So this is my introduction to the desktop PC building. I've been using laptops for the past 10 years, recently with a gaming MSI laptop, which is quite decent, but I've been working hard and saving money, and I wanted to give myself a treat and build my own rig that would be more powerful, easier to upgrade and reasonably future-proof.
Bear in mind that I had to do a lot of research within a few weeks to get up to date. Last time I had a desktop it was with Windows XP and IDE was still a thing, so everything is pretty much new to me.
The building process was intimidating at first, but after a lot of research I was able to choose the parts and do it myself. It was really easy, fun and the result satisfying! Normally it would have been a very fast process, but I wanted to take nice pictures of the whole process and it took quite a bit of time. I tried to be very careful from the start with the cable management, as I didn't want to redo them, but I ended up having to redo cables a couple of times. I hope you like the photos!
I've named my rig "The Asussassin", due to the Asus parts and Assassin's Creed being one of my favorite game series, also for the white theme and mostly silent performance.
I use this rig for two main purposes:
1) Gaming at 1080p at a minimum of 60fps, both classic games and the latest like Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Rise of the Tomb Raider, GTA V, Witcher 3, Skyrim, etc.
2) Working with software such as Photoshop, Illustrator or light video editing. I must be able to do heavy multitasking without a noticeable drop in speed.
Now, let's see the parts:
Motherboard: is the Asus Z170-A, which has all the features and connections I may need. It's nice that it has VGA, in case of an emergency.
CPU: I chose a i7-6700K, so I can overclock in the future if I need to. For CPU cooling, I went for a Phanteks PH-TC12DX air cooler. It doesn't make any noise and keeps temperatures cool.
Graphics Card: is the Asus ROG Strix GTX 1070 OC. The price difference with the 1080 is too much, and I don't care much about VR or 4k. Anyway, with 8GB of GDDR5 I think it will handle any game I throw at it for a long while. I may add a second one in SLI far in the future.
Storage: the OS and programs go in a 275GB Crucial MX300 SSD, which boots super fast, and I can still install a few big games and improve load times. Also a 2TB Seagate Barracuda HDD for plenty of storage and installing most games.
Memory: I'm going with 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4 2333, G.Skill Aegis. Why only 2333? Because it's cheaper and RAM speed doesn't really matter. And why 32GB? You may think it's overkill, but with only 16GB software like Photoshop and Illustrator do struggle sometimes. And because why not?? I chose 4x8GB because they were on sale, much cheaper than 2x16GB. With 4 sticks I don't have room for more, but I don't think I will be needing more RAM any time soon.
Power Supply: the estimate needed was 374W, but since I may add another graphics card and/or hard drives or other stuff in the future, I don't want it to fall short. So I went with a EVGA SuperNOVA G2 650w 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular PSU. Since it's fully modular, I can plug only the cables I need and have a tidy feel and more room for air circulation.
Monitor: I was going to go crazy and get the Asus ROG SWIFT PG279Q 27" IPS monitor, with 1440p resolution, 165Hz refresh rate and G-Sync. However, I've decided to forget about the G-Sync overpriced ********, "downgrade" to 1080p and "upgrade" to an ultra-wide LG 29UC88-B 29" IPS monitor with 75Hz refresh and 2560 x 1080 resolution. The wider screen looks awesome in games that support it, and helps increase productivity. And the IPS panel makes color super accurate for both gaming and photo editing, as far as my eye can see.
Case: I've seen many cool models and finally decided to go for the Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 (White). Nice side panel window, room for large graphic card(s), cable managements and plenty of ventilation. The design is not too aggressive, and white because it matches the theme and furniture in the room. It comes with a white led fan that I use as exhaust in the back, and added 2 Phanteks PH-F120XP case fans in the front of the case as air intakes.
I've added some more photos showing some new parts and nicer cable management, with the final look of my setup.
