For a reasonably long time I've been using a pretty low-spec computer -- FX-6300K, GT 640(!) --which has served me OK, but now that I'm starting to get into rendering programming I'm needing something higher spec.
I was lucky enough to win a category in a film competition for senior students last year, which I used in combination with some savings to build this computer.
I wanted to build something that would last for a long time, looked nice (all 'bout those aesthetics), and was high-powered for the tasks I'd be using it for (mostly programming, gaming, some video editing, other general things). This is the result of around a month of research (being the first computer I'd picked parts for), and a few days of building (fitting around some other commitments and also making sure I'd done everything right) which I finished on 8/04/2017.
CPU - Intel i7-7700k
I knew I wanted a powerful CPU as this PC was not just for gaming (also some video editing, programming, etc). I decided to stick with Intel for this build due to the fact that Ryzen was still very new and I didn't want to be stuck with teething problems. Judging from recent reviews it looks like Ryzen might've been suitable, but I'm still happy with my choice.
I'm not sure yet whether to overclock this in the near future, but one of the reasons I looked at the unlocked processor was to allow overlocking in the future (and also for the higher base clock).
Motherboard - Asus STRIX Z270H
I was initially leaning towards the STRIX Z270E motherboard, being the more common one, but decided to switch to the cheaper Z270H as I didn't need any of the extra features (didn't need built-in WiFi, no use for Type-C connector, wasn't really bothered by not having RGB) - plus the Z270H had more USB ports. On second thoughts, I might've been better off with one of Gigabyte's motherboards, but this is working well for me.
Video Card - Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1
I screwed up a little bit here and bought this right at the beginning of the price drop due to the 1080 Ti (so most stores hadn't dropped prices yet), but I was still able to get it cheaply compared to similar (factory-overclocked) options. The RGB logo was a plus.
This card has worked wonderful for me - much, much better compared to my old GT 640 (yeah...), and it's very quiet, not needing the fans to turn on until ~45°C. One issue I did find, and I'm not sure whether its got to do with the motherboard, case or video card, is that the video cable plugs don't quite seem to be aligned to the PCI spaces in the case (they're almost cut off by the metal bars between the PCI spaces). Luckily this doesn't seem to be an issue for any cables I've tried so far (DVI and HDMI).
I also noticed when taking the video card out of the anti-static bag, that there appeared to be a bit of moisture on the back plate. I don't think this has evaporated yet so I'm not sure it's water, but it seems to be harmless enough.
RAM - Corsair Vengeance LED 16GB (Red)
I only went with this RAM because it was marginally more expensive with the RAM I was planning to get, and also faster. Combined with the liquid cooler, graphics card, and fan LEDs, this looks absolutely great. I haven't yet tried overclocking this to run at full speed, but so far have no complaints - it definitely beats the DDR3 RAM I had previously.
CPU Cooler - Corsair H100i v2
This has been working amazingly. So far, on limited stress testing, I've only reached CPU temps of around 72°C (100% no bamboozle), with idle temps averaging around 30-35°C. The cooler is also whisper-quiet (from what I can tell), and looks pretty good. I set this up in the configuration showed on the NZXT S340 box (case -> fans -> radiator), which seems to have been working well.
The only issue I've really had with the cooler is that the two pipes are very stiff, and so are currently pressing up against the plastic window (you may be able to see this in the pictures). This doesn't seem to be an issue (the window isn't bulging, no thermal issues), but it's still a minor annoyance and makes putting the side panel on more difficult.
Case - NZXT S340 Matte Black/Red
I love this case - it's cheap, small, looks great, and has a tonne of cable management features. I'm a bit disappointed it wasn't available just in matte black (I didn't really want to pay the extra for the Elite edition), but the black/red works well.
For some reason my HDD indicator LED doesn't seem to be working. I'm not sure whether I just haven't noticed it flash, it's not plugged in correctly (backwards perhaps?), or it doesn't work, but I'm not really bothered by it. It's not like I spend all day watching it to see when my computer's writing stuff to disk anyway :3
PSU - EVGA G2 750W
I was hoping to get the G3 650W here instead (as it was slightly cheaper and a newer model), however I was not able to get it in Australia. I'm very happy with the G2 750W though, the eco mode is great (silent operation up to certain temperatures) and the cable pouch is a nice touch. Not really too much to say about this, except it's been working well so far.
Storage - 960 Evo 250GB M.2/850 Evo 250GB/500GB HDD/3TB HDD
The 960 Evo and 3TB HDD I bought for this build, the other two are re-used from my old computer.
So far, I've found the 960 Evo absolutely wonderful. It has my operating system and software installed, and the boot/login times are ridiculous (in a good way). It is a bit expensive though. I did have a bit of difficulty getting Windows to boot from this, however I suspect that was more an issue with the Windows 10 installer as it was fixed the second time I ran it.
The 850 Evo is great, and I have all my personal files and documents on it. Nothing much to say here, other than its fast and makes downloading/copying things much more bearable.
I'm currently using the 500GB HDD for Steam games, although I'll probably find more purposes for it in the future (e.g. storing video files). It's fast (for an HDD), works well, and has been very reliable the whole time I've had it.
