Description

Format Update: The old format had the original build and the upgrades split into two different builds. So now, for clarity and nostalgia, I'm combining them into one. Here's a retrospective look at the first build, and where it is now.

Cheers. - Tom.

INTRO

The year was 2013. I'd been a console gamer all my life and I'd decided now was the time to ascend. This was my first ever PC build, and I made some inspired decisions, and some terrible decisions, but I had an absolute blast and I was hooked from then on.

PART REVIEWS

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor Purchased For £280.00

One of my inspired choices. This CPU is an absolute tank. Monsters through everything you throw at it even to this day. I've got mine overclocked to 4.2GHz, which isn't spectacular but it's about all my measly little CPU cooler can manage.

Type Item Price
CPU Cooler Xigmatek LOKI SD963 52.0 CFM CPU Cooler -

CPU cooler; this was one of my not-so-inspired choices. This thing ain't gonna cool much more than a moderate overclock, and it'll moan doing it. It was a cheap option at the time, and in hindsight; not the best option, but it hasn't failed me either - so there's that!

Type Item Price
Motherboard Asus P8Z77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard Purchased For £100.00

Plenty of USB3.0 headers, supported 2-way SLI, heatsinks looked alright. Really can't pick a hole in it.

Type Item Price
Memory Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Purchased For £65.00
Memory Corsair Vengeance LP 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Purchased For £40.00

The RAM in this build went through several configurations. First; it was 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 in Red. I just bought RAM. I didn't have a windowed side panel then, and I thought that I wouldn't care what colour it was - I was wrong. The 8GB of Red was replaced with 16GB of Blue and all was well for a while. That was when a friend of mine said; "I'll have your old sticks, you can swap them with my black Vengeance LP sticks". So then 24GB happened.

Type Item Price
Storage Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive Purchased For £56.00
Storage Seagate Surveillance HDD 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive Purchased For £50.00
Storage Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive Purchased For £50.00

Initially, I started with a single 1TB HDD that was to hold anything and everything I could ever want. SSDs were expensive back then, almost £1.50/GB, so that was never going to happen. Fast forward some years and SSDs are the price they are now, cheap by comparison, and I decided I was long due an upgrade.
I now run the Samsung EVO as an OS and Programs drive, with the 2TB holding my games, and the 1TB just filling out the HDD cage. Honestly, I was shocked at the difference having an SSD made, the thing was like lightning! Definitely a mainstay for all future builds.

Type Item Price
Video Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 4GB G1 Gaming Video Card (2-Way SLI) Purchased For £280.00
Video Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 4GB G1 Gaming Video Card (2-Way SLI) £302.73 @ Amazon UK

GPU(s), been through some iterations here too. It all began with a GTX 660; which did what I wanted it to do with minimal complaints. That didn't last long, though. Somehow, probably my fault, the GPU and it's fans refused to communicate with each other, to the extent that the GPU would speed up all the way up to a thermal shutdown.

Upgrade time.

Grabbed a GTX 970 G1 and was amazed at the difference it made. Nearly doubled my frame-rates at literally half the temperature. So I thought to myself; "if one is this good, two must be amazing" It is. Jumping forward to today; I'm loving the performance/£ I get out of the 970, bought the second one for just over £200. Absolute bloody bargain.

Type Item Price
Case Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case Purchased For £65.99
Other Corsair Obsidian 450D Windowed Panel £9.80
Other 350D Grommet Kit £3.99

Inspired choice. Billed as the enthusiast case for beginners and my oh my did it deliver on that promise. In its original form, the case a has mountings for up to 7 fans, in a mid tower case with ODD bay - madness. Cable management (when I actually bothered with it) was a bit of a squeeze, but that's only because this case came before the cable management revolution that saw huge basements and cable management compartments become commonplace. I was a bit gutted when I saw that the only windowed side panel for the 300R still retained the fan mounts on the side, and thus looked horrendous. That was when I saw that another user, bkasday, had found out the windowed side panel for the 450D fits the 300R.
I also learned that the grommets for the 350D fit the 300R too, so I grabbed a set of them at the same time. I'm chuffed to bits with the result, it really does look the business.

It did create another issue, though; It highlighted how terrible the ketchup 'n' mustard cables from my old power supply really were, so naturally, this had to be addressed.

