Computer Build 2015/2016

It’s that time again to build a new primary workstation and gaming rig. Occasionally I get asked why I build 1 system for both use cases (Gaming and Development) and I’ve found that having 2 systems that you use all the time costs a fair amount more, sucks (switching back and forth) and really the same thing that is good for gaming (minus a good GFX card) are also good for development.

14103f3ea83d0d4d7f6692ed0609c1fc.256cI usually try build a new system every 3 years or so. I normally try an align myself with the Tock of Intel’s Tick/Tock cycle. My reasoning is that the Tick is usually the first chip/architecture in a new fabrication process and hopefully by the Tock they have worked out all issues and optimized the platform.

I absolutely love my Cooler Master HAF-X case, but my previous build as a CM HAF case and I couldn’t bare myself to buy another one again. So I went I decided to mix it up and go with a white case instead. I’m starting to think Black is the new Beige anyways for computer cases.


Here I’m listing what the new build is compared to the old build.

  New New Cost Old Old Cost
CPU Intel i7-6700k $400 Intel i7-4770k $350
GFX Asus GTX980 $500 EVGA GTX780 $650
MB Asus Z170-Deluxe $340 Asus Maximus VI Extreme $380
RAM Patriot Viper 32GB DDR4 $290 Corsair Dominator Plat 32GB DDR3 $460
System HDD Intel SSD 750 400GB $400 Samsung 840 PRO 512GB $475
Dev HDD Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB $200 OCZ-AGILITY3 128GB $70
Data HDD WD Black 3TB $150 Seagate Barracuda 3TB $130
Sound NA $0 Sound Blaster ZxR $250
Optical LG Blue-Ray Combo $50 LG Blue-Ray Combo $70
PSU Seasonic Platinum-Plus 1050 $210 Seasonic Platinum-Plus 860 $200
Case Cooler Master Strom Stryker $180 Cooler Master HAF-X $200
Water Cooler Corsair Hydro H110i $140 Corsair Hydro H100i $200
    $2,860   $3,435

Some notes:

  • I’ve been preferring SeaSonic PSU’s for a couple builds now and I always get the Platinum-Plus versions. The build before my last one had numerous PSU issues. After that and doing some research SeaSonic seems to be the Rolls-Royce of PSU and I’ve never looked back. Even if I’m building a PC for someone else a SeaSonic of appropriate wattage is always part of the build.
  • My experience with the SoundBlaster ZxR has turned me away from SoundBlaster forever. I’ve always included one in my builds (since the x86 days where you needed an addin sound card). Audio on the motherboards is just fine and it’s not worth the extra cost.
  • My brands of choice: Intel, Asus for MB’s, PNY or EVGA for GFX, Samsung and WD for HDD’s, Corsair for RAM and Water Cooling, SeaSonic for PSU’s and CM for cases. I tend to be very brand loyal until they start pricing gouging or quality dips.
  • My review sites of choice Anandtech, Toms Hardware & Guru3D. I usually consult these and other sites before I commit to a part.
  • I was going to get a Samsung 850 PRO for my system HDD but after Boggie2988’s review and some Googling I decided to go with the Intel 750.
  • I’m rolling the dice on the Patriot RAM and the Asus GFX card. I trust Asus more then Patriot so I’m more concerned with the RAM. Hopefully it works out.
  • I source parts from the Fry’s in Roseville and Sacramento and Amazon. But after my last experience at Frys (after a 2 1/2 hour drive, they told me an item was in stock, confirmed it, sent me to another store which had sold it) and the ZERO help from any sales people I doubt I’ll be sending money at Frys in the near term.
  • I will never again by a Seagate drive, the reliability reviews for a fair amount of the Barracuda drives is truly awful and my crashed so hard it left a hole in my floor.

There have been some leaks about Intel’s next chip refresh that will include way more physical cores but a slower clock speed. This interests me as a fair amount of my operations are multi threaded. I’ll be keeping a eye on it and thankfully that chip will be hardware compatibility with my current setup.

My last build (minus the SoundBlaster card and the Seagate HDD) was very good. I’m looking forward to 3 or 4 more good years with my new build.

About: Shawn Jackson

I’ve spent the last 18 years in the world of Information Technology on both the IT and Development sides of the aisle. I’m currently a Software Engineer for Paylocity. In addition to working at Paylocity, I’m also the Founder of Resgrid, a cloud services company dedicated to providing logistics and management solutions to first responder organizations, volunteer and career fire departments, EMS, ambulance services, search and rescue, public safety, HAZMAT and others.