Description

I built this primarily as a replacement gaming PC. I wanted something that was a good gaming PC, but not overkill. I also didn't want something that was noisy, inefficient or large.

Overall I think it turned out well. It's very capable, pretty small, pretty quiet, and should last a good long while. It's not perfect though:

  • The case was slightly wider that I was expecting, but it's ok.
  • It's a bit noisier at idle than I would like, but that's mainly down to one fan that I will replace.
  • It cost a little more than I would have liked. I could have made it a little cheaper in a couple of ways. Firstly I could have shopped around a bit more and chosen slightly different parts that were cheaper. Secondly, I was impatient, and ended up spending a fair bit on shipping, which could definitely be reduced.

Now for some more detail:

  • CPU: i5, not a lot to say. I got what is apparently a below-average overclock, but it's still pretty good. It's currently running at 4.4GHz.
  • CPU cooler: the h55, it's probably the weakest point of the build, but cooling performance is ok:
    • The stock fan is really loud. Unbearably so. It's not PWM either, so needs a voltage-control header on the mobo, which for me is a case fan slot. Even at 50% the fan is noisy though. I replaced it with a Noctua N12 PWM, which is much much better.
    • There is a bit of pump noise, which is the loudest thing in the PC at idle. A heatsink wouldn't have that.
    • The radiator is a real pain to screw to a fan and the case.
    • If I was doing this over I would take a long look at a Noctua NH-U12S.
  • Motherboard: MSI z97M. Happy with this. Looks good, good features, good UEFI, ok Windows utility. The OC Genie does a pretty good job for no effort. Another case fan header would be nice.
  • Memory: Looks good, and performance seems ok. It's actually DDR3-1600 unless you enable XMP, so if your mobo doesn't support XMP then only expect 1600. I overclocked it to DDR3 2400 with 11-13-14-30-1 timings (the XMP is 9-10-11-27-2 I think).
  • SSD: MX100, seems fine. I don't need a lot of storage, so SSD-only.
  • GPU: ASUS Strix GTX 970: I like it. Very nice build quality. Overclocked out of the box, with room for some improvement. I have the boost clock up to 1378MHz, and the memory clock to 7360MHz. There may be a little bit more room there, but it seems to be throttling on its max power draw setting. The fans don't spin a idle, so it's silent a lot of the time, and it's not that loud at full load either.
  • Case: Phenom M. I like it. Good quality construction. The included fans are nice. I swapped the side panels. It's a bit of a tight squeeze, but there's just enough room for what I have.
  • PSU: Corsair RM650. It seems pretty nice. Good efficiency rating, and silent at idle. Also seems quiet at load.
  • Noctua fan: really nice. Quiet, and you can really feel the build quality improvement.
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Comments

  • 65 months ago
  • 2 points

clean, powerful, nothing too flashy. i like it +1

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

thanks!

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

Quality part selection indeed but can't help but feel like I should see an i7 in a $1500 rig...

  • 65 months ago
  • 2 points

For gaming, the 4790K is marginal loss of benefits for fps in any modern game under like 1440p or 4K, plus CPU bound games are for lower resolutions like WVGA and stuff like that. Which unfortunately I have a WVGA monitor.

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks. I almost regret that choice, but I'm still fine with this choice. I might start using this for work as well, in which case 8 cores for VMs would probably be nice, but it will still be a step up from my laptops, so I'm fine with i5.

Plus it wouldn't be a $1500 rig anymore with an i7, it would be a $1600 build!

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

What are fan splitters? Also, does the Xbox 360 controller work well with most games? I do like the case. Nice display and SSD, but also decent liquid cooler and gaming mobo. Is the SHIELD controller worth all of the hype? I think it should work better with NVIDIA cards, but is there any value behind Shadowplay?

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah I have one of those controllers, works with most games I play. Even some 2006 games

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

Huh. So would the XOne controller be better in any way, or is the xbox 360 controller better? Also, is the SHIELD controller nice? It just looks nice for me, especially the Geforce logo.

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

The controller worked with every game I tried so far, no setup required.

I think the SHIELD would be the choice if you wanted the remote gaming too. I just wanted something for when a keyboard+mouse isn't the right thing for a game.

The splitters are http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CB-071-AK, which means I can connect the 4 case fans to the 2 headers I have on the motherboard. It's a PWM cable, but it works fine for 3 pins too. Only one of the fans reports the speed to the mobo though.

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

SHIELD controller > Xbox 360 controller or approximately equal? I mean I just like the look, but is there any significant benefits for either controller? Aka Xbox 360 vibration or like SHIELD has better optimization for GTX cards or etc.?

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

I've never tried the shield controller. I assumed it came with the tablet built-in, which wouldn't really make them compatible.

My guess is that if you just want a controller, then get the xbox. If you want all the extra stuff then go for the shield.

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

Did a very similar build in the Prodigy M, and I so wish that I didn't get a AIO cooler. Very tempted to switch it out with a Noctua U9S (Ram clearance). Anyway nice balanced build +1

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

Same here and I used a corsair h80i. I really wish that cooler wasn't so thick.