I always wanted to build my own PC but for the longest time I felt intimidated by the process. I have been gaming on and off since my brother let me sneak in few minutes on his Atari 65XE. However, I did not purchase my own computer until 1997. I still remember my old Pentium MMX 200. What a machine!
For this particular build I wanted to build something pretty powerful that will last me a long time. I wanted to build something that will allow me to game without any reservations and allow me to get into photo/video editing if I finally find enough free time to do so. This was not a budget build so I do realize I probably overspent on some parts. I was going for the classy, clean look - not the Christmas tree look.
CPU - It was a tossup between the i5-4690k or i7-4790k. The $80 difference between the two at Microcenter wasn't that much so I figured if I am going to spend two grand on a computer, what's another $80.
CPU Cooler - I probably should have gone with a larger cooler or a water cooler. The temps at idle are OK. However, at full load the CPU temp hovered at 70 to 74 degrees. I am still a little unclear if that is good or not. I did buy an extra fan that I initially installed as a push-pull setup. Then I read in the Noctua manual that because the cooler is relatively thin there is almost no need to have the second fan pulling the air as the push fan can easily force the air through. The temps appeared to be pretty much the same in both setups.
Motherboard - I wanted something sturdy and I like the look. It was pretty easy to work with and the 5 year warranty doesn't hurt either. I was going to go with a cheaper Asus Z97 Micro ATX board but again the price wasn't that much lower.
Memory - Not much to say here, it does the job. I could have gone with Ballistix Sport and saved a few bucks but I think this one complements the motherboard a little better.
Storage - I took out the HD cage and used old trusty Velcro to mount the SSD. I use the black HD for storage and older games. I may get one or two more SSDs in the future if i run out of room.
Video Card - May be a slight overkill for one 1080p monitor but for once in my life I wanted to max out my game settings. Most games I play are older RPGs so I don't need so much firepower but at the same time I do want to be able to run Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 when they finally come out without any problems. The computer case manual recommended a blower fan type of card so I went with EVGA.
Case - I like the classic look. I like that it's small for Micro ATX. I like that it's metal. I like that it's not an UFO or a neon bar sign. The customer service at Silverstone was great too. The front USB 3.0 connector wasn't working so they quickly shipped a new one. The case dose have a ton of screws and it is probably not the most user friendly for folks who change parts frequently.
Power Supply - A bit of a pain to work with as it is semi-modular. The non-modular CPU power supply cable did not match but thankfully SeaSonic included another modular one that did match. I chose SeaSonic mostly because of the good reviews. It's been pretty quiet so far even during long gaming sessions.
Optical Drive - I still have music CDs and older PC games. Guess that's considered old school nowadays. Guess people who say nowadays are considered old school too.
Operating System - I picked Windows 7 Professional because of the XP mode and mostly because I have not heard good things about Windows 8 (8.1 supposed to be better I guess). In my mind I wanted to build a truly last classical Windows PC and I feel that Windows 8 tries to do too much by appealing both to the tablet crowds and the PC smaller crowd
Monitor - Super duper cheap on Amazon. It suits me for now
Keyboard & Mouse - I fell in love with the compact keyboard but the Cherry MX Red switches are a little louder than I thought. My wife says I sound like a journalist typing something important when all I'm really doing is looking at silly computer stuff. So yea, I definitely hear it from my wife when I type. The mouse was a bit of a disappointment. I liked the feel but the right mouse button betrayed me once too many times. I use mostly a palm grip and I would accidentally press the right mouse button way too many times. Sometimes it felt like I couldn't even rest my ring finger on the right mouse button. Needless to say, quickly went back to my old Logitech MX 518. At least that mouse never betrayed me.
Overall the build experience was fun. Most of the frustration stemmed from me being a first time builder. I would most likely do it again.
Thanks for reading!