After the demise of my Dell XPS L702X, I decided to cut my losses, sell the laptop carcass to the buzzards and put together a Devil’s Canyon based mini-ITX gaming PC.
CPU: Intel i7 4790K (Devil’s Canyon)
I had considered an i5 but I came from a second generation Sandy Bridge i7, so I wanted an upgrade in-line with what I’ve been used to. The code name might have had a lot to do with it as well.
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i
I needed a good double radiator solution and
could not be bothered could not afford to do water cooling the “proper” way. Mounting this inside the case with the motherboard took nearly half a day in total before I was happy with how it was performing and how it was fitted. Unfortunately those big tubes get in the way of just about anything/everything. Also, whoever designed the clamp system must have also had a hand in the Intel Core HSF - as any stress on the CPU die is deflected onto the fitting experience.
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97N-Gaming 5
I had a lot of trouble finding a motherboard that offered enough SATA ports (minimum x 5), Bluetooth 4.0+ and didn’t look like a tobacco product.
Initially, I had decided on a Gigabyte Z97N-WIFI but discovered that it had only a 4-pin CPU power socket whilst reading another review before bed. I promptly cancelled the order at undead O’clock and ordered the Gaming 5 variant. Looks pretty damned good (matt-black) and the red LED tracing for the “audio zone” was a nice touch. Dictated my new found red & black colour scheme.
RAM: Kingston Hyper-X Beast 2400MHz DDR3 XMP 16GB (8GB x 2)
I tried to find Corsair RAM for a decent price but was unsuccessful (would have been nice to have another same manufacturer product in there). This has black heat spreaders, a decent price tag & cheaper than a lot of alternatives. Zero complaints and was running at 2400MHz right off the bat.
Storage: Many Samsung SSD’s and a lonely Intel SSD
- Samsung 840 EVO 250GB for OS & data
- Samsung 840 EVO 250GB for games
- 2x Samsung 830 Series 128GB in RAID-0 for games
- Intel 520 Series 180GB (for Xubuntu Linux / Multimedia work / ShadowPlay)
Video Card: MSI Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 OC 2GB (Gaming Series)
Initially, I had settled for a reclaimed MSI GeForce GTX 650 OC 1GB whilst the Dell sold (which surprisingly it did). Ordered this the moment the money was in my hands.
I would have greatly preferred the reference cooler with LED support to eliminate “thermal hot zone” issues, but no one appears to sell this new anymore. The choice was between this and the ASUS. This was £20 less, included a free copy of Borderlands the Pre-sequel and didn’t include ASUS’s HSF reliability (which have historically died on me less than six months in on previous Nvidia & ATi products due to low quality fan construction). Red and black colour scheme requirements also met.
Case: Corsair Obsidian 250D
Initially I was set on a Cooler Master Elite 130, then I found the Corsair. A great balance between space to work with and not being a desk obelisk. Finish is nice, tough and I am happy to report that I had no issues with screw threads (an apparent common issue). The magnetic dust filters should be on every computer case.
Power Supply: Corsair CS650M
Funny thing, I ordered a CS550M and two days in – it fell over (fan failure). I tried to reach Corsair about my new petrol strimmer emulator via Twitter, but so far I have had no response. Luckily Ebuyer were fantastic and I have RMA’ed it for a refund. This one seems to have fared a lot better.
Keyboard: Logitech Wireless Keyboard - Black
It was cheap (very cheap). Works very well with Windows and Xubuntu. Survives coding and gaming thus far. Unifying receiver is very useful to switch between all my devices (including Xbox 360, PS3, Sony Z1 via USB adapter).
Mouse: Logitech Anywhere MX
Very, very happy with this rodent (and I don’t even like computer mice). Takes what I have liked about the VX Nano, NX 80, M555b and bundles them together. Vaguely matches the keyboard too.
In progress / to do:
I need to get (ideally) a dual 80mm fan configuration for exhaust due to the shortcomings in MSI’s GTX 770 “twin frozor” exhaust design. They’re going to need to be =< 15mm deep in order to fit between the case and the H100i’s fat pipes. I might swap the front 140mm fan to be an exhaust in the meantime although it’s a bit counterproductive.
I have decided to upgrade to some trendy LED based fans as one of the bloody Corsair LP120’s on the radiator has died:
- Corsair Air Series AF140-LED 140mm Quiet Edition High Airflow LED Fan - Blue (Single Pack)
Red was out of stock, should add some contrast though.