Description

MY BUILD STORY

As a teen in the 90's, I enjoyed taking apart our family store bought PC and upgrading the CPU, RAM, GPU, etc. when needed. Later, in the 2000's I went through 2 builds before purchasing an iBuyPower PC back in October 2010, right before I had my first born. That PC has been a champ but time has taken a toll on that bad boy.

PC technology has changed since 2010 and I must have spent 2-3 hours a night for weeks looking at parts and prices to make sure I had what I wanted. What did I want? A high-end "value" gaming machine that would provide me with as much future-proofing as I could get within my budget. I also wanted to focus on style/aesthetics. That's a thing now. I love it.

My budget originally started at a modest $1000. I was able to obtain a pretty good machine (on paper) put together for that price. Yet I worried I would be upgrading parts much sooner than I would have liked. For my budget, It was not worth it to save $150 on an older/slightly slower CPU or $100 GPU as I know I'm not going to resell those parts and use that cash towards the upgrade. They would be dated by that point, you know? So my budget crept up to $1500.

Case - For me, the white NZXT S340 was a no brainer. I fell in love with the case as soon as I saw it. It defines the look I wanted, sleek and minimalist. Zero regrets on this choice.

CPU - Intel Core i7 6700k was probably overkill, but I wanted the base 4.0GHz vs. i5 6600k 3.5GHz. I'd like to get in to some video/photo editing in the future and I frequently multi-task, so those speedy cores may come in handy down the line.

Motherboard - I've used MSI and Asus in the past. I pretty much went for looks on this one. The black and white scheme is perfect. So far I'm loving how easy the BIOS is to use!

Video Card - I knew I was going to get a GeForce 9xx card, but my debate was between the 950 or 970. The 980 was never in the running as paying nearly double vs. the 970 is not "value" to me. Paying $100 more for the 970 vs. 960 was. I chose the MSI card to match the mobo and for the similar black and white features. I am currently OC'ing the GPU by an additonal 125MHz.

Memory - Will I ever need or use 32GB of RAM? Probably not, but for $150 I couldn't pass up those two 16GB sticks that give me room for further upgrades. I would have preferred white sticks, but there was not nearly the color options within my price point, unlike the 8GB sticks.

Storage - I decided to invest in the Samsung 950 256GB Pro as my boot drive over a standard SSD. Sure, I would have liked more storage, but it's costly. It's ludicrous speed and insanely quiet! A few days after I finished the build, I installed a 2 year old WD 2TB HDD I had in my old PC for storage along with Dropbox as backup for important files. As the cost of this technology drops, I'll either upgrade the boot drive with larger storage or add a standard 2.5 SSD drive or two.

Keyboard/Mouse - I can't believe I spent $170 in a keyboard and mouse. Now in hindsight, I'm glad I did as I love them both! The mechanical keyboard is very durable, RGB back lit and has swappable keys FTW! I can keep the white/black theme with both and adjust on the fly. I love that the mouse has a thumb and pinkie rest areas, way more comfortable and practical than I imagined.

CHALLENGES/ISSUES

1. Kraken X61 Fan installation - The directions on NZXT's should be clarified on their website. I had to modify based on the S340 case having LED power controls blocking where the fan should be installed based on the company's default website instructions. Once I figured this out, I then ran into alignment issues with the fan screws attaching to the cooling unit. Currently 1 or 2 of the 8 screws are not in place. I was very frustrated by this and it took nearly 2 hours to get this attached correctly.

2. M.2 Slot - I could not get the motherboard to recognize the SSD. It took forever for me to find the BIOS settings I needed to change to get the OS installed. Once it I got it to read, we were flying.

3. XMP/DDR4 3200 - I'm having difficulty keeping the system stable with XMP turned on, which allows me to use the full speed of my RAM. Sometimes it works, other times not so much. I have to go in manually to adjust these settings.

4. NZXT CAM Software - Once I installed the CAM software for the Kraken, my cooling unit immediately started making a clicking sound. I did some research and found that the software can be quirky in how it adjusts the speeds, so I uninstalled the program. I can't adjust the lighting without it but it's already set to white so I'm good there.

5. General OC - I've been able to get the CPU to boot at 4.7GHz but it's not stable. I thought I had a great settings for 4.5GHz and used it for 2 days, only to have it crap out on me today. Going back to the drawing board.

VERDICT

I've had so much fun with this build. I certainly made the right choices for my wants/needs. My office looks amazing with this sharp looking speed demon sitting on my desk. Can't wait to keep pushing "White Thunder" to it's limits! Speaking of limits, don't tell my wife what I spent...

Comments

  • 41 months ago
  • 3 points

This is a nice setup, classic black/white color combination.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Squishbean1! I love pop's of color, and I came close to going with a different scheme. In the end I thought the classic black/white worked best with the room itself and because as you mentioned, it's classic.

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, my scheme is black/red....... It may be completely overdone, but it still looks nice. ._.

  • 41 months ago
  • 3 points

As a teen in the 90's, I enjoyed taking apart our family store...

You were like Iron Man? Taking the whole building apart meticulously... Oh my, oh my! This explains so much as for why you build computers today.


You have a beautiful black and white color scheme and it is a great build. You took my one.
  • 41 months ago
  • 3 points

Haha! Thanks Eltech. Putting this build together was as much fun as I had hoped. For me it's like putting a puzzle together while having to answer Jeopardy questions at the same time! I love it!

