I have been meaning to upgrade my computer for a while now and with the new year I thought it a prime time to build one. I have been relying on a trusty custom built laptop from PC Specialist for a few years and so it is starting to become slow and it runs hot despite regular cleaning of the fans and heat sync, along with replacement of thermal compound.
The choice of graphics card was something I was keen to get right and having received a $400 Amazon gift card from Instructables as a prize I decided to use this towards a graphics card and buy the card from America. I ended up having to pay $80 in income duty and taxes…uggghhh.
All parts laid out ready for the build
I went with the i5 4690k because it is a good value quad core unlocked processor. At the moment it is running at 4ghz on all cores under air cooling and never goes above 60 celsius so I am pretty happy with it. It would be nice to have hyper threading but I didn’t have the budget for the i7 and I intend to water-cool in the future meaning I can increase my over-clock.
Decided on the cheapest Z97 micro atx board I could find…should be alright?! I chose Z97 for better performance whilst over-clocking.
16GB Hyper X Fury in Dual Channel mode. Plenty for my needs, I went for 16 rather than 8GB as in my laptop I was getting close to using all the RAM space when using programs such as Premiere, Photoshop and Inventor.
Overkill 750w PSU for future proofing more than anything else, I may want to run a water-cooled rig in the future with and SLI or Crossfire setup and a power supply is something you only need to buy once in a while.
As for storage, I went with a Samsung mSATA SSD that I had in my laptop and I just bought an adaptor enclosure to use the SSD in the new PC. I also have a 1TB WD drive for main data storage.
Step1: When it comes to assembling a pc, everyone has there own build plan of which components go in first. For me it is RAM first. Always make sure to check your motherboard manual to see which colours are the main dual-channel slots if you are not using all the available slots.
Next, I installed the CPU and made sure to put the socket cover in the motherboard box for safe keeping. Alignment of the small triangle in the corner of the CPU is critical to avoid damaging the chip.
After the CPU is installed, I always attach the stock heat-sink to run a post test to make sure that the hardware is working as it should be. The CPu and ATX power connectors from the power supply can be connected along with a monitor and a keyboard.
Once I knew it worked, I could move onto installing the proper CPU cooler. The Hyper 212 Evo is well renowned as one of he best value coolers and I paid only £25 for mine so it’s ideal. I will eventually move to liquid cooling and I intend to machine some water block on my CNC machine in the future.
The motherboard can then be inserted into the case and screwed down to the PCB stand-offs.
The last component to go in (apart from the drives which I didn’t photograph) is the graphics card. I am using a GTX 970 SSC (super-super-clocked) from EVGA. It is a beast of a card and perfectly adequate for my needs. I was going to go for a 980 ti but I could’t justify the extra cost to myself so I went for the 970. My PC can play Battlefield 4 (the main game I play) on ultra at 1080p without dropping below 100fps.
The one thing I really didn’t anticipate is how much of a rats nest of cables there would be. So a note to all you people wanting to build your own PC, BUY A MODULAR POWER-SUPPLY!!!!