Tag Archives: pc

New PC specs!

It’s been ages since I posted, and I recently built a new PC which I’ve dubbed “The Beastâ„¢”.

Note: the header photo was taken during the build and before the cable management stage. Don’t hate. đŸ˜‰

Specs:

  • AMD FX-8350 8-core CPU @ 4.5GHz
  • Corsair DDR3 16GB RAM @ 1600MHz
  • Asus Crosshair V Formula-Z motherboard
  • 2 x Asus Strix Nvidia GTX 980 graphics cards in SLI
  • 2 x Samsung 840 Pro SSDs 256GB in RAID 0 (512GB effective) as the OS disk
  • 2 x Samsung 850 Pro SSDs 512GB in RAID 0 (1TB effective) as the games disk
  • 2 x WD Green 4TB hard disks. 1 for media files, 1 for backup
  • 1 x Hitachi 1TB hard disk. Legacy drive from my previous PC
  • 1 x Samsung 2TB hard disk. Legacy drive from my previous PC
  • Corsair H100i liquid CPU cooler
  • Corsair HX1000i 1000W modular power supply
  • Corsair 750D full tower case
  • Corsair K70 RGB mechanical keyboard (cherry red switches)
  • Logitech MX518 mouse
  • Xbox 360 wired controller
  • Microlab FC330 2.1 speakers
  • Steelseries H-Wireless headset
  • Samsung 4K monitor
  • Windows 8.1

Quite the parts list!
A few parts like the mouse, controller and a couple of the disks were taken from my previous build, and I’ve never quite managed to find a mouse as reliable. I did have a Microsoft Sidewinder X3 at one point and that was pretty nice but it died after a couple of years.

A word on using stock coolers for AMD CPUs: don’t. It actually stopped me from running intensive games due to the insane amount of fan noise and the Asus motherboard software I run to monitor temps would actually give me CPU temperature warnings. It would often hit 65.C. Spend a bit more on a good quality aftermarket CPU cooler, or a watercooling solution like the H100i. At idle while writing this post, the CPU is at 35.C which is very cool indeed.

You’re probably wondering how fast those 850 Pro SSDs are in RAID 0, right? Very fast:

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So, how’s the 4K gaming on this rig?
It’s pretty stunning. My favourite games to play at 4K are Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, the Grid series, GTA V, World of Warcraft, and Alien Isolation. All are massively improved by sharper character models and textures. GTA V does dip below 60 FPS occasionally, but that’s more due to the CPU. Same with WoW, which is also a CPU-bound game.

I would buy a decent Intel CPU, but I’ve been a loyal AMD customer since the Duron/Athlon days. They offer very good value for money in my opinion. For example, this CPU is equivalent to a high end i5 but only costs £120 or so.
Heat and power consumption are both an issue though as I explained earlier.

The Corsair 750D case is pretty good, with tons of room inside and mounting points for watercooling radiators and such. The clips on the SSD mounting bays are made of rather brittle plastic though, and I managed to break one during the installation. They do have screw holes to mount the disks though so all was not lost.

I also didn’t bother installing the Blu-ray drive from my previous PC because I never used it. It’s easy enough to install Windows from a USB disk these days. I also used up all available SATA ports, so would have to sacrifice disk space. There’s always the option of using a USB3 external enclosure though I guess.

Lots of gamers these days are going for 1440p whereas I’m an early adopter with 4K. It is worth it? Yes, but the scaling in Windows 8 is still annoying and you have to hack Firefox about:config settings to display websites with a readable text size. It’s better than Windows 7, but not quite there yet. I hear that in Windows 10 it will be highly improved, and it’s a free upgrade. You do have the option to play games in 1080p if a particular game doesn’t run very well, which means that your monitor will be displaying the pixels in a direct 4-1 mapping, so none of them overlap and it still looks sharp.

Hmm… upgrades!

And now for something completely different (other than cooking).

I decided to spend my quarterly bonus upgrading my somewhat tired gaming PC, and splashed out on a new graphics card, new RAM, a quality PSU and an SSD.
The SSD isn’t arriving until Monday, but this system is already putting the PS4 to shame with the new graphics card.
Here’s what the spec will look like once I get the SSD installed: