Computer Build — Part #5 — Power & Cabling

 

There is a lot of discussion on Power Supplies when it comes to computer builds — and like everything, it comes down to what you want and can afford. Truthfully, I didn’t want something basic. You can easily get a 600w power supply and be fine, but I wanted a small step into the gaming world and came across the Sentey 750-watt Bronze Metal Blade power supply. This thing is pretty sweet and runs really quietly. It has more than enough power for the current build specs and my future plans for this machine. I purchased it for about 55$ at the time off of Amazon and with Amazon Prime, it was here within 2 days. Now, one of those photos indicates that the cables are long enough to reach throughout the case – but do not

Now, one of those photos indicates that the cables are long enough to reach throughout the case – but anyone who has customized a case before should know that this is strictly a marketing tactic and subjective to the manufacturer. In all reality, I still had to purchase extension cables to make most of the cable management work.

This model also comes in two styles. One is the model shown above. The newer models, however, for a few more dollars, come in modular options, meaning you can remove cables you are not wanting to use. I wasn’t too interested in this at the time, but in hindsight, I wish I would have gotten it. The case I purchased was a bit tight on extra cable management space and so hiding these extra cables is a bit of a chore.

In the end, the product does deliver what it promised and I am pleased to recommend this product to anyone who is interested in purchasing it.

Next week: Processor

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VLOG 2 – Camping Gear

Next VLOG post. Today I recommend a bag for camping – the Scully 100L.

Check it out!

VLOG 1!

Hey Everyone, I’ve started a VLOG! Check it out!

Computer Build — Part #4 — The Graphics Card

gig980g1-5bThere is much debate about graphics cards. There are thousands (literally) of reviews on YouTube, and you would be wise to go listen to a few of them. In particular, listen to Linus and Jays2Cents. These guys have done the research, the testing and have an opinion to boot.

gig980g1-1bWith that being said, I made a decision on a GeForce Windforce GTX 980 G1 Gaming graphics card. It’s got 4 GB (….ok, fine 3500 mHz) of onboard RAM and an internal cooling system to boot. It does require a larger power supply, but my Sentey 750w Bronze does the trick (it could run two if I wanted).

What I LOVE about this expensive (at least to me) graphics card is that it does DVI-D, but then has 3 DisplayPorts and an HDMI. The Max number of screens it can run is 4 – and there are specific outputs you need to use to make that happen. Currently, I have two DisplayPort – DVI-D monitors running off of this card – and they are working in tandem to create one large screen. Can’t wait to get my hands on a third screen for gaming and day-trading.

There is an LED symbol on the side of this card which can be programmed to flash with music or indicate other things (like heat or activity). The interface/software for this card is pretty intuitive. It also can catalog your games and set itself for the optimal settings. It destroys SimCity and Shadow of Mordor – highest settings and all.

So far I love this card. There is a little controversy over the RAM-Gate thing (google it in regards to this model) but in the end, I’m fine with it. I don’t care THAT much.

Next week: Power and Cabling.

 

Computer Build — Part #3 — The Motherboard

z97-AJumping quickly into this week’s Computer Build topic is my plan — so here we go.

I chose to go with the ASUS Z97-A motherboard for a few reasons. I am well aware that it is not a true Gaming motherboard and that there are many superior motherboards on the market. On top of that, I am also aware that it’s not the prettiest – but when you’re on a budget, you have to consider all sides of the coin. Do you want the prettiest machine? Do you want a cost effective machine or would you like to have something in the middle? All these questions led me to purchasing the ASUS Z97-A.

What I like about the motherboard was that it is versatile enough for the performance I wanted out of this desktop. I was looking at an i7 processor (Intel) and at least 16 GB of RAM with a nice sized graphics card to boot. Included with this – a large power supply and large, multiple hard drive units (now and in the expandable future).

The board offered everything I needed to add these parts quickly. It was a painless install to the case and every item I added to the board seem to fit well.

140429122540This motherboard, at the time of purchase, was around the 100$ price. It was purchased online through Newegg.com and was delivered within the week. I haven’t experienced any problems to date with this unit and set up was easy. There is an onboard system as well that can be accessed upon startup which controls Variable Fan Speeds and a few other performance style options. If you have an overclockable Processor, this is also where you can tweak these items. It’s easy to use and manipulate – but always be careful when you change the system defaults – you risk your system and often, void any warranties from manufacturers. For the record, I have not overclocked my system – although I could with my specs.

Overall I am very satisfied with this Motherboard. It was easy to use, install and holds all my items for my custom build. Yes, it’s not sweet to look at, but the dark finish helps it be inconspicuous in the case. I’d recommend it to someone looking.

