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Arctic Ninja

by pikguard



CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

33.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

70.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate


GPU Temperature While Idle

27.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

75.0° C


I've finally been able to put together a relatively high-end build after many years of being a poor student and working/gaming on various laptops without discrete graphics! I wanted to keep my build under $3000 CAD. As you can see, I failed, but I was so close :S

This rig's utilization will be 75% gaming 25% CATIA with F@H in its downtime.

Part choices and justifications:

4770k: moar threads for moar ppd :D but I didn't want to go with an LGA2011 hexcore because that would catapult this build into the next tax bracket.

NHU14S: I wanted compatibility with the dominator platinums and wanted to keep with the 14cm fan theme. Call me crazy, but I kinda like the Noctua color scheme. As you can see in the above pics: the memory fits, but just barely.

Maximus VI Formula: I wanted the ability to add a couple expansion cards if the mood struck me. Integrated wireless, sound solution, ROG features, and awesome looks pointed me to this board.

Dominator Platinum: I just plain like the looks of these :P and I wanted to be able to upgrade to 32gb for large CAD assys, RAM disk, and virtual machines. 1866 because the price difference was negligible vs 1600.

840 EVO: good price/performance ratio. Might get another and RAID0 them if I can find a good price on a second one

3TB greens: I had these laying around from an old NAS. They're mirrored because data redundancy makes me smile.

780Ti: When I was planning this build I originally budgetted for a 780 which at the time was ~$660. An extra $100 on the budget to get to the bleeding edge was a no brainer. I ordered the ACX cooler'd model. Now just need to get EVGA to ship my damn card!

Fractal R4: I wanted a quiet case with lots of HDD bays, decent airflow, reasonable cost, subtle design, and dust filters. The Define R4 checked all those boxes. I've got the Fractal case fans in the back and bottom positions and the NF-A14s in the front two positions. You can hardly hear this rig running, even when folding at full throttle.

PSU: 860w platinum is way overkill for this system as it sits but I want it to run cool and quiet and be able to SLI in the future if I get the hankering.

Shine 3: I tried this at my local NCIX and fell in love. I haven't bought it yet though, suggestions for other KBs (white backlight only) to check out?

G602: Wired mice are the bane of my existence, Logitech makes good stuff. (Haven't purchased this yet)

COP's: These are my do everything headphones, comfy and they sound good. Might upgrade to a proper gaming headset eventually.

U2713HM: I was originally planning on a 24" high-refresh gaming panel but this went on sale and I couldn't resist. It bumped me over my $3k cap but I think it's worth it. 27" of 1440 IPSy goodness. So purrty.

Will update with more pictures and info when the GPU shows up and gets installed. I'm kicking around buying the Corsair pre-sleeved PSU cable kit but it seems kinda expensive and relegates the stock cable kit to the overflowing cable drawer. I've read some tutorials for sleeve-your-own. I understand it's time consuming, tedious work. Is it worth it to sleeve myself? About how long would it take a person with slightly above average technical ability to do them up?

Comments, likes, and suggestions are appreciated!

*Update 27 Nov 13*****

Tidied up cable management and snapped a couple fresh pics! Looks much tidier IMO.. Just need to fill up that gaping hole at the first PCIE slot O_o

*Update 22 Dec 13*****

Graphics card showed up at the beginning of the month and got installed! Also bought a blu-ray player on Black Friday for ~$50. Finally snapped a picture with the 780ti. This thing is a beast, it maxes out everything with great fps. Super happy with my build. Glamour shots of completed machine to follow after Christmas!

*Update 1 Feb 14***** NCIX finally got the Shine 3 back in stock in the switch/backlight combo I wanted. Brown switches, white LEDs. It should show up next week!

Comments Sorted by:

Zeus 1 Build 2 points 48 months ago

I would love to see some more pics!

As for keyboard suggestions, have you looked at the Corsair Vengeance K95? Its an awesome keyboard with heaps of features. atm it offers cherry mx red switches and a white backlight

pikguard submitter 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

Thanks! I'll check out the K95. Reds aren't my favorite but it's definitely worth a look. I'll post more pics once the gfx card gets here and I tidy up the cables a bit.

kb shopping on the internet is impossible... need recommendations from real people, not reviewers

Zeus 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

forums are always are a great place too look around, and there are quite a number of awesome and friendly communities that are willing to help. Which switches are your favourite btw?

pikguard submitter 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

At first try I liked the tactile switches: Browns are my favorite. Although I could probably get used to the linear switches too.

Zeus 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

I personally love the Red switches on the K95, I haven't tried any other MX switches though..

