Description

Read (or skim) this description before making comments please. If things sound weird it’s probably because I have typed this description for about 3 months, and waited to post it right now so I could show how it will be set up and used for the next year or so.


Revisions

V1.5 (last revision before V2) (Pictures 75-84)

The first major update to the build, I've sold my GTX 950 to my cousin and I got an open-box Sapphire NITRO R9 380X from Micro Center.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU AMD A10-7700K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor $89.99
CPU Cooler Corsair H55 57.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler Purchased For $59.99
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI Mini ITX FM2+ Motherboard $54.99
Memory EVGA Superclocked 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory $49.99
Storage Samsung 850 EVO-Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $59.99
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 250GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $14.99
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $39.99
Video Card Sapphire Radeon R9 380X 4GB NITRO Video Card $131.91
Case Thermaltake Core V1 Mini ITX Tower Case $37.99
Power Supply EVGA 650W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply $74.39
Case Fan Corsair SP120 57.2 CFM 120mm Fan $14.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $629.21
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-11-23 14:31 EST-0500

V1.2 (Pictures 62-74)

  • Swapped EVGA W1 430W PSU for EVGA GQ 650W PSU

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU AMD A10-7700K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor $89.99
CPU Cooler Corsair H55 57.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler Purchased For $59.99
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI Mini ITX FM2+ Motherboard $54.99
Memory EVGA Superclocked 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory $49.99
Storage Samsung 850 EVO-Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $59.99
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 250GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $14.99
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $39.99
Video Card Asus GeForce GTX 950 2GB Video Card Purchased For $193.09
Case Thermaltake Core V1 Mini ITX Tower Case $37.99
Power Supply EVGA 650W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply $74.39
Case Fan Corsair SP120 57.2 CFM 120mm Fan $14.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $690.39
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-07-22 18:06 EDT-0400

V1.1 (Pictures 57-61)

  • Added WD Blue 250GB 7200RPM HDD
  • Added Corsair SP120 White LED fan
  • Removed Kingwin 80mm fans
  • Swapped Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound for Cryorig CP7 Thermal Compound

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU AMD A10-7700K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor $89.99
CPU Cooler Corsair H55 57.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler Purchased For $59.99
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI Mini ITX FM2+ Motherboard $54.99
Memory EVGA Superclocked 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory $49.99
Storage Samsung 850 EVO-Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $59.99
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 250GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $14.99
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $39.99
Video Card Asus GeForce GTX 950 2GB Video Card Purchased For $193.09
Case Thermaltake Core V1 Mini ITX Tower Case $37.99
Power Supply EVGA 430W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply $34.99
Case Fan Corsair SP120 57.2 CFM 120mm Fan $14.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $650.99
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-07-22 18:11 EDT-0400

The Times Before the Build

Sometime in mid-2013, I wanted my own computer, and I preferred a desktop, but I would be totally fine with a laptop. Christmas of that year, my dad gave me my first computer, a laptop (Toshiba C55-A5308 for those interested what I am coming from) and my mom gave me a Raspberry Pi Model B kit (which I did not know the usefulness of it back then). I was very happy with it, being that I only played Minecraft on it back then.

Fast forward to mid-2014, my laptop was still functioning quite well, as well as the Pi. I was taking up some new hobbies on the laptop, which included running a Minecraft server. I have tried to move it to my Pi but it is FAR too powerful for the specs of that Pi. Later that year, performance on the laptop (specifically the HDD) was degrading, as I was using a dual-monitor setup for quite a while. Also, I took up video production and programming (Python and some basic C++) on both the Pi and the laptop. Things ran OK for a while longer, but I did know that I needed a new computer. It just so happens that at the beginning of that school year my friend was trying to build a new PC, hence introducing me to the PCPartPicker site, and PC building in general. He gave me some really biased information (Intel and NVIDIA=Good and AMD=Never buy). That Christmas, my uncle gave me a Raspberry Pi Model B+ kit, and I can’t figure out what it actually costed him so I put in what I thought the cost might be. I used that one for what I used the Model B for, but I now use the Model B for light Minecraft server hosting.

Early 2015, I was getting better at PC building recommendations and had created some 20 practice part lists to help. I was also getting better at video production and coding, but that’s kind of not what my point is. Now, it’s September 2015, and right in the middle of the month, my laptop decided to tell me that IT’S TIME FOR YOUR UPGRADE. I talked to my mom about this (I’ve built her a new PC) and she said I could build a new desktop for me. Remember, this was in September. I didn’t get my hands on the first part (the GPU) until mid-October, then I got the rest the week after. Immediately I started to put together this system.

The Build

Compared to AM1 (the only socket I had built with until now), the FM2 CPU cooler installation was much simpler, and I had no problems with the build, it was slightly easier than in the past. No wait, that was a lie. I had the entire system built, and I was ready to try it on the monitor I was using, but there was no signal. I guess the GTX 950 really hates analog monitors. I had no digital cable, but I had some digital monitors (I’ve got a LOT of monitors). I had to steal an HDMI to DVI cable from my raspberry pi setup, so that worked on my TV, then I just took my raspberry pi setup down altogether. I found out that monitor was cracked, but I still used it for 2 months, until Christmas.

Post-Build Upgrades

During that 2 months, I got some new parts to add. The first was the H55, installed that with only one problem (one of the 200mm fan screws was stripped in its hole, so I wasn’t able to get out that big fan right away). The case definitely has enough mounting depth to support the rad, however trying to put the block on the CPU is an entirely different story. I got the stock cooler off, and then I had to put a new backplate on the motherboard by taking apart the entire computer. I have to admit it is much better than the stock cooler (after some terrible issues). Then, a few days before Black Friday I got a white LED strip from what appears to have been China, so I put that in there. December came, and with that came a discovery. I was getting suspicious of the higher temperatures during normal use, so I ordered some thermal compound on Newegg, and when it got here, I took off the block, and my suspicions were confirmed, THERE WAS NO THERMAL COMPOUND (that was my fault). I thought that it would be ok to leave the current thermal compound on the CPU and put the block on with its preapplied thermal compound, but I WAS WRONG. So, since one of the reasons I didn’t remove it before was because I couldn’t find isopropyl alcohol (I didn’t know it was just rubbing alcohol at the time), I found some and cleaned off whatever was left on the CPU and block and applied (hopefully enough) thermal compound to the CPU. Sadly, I still didn’t get much thermal improvements (1°C less than before). Now, because I had to steal my Pi’s monitor to make this computer work, I wasn’t able to use it for a while. At Christmas, I received 2 27” 1080p monitors, one of which I didn’t hook up until that Monday. Why? Because the size of the monitors is too tall for the clearance between the desk and shelf. So, we had to raise the shelf about 3 inches to get the necessary clearance to fit the monitors underneath. On the 30th of December, I went to Kohl’s (wait for it) with a $25 gift card and (because I needed one for my Pis) I got a card reader because that’s the only thing I could even think of getting there.

Thoughts and the Future I use this PC for: - Gaming (duh) - Video/Audio Production - Photo Editing - A little bit of CAD - Running Linux/Windows VMs (Arch, Ubuntu, and Windows 10 unactivated) - Coding - Running a more powerful Minecraft server from time to time - Browsing the internet/watching YouTube videos/listening to music when I am bored - Typing documents and creating presentations (mostly for school) I am satisfied to an extent, but of course there are some things that I would have changed if I could: - The GTX 950 was actually my dad’s idea, I was originally going to get the ASUS TURBO GTX 960 2GB, but my dad took me to Micro Center (I wasn’t planning to go there to get the GPU) and I couldn’t get a 960 because my dad really needed to save some money… The GPU costed $190 (thanks, taxes) instead of $170 like I hoped. - The 80mm fans are LOUD, and thanks to the motherboard only having 1 system fan header, I am stuck with those fans running at 100% all the time, I will most likely be replacing them with some Noctuas in the future. - The H55 only came with 4 screws, so if I want to setup a push-pull config in the future, I will have to only use two screws for each fan (OK for the fans, slightly worried about the case and radiator) - The 7700K definitely has its limits. Running a VM is slightly slow (I use Oracle VMBox), and rendering a video still takes a bit, even though it is a nice processor for multithreaded use, as my i3 in my laptop couldn’t even render 1080p.

Future Upgrades: CPU/MOBO: Going to AM4 when it comes out (if there is ITX, the reason I didn’t get an FX chip now) RAM: 16GB of DDR4 with the Zen upgrade GPU: Going to AMD and renaming the build when I do upgrade. The 950 was my worst mistake. PSU: I will definitely change this first, to something with more wattage like a Seasonic 650W S12II, or to something modular as well, such as a SuperNOVA B2/G2.

3DMark benchmarks were done on 1 1080p display, but the Unigine benchmarks were done on 2 monitors and 1 monitor

In the video here I will try to show some things for the newbies out there (how to set up surround/eyefinity, why not to game on 2 monitors at the same time (and instead 3), and a bit of PCMR humor here and there). I was sick while making it so sorry if I sound depressed and boring. All pictures and video were taken with my potato phone (except in the time lapse, that was taken with my webcam). I will try to respond to any comments. Thanks for reading this overdone description, and I hope everyone who read this did not die from reading exhaustion.

