This is a gaming build primarily for my wife who really enjoys the Razer-themed matte black and green LED look. All the parts were chosen specifically to match the theme while providing a great gaming experience as well. I'm upgrading her from my old Phenom II 940 (Quad 3.0 GHz) and GTX 660 which has been refurbed and handed down to my nephew who is in his first year of college. My wife is a big Skyrim enthusiast and highly ranked with Diablo III. The new Tomb Raider games she really enjoys as well. The old system was good for its day but it was time for an upgrade and this system came together very nicely. It's probably one of the easiest builds I've ever done and one of the nicest looking as well in my opinion! The important thing is she loves it and the games have never looked better.
Originally I chose a 6700 but it was out of stock for so long I just went with the 6700-K for an extra $40. Not able to really overclock (much) with this motherboard, but 4.2 GHz on 8 threads is nice. The temp maxes out at 66 C while running OCCT CPU stress test for 15 minutes. Typically it is in the 50's for gaming and barely over room temperature at idle.
I love the aesthetic of this cooler and it was super easy to install. It is comparable to the CM 212 EVO or a Corsair H60 liquid cooler but it looks nicer than the EVO and there are fewer potential failure points than any liquid cooler. I used Arctic Silver-5 instead of the included thermal compound, but it is worth noting that they do include a generous tube of Cryorig branded thermal material. Pros: Quiet, looks cool, matches the other black parts, easy to install Cons: None really for the price
I've used Arctic Silver-5 forever and still recommend it. I use the "line" method to apply it and can verify that it works better than the "credit card" method every time!
This is an Intel B150 motherboard so overclocking and super fast memory is pretty much out of the question. It has amazing onboard audio though, and I'm coming from a Creative Soundblaster-Z in the old system which exaggerated the bass unnecessarily and overwhelmed the rest of the sound. This is crystal clear and wonderful at any volume, with headphones or big speakers. The green LED lighting is exactly what I was looking for. Gigabyte offers some software for "breathing" animation with the LED lights and such which I might play with at some point.
Nice black heat spreaders on black PCBs. Kingston is a great brand and I've trusted them for years. They didn't let me down. Maybe could be faster but DDR-4 RAM speed doesn't seem to make any difference with gaming from what I've read.
I was initially going with the 500 GB EVO but needed the extra space. The price has come down so much that this was really a smart move and did a lot to accelerate the system. Going from a WD Blue 1TB to this 1TB 850 EVO is as night and day difference. After the BIOS POST, Windows loads in a matter of seconds. Plenty of room for Steam and Battle.net as well. The 850 EVO series is touted as one of the most reliable SSDs out there as well, top sellers for a reason. Highly recommended!
Black and Green, MSI build quality is excellent, fans don't spin when idle and they are very quiet when running Skyrim at Ultra or Diablo III at max settings. Haven't tried the DSR option, since my screen is 1080p and this card should be overkill for everything we can throw at it it might be fun to try rendering games at 4K and putting them on a 1080p screen. Only coil whine I heard was during the Windows SAT Assessment tool. I have not heard any other noise from it during regular use or benchmarking so either I'm lucky or the reports of coil whine are greatly exaggerated.
This case arrived exactly as expected, matte black and tinted gray acrylic window with green LED lighting on the bottom and an illuminated Razer logo on the front. There is a switch in the back to toggle the lights (and the fans by default). I removed the 2 120mm fans and replaced them with a CM Sickleflow 120 and 3 Bitfenix 140mm green LED fans. With some patience you could power the fans from the motherboard and the lights all through the switch in the back, but I don't mind having them on all the time. My fans are powered through the motherboard and the lights on the bottom and the front are controlled by the switch. The tinted window subdues a lot of the light and it looks really nice and not as gaudy as I was thinking it would be. I'm very pleased with this case.
I was concerned initially about the four x 20A 12V rail design, but there is little to no sag under load and it is whisper quiet. I put the video card on rails 2 and 3, the CPU on rail 1 and peripherals on rail 4. I would recommend to anyone running a single GPU and not a lot of overclocking. The cables are blacked out and sleeved with a loose mesh, the Gold rating is nice, the fan is quiet and there is a 5 year warranty. I did some research and this G1 is actually a rebranded FSP PSU. I was happy to learn this as I have trusted their products for years.
Very nice image quality. Nearly 180 degree viewing angle and a flicker-free backlight make this monitor very easy on the eyes. This monitor uses a VA panel, which I had not heard of before. Great for people prone to eye strain and headaches from fatigue. I'm running it on Scenery mode with the Vivid setting all the way down to avoid over-sharpening the pixels. I was worried at first about the 5ms GTG response time, but it turned out to be a non-issue. It is a 1080p monitor which might be too low for some people looking for a 28 inch screen, but I found it to be a perfect balance.