[Build Log] Project Pitchblende - Getting Back Into Building - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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[Build Log] Project Pitchblende - Getting Back Into Building

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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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So what happened was...

I enjoyed building and upgrading my own computers. I cut my teeth on the early Trash 80s (yeah I'm that old) and kept swapping components and upgrading all the way through around 2004. Side-note: I remember scavenging a full-height 384MB HD that sounded like a jet taking off when you fired up the computer. I also still remember the sound when the head crashed into the platter. That was a sad day.

Here's the case from my 2004 build:

AppleMark

It was beige. And it had teeny little fans. Look at the cute little fan. Isn't that just adorable? Did I mention it was beige?

By 2009 I had fallen hopelessly behind on upgrades.

Then, because most of my computer stuff was work related and they provided me a laptop, I mothballed my 2004 build, and broke down and bought a pre-built consumer-grade desktop. It wasn't beige, and it wasn't slow (then). And it ran Windows and MS Office and most other productivity software out at the time.

AppleMark

Did I mention it wasn't beige?

Fast-forward to now. It's been five years since my last new computer, and that sad little EOM is a frakking slug. It has a AMD Athlon processor and 3GB RAM. If I asked it to do any heavy lifting, it had to go have a lie-down afterward. Enough is enough. I'm ready to get my hand back in building my own systems.

Upgrading was a no-go. The mobo was too old and was limited in the first place.

Enter my first project in a decade. Money's not flowing like a fountain, so I wanted to take it slow, but get something I could use immediately and upgrade over time. The build must:


1) Not cry when I ask it to process lots of data.
2) Be upgradable for some time. Newish socket preferred so I can upgrade CPUs for a while.
3) Have processor power over graphics capabilities (at the moment). I'm running a few games that are single-thread limited.
4) Have fast boot-times.
5) Have some wow-factor but not excessively bling. I don't want to look like I'm having a mid-life computer crisis.
6) Overclocking was not a priority at this time, because frankly I was so far behind the curve that anything was going to feel screaming fast, and I wanted to keep my budget as low as possible.
7) Re-use as much of my salvaged components as possible (for now)
8) Have at least 8GB RAM
9) Come in under $400 total.

I spent about 40 hours over 2 weeks reading through posts here and on other sites, and settled on the following:

  • Gigabyte Mobo GA-H87M-D3H LGA1150
  • Intel CPU Core i3-4330 3.5GHz
  • Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600 8GB
  • Samsung EVO 120GB SSD for a dual-boot OS.


Total cost for the base components: $380 including tax and shipping. Can't beat that with a stick.

I planned to reuse (at least for now) one of my old cases (beige *shudder*), an old optical drive, 2TB HDD (not that old), 450W Modular PSU (not that old), and the peripherals and monitor.

After buying those bits, and installing them in the old case, this is what I ended up with:

AppleMark


Talk about hiding a jewel in a cesspit. Wire management was basically impossible, there was zero space behind that motherboard tray. And the PSU had the older-style power plugs. But I went with it, expecting to upgrade the cables and clean up the cable management later.

Only snag... all my old optical drives (except for the one in the Compaq), were ancient. So I had to go get an optical drive after all, so i could install the OS.

After that, I fired it up. Wow it felt blazing fast. Ubuntu booted up in about 6 seconds, and Windows wasn't much slower. All the programs just screamed compared to how I had been limping along before. All was right with the world. Until...
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 11:19 PM
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It sounds like a good setup so far man! I'm right there with ya with having to reuse what you've got on certain things, but no shame in that what matters is the performance in the end and usability. Look forward to reading part 2!
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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S3raph View Post

It sounds like a good setup so far man! I'm right there with ya with having to reuse what you've got on certain things, but no shame in that what matters is the performance in the end and usability. Look forward to reading part 2!

Thanks for the moral support. biggrin.gif

So what happened was... remember that case? Beige, right? Kinda dated. No USB2, much less USB3. That I could work with. But the power button. Argh, now I remember why I was going to have to buy a new case in 2009. The power button was glitchy. It stuck in the on position if you pushed it too hard. Appears some of the mount points had brittled with age. And even after I got that hacked, it didn't want to stay off.

You should have seen my face when I did the first shutdown.

*Shutdown*
*System powers down*
*Turn away from computer*
*Hear system powering up*

"What the what???"

It refused to stay off. It kept restarting itself. So I had to hit shutdown, and sit there waiting for those TWO SECONDS when it was powered down, and then turn off the power at the back of the case to make it stay off. PITA.

Now I know what you're saying. Easy fix. Probably a couple of bucks for a new switch and a bit of work on the mounts. But frankly, it was just the last damn straw. And the case was beige. I did mention that, right? And the teeny little fans?

AppleMark


So began my furious search for the perfect case for my purposes under $90. Something that was...

1) NOT beige.
2) Spacious mid-tower
3) Good airflow.
4) Up-to-date features like toolless bays and good front-panel control.
5) Flexible for future upgrades.
6) Good quality and good reviews.
7) Good looks without looking out of place in a working space.
8) Did I mention cheap? Under $90.