Font: Masterblast

Red Space Wallpaper for 1 or 2 screens

Part Reviews

CPU

I like it, it’s ok for $90, but I’m just a little bit disappointed that it’s only really 2 cores with another two ‘cores’ incorporated (performance between hyperthreading and actual (physical) cores). I won’t be buying another AMD CPU until Zen comes out, even if it is made the same way, the improved cores will definitely help with gaming and such.

CPU Cooler

This was the first aftermarket cooler I have ever installed, so when I get an aftermarket air cooler in a different rig I will probably remember that watercoolers are much easier. Does a good job of cooling this CPU while overclocked if I don’t raise the voltage.

Motherboard

I question Gigabyte’s decision to put the CPU socket in such an odd spot. To me it seems like they wanted to make it harder to install an aftermarket CPU cooler with a backplate, because plenty of cases have a hole to put it in, like the Core V1, but I had to strip the entire system to install the H55. I hope I never have to do that again. It did an ok job of overclocking the 7700K to 4.1GHz for about 2 days, then the system froze so I turned it down to 4GHz (most likely because of the PSU). I was testing the overclock for two weeks, and have since turned it off until I need to again. I like the Bluetooth, although Win10 does some strange things with it, so I can’t really have a stable connection between my Android phone and PC for transferring files to and from.

Memory

I don’t know if this has to do with the motherboard or the RAM itself, but I can use only 7.94GB, and in Planetary Annihilation it disables some unnecessary features and I feel like this kit of RAM (among the other components) is a little too overpriced at Micro Center.

Storage

I do say, I don’t know how I lived without one in my laptop. The speed of this will make me cringe every time I see a computer take more than 20secs to load. I haven’t even used it all up yet.

Storage

1TB is probably more than enough, but I divided it up into 2 volumes, a 400GB volume for just my games, and the rest of it (~531GB) for just storage and unimportant programs. This is probably the only thing I would get from a store, since I don’t trust the mail with a shock sensitive component.

Video Card

I like the aesthetics of this card, but I don’t like that I couldn’t get a 960 like I hoped. I for sure will let people not to go to the store to get a GPU, as they are overpriced at both Best Buy and Micro Center. Also, if you are planning to use this with an analog monitor, be sure that the monitor has a DisplayPort/HDMI/DVI input (and you have a cable of one of those types), as this card DOES NOT in ANY WAY accept analog signals.

Case

Easy to build in, the stock 200mm is said to be loud, and that’s true. It’s also said that the side panels rattle, but I have never experienced that issue once, so I’d assume it’s because of the fans in the back or the screws are in there nice and tight. The front lights up like a honeycomb with the white LEDs I have when they are in the front, but they are currently on the side. It’s also really easy to clean.

Power Supply

I don’t have much to say other than it’s a good PSU that can handle a slight CPU/GPU/RAM overclock. Not the best, but it’s better than the CX430M for gaming. (Edit: Nope, I suggest the CX430M now, as this was written while I still didn't know much.) I'mdefinitely getting a more powerful PSU in the future like an S12II or SuperNOVA B2/G2.

Operating System

It was a gift. I probably would have chosen Home, but Pro is nice to have for the Remote Desktop feature.

Software

I've used it since 2014, and it works nicely, and that's what I used to type my entire description out on. It's much faster on an SSD and isn't very fast to load up even then. But, now that Office 2016 is out, I think that is what everyone who doesn't have it should get.

Monitor

Glossy, but you don’t notice it when it’s turned on unless the screen is black or a dark shade. Don’t set these up where the sun hits them as you will probably have to sit back farther from them and turn up the brightness. I had to turn down the brightness to 60 because they were otherwise overpowering. I hate that it comes with a VGA cable. That ticks me off because I have two VGA cables that don’t have a use and probably never will. There is no VESA mounting either, so good luck trying to mount these to a wall. But they are 27” big, so there is a LOT of room to do things.

Comments

  • 47 months ago
  • 3 points

An interesting combination of parts and a description longer than my sister's thesis. Nice work. I understand your friend was an NVidia-Intel guy but that shouldn't turn you off of Intel in the future. Yeah, it costs money, but saying as you always end up upgrading may as well prolong it. +1.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

How is surround with two monitors? I was thinking of adding a second one for mine. Does that middle bezel ever get annoying?

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh yes it does. I can't aim as well because even with bezel correction, it still looks wrong. I actually go over that in the video I linked.

