, it simply requires some more planning & patience than others. For the low price i got it, it was worth it.
Beside default UAC settings which can be changed, i don't get the hate. Much better than previous Windows in my opinion...
Wireless Network Adapter
Plug & windows 10. Fresh build recognized it immediately during OS installation. Always had good experiences with TP-Link.
Top notch sensor. Works great with the surface tuning inLogitech's software. Wife gets her color theme & DPI, i get mine..On a quick center-button toggle. Can't complain.