[WALL OF TEXT FOLLOWS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK]
*Sorry about the $&#@% pictures. Camera phone...
As I said in the title, this is my first build. I'm an ex-console gamer and an old macbook user (please, no thumbs down already!), but I recently gave up console gaming after deciding I wasn't willing to pay for another xbox. I started out by bootcamping my macbook, and barely being able to play games on low settings, so I decided I'd build myself a console replacement and get off the apple wagon. While I do still like my macbook for simple tasks, I can't stand the apple mindset of trying to crush any competition and stifling creativity. Enough with the ranting though...
I decided I'd save up some cash and see if I could get a boxing day sale or two for my build. My budget was somewhat flexible, but I was trying to keep it around the $1300-$1400 range. As you can see, I went slightly over budget, but I had a specific parts set in mind.
Quick breakdown of components:
CPU: No brainer for me. Wanted to OC, and as I am mainly playing games, I went with the i5. Thought about the AMD FX-8350 for a while, but I decided to go for the intel. Nothing against AMD though.
CPU cooler: Since it was my first build, I was a bit too chicken to try out the H100i. Although it cools slightly better than the D14, I read some reviews which talked about it being a bit noisy compared to the Noctua. One could always buy new fans though... I wanted to buy the best air cooler I could get my hands on (and get in the case), so I went with the Noctua.
Mobo: More than I needed, and some will say I should have sunk the extra $$ in a better GPU, but I really like the ROG series and the extra functions it comes with. It isn't too hard on the eyes either. I was thinking about getting a MicroATX for the longest time (since I originally had a different case in mind), and would have gone for the Gryphon or the Gene.
Memory: 8gb is fine for me. No heavy video rendering or memory intense tasks. Liked the price and the ratings. Kind of pissed that that factory had to burn down and drive the prices up so much, but that's what happens when one factory makes everyone's ram.
Storage: SSD for the OS and programs, and the odd game that I play regularly. Didn't want to go crazy with the prices, so I went for the 120gb flavour. I liked the price of the EVO at the time, although the PRO would have been nice. For storage, 2tb gave me lots of breathing room, and 7200rpm is kind of nice.
Video card: Bought this first, mainly because of the assassins creed, batman, and splinter cell bundle that was going on. Love all of those games, so I thought it would be a good deal. Originally planned to get the R9 280X, as it may or may not perform slightly better depending on the game. In the end, I liked the Intel NVIDIA combo, and the games pushed me over the edge. I was very tempted by the prospect of Mantle though.
Case: I originally wanted to get the Xigmatek Aquila. I love the style and the size was perfect for a MicroATX. What wasn't perfect was the thought of having to wait for the case to be released in NA. Europe is happily building rigs with this case while NA is stuck watching. At the time of completing the build, the Aquila has still not been released here. In lieu of this, I went with my second choice, which was the Prodigy. Although everyone is sick of seeing them, I am not. I did a few modifications, which I tried to highlight in the pictures (again, crappy quality pics). If you notice, I flipped the front panel and re-riveted it back together so the large 230mm fan was in line with the CPU cooler. I also cut out a panel for the PSU, since the 160mm PSUs are a very tight fit, and I originally planned to get the Corsair AX 750. As for the CPU cooler, wow, tight fit. You can see the back fan pushes one of the columns slightly, but it isn't crushing it by any means.
Case fans: Love the Noctuas, hate the colour. Went with the spectre to let the case breathe quietly.
PSU: As I said before, I originally planned on getting the Corsair AX 750, so I modded the case to make room for it. The reason is that I got it on sale for $130, which was a great price. However, after they (NCIX) charged me, they told me that they had sold out and weren't reordering, so they gave me my money back. I went with a HX650, which was the same size, but semi modular and not quite as nice. This one was a great price as well, due to it being refurbished. NOTE: I have added a section at the end of the description to talk about an issue with this PSU that I have noticed after using the PC for a few months.
Other: Windows OS, and I used my old ASUS monitor and Logitech G500 mouse. I liked the look of the FUNC keyboard, which is very clean looking. I got it for $129.99, which is more than I should have spent on a keyboard, but I do like it!!
If you made it to the end and read it all, chapeau! Many could have build a slightly better system if they sacrificed some other parts, but I like the setup in the end. Cable management is alright from the front, but not so great from the other panel. Considering this is a Prodigy though, I'm happy with how it looks.
But, does it even lift (bro)? BF4 on ultra with disabled AA and a couple of other things gives me ~120fps. With everything on Ultra, I get ~80fps (both at 1080p). Temps stay very reasonable all around.
Thanks for sticking around and reading it for those who took the time. If anyone has any questions about anything, fire away.
EDIT: I've got a bit of a complaint about the PSU after a few months of use. When playing a CPU intensive game, I've noticed that the PSU fan tends to literally chirp like a bird. Just Google Corsair HX650 chirp and you'll see someone else's video on it. Apparently it's a very common issue, and Corsair has been replacing peoples HX650's with HX750's, since the latter apparently does not have this issue. I just wanted to let everyone know in case they are thinking about the HX650. It doesn't make the noise all of the time, but when it does it is a bit annoying. If I were to buy another PSU, I would choose differently, but this one was just too good of a price to pass up. Judging by the forums, it is a pretty common problem with the HX650.