Part 2 | PC Build Log - What's in the box?!
This is part two of a three part article on building a PC from scratch. As I mentioned in the first post, this isn't meant to be a guide or instructions. It's more of a reflection on my journey as a Padawan PC enthusiast. If you haven't already, be sure to read part one first.
Over the past few weeks a small van worth of packages have been arriving. Hence the Brad Pitt - Seven reference and excitement/anxiety for "what's in the box?!".
Here's what I've ended up going with for this build and a little bit about why I've chosen each component.
The core system
The case - the jewel of the build. I knew I wanted a clean and stylised build. And I also knew I didn't want it to end up looking like Optimus Prime i.e. more grills and fins than a monster truck. I also liked the idea of being able to use LED lights to showcase what was going on inside the case but I didn't want it be a freak show of lights and colour. It all had to be balanced.
This lead me nicely towards the Phanteks Evolv Tempered Glass Edition Case - lots of open space for a first time builder. Beautiful tinted glass on both sides, and available in three colours. I opted for the Galaxy Silver as I wanted to stay away from traditional black.
- Brand: Phanteks
- Model: Evolv Tempered Glass Edition
- Colour: Galaxy Silver
My main reason for going with the ASUS Maximus VIII Formula motherboard is (A) I thought it was going to look great through the tempered glass case; especially with the additional armour and minimal accent colours. And (B) it has RGB LED headers on the motherboard meaning that you can easily sync up all your LED lights to the same hue (or close to).
- Brand: ASUS ROG
- Model: Maximus VIII Formula
For the memory, I opted for the Corsair Dominator Platinum - mostly because it came in silver which matched my case perfectly. It was also the exact height to fit in with my top mounted cooling.
I only opted for 16GB, although I will probably upgrade to 32GB over time, as I anticipate doing some video editing and graphic design on this rig.
- Brand: Corsair
- Model: Dominator Platinum Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz
I probably could have gone for an i5 here but I thought the extra power boost might come in handy when using this rig for image and video editing.
I also made sure to go with the unlocked version so that I could overclock if/when I ever decide to go down that path.
When it came to cooling I knew I wasn't ready for a full custom water-cooled setup. This is because I didn't really know much about doing that myself and the idea of real water flowing around pipes that I've put together in the first PC I've ever built is slightly terrifying.
I equally knew I didn't want to opt for air cooling because I think those units are quite big and clunky. And if you're going to have a tempered glass case you want everything to look tidy, clean and open right?
For this reason I opted for a liquid cooled setup. As I was already using a few Corsair parts so I opted to stay on-brand and use a Corsair cooler.
- Brand: Corsair
- Model: H115i
Early on in this build I decided I wanted to stay away from mechanical hard drives. That was for a couple of reasons; one being that they generate quite a bit of heat and two, that SSD and M.2 storage is much faster.
To ensure I stayed within my my budget I decided to stick with 2 x SSD hard drives initially.
Right now, I'm probably a little light on storage particulary for gaming but I'm envisaging one of my first upgrades will be extra storage. I can easily run a third SSD and I have an M.2 slot on my motherboard.
- Brand: Samsung
- Model: 850 EVO 256GB 2.5" SATA3 SSD
- Purpose: Operating System + Creative Suite
- Brand: Samsung
- Model: 850 EVO 500GB 2.5" SATA3 SSD
- Purpose: Steam, Origin, Battle.net etc
Choosing a video card for this build was difficult. My ideal video card would have been a GTX 1080, but the price difference between a 1070 and 1080 didn't quite stack up for me personally (which at the time of making the purchase was a $500 difference between the two options).
I tried to hold-out for the ASUS GTX 1070 but the delay in them coming to NZ was more than I could I bear. My next best option was the Gigabyte GTX 1070. I was initially put-off by because of the orange accents but after looking at a few reviews you can't really see them once the card is installed.
- Brand: Gigabyte
- Model: GTX 1070 Gaming | 8GB
I used the PCPartPicker tool to help me work out how much power I was going to need to run my new rig. This came in around 400W. I figured if I went for a middle of the road rating of about 750W modular unit it would future proof me for a few years if I wanted to make any major upgrades.
Cable Management wasn't a 'must buy' in my build, but I decided if I was going to opt for a tempered glass case I might as well do the cable management right. I wanted some lush white cables that would reflect any LED lighting from the motherboard, video card or case.
If you're building a PC with similar parts, this is definitely something you can buy later or not at all if you're looking to make some savings.
- Brand: CableMod
- Model: E-Series G2, P2 & T2 ModFlex Cable Kit – White
Not much to say about this one. I needed an operating system and Windows 10 was really the easiest option.
- Brand: Windows
- Model: Windows 10 64-Bit | USB
Coming soon - The Build.
Part three of this series will cover the build. Stick around to see if (A) these parts actually fit together, and (B) if I have the skills to plug it all in correctly.
What could go wrong...