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New Hero (Updated with full rig pics)
by martcatnoc
Permalink:   (44 comments)
Description

This is my new gaming/photography/programming build.

If you wish to checkout larger versions of the photos, I have a Flickr set here http://www.flickr.com/photos/martcatnoc/sets/72157640408071324/ with upto 1440p size images.

I purchased the parts around Black Friday deals week through New Years 2014 from Amazon, Newegg, NCIX and TigerDirect. I added the second video card around mid January after noticing less-than-satisfactory frame rates in current titles such as Metro Last Light.

The final part I added was the cold cathode red light. I wanted the light to have the same hue as a darkroom safe-light and also look something like molten magma in places. I think the cathode light worked great for that and I prefer it to the light of LED strips which look too bright and uneven to me.

There are a few additions/mods I would like to do in the near future - add a closed water loop, add video card backplates, remove top hdd bays and improve cable management etc. I would also like to attempt a more aggressive overclock atleast for the CPU. I can't seem to go over a 42x multiplier at the moment. I don't know a lot about overclocking but i suspect I might be stuck with a middling cpu overclock due to a bad hand of silicon lottery. The RAM is low latency CL7. I don't know how much difference that makes but its about the fastest I could find for a DDR3-1600.

I have heard great things about the onboard audio on Asus X79 ROG boards but I prefer to have my audio removed from the case entirely. I'm running the audio through a usb to spdif converter and out through a dac to a pair of studio monitors. The display is a Korean 27" S-IPS panel I purchased last year on eBay (Achieva Shimian).

The parts marked $0.00 are mostly things I already owned. I got enough credit card cash back with my parts purchases to cover the price of the blu ray drive, so its marked $0.00 even though I bought it new on Amazon.

The Define R4 case has a great minimalist aesthetic. I wish it had more room to fit in the radiator at the top more comfortably but other than that it looks sophisticated and is nearly silent. I have the h100i fans hooked into the case fan controls and at 7V the SP-120s go dead silent; I can basically hear myself breathing.

Overall, the build was great fun to put together and everything appears to be working great. I recently got myself a 60mm m43 macro lens. The photos of the sli bridge were taken at 1:1 macro. If you like them you can grab larger versions from my Flickr page. They are all CC licensed.

Part List
Details
Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate4.2GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle28.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load45.0° C
EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Superclocked ACX Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate967MHz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate6.01Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle-
GPU Temperature Under Load-
Comments
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Sorted by:
 
 
linsyschopman 13 points 8 months ago

how about a photo with the complete set up build in? real nice and all those close ups but they barely show the actual build.

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Done :)

 
 
linsyschopman 1 point 8 months ago

Awesome, +1 for me :)

 
 
Catalyzer [1 Build] 3 points 8 months ago

+1 Great Build !

 
 
suihigh [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

where you get that computer chair?

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

I got it on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GAPU4B4 while it was going for about half its current price on a lightning deal.

 
 
suihigh [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

lucky :\ hopefully i can catch a sale sometime this summer. Wish they had a white chair for my White/blue theme im going to work on this summer, but i can settle for the blue chair they have

 
 
jaredt [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

Its so purdy... +1

 
 
LookTopHats [2 Builds] 2 points 8 months ago

Best pics I have ever seen, but what keyboard is that? +1

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

Thank you. It's a CoolerMaster mechanical gaming keyboard with cherry mx brown switches http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C2MBG02

 
 
Hakumisoso [2 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

Is seeing the letters any trouble?

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Yes you can't see the letters in low light and there is no backlight on the keys. So if you are not good with touch typing (including non alphabet keys) I wouldn't recommend it.

 
 
Retroman 2 points 8 months ago

nice build, I like the close up shots but would prefer to see some full rig pics.

+1 for the nice battlestation

 
 
sangles 2 points 7 months ago

I love your rig and I have something extremely similar in mind. I was wondering why you gave the Corsair SP120s and also the H100i both 4 stars instead of 5. I am considering the same setup as yours with the SP120s replacing the stock H100i fans so feedback from an actual owner would be most appreciated.

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 3 points 7 months ago

Thanks. The H100i and SP120s are both great. I had taken one star off the H100i because I was expecting slightly lower idle temps than I'm getting right now (28 °C). I see a lot of people reporting 25 °C. I just realized though that I took the reading during the day and I'm here in San Francisco which is certainly warmer than most of the U.S in January. Also I looked at lots of reviews comparing the H100i with the Kraken X60 and most of them report the Kraken to be the better cooler, but only by a small margin. The Kraken also offers less control over noise. So in hindsight I reconsider my rating and I have revised it to 5 stars.

