Article: Nick’s gaming machine review – Part 1

Article: Nick’s gaming machine review – Part 1

This is going to be a multiple part review as I am going to cover all the components in my custom gaming PC, my opinions of them and why I chose that part.  I’m going to start with the case.

I chose the black windowed NZXT S340 mid-tower case.  I really love this case, it’s has plenty of room for what I would consider gaming components.  It doesn’t have any external drive bays for that sleek look, and only two 2.5” drive slots and two 3.5” drive slots.  This is plenty for a dedicated gaming rig, you don’t need a lot of drive space to game.  The power supply basement is awesome, it separates the power supply ventilation and cables from the rest of the viewable components which makes for a very clean looking PC.  The 3.5” drive slots are under this basement cover and the 2.5” drives are mounted on top.  Cable routing in this case is a cinch, lots of room, and holes where they should be to allow the correct cables through.  The panels all come off easy, including the front, and there are enough spots for 4 case fans.  The painted cable cover between the front of the case and the motherboard is great, it covers up all the larger bundles of cables from view but still lets you easily route them how you want.  I have four 120mm fans in my case to keep the components cool, the 2 front fans pull in cooler air, and the rear and top fans are exhaust kicking out the hot air.

The motherboard I went with is an Asus Z170-A, it’s a black and white themed amazing board that supports up to USB 3.1, has a USB type C port, plenty of PCI slots, DDR4 RAM, UEFI BIOS, an onboard fan controller, and some pretty nice overclocking features.  This motherboard has been great, I have had no issues with it, install was easy, it fit perfectly in the case, all components fit with no clearance issues and it fired up on the first try.  The BIOS is easy to navigate, has a lot of basic features for beginners and some great advance options for more tuning and tweaking.

I did a bunch of research on these components, read some reviews and I’ll admit that some of it even came down to aesthetics.  I wanted a black and white theme, so the case, motherboard, GPU and RAM were definitely affected by the aesthetics factor, but still needed to meet my minimum requirements.  I love the basement part of the case, keeps it really clean not having to see the power supply in there and I didn’t need any external drive slots, so I used that space for cooling fans.  The RAM was pretty easy, most manufactures make ram in various colors, so I ordered mine with white heatsinks.  The last fan I have in this machine is on a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU heatsink.  It’s cooling an Intel I5-6600k running at the stock 3.5ghz and runs at idle around 29 degrees celsius.  I have had no reason to overclock my CPU yet, it’s been running all of my games and applications without issue.  I did run a basic overclock using the Asus motherboard software and it pass the benchmark test at 4.5ghz, so I do have a little head room for the future. I chose the I5-6600k because I didn’t need an I7 chip for gaming but wanted something easily overclockable, so I went with the best I5 chip at the time.  If you don’t know the “k” at the end of the I5-6600k means the chip is unlocked from the factory and can be overclocked without any modification.  The motherboard had everything I needed and would allow me some expansion in the future.  I’ve always liked the Asus brand and always keep them as one of my top picks for hardware.  Newegg was having a deal at the time with my CPU and motherboard and I definitely didn’t want pass it up.  The CPU cooler fits and looks great in this case, it only has maybe a half inch of clearance between it and the window on the case but I think it looks really good like that, makes everything seem like it was made to work that way.

Tune in next week, I’m going to cover the GPU, RAM, power supply and other components before finally showing some benchmarks and final thoughts of the build.

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