* Mail-In Rebates:
Power on the Motherboard? Yes.
BACKSTORY: This is my second PC build, and my first high end build. My last build was an AMD 7850K / GTX 760 mini itx cube in 2014, which was starting to struggle with new titles, so I felt it was time for a new project. As for the CPU and GPU choice, this build started in November during Cyber Monday, I've just been tinkering and modifying it until now. Since this was my first build where I was in control of the budget and build process, I initially wanted high end but not crazy (1070 type build) but after getting into the whole scene I quickly lost my mind and wanted the best of the best for my goals, which are 1440p 144hz gaming, and some CAD design + light video editing. I also wanted this build to look as insane as it performed, hence the excessive RGB.
INITIAL BUILD: As the parts rolled in my excitement grew, and once I had enough to get it running I jumped on the chance to build. I got it ready in a few hours and booted it up...success! All that was missing was the 960 EVO on back order. I later had to install Windows on that drive and wipe anything on the 850 I was using temporarily. The 850 is now used to hold most of my media or large games. My main programs and games are on the 960 for faster load times. I was extremely impressed with the performance, even in 1080p 60hz, but when I got my Dell monitor I was truly blown away, I'm hooked on high end! As far as RGB, I only had the HD120s and Kraken. Oh how that would change.
MODS/UPDATES: As I browsed this site before and after the initial build, I saw people adding interesting modifications or details to the EVOLV ATX case. The first being LED strips wrapped throughout the case including the top compartment to allow light to shine through the vents, and behind the front panel to give a nice glow. This was pretty easy and turned out nicely, the LEDs synced up to Aura, which has a quite nice music reactive setting. I used the leftover strips to light up the back of my monitor. The next change was buying the Corsair Lighting Node Pro, which unlocks the potential of the HD120s to use the full RGB spectrum, sadly their software is a work in progress and the # of modes is lacking compared to NZXT's software. After this, I noticed two people cut reflective black acrylic pieces and placed them in the interior of the case. This wasn't too difficult, the hardest part was cutting a hole for the rubber grommet with a coping saw. Really pleased with the reflective effect paired with all the RGB. It absorbs the excess light, making a truly deep black background, but reflects the brightest pieces like the case fans, 9mm casing, and hidden GPU LEDs. I also placed a small piece of acrylic to eliminate GPU sag. The front panel is custom made acrylic from mnpctech, and a fellow builder's use of this inspired me to get one too. Really unique look paired with the Corsair fans. The last two are minor - I added some heatsinks to the 960 EVO which greatly improved temps, and I re-routed a small LED meant for the front power indicator to the interior of the case to give off a subtle green glow. The LED is hidden by a set of custom sleeved cables by Ensourced, who did an excellent job, I recommend checking out his work. Lastly, I downloaded a piece of software that allows my keyboard to act as an audio visualizer, to match the one on my monitor.
ROOM SETUP: This is the main reason my post is so delayed - I was lacking a proper desk to fit my computer on, so I went and got a double-desk! This way I can work at my computer or game, and also have a separate space for any written work, hobbies, or computer maintenance. The racing setup was purchased and installed last week, and includes the following:
Thrustmaster TX Leather Edition Wheel and Base
Thrustmaster T3PA Pedals
Thrustmaster TH8A Shifter, with my own custom aluminum sub-plate for use as a handbrake
GT Omega Racing Wheel Stand
The whole deal ran me roughly $800, and I'm extremely happy with the experience, even with just one monitor. I plan to buy a racing seat and make it height adjustable so I can use it when playing non racing games as well.
FINAL THOUGHTS/FUTURE PLANS: I had a lot of fun building and customizing this computer. I know I could've gotten the same performance with far less $$, but I feel that if I'm going to sit next to it every day, it might as well be pretty. I don't always have it on all out RGB mode, I usually just set it to whatever color I'm feeling that day, or red to not distract my eyes at night, with a subtle glow or spinning effect on the fans/strips. I kinda wish I stuck around for the 1080Ti, but now that I think about it, I would've missed out on plenty of moments and improvements that wouldn't have happened without the new build. And from what I've gathered, there's never really a 'good' time to upgrade, because there will always be something better in X amount of time, just get what you need and when you need it, and don't get stuck on what could be better in a few months. When the time comes for me to upgrade, which I see as 1 or 2 years for GPU, and 3-4 for CPU, I will have something much better than what people are hyping over today. Also I may invest in a custom loop next time around. I hope you guys enjoy taking a look at my setup, happy building!
Works perfectly, just right for my needs. I think 4 cores will be sufficient for me for a few years.
Great temps, software has gotten better, however can conflict with Aura (kraken not detected etc) Great mirror and LED aesthetic!
Has everything I need, really easy to OC, no issues in the hardware. Only one odd bug (BIOS?) is that sometimes when shutting down the LEDs and fans stay on while the actual system is shut down.
Super fast, really clean look, OC'd as advertised, just had to tweak VCCIO voltage to avoid system instability.
No problems, blazing fast read times, and with some heatsinks installed it doesn't throttle.
Terabyte of storage, works well, always a good choice!
My favorite 1080! Sadly I messed with my first card and had to get a refurbished card that reaches slightly lower OC and has slightly higher temps. But compared to other 1080s, this is a beast of a card with very low noise.
Beautiful case, easy to work in, just wish the panel was hinged like the new mATX versions.
Worked so far, People recommend the G2 or G3, but I got this way cheap and it hasn't failed me.
Good noise level, performs well on radiators, and the LEDs are better than NZXT's fans IMO
You can't beat this monitor if you get it at a competitive price like I did. With some color correction it looks fantastic.
Great customization options, if you're interested, you can turn it into an audio visualizer! http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=139027 Always been a fan of MX Blues.
One of the best Competitive FPS mice - no unnecessary lighting, no software installation, easy to change dpi, comfortable feel, perfect weight, great sensor.
Great audio for the price, good balance. All i could say is it sometimes lacks bass, but I prefer this over bass that is over the top and crackly. However if your ears are large or even average, you may want to invest in some larger ear pads (search: Brainwavz Hybrid Memory Foam Earpad) as they will greatly improve comfort and wear-time.
Very clear. Picks up a little too much but a little thought towards mic placement will help avoid that.
Perfect size for a full sized keyboard and low dpi mouse setup. Tracks nicely and doesnt collect dust too badly. Has a rubber smell for a week or two initially.
Literally saves my life in games more times than i can count. If you do a lot of swiping and have some obstacles on your desk, this will eliminate any accidental snags.
Good quality, you can cut the strip every 3 LEDs.
Better than the stock cable my monitor had, no problems with handling 1440p 144hz. Highly recommend this.
Still a work in progress. The core idea is great, but I have to knock 2 stars because they released it into the market without implementing anything more than basic control, and the latest firmware can disable your fan controls, making you manually roll back the firmware to make it work again.