Type Item Price
Power Supply XFX PRO Black Edition 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply £116.23 @ More Computers

God damn, this thing is a beaut. XFX make the best-looking PSU boxes out of everyone, hands down, they're also made by Seasonic, who make the best PSUs out of everyone. Combine the two, and for only £120, it really was a no-brainer.

Type Item Price
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Full 32/64-bit Purchased For £0.00

Er... it's not Linux...so...yay?

Type Item Price
Case Fan Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition 67.8 CFM 140mm Fan Purchased For £15.00
Case Fan Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition 67.8 CFM 140mm Fan Purchased For £15.00
Case Fan Corsair Air Series SP120 Quiet Edition (2-Pack) 37.9 CFM 120mm Fans Purchased For £22.99
Case Fan Corsair Air Series SP120 Quiet Edition (2-Pack) 37.9 CFM 120mm Fans Purchased For £22.99

The gaggle of case fans in this thing could only really be supplied by one manufacturer. The Corsair fan offerings are pretty top-notch, not quite Noctua, but then nothing else is.


PROBLEMS?

Not too many actually. I had a bit of a panic when I tried to squeeze the second 970 in past the HDD cage, but it's actually worked out alright - the HDD cage is propping it up nicely! Lesson; don't just take the manufacturers word for it, or do, but with a little bit of extra thought on your part. For those who are interested; the 300R supports single GPUs up to 450mm long, but multi-GPUs up to 299mm long. (The exact length of a Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 w/ Backplate)

ORIGINAL BUILD

Have at it!

Part Reviews

CPU

We all know how good these things are. Me adding my two cents isn't going to change that.

CPU Cooler

I can't be too harsh on it. It does its job.

Motherboard

2-way SLI. Nice looking heat-sinks, plenty of USB 3.0 headers.

Memory

RAM does what RAM does. Nice looking heat-sinks.

Memory

'Bout as RAM as RAM gets. No frills, got because it was black and low-profile.

Storage

Great performance/£, looks pretty unobtrusive too.

Storage

Spins. Holds stuff. What more do you want from me?

Storage

As HDDs go, this one isn't bad at all. Much cheaper than WD alternatives.

Video Card

An absolutely fantastic mid-range card. One can easily hold it's own against all modern titles, and two will smash a 980Ti.

GIGABYTE's OC utility still needs work though.

Case

Brilliant beginner case. Plenty of expansion room for a first time build, fits up to 450mm long GPUs, decent cable-management, and space for some serious cooling; 2x140/120 top, 2x120/140 front, 1x120 rear and 2x120/140 side.

Although there are plenty of passthroughs, the rear compartment isn't quite as deep as I'd like it to be. (Not a problem, just means that I can't be lazy with my cable management.

Power Supply

Great PSU. Seasonic made, individually sleeved cables, and hybrid mode is awesome.

Case Fan

Removable fan rings are great, and they are pretty quiet.

Case Fan

PWM-controllable down to whisper quiet. Removable coloured fan rings. Black sleeved cables. Great kit.

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Comments

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey I came by to check out your build! 970s in sli with da backplates ..I have envy also dig the blue accents too. the rig im now is in a corsair case id post but is has dust on everything lol thank you again for the cpu advice! hopefully well talk about computers again soon

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!
The blue was kind of forced on me thanks to the Mobo, but the more I added the more I liked it!

Everyone here who has a PC is used to seeing dust. You'll get some comments on it, but we've all seen it before!

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

lol im ashamed however ill post it tomorrow evening after i try and clean it lol my monitor sux so ill just list my tv to avoid flames

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha! :)

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Surveillance HDD? Never seen that before.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Most manufacturers do a HDD designed for use with CCTV systems. They're typically slower, and built to run 24/7.

This build started a long, long time ago. I didn't really care what said on the box, just that it had the capacity I needed at the time.

It's now just sat in there to fill out the HDD cage a bit, doesn't even have any power to it.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

1070 & 980ti > 970 SLI

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Is it just me or does that cpu cooler look really pathetic in that rig

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

It was moderate at the time. Nowadays though it is a bit pathetic though, yeah. :)

Still keeps the temps down though.

[comment deleted]
  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Err old. The lone GTX 660 that lived in this thing before was new at the time of building - if that gives you an idea. :)