Having built computers for friends and family numerous times in the past, I decided it was time for an upgrade of my own when designing this build. While making the parts list, there were a few key features I set out to include: size, power, and color.
Overall, I think the build turned out very well. Aside from a (somewhat frightening) power issue following completion of the build, and a fitment issue when attempting to install the NZXT. Kraken; Assembly of this computer was relatively quick and painless. The motherboard feels to be of high quality, the drives were easy to install, and there was just enough room to fit power and connection cables where they couldn't be seen.
The system boots Windows 8.1 pro in ~8 seconds; and according to NZXT.'s CAM software, my i5 is currently running a stable 4.299GHz overclock (stress-tested w/ Prime95) and sitting at 28 Celcius while idle. Before the overclock, temperatures at idle were somewhere in the 23 Celcius range.
Mainstream, I know, but there's really not much more I can ask from a processor. Great OCapability, excellent reliability and power consumption, and an affordable price.
After hearing some bad things about Corsair products, I made a last-minute switch from the H80i to the X41 - and I couldn't be happier. Overall, this is a stunningly polished cooler; the performance and aesthetics that it added to my build make it well worth the pricetag.
This motherboard was chosen because of it's excellent reviews, size, and features list. The Gigabyte GA-z97n-WIFI combines good performance and technology with a competitive price.
This G.Skill Sniper series RAM was chosen mainly because it was one of the cheapest ways out of DDR3-1600. While the performance is on par, the build quality feels low, and the heat spreaders feel somewhat flimsy (as compared to similarly priced RAM, ex. Ballistix Sport)
With abundant new technologies and exceptional read/write speeds, the 850 EVO was a no-brainier for this build. Boots Windows 8.1 in ~8 seconds.
As a Western Digital fanboy, the caviar black series has been a dream of mine to someday integrate into a build. Finally that day has come, and this WD Black 2TB drive will serve as a primary storage device for the length of it's industry leading five-year warranty.
Although there is no picture, this is the reference NVIDIA GTX 970 card. Cooling is average, as is the power consumption. Mainly chosen because a) It looks nice with the Kraken, and b) I work at BBY and got a good deal.
The pinnacle of this build was the Thermaltake Core V1 Mini. This case brings real meaning to the term "small form factor", as it can pack a powerful punch without compromising on size. The Core V1 manages to be stylish, small, and customizable; all within $40
Again I resisted the tempting allure of a Corsair PSU for this build, instead going with a 520-watt model from Antec's High Current Gamer line. The result is powerful performance and effortless overclocking from a PSU I can rely on.
Windows 8.1 Pro currently sells in a student edition for $69.99! It's a great OS!
These two Nocturas keep my build cool and quiet. Often when 80mm fans are in question, the noise can get annoying; but the NF-R8 Redux is silent at idle and very quiet under load.