New Computer

Welcome to post 13 of my 100 day challenge. Checkout my introduction for some background.

The final parts for my new computer build came today. I put it together in under an hour. Then it took 10 minutes to install Windows 7 from a USB drive onto my new SSD which is spectacular. I’d held off buying into SSD drives for a long time, in my mind I refused to believe that the technology made so much difference. That is until over Christmas when I had enough cash to buy an SSD for my aging Mid 2010 13″ MacBook Pro. It revitalised the machine. I kicked myself for not doing it sooner.

I’ve been contemplating putting together a new machine for a while but could not justify the expense when I had many other things to pay out for. But as time went on my main PC started to grind slower and slower and the cost for upgrades to speed it up would be better spent building a whole new computer.

When  I started looking into it, instead of costing £800+ I could actually put together a pretty good machine for £400-£500. This made it more affordable as I needed a good machine to work on that could provide me with a speedy host for learning and virtual machines. An added benefit would be if it was powerful enough to play some or most of the latest games.

I decided to put a machine together that had some high end parts to provide a good foundation for upgrading in the future. I couldn’t afford the latest i7 overclockable chip but I needed an affordable chip that could function as a place holder until I was able to afford a better one the same goes for graphics card.

In the end I went with the following components:

  1. Processor – Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor – Wonderful overclockable piece of kit. Stock is 3.2Ghz but will overclock easily using the stock cooler to 4.5Ghz, this is what I plan to do.
  2. Motherboard – ASRock Z97M Anniversary Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard – Great motherboard with lots of expandability for a Micro ATX model. It has lots of scope when it comes to overclocking.
  3. Graphics card – Zotac GeForce GTX 960 2GB Video Card – Beautiful  and powerful little GFX card. Didn’t mess about with this purchase, went as top end as I was able but still had to stay within a reasonable budget.
  4. Hard drive – OCZ ARC 100 240GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive – Same model I chose for my MacBook. Very happy with this and is running like a dream so far.
  5. Power supply – EVGA 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply – Bog standard PSU with quite a lot of connectivity. Not a lot to say about it apart from it works and is pretty quiet.
  6. RAM – Kingston Fury Black Series 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory – 1600Mhz is the fastest the CPU can address and to be honest should be more than adequate for my needs for some time to come.
  7. Case – Zalman ZM-T3 MicroATX Mini Tower Case – Impressed with this little care, plenty of room and mounting points for 3 SSDs,. 2 3.5″ drives, 1 5.25″ cdrom, full sized PSU and either an ATX or ITX motherboard.

You can find my entire build on my PC Part Picker List.

CPU-Z Output

CPU-Z Stock Values

CPU-Z Stock Values.

GPU-Z Output

GPU-Z Stock Values

GPU-Z Stock Values.

Windows Experience Index

Windows Experience Index

Windows Experience Index.

I intend to overclock the CPU to 4.5Ghz when I have run some stability tests on these stock settings and burnt them in for a while. I am also building up a list of potential upgrades but I will save these to discuss in a future post.

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Can you improve on any of the tips I’ve discussed here? If you can let me know in the comments.

Jason Edwards