Building my new PC
I decided that my old desktop PC was too slow for doing things like video rendering, so I decided to build a new one.
The patient is prepared for the surgery by having all of the internal bracketry removed. It's actually quite small in there, when you see all the junk I have to jam in.
I installed the motherboard. I went for an ASUS Z97I-Plus, as the case requires Mini-ITX, and this is a well regarded board. The Z97 chipset supports the 5th generation Intel processors if I decide to upgrade at a later date, and there are 6 (count 'em) USB 3.0 ports and onboard WiFi and Bluetooth. It has an M.2 socket on the bottom, and I've installed a Kingston 240 card. It's not as fast as the Samsung XP941, but it's a fair bit cheaper.
I installed the CPU - an Intel i5-4690K. I went with an i5 because while it's a little bit slower than the i7, I don't think I need the hyperthreading. I got the K as for some reason it was cheaper than the vanilla version - I don't see me doing any overclocking just yet. The Intel part only uses 84W, and I like the efficiency of that.
I installed 16Gb of DDR3-1600 - I only get 2 slots, and I didn't want to end up taking out 2x4Gb sticks to upgrade at a later date.
The power supply is the Silverstone ST45SF-G. It's 450 Watts, and Gold rated, so at least 87% efficient. It's also modular, so you only plug in the cables you need. Plug in the cables you need now, rather than following the instructions in the case manual, or you'll have to take the graphics card out to get the plugs in. Also, the power supply says about a switch to turn it on - this PSU doesn't have one, so you don't have to take it out again to check that when you're plugging the cables in. Silverstone have a 600W SFX PSU, but I've read that it's noisy, and I didn't see me needing the extra power just yet.
I installed the hard drive (would have been easier to do before putting the power supply in, but I was having difficulty getting the PSU in anyway). I've got a 2Tb WD Green drive - I don't need the speed (all the good stuff'll go on the SSD), and it'll be nice to have it generate less heat (seeing as it lives right above the PSU). There's space for 2x 2.5" drives, and maybe I'll end up moving to them at some point.
There's a tray holding the graphics card and the slot loading Blu-Ray burner (for some reason the Panasonic UJ-265 worked out cheaper than the (Panasonic badge engineered) DVD drive from Silverstone. I needed to get the cable, but I still think it was a better deal :o)
For the graphics card, I got a GTX750Ti. It's over twice as fast as the 7750 in my old PC, and a third of the price of the GTX970 I was thinking about for a while. I figured I can upgrade later if necessary, and by then there'll be more cards that support HDMI 2.0 for 4K. This has since been upgraded to a 1050Ti.
I got the cabling in (this is before I rearranged some bits), fired it all up and it looked like it all worked, but there was a noisy fan.
There are 5 fans in there - PSU, CPU, graphics card and 2 on the case. I discovered that it was one of the case fans, and I took it out and played with it to find that it would turn just fine when it was horizontal, but as you turned it to vertical it'd make a noise, and by the time you had it the other way horizontal, it'd struggle to turn at all. As that fan's pretty much above the graphics card fan, I just took it out.
So overall it took me a few hours , and I have a pretty decent system. The thing is actually surprisingly quiet, and gets at least 75fps in the few dives into Warcraft I've done so far. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the last desktop I build, as laptops are starting to get to this level of performance already. I've installed Windows 7 as I didn't need the headache of something new right then, but it's now been upgraded to Windows 10.