Description

I mainly use my PC for gaming. After many attempts at trying to find somewhere (Box, Chillblast, Pcspecialist etc) to build the PC that I wanted within the budget I had, and with the right case, I finally gave up and decided to build it myself.

Pretty daunting task as I've never owned a desktop before, or played around with one. In the end I found that the hardest part was making the decision to do it, then trying to find all of the parts and making sure they were compatible. The build itself had its challenges but for a first time builder it was definitely the parts compatibility and learning curve which gave me the most trouble.

I started with a AMD processor but found that the ITX motherboard support for AMD wasn't anywhere near as good as for intel, in the end I went with intel and downgraded my graphics card from a GTX 980 ti to a GTX 970 to stay in my budget.

As a first time builder, it was pretty easy to put together but I would suggest investing in a no 1 Phillips screwdriver (make sure it's a long one, 10 inches if possible. I got mine from the £1 store). Some small zip ties, I ended up using a good 30 or so to hold wires in place (also from the £1 store).

THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN BEFORE BUILDING

CPU Putting in a CPU is TERRIFYING. Okay, so it went like this. Everything went together fine, lined the CPU into the socket, dropped it in, tried to close the CPU bracket over the top and it gave a lot of resistance. A LOT... panic ensued. Did I put it in wrong? Oh crap, did I damage the pins? Why won't it close! Surely this is too much pressure to close it! No. No it's not. You have to push pretty firmly to get the clasp back down into position. There may even be a slight click sound, that's fine. Don't panic... unless you left the little plastic sheath on top, then panic because that needs to come out before you put the CPU in.

CPU COOLER So, the back bracket is confusing as frack. It does fit, it just takes some careful lining up with the holes on the motherboard. I suggest putting the little metal pins into the bracket slots before applying to the motherboard. It makes life easier. Also the CPU takes up two 3/4pin fan connectors on the Gigabyte motherboard, the motherboard only has two of them. Buy a molex and connect the front and back fans direct to the power source.

VIDEO CARD (Some) Graphic cards need drivers to work, surprise! Put the graphics card in last, after you've installed windows and booted the PC. Load drivers, shut everything down, put in graphics card and like magic it will work. If you try to boot the PC with the graphics card installed there will be no image on your monitor.

CASE It's small, really small and the easiest way to get the power supply in and all the wires you need in place is to remove the hard drive bay, easy thumb screw and then put it back in once you've installed the power supply.

POWER SUPPLY Put it in first, it's a tight fit so remove the hard drive bays and route all your cables behind/under/around the 3.5 bay then replace the bay when done. I pointed the fan downwards as the case has a nice hole at the bottom and dust shield.

FANS: If you buy replacement case fans for this case make sure you pay strict attention to both the depth and length measurement. I bought a 200mm Coolmaster fan for the front which did not fit because the depth was 30mm, it needs to be 20mm or the front won't close.

Also note that the motherboard I chose only has two fan ports and the CPU cooler uses both of them. Invest in a molex adapter to power your front and back fans, they will be on full power when hooked directly to the power source so invest in some quiet ones. The ones that came with the case are not overly loud but far from silent either.

OPTICAL DRIVE Okay, here's the deal. The internal optical drive does not fit into the case. There's no room or slot for it, but you do need one to put your OS onto your system. I used the cheapest one I could find, worked great.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Great little cooler, fits into my build snugly and keeps everything nice and cool. The only issue I have with it is the fan it comes with is a 3 pin connection, so I can't control the speed. Will upgrade the fan and that's about it. Note it takes not only the CPU fan slot but another fan slot on your motherboard as well.

Motherboard

Great motherboard, easy to set up, comes with wifi, nice audio, plenty of input and the bios was easy to get used to. It recognized my optical drive straight away and booted windows from it with no issue. Only issue I had was it only has two 4pin fan connectors, and I needed 4. Molex to the rescue.

Memory

It's ram. It does ram like things. Ram it into the motherboard and all's good.

Power Supply

This thing is a VERY tight fit in the Corsair 380t, but with some careful squishing and adjusting everything fit fine in the end.

Comments

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

The plastic sheath that covers the cpu opening is suppose to pop off after you put the lever down and attach it to the thing, all the videos i watch show it popping off. Some people remove it before installing their Cpu and some don't.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

True, some don't pop off though. It depends on the motherboard you choose, mine was fixed in place and had to be removed before putting it down on the CPU. Which was weird.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Great job on your first build. Wish you the best of luck with future builds and you (hopefully) don't run into any software compatibility issues in the future.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. :]

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

does it come with the cat?

  • 53 months ago
  • 2 points

Cat is an optional extra.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Congrats on your first build! Maybe upload some more pics of the finished work? Bummer you had to downgrade from a 980 ti. You could've went with an i5 4690k and went stock air cooler for a bit and possibly kept your 980 ti. Unless you need the hyper threading for other tasks.

  • 53 months ago
  • 2 points

I agree, one should never sacrifice GPU power to get an i7 for gaming. 970's are awesome though and that i7 will demolish any other task.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Gonna wait a bit for the price of the 980 ti to drop a bit then sell the one I have and pick it up. Easier to replace the graphics card than the CPU I think. More pics will appear when I've completely finished. Still got a molex to go in and gotta switch out the fans as well. Once done, all the pics ever!

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Interesting case never seen that one before nice build kudos.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. The case is awesome for LAN parties. I had a corsair 250d and preferred that one instead. Good choice though.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build man. Looking at that gtx 970 FTW for my first build how's it working for you?

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

So far been awesome, no issues. :D

  • 53 months ago
  • 0 points

You're wrong about the graphics card not being able to work without a driver. I built a 980 Ti rig this week and the first time I turned it on my monitor was plugged into the GPU and it displayed the image just fine.

However great job on your build! Congrats.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Really? Must just be this graphics card. I had to run it off the integrated graphics first time I booted.

Thank you! Very pleased with how it's turned out so far.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Ty, was fun.