Building a Windows 10 Gaming PC

MSI - Providing Both Form & Function

After a decade of having exclusively Apple hardware and operating systems, I decided to make the switch back to the PC world. This was motivated by price, performance, the fact that I use Windows at work, and the direction that Microsoft has started to go in as of late. One of the clear advantages to going back to a PC was the fact that I can build it myself, hand picking each component from CPU to GPU. By taking the custom approach I really believe you get more for your money and can really focus your spend on what your priorities are. I got 6 years of heavy home use out of my last iMac so the goal with this build was to think ahead and try to get roughly the same lifespan.

I had my buddy + fellow geek Mitch over and we hit up the PC Part Picker website to get started. Let me digress for a moment and say a couple words about how incredible that site is. You can check out a ton of user-submitted/editor approved builds, browse individual parts (with filters you wouldn’t believe), and save configurations for later reference/editing. Once you have built a list of parts it will even do a cursory check for compatibility issues between parts which any PC builder knows can be a real pain to research. In short, this site is incredible and should be used whenever you are considering a new PC build or a modification to an existing one. Here is the build that we came up with on the site which is precisely what I did aside from the manufacturer of the RAM but even that had exactly the same specs.

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Vs. Intel Stock Heat Sink

As I already mentioned, it has been quite some time since I last built a PC but I felt up to the challenge. I started out by surveying the parts, paying extra attention to the case and trying to map out a wiring strategy before I got started and things got cluttered. Once I came up with a plan I started unboxing and getting to work. Things started off smoothly, the CPU popped right into its slot, and seating the motherboard was a piece of cake. Next up was to apply thermal paste to the CPU and install the Cooler Master heat sink/fan. Before applying the thermal paste I decided to look more closely at how the heat sink was going to mount and came to the realization that I must have missed a step because there was nothing to secure the heat sink mount into on the motherboard. After watching a couple of videos on YouTube I quickly realized that I was going to have to pull the motherboard out of the case and install the mounting bracket for the heat sink to the backside of the board, whoops! If you ever find yourself installing a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO heat sink/fan, do yourself a favor and watch this video.

Mission Complete!

From this point on it was smooth sailing and the end result was as good or better than I hoped for. Since the initial build the only thing I have added are two Corsair SP120 LED case fans but mostly for show to be honest. My CPU runs around 35 degrees Celsius during general use and “spikes” up around 50-60 degrees while gaming. I am on a hunt to find an MMO or MMO-type game that pushes it with settings maxed out but I have yet to do so. If bleeding edge gaming if your thing I would really considering going with an SLI configuration for the video cards and possibly a little higher up the i7 food chain for a CPU but that’s it. Everything else in this configuration would work more than well now and for some time.

It hasn’t been a great deal of time since the build but so far Windows 10 has been good. Little-to-no problems (other than some font issues with my 144hz monitor) and great performance with the Professional edition that I have installed. I really wouldn’t call Windows 10 game changing in any way but it feels like a more polished version of Windows 7 which isn’t a bad thing.

Here’s a list of the parts used in this build: (also available in more detail here)

  • Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler
  • MSI Z97-GAMING 5 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
  • EVGA 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
  • Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5″ SSD (For O/S + important apps/games)
  • Western Digital BLACK SERIES 2TB 3.5″ 7200RPM HD (For everything else)
  • MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card
  • NZXT S340 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case
  • EVGA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
  • Asus VG248QE 144Hz 24.0″ Monitor

The World In Links [9/12-9/18/2011] -- Gaming, HTML5, Ruby

The World In Links by Nicholas Kreidberg Blogging: How to start earning money from your blog.

Database: 5 steps to scaling any database.

Gaming: Play almost any Apple II or IIgs game in your browser.

HTML5: Mastering HTML5 prefetching.

iOS: A video tutorial on the MVC approach to iOS development.

Node.js: Useful tools, tutorials and resources.

Photography: Water photo manipulation showcase.

Ruby: The best way to learn Rails.

TextMate: Snippets video tutorial.

