Description

“The Gamma Knife” – “a gamma knife isn't a knife, but is a machine that delivers a single, finely focused, high dose of radiation to its target, while causing little or no damage to surrounding tissue.”

The stock, 8-year-old desktop just wasn’t cutting it anymore and it was time for a change. I proposed the idea of building a pc in order to replace the old one and my dad, the spine surgeon, was all for it. After some conversations, we set a budget and a goal: to build a future proof and good-looking machine from the most high-quality parts possible while keeping the budget under $1200. With the idea of building a computer in the back of my mind, I began researching throughout the school year. After a month or so of filing through forums and videos, I finally compiled a parts list and began the hunt for deals. I signed up for weekly emails from sites such as Newegg and Tigerdirect and while most of the coupon codes were crap, every now and then there would be a pretty decent deal on one of the parts we needed.

I scrapped up some money from my summer job in order to pay for a few of the parts, but the boss man paid for most of the build. By mid-July we had all the parts ready and it was time to build! I hope some of you enjoy the results and that those of you who are looking to build a computer like this one can get some inspiration and great ideas for what you might want to build.

Overall, the build was a great learning experience for both of us and with the exception of some stressful moments, the process was a lot of fun.


Processor: The Intel i5-4670K was a no-brainer for this build It offers great overclocking, a nice price to performance ratio (slightly better than the i5-3570k), and won’t bottleneck just about any video card I throw into the case. I could give you a list of other reasons as to why I chose this processor, but you would have already heard them from other builds. As for the 219.99 price tag, I found a decent deal from Tigerdirect via their coupon emails.


Case: The Corsair 350D is the ideal case we wanted to put our build into. It has a wonderful finish and its compact size (which was larger than we expected) is perfect for the desk it sits on. We debated whether or not to go with the windowed case, but we finally decided that if we were going to build a great pc, might as well show it off!


CPU Cooler: Yes, I know, this isn’t the highest performance cooler and it doesn’t offer the best price to performance ratio. But, it is pretty damn nice-looking and because the processor won’t be undergoing extreme overclocking, it was the best bet. We also decided that having half of the case’s window filled up with a large fan-cooler wouldn’t be the best look. As for the price, there was a $10.00 mail-in-rebate which we got for the $69.99 price-tag.


Motherboard: This was one of the hardest pieces of hardware to pick out for the build. After doing a ton of research, I came to realize that there weren’t too many noteworthy LGA1150 micro-ATX motherboards out there that had a reasonable price-tag and had a black/red color scheme. Of course, there was the option to get the Asus GRYPHON Z87 ($160.00) or the Asus Maximus VI Gene ($190.00) but I figured we would never need a motherboard that nice and the extra $30 or $60 could be spent elsewhere (like on those fancy looking case-fans). So, based on price-tag and reviews, the choices were narrowed down to the following: Gigabyte GA-Z97MX, Asus Z97M-Plus, and the MSI Z87M Gaming Edition. I decided to pick the Asus Z97M-Plus because it was a little cheaper, I wanted to pick a motherboard that not many people had used before, and the software used in this video had me sold: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMQyWCbc9Rw


Memory: I don’t think this one needs much explanation. As for the price, the RAM was on sale and then I got a 10%-off coupon via email which, in total, brought the price down to about $67.49.


Storage: About a year ago, the idea of having a solid state drive in my laptop seemed pretty cool. I was extremely skeptical at first, as I didn’t want to drop $100 on a new hard drive that may or may not work as well as some people said it would. However, after purchasing myself an mSATA SSD for my laptop, I realized that it was one of the best purchases I had made in a while. My dad and I decided that having an SSD for the new computer would be a must. The Samsung 840 EVO seemed to be the best hard drive for its price. I am a little disappointed, however, because we could have gotten an extra $20 off the hard drive if I had waited another week before buying it.


Video Card: It was a choice between MSI’s GTX 760 and EVGA’s GTX 760. After doing quite a bit of Googling, I found out that, according to many people’s claims, MSI’s card performs a little bit better. For its $250 price tag, I hope that this thing will be running current games and future games smoothly for many years to come.


Power Supply: There were a ton of power supplies to choose from, but after reading several forum posts and threads, I decided that there was no way we could skimp on this critical piece of hardware. I decided to get any semi/fully modular, 550/650 watt, 80+ Gold power supply that has a good price and is manufactured by a reliable company. XFX is relatively new to the market so I was hesitant to pick one of their power supplies. But, after reading many reviews and discovering that their PSU’s are manufactured by Seasonic, it became clear that I had found a great-looking, high-quality power supply for a great cost. $90.00 seemed a bit expensive at first, but the power supply works fantastically and isn’t audible as well.


Monitor: There is not much to say about this monitor except that it does its job well. Its display is truly amazing in comparison to that of the old monitor and the 1080p, 21.5’’ display is perfect. The monitor almost looks better while turned off than it does while on due to its glossy finish and slim design. We got it manufacturer refurbished from eBay for $106.

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Comments

  • 67 months ago
  • 9 points

Plus one cause my dad's a radiologist and helped me with my build

  • 67 months ago
  • 4 points

Really nice setup! The block orientation would drive me nuts, but I'm weird like that..

  • 67 months ago
  • 3 points

Haha, thanks for the reply. Not too sure why we did it that way, but it works!

  • 67 months ago
  • 3 points

If it works, it works! Also I really appreciate the thorough description and number of photos. There is a serious lack of those things in most of the posts here. Glad you had fun building!

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

the Z97M Plus MATX mounting holes are funky, they aren't exactly square.

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

that's one hell of a first build

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

Quite similar to the build I'm doing, only difference is I'm going for some corsair ram and the r9 280, which from reviews is slightly more powerful the then 760, but honestly i am regretting not getting a 770.

Im a bit odd like someone else in the comments when turning the block, If you turn the rad upside down from where it is now you should be able to mount it normally (If you want too)

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

Yah, we might do that later but as of now it is working perfectly. We didn't want to re-orientate it mainly because we were worried we would mess up the thermal paste on the CPU. Getting great temps with the current setup.

Also, the GTX 760 has proven itself so far. Watchdogs runs at around 40-60 fps on high/ultra settings. I can only imagine what a 770 would do!

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build! There aren't many builds on here that are well thoght out and put together with aesthetics in mind, as well as price. Also really nice to read a little back story and a detailed description as well.

The pump block kills my OCD...

+1 :)

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

Great build +1, I freaked out for a second when I saw in the first two pictures of your cpu cooler installed that it was upside down, that could have been a major problem if you had kept it that way.

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice build. It's obvious you did a lot of research and it paid off. Great job!

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Turn the block !! how can you stand looking at that everyday? it'd drive me mad!

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Also how many fan ports does the mobo have, Ill be putting in 5 fans all together and not sure whether there is enough plugs?

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

There are 3, 1 cpu header and 2 chassis headers.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Is there anyway to have additional?

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

You could go with the cheap and easy way and get some fan splitters. You can run a certain amount of wattage off of one fan header on the mobo before you have to plug in an extra power source like molex. I run a few in my rig.

The other way would be to get a fan hub. If you go that route, I would highly recommend the Grid+ from NZXT. It allows 6 fans and you can control them all through their CAM software which is cool. There are plenty of other fan controllers but that is about as cheap as they come.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

On mine, I have my exhaust hooked straight to the powersupply since they are the corsair quiet edition and they aren't loud at all, then I have my two intakes hooked to the Mobo along with the case fan(s)

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

If you don't go with a fan controller I would suggest this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812311001 being that I have had mine for about 3-4 months and haven't had any problems with it.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Great question. I had no idea how many fan ports the mobo had until we got the motherboard itself (a little misjudgment on my part). As it turns out, the motherboard only has 3 fan headers! One is already taken up for the cpu fan (or pump in my case) and the other two are for any other fans you might need controlled by the motherboard.

At this point, only one other case fan is plugged in. The others are just for looks at the moment until I can figure out what adapter to get in order to get the other 2 working properly.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

great build

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

I noticed your optical drive sticks out. I don't see that too often.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Paint the back side of it black and use black connectors...It won't stick out so much..

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Yah, we didn't like the look of it too much... might try painting the back of it black in order to conceal it a little more.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

great looking build! the pump assembly is killing me, but i can't gripe too much because i have mine situated a little weird, but it makes me happy. $1200 with a monitor is a great deal with that setup! Good job.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

This looks pretty freaking good for the budget.

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey nice build! How big is the bezel on the monitor, specifically on the left and right?