The 3TB HDD is currently only being used for backing up the other drives (as well as storing some things I need occasional access to from my old computer), and it's been working great for that.
Monitors - LG 29UM58-P/Dell P2314H
The Dell P2314H was a carry-over from my previous PC (it was paired with an older Dell that started suffering some colour issues). The LG ultrawide was bought for this build in part to replace the old Dell, and also because ultrawide ;)
So far, I'm loving the ultrawide display. It's only been a few days with it, but it makes gaming so much more immersive and allows some nice things when programming (e.g. split screen editing with a terminal to the side). This allows me to free the other monitor for documentation/generic Internet things.
You may think these two monitors are a bit of a waste on a GTX 1080, and you're probably right. Unfortunately I didn't have the money for a decent 1440p or 4K monitor, however I will definitely be looking at those in the near future.
Mouse/Keyboard - Logitech MX Master/Comfort Desktop 5050 Keyboard
For my old computer I was entirely using the Comfort Desktop 5050 mouse/keyboard combo, however I was lucky enough to get the MX Master for Christmas this year. I've loved it so far - specifically, the shape, weighting, and momentum scroll wheel. So far I haven't really found the gesture button particularly useful, and the side scroll wheel doesn't seem to be supported in many applications (support in Premiere/After Effects would be great), so hopefully people find usages for those in the future.
The Comfort Desktop 5050 is pretty average. It's not mechanical (I was hoping to get a nice mechanical keyboard but ran out of budget, so hopefully in the somewhat near future), but it works and the big media keys are nice.
Case Fans, RGB Tape - Corsair AF120/140
I'm not normally much of an LEDs-in-computers person, but I decided in this case it'd be a bit of fun and wasn't too expensive.
After a friend pointed out this tutorial on the LTT forums, I decided to give some DIY electronics a try, which ended up working really well. I figured that, if I go with pixel tape, I might as well add in some LED fans to spice things up. To reduce costs a bit (RGB fans are quite expensive), I decided I'd go with a red/blue-ish theme (red fans/cooler/graphics card/RAM/case, blue on the pixel tape) which I think worked really well.
I really like these fans - they cool well, look nice (especially paired with the pixel tape), and are quiet.
Sorry for the crap pictures, I'll try to upload some (hopefully better) ones soon, including some of my actual desk (although it isn't particularly interesting). Hopefully you enjoyed my little ramble :)
Works great. Runs fast, stays cool with my H100i v2. Haven't yet tried overclocking, but with a base clock of 4.2 GHz it's probably not even necessary yet.
Amazing. Keeps my i7 7700k at 30-35°C on idle, with temps of around 74°C reached when running Linpack, all while staying almost silent. Installation was a little bit difficult (for a first-time builder). RGB logo looks great too, and is easy to configure through the LINK software. The pipes are quite stiff and so, in my case (NZXT S340) are touching the side window, but that's not much of a complaint.
I was originally looking at the STRIX Z270E motherboard, but decided to switch to this as it was cheaper and I didn't need any of the extra features (built-in WiFi, Bluetooth Type-C connector) and wasn't particularly bothered by missing the IO shield and RGB. Works well, had no issues so far (although I have yet to try overclocking). Looks good and the connectors are all easy to access and clearly labelled.
Looks awesome, works as advertised. I have mine set on still to fit with my design, but there are a few different effects available through the LINK software and they all work well.
Simple, fast, quiet (duh), works as intended. Wonderful!
Holy guacamole this thing's fast.
Pulled from an old computer, used for game storage. Works well, is reasonably fast, and from past experience reliable.
Crazy cheap, and works well too. It might not be the most reliable or the fastest, but it's great for storing local backups, super-huge files, whatever.
I managed to score this for a pretty cheap price around the start of the price drop from the Ti. It's fast, looks good with the RGB logo, and is very quiet. I had some issues with it fitting to the PCI spaces on the case (NZXT S340), but I'm guessing that's more case related so no penalty here.
The card did have some moisture on the back-plate when I got it out of the anti-static bag, however this was minimal and hasn't caused any issues so far.
Awesome case! Looks great, is cheap, has good cable management options. The huge window is nice too. The only issue I have had was the graphics card not quite fitting to the PCI spaces on the case, however this hasn't caused any issues with the plugs so not a big deal. The outside of the case does scratch easily, so be careful!
Reliable, quiet (with eco mode), and modular, while not being over-priced.
Looks nice, pushes air, and is quiet.
Looks nice, pushes air, and is quiet.
IPS panel looks great, stand can tilt/swivel/move up and down, and has a plethora of plugs on the back (including a USB port). It's an oldie, but a goodie.
This monitor is amazing! While the stand isn't the best (only tilt, no swivel or up/down action), the screen is bright and looks great, and the small bezels (not quite bezel-less as the pictures may lead you to believe) is a nice touch. The menu is a bit difficult to navigate, however.
While I haven't really found a practical use for the gesture button or side scroll wheel, the shape and weighting of the mouse, and momentum scroll are amazing! Battery life is also pretty good, with a nice little indicator on the side.
Hopefully more applications will start to support the side-scroll wheel in the future, as I can imagine it'd be very useful.