Description

I sold my 27" iMac to finance this gaming and HTPC build. Got a MacBook and just wasn't using the desktop as much. Started this when I was excited for the upcoming release of Arkham Knight... And I was getting tired of the Blu-Ray player's buggy app interface. This computer is plugged into a projector.

This is my first build since middle school, when PCPartPicker didn't exist and you couldn't click in BIOS.

CPU

Don't have an interest in overclocking so I went for the i5-4960 non-K. This was one of the first things I chose, as the Logical Increments guide recommends it.

CPU Cooler

This was the last thing I bought because the stock cooler was loud and whined in an obnoxious way. Just installed it but it's already nearly silent compared to its predecessor.

Motherboard

Went back and forth on a few because I don't know what I'm doing and really just needed an Optical Audio out for my home theater setup. Ended up really loving the ASUS. Great UEFI, nice utilities, awesome documentation. And the full ATI form factor is good for expansion and just keeping things spaced out.

RAM

I bought some Corsair Vengeance on sale but I couldn't stand the thought of the bright red in my monochrome and gold interior. So I got these.

Storage

Sprung for the 4 TB because it's nice to not worry about space and I read that they were more reliable. SSD was pretty much as big as I could afford.

Video Card

As soon as I did a bit of research it became clear that the GTX 970 was the way to go. A redditor turned me on to the smaller version of the card. I was a little worried about noise but it's not loud at all.

Case

I considered going for a less expensive Silverstone but I just loved the look of the Node 605. It's really well-made and quite luxurious-looking. Cable management features were non-existent but I gather that's the standard for smaller cases. It was fun to cram everything in, anyway. Really glad I didn't go for a mini-ATX form factor.

Case Fans

Wanted the ASUS utility to be able to control the fans, so I grabbed a couple of Cooler Master Blade Master 120s for the four-pin PWM.

Power Supply

Didn't give a ton of thought to this one other than that it needed to be relatively quiet.

Other Stuff

Had a copy of Windows 7 that I installed and upgraded to 10. Had a 360 controller and a remote adapter.

Conclusions

Haven't grabbed benchmarks yet (will update) but it's nearly silent on idle and while watching movies and TV, which is the important part. It gets a little loud when gaming, which is disappointing, but nothing to do at this point. The projector is usually louder, anyway.

Super fast to boot -- under 10 seconds -- and Windows 10 is very speedy. Still working on integrating Netflix in the smoothest way possible -- right now it still takes a click with my remote's air mouse. But Steam Big Picture works great and starts up with the big button on the 360 controller.

Curious what others have done with software for their HTPC/gaming rigs. I gathered Kodi was the standard but it seemed to have spotty Netflix integration (which seems to be the fault of Netflix).

Part Reviews

Video Card

This thing is LOUD. It certainly has the power, but I'm guessing the small size means that single fan has to really blast. Probably okay for desktop PCs, but for my HTPC I'm going to sell this and get an EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB SSC GAMING.

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Comments

  • 55 months ago
  • 3 points

Welcome to the PCMasterRace

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

Kudos on the build and getting away from Apple. They make a nice product and things just work, but they don't leave room for messing with things and gaming is laughable. As for suggestions with HTPC stuff, I use Kodi and that does very well. I have a 20TB media setup I've knit-picked at for a while. As for something for netflix, not sure which browser you use, but I have a solution in Chrome. You can go to the Netflix site, click the menu button (3 lines) and select "More tools" and "add to taskbar". This will give you a nice clean shortcut. You can move it into the Start Menu tiles from the taskbar if you like that better. I have this setup with Amazon prime and Netflix. Give it a shot. If you have more questions, PM me.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! That's good to know about Add to Taskbar. I'm using the Netflix Windows 10 app right now, which works pretty well, but I don't think there's a Prime Video app.

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  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

There's gaming on OSX! Just not as much as most gamers would like and usually not AAA titles at launch... :(

And connecting a PS controller via BT works...most of the time. :P

Still, the # of OSX games available on Steam surprises me.

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

Its not really the OS thats the problem, more the hardware... you can spend over $2000 on a iMac and still only have intergrated graphics... I know the iMac looks nice, but games dont!

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

I know! Not just that, they rip you off too. When you compare their iMacs to a custom built PC of the same price, you see a huge performance difference - check this out.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

True. I guess I'm a little spoiled by my Hackintosh with its 4.2 GHz i7, dual Nvidia GPUs, 32GB RAM, and 4TB RAID storage... =D

It's almost 3 years old now, though....maybe time for an upgrade!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Where is the $2000 iMac with integrated graphics? Once you get to $1500 on the non-5K you get a GT 750M, and you can't buy a 5K with integrated graphics.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm in Australia... Nothing apple make is under $2k.... And gee wow, $1,500 (usd I'm assuming) for a 750m.... Not really bang for buck now is it

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

Remember, not everyone wants the same things you do from a computer.

  • 55 months ago
  • 0 points

Yeah, I used Boot Camp and played a number of debut titles. It wasn't bad at all.