Potato pictures above! I would like to take some better shots with an actual camera to do it justice, and show off the cables on the backside. The innards photos are from pre- cable management and therefore look absolutely horrendous, and unfortunately I do not have current photos of post- CM, but its on the list!
Even after a full week of watching every computer building tutorial known to youtube, and reading all relevant articles about the parts I've ordered, the process still makes me feel like a tourist. Who knew opening the front panel of the case would be so damn difficult! not to mention the fact it could even be opened?! Anyway. It's these nuances particular to individual components that ended up being the most time-consuming portion of this process, but I enjoyed every moment of it. Even the moments when the mobo couldn't test boot due to my incompetency in handling a flat edged screwdriver. But the various gods of fortune and misery smiled upon this epic endevaour, and the screen lights up. Hallelujah.
Some things I've learned (which I hope could benefit future builders!)
Route PSU cables to approximately where they are before mounting the mobo! I bent my CPU 8-pin in a fashion I certainly thought no man had conceived prior to this in order to fit it behind the motherboard.
The case will not bring enough cable ties for you, if any. Though after using zip ties, I think velcro would do much better; it is much more forgiving for beginners.
One regular sized flat edged screwdriver will be enough. Maybe a plier.
There's almost always a better way to route your cables.
Mail your MIRs as soon as humanly possible. (More for me personally, really)
Stop reading about new builds if you want to control the unsatiable urge to upgrade. I only stopped at purchasing a brand new cooler, but had the appetite for even more (I originally started with the crowd favourite CM Hyper 212+ but opted for something to take my OC further)
After exhaustive trials of stress-testing my system, it turns out I've been quite fortunate with my chip.
|Clock ratio||Vcore||Peak Temp|
Tested with IBT on very high, AIDA64 for 4 hours, and x264 5.01 for 10 passes. All power saving features have been left on auto, so it is a very simple overclock. For an AIO 120mm CLC, it is very potent in keeping the chip from becoming a water kettle.
For everyday usage I've dialed the chip down to a relatively mild 4.4 Ghz. With the CLC in a push/pull, it idles at 30C and doesn't breach 50C while gaming (GW2) so for the price I paid for it, it's been giving me excellent performance.
CPU-Z validation! http://valid.canardpc.com/pjn1f4
Odd gap in the required voltage between 45 and 46x, seeing as how that trend didn't continue beyond that point, but I haven't dared test 48x since 47x already has the chip in the 90s during stress testing.
Speaking of stress testing, almost all the settings above will crash within 5 minutes in prime95. Many place undue emphasis on achieving stability in this program, claiming that it is only rock solid stable if it passes 24 hours, but my experiences have proved contrary to this popular notion. If it passes your routine usage, and whatever host of programs you use on a regular basis, then it's rock solid to you. That said, prime95 small FFT is still a great thermal stress test.
In retrospect, there is a slight tinge of regret in not going with a smaller form factor, but it's something to look forward to in the next build.
There's nothing but great things coming out of this build, and it's been a pleasure working on it. Thanks for reading if you've made it this far down the wall!