PC Builds have been around for as long as Geeks have been able to build their own PC’s. My journey with PC building started as far back as Windows XP when I was just simply not happy with by pre-built Compaq PC. And back then, building PC’s wasn’t something that was mainstream and more often than not, motherboards would sometimes get fried! Microsoft Windows has long been the only choice for Operating Systems when it came to PC Builds, but now, Linux PC Builds are happily becoming more common. With that being said, I’m taking an exciting journey in building my Monster Linux PC with everything that I’ll need for YouTube, video editing, multi-media, Gaming and of course, Business. So join me on my adventure to my dream Linux PC Powerhouse.
Day 1: First Unboxings
Christmas is always a Fun time, but sometimes Christmas comes a lot earlier! So instead of Santa Claus, I got a loud knock on my door from the Santa of UPS. He had two boxes, one small black box and one tall mass of cardboard. As I excitedly signed off on them, I realized it was PC parts for my new Linux Monster PC! My brother is personally choosing all the hardware for me and most importantly, he scoured the Internet to find some crazy deals. I rushed the two treasure boxes into my office and was ready to rip into them like a spoiled brat!
Starting with the small black box (which was quite heavy for its size) it was none other than the EVGA SuperNOVA 550 Watt Fully Modular Power Supply – yeah that’s a mouthful (click here to get it). This wasn’t a run of the mill cheap power supply that you would get with most pre-built PC’s. Ohh no, this was a finely crafted customized power plant waiting to be used and abused. And after opening up this Bad Boy, I knew that it could handle any CPU I threw at it. The EVGA is built like a tank and I’m a sucker for premium build quality and this definitely fits the bill. Also at 550 Watts, this should last me for years to come.
In Win 303 White ATX Mid Tower
For most, the PC Case quite often represents the design tastes of the users and also the type of hardware they want. For example, if you have a small form factor case, then your choice of hardware and upgrades are extremely limited. Or if you’re a power user, then a full size tower might be more suited for your performance needs. As for me, I wanted something in the middle as I do want more power however I’m not a Gamer so top shelf hardware isn’t needed. Design is also something that I value where I prefer a simple minimalist style while providing efficient functionality. My brother knew this so he got me the beautiful In Win 303 White ATX Mid Tower Case (click here to get it). Coming in a clean, pearly white finish, I was completely struck by the strikingly simple design. The front panel has an easy assortment of features with a power button, 4 USB ports and Mic/Headphone jacks.
Looking at the rear, there are plenty of slots for future expansion and the case itself has plenty of space. But it was the side panel that just blew me away! On the side, we have a stunning dark tempered glass panel that just screamed cool. Also the side panel didn’t require any screws and with just a simple push of the button, I was able to get it open. Whenever the PC is built and all the components are in there, it will definitely be fun to see all the dazzling colors light up through the glass case. It also adds an additional touch of class which works perfectly with the creamy white finish.
Day 2: AMD RX 470 Radeon Graphics Card
CPU and Graphics Cards (GPU) are easily the most expensive and crucial parts of building a PC. So when I got another “special” box in the mail, I was ready to tear it open! Whenever I cut open the box I was immediately overcome with joy. Lo and behold it was the MSI GAMING RX 470 4GB GPU (click here to get it) using the latest AMD Polaris architecture. I just couldn’t believe the POWER that was in front of me. Not being a Gamer, my needs for my Monster Linux PC were primarily as a Workstation so that I can do video editing, multimedia, and business-related work. Now with the AMD RX 470, I had the hardware to run modern games at high resolutions (1080P/1440P) and 4K capability. And the BEST part was the absolutely Awesome PRICE!!!
My brother with his amazing deal skills, was able to get me this MSI RX 470 for just $135! Current retails online for this card are $199-$222. Of course GPU prices will continue to drop and you can find lower prices for different RX 470 Models such as the Sapphire or XFX however the MSI with its slight overclock and quiet setup has been rated highly. Now when I took the GPU out of the box, I was immediately in awe of the Beastly Build and of course specs under the hood:
- Chipset: AMD Radeon ax 480
- Video Memory: 4GB GDDR5
- Max. Resolution: supports 4x Display monitors
- Input: 8Pin PCI-E power connector, output: DVI-D Dual-link, 2x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort
- 500W system power supply requirement
As I looked around the system, I marveled at the engineering that went into crafting the hardware. Also build quality was solid and refined with a touch of LED fun as well. Plenty of video outputs were also available for any future video monitors I might get. Future proofing was also a valuable long- term feature with the new 14 nanometer FinFET design and more importantly, support for both DirectX 12 and the more open Vulcan API.
