The lady and I decided we wanted a bit of an upgrade from my stable, working, pretty-fast HP as a couples project. That was fail #1 - as really the only part she picked was the color of the intake fan - which I mis-measured/ordered, so it's only being held in by like 2 screws. But it's still stable and 99% silent! The whole thing is crazy silent! That's the best part.

Let's start with ordering. I made the mistake of getting it part by part, against the advice of a guy at the local shop where I bought my sweet old, Win98 tower, lol. Wanted a tower like that to make a sleeper. More or less got it. But he had warned that buying part by part would most likely put me over the 30 day return policy if parts were bad. The man was a prophet. That's about all he was, cause he was a pretty poor computer nerd, lol.

First motherboard, Gigabyte D3P, was DOA and warped, as per the pictures. After receiving some condescension and hassle, I managed to get the seller to refund me. 2nd board, MSI 970 Gaming, has been decent so far. SATA ports are annoying as **** cause my hard drives cover them a bit, but at least it works - in spite of the RAM being slightly closer to the CPU than on the D3P - resulting in the CPU fan hitting the RAM if I have it fully seated. So it's like 98% seated, lol. Still stays pretty cool! Possibly because the CPU is running slower than it should. It's throttling itself at 1.4Ghz right now! turns out that was due to Slo-Mo switch being On on Mobo. Max speed is about 3.6ghz now

RAM: Had some trouble getting my RAM speed accurate. It's more normalized now (Sept'16), bit still over-clocks it, which I don't want cause I worry about parts failing. I can either have 1777mhz at the 1600 setting, or 2001mhz with it set at it's proper 1866mhz

MoBo: Update: almost a year in and there's a wet, sticky spot on the MoBo! It looks like it's leaking from the heatsink between the CPU and I/O panel - sorry, idk exactly what that is. Googled it and it's not an isolated issue. Soo, don't go with this board, IMO.

BIOS is pretty friendly and the Command Center desktop app is a nice touch, when it seems to work. Either keep the RAM Disk forever, or never use it! If you suddenly decide not to use it, too late. All my Adobe Suite programs wouldn't even load until I re-enabled the RamDisk. DropBox won't start and Chrome/internet chokes and dies after a few days.

Troubles: But first try at getting the CPU up to even stock speed seemed to make the system crash. Umm...ok.. Same with setting the RAM to its native 1866. I've tried flashing the board BIOS a few times to update it, only to have it first say it failed and to put the file in the root folder of my flash drive; then telling me to insert my flash drive. Until I flash update it, it also won't boot when I have the 3TB drive plugged in. It turns on, but won't post - as far as I can tell anyway - because I also discovered that when I have my 2nd monitor plugged in, the GT740 uses that as the primary until it gets to the Windows screen, even if the monitor's not on. So I guess I'll try the 3TB again with the monitor unplugged and see what happens. So for now I just have my 2TB I took out of my HP in. Was great to have all my stuff ready to go in a new system - now if only it ran like it was new and better!

Decided I was sick of Windows10 and had missed the chance to rollback when I finally decided I didn't like it. So I figured ok, backup, wipe and install 7 on an SSD. 4 installs later, due to random errors and not liking where I directed the system to look for my pictures and music, I finally turned off the hibernation and page file to free up ~28gb on the 60gb SSD so that the system won't bog itself down. Sigh. Adobe and soon to be Office will be on the 120G HyperX, along with iTunes [if I can ever get a version to open!] and Steam directory. EaseUS Backup failed me, so I lost some important files during that re-install

I'm apparently addicted to upgrading now and internet shopping - so I ended up buying a slightly used 4GB GTX760 ACX FTW graphics card. Was more used than he advertised. Bent cooler fins and screw-mount, so I can't 100% secure it to my case. Really makes me worry about the stress on my PCI slot :/

Update Sept. '16 ; I'm now looking at an RX480 - to really boost my gaming and make 2x monitor workflow a little less buggy

UPDATE 2; Just ordered a 4gb MSI 470 Gaming X - will be $180 after rebate; which hopefully goes through! Unlike my new router rebate >:/

Oh. Can't forget the awesome choice in Blu-Ray drives either. Was the first part I received and installed. I remember it being very very well padded and packed, but when I finally got the system built and tried to put the MSI disc in, it sounded like it was going to spin the disc apart! Super high spin and super loose drive tray! A mix of the actual tray being loose and the disc sitting in there too loose makes for a loud, semi-working piece of equipment. I emailed the seller and was like um, this doesn't seem "like new" as stated. He responded that he tested it before shipping and assured me that it did not have that problem. It was way past the return window by the time I found the noise, so I'm gonna have to live with it and/or eat the cost of a new drive. It actually stopped reading my Adobe disc the first try at installing CS6. So definitely something up with it.

But the positive side is that the whole thing runs super cool [again, probably due to massively under-preforming], near dead-silent and the front green LED fan is really neat :)

UPDATE; System pulls in a TON of dust! Haven't seen one that dusty since my first Dell B110. One of the 80mm exhaust fans runs at full speed, creating positive pressure and drawing hair and dust in around every crack in the case! Tried upping my intake's minimum RPM and reducing the one Exhaust that I can control. Raised system temps a few degrees, but hopefully it'll help with dust. It was really bad! Both System and CPU temps idle at about 29c, based on that last adjustment - a few degree increase, but still not bad. Thinking I might move the tower from the desk slot to my table. So that should help. Also discovered for a case like this I should've gotten a Static Pressure 140mm. Oh well. Live and learn!

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Took off a star cause there's a tiny lip between two of the pipes where it sites on the CPU, and the fins feel like you'll bend them when you slide the fan on. Other than that it's pretty good. Not HUGE, looks good, and kept my 8320E at about 17C before I learned to play with the speed. Now it's in the low 20s C.

Optical Drive

Really Really hope I just got a lemon. I want to like this, cause it's a BD Burner at a great price! But 90% of discs I put in the tray just spin up super loud and then spin back down without being read. The rare occasion I am ever able watch a DVD, then it's incredibly annoying to have the disc buzz throughout the whole thing. It acts like the tray is too big, so it just bounces around.

Log in to rate comments or to post a comment.


  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

Gotta like the 8320E! Especially for Cooler Temps :D But seriously never use that SSD, it get super duper slow after a while~ next time you should get a OCZ SSD :D other than that, great build!!! +1

  • 53 months ago
  • 2 points

thanks! It was a massive headache, but it runs really well and really quiet :) and next time I'm avoiding the whole SSD thing all together. It's such a pain to reduce Windows so it fits on the 60gb and keep close tracks on what all is installing to the OS drive so that it doesn't fill up and suddenly run slow.