Next week: the graphics card.

Computer Build — Part #2 — The Case

I built a computer last year. I had a budget of around 1000$ and wanted to get a machine that would allow me to game a bit — but also do some investing (that is for another tale/blog post).

819aYj7mNPL._SL1500_The case I chose was from Amazon. It’s called the Sentey Blade Mid-Tower Gaming Case — in Black. It includes a transparent side which allows you to see inside the case — if you’re at all interested in that. The case ran about $70 USD and arrived on time in a well-packaged box. I was surprised how light the case was in comparison to some of the other cases I’ve purchased – which seem bulky and heavy due to their construction. **Some people like that feeling, but I was going to load this computer up with a bunch of stuff anyway – so I didn’t need a heavy case on top of all the components.

There is a front button which is in the shape of a silver shield which acts as the main Power Button. It also has a mesh front behind the button panel to allow the install of fans and air flow through the machine.

It also included 2 case fans which were initially positioned on the back of the case, but I moved them onto the CPU CoolMaster heatsink. I then purchased other fans to improve airflow.

There is a Bay-Port unit at the top of the machine. It includes a 2.0 USB, a 3.0 USB and Mic and Speaker ports — should your motherboard support that. Your motherboard instruction manual (which can be found online if you’ve lost it) should tell you where to plug in the cables (which are included with this case). I have found this bay-port unit especially handy when it comes to connecting my Bluetooth keyboard and mouse receiver to the unit. No more reaching around back. The 3.0 USB unit also is handy but plugs into 3.0 ports on the motherboard – which are different than the 2.0. Again, you’ll need to make sure that your motherboard can handle these cables. Lastly, there is an indicator light on this bay port which shows the CPU activity.

IMG_0843The feet that come with this case are crap. They are thin plastic and I do not trust them. Instead, I ordered small rubber feet from Amazon and installed them with standard screws – slowly turning the screws through the plastic feet on this case. Not only does it help the computer not more around when it gets bumped, but it also eliminates any vibration between the desk and the computer case.

IMG_3947The case is designed to be see-thru, so purchasing case lights are likely in your future. I ordered a pair of 3-feet blue LED strips. After I realized they were shipped from China and about 2 weeks of shipping, they arrived. I plugged them into my power source and taped them down. They really do help with the brightness of the case. I have one in the roof of the case and one in the front, behind the power button panel.

IMG_4274There are 5 places for fans to be placed in this case. There are two spots behind the power button panel on the front, two on the top of the case and another on the rear. You can set these up to move air in the most desirable fashion you wish, but I have mine moving in from the front, out the rear and top. There are also two fans on the CPU Heatsink that point towards the rear exhaust. I’ve found that this orientation works well – especially when playing high graphic games through the G1 Gaming Windforce graphics card. I have noticed that when I am playing a game, the room temp does rise – which means two things – the unit is working – and this system gets HOT.

IMG_0845There are some things that I don’t like about this case — however. First, I don’t like the lack of cable management space. The side panel comes off and I have fed all my wires into the back of the machine — but a basement would have solved a lot of this problem. I also should note that the Power Supply sits on the bottom of this case which I don’t mine, but it doesn’t look amazing – again, which could have been solved with a basement. Second, things are tight in this case – including the cables and my large graphics card. A few more inches longer and wider could have solved this complaint. Lastly, the front interface feels a little cheap because it’s all plastic. A few metal trim items would have solved this.

For the price of the case, I am happy with it — but there are lots of cases out there for that price range. Mine works well, but I’m not super impressed. It is functional and works for my needs.

Celebrating Goals

measuring-tape-tToday I finally hit a goal that I have been working towards all year. I wanted to get down into a weight target and this morning, I officially hit that goal.

Problem is: I know how I hit that goal. I’ve been ill for the past week and fighting the flu on top of digestion problems which has resulted in liquid and appetite loss. So when my body recovers and I get back the regularity of my routine, the goal is not to get discouraged when I slip above that goal line again.

The focus needs to be HEALTHY – whether that is within or above my pre-set goals. As a general rule, health is so much more important than meeting some arbitrary goal – especially when we put goals on ourselves that are set within our own hopes and dreams. Our bodies do not know the numerical lbs system – so when you get frustrated that you’re not within these goals — it’s not your body’s fault. Don’t let it discourage you.

It is indeed reason to celebrate — but don’t let them be your driving force. Finding a long-term motivation is so much more important to carry us over our pitfalls and through our triumphs. That way we stay focused and waver less.

Keep looking down the road — it’ll be worth it — I promise.