I know this is like the third time I've posted my computer for you guys, but I figured it'd be cool for some people in 2019 see someone still using a computer from almost 4 years ago (time flies!) and still getting good use out of it. Plus, I think I've made enough changes at this point that it warrants making a new build post.
Ultimately, I don't think I really need a justification for posting my computer again. I know you guys all love the tech ****. At least, I do.
Also, I felt like borrowing my friend's camera (same friend from last time, new camera) and taking nice pictures of it again. I like to think that these turned out quite nicely.
Changes since last update
Aesthetics and cooling
My last update was mainly an aesthetic one. Pretty much all I did was add some fans (some crappy cheap Rosewill fans that I'm not using anymore) and some Silverstone sleeved extensions.
Since then, I've swapped the Cryorig fan on the cooler for a Fractal Venturi fan, and there's really no comparison. The Venturi is basically silent, even at full speed, and pushes more air. The Cryorig fan, which I've moved to the front, actually makes more noise when my computer is under load, and I don't even keep that one at full speed. I've got another Cryorig fan at the top. This configuration may seem a bit weird, but I've done comparative testing, and this is actually a couple degrees cooler than having all the fan slots filled. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but that's what I remember.
I've also added some more cable combs and another Silverstone extension for the 8-pin EPS connector. The cable was kinda tight before, so I really don't know why I didn't add the extension earlier. I've rewired it a couple times, and I've gotten it to the point where it's pretty tidy, if I do say so myself.
The first upgrade I made was from 8GB to 16GB of RAM. You'll see from the price breakdown on the left that I paid significantly more for my second kit. That was during the time when RAM prices were increasing. $63.99 was actually a good deal for a matching kit. I'm glad that debacle is over. I also added the 860 EVO for moar gamez.
Now for the meat and potatoes Last month during spring break, I went shopping on eBay for a new CPU and motherboard. I wanted something that would still support DDR3 (since I overpaid for my RAM, I wanted to keep it for a while longer) and be readily available on the used market for a reasonable price. So I chose the i5-4670K for my new CPU and the Z97 chipset. I feel like I got decent deals on them buying a la carte. But I kinda got screwed over on shipping costs, as that added another $30 onto the total cost (it was $18 for just the CPU since it was shipping from Sweden to the US). Prices on the left reflect final bid price before shipping.
The difference between that and my old 860K is night and day. It is literally almost twice the performance if you look at my benchmark numbers. (I couldn't figure out how to combine the results from both processors in the same file, so they're separate for now. The 860K results are on the left; 4670K on the right.) The real-world performance difference is also rather significant. I've been able to raise the settings in DOOM from medium to high, and now I experience no stuttering. It's a glorious, buttery-smooth gaming experience.
As I said before, I borrowed a nice Nikon camera from a friend to take these photos. All of these pictures were shot in manual mode, and it took me a while of struggling and taking crappy shots before figuring out the controls. Once I did and got them edited in Darktable (an open source alternative to Adobe Lightroom), I was quite satisfied with the results. Darktable is a really powerful piece of software and helped me pull a surprising amount of detail out of the darker shots. It's amazing.
Since I was feeling particularly artsy, I decided to take the PC outside for some cool night shots. Also, I took some close-ups of my old CPU and motherboard to get that nice bokeh effect.
A note about Linux Gaming in 2019
Having owned my own computer for 8 years now and having consistently run Linux only on my main machine (I recently got a Razer Blade Stealth that runs Windows as a secondary machine, but that's about it), I have seen Linux gaming evolve from nonexistent to actually rather compelling. When I bought my Cyberpower gaming laptop in 2011, dual graphics support on Linux didn't exist, nor did Steam for Linux. Basically all I could play was Minecraft (albeit with poor performance and graphical glitches) and open source games. Both Steam and Optimus support have come a long way since then, and now both are rather painless to get working. And the native Linux game library has become quite large, including many AAA titles.
More recently, Valve came out with their Proton compatibility layer for running Windows games on Linux, and it has made Linux gaming more compelling than ever. DOOM has run perfectly from the get-go. I recently bought GTA V, and it also runs well (though not officially supported). Add that to the fact that more and more distros are gaming-ready out of the box (and Windows 10 update woes), and you have, I think, a rather compelling option for a lot of gamers.
If you want to learn more about the current state of Linux gaming and how easy it really is to get set up, check out the recent LTT video on the topic.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. If not, enjoy the tech ****.
UPDATE 4/11/19: Forgot to upload the benchmark results. Now they're on the second to last image. Again, I apologize for the graphs, but I can't really fix them at this point without running the benchmarks all over again. I've also uploaded a screenshot of my desktop so you can see what a Linux desktop can look like, as well as what distro I'm running, etc.
A substantial upgrade from the Athlon 860K. Even at stock speeds, I'm quite happy with it. Haven't overclocked yet. Would definitely survive at least one GPU upgrade should I deem it necessary down the line.
I'm a bit disappointed that I no longer have the post code display on my motherboard, but I like pretty much everything else about it. MSI's Click BIOS is substantially better than my previous Gigabyte motherboard, and I can actually set custom fan profiles. It's quite nice. It doesn't have an M.2 slot, but I believe it supports NVMe all the same, so an adapter should be able to remedy that.
Got this for Christmas because my WD Blue was filling up. I'm really impressed with how cheap SSDs have gotten.
Still runs my games like a champ. I don't play anything super new, so I don't really have a ton of reason to upgrade.
Wireless Network Adapter
Bought this a while back because we upgraded our wireless at home to AC. The upgrade from N to AC is actually pretty substantial, even with our unimpressive broadband internet connection. I'm on the second floor of the house, and the router is in the basement, so I could really use all the help I can get.
One of the more recent additions to my collection. I still don't have a mouse that works perfectly for every use case, but this one works really well for browsing and even some casual gaming. I also like the fact that I can keep the dongle plugged into my computer, but if I want to use it with my laptop, I can just switch devices and use it over Bluetooth.
For more fast-paced games like DOOM, I find that the input lag is too much, so I switch back to my Redragon. Neither of these mice really compares to my old Corsair M45, which died on me a couple years ago. Still sad about that.