Also, the Gigabyte Osmium (MX Brown edition) comes with white LEDs. Another great choice would be Ducky, they offer literally every different type of backlight and switch combo with some keyboards.

lachrymal 1 point 46 months ago

Corsair K70 is available in red, blue, and brown. Just as sexy.

pikguard submitter 1 Build 2 points 46 months ago

Thanks! Now that the Corsair RGB is coming out, I just might have to wait for that! It looks awesome.

lachrymal 1 point 46 months ago

Agreed. I'm getting the K70 anodized black for now and hoping for rgb for a birthday present.eye candy

Moops 2 points 48 months ago

Moar pics of this beast build! +1

BigBoss94 2 points 46 months ago

I've been scouting the internet for the parts for my first build, and I came across your build, which contains almost exactly every part I've chosen haha. This looks absolutely awesome, got one question though, the clearance on those dominator platinum's and the noctua, is that safe haha? I been looking at 2400Mhz Vengeance Pro's, although considering dominators, as you said, for the looks, but just though I'd double check about that clearance.

Found this image - http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/asus_maximus_vi_formula_review,7.html - the clearance seems better but I'm pretty sure its not using the 'red' ram slots, just thought I'd ask for your advice, thanks.

pikguard submitter 1 Build 2 points 46 months ago

The clearance is tight. I had to install the fan a couple fins lower than I normally would. If the fan is installed at its normal position, the bend of the wire clip interferes with the RAM heat spreader. If it's mounted too high, besides looking silly, the rubber vibration dampening pads interfere with the heat spreader on the RAM. As it sits right now, a couple fins low, there isn't any contact between the wire clip and the heat spreader. If I remember the sequence correct: I had to install the cooler, tweak the vertical position of the fan, then install the RAM. It wasn't as simple as install-plug-play, but it wasn't really difficult by any stretch of the imagination. I took that picture from Vortez and drew in the approximate orientation of the heat spreader with respect to the fan here, my best guess on clearance is on the dwg.. ~.02": it's not much but is a visible gap.

That pic from vortez you found must have the RAM installed in the black slots. I would've done the same, except I was hoping to upgrade to 32gb with a second 16gb kit. I WAS waiting for RAM prices to go down a bit but it seems that the price is being driven up.. probably a function of the weakening CAD$ and the fact that RAM is a ridiculous commodity with an insane market. Maybe one day I'll get a kit <$200CAD.. but I've got a feeling I'll end up purchasing a $300 kit somewhere around the time DDR4 starts to become available :P

If you have a specific macro shot angle of the clearance between the RAM and the fan that you'd like to see I'd be more than happy to snap a few for you.

Djangosp2 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

Excellent build my friend. This should serve you well for quite some time.

FlimFlamPhlegm 1 point 48 months ago

Nice build! How do you like the Custom One Pros? Are they worth the $200?

pikguard submitter 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago


They're good headphones imo. Depending on where you're shopping from you can find them for a little less than $200, especially as "Consumerism Weekend" in the US approaches, they might go on sale :P

They sound pretty good for closed cans. I'm not an audiophile and I can't compare them to more expensive headphones but they are sounded better to my ears than the other headphones in this price range that I tried out.

Reviews on audiophile websites are mixed with some people loving them and some not. I get the distinct feeling that about half of the people that frequent audiophile boards are just spouting bs... so take that for what it's worth :D

ImElkay 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

The corsair k95 looks good. It has red switched and is white backlit. I would personally go with the Ducky though.

sycosnip3r 1 point 48 months ago

Gorgeous gorgeous build, but I think you could make it look way cleaner by pulling all the cables a little tighter into the case.

pikguard submitter 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

Cheers bud! Those pics were taken when everything was being installed. I've since done a bit of cable management and will finalize with some fresh pictures when the graphics card shows up

The wait is killing me slowly....

PickItApart 1 point 48 months ago

more pics please. great build.

SumanIV 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

Love it.

jaredt 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

Good balanced build. +1

domsap 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

you could mount the SSD behind the motherboard than remove that top hard drive cage for better air flow from the front fans but 90 degree sata cables aren't really compatible

pikguard submitter 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

Yea, I like that spot. I just wish you didn't have to remove the mobo to get at the mounting screws. Thinking about getting a friend of mine with an NC mill to make me some little brackets to hold the ssds in without blind screws. Thanks for the feedback all the same!

YoanTeodosiev 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

Its hard to give 3200 CAD and not SLI...

pikguard submitter 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

SLI's not all it's cracked up to be. For $750+change, a guy would be lucky to get a pair of 770s which only (game/situation dependent, of course) trade blows with a single 780ti card. With the noise, heat, power consumption, and the general SLI compatibility PITAs that I've experienced vicariously through friends with SLI rigs; I'll take a single card over SLI/Xfire at the same/similar price point any day of the week.

You've also gotta remember that that $3200 includes a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and headphones. That's essentially an extra $1000 in peripherals that most people don't usually factor into their system cost.

BigBoss94 1 point 46 months ago

Thanks for your quick response pikguard, I appreciate it. As I mentioned, this will be my first build and I'm a bit apprehensive about it, so I thought I'd just try and clarify this issue. Thats good to hear that there is sufficient clearance with the dominators, I've been considering buying them over the vengeance pro's, simply for looks as you did haha. I think I'm going to go with the vengeance's though bearing in mind their £60 cheaper, I live in England,they have pretty much the same performance and that can money can be spent elsewhere. I also found an image which compares the height of both types of ram - http://www.overclock.net/t/1402978/vengeance-pro-compatible-cpu-cooler/10 - and with the same fan as you, I just thought it'd be a safer bet. I'm planning on sticking with 16GB of ram myself and intend on putting them in the 'dual channel red' slots as you have on the formula. A few more pictures from varying close up angles would be great to see if you'd be able to also. In regards to the Noctua NH-U14S, I was wondering if you've purchased the additional fan for the other side? I'm planning on doing so and was wondering how it would fit on the formula considering its crosschill mounted aspect.