As I put this Monstrous GPU back in the box, I started to feel impatient as I wanted my Linux PC Powerhouse NOW!!! But I knew that the all important CPU, Motherboard, RAM, Hard Drives, Blu-Ray drive, and possibly even a HD monitor, were still waiting to be unboxed and put together. Wow is it my Birthday already?…
Day 3: MSI Tomahawk Motherboard
“TOMAHAWK”…now that’s just a cool sounding name no matter what product it’s for. In this case I’m referring to the new Beastly MSI Z170A Tomahawk Motherboard (Click here to get it). Much like the recent Monster MSI AMD RX470 GPU I got, this Motherboard is definitely overkill for someone who doesn’t do Modern Gaming. However just like the RX470, the MSI Tomahawk is definitely gonna give me more Power than I’ll ever need which is always preferred over not having enough when I need it. Now one of the things that immediately caught my attention when opening the box was the stunning design. Being a MSI product, it had the same Red and Black color scheme as my RX470 built on top of a deep black circuit board. Other valuable design choices include some built-in heavy duty Gaming heat sinks and some really flashy power LED’s. Another thing I really appreciated was the solid build quality from MSI as I felt a sense of heft and rigidity when handling the Motherboard from all angles.
In terms of specs, it’s a Gaming Board which means I’m ready for whatever:
- Supports 6th Gen Intel® Core™ / Pentium® / Celeron® processors
- Supports DDR4-3600
- DDR4 Boost: DDR4 memory performance boost
- GAMING LAN
- Audio Boost: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality
- Military Class 4 Build Quality
- Guard-Pro: Improved Protection and Power Efficiency
- MULTI-GPU with VGA Armor Supports AMD Crossfire™
- Overvoltage Protection
- 4K UHD Support
- GAMING CERTIFIED
Specs of this quality means that this MSI Tomahawk won’t break down when I have to push my Linux PC to the extreme which I most definitely plan on doing. In the past, I never really paid much attention to Motherboards prior to the birth of PC Build popularity. So before Motherboards were just a huge PCB Circuit Board that was a utility and not a showpiece. But now with my mighty Tomahawk in my PC, I feel powerful while looking GOOD!
Day 4: HP Z23i IPS Display
BIG things come in BIG Boxes! So that was what I got today in a wide box. Opening up the box I kept thinking do I really,really need a new monitor? I mean I had an older 16in AOC monitor that I could’ve still used if I wanted to, but then I thought about what I was building. I wasn’t just building a simple Linux PC Appliance, I was building a MONSTER LINUX PC! So with that thought, I knew that my existing AOC monitor wouldn’t do this hardware the justice that it deserves. My brother also knew this so he ordered this and I’m so glad he did. When I took the monitor out, I realized that I was now in possession of the HP Z23i IPS Display (Click here to get it). This was a 23 inch thing of beauty for me with these more than adequate specs:
- LED-backlit LCD monitor / TFT active matrix
- Viewable Size23″
- Built-in Devices USB hub
- Aspect Ratio Widescreen – 16:9
- Native Resolution Full HD 1920 x 1080 at 60 Hz
- Response Time 8 ms
This monitor was built with a simple design aesthetic which was actually functional. I also loved the solid build with a sturdy adjustable stand plus the screen could also be rotated vertically. Back display inputs included a DVI and VGA plus 2 USB ports so there’s definitely flexibility in how you can use this monitor. Most importantly, the HP Z23i would be exceptional for my AMD RX470 GPU that excels at 1080P resolutions. In the end, I’m glad that this BIG display is my new Window to the Digital World that I’m about to embark on.
