Setup Showcase

My Computing Experience #3

This article will be a simple showcase of my entire setup. Make sure to look at the previous entries (Part 1 and Part 2) in this series to learn about my journey in building a custom PC.

A couple words before I get to the pictures:

  • As you will see, I went with a black and blue theme. (It matched my mouse!)
  • As for the performance of the PC, it works great after quite a bit of use and time.
  • Both monitors are slightly different Acer 22-inch models.
  • You may be wondering why I didn’t clean up those ugly marks on the floor. It’s not dust. I think it’s residue from candlemaking, which is what this room used to be for. It won’t come off.
  • I’m not sure what brand the desks are.
  • I wont be showing tons of specific benchmarks, but to give you a general idea of how strong it is:
    • 60fps pretty consistently in Overwatch on low settings.
    • 100+ fps almost always in Minecraft.
    • 1080p video works fine on YouTube.
    • PC boots (from pressing power to Windows login screen) in about 33 seconds.
    • Here are Unigine Heaven benchmark results along with the settings I used (it was full screened when I ran the benchmark):

All right, let’s go!

Overview

My chair was picked up from the side of the road. It wasn’t even broken! It would be cool to have a black and blue chair though.

 

The Computer Itself

Standard I.O. Nothing really special here.

Internals

I’m sorry! I’m usually pretty good at cable management. However, this isn’t a modular power supply, and with three hard drives, the case has quite a few cables. Sometimes pesky cables just can’t be hidden.

Three 80GB hard drives and a 120GB SSD. I have them set up so I can either run Windows 7 or Linux (Ubuntu).

Cable Management

I take pride in this. You may ask “does it even matter if  the PC works fine?” While this is one way to look at it, the whole setup looks much better without loose cables sticking out. I like to think of PC setups in general as a form of art. Yeah, you don’t need glowing blue peripherals, but it looks awesome!

These little clips are nice. Just make sure you don’t put too much cable weight on them (they have fallen off before). It does look bad behind the desk, but hey, do you see any cables under the desk?

Peripherals

As I mentioned before, I went with a black-and-blue theme. This is a pretty popular color scheme, so it wasn’t too difficult to find matching items. I have an RGB light strip attached to the desk for some nice ambient back-lighting. I normally keep it blue, but it can be all sorts of colors!

I really like this keyboard (here’s a link to it on Amazon). It’s mechanical, with switches that feel like Cherry MX Blues. Switching from a membrane keyboard to this was a welcome change. Since my setup is black-and-blue themed, I decided to pick a keyboard that was cheaper and could only be blue instead of a more expensive, full RGB keyboard.

When taking pictures, I realized I should probably clean my WASD and tab keys! (It must be from all that Overwatch.)

As I mentioned in my previous entries in this series, my mouse was one of the first “upgrades” I purchased. Although wireless, it works great for gaming (there are occasional hiccups). Its design is really sleek with a soft/smooth rubbery feel to the top. One of the really unique aspects of this mouse is that its clicks are incredibly quiet. They sound like more of a a tap than a common mouse “click”. This might bother some people, but for me, it’s great! Here’s an Amazon link.

(Give me a break! It’s pretty much impossible to get all the dust off!)

Here is how I control my RGBs. These lights were a great deal, as they included a good length (more than I actually needed!), a power cord, a remote, and a receiver. The strip has adhesive on the back, but it isn’t very strong. I used packing tape as a cheap way to hold up the lights without blocking the color. These RGBs are quick and easy to control and I would highly recommend them as a simple way to give some style to your setup.

Audio

I have two of these guys sandwiching my monitors and a sub-woofer underneath my desk. The bass sounds great, and I love having a physical volume slider to control my sound with. Although I have these connected with an aux cord to my PC, the Creative T3150W can also connect via Bluetooth.

This is a Blue Snowball iCE microphone (yes, that is how “ice” is spelled in the logo). It’s popular, affordable, and great quality. It connects via USB to my PC and sadly works on Windows but not Linux. Still, it’s great for in-game voice chat or recording audio to make YouTube videos. Too bad I got it before I started my black-and-blue theme, otherwise I would’ve gotten the black version.

For my headphones, I use Audio-Technica ATH-M30s. I’ve had them for years and they still are holding up well. I’ve had to tape up part of the headband, and the earcups are starting to show some signs of wear, but they still work great. They are incredibly comfortable, though long periods of wearing them can be tough on my ears. The cord is also really long, so I have to loop it up several times. Overall, these are amazing, solid headphones that have served me well for a long time (even after having them run over countless times by my office chair). On a side note, I don’t actually have a dedicated headset with a built-in microphone. My Blue Snowball iCE works fine when used with these. However, I might find myself picking up a snazzy black-and-blue headset in the future.

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And with that, we have reached the end of my setup showcase. Thank you for following my process of building a PC, and I hope I was able to teach you something new. If you have any questions regarding specs, performance, or where I got a specific product, leave a comment and hopefully, I’ll be able to answer.

Before you go, I have a quick story for you. While taking pictures, I noticed a bug stuck in my power supply (yes, a real bug, not a computer bug)! I took me around half an hour to get the darn thing out (I had to open up the PSU, which apparently voids the warranty). These things are such a pain! They are attracted to the RGBs on my desk and they die all over the place.

 

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