EDIT: I would suggest 3 monitors if at all for surround.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I totally agree, but I definitely can't afford three 4k monitors and the increased rendering power needed. One idea I had is three way surround using PBP on two 4k monitors.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Ahhhh... I didn't know you were going for 4K... I guess it can become an ability to use 2 monitors :)

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

That description is more like an encyclopedia!!! but at least it works and on that ram it is rounded its just like my tablet, android TV, laptop, desktop , the do the something flash drives and HHD and SDD the are all rounded

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

This is actually my 3rd... hehehe :) still making mistakes.

EDIT: I think I spent nearly a combined 6 hours working on the description.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm sorry mi mistac I will go fix that

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

That's alright. I don't mind.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

I was about to say, "why didn't you buy the x4 860K instead"? But looking at the price, it's more than worth the extra 7-10$ for the extra IGPU. Since you can use it as a backup and in the future use HSA.

Overall, not bad at all. However, for video rendering and stuff like that, you'll probably be happy at the speed boost Zen offers in the future. ;)

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh yeah, definitely. That's one of the reasons I chose that CPU. I can't wait for Zen.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

Love all the pics and description well done ! An Cool pc build!

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you! Your build looks better than mine!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks ALOT!

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

i see you moved the glass but then you cut off air flow from the gpu

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

If I need the airflow to the GPU in the future, I will put it back, but for now the heatsink dissipates heat well enough. Plus, I like the look of it better this way.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

yes i definitely agree about the look just wondering your thoughts thanks how is that gpu

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Temps are surprisingly good. The GPU's performance is nice, but at $170, I would have gotten the GTX 960 had it not been we had shopped at micro center. Still a nice GPU if you are able to get it for cheaper.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice setup. +1

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

A couple of bucks more and you could have gotten this 6-core 3.5GHz CPU. https://pcpartpicker.com/part/amd-cpu-fd6300wmhkbox

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't have room for a microATX build. There are no AM3 motherboards for ITX, so this is what I was stuck with.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Gotcha, thank you for being informative rather than others.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

You're welcome. I was actually expecting that comment to come. XD

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

I was doing my fist build recently and I couldn’t find a good budget itx board for am3

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I like your set up! I hope all goes well for you!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I've seen skemble builds with less description, nice job.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

even though this build has been up for a while I just stumbled upon it today and I really like it!

btw, what Photoshop program do you use? Im pretty new to some of this stuff so I haven't heard of a good one yet

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Personally, I use Paint.NET which is freeware, but it's still nice. Thanks!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

cool, thanks

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

You should try out GIMP (Graphical Image Manipulation Program). I personally prefer it over Paint.NET and it's free as well! Just a recommendation :)

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I've used GIMP in the past. It's fine when I'm using Linux but I like Paint.NET better.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

DAMN Really good looking build! I would've recommended a X4 860K/FX 4300 and a better GPU but still 1+

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice, I got the same case ! How did you run the LEDs?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

The current configuration I have them in is just to stick them to the bottom part of the case. Before that, I don't actually remember.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

The only reason to get an AMD APU (A10-7700K etc) is for the integrated graphics. This APU will run DualGraphics (like CrossFire) with an R7 240. The money spent on the GeForce could've been spent on the R7 240 and you would've had a lot better performance. When you run the APU with the integrated graphics turned off (or use a non-dual graphics GPU) I believe it shuts down those extra HSA compute cores also.

Other than that it looks like a solid build. I'm not trying to hate or bash.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

I actually wouldn't have had better performance, considering that Dual Graphics mode is just like CrossFireX, so a lot of games wouldn't be compatible and would actually perform worse than they would with even either the R7 240 or the HD 7850D integrated graphics. That doesn't even include the fact that the R7 240 isn't even comparable to a GTX 950.

My reasoning behind the 7700K was kind of stupid to begin with. I was coming from an i3 laptop that I hated so badly, so I never wanted to get an i3 again because I thought that I would have the same sluggish performance on the CPU side. Given the fact that this was October of 2015, I was still a noob and didn't know much about choosing good components. I would have gotten an i3 if I wasn't so annoyed with my old laptop.

The one advantage I do have because I went for an APU if that when my GPU is bugging me (because I find it does that a lot, it doesn't like to play videos) I can simply take out the GPU and still play plenty of games because I've overclocked my RAM to 2133MHz.

My current plan is to upgrade the PSU and GPU (Polaris most likely), and then the CPU (Zen), motherboard, and RAM later in the year.

Thanks for looking at my build! :)

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

I have the same mobo. but I can only use the sys_fan and cpu_fan with my liquid cooler. how did you add another 2x80mm?

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Molex.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

first time heard of it. I'll check it out. thanks a lot!

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem.

[comment deleted]
  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Lol thanks.