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Solid Multimedia Desktop PC Build
I made this build about a year ago for multimedia use, I am really happy with it and have had no issues. It has met all my expectations and I purposely made it so that not only would it last me a long time but that I could maximize savings when it was time to upgrade.
See I have the mentality that if you are going to buy something pay more and buy quality that you will not need to replace. And when it is time to replace, recycle as much as you can and make best use of what you currently have.
The build needed to be powerful enough for video rendering and video games and also efficient and easy on the power bills. I wanted a solid medium size portable tower that I could move around with sufficient room for fans. Keeping in mind the aesthetics too.
Build vs Buy
I personally see very little benefit in buying a stock multimedia computer or any other desktop.
- You're basically paying for a brand and ALL brands aim to maximize profits so you won't be given the best parts possible with your money.
- The 2 years warranty given by the brand can always be replaced by the warranty given buy the individual parts for your custom built pc.
- With the same amount of money your are getting the best quality and performance part in the price range.
- You'll learn a lot through the research process and if you end up building it too, it's even better. Even though there is a slight learning curve ahead of you, once you get it, its a great feeling!
- Thinking back, it felt awesome to put together my own build. I can honestly say that in some weird way I connected and care more about my machine because I built it myself.
There are many tech resources to help you with the process too.
I personally use http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/
This is the current stats and windows score of my system.
It scores very high on the windows benchmarking scores. I am quite sure that it will perform just as well on the other benchmarking software's. Keeping in mind that this machine is already a year old. Below I will share with you the individual components of my machine.
Case: CM Storm Scout 2
I ended up going with the CM Storm Scout 2, it was both sexy and portable. I am really happy with the case it keeps cool has plenty of space and I can hit up to 6 fans if needed. However, in my case I only have two 12 inch fans and one 14 inch fan at the front. The front buttons are tactile and the handles are solid and ergonomic. Something that was very important to me was that the usb panels would be covered, which is the case (not the actual case :P). I like to keep my case clean and dust free so the case is easy to open and close and I have had no issues with it. It's a very solid high quality case that you can use for years to come as long as desktops don't become obsolete :(
I was going with a single Nvidia card and had no plan of overclocking so this motherboard was more than sufficient. As I explained earlier on, I don't go fan crazy either so it met all my needs and some more at a very reasonable price. As time goes by the price will further reduce which will make it even more bang for buck. It's a well rounded board and is in the middle within the range. Very appealing color if your into the aesthetics and its a simple and plainly laid out motherboard which is perfect for someone who is building for the first time (like myself).
Something else to mention is that these new motherboards seem to have very user friendly and easy to navigate BIOS software which is a bonus. Mine has a pretty appealing graphic user interface that makes me way more at ease going through my BIOS options and changing things. They have made it look like a software or video game "settings" application, which is really clever because it improves the first time builders building experience.
PSU: Corsair RM Series 550 Watt
This is where I spend a fair bit. I choose to invest long term on this product. The way I see it its is more than enough power for me today with its high efficiency. Furthermore, if I ever to upgrade it in the future it would allow me to do so. Even if I decided to go duel cards (which is unlikely) this PSU would do the job because as technology progresses so does its efficiency, meaning lower power requirements for improved performance. It's very well built and surprisingly light weight. The bonuses for me were the removal-able cables, the quietness of the fan, the 80 PLUS Gold-certified efficiency and finally the five year warranty.
It delivers over 92% energy efficiency at real world load conditions. Which means that either your machine has 506 Watts available to it. Which is actually a lot, I've seen someone on Youtube do a power usage benchmark on a modern machine with duel graphics cards and he was only sitting around the 350-400 mark (when he was REALLY pushing his machine). Or its eats up an additional 44 Watts, which in total would be 594 Watts. I've researched this and have seen people say both things so if you do find the real answer to this, feel free to share it with me. Though I'd image the first would be the correct answer, it makes more sense.
CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 Quad-Core Desktop Processor 3.4 GHZ LGA 1150 8 MB Cache
The cpu was the most expensive item in my list and rightfully so. It's the core performance factor for rendering and video editing so I spend as much as I possibly could afford. I went with the i7 4770 and find that it meets my needs. The high performing cpu with the combination of the SSD drive makes this machine or any similar build more than sufficient. It's a super computer and a very quite and efficient super computer. Your alternative choice could be the i7 4790 which is at a similar price and performance point. Honestly I'd go with either, at the time I only had the option of the 4770.
The video below compares the performance of both and it seems that they are equal. Another thing to mentions is that even though these are not design for overclocking I had previously read that individuals were able to over-clocked the 4970 with the right motherboard combination.
I went from a AMD Phenom II X3 720 with a cpu score of 2701 to the 10193 of the 4770. Seriously I have no reason to complain, anyone that does is stuck in their first world bubble.
I have linked the benchmarks below:
AMD Phenom II X3 720
This was a massive jump in performance. I have to mention this again though, my AMD cpu was still doing pretty well when I upgraded. It was only on 4gb of ram and it makes me think what would have happened if I gave it a SSD drive and a simple ram upgrade. Probably wouldn't have needed much else if I just wanted to stick to basic gaming.
4770 vs 4790 Benchmark
HD: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III
This bad boy was something I was the most excited about. At the time of the purchase I had not owned a machine with SSD and couldn't wait to see it perform. It definitely met my expectations my machine boots in under 5-10 seconds. Everything on the machine happens so much faster now and you simply cannot go wrong with it. In fact, if your thinking about upgrading your computer but don't want to spend to much I'd honestly just recommend getting a SSD drive for your old desktop or laptop. The performance increase is huge! Later on I ended up buying a 128gb SSD for my old 8 year old Acer laptop and the machine was new again.
I honestly can't preach this enough, if you are looking into upgrading your computer or laptop top due to speed performance. Please consider simply buying your machine an SSD drive. I almost feel like people are getting scammed buying new hardware when a simple SSD will do so much for them.
Ram / Memory
RAM: Kingston 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 HX316C10FK2/16
Not as much research was done on ram as its just that, ram. As long as it had a decent speed of 1600MHz and from a good reliable brand like Kingston I was a happy guy. At the time of the purchase it was $189.00 AUD because we had a shortage of ram in Australia but now you can get it for $99 US which is a great bargain. Have had no issues with it and was easy to install. The covering was a great design addition and helped someone like me putting together my build for the first time.
GPU: GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 750
The graphics card is one of those parts that we often get stuck on, I know I have on a number of occasions. Being a gamer always makes you worry whether the card will meet your gaming requirements and it's a reasonable concern. I chose to go with a mid range affordable graphics card that was efficient in terms of power use and allowed me to have the gaming performance I needed. I mainly play games like Dota 2, Dirty Bomb and the most recent addition Rift. So my pick gets the job done and I have had no concerns in terms of graphics performance. Whether it will fulfill my future gaming needs is unknown but I think with such a price you can't go wrong.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the gaming industry is changing too, we are no longer as graphic hungry as before and with the rise of indie games and small studios with lower budgets games are actually being made back in pixel art and low-poly formats. It seems that now days the focus is back on innovative game mechanics and simplification, a great example would be Mindcraft or League of Legends. What I am trying to get at is that if this trent continues into the future, which it most likely will. You'll no longer require the most badass/expensive graphics card to recieve the high level gaming performance that you desire.
Battefield 4 Ultra Settings GTX 750 1GB
I can't say that my build is perfect, it is now a year old and for some its ancient. But it's a solid build none the less and the great thing is that it will remain so whilst the price drops over time. Making it even more bang for buck. It will meet all of your general desktop pc needs of today and has the performance capability to do video editing and rendering effectively. it's low power and efficient and that's how it should be. The important take away is that whilst these items may get outdated the mindset and purchase choices won't. I hope you've enjoyed the read and my article has been of help to you.