  • 41 months ago
  • 3 points
Well it is a lovely build so no problem. You deserve the praise for putting it together.

Putting this build together was as much fun as I had hoped. For me it's like putting a puzzle together while having to answer Jeopardy questions at the same time! I love it!

I know how you feel there, loving to piece the hardware and wires together. Though I only worked on puzzles and a lot of Legos. Jeopardy was certainly not my strength but I remember watching it a lot as a little girl. :)
  • 41 months ago
  • 3 points

Thankfully, I had Google to help me with those tough questions :)

  • 41 months ago
  • 3 points
Google-it. :)
  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice! Beautiful setup!

+1

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Chuck38!

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Thats a very nice and clean build! Love the white/black color combo!

+1

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks bsoderman!

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes! I think in time I will add Hue+ as it would give it the pop I'm looking for. Thanks for the compliment 21amoore!

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Love this clean setup with great cable management and awesome color scheme

+1

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks JAShadic! I can't take the credit, the case made cable management a breeze. If the Kraken power fan cable had been any shorter, I would have had to run that cable to the jumper in the middle of the case instead of where it is now. Barely wrapped around to the right of the RAM sticks.

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

The 1st and 11th picture shows the PC is ON but the rear fan aren't spinning. Is this because of a great SLR camera or something else.

PS. Just wanted to point it out. Anyways +1 my next build will most likely be black/white with krait msi board or a console-like PC(Ml08 or RVZ02)

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

You are correct marseryy, the fan was not working when I took those pictures a few days ago. Great eye! At some point, I had pulled the power cable to that particular fan that day and spent a few minutes figuring out what the cause was.

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks like everythings fine after all, have fun and enjoy the beautiful rig!

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Used the same case for my build just recently... couldn't ask for a better case!!!

+1

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Agree 100%! Thanks dwcomet07!

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

I really like this build, very clean. :-)

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the compliment mb67! Cheers!

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Amazing Story to go along with an Amazing Build! You for sure have a Feature coming your way ;DD +1

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

You are too kind, TechBros! Thanks for taking the time to read it and comment! Cheers

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Of course my friend :) Waiting for that Feature....

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Can you post some pictures of your 2010 build on pcpp?

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

That's a great idea, exige722. I spend 4-6 hours cleaning the old build. This included replacing the original 1TB HDD (which was getting louder and louder with every passing month) with a 256GB SSD to give to my brother. What a difference in sound and perceived speed it made! He has it now but I'll take pics next time I go to his place. It may be a week or two though.

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Your cpu is quite overkill for a 970, but that keyboard is so attractive/10

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Indeed, the 6700k is overkill for my system needs. I'm banking on it providing me with longevity to keep up with the Joneses in a few years. Thanks MarshmellowMan2!

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

What speakers are in the pictures on your desk? I'd like to get some small ones like they and they look quite good!

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi Ryuhara. The speakers are the Logitech Z313 2.1 sound system. I've had these for years and they do an excellent job at providing big sound in my little space. Newegg has great reviews on it too:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16836121034

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! I'll check em out :D

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Amazing

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you GermanMustardBuilder!

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

This is a great build. I am currently trying to piece together a black and white PC similar to yours. The Krait is definitely the best black and white (or only) for this price range and I strongly agree with your choices. +1 great, clean build.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the compliment, dillsa1299! I can honestly say I have no buyers remorse with this build or the style I went with. Cheers!

  • 35 months ago
  • 2 points

Beautiful set up! :) By the way, what monitor is that?

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks jusgonz! I believe it's a Samsung 24 or 27 inch monitor. I'm on the road so I can't look it up right now :)

I've upgraded though to a Samsung 4k UHD television, 40 inch 7000 series. Slight delay with lag vs monitor (I can't notice it) but amazing quality!

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks jusgonz! It's a Samsung S27D590

  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

can you send me a link to that wallpaper you are using or tell me where to find it? Your build looks great.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks German48! I don't recall where I found it, but I love it. Here's a link to DL it from my dropbox:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bwxof3qwkjm5e8r/lR0O3Wm.jpg?dl=0

[comment deleted]
  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks NitroOG!

[comment deleted]
  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Geekazoid, I was thinking the same thing. I overspent as it was and was too excited to put it together to wait the few extra days, ha! I was thinking White mobo cables and black for the GPU. As I make alterations to this rig, I'll be certain to post updated pictures. Thanks for the compliment!

[comment deleted]
  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Hmm...okay. Mix it up a little aye, good stuff. That would look pretty darn good.

To expand on that thought, right now, the black power cable is somewhat hidden, or at least blends in with the PC. If I were to make it white cloth, it would almost become the focal point for the eye when looking at the interior.

Sorry, but your username looks like something you'd say after you'd built a hut, if you had in fact had done that.

"Aaand...BAM! A hut!" :P

How 'bout I provide some background on my alias for fun? "Bamahut" is actually "Bahamut", as in one of the frequently used enemy dragon bosses in the Final Fantasy series. But as a kid in the 80's playing FF1, I read the word Bahamut to myself as "Bamahut". When creating an online alias for early MMORPG's I tried to use Bahamut, but it was always taken. That's when the bells went off and I went back to my childhood. Ding!