The SP120S though gets a 4 star when paired with H100i because it lacks a PWM header, so the H100i cannot auto-adjust the radiator fan speed. On their own the SP120s are great fans. If you care about connecting your radiator fans into the H100i PWM headers, I would recommend the PWM version of the fan http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Air-SP120-Quiet-CO-9050012-WW/dp/B00C249PEO which costs only slightly more. I often switch between 7v and 12v input to my SP120s depending on whether I'm just browsing or playing a game. I would prefer if the H100i was controlling that. I would have also liked to play with custom fan curves in that case.

So there is my final verdict. An unqualified 5 stars for the H100i and 4 stars for the SP120s. I would also recommend checking out the Kraken before you make a purchase. Good luck.

btw: If your case allows installing radiator fans in a pull config on the top so that they are not visible, I would recommend throwing in some ugly but incredible Noctua fans in there. The only reason I don't have Noctuas all over my case is their hideousness.

 
 
dondada 2 points 7 months ago

Love Love Love this build! I've been trying to put together a build using similar components and SLI and this is the best documented by far. Thanks for posting, very helpful to the community.

 
 
Matty [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Amazing Build, really high quality parts with nice custom cables!

 
 
CheyTac [4 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

how are you running 780's SLI with a 760w PSU?

 
 
jru732 2 points 8 months ago

At full load, this computer pretty much requires exactly that amount of wattage. Generally, that is a danger, but with the ax760i, it's not really a problem because it is so good. The 760 on the label is continuous power, and even then it's an understatement. That PSU can handle it. http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&file=print&reid=317 (ax860i) http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Corsair/AX760i/

 
 
CheyTac [4 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

I have an AX760 and i asked on the forums here if i could run SLI 780's with that and everyone said that i should invest in a higher wattage PSU.

 
 
TheMTech [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

That's because the 12v rail is close to being maxed out with 2 780s, which is never a good thing to do, especially if you overclock your CPU and GPUs.

12v rail is where most of your parts are powered from. And it is NOT equal to the total wattage.

 
 
Gatz30 [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

I also have an AX760, is it ok to SLI GTX 760s? Here is the link http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/b/L9k I only bought this GPU because I had AC4, Splinter Cell, and Batman for free, if not which GPU would you recommend?

 
 
TheMTech [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

It'll be just fine for SLI 760s. First, we have to figure out the math. The GTX 760 has a TDP of 170w, 2 of them will be 340w. Assuming you have the 4670k posted in the build, the total TDP for your main parts will be 424w. Its 12v rail has 63.3 amps on it, so to find the total wattage your rail can output, multiply vots and amps. This comes out to about 759.6 watts total from the 12v rail. Since you bought a really nice power supply, you don't have to worry: it's designed to meet that 759.6 amount at 50 degrees celsius which is a very high temperature compared to the 30 degrees and even 20 degrees brought by some other brands. So, you can be assured that the power supply will output somewhere close to that 759.6 value. Giving it's 80 Plus Platinum efficiency - industry specs say that it should be over 89% efficient (100% load), so we'll say that it can provide 676.044w at its worst. 424w is well under that, but there are other parts that are powered by the 12v rail as well, such as the motherboard. Add more power if you plan to overclock. All in all, your build might get close to that 676.044w limit depending on how hard you overclock and how power-hungry your other parts are, but you really should have no problem running that setup.

If you don't want to deal with the issues that come with SLI, the GTX 780 is also a great buy at $500.

 
 
Gatz30 [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Thanks for that TheMTech that was very informative now I have a choice of either SLI or buying a single GPU like the GTX 780 once I save up, for a single GPU I am thinking of Asus GTX 780 but what make would you recommend?

 
 
TheMTech [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

The ASUS card is fantastic. Others to look at are the Gigabyte, MSI Lightning Edition, and the EVGA ACX cooler (although I don't like this one as much due to the small fan radius)

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

pcpartpicker reports the total wattage for my system is 757 Watts. The 780 itself has a TDP of around 250W so two of them would dissipate around 500W of heat. Since you can't get more power out a system that you put in, the input for the two GPUs itself would be over 500W. All this should bring my PSU close to its operating limit. In the real world though this rarely happens. I almost never have all my hard disks and optical disks reading/writing at the same time and most applications don't max out two GPUs, and the CPU rarely operates at over 90% load except for small bursts. All this means that there is always power to spare. The only thing I would be worried about is if occasionally the system does reach close to its max rated power and fails to get it from the PSU. This would be bad news for overclocking and for stability of the system.

