Before this, she was stuck with an older Surface Pro and a Laptop with Bay Trail graphics. Not suitable at all for gaming imo.
Load temperatures are taken from the hottest core, fans at max to test full thermal dissipation capacity.
- CPU: Well-performing 4th generation i5, originally from an office PC from a few years ago. Undervolted slightly to lower temperatures further.
- CPU Heatsink: Lost the stock heatsink, bought this heatsink to keep the temperatures down in a case of this size.
- Thermal Paste: Recently purchased for myself, I applied it to all of her components (sadly, as far as I know, only EVGA lets you keep the warranty if you want to clean the heatsink fully/apply new thermal paste. Suffice to say, I'll need to make sure her GPU is far from requiring any warranty service)
- Motherboard: Budget motherboard that has all the features she needs. No RAID capabilities, but that's not an issue for her.
- RAM: Taken from the same PC as the CPU. Runs a stable 1.35V @ 10-11-10-28, though it's rated for 1.5 V @ 11-11-11-28.
- HDDs: Older HDDs laying around, not in use. One shows early signs of failure so I imagine it'll need to be replaced within the year. OS Drive is healthy.
- GPU: Better than a 750 Ti, still cheap. Core can OC an additional +200 MHz, added VRM heatsinks (used extra VRAM heatsinks from my MK-26).
- Case: I gave her plenty of options and she chose this one for the windows and box design. 140mm intake and 120mm exhaust, need to buy a 15mm fan to mount the top exhaust (heatsink hits standard-width fans).
- PSU: Budget PSU from EVGA - used it before. It's power and I haven't had any issues with it, though I don't plan to run any 24/7 overclocks with it. Tested GPU overclock to see what her 950 was capable of.
- ODD: She has DVDs, CDs, and games that she wants to play. Really intended for emulating her PS2 games.
- PWM Fan Hub: Overkill (can't even fit 8 fans!), but few extra dollars for reliability is okay. Not really using the PWM features but it's there for the future.
- LED Strip: Blue windows, blue LEDs. An essential for her. Basically the brightest things in existence.
Next thing to do: Buy a SSD.
Note, I gave her as many spare parts as I could to further increase the price/performance ratio.
VR-ready (essentially; official figures state at least a 4590).
Turbos to 3.6 GHz, and not a bottleneck for most GPU setups.
Mounting design was different than I'm used to (coming from push pins): place backplate on, insert screw from rear of motherboard, place screw cover on other side of motherboard (facing CPU), and carefully mount heatsink. Great performance, and inaudible at low RPMs. No need to increase fan speed if you're not overclocking.
Seems to perform better than my previous PK-3. Great thermal paste, cool applicator.
No issues other than the expected chipset drawbacks. 2 RAM slots, 2 fan headers (PWM-capable). 4 USB ports (2x2.0+2x3.0), 2 internal USB headers, and a lack of USB 3.0 headers leads me to give this motherboard a solid 4.0. Nice BIOS, configurable as much as I need it to be. BCLK seems to be just under 100, however.
Could be faster, could be slower. Reliable if properly stored.
No issues as of yet. 2 GB VRAM lowers the limit for texture quality in high-end games, but it performs really well.
Small thread motherboard standoffs and screws.
6 (possibly 2, haven't tested) thumbscrews, and then 2 normal screws must be removed to be able to lift the case open. Fits 3 fans and can easily install components due to the hinged front. Looks decent.
Good brand, cheap. It may have its shortcomings, but it works the way it's intended for.
Loud at times. Reads disks.