Description

Welcome to Blackhawk 1.0. My brother-in-law suggested most of the parts, so trusting his research I bought all of them on either newegg or Amazon (took advantage of free Prime shipping). I went with a black, red, and white color theme for two reasons. First, the theme is widely available. Second, I'm an avid Chicago Blackhawks fan.

I decided to build this desktop in order to replace my previous store-bought Sony Vaio VGC-RB42G (Intel Pentium 4, 1GB DDR PC3200, NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS, 250GB HDD, Windows XP Media Center Edition) from 2005. I used my previous desktop until last year and figured I was long overdue for an upgrade.

Having gone 10 years without upgrading, the improvements I gained with this setup were astounding. Needless to say that every component saw marked improvement compared to my older system. I'm looking forward to this system meeting my work (and potentially gaming) needs for a good long time, though I'll hopefully upgrade before 2025.

All in all, I had fun building this desktop and even custom sleeving the PSU cables. I doubt I'll undertake the sleeving effort again but it was worth trying. This is my first build, so please be kind in the comments. I'll answer any questions that I'm able.

Thanks for viewing. :)

Part Reviews

CPU

I built this system with the intent of using it mainly for 3D CAD work, with the ability to game if I got back into PC gaming. This processor fit the bill nicely and had good reviews, so I went for it.

CPU Cooler

The CPU stock fan was fairly quiet and did a decent job, but I still wanted to upgrade. I liked the muscle-car look of the Cooler Master V8 GTS most, but settled on the V6 GT after reading reviews of how loud the V8 GTS gets. I haven't had any issues with the V6 GT so far.

The V6 GT is big, especially compared to the stock CPU fan. Initially, I was worried the fan wouldn't fit in the Raidmax Viper GX case (it's listed as a mid-tower), but it fits nicely (with little room to spare.

The only downside I saw to the V6 GT was that, due to its size, it blocks the RAM Slot 1 (as pictured). I'm not planning on using that slot so it didn't matter to me.

Thermal Compound

The reason my price was so high was that I bought a kit on Amazon that included 3.5g of Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound and 60ml of ArctiClean solution. The cleaning solution came in handy when removing the stock fan in favor of the V6 GT CPU cooler.

Motherboard

Bought the motherboard after reading a lot of favorable reviews. It should be able to handle everything I need it for. I'm happy with the red and black coloring to match my scheme.

Memory

Looks great, performs great.

Storage

Loads Windows 10 very quickly. Originally bought due to recommendation and happy with it.

Storage

Bought the 7200RPM version of this HDD because it was cheaper than the 5400RPM version. Enough storage for my current needs.

Video Card

Looks great, performs well. Not much else to say.

Case

This case is big for a mid-tower. It can fit the Cooler Max V6 GT CPU cooler, which stands at a whopping 131 x 120 x 165 mm (5.2 x 4.7 x 6.5 inch). Size and looks are what sold me on this case. Plenty of room, plenty of places for fans, water-cooling compatible, well-designed side panels allow for extra cable management space.

I like the look of this case over a more modular look, even though other cases may have better cable management areas. Top, sides, and front came off easily enough for the build process but are very sturdy. The frame metal while the top, sides, and front are all plastic. I removed the middle cage for extra 3.5" HDD slots, but didn't need to. The 2.5" hot swap bay on top is a nice touch.

I found the 3 5.25" bays to almost be excessive (went with a Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer in the top bay, a NZXT HUE LED controller in the middle, and a simple blank drawer on the bottom). The blank drawer has proved useful in holding driver cds and thumb drives.

Power Supply

Bought it on sale per a recommendation and am very happy with it. It's a full modular design with an 80 PLUS Gold certified, so it's got that going for it, which is nice.

Optical Drive

Super cheap for a Blu-Ray writer. Works well!

Operating System

It's reported to have bugs and be bloated, just like any other new Microsoft Windows release. I haven't run into any yet and all my drivers loaded without issue, so I'm fine with it so far.

Wireless Network Adapter

Originally bought because my router is located next to the TV in the adjacent room, but it was DOA. Instead of replacing or trying a different wireless network adapter, I decided on a different strategy.

I'm currently connected to my router through a TP-LINK AV500 2-port Powerline Network Adapter. Haven't noticed any issues with connectivity or speed degradation. Happy I went with this option instead of wireless.

Case Fan

Bought these fans as a 2-pack on Amazon. I put two of these AF120 fans in the front of my Raidmax Viper GX case and relocated its stock fan to the back of the case, giving me only red LED case fans in the build. Super quiet!

Monitor

Seeing that my previous setup boasted a single 20" monitor that required 7-10 presses on its power button to turn on, the dual Dell U2415 monitor setup has been an amazing upgrade!

The monitor doesn't auto-sense inputs, but that wasn't a deal breaker for me. The resolution is crisp and I appreciate the rotation capability. It can be adjusted, tilted, rotated, and it's VESA compatible, in case that's your thing.

I was waiting for the price to drop to $239.99 but I bought mine at $269.99 because everything else had already come in.

Mouse

Comfortable and performs well. Probably paid too much for it at $28.90 but it fit the color scheme and was from the same manufacturer as the keyboard.

Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Your brother is a good guy.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, he is. He did all the hard work and I had the easy part of putting it together.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Love the build, but hate the team. Sorry, I'm a wild fan

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha, no worries. My girlfriend is a Bruins fan so she's been mocking me saying it's a Team Canada build.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the idea, I might have to do a wild themed build

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I'd like to see that! If you decide to sleeve your PSU cables, I'd recommend choosemypc to help figure out your color scheme. It helped me.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

ok thanks. I might have to find a later engraver to engrave a wild logo into glass

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Still on of my favorite 970's...+1

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

God Dam..This looks really slick! +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Go Hawks! +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice pc build and clean cables. +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks great, why an i7 though? Do you do video editing?

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Mostly because it's what my brother-in-law recommended. I mostly do 3D CAD work.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Correct Me If I'm wrong but I feel as if a 1050 Ti would perform better than the GTX 970 you selected because it has a 1.09Ghz core clock and is $313. The cheapest 1050 Ti I found is $138 and has a 1.2Ghz core clock with a 1.43Ghz Boost Clock. (again correct me if I am wrong and also very nice build)

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

You might be right but I don't think the 1050 Ti was available at the time of this build (build was in Feb 2016, the 1050 Ti released Oct 2016), and I bought based on recommendations I had at the time. So far I've been happy with the performance I've gotten out of the GTX 970.

Thanks for the comment!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh Yeah That's Right Thanks For the Reply

  • 46 months ago
  • 0 points

Nice build with a nice red/black scheme, but if you're gaming, that wireless adapter could affect your internet speeds.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

How so?

I don't think it would as ISP's bandwidth is no where near the supported bandwidth of the PCI-e Wifi card.

Potential issue is the card not having a stable internet connection which I doubt very much, Gigabyte seem to have a good reputation for good products.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

The wireless adapter should have supported the ISP bandwidth easily but it was DOA.

Instead, I installed a TP-LINK AV500 powerline adapter to connect to my router (located in the next room) through my electrical outlet. That's why the adapter isn't pictured. I'll review the parts I used later tonight. Sorry for the confusion.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I tried snaking the LED strip around the corners of the case to avoid them being seen much and think it worked out well.