I did a very unscientific (but real world) stress test with my system. I ran the following at the same time:

  1. 8 threads of prime95 at maximum heat and power consumption.
  2. A 1080p youtube video.
  3. A game on Ultra setting in windowed mode (Skyrim and the new Tomb Raider).

With all of that running, the system barely consumes more than 320W. Although this is a very high load on the CPU, the GPU is probably not as stressed as it would be while rendering large number of polygons full-screen. So there may be rare occasions when the system could still manage to suck in all of that 760W of power input.

Another thing I observed was that the PSU is incredibly efficient and easily manages an efficiency of 85%-95% as claimed.

Here are screenshots of the quick and dirty stress test http://imgur.com/a/E0t5W#0

My main reason for buying the PSU was different though. I got it for $149.99 on an Amazon lightning deal. I would have been crazy to say no to that.

 
 
Gatz30 [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Very nice build! In regards to overclocking if you want to make sure you overclocked correctly, go to YouTube and type "How-to manually overclock any ASUS Z87 motherboard" he explains and shows you what to do, I got mine to 4.5GHz with an i5, but like you said it depends on what type of quality CPU you have. I hope this will help you, good luck!

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Thanks for the tip. I will check it out.

 
 
LukePRTR [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Can yyou show the actual build? Close ups are very silly

 
 
dvada191 1 point 8 months ago

HE500? Not the gaming headphones I'd recommend, but you did already own them.

I really like the look of that monitor. Did yours ship with any dead pixels?

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Fortunately I have zero dead pixels on mine. The ebay seller guaranteed to test for dead pixels before shipping.

The HE500 really need a good headphone amplifier to drive them to their full potential. I have been thinking about gaming headphones but I wonder what they offer over an audiophile headphone other than a mic? I'm guessing they have a certain sound signature more suited to games rather than a linear frequency response that is usually preferred for music. Any recommendations?

 
 
Jwood013 [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

DON'T get "gaming" headphones, they're a waste of money, you're paying for the brand and microphone. A good pair of audiophile/high end headphones (preferably open air) is the best for gaming. It's a little obvious that you can afford those headphones and I'd be surprised if those HE500's aren't good for gaming. Just pick up a nice microphone (Audio technica AT2020 is a good one) and you'll be perfect.

 
 
dvada191 1 point 8 months ago

I wasn't suggesting a headphone made for gaming, I mean that the HE500's aren't as good as other headphones in the same price range for gaming, like the AH-D5000/7000.

Of course, the HE500's are still amazing headphones, but if you are going to get headphones for mostly gaming, the Denon's are a better choice.

 
 
opener05 [2 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

Love all those pics! Very nice build! :)

 
 
zSyzygy [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

I see you have already addressed this, and you definitely know more about the subject than I, but it just seems odd to me that you'd go with such a low PSU for all of this! I see you said it should be fine, but it being the heartbeat of your entire $3,000 masterpiece, I believe an extra 30 bucks to get a more powerful PSU would make so much more sense.

Besides this, this build is beautiful in every way. +1

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

Thank you! Please see my reply to CheyTac above. I had the same concerns but that PSU is incredibly efficient and in most real world tests the system will not pull anywhere near 760W of power. I also described a quick and dirty stress test I did in the reply. Also I got a lightning deal on the PSU on Amazon. It's funny I should fall for something like that when I spent 3 grand but I just cannot resist a good deal.

 
 
Clannagh 1 point 7 months ago

Very nice build, similar to one I'm planning with the use of case/cooler.

Looking through your build helped with a couple questions I had regarding extra fans and replacing stock ones. I'm assuming the 2 Noctua's were used to replace the fans in the front of the case?

+1'd

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Thanks. Yes, the Noctuas went in the front of the case.

 
 
Toxicoz 1 point 7 months ago

You should get it off the floor it collects more dust on the ground besides that great build

 
 
promethanus 1 point 6 months ago

Quick question: I see you have the thermal paste on there but you're using the H100i. I was under the impression that the Corsair H100i already had paste applied from the manufacturer. Did you end up using the paste in addition?

Forgiveness - new to building and just curious.

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

I'm still using the thermal paste that came with H100i. It has worked very well so far and I see no reason to change it. I might try the arctic silver in a few months out of curiosity.

 
 
Haik24 1 point 4 months ago

What mousepad is that? Awesome setup BTW.

 
 
martcatnoc [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago
 
 
bwsmith45 1 point 2 months ago

Nice job! I'm in the process of a very similar build - same case, mobo (Z97 version), CPU, and cooler as you. I'm going to wait for the 6GB GTX780 ti to come out though (I'm not in a hurry - I've bought several parts as they come on sale). Do you have any tips or quirks I should know about for the build configuration?