When my XPS 15 from 2012 began to get slower and slower, and 2/3 usb ports broke, I knew it was time to either upgrade or build my own. After doing some research, I realized that Dell really didn't allow you to customize components anymore through their store, and I couldn't really get the configuration I wanted for under $2,000. I already had some previous experience replacing other computer parts, and had taken a simulation class through my university, so I decided that I would build my own.
Now, I had three primary goals with this build. First, I wanted it to be faster than my laptop, second I wanted it to run Adobe products such as Photoshop and Priemere better--if it could run After Effects, even better. Third, I wanted to be able to play my Steam library pretty easily (however, I am not a hardcore gamer so I'm not playing things like Overwatch or Destiny)
It took me about a year and a half to save up for this build and I am honestly, overall, very happy with my choices. I had some trouble getting it together, the CPU Cooler was the primary problem. None of the videos I had watched in preparation had mentioned the rubber stoppers you need to put on the screws that go into the motherboard. However, once I figured that out, I was able to get it in easily. I was very happy with this case--I have limited space in my bedroom for this, so I know I wanted to get as small of a case as possible. Of course, this makes cable management a little rough, but I was able to get it so the cables don't catch on any of the 3 fans (case comes with 2, cooler with 1). The thing I like most is the that the fans from the case actually glow, which I was not expecting.
The motherboard and case I chose did make arranging the sound card, wireless card and graphics cards a little rough, but I was able to get them in with some reorganizing. I did have to screw the three card to the case on the outside though, or else they felt a little too lose for my liking.
The only changes I might make eventually is too add more ram, add a second HHD, and I might replace the wireless card with something else--the internet (connected through wifi) seems too slow. Things like Youtube and Netflix keep dropping quality rates and pages with a lot of gifs (re: tumblr) seem to also be slow. However, this might be a driver problem so I am going to hold off on that for a few months.
Update 1/24/18: First update is that I am going to have to upgrade my SSD--even though I am installing everything I can on the HDD for some reason, Adobe and a few other programs are insisting to install at least some data on the SSD. Secondly, I've recently started gaming more and CPU cooler gets loud when I am gaming, but other than that it seems to be doing its job. So that may need to be replaced in the future.
It's quiet and does its job, however, the bracket was hard to get through the cooler, and the instructions were not very clear. Tutorials online helped, but everyone pretty much forgot about the little rubber pieces that you have to put on the screws before you screw them into the motherboard.
Love this case! The glowing fans were a surprise, and it totally accomplished what I wanted for a small, but powerful build. However, beware that the case itself does not come with an instruction manual, so you will need to rely on the ones for the individual parts.
Wireless Network Adapter
It works, however, I seem to have a problem where my internet is very slow compared to my laptop--netflix is dropping in quality, webpages with a lot of gifs are not loading quickly. I've read in other reviews it could be a driver issue, however I have the most updated driver. The next thing on the list is to take it out and go to the connection page by typing in the IP address that is printed on the card itself. However, it's not ideal that you have to take the case out, open it and take the card out to gain such information.