Building my new Computer, Part 1d: Final parts list

The trigger. I pulled it. Yesterday, I saw the last item on my list get back in stock, and I don’t realistically expect graphics card prices to fall significantly in the next two weeks either, so I ordered everything. Blame how long it took me to finish the previous blog post for me mouthing off about prices and waiting just three days ago, and now having placed my order.

As promised, I’ll give you a complete run-down of my parts list, including notes on where I ended up deviating form my initial picks and why.

Newly Bought Parts

CPU/Processor

I went for the Intel Core i7-6700. While my initial pick was the i5-6600, and I implored myself against the i7, two IT colleagues (one from my university and one from UCLA) advised for the i7 for my use case.

The big difference (except the price point, that is) between the i5-6600 and the i7-6700 is the i7’s hyperthreading feature. Hyperthreading is ridiculous scheduling magic to make each CPU core run two threads at the same time. So while both the i5 and the i7 are quad-cores, the i7 acts as if it was an eight-core (octo-core?) chip. In the beginning phase of my planning, I was on the fence whether to continue having a Windows installation on the side, but have since decided against it. If I need Windows, I’ll run it in a virtual machine, and that’s where more parallel threads come in useful.

GPU/Graphics Card

I picked the Gigabyte GTX 1070 Windforce OC merely on the merit of it being reasonably priced and its cooler setup. There’s not much difference between the different models anyway, unless one considers the ridonkulously expensive high class ones.

Mainboard

My earlier pick, the Gigabyte GA-H170-D3HP, stays unchallenged on my list.

RAM/Memory

I upgraded from my initial 16 GB plan to the Corsair Vengeance LPX 32 GB kit, for the simple reason that 32 is more than 16, and it didn’t break the bank.

PSU/Power Supply

As mentioned here, I upgraded my initial 80+ Bronze-certified pick, the Seasonic s12-II 520 W, to the 80+ Gold-rated Seasonic G-Series 550 W.

Case

My original pick, the Fractal Design Define R5 remains. And I’m utterly thrilled about it. I already bought lacquer for its custom paint job.

Parts Carried Over From My Old Computer

Storage

For now, no need to buy new hard disks or solid state drives, the old ones will do. My primarily used drives are: A Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB, which is the solid state drive I keep my operating system on. Right now, it houses a Windows 7 installation I haven’t touched since putting it there, and Linux Mint 17.3 (Cinnamon). It is going to hold a single installation of Manjaro Linux (KDE version).

The other primary drive is a Western Digital Blue 1 TB hard disk drive. This is mainly for Stuff Storage™. The WD Blues are both affordable and reliable drives, and I have had nothing but good experiences with them.

Other than that, there is an assortment of external and internal hard drives I have in various states of being hooked up to the computer, amounting to a total of about 9 TB storage space. (Not counting the primary drives.)

Optical Drive

I’ll carry over my LG DVD writer because why would I not? There’s no need to upgrade it to a fancier model, or a BluRay writer, and it’s still coming in handy every once in a while.

Future Plans

Storage Upgrade

Somewhere down the line, I might replace an often-used 4 TB external hard disk with another WD Blue drive, and keep the external one for backup purposes. See background to this decision here and here, under the hard drive headings.

Monitor Upgrade

I’m still rocking an old-ish 24″ 1920×1200 px screen. While it’s not crappy by any measure, I could do with more screen real estate. A reasonable quality 27″ screen with higher resolution would be a start, and also more fitting for my future graphics card’s power. It looks like this is going to set me back 500–600 EUR though, so it’ll have to wait a bit.

Cost vs Value

I’m not going to lie, the bill for all of this isn’t trivial. The parts I bought cost 1200 EUR, and thanks to being able to re-use old parts, it doesn’t even buy the whole computer, nor is it all I’m going to spend on it. At least a new screen is going to be inevitable.

On the other hand, this computer is likely to serve me well for several years to come. Because I can re-use parts, I get it for less than what it would cost all-new. Many items are solid investments down the line:

  • From how it’s looking right now, I have a hard time imagining the mainboard/CPU/RAM combination being even close to a problem for 5 years.
  • I count on being able to re-use the case practically forever.
  • A high-quality 550W power supply should hold up well enough too. And if it doesn’t, its efficiency rating means I at least get to save on my power bill for 5+ years.

And don’t forget I’ll have unused parts left over as well. Once there’s enough of those, I can assemble them into a frankenputer for shenanigans.

Well, this concludes the parts-list focussed part of the series. I’ll see you for one or two installments of assembling it all. Until then, are there any questions? Anything I can help with? Anything that piqued your interest? Would a download of my complete notes file be interesting to anyone? Questions about how I fared switching to Linux and whether it’s something you should try? Hit me up in the comments or on twitter!