Description

Once upon a time I have built my first PC (Intel 486 DX CPU)... but that's definitely another story. I am a programmer, not a gamer. Last game I have played was Little Big Adventure, 2D platformer, no one from modern games even closest to it... Having a work laptop, I decided to build a home PC: something modern, powerful enough, but with a modest budget, and not without potential and some ... fun. (Who knows.. what if LBA 3D will be suddenly released? ... just kidding). Purpose: programming, learning programming and ... programming again. Initially thought about mini-ITX build, but did not found suitable Skylake motherboard with reliable WiFi adapter. And finally went with Mid ATX. I learned a lot from "PCPARTPICKER's" and now I would like to share my own experience with hope that it will be useful for someone. Here we go...

So, why it's 'Discrepant' ? Overclocked CPU - but no video card, M.2 SSD - but oldest HDs, none-gamer- but with led controller. Clear.

At the end: I eyeballing 34' ultra-wide monitor. Will be happy to get some recommendations for it, and also for some video card in under $200 range, which can be suitable for ... let's call it - light gaming (for my nephews).

Part Reviews

CPU

Unlocked Intel Core i5-6600K: latest technology, good performance, allows to play with BIOS overclocking features, not so expensive. Overclocked for about 25%, it is running cool on 4.4 GHz (in Turbo). Do not have hyper-threading like i7, but trust me - that's not worth extra $120. As an experienced programmer I can say that hyper-threading looks nice in synthetic benchmarks only. In real life - meh. But i5 single core has the same power like i7 ones.

CPU Cooler

Corsair H60 liquid. Quite, stylish and most important - doing it's work 'cool'. Very easy mounting and looks beautiful in contradiction to radiator's based 'Godzilla' coolers.

Motherboard

Asus Z170-A. Remember 'and not without potential', a? Yes, this is it. A lot of ports: VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort (4k, 60 Hz), USB 3.1 type 'A', type 'C', NVidia SLI and AMD CrossFireX support (ooh, LBA 3D dreams...), M.2 socket, UEFI BIOS with unbelievable possibilities , DDR4, etc... I am trusting in ASUS as a best motherboard maker, so my choice was a pretty easy here.

Memory

Patriot Viper 4, 16G, DDR4-3000. Working stable on 3000 MHz (overclocked) , XMP is recognized right in BIOS, what more is there to ask? It was a cheapest set I found on Amazon (that's where I purchased most of the parts excluding case and led controller) and I do not regret it.

Storage

Amazing, wind-rapid M.2 NVme Samsung 950 PRO SSD. Unbeatable read-write performance (in given price range), expensive - yes. But when my Windows 10 starts up in 5 seconds, and Explorer windows being opened just before the mouse click (or at least this is the feeling) - I am thinking that this drive is the best part of the build. Additionally I used two antique Hitachi 250G drives, which were replaced with SSD's in mine and my parent's Acer Nettops and were on their way to garbage, to create RAID 0 with nice 500 G storage for the data. They are working surprisingly well. I know, they are not looking adequately here, but it is all about 'Discperant', right?

Case

Thermaltake V31. Very satisfied with this case. Good ergonomic, easiest cable management. a lot of space for additional drives \ controllers \ video cards, 2 dust filters, two pre-installed cooling fans, USB 3.0 on from panel and side window. I am happy with my choice. About NZXT Led Controller: Why programmer needs leds controller? Why god damn not? I am sitting 16 hours every day near this box , sometimes deeply into the night, when all others are sleeping, so a little colorful light from that 'income-box' cheers me up.

Power Supply

EVGA, 650 W, Gold+. Power with reserve, quite, ah... and yes - full modular. No need some cable - leave it in the box. No mess with cable management, clear inside look.

Wireless Network Adapter

Gigabyte PCI WiFi+Bluetooth card (pay attention: revision 4.2 ). Actually have dual-band Intel AC-8260 on-board. Performed on 120 MB/s, just like other PC's are sitting on LAN in my network! Simply connected to Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speaker. Much cheapest than ASUS adapters, but so far so good. Have a nice external antenna. Honestly I am siting in about 20 ft from the router, so can not state that the connection will still reliable on longer distances.

Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

i recommend the GTX 960 for a card around 200. I would recommend the the AMD equivelent since it is more powerful but Nvidia has more features and is more user friendly.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Yes, GTX 960 can be an option. But it seems that AMD R380X perform a little better, at least in several benchmarks which I have observed. In context of LG ultra-wide monitor (and LG's monitors seems to be a cheapest in 34'), AMD might be preferred, because LG support AMD FreeSync

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

yaeh but the 380x is around that 250 price point

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point
  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh didnt see that variant

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Initially thought about mini-ITX build, but did not found suitable Skyline motherboard with reliable WiFi adapter.

Edit required.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Fixed. Thank you.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

You are welcome. Nice build with good cable management. +1 :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

A decent graphics card to look at is the 780ti. Good for most games modern grapics intensive games on low settings and mits MMOs on high to ultra settings. It sells for around $130. However if it is not a rush nvidia is releasing a new 530SE which will sell for around the same price (below $150). With better preformance in march or april. Hope this is helpful. Also dont forget to do a little reseach to see if it fits what you want. Hope this helped.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, it very helpful. I'm not in a hurry. Will do research again about 530SE . Did not hear about it yet. Thank you.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm pleased that you actually took the time and cleaned up the cables behind your motherboard panel the best you could... Too often I see cases where people just jumble up the cables and it looks like an absolute mess!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I did my best there. I am always trying to do my work clean. Fortunately this case has a lot of holes and hangers to secure the cables.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

If the drive cages aren't in use, are you able to remove them to clear the flow of air?

