I've been wanting to do this since 2013, though at the time the funding wasn't there, and had to settle on a not too shabby Dell XPS 8700 for $699.99 at Costco. After all, it shipped with a still today Top 5 Common CPU in the i7-4770, 12GB DDR3-1600 RAM, a 1GB GDDR5 GPU, and 460W PSU, with room for expansion. Oh, and Windows 8. No way could I had done an i7 build for that price, and that holds true today, the i7-4790K that will be used was almost half of that cost alone.
The problem though, is that OEM computers has bottlenecks. Not that we can get rid of everyone, yet with a self build, many more than an OEM one. So here I am 3 years later & still have the burning desire to build, even though I have numerous computers at my disposal. First off, let me make one point, and will keep this part short & simple, it's going to dual boot Windows 8.1 & Linux Mint 18. The first OS is for information only, should I need assistance with 8.1, will post there. We're going to be discussing a Linux Mint 18 install on a new self built PC, my first ever from new components.
So w/out further ado, lets look at what I've already purchased for the build.
Safety is the First part of the Job, and with that in mind, a $6.99 Rosewill Anti-Static cable is a must have for working inside any computer. While I have one, it's getting worn, and recently, my kitty get hold of it when I laid it down with her in here.
No self build PC designed for power will be worth the effort w/out a strong CPU, and have already broken this one in, though not at full potential. Because the XPS 8700's MB only has a single 4 pin power connector for a CPU. That's going to be fixed with this build, so here comes Devil's Canyon!
A good build should start with a high quality case, and though this is labeled as a 'mid tower', so is the XPS 8700. However, it's half again as large, so Dell must had misrepresented, a micro or mini tower instead. This is a great case for $99 ($20 off) & an excellent first time builder's choice. Fractal Design is also a premier brand, beginning to push themselves up against Antec & others where there's many complaints in regards to missing or broken components, sharp edges & more. I chose this one because of the ratings, and spent more time on the case decision than any other component.
Of course, any decent PC should have a quality PSU, inferior models can take a lot with it, and has been known to start fires. Here's the one I purchased, and it's my 2nd, have the same model in my ASRock build am now on (unfortunately PSU specs doesn't show). 650W Gold, fully modular PSU with more cables than I'll ever use. EVGA also provides a 7 year warranty with their 'G2' series. The price has also jumped by $20 since the last one, though as I recall, was on promo. A whisper quiet PSU.
Lets move onto the heart & soul of the PC, the MB. While I could had spent $100 for a few more features, I didn't see the need. for my use. The ASUS Z97-PRO GAMER is a highly regarded motherboard for it's price & features. There was only one other brand that I considered, and went with the heart on this one.
The other that I considered, details below as to why I chose the ASUS. It's probably a very good MB for the price, I just didn't want a repeat of the same issue covered near the end of this OP.
Moving on, what good is having space for 32GB & not stuff it full? Purchased two 16GB sets of these GSkill Aegis modules, which I'm now running in the XPS 8700, have ran MemTest for 12 hours with zero errors. Another point I'd like to make, that way too many doesn't consider, there's no such thing as too much (or wasted) RAM. In other words, if one has a MB capable of running 64GB (especially DDR4), stuff it, the system will use the RAM & the more, the better multitasking. In fact, the PC I'm on will hold four 16GB modules for 64GB Total, yet it's a budget rebuild of a computer donated to me. Everything except the case & one HDD has been replaced, though some were extra components on hand, including the 12GB RAM removed from the XPS 8700 (see 2nd PC in my sig for details).
So here's the 32GB RAM purchased, in two sets.
Wireless & BT are popular than ever these days, and though purchased for this build, am installing in the new instead. Far better than a USB stick, and uses a PCI slot, plus a USB header for BT power, which may be optional for some, although BT now has many uses. The ASUS AC dual band PCIe card also includes Intel Wireless Display (better know as Intel Wi-Di).
Next comes HDD/SSD security on the hardware level. Software security of drives can be more easily cracked or even buggy (example Bitlocker). Everything is dependent on that 100MiB system partition with W7, 350MiB on 8.1 & 500MiB on W10. Forget securing with partitions, as long as nothing fries the TPM, one's on business. Good backup software can auto unlock encrypted drives for recovery when needed for that purpose only. Linux Mint & other Ubuntu OS's can use a Trusted Platform Module or TPM. Again, it's an ASUS brand, and one has to stick with the same brand as the MB. It's much higher rated on Amazon in 2nd link.
Now comes some optional accessories. Though seldom used, it's still good to have an optical drive, also by chance an ASUS brand (NO LOGO). I have two of the same that's been around for 6+ years in 2nd link, other than that the specs are the same. Due to Forum Rules, I cannot provide links to the Newegg site for these, as both has promo codes. Though here's the same one on Amazon that's going in the new build (if I don't like it, will swap for another I have).
Here's the one I've purchased twice in the past, except for the label, is the same (44x Winner Customer Choice Award on Newegg for Optical drives).
PWM Fan Splitter cable commonly used by many, I ordered two.
And some extra case fans, a 4 pack for $7.49 after rebate isn't bad for 120mm Cooler Master fans that's well reviewed.
Now, for the time being, will be using one of my SSD's for the install, may be the 180GiB Intel 330 or 256GiB Crucial M550 SSD, as well as a MSI branded nVidia GTX 960 will be in the PC. Very soon, these two upscale components will be installed, and the 512GiB Samsung 950 Pro M.2 blows SATA-3 SSD in a dust cloud.
This component by Addonics will allow me to install in a x4 slot. The native M.2 slot won't be as fast. Also, this is why I had to make a tough decision with the MB, ASRock has one (I believe Extreme6) with a M.2 slot that is nearly as fast w/out using a x4 slot, though still it's coming from somewhere. My problem with ASRock is the SATA ports on the MB I'm on, there's a fragile feel to them, moves easily. I don't know if that's by design or if they didn't use enough epoxy to secure these better. What I didn't want was a repeat of the same. Plus I have a gut feeling for the price ($104.99 after rebate), the item in the link above is 'too good to be true' in the long haul, that's a lot to offer for the price. Heat of a M.2 SSD installed on the MB is also an issue, just like with mSATA, and x4 is really pushing it.
Anyway, here's the x4 bracket, of which there's a x4 slot of the MB to hold it.
And finally, last, but not least, this beast of a graphics card.
Some of these links had to be changed due to Newegg codes showing, though most of us all knew what 'FTW' meant long ago (For the Win) , and EVGA is proving it with their version of the GeForce 1070, 8GB GDDR5 VRAM, overclocked out of the box with room for more, will blow the doors way on many cards less than a year old that cost $400 more, and 3x the performance of the GTX 970, using less power to get there. I verified the the P/N was the same, and the linked card is as on Amazon
No wonder why one author called these cards (the 1080 & 1070) 'irresponsible performance'. Like the RAM, there's no such thing as 'too much'.
Well, I believe everything is covered on my end, what do you all think?
All suggestions are welcome!
EDIT: Some Links had to be changed to comply with Bleeping Computer site rules in regards to Discount Codes! So I changed them all to Amazon ones to avoid future issues. Look to the right, there are multiple sellers on Amazon, some still offers free shipping on items. Read reviews from 3rd party sellers before purchasing.
Edited by cat1092, 08 October 2016 - 01:26 AM.