A desktop a few years in the making, finally finished. It's original purpose was simply to play games in great quality without lag, but since then I have started university and got into games even more. I will be using this to play my massive Steam library, watch my movie collection, work on school work, program and general computer use.
I got a fairly good deal on the SSD, which was great, I hadn't planned on including one from the get-go, but I couldn't pass it up. I originally only had the 1TB disk drive, but I got the 2TB last minute to make more than sure I had enough space for my stuff. I needed a Blu-Ray player so I could enjoy the collection of Blu-Rays I already have. I got Windows and Office through my university on our student discount thankfully. Immediately upgraded 8.1 to 10, and loving it so far.
Added the two case fans to fill every slot to ensure decent temps, and got a wireless card because I'm on the literal opposite side of the house from the router/modem and really don't want to string a ethernet cable across the house. Got the mediocre speakers just so I had speakers, something nice will come eventually, possibly even a sound card.
I bought the keyboard, monitor, mouse and headset way before I had started the desktop, but included them as they are integral to the build and it's use. I got such a large monitor because where I work, we use dual 27" monitors and I got very used to it and wanted something similar, so I found the best deal I could on one at the time that I liked, it's served me great so far. I feel like the case is a bit underrated for it's price point, but I really like it, nothing too flashy, but all the right little features I could have asked for on my first desktop.
The motherboard was chosen for a few reasons, one naively being the brand, and the other being the software that comes with it (BIOS, etc...), and reading/watching reviews. It seems to work great so far, no hiccups whatsoever. Got the Devil's Canyon i5 to be sure I could handle gaming and multitasking in general, but didn't go for an i7, because I felt it was unnecessary for my use. 8GB of RAM, pretty standard, chose the G.Skill for the awesome heat spreader/color combo. The GPU was the real gem of the deal in my opinion, performs very well in games so far.
Bought this little guy on a flash sale for a lot cheaper than expected.
I use this as a boot drive (C:) for Windows, and boot programs (Steam, Skype, Core Temp, Origin, Office, etc...), and with it, I'm able to go from cold shut-down, to ready to log in in less than 15 seconds on Windows 10.
Everything installed on the drive moves and loads nice and fast, and Windows 10 and the programs on it have left about 35 GB of extra space for Windows Temp files and other things still, so it seems like it will work just fine for a Windows install with some other programs.
A great, good-old mechanical hard drive. 7,200 rpm is about as good as it gets (unless you're an enthusiast) for these guys, and this one performs admirably. Lots of space, with very little taken up when installed as an extra drive in Windows (~ 990 GB available). Performs great, doesn't make noise, and didn't fail out of the box or anything, so far so good, seems to be great quality.
A great, good-old mechanical hard drive. 7,200 rpm is about as good as it gets (unless you're an enthusiast) for these guys, and this one performs admirably. Lots and lots of space, with very little taken up when installed as an extra drive in Windows (~ 1.95 TB available). Performs great, doesn't make noise, and didn't fail out of the box or anything, so far so good, seems to be great quality.
This one is a bit heftier than the usual 1 TB models, due to the fact that there are simply two platters inside of the case, but nothing to worry about, just something to mention.
This card is great for mid to upper level builds geared for gaming or other graphically intensive tasks. I purchased this for my gaming build, in the hopes that I could run about 90% of the games on the market up to the time of the build maxed out, but holding a steady 60 fps on Vsync. It manages to do pretty much exactly that (which blows me away coming from a laptop for gaming). This card, for the price, is a great deal, and the extra 4GB is really useful if you're playing a game where the developers never optimized it well, or something like GTA V with a lot of textures to render, or something with a lot of mods installed.
The card is quite the beast, much larger than I had expected and will completely swamp most motherboards, but on mine at least (ASUS Z97-A) I get no GPU sag thankfully.
The card runs at a max of about 80 C, and a min of about 45 C, but I have some work to do on my systems cooling, so that may be a littler higher than normal.
There are a TON of ports available on this card, 3 Display Ports, 1 HDMI and 1 DVI, allowing for basically anything you would want to connect, and EVGA is even nice enough to include a DVI to VGA adapter in the event that VGA is all you have to work with. They also include an adapter from 2 6-pin power cables to one 8-pin power cable, so most PSU's should be able to power the beast.
