I named this one “Little Buddy” only because as I was thinking what to name it I looked down at one of my dogs, a Shih Tzu (I call him my little buddy), and it seemed to fit. I hope it proves to be a buddy for a long long time. This is my 4th build. All priors were AMD. I was anxious to do an Intel. This build is nothing special or pimped out. I didn’t really have a strict budget, kind of adjust as I went along with the plans. My goal was to build a decent machine, not too expensive, be up-gradable if I wanted, use quality parts that work well with each other (I hope I succeeded in that), and to have something that will last for many years. I primarily will use this for gaming (of course), extensive photo editing, extensive video editing and conversions (I have a lot of VHS that need to be converted to CD), and for general messing around with. All the parts in the photos and list are the only parts I needed for a complete build. I bought nothing else extra for this project. I thought it would be interesting to see EVERYTHING I used and what the final cost would be. I am no techy so don’t expect a lot of specs, benchmarks (may eventually get to those), or technical jargon that most of you younger folks are experts at. I build these for fun and learn as I go. I got a lot of ideas from reading forum posts and from comments of previous builds on what to use and not to use. I uploaded lots of photos trying to show the build as I went along. They’re always fun to look at. I hope you enjoy and thanks for looking! Please leave comments, good or bad, suggestions, etc. You guys are great at helping an older person like me at this stuff, and I appreciate it!!!
EDIT 10/31/19 - Upgraded memory to 32GB, why not finally fill the other 2 memory slots! Added a Dell g-sync monitor. Doesn't get the best or worst reviews. Bought one for another build a while back and had absolutely no problems with it. Picture was clear, colors were great after messing with settings, motion smooth (I guess g-sync really works :)). Bought it directly from Dell for $350 (not the price shown with the part). Couldn't go wrong with that. Also upgraded the graphics card to an EVGA RTX 2070 XC Ultra Gaming. Also got a deal on that one for $449 (not the price shown with the part). Oh, also threw another WD 1 TB hard drive in. It was laying around so put it to use. You can always use the extra storage. Only other thing is maybe to upgrade the cpu cooler. That's down the road a bit. Don't think it's worth changing the cpu anymore. The installed one is good enough. All is good now!
CPU i7-6700K – I just wanted one of the best. It also utilizes the newer Z170 chip set. Can be easily overclocked and runs like a charm. Guess I could have used an i5-4690K or i7-4790K, but this one greatly suits my needs and I just plain wanted it! When I first powered up the CPU speed was 800 MHz. What??? Well, I forgot about a Windows setting…stupid me. I went into Windows Power Management and changed the minimum CPU setting to 100 percent. Now it shows the speed I was expecting (if you worry about that kind of stuff). Hey if it says it should be 4GHz then I want to see it (although there was nothing wrong with what it was originally showing)!
CPU Cooler Cryorig H7 – Slightly more expensive then the Hyper 212, but looks great, and keeps the CPU temps at bay. Fans are quiet too. The best thing is the ZERO ram interference. You can use virtually any type ram, and with the fancy heat sinks too. I should have plugged in the CPU fan power cable before installing the cooler. Just makes it easier because of the tight fit.
Motherboard Maximus VIII Hero – I always used ASUS motherboards. Never had a problem. The Hero has all the bells and whistles I need especially for overclocking. Has a great look, nice and clean, nice colors grayish black, some brushed chrome, and some reds. I also like this board because of the great (in my opinion) on board sound chip. I believe it is better than most boards and sounds pretty darn good (I’m a little older than most of you so my hearing isn’t what it used to be). May get a sound card someday but not needed right now. Saves me money.
Memory G. Skill Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-2400 – I know this shouldn’t be the sole criteria for selecting ram but I loved the red color and they look awesome. Reasonably priced too. Its ram and it works. The motherboard wouldn’t recognize the memory at first so I shut it down, took the memory out, and reseated. Started back up and was recognized but at a slower speed. I set the Ai Overclock Tuner to X.M.P. in the BIOS and after a save and restart showed the correct speed of 2400. I may eventually upgrade to 32GB considering my future uses for this computer, but 16 is good for now.
Storage Samsung EVO 500GB – The OS goes on this one and who knows what else I’ll add in the future. The EVO was cheaper than the Pro and got good ratings. The total writes to this drive is about 150TB before it dies theoretically. Should last me for years!
Storage WD Caviar Blue 1TB – Using this for file storage and such. Not expensive and fast. Gets good reviews all over. I had to go into Windows Disk Management for the proper setup for recognition.
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW ACX 2.0 – I have one in my AMD build (not the FTW though) and it works wonderfully. I won’t be doing any 4k gaming and don’t see going over 1080p. It will take anything I can throw at it. I don’t think the 980 is worth it for me. The experts say the 980 is only about 10 to 15 percent faster?, but $150 to $200 more expensive. The 970 is way cheaper and works for me.
Case Corsair 500R – It was between this and the HAF 912. To be honest, I like the build quality of the 912 over the 500R. It’s sturdier especially with the drive trays and mounts. The 912 is also half the cost. However, I got the 500R because of high positive reviews and the amount of space it offers. There’s more room for components and the cable management is tons better than the HAF 912. There are also rubber type grommets lining the cable pass through holes, has plenty of stock fans, and stock USB 3.0 ports in the front I/O panel. One thing I didn’t like are the plastic trays where the hard drives mount. They seemed a little flimsy, but it worked in the long run.
Power Supply EVGA 750W 80+ Gold G2 - These PSUs are reliable and well-constructed. There are plenty of cables and extras that come in the box. Everything is packed well. I was originally going to get an 850W (I tend to overkill), but some of the good folks on this site convinced me I didn’t need that much, and they were right. Of course it’s modular too.
The rest of the components are nothing special. The optical drive is basic and no big deal. Don’t really use it a lot anyways besides loading the OS. Windows 10 was my choice of OS. Is there really anything else? I have it on all my other computers and have no complaints. Games and programs work just fine. The keyboard and mouse suit my needs and work as expected. I got some extra case fans for added ventilation. They are whisper quiet. In fact I hardly hear anything (fan wise) coming from inside the case. They also have a pleasant white glow, not overbearing. Last items were Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound, never had a problem with it, and a fan splitter cable 1 to 2 converter for a few fans.
That’s it. I have some final thoughts. ASUS supplies a CPU install tool. It’s not necessary and seemed more trouble than worth it. Match the triangles and put the CPU in place. Done! I used the standard pea size drop of thermal compound. No problems. I had to re-drill some holes in the plastic tray for the SSD. The holes provided made the SSD stick out to far and when the cables were plugged in it made a tight fit when I put the back panel back on. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but…oh well it worked out. I thought AMD was always a good build (well the FX-8350 I have actually is pretty decent), but this one leaves them in the dust. All of my components work well together and have had no problems. I may upgrade to a water cooler someday but the Cryorig keeps the CPU temps at 22 to 24 C at idle with an ambient temperature of 18 C. I’m happy with that. I hope you enjoy my build and as I said feel free to leave comments good or bad. I’m a big boy and make good use of criticism. There’s always room for improvement.
Hey, if any of you folks can give me suggestions on a good monitor especially for gaming I would muchly appreciate it. There’s just too darn many out there, can’t decide!