My Computers

 

I use my computer a lot, for work (software development), gaming and music production. I wanted to build a high-end computer setup, as I’ve always lagged behind with upgrades before. So I gradually have been accumulating and swapping bits around to make the setup above.

Internals

Visual

Audio

Peripherals



Internals


Case – Fractal Design Define R5 Black ATX Midtowerr

[Link to Amazon]

fractal r5

I finally got rid of my Thermaltake Level 10 GT Full Tower case. It lasted about 4 years before the fan started making horrible grinding noises; the case had become slightly bent out of shape. It also didn’t help that someone that visited my house spilled a full cup of tea with sugar into the air intake. Thankfully all the components were fine, but I thought it was time for a new case without the tea stains.

I got the Fractal Design Define R5 Black ATX Midtower because I wanted a near silent running computer, and I quite liked the styling of the case. It hasn’t dissapointed and there are no more annoying buzzing fans. The only thing I would mention is that the case is heavy even when it’s empty, as there are soundproofing padding that weighs the case down.


Motherboard – MSI Intel Z270

[Link to Amazon]

Upgraded in August 2017 to replace my ageing 2012 motherboard. It has DDR4 RAM, will sit the i5-7600K and has 3 PCIE 3.0 slots, which will be used for my wifi card, graphics card and sound card. It also has the option of SLI. If I want to go down that route I could get another Nvidia GeForce 980 and SLI them.

CPU – Intel Core i5-7600K 3.8 GHz QuadCore 6 MB Cache CPU

[Link to Amazon]

Finally upgraded my CPU in August 2017 from an ageing i7-3770 to this processor. At the time I bought it, it was the best value vs performance ratio for a gaming processor, and would be more than enough to power the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets.


CPU Cooler – Noctua NH-U12S

[Link to Amazon]

I replaced my previous CPU cooler because it was a bit old, plus it was quite heavy and I was worried it was having an affect long-term on the motherboard mountings.


RAM – Crucial 8GB DDR4 2133 MT/s (PC4-17000)

[Link to Crucial]

Had to upgrade the RAM because.. new motherboard, so I got 8GB of DDR4 RAM, which should be enough for most things.


Wireless Card – Asus PCE-AC68 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Network Interface Card

[Link to Amazon]

wificard

 

5GHz really makes a difference, especially compared to the saturated 2GHz wireless network at the house. Since I got a BT Homehub 5 router with BT Infinity, it supports the latest AC1900 standard, which means I can get 975 mbps per second on average, which is 25MB/sec, transfer on the local network.


Optical Drive – Pioneer BDR-207DBK 12x Internal BD-RW Burner

[Link to Amazon]

optical

I didn’t really need a Blu-Ray burner, but it’s useful for backups and I thought I could write some discs to be played in my PS3. It has a very fast read speed for reading Blu-Rays and burning DVDs. To be honest I could have gone for a Blu-ray reader and DVD writer combo and not really noticed the difference.


PSU – 850W EVGA Super NOVA G2 Platinum Modular

[Link to Amazon]

psu

850W allows a lot of headroom for graphics cards’ power requirements, and extra components in the future. It is a good quality PSU and is fully modular which is a lot nicer to work with.


3x Hard Drives –

1x Crucial CT256M4SSD2BAA 256GB SATA3 SSD
1x Sandisk SDSSDA205G 240GB SATA3 SSD
1x Seagate 3.5 inch 7200RPM 64MB Cache SATA3 3TB Hard Drive
harddisk

I now have 2 250GB SSDs, one for the OS and one for applications and games. I have a 3TB storage drive for backups and my music collection.


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Visual


Monitor – Dell S2716DG 27 Inch Gaming-Monitor

[Link to Amazon]

144hz and G-Sync make a huge difference when playing games, and 1440p is enough pixels for me – 4K monitors are too expensive with G-Sync at the moment. The TN panel is less great for colour reproduction than the AHVA panel I was using before, but it’s still good enough.

Graphics Card – Asus STRIX GTX 980 4GB GDDR5

[Link to Amazon]

gpu

I had to upgrade my old Nvidea GTX 660TI, and just went for the absolute maximum I could afford. The STRIX 980 is an amazing card and comes slightly overclocked compared to the reference model. It plays all current games on maximum settings on 1440p at over 30FPS, which is no a mean feat; on this resolution there is more than a million pixels being drawn to the screen on each frame.

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Audio


Headphones – Sennheiser HD 25-1 IIs

[Link to Amazon]

headphones

Good headphones. I bought them for DJing but they have been useful for audio production work too. They are meant to have quite a ‘flat’ response but I find them quite heavy on the bass.


Soundcard – Asus ROG Xonar Phoebus Solo

[Link to Amazon]

soundcard

Good 7.1 surround sound card, with headphone amplifier.


Gaming Headset – ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 Analogue

[Link to Amazon]

headset

It is quite difficult to find surround sound headsets with analogue inputs, most headsets are USB only, and contain their own soundcard. This is not ideal when you have a really good soundcard already that you want to use, such as my Xonar Phoebus Solo. Previously I was using the Razer Tiamat, which was terrible. It had a consistant high-pitched electrical whine when you were wearing the headset, and you couldn’t get rid of it. The Kave is much better in this regard, and is more comfortable too. It is ‘only’ 5.1 compared to the Tiamat’s 7.1, but really, 7.1 surround sound in a headset is just a marketing tactic anyway, you are never going to be able to appreciate the extra two channels when the speakers are that close together.

 

 


Surround Sound Speakers – Logitech Z906 5.1 Speakers

[Link to Amazon]

surround sound speakers

Upgraded my old speaker set for these, which are quality THX certified 5.1 surround speakers with a decent subwoofer. The sound quality for games is pretty amazing, much better than my KRK 5 Rokit studio monitors, and you get the surround sound spatial percpetion which is good. They sound great with music too. Definitely a worthwhile upgrade.


 

 

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Peripherals


Webcam – Logitech C920 HD Webcam

[Link to Amazon]

webcam

I use a webcam for Skype often, and I want to get more into recording for YouTube, so I bought a good quality HD webcam.


Keyboard – Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2016

[Link to Amazon]

 

This is a great gaming keyboard, with ‘clicky’ keys and some fun backlighting, see this video I recorded:


Gaming Keypad – Razer Orbweaver Stealth

[Link to Razer Site]

keypad

This is the ‘Stealth’ model with the Cherry MX Brown key switches. I was initially doubtful whether it was worth getting a gaming keypad, but so many people have recommended it, that I had to try it out. I actually have found it very useful, much more comfortable and accurate than using a normal keyboard for gaming. It also forces you to get into the habit of remapping keys for your own preference.

Mouse – Logitech 602

[Link to Amazon]

logitech602

I upgraded from my G9x to this, the G602. It is a wireless mouse, which initially I experienced latency with, until I moved the reciever nearer the mouse. Now everything works really well, and I don’t need to worry about the cable wearing out or getting caught. It takes 2x standard AA batteries which power the mouse for a reported 250 hours, so it shouldn’t need much maintainence.

I use the Corsair Vengeance mouse matt, it is made of metal unlike my previous Razor Golliathus cloth one, which I didn’t like because the edge of the matt would get stuck in the mouse when you moved it too far.


Gamepad – Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller

[Link to Amazon]

Gamepad

This is the Xbox One gamepad with some added features. You can customise the controls, swapping in and out parts such as the joysticks, for your optimal configuration. It is a pleasure to use, and the materials and build quality are all top of the range. Definitely the best gamepad I’ve used.


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