For benchmarking, I have not tried Cinebench or any of the score based benchmarks, but I have tried a few games. I will list the game, with general settings, and FPS achieved:
Dying Light - Medium/High - 60 FPS (FPS drops when looking at fire and smoke)
Hitman: Absolution - Ultra (MSAA off) - 65 FPS in in-game benchmark
Civilization V - Ultra - 60 FPS (Vsync on)
L.A. Noire - Ultra - 30 FPS (Locked at 30 FPS, never fluctuates)
Battlefield 4 - High/Ultra (2 settings on medium, a few on high and most on ultra) - 60 FPS (Vsync on)
Skyrim - Ultra - 60 FPS (Vsync on)
Minecraft - Maxed (64x64 texture pack, no mods) - 60 FPS (Vsync on)
This case is great for an first time builder, or someone not looking for anything with a ton of bells and whistles but something with some great features not included on the low-budget cases.
Case is built really, really solid, and has a really nice finish on it. The blue LED fans included are a nice touch, as well as the blue power button (NOTE: The included case fans are miserable in terms of airflow, recommend replacing them). There are plenty of places for fans, 120/140 mm front, 120 mm rear, 2 120/140 mm top, 120/140 mm bottom, plus 2 80mm in the sides of the case. The options for fans are endless with that amount of placements. The side fans are nice and used for cooling the hard drive bay, but their airflow is hardly noticeable, also, the rear and side fans are all powered via MOLEX connectors, which is a little annoying, but it could be an inconvenience if they were PWM, considering not many motherboards have 7 PWM connectors (a fan controller could help).
The frosted side panel window and frosted fins on the top give the case a great aesthetic. The front and bottom fans, as well as the bottom of the PSU location, all have filters to prevent dust from entering the case.
Don't be fooled by the "USB 3.0 front panel" support, as it is literally two 3.0 extension cables that they want you to string to the back of the case and plug into your motherboard's I/O panel and take up it's slots, which is very misleading and disappointing. The power button and reset button are really nice though.
Also, don't be fooled by one of the images of the case here on PCParkPicker, the side panels are NOT hinged, and must be completely removed. I.e, they will fall off the case when unscrewed and pulled, NOT hinged.
Also, there are no replacement expansion bay covers for the rear of the case, and the ones there are attached to the case directly and must be broke off, so once one is removed, there is no covering the hole back up.
The PSU is bottom mounted, and provides little rubber supports to lift it up a little to provide better airflow, but be wary, the bottom fan may or may not fit depending on your PSU size (Corsair CX600M fits).
The cable routing options are nice, but a little archaic, and have no nice rubber grommets to conceal the cables. There are plenty of mounting options for hard drives, and a SSD mount on the rear of the motherboard panel as well as an adapter to mount an SSD into one of the larger DVD Drive bays instead.
The case is rated to support up to a 290 mm GPU, however, I think it could probably fit a slightly larger one just fine (maybe 300 mm+?).
The inclusion of two rear rubber grommets for routing of watercooling cables is a nice touch if you're looking for something cheap but accommodating to that.
Last but not least, the footprint of this case is gigantic, it feels like it takes up as much space as a full-size tower, but is only rated as a mid-size case. It has great cooling options, but mediocre included fans, lots of room to expand, but no bells and whistles as far as nice rubber grommets for cable management, and hinged side panels and whatnot, but overall, definitely a worthwhile case.
Windows 8.1 Pro was a good OS, performed well, operates quickly and efficiently, but it's UI was lacking and the "start button" that was brought back was but a shadow of it's former self, but the OS was still a good one, especially after installing Classic Shell and skipping the "metro" start menu altogether.
This mechanical keyboard is great, but the software for the macro keys is downright terrible.
I bought this to finally get into the mechanical keyboard market, and I was very happy with my purchase, and still am. The keycaps feel great, the options for USB 3.0 and 2.0 connections and headphone and microphone on the keyboard itself is a very great option to have included, and the volume and backlight wheels are a very nice touch. The blue backlighting is what really drew me in. I liked the wrist rest, but I don't have room for in on my desk (keep in mind this keyboard is quite large). I have the Cherry MX Red switches in mine, and they are phenomenal for gaming and typing alike. Everything on the keyboard is responsive and I have had nearly no issues with anything mechanical.
The issue I did have, was that the spacebar stabilizers broke once, due to a installation problem (fortunately Micro Center replaced the whole keyboard for me). I have noticed that the included stabilizer spring and clips for the spacebar seem to be a little off. I purchased a new spring and clips from WASD Keyboards and installed them instead, as the factory spring had no grooved cut out to account for the switch being in the way, and as a result made a click noise when pressing on the sides of the spacebar.
All in all, the keyboard is really great, but if you're looking for software customization, I'd suggest a Corsair Vengeance or something similar. The software for the 5 macro keys for the keyboard renders them essentially useless, and to be honest I've probably pressed mine less than 10 times in the year I've owned it.
But the build quality is great, the cable is long and sleeved and comes with an attached cable tie, and the keyboard just feels really sturdy and types well, not much more I really could have asked for in a mechanical keyboard.