New Computer Time

ghalidrim's picture

It's every nerd's favorite time; time for a new computer!

Every gaming PC I have owned since college, basically every PC I've ever owned really, I have built myself. There's something undeniably nerdy about building your own machine from components. Aside from the hours spent checking specs and reviews, being buried up to your elbows in a PC's internals is just a fantastically good time.  The PC I currently use for gaming and dev at home is about 3 years old. It's had some upgrades, but it's definitely getting a bit old and having some issues with new games. It's an Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 460, and NVIDIA GTX 280 (performing Physix co-processing mostly), about 2TB of HD, all in a full tower enclosure. It plays Skyrim on high settings, but not with high res texture packs and the like. I've also had some challenge with Direct X 11 games on the 460 being at all performant.

My company gives out bonuses once a year, and we just passed bonus time. Since bonuses were quite generous this year, I decided to splurge and build a really, really nice gaming PC for myself. I did a bit of research, found the things I wanted and put in one big Newegg order. Everything showed up in three boxes, and I put it all together a few days ago. I decided to do this photo essay style.

So this will be the story of getting all of this:

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into this:

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About that case above: it is huge. There is a cavernous amount of space inside this thing, which is good. I have a lot of big things to get into the case. I took some photos after pulling it out of the box. I knew it was big, but it surprised me with it's overall mass, and the size of the fans. The case fans in the photos are 230mm fans, that should give you an idea of size. There are a lot of holes and a lot of space behind the motherboard try for routing power and other cables, so for the first time I may have a not-too-messy PC.

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The motherboard is a Z68 based design with everything necessary to support Ivy Bridge and PCIe 3.0 when those are out later this year. For now it has a Sandy Bridge i7 2700k cpu in it, there plenty of legs in the 2700k and there will he some overclocking in its future.

First things first, before getting it all in the case I installed the CPU and CPU cooler. There was a very large backplate for the CPU cooler which I managed to not get any photos of. You can see that this is a huge CPU cooler. It's nearly running passively when not under load and keeping the CPU down to only about 2° above the motherboard temperature. I have a bit of an issue with the actual connector for the cooler--it holds the cooler securely, but allows it to twist a small amount. I'm not sure that I'm totally comfortable with the amount of twisting it allows.

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Oh yeah and look at that port shield.

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Alright, let's get that motherboard in there.

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And, first problem, the cooler's backplate does not precisely fit in the hole that is cut for it in the case's motherboard tray. It also is a little taller than the offset screws on which the motherboard sits. The case bows out a bit due to this, but it seems to be ok.

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Next the power supply goes in. This is a ridiculously nice power supply. It's able to handle loads that I will probably not throw at it, but I want to know it's there. It also has a 5 1/2 inch bay insert that allows you to control case and power supply fan speeds from the front panel. Neato!

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Second possible problem, the RAM is really, really close to the cooler, I'm not sure the fan will fit back on without impacting the RAM stick closest to the CPU.

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Thankfully, after some wiggling and nudging, the fan fits over the whole cooler without touching the RAM, but it's damn close.

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Next up, hard drive install! You can't see much in the photos, but there are 2 1.5 TB HDD in the two lower slots and a 120 GB SSD in the upper slot. I have space for another SSD and a few more HDDs if I ever feel like I need them.

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Now all the 5 1/2 drive bay items, DVD burner and the fan controller from the PSU. Nothing too exciting, though you can also see the two USB 3.0 front panel connector that came on the case.

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Last step was to get the video cards in, hook up all the cables and take a picture of the finished deal.

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Overall I've been pretty happy with it. It's overclocked gorgeously, and still has a lot more headroom than I expected.

For those interested in the actual items that went into the pc, expand out the box below.

  • 2 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1502FAEX 1.5TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
  • 1 x CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B
  • 1 x ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
  • 2 x ASUS ENGTX560Ti448DC2/2DIS/1280MD5 GeForce GTX 560 Ti - 448 Cores (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
  • 1 x COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced RC-932-KKN5-GP Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0, Black Interior and Four Fans-1x 230mm front RED LED, 1x 140mm rear, 1x 230mm top, and 1x 230mm side
  • 1 x COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Hybrid RS-D00-SPHA-D3 1300W Intel ATX 12V V2.3 & SSI EPS 12V V2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
  • 1 x Intel Core i7-2700K Sandy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623i72700K
  • 1 x OCZ Vertex 3 Series - MAX IOPS Edition VTX3MI-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • 1 x SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner SATA Model SH-222BB/BEBE - OEM
  • 1 x Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
  • 1 x COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 2011/1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+

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