When I set out to build a PC myself, I wanted the following to make it worthwhile:
- Able to run Windows 7 & Mac OS 10.8 on separate hard drives
- Able to run most games at ‘high’ or ‘ultra’ settings
I ran into the most problems with the OS X part, as expected. Because OS X is testy when it comes to installing itself on a PC, only certain motherboards and graphics cards are supported. For example, I originally planned on buying a GTX660 for the graphics card, but OS X only likes the GTX660Ti for a Hackintosh. My part list is as follows:
- Case: NZXT Phantom 410
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z77-UP5-TH
- Processor: Intel 3750k (3.4ghz now Overclocked to 4.0)
- Graphics: EVGA GTX660TI SuperClocked
- Memory: 8GB Viper Performance
- Drive 1 (Windows): Crucial M4 SSD
- Drive 2 (OS X): WD Green 1TB HDD
- Cooling: CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo
- Power Supply: Corsair CX750 Builder Series
Here’s each step of the build:
Boxes on boxes: Amazon delivered almost everything in 2 days.
I went with the NZXT Phantom 410 for the case because of the 3 included fans and because it looks awesome. Tool-less drive bays and tons of mounting options sealed the deal.
About to install the power supply….
Power supply is in… So many wires!
Now that the power supply is in, it’s time to start working on the board itself.
The scariest part of this entire build for me was seating the CPU. There are notches that ensure you can’t go wrong, but the lever needed so much force to be closed. I was afraid I was going to snap the board or hurt the processor.
Overclocking means needing a nice fat fan, and the 212 Evo is one of the most popular on Amazon. Only $30 too!
Before the fan was put in place, I put Arctic Silver thermal compound on the processor to aid in heat transfer. This part was easy, but I think I used a little too much.
Here’s the fan mounted on top of the CPU. Looking good so far!
Wider shot showing the RAM installed as well.
Next up is the graphics card. This thing is huge!
It took me a while to get the wiring done properly, but this is the mostly finished product. Note the graphics card that needed 2 PCI-e power adapters to work.
Moment of truth - and it boots! Well, sorta. Still have to install Windows.
I used an AmazonBasics CD/DVD drive to install Windows. In other words, there’s no CD drive in this machine, though one could be added anytime.
This is the back panel removed, showing where most of the cabling ended up being wire-tied. The nice thing about the Phantom 410 is its nice cable management abilities.
And we’re done. Now it’s time to install Steam and get in on the winter sale.