MORE PHOTOS COMING SOON (I got carried away and forgot my camera when the build got tough)
As the title suggests, this is a build I did for my father's partner. The partner's old gaming PC, a Zotac Mini EN760 died. i5-4200U, 8GB, GTX 860M. My dad wanted to treat her to an upgrade. Her main game is Rappelz, which is not very demanding. But she would like to be able to play Diablo 3. Again, it's not the Witcher 3.
I was more than confident at 1080p, my choice was simple, g4560 and a gtx 1050 would be great! However, a few more demands came in beyond the basic gaming requirements: - It needed to be built inside the Silverstone Raven RVZ03. Named after her, with the RGB option of purple LEDs, and the small form factor...this case was a must. This case created its own requirements, see further below.
- It needed to be Intel and nVidia
- It needed to be "upgradeable" and "FutureProof"
- it needed to be quiet
- the budget was €1200...
This build was done in my father's home in the Netherlands while I was over for New Years.
This case was chosen because of its name, small form factor, quiet operation and purple led. The client's partner is called Raven, her favourite colour is purple and she wanted something small and quiet. Could it get any better? Well, maybe. But this was a must, which created restrictions. It requires an ATX power supply that is ideally 140mm in depth! Ouch!
Silverstone FOCUS Plus Gold
Because this is a lowish power build with a high wattage power supply, efficiency was key.
*high wattage for future upgrades of gpu. For a non-AMD build, a 750W unit will supply enough power whatever parts my be added. Originally, I recommended the 650W version, but due to availability, the extra tenner was spent on this unit instead.
Depth of 140mm
As stated before, the case recommends for full compatibility, no deeper than 140mm
To make building in confined spaces easier, the less cable clutter the better!
i7-7700 + MSI Gaming H270i AC
My dad was strongly against overclocking, therefore, a locked i7 was a lot more reasonable for a similar price as the original idea of an i3-8100 and Z370 itx board. While this ruins the idea of future proofing, with the cost of Coffee Lake and the total denial of AMD leading to Ryzen out of the question... future proofing was a lot more reasonable than upgradability. Besides, once the 7700 becomes obsolete, a new board will probably be required when upgrades are being looked at anyway.
A personal favourite of mine for small form factor, locked builds. I can attest to its silence and its cooling abilities and would highly recommend it over the intel stock cooler supplied. I survived a year with a Skylake stock cooler and I will never again.
Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB (2x8) @2400Mhz
Low profile memory, H270 only supports up to 2400Mhz, reliable brand. Nothing more to say. 16GB is deemed as the advisory for gaming PCs and my father would have no less.
Samsung 960 Evo 500GB M.2
Now my recommendation was a 275GB Crucial SATA M.2 SSD. But... my dad being my dad, pitched in an extra notch and we agreed on the 250GB 960 EVO. I'm still not sure how we ended up with the 500GB model. I've stopped questioning. The bonus is it came with a copy of Assassin's Creed Origins. A game on my wish list that she did not want. I think that was my payment ;-)
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Gaming
Thank you Cyber Monday and damn you Miners. Basically it was €320 for a GTX 1060 6GB (my original choice) and €400 for a 1070 Ti. You choose. This is a massive massive monster of a card that runs insanely quiet and so far snoozes at whatever I've thrown at it at 1440p. It tears my 950 to shreds!
This was painful. To say the least. I started witht eh basics photographed above. Built the system outside of the case for testing purposes. This went smoothly until the test boot... for some unknown reason I could not boot the system. PSU wouldn't fire up. No lights. No fans. Nada. After reseating everything in turn I finally swapped the 4 pin CPU header with the other 4 pin CPU header, it being a 4+4 pin connector. Now it boots? Yes, yes it does. I still don't understand it. But I will not complain with a successful post.
That was the easy part. Next I had to get it in the case. Motherboard was easy, too easy. PSU was tricky but doable. Cables, a bit finicky but fine. But that huge 1070 ti, the impulse buy was too big! I'm still not sure how I got it to fit, but it was a squeeze with some light brute force because of the power and IO wires. And miraculously, none of those cables interfered with the fans!!!
Then to squish more cables to get the side panel back on and pray to the machine gods it still worked inside the case! Spoiler: it did.
After successfully installing windows and MSI's Mystic Light Sync which I finally found inside the MSI gaming App. Thanks MSI for making it clear that's where to find it.... I could not change the case LED from RED!!! I needed it purple!! It turns out... the RGB LED header on the motherboard only supports the single colour of the board's LED........... red.... well done MSI. Very well done... fortunately the RVZ03 includes an RGB controller so it was time to dive back into the case install the little box. This required removing the PSU to install a molex cable, and unplugging the reset switch to the controller. Not a big deal, but it means the reset switch is now an led switch. Worked out better I think for her, means she doesn't have to launch software to switch it off.
All said and done, I am extremely proud and impressed. Both with myself and the system. It is whisper quiet. Audible if you look for it in a quiet room but it silent when forgotten.