Its a massive coincidence that you've got almost every part I've been looking at haha, I'll provide a list to show you my plans -

CPU - Intel Core I7 4770K CPU Cooler - Noctua NH-U41S + 140mm NF-A15 PWN Fan MOTHERBOARD - ASUS Maximus VI Formula 1150 MEMORY - Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB (2X8) 2400Mhz (Red) SSD - Samsung 256GB 840 Pre Series HDD - Western Digital 2TB Caviar Black VIDEO CARD - UNSURE (EVGA GTX 780 TI SC) CASE - Corsair Obsidian 650D PSU - Seasonic P1000 Platinum Ultimate OS - Windows 8 MONITOR - UNSURE - Asus VG248QE 24" 144Hz/Asus VG278HR 144Hz KEYBOARD - Razer Blackwidow Yltimate 2013/Stealth MOUSE - Razer Taipan BLU-RAY - LG BH16NS40

In terms of the video card, I was going to purchase the one I've listed but with upcoming info of a possible 6GB Titan Black edition and the maxwell cards, I think im going to hold off on that part and but it last once some more information's been released.

Sorry this has been such a long winded message, and well done if you get through it all haha, you've been very helpful and I hope to hear from you soon.

pikguard submitter 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

It's a good thing you asked for more pictures! After taking a closer look at it for some macro shots, it looks like there was clearance on the left fan clip (picture and another picture) but it was just touching on the right fan clip. The effect is very pronounced with a flash (picture). Now that I look at this picture a little closer I see that I may have just had the fan installed somewhat crooked originally. Oh well, gives me an excuse to take it apart and vac up some dust!

So, to fix this problem: I ended up moving the fan up on the heatsink by about 3 fins (picture). Now, no part of the fan touches the heat sink (picture and another picture). The only problem I can forsee with this configuration, is that CPU temperatures may increase a bit because the fan is not pushing as much air through the lower fins where most of the heat-transfer is happening. I can't really say whether temps have increased much yet since I lost my stable OC settings a couple weeks ago when I updated my BIOS without saving/writing down my settings (D'OH!). Once I find time to re-tweak I'll figure out whether temperatures have increased at all.

As for push/pull on the NH-U14S, based on just eyeballing it, I doubt you'll have problems with the cross-chill. The benchmarks I've seen on various forums and tech sites point to a negligible performance boost on push/pull on this cooler though.

For your planned build, unless you plan on SLI in the future 1000W is pretty overkill. Altho, if budget isn't so much of a concern I'd say go for it. Your build looks great otherwise! One comment about the monitor, before you buy you should look at an IPS panel or two. They're not quite as balls for gaming in terms of response time but GD they look pretty. Iff you play lots of twitch games obviously a high refresh rate is the name of the game.

BigBoss94 1 point 45 months ago

Thanks for the response Pikguard, good to see that I managed to help somehow haha, and thats good news regarding the clearance. I've been thinking a lot and I'm gonna hold off for my first build and wait for Haswell-e and the x99 socket to be released, then hopefully I'll be able to upgrade the cpu to a broadwell-e later on. I may have to wait a fair few months but I'll hopefully be able to get the build I really want. Maxwell GPU's may be out at this point also.

In terms of IPS screens, I have been looking and am going to get one first, then in the future buy a TN 120Hz monitor got gaming etc, the best of both worlds. Cheers for the information buddy, you've been very helpful.

RavenBladez 1 point 43 months ago

This is like my future pc that im saving up for except that i dont know what fans to get. +1

pikguard submitter 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

Thanks! Obviously, the Noctua fans are great: quiet and good airflow. For what it's worth, the 140mm Fractal Design SSR2 fans that come with the case are also excellent. I can't tell the difference between the Noctuas and the Fractal fans in terms of performance. If you're looking to keep a consistent colour theme I'd say just go with the Fractals.

RavenBladez 1 point 43 months ago

yep, still thinking between the cases. i could do a haf x but i could do a fractal design define r4 or could go with a 900d for future water cooling oh though options...

Hakumisoso 2 Builds -1 points 48 months ago

R u srosly using onboard sound with those headphones?

pikguard submitter 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

Yes... I'm not sure I understand why you're perplexed. The M6F has a very good onboard sound solution.

Hakumisoso 2 Builds -1 points 48 months ago

Still not using them to their full potential. The onboard is good for onboard. but onboard will always be onboard. I would look into something like a usb dac.

I have the custom one pros, and my onboard sound doesn't do it justice, i got a fiio e10 usb dac and you can tell the difference.

Hakumisoso 2 Builds 1 point 48 months ago

EDIT: traded my beyers for vmoda crossfade m100s

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