WordPress: 25 free plugins for multi-author blogs.

Must Have iOS Apps

I am an avid iOS user and really couldn't live (or at least wouldn't want to try) without my iPhone. Great applications are really what makes the iOS platform stand out and to be honest there are so many wonderful applications I can't possibly know about all of them. In this article you will find information about my favorite applications but I would really love to know about applications that you absolutely can't live without so please feel free to share those in the comments. [Last Updated: February 21st, 2012]

iPhone Homescreen (Nicholas Kreidberg) Above you will see my iPhone homescreen with a number of folders including: Apple (default iOS apps), Games 1-3 (I have a lot of games installed but really only play a few at any given time), Location (location/gps based apps), Multimedia (music & video), Photography (camera/photo apps), Productivity (GTD), Search (directory/search apps), Shopping (apps that make it way too easy to buy stuff), Social (social networking apps) and Utilities. I am going to break this article into sections based on my folder naming scheme to keep things nice and organized however I will skip over the 'Apple' category since everybody has these apps installed.


  • Angry Birds - This is my favorite time killer and a really fun game to pick up and play for short intervals. Seasons and Rio are also a lot of fun.
  • Cut the Rope - A great puzzle game that features cute characters, bright colors and some fun brain teasers.
  • Flick Golf - This game is a lot of fun to play and as you get further along it gets quite challenging, definitely a fun take on the game of golf.
  • Rage HD - A brilliant shooter from ID software featuring great graphics and really solid gameplay.
  • Ramps - A brilliant little puzzle game that is both challenging and incredibly rewarding.
  • Words with Friends - Online scrabble that you can play with friends or random people fron the internet.


  • AroundMe - This app uses your geolocation to find things around you such as banks, coffee shops, gas stations, hotels, etc. It's very handy when traveling.
  • Foursquare - Share your location and information about your location where ever you are and compete with your friends to get the most checkins.


  • Garageband - It is amazing what you can do with this app. Available now for both iPad and iPhone this is truly the best app for multimedia production on iOS.
  • Netflix - Stream movies/shows instantly and manage your instant queue directly from your device.
  • Rdio - The app for my favorite music streaming service (review here) that allows you to manage your playlists, collection and listen to music on the go.
  • Shazam - Ever hear a song in public or on the radio and wish you knew what it was? Open Shazam, hold your phone near the speaker and boom you will get the song title, artist and links to purchase it.


  • 360 - Take beautiful panoramic shots with the camera in your iOS device.
  • Camera+ - A great replacement for the default camera app featuring a large number of filters and editing functions.
  • Instagram - A really fun way to shoot/share photos.


  • Dragon Dictation - A terrific speech->text converter.
  • Evernote - Absolutely the best online note taking service available.
  • Gas Cubby - Keeps track of your average MPG, time between fill-ups, etc.
  • Github Issues - Create, manage and discuss Github issues right from your device.
  • Kindle - Download and read books from the Amazon Kindle store.
  • Prompt - A very clean, highly functional SSH client for all iOS devices.
  • WolframAlpha - One of the most powerful "calculators" (it is so much more) that I have ever used.


  • Google - A native way of using Google Search and other applications from your device.
  • Google Earth - The world in the palm of your hand.
  • Yelp - Find and add reviews for local businesses right from your device.


  • Amazon - Search, browse and buy from the Amazon catalog of products.
  • Groupon - Purchase, manage and use your Groupons right from your device.
  • LivingSocial - Purchase, manage and use your LivingSocial deals right from your device.


  • Tumblr - Manage and post to your site(s) on the go.
  • Tweetbot - The best Twitter client for iOS.
  • WordPress - Manage your WordPress site(s) and content from your mobile device.


  • AT&T Code Scanner - Scan barcodes and QR codes using the camera in your device.
  • Dropbox - File sharing/sync.
  • TestFlight - An amazing app that lets developers share their beta/dev builds w/o using the app store.

*** Update: People asked for a link to the wallpaper I am using (see homescreen image above) so here it is!