  • 46 months ago
  • 0 points

R9 380 can be found for $170 and R9 380x for $200 at the moment. The H60 was not, as I see it, the best choice. I think a LEPA Aquachanger 240 would have been much better for the price which is $70 or so. Power consumption between the r9 380 and the GTX 960 are extremely similar, while the r9 380x on average consumes about 5% more power than a GTX 960.

If you want to achieve absolute maximum cooling performance with water cooling, and perhaps the highest tier of cooling before liquid nitrogen, you probably want to throw in some Delta AFB1212GHE-CF00 fans, that provide 27mm H2O static pressure each and 240CFM at 62dB being a 120mm fan, which I am positive is the best fan for water cooling, but is certainly on the high side in noise levels. Inside a "closed" case, this will make much less noise.

Mechanical storage is a great choice for price oriented buyers. At $.02-$.03 at lowest prices per GB, it is still much less costly than some SSD variants. You should check the Toshiba X300 4TB that has 128mb buffer cache, 7200RPM, 250Mbps read/ 205Mbps write, 8-12ms access time, and much better performance overall, but does make some audible noise due to it's higher performance. The HDD goes for about $120, and competes with a WD Black.

Here are some videos of comparison on GPUs, please understand this is about 3 months ago and that there have been driver updates. Also understand that power consumption of the GPU in your build will be less, as you have a GOLD certified PSU while the one in the video is BRONZE certified.

AMD GPUs will only gain performance with further DirectX 12 title releases (strangely enough Nvidia GPUs lost FPS due to DX12 while AMD gained), Vulcan APIs, and more driver updates:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-I7Nm3a1Nc (R9 380x vs. GTX 960)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uOLoKV7b7Q (R9 380 2GB vs. GTX 960 2GB )

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E4Ok84h3bI (R9 380 vs. GTX 960 vs. R9 380x)(newest comparison video I could find, unfortunately the video is not English, but results are.)

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow! Thank you for so detailed tips. You are absolutely right about H60. Honestly, I did no research for this part of the build, when all other parts were researched very deeply. It was intuitive choice, mostly based on Amazon reviews, rather than on technical details. Anyway, I am not planning extreme overclocking. 25% (4.4 Gz) is working good right now for me. I also agree with your opinion about mechanical drives: it is too early to throw them off the deck in particular as the date storage, but I would definitely prefer SSD as OS boot drive. I will learn more about GPU's from the links you have provided. Thank you again.

  • 46 months ago
  • 0 points

My pleasure, it is always good to be able to teach and aid people in a non-condescending and kind manner. I definitely agree that an SSD is extremely useful for a boot drive, but with the increasingly large size of games nowadays (GTA5 over 60GB, Far Cry 4 over 40GB), you may require a larger SSD if you like less loading times, and the average price per GB for an SSD is about $.30. Most people only store a few select games on SSDs of smaller sizes. That is why most people who have many games may find SSDs a bit expensive, and the only real issue with lower speed HDDs is that there is more loading time and a few less FPS than an SSD. As long as the CPU does not go over 75C it is really fine, just if you plan to get into 4.8gHz and above, it may have very high temperatures. As for the GPUs, my ideology is more oriented to getting the best you can for your money, not only meaning at the moment, but how long the GPU may last (if it may gain performance in the future, which I can say Nvidia cards do not, as they are intended to go through "planned obsolescence", if you want to look into that later), how much power it may consume, and other factors that may affect purchase/upgrade periods. I can say for certain in professional and unbiased opinion that AMD will be the better choice. If you worry about the minuscule power difference, just calculate and convert it into cost.

https://www.energysavings.com/energy-consumption.html

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLOAQFpaGh8 (Nvidia vs. AMD DX12) (Watch the full video to see some interesting things)(I know there is an accent, but it can be understood)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Power consumption (and its cost) is another good point which should be taken into account. And I even more agree that spending a little more money on the part (like GPU) would be reasonable if their features allows it to be actual much longer time. In accordance to benchmarks and technical specs, AMD R-380X looks better than GTX 960, especial because 256 bit memory bus against Nvidia's 128 only. But from other side: there is only one 4k 60Hz DP 1.2 connector, when NVidia owns 3 + 1xHDMI 2.0. So, your ideology should guide you to choose NVidea, if you see yourself in the near future sitting behind of four's 4K monitors (=:)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

The thing is, the R9 380x or GTX 960 are not really meant for 4k monitors. I don't know if now is the best time to go to 4K, as people have started talking about the possibility of DP 1.3 coming soon with AMD Polaris and Nvidia Pascal, which can support up to 4k 120hz with Chroma 4:4:4, and also more 4k Freesync and G-sync to come. Switching to 4K now as I see it will just ask for another upgrade in the next few months, which will cost more money than just waiting for DP 1.3.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Make sense.