This is an updated post. I built this PC at Christmas time, with a lot of help from a friend of mine. I've always wanted a high end gaming rig, but had no clue where to start. I had no experience with any kind of PC building or gaming. My friend helped me set my budget, choose components and build the rig. Since the initial build, I have added and modified the build and setup. This post serves as an update to share the final build, as it shall remain for the time being.
This build ballooned way past my initial intent, but has been a lot of fun. All of the hard work is done now (hopefully) and now comes the time to enjoy what I have built. I am hoping to try my hand at overclocking someday, but not anytime soon.
Please, feel free to make any and all suggestions. This is my first build, and I love to learn ways of using it and upgrading it. All of the feedback I receive is taken seriously, and it is all appreciated. Thanks for looking, guys.
CPU - After doing a lot of research, I was able to decide on an overclockable K series i5. It seems like this processor is designed for exactly the aim of this build. Semi-high end gaming, with a modest price of admission. The processor multi-tasks flawlessly, and rarely slows down on me.
CPU Cooler - The CPU cooler was bigger than I had anticipated, but runs very quietly and does it's job. I monitor the CPU temp using MSI Afterburner, and the CPU rarely goes above 50*C. Maybe I will update to liquid cooling in the future, but this cooler is perfect for my current application.
Motherboard - This is the one area of the build that I am second-guessing. The BIOS is pretty, and the board has some nice features, but most of the issues I have had are rooted in the mobo. Given the application it was selected for, I may upgrade to a dedicated gaming board at some point. If this board can perform a little more consistently for me, I will be fine with it. But it has been plagued with boot-up after power loss issues, and cannot hold a simple RAM overclock. It may be my lack of experience, but I think there may be issues with this piece that will result in an RMA soon.
Memory - The selected RAM does it's job. It's supposed to be stable at 3000 MHz, but due to an issue believed to be in the mobo, I am stuck running it at 2133 MHz.
Storage - Samsung's SSD is an amazing piece of technology. Super fast transfer speeds with almost no load time on files and games. If you have not upgraded to an SSD yet, do it now.
Case - The case was selected for it's cost and size. I expected nothing spectacular. While it is not the flashiest piece to show off a build, it is certainly a nice, functional case. Lots of space to move around inside, and great airflow. There could be a little more room on the backside for cable management, but I really think new builders, or budget builders will get more than their money's worth in this one.
Power Supply - The selected power supply has been tried and remains true. I have had steady, consistent power coming from the unit. It is quiet, and does not run too hot. The modular nature allows for lots of flexibility in cable management. Excellent Quality from EVGA. Between this piece, and the graphics card, I have found my first trusted PC part manufacturer.
Optical Drive - Solid and inexpensive disc drive.
Operating System - I am a PC novice, so take this with a grain of salt, but I am blown away at the usability of Windows 10. I have been a MAC user for years, due to terrible experiences with previous versions of windows, but 10 has won me over. There are small inconsistencies, like the start button or Cortana bar getting lost. But largely, the OS is far more user friendly that any Windows version I have used before.
Wireless Network Adapter
Wireless Network Adapter - This piece was applied after the initial build, as I was having a network traffic issue in my home. My PC is two rooms away from the wireless router, and the first online session was not a good one. I was using a single-band adapter in a house full of connected devices. My router is dual-band, so I upgraded and am very happy I did. The PC is the only device in the house using the 5 GHz band, and very rarely sees slow down now. This is an excellent card for future-proofing any rig.
Case Fan - I added these two fans to increase overall airflow in the case. I did not have an overheating issue, but I was opening the case for another upgrade and figured I would get this out of the way. The red LED lights give the build a little bit of personality, but they are louder than the stock fans. I usually keep them on low, to dull the noise. I do feel better having a little extra cooling in the case though.
The Dell monitor was picked up at an insane price, and was added as a second screen for web page viewing and system information displaying while in-game. The colors are beautiful and the flexibility is very nice. The only complaint, is that there is no HDMI input. You either have to use DVI, or DISPLAYPORT. I used DVI, as DISPLAYPORT cables are impossible to find in brick and mortar stores. Because the graphics card firing order sends the DVI signal first, this second monitor boots up first. Not really a big deal, unless I have to get into the BIOS. The BIOS displays in landscape mode, and this monitor is set to portrait, so I have to crane my neck to use it. Kind of a pain, but still a nice monitor.
Monitor - The BenQ monitor was selected first, and is used as the primary. It is beautiful and 144 Hz is super impressive. Being a TN Panel, I do have a little bit of viewing angle difficulty, but a small desk reconfiguration addressed that concern. Could not be happier with the visual fidelity the monitor provides.
Keyboard and Mouse - Razer products are very nice. Reliable quality, but sick of the green glow. I will be updating these to their CHROMA counterparts when the price is right.