After many more hours poring over these forums and other sources, watching endless YouTube video reviews, I settled on the Corsair Carbide 300R. I bounced back and forth on windowed vs nonwindowed, and decided to splurge on windowed.

Then I made my next error. I accidentally ordered the Corsair Carbide 400R. In my defense, the 300R Windowed and the 400R were the SAME PRICE ($79) and I had like five pages open at the same time, and it was after midnight. And none of them were beige.

Realizing my mistake after it shipped, I thought about it, and frankly I'm glad I screwed up the order. I really liked the 400R's design better, and they were the same price. (And neither one was beige.)
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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 09:15 AM
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400R is a nice case. You can even watercool in that thing, it's got so much room. Can't wait to see the rest of the build! thumb.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASUSfreak go_quote.gif

8 cores x 8GHz is 64GHz
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hathornd View Post

400R is a nice case. You can even watercool in that thing, it's got so much room. Can't wait to see the rest of the build! thumb.gif

And on that note! I present the unboxing of my 400R!

AppleMark
AppleMark
AppleMark
AppleMark
AppleMark

Man it's a big case. And gorgeous. And it's still not beige!

Let's have a look at the inside shall we?


AppleMark


Man this thing is like a giant cavern inside compared to my old case.

Let's run down the differences:

Old Case:

No way to run cables behind Mobo.
Stuck ON button.
Nonfunctional front panel
Frakking BEIGE
All drive bays face forward.
PSU on top of tower, pulling in air from tower and exhausting it.
No inlet fans. Not one.
No filters
No internal lights.
Single small fan on the side exhausting out.

New Case: 400R

Tons of room behind Mobo with grommetted openings.
Fully functional front panel with USB3.
Not beige.
Internal drive bays face side-to-side to hide wiring.
PSU on bottom of tower, pulling in air from outside and exhausting it outside, with filter.
Two 120mm inlet fans.
Filters on all fans.
Front fans have white LEDs
And the space... this thing is HUGE inside.

*rubbed hands together with glee*
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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhereg10 View Post

And on that note! I present the unboxing of my 400R!

AppleMark
AppleMark
AppleMark
AppleMark
AppleMark

Man it's a big case. And gorgeous. And it's still not beige!

Let's have a look at the inside shall we?


AppleMark


Man this thing is like a giant cavern inside compared to my old case.

Let's run down the differences:

Old Case:

No way to run cables behind Mobo.
Stuck ON button.
Nonfunctional front panel
Frakking BEIGE
All drive bays face forward.
PSU on top of tower, pulling in air from tower and exhausting it.
No inlet fans. Not one.
No filters
No internal lights.
Single small fan on the side exhausting out.

New Case: 400R

Tons of room behind Mobo with grommetted openings.
Fully functional front panel with USB3.
Not beige.
Internal drive bays face side-to-side to hide wiring.
PSU on bottom of tower, pulling in air from outside and exhausting it outside, with filter.
Two 120mm inlet fans.
Filters on all fans.
Front fans have white LEDs
And the space... this thing is HUGE inside.

*rubbed hands together with glee*

Nice! It's gonna be great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASUSfreak go_quote.gif

8 cores x 8GHz is 64GHz
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 11:38 PM
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Right on bro! That's a slick case and looks smooth and professional. I was actually looking at the Corsair 600T myself (not sure if i want white or the grey/steel yet) gonna have to show us picks with everything installed. (don't forget to take advantage of your cable management now =p)
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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-03-2014, 07:18 AM
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Subbed for the love of the hatred of beige ^_^

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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-03-2014, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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And now, the components!



^^ I can haz newstuff!
  • Gigabyte Mobo GA-H87M-D3H LGA1150
  • Intel CPU Core i3-4330 3.5GHz
  • Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600 8GB
  • Samsung EVO 120GB SSD for a dual-boot OS.




^^ Stock heat sink. It's not sexy, but it'll work for now.



^^ Gigabyte GA-H87M-D3H! Not able to overclock, but I was trying to cut corners on cost. doh.gif


AppleMark

^^ Teh drives.

Optical drive was a last-minute purchase after I realized my old opticals wouldn't work.
2TB HDD is a salvage from a prior purchase.
The Samsung SSD is pretty sweet. Light as a feather too.

AppleMark

^^ Salvaged Thermaltake PSU. If I remember, it was a post-build purchase after the prior PSU died, so it's not ancient. Modular and 450W should be plenty until I add on some serious graphics cards.

AppleMark

^^ The assembled Mobo. Managed to get it all together without my fat fingers breaking anything. ;-)

Next up: Assembly!

@hathornd you're right, that case is a dream to work with.

@S3raph I've been reading a lot on here about cable management. TBH I don't think I ever had a case that would really allow me to do it right, but I can promise this one I'll do my best.

@WhiteWulfe the worst part is... the old case wasn't even really beige any more. You know that yellowy color that off-white plastic becomes after it's cooked for a few years? Yeah. That. *shudders* I'm thinking about doing an extreme mod with that old case, even if I don't use it, it'll be good practice. :-)

EDIT: If you see me doing something stupid, please yell and I'll do my best to correct it. I want this to be as pristine as possible with what I have to work with.
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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 05-03-2014, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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