*Update - added pics with new GPU, LED strip light, and cable management adjustments
I would like to start off by letting everyone know that this is my first ever PC build. I always wanted to make my own PC but never had the finances to create one that would suit my needs. After many months of waiting and saving up I was able to make this build. I feel like I deserved to reward myself as I just graduated from university.
I never really had a desktop PC. I've had two laptops in the past, a HP Pavilion DM4 laptop and recently purchased an 2015 Alienware 17 R2 Gaming laptop. Although it was great at first, I noticed it was starting to deteriorate in terms of performance and didn't seem to justify keeping it any longer. I realized that I can build a desktop that would be 2x more powerful for a little over half the cost and I didn't need a portable computer since I just finished school. So I sold it and used the money I got to build this. My budget was around $1500.
As a recent graduate, I don't intend on using my PC for any school related work but instead for future career related use in the IT industry. Since this is my only computer for home use also, I would be using it for multimedia use and slight gaming. I already have both an Xbox One and PS4 for heavy gaming as most of my friends have consoles.
*Note: The prices for the components except for the custom parts are not what I paid for them. They are the current lowest market price from different vendors. For the prices I actually paid for the PC, I have another link for them: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/jv2s7P
CPU - I wanted something that would be future proof and decided to choose a new 4th Gen Intel processor. I had to go with the cheapest one as it was the able to fit in my budget, but this was more than enough computing power for me as I can easily overclock it if I need more.
CPU Cooler - I chose this because I wasn't going to overclock my CPU by a lot and couldn't fit the extra $30 for the H100i into my budget. I also wanted to do a Push/Pull radiator setup and couldn't do it with the bigger H100i due to the length of my graphics card as it will not fit.
Motherboard - Due to my i7-5820K CPU and my choice on a Micro-ATX case, I needed an X99 motherboard that would satisfy such space constraints. I was initially going to choose a Gigabyte motherboard since it works well with Hackintosh builds but they were all out of my budget. After checking the Price drops section on pcpartpicker.com, I noticed that the ASRock X99M Extreme4 motherboard was just $181 which is almost $100 off. To make it even better, the retailer offered a $40 mail-in-rebate from the manufacturer. This was too good to let go so I went in and bought it without any hesitation. It also complimented my initial black/blue colour scheme for the build.
Memory - I needed to at least 16 GB of memory to fulfill my PC needs without any hiccups. I also needed to get DDR4 due to the X99 motherboard and something that was blue to match my colour scheme. I was initially going to go for dual channel memory since it was cheaper but then realized that quad channel would work much better for newer build especially the X99 ones. After checking the Price Drops section once again, I noticed that there was a G.Skill 4x4GB memory kit that was only $149.99. To further make this better, it was also blue. There was no way I was going to pass on this and decided to get it. It was also 2666 in terms of speed which was also a huge plus.
Storage - The crucial 120GB M.2 SSD was a part from my Alienware laptop. I decided to use this for my OS as it was much faster for boot times and read speeds. I also use this for my applications and programs. The Samsung SSD was something I found on ebay for a really good price. I only paid $110 for it as it retailed for over $130. It also provided really good read and write speeds for a 2.5" SSD. All my documents, pictures, music, videos were under 60GB so I found this more than enough. With the remaining space I intend on using it for my games as they can launch much quicker.
Video Card - In my photos I had my first bought GPU, the Visiontek Radeon R7 370. After using it for a week I felt like it wasn't enough for my gaming needs so I decided to upgrade to a GTX 960. I currently have only 1080p monitors and and this GPU can get a solid 60 FPS on high settings for most current games.
Case - When I first saw this case, I was like "WOW" and decided this was the case for me. I didn't want a full size ATX case as my desk was small and space was limited. This case also provided really good air flow as I managed to get 8 fans in it (6 x 120mm and 2 x 80mm). I am sure my parts won't overheat. I chose the black version because I felt the white one would easily show scratched and I always though the black & blue colour combo looked better than the white & blue.
Power Supply - I was initially going to get a 600W PSU but was worried about power shortages as it can restrict performance. So I decided to go with a 750W PSU as I can even add an extra GPU for SLI in the future and have plenty of power left over. This one was much cheaper than all the other ones with the same power and got good reviews, so I just chose this.
Operating System - Currently I am running Windows 10, and might dual boot Mac OS X if my motherboard has full support from Hackintosh developers. So far Windows 10 is worth the upgrade over Windows 8.1.
Wireless Network Adapter - I needed an adapter since my MoBo didn't come with one built-in. This one got the best reviews and would allow me to connect to both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz networks. Dual band WiFi is a must in today's standards as there is too much interference on 2.4Ghz spectrums. This adapter was also the best suited for Hackintosh builds, which I can use in the future once I dual boot.
Case Fan - I actually got the Corsair AF120 but couldn't find the blue LED version on the site so I just added the SP120 Blue LED as a substitute. These fans provide ample air flow and are pretty quite compared to others. They also have nice bright LED's that make my case lit up in the inside.
Monitor - Both of these monitors are ones I had from before. I purchased the BenQ since it had many different i/o ports and had a 1 ms response time. As someone who plays games like Call of Duty, having a low response time was important as the slightest delay can be a difference between life and death (within the game of course). The Dell monitor was one I purchased with a gift card I received from my Alienware laptop. It was the best one for that price point and was the same size as my BenQ one so it was great for a dual monitor setup.
Keyboard & Mouse - I know these aren't the best for gaming, but I am someone who prefers a controller for gaming rather than a keyboard and mouse. I find them much more comfortable. These Cooler Master ones had a nice looking blue LED and matched my colour combo. They were also only about $30.
Custom - I needed a fan splitter since there wasn't enough headers on my MoBo for all my fans. These ones were only $4.99 also. I also needed a bluetooth adapter as I intend to connect my PS4 controller to my computer when I game. If I used my Xbox One controller, it would be wired and I'd rather have something without no tangles. This one got good reviews on Amazon and was pretty cheap. The mouse pad wasn't really that important, I just needed something that was black and a descent size so I chose this one. The 80mm fans were something that I wanted to use to exhaust all the warm air out of my case through the rear. They also had blue LED's which matched my build. The speaker system is something that I have had over 6 years and still perform great. They have really nice bass and I don't think I need to upgrade them anytime soon.
Building the PC using this case was a breeze. Since it was my first time, I watched people on Youtube using this case for their own builds and it worked out great for them. I removed the top, front, and both side panels for easier access. Then I installed the CPU and Memory into the Mobo and then installed them into the case. I then installed the CPU cooler which was kind of a hassle because I had trouble finding the holes for the fans to insert into for the push/pull configuration. I installed the PSU and then did all the necessary cabling and inputting the wires into the MoBo and then installed all the case fans. I didn't want to use any of the stock ones since they don't have any LED's to match my colour scheme. I installed the 80mm fans with their molex connector to the PSU because of the limited fan headers on my Mobo. I then installed the video card into a PCI slot which was very simple. I also installed the Wireless adapter and was almost done. I put a few cable management ties so I can clean up the back and installed a case fan on the fan filter for the right side of the case. I then put back the panels and was good to go. All that was left was installing Windows 10 and the drivers for the components.
After finishing this build, I feel like a accomplished a big task. Building your own computer is a fun and unique experience. Something you create your self is always much more appreciated than buying a PC that is pre-built. For the future I plan on upgrading the GPU to Nvidia's next generation video cards and maybe add some extra storage such as a 1TB hard drive. Thank you all for reading my build. Let me know if you need help with your own PC build and I can give you advice.