Hawk's By Design

I like gaming.

So, I have a gaming pc, of course.

Though, it is a few years old. My father and I, who had no idea what we were doing by the way, built my first, and only, pc back in 2015. Before that I had only ever had a laptop, but being in college, and going into the career I was planning for, I needed a good pc. I was going to be using a lot of Adobe products, so something that could handle that would be nice; and, of course, gaming was a plus.

Original PC Build – Don’t Judge The Cable Management

Here were the specs:

  • Intel Core i7 4790k
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
  • Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR3 2 x 8GB
  • ASRock Z97 Extreme4
  • Crucial 256 GB SSD
  • Western Digital 1 TB HDD
  • Corsair HX750

So, let’s go over some upgrades I’ve done since then!

Power Supply

Not really an upgrade, but the PSU did get replaced about 2 years ago. My PC randomly started powering off whenever I was playing games. At this point, my GPU was getting a bit dated for the newer games, but this was weird, because it was a hard shut down.

The computer would just instantly shut off, and reboot.

New PSU – Corsair CX650M

I’m not sure if it was a specific cord or what, but I ended up swapping out the power supply for another Corsair (CX650M), and my problem was solved.

Graphics Card

Shortly after replacing my PSU, my coworker wanted to upgrade to the new NVIDIA 1080ti, which meant that his 1080 was going up for sale.

New GPU – MSI GTX 1080 8G Gaming Edition

Luckily, he’s a swell guy and gave me a good deal. So, just like that, I went from an old 660 to a MSI 1080 8GB Gaming Edition. It was amazing, for sure.

It was also around this time that I upgraded to two new monitors. I had been running a single monitor that worked, but wasn’t very great.

Case / SSD

Now we fast forward to just within the past month.

I decided that I wanted a new case, since mine has been around for quite a while now and I wanted to change it up a little bit. Not to mention I wanted the case to be able to match my keyboard and mouse, which I have set to glow blue.

New Computer Case – ThermalTake Versa J24 TG RGB Edition

I went with a mid-tower. This case was slightly smaller than my last one, and it definitely had less space inside. However, I found it a lot easier to run cables.

After taking a look at my GPU (I actually changed slots), I found that it was sagging quite a bit. The back end of the card was just too much for my motherboard’s slot. So, I decided to get a brace for like $10, and decided that I wanted to get a new CPU cooler as well. I also ended up upgrading my 1TB WD HDD to a 1TB Crucial SSD.

CPU Cooler

The reason I decided on a new CPU cooler was because I started dabbling in a little bit of overclocking. Nothing crazy, but just a little. It turned out that even a little overclocking was too much for my ol’ cooler. So, I went with an AIO, because why not! I didn’t go super crazy, and got a 120MM AIO.

New PC Rig with All Upgrades

Just for the curious, here are the benchmarks.

Old Cooler Idle:

  • Motherboard – 28c
  • CPU – 31c
  • GPU – 40c

Old Cooler Stress:

  • Motherboard – 45c
  • CPU – 67c
  • GPU – 81c
New PC Rig Close Up of Front Radiator

New Cooler Idle:

  • Motherboard – 27c
  • CPU – 29c
  • GPU – 37c

New Cooler Stress:

  • Motherboard – 40c
  • CPU – 62c
  • GPU – 77c

These benchmarks were done with no overclocking. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. I was pleasantly surprised to see it affect the GPU like it did, but it makes sense. Instead of a giant heatsink and fan stealing airflow to cool the CPU, once the air is inside the case, the GPU has dibs. Cool cool.

I have my 4.0 GHz CPU overclocked to 4.5 GHz, I thought about going a little further, but this is fine for now. The whole thought of overclocking still makes me a bit nervous, so baby steps. The GPU is overclocked to 100 MHz over core clock and 40 MHz over memory clock. I also adjusted the fan curve a bit.


It’s by far not a high end PC, but it definitely gets the job done. I’m super happy with the upgrades that I got. For anyone curious about the final list, I have a pc part picker list of my build.

Hopefully…all goes well for more years to come!

Thanks for reading.

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