Day 5: Cryorig H7 and SK Hynix SL300 250GB SSD
Sometimes BIG things do come in small packages! And in this case, I received two small packages in the mail that had me guessing what’s inside? One of the boxes was quite light and it almost seemed empty. While the other had more heft to it. So starting off with the lighter box, I was kind of surprised to see a little small square piece of power! It was a SK Hynix SL300 250GB SSD (Click here to get it) and boy was I taken back by what I saw. The reason being was that I’ve never dealt with a SSD (Solid State Drive) prior to this as I haven’t built a PC in Ages. My whole understanding of hard drives were the behemoth noisy mechanical drives of which I’ll still need for my storage space.
SSD’s primary benefits are its size and SPEED! Everyone wants their PC to be blazing fast especially when it comes to Gaming so each nanosecond of performance counts! And now that I have a SSD with ample space, I’m confident that my Linux Operating System will be a Speed Demon. Moving on to the second heavier box, I noticed something that was odd with what seems like a number 5 on top. At first I thought there were tons of pieces in this box, but once I pulled it out, I realized how “Cool” it was…pun intended.
Cooling is a critical part of any PC and nowhere is this more crucial than with the CPU. An overheating CPU will immediately reduce performance due to throttling and worst case, cause damage as a result of high temperatures. Once I got this whole weird block out of the box, I realized that it was a monstrous Cryorig H7 (Click here to get it) Cooling Fan. With such a humongous cooling unit, I knew for sure that my brother was going to get me an insanely powerful CPU. After getting these two small yet essential components, I felt more confident that this Monster Linux PC will produce incredible performance while maintaining its COOL.
Day 6: Intel Core i7, Crucial SSD, Vulcan RAM
Boxes…Boxes..BOXES!!! When will this END? Well it seems like today is the day as I got three Magical Boxes of Tech ready to open. Now I wasn’t sure what was in these boxes however the hope was that I’d have the final pieces needed to complete my Monster Linux PC Build. So first up was a small brown package and a medium-sized box. As I peeled opened the brown bag, I noticed some shades of Red RAM. These were two 8GB DDR4 Vulcan RAM from Team(Click here to get it). Together I had 16GB total RAM running at a potential 3,000 MHz plus they were overclockable! Now for most people, 8GB is more than enough even for Gaming. However RAM is crucial if you’re going to be doing any extensive Video Editing or Multimedia and with 16GB of RAM, I was ready for whatever Workstation type work coming my way. Onto the second box, I was pretty excited as I was certain this was the CPU however I was in for a “cool” surprise. Inside were 7 smaller blue boxes with something unexpected: FANS! Seven 120mm fans to be exact(Click here to get it). Now cooling is a critical part of any PC especially when it comes to your CPU and GPU. A Hot PC isn’t a good thing unless you just like buying new PC’s all the time as overheating will eventually damage your PC. All the fans were white which would go perfectly with my white Mid-Tower Case. Now I wasn’t sure where all the fans would go exactly within the case, but I was sure that my Linux PC would run cool as ice while I’m blasting away monsters. So with ample RAM and fan power galore, there were just two mystery openings left.
First up was another simple bag packed with goodness. And the goodness came in the form of a 750GB Crucial SSD! (Click here to get it). Now I already had the 250GB SSD and was planning on getting a separate mechanical drive for storage. But boy this is a MUCH BETTER setup as now I’ve got blazing speed and quieter performance without sacrificing storage needs. With this Dual SSD setup, I’m now assured that everything on my device will be accessible in an instant. Now the moment of truth has come with the final tiny box stuffed with Absolute POWER!!! What came in this small box was the Intel Core i7 6700K (Click here to get it) the BEAST of a CPU. I just couldn’t ask for a better CPU even though I would’ve been completely happy with either a Core i5 or even a Core i3. With this much processing muscle, I was certain that this Monster Linux PC Build would live up to its name and provide me with the amount of horsepower for my current and future needs. As I sat back in awe of the amount of PC building boxes I had amassed in front of me, I realized that my Linux PC Build dreams were about to come true…
Day 7: MONSTER LINUX PC COMPLETE!!!
Monster Linux PC Build is COMPLETE!!! Watch the video below…Nuff Said!
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