My new PC, circa 2013

Order placed! It’s my first new PC since 2008, and the first I haven’t built myself since the late 90s. I went with iBuyPower because people I trust had good experiences with them, I can pick up the build locally and not even risk damage during shipping, and because their prices were crazy low — on par or better than me doing it myself. And I won’t panic about bending CPU pins or frying chips with static electricity during install!

For the folks who like to get into details, my goals were silence, a fair amount of future-proofing, and good H264 encoding performance. I don’t overclock. So, after polling some pals and the advice of Tested.com columnist Nathan Edwards, here’s what I cooked up: 

  • Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Gaming Case – Black
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770 Processor (4x 3.40GHz/8MB L3 Cache)
  • Processor Cooling: NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid CPU Cooling System w/ 140mm Radiator
  • Advanced Build Options: Tuniq TX-2 High Performance Thermal Compound
  • Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V LK — 2x PCI-E 3.0 x16, 4x USB 3.0
  • Memory: 16 GB [8 GB x2] DDR3-1600 Memory Module – G.Skill Ripjaws X
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 – 2GB – EVGA Superclocked
  • Primary Hard Drive: 240 GB Corsair Force GS SSD – Single Drive
  • Data Hard Drive: 2 TB HARD DRIVE — 64M Cache, 7200rpm, 6.0Gb/s
  • Optical Drive: 12X LG BLU-RAY Reader, DVD±R/±RW Burner Combo Drive
  • 2nd Optical Drive: 24X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive
  • Sound Card: 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard
  • Network Card: Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100)
  • Power Supply: 650 Watt — NZXT HALE82N-SI / 80+ Bronze
  • Addition: Internal USB Expansion System
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium + Office Starter 2010 – 64-Bit

I had an Antec Sonata II silent case back in the day and loved it; the 550D looks like a worthy equivalent. It’s unfortunately not hot-rod red and has no fancy lights inside, but when it comes down to it, I really value performance over visuals, so I almost disappointingly stuck to my core goals. This will be my first liquid-cooled rig (the X40 is a closed unit — no maintenance, quieter than air, and totally fine for my non-OC usage) and my first 64-bit OS on PC. I have had a nightmare experience with Creative sound cards in the last two builds so I will try onboard first and only upgrade later if I need it; this mobo has both 6-channel and optical, and I use Tritton Black Ops headphones on the former and Logitech Z5500 speakers for the latter. I almost went Win 8 but I haven’t heard enough good reasons to move to it yet, and I really like Win 7. And yes, I still like having a second optical, as I still burn things to disc as backups or to give to friends. It was a whopping extra $20, so why not?

Since I’m an independent contractor, this is a work-related expense for my taxes (some personal embarrassment trying to run Black Ops II actually spurred this purchase, so it’s very legit) and Kat will inherit my current rig — the 2008 build, albeit with a few upgrades from over the years, the latest and most crucial being an SSD boot drive and a GTX 570. Since her current card is an ancient 8800, this will be a great upgrade for her. I will do a fresh install of Win 7 before I hand it over…which will be sometime after the first week of June, when the new machine should be ready, if iBuyPower hits their estimates. And I know they are sometimes late.

Feel free to tell me what I did wrong, other than not waiting for Haswell. 🙂 Anything that needs upgrading from here can be upgraded over time.