The Build

Ralph's Feedback:

I am the host of a pretty popular podcast (The SDR Show) and I am looking to start adding a live video element, along with editing some video segments together every week and creating some After Effects elements...all of which I am learning take A LOT of power from the PC - - just trying to render an 8 second HD segment on my current computer (almost 10 years old) took almost an hour. Built my new beauty in a day thanks to you!! Couldn't do it without your help. Thank you. 

Built: October 2015

As Ralph makes clear above, he came to The Tech Buyer's Guru with a simple question: could he build a PC to use in his production studio that would enhance his video and sound editing process. He wanted something fast, quiet, and stylish, without spending a ton of money. He was deciding between the $1,250 Quiet Gaming PC Build and the $1,500 High-End Gaming PC Build, as of October 2015, and ultimately combined features from both, while adding some high-end audio and recording gear to meet his studio needs.

The key elements of this system were a powerful CPU, plenty of RAM and media storage space, along with a quiet CPU cooler, video card, and power supply. And of course, Ralph needed a serious sound card for audio capture.

Below you can see Ralph's complete parts list, followed by a picture of the components ready for assembly.

Component List:

  1. CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K
  2. Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming 5
  3. Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC 4GB
  4. Memory: Patriot 2x8GB DDR3-2133
  5. SSD: Samsung 850 Evo 500GB
  6. Hard Drive: Toshiba 4TB
  7. Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro 
  8. Power Supply: EVGA Supernova G2 650W
  9. CPU Cooler: Thermalright True Spirit 140 Rev. A
  10. Sound Card: Creative SoundBlaster ZxR
  11. Optical Drive: Samsung 24x DVD Burner
  12. Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit

The Parts

While many of TBG's builds are aimed at gamers, it's easy to custom-tailor them for professional work. In this case, Ralph took the guts of the $1,500 High-End Gaming PC, dropped the video card down a notch, and upped the RAM and hard drive a couple of rungs. He then added a pro-caliber SoundBlaster ZxR sound card from Creative, complete with sound production daughtercard and desktop mic/headphone module. He also wanted a very quiet system, and with video card and power supply fans that shut off at low temperatures, along with a great Thermalright CPU cooler, he achieved that.

This was actually Ralph's first foray into PC building, so as with all first-time builders, he hit a couple of bumps along the road. But with a little help from TBG, he got it all sorted out. One of the questions he had was a question many new builders ask: if a video card has two power supply inputs (an 8-pin and a 6-pin), do you have to connect both of them? He tried using just the 8-pin connector at first and was greeted with a system that wouldn't turn on, but that was an easy fix. It definitely seems a bit strange that a video card would be designed with two separate power plugs - it's not like you have to plug your desk lamp into two sockets, after all. The reason for the odd-looking arrangement is that each cable can only carry a fixed amount of current (the 8-pin passes 150W, the 6-pin passes 75W, and the motherboard slot also passes 75W). If your card needs more wattage than what one cable and the motherboard can provide, you do indeed need to plug it in twice!

The System

SDR Logo

As it turns out, Ralph also had to do a little trouble-shooting to get his studio microphones working correctly through the Windows Sound control panel, but luckily he had previously experienced the quirks of recording and playback functionality in Windows and took it all in stride. That being said, something in the photo above suggests that Ralph may have poured himself a stiff drink to get him through the ordeal!

In the end, we're pretty sure that Ralph was glad he went the do-it-yourself route, even if it took a bit more work upfront. See the fruits of his labor by catching his podcast, The SDR Show!