Keyboard: Corsair K70 LUX RGB Cherry MX Brown
Webcam: Logitech C920 HD Pro (built-in microphone)
Headphones: Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones (built-in microphone)
Fast and powerful CPU. Suits all my needs, not only for gaming but for editing and multitasking.
Easy to install, looks really nice, specially if you have a white theme, and keeps CPU temperatures cool. It comes with all you need to install it in different Intel and AMD socket types, including thermal paste.
Very nice looking and affordable, with all the features I need and more. The BIOS is easy enough to use and update. On the down side, it was a pain in the *** to fit the back ports in the I/O shield, and mine didn't come with a case badge sticker.
It's RAM and it was cheap, I got 4 of them on sale for my first rig. It does its job. It has stickers on the sides, they look cool, but I would have liked heatsinks like other models.
Awesome SSD drive, it's much faster than a traditional hard drive, so booting up the system and programs takes just a few seconds.
Good hard drive with decent speed and storage space. Makes a bit of humming noise, if it wasn't for this my rig would be dead silent.
This graphic card is beautiful from any angle you look at it. It's big and it's heavy. It's quiet most of the time, it has 3 fans on the bottom that only kick in under heavy load, but even so you can barely hear them. There are also 2 x 4-pin fan headers on the side so you can have case fans plugged in and be on sync with GPU temperatures. There is RGB lighting on the top plate with the ROG logo, also on the side and on the bottom where the fans are, and can be controlled with the Asus Aura software on many different settings. Performs at 60+FPS for every game I have thrown at it at ultra settings. Packaging is very nice, feels like a premium product, which for the price, it should be! However, it didn't come with a case badge sticker.
Nice looking white and black case. Plenty of space inside for optical drives, HDDs and SSDs with easy rails that don't require screws. Supports several fans on front panel, back panel, top and bottom, although I couldn't use the one on the bottom because my PSU is a bit bigger and blocks part of it. Cable management is easy with many holes where to route your cables. Comes with handles at the top for easy transportation, and the side window allows a nice view inside your rig. Includes all kinds of screws and zip ties.
Packaging is very nice, feels like a premium product. It comes with all the cables you may need, and since it's fully modular you can plug only the ones you actually need, which for me was not even half of them, so it gives a very tidy feel inside the case and helps with airflow. Includes a testing tool to check if the PSU is working before you plug it to your expensive components. It also adds some velchro ties for cable management.
Wireless Network Adapter
Needed this as I cannot connect to a ethernet cable at the moment. Good signal, does its job.
Silent fans that provide good amount of airflow.
Beautiful ultra-wide curved screen. The IPS display shows vivid and accurate colors (as far as my eye can see) from many angles of view.
Simple and elegant design all in black, with just the LG logo in the middle of the bottom bezzle, and a bigger LG logo on the back (which you won't normally see). The screen measures 70cm wide (so it's BIG) and 31.5cm high. You can adjust the angle of the screen forwards and backwards, and the height from a minimum of 10cm from the desk, and up to 22cm from the desk.
On the back, it has two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort port, one headphone jack and the power plug. The power cord has a power brick, so you may want to hide it somewhere. It comes with a HDMI cable only, so it's kind of disappointing that it doesn't come with a DisplayPort cable and you'll have to buy one separately. No USB hub, but that's not so important. At the bottom centre it has a joystick to access the menus and adjust many settings easily.
Maximum resolution is 2560x1080. The ultra wide resolution gives you plenty of space to have many windows side by side and increase your productivity. The extra pixels in games that support it also make them look beautiful. Games (and movies) that don't support ultra wide will have black bars on the sides.
It has built-in speakers, and while they are not the best audio quality, they do provide a very decent volume.
I wasn't able to test the FreeSync feature as I have a Nvidia card. And even if I had an AMD card, I wouldn't be able to use it with the HDMI cable provided, because it only works with DisplayPort!! Like wtf...
It seems to have small backlight bleed/IPS glow in two corners, but only noticeable when the screen is black in a dark room, which for me is never, so I don't really care. And no dead pixels.