My first exposure to PC gaming started with a pair of Lenovo Y510Ps for my wife and I about two years ago. The Laptops really blew us away as we had been console gaming for about a decade! The SLI 750m GPUs Let us play most games on High settings, but we never saw much more than 30FPS... I am active duty Air Force, and currently stationed in Japan, I go out the door 3+ times a year and the Lenovo has really served me well as a Gaming rig on the go. This year we decided it was time to get serious about our Setups, So I Set a budget of 1500$ per rig and we went about building two Rigs for some serious gaming. We really wanted to pick up most of the parts locally, unfortunately the selection is really limited, and with the Japanese Yen being weak right now, prices for most parts varies from being the same as Newegg or 25% over cost (or more!) The other reason is that not all retailers will ship to an APO. Luckily the only place this was a factor was the RAM.
Case: Lian Li PC-V33WX
After browsing this site I really set my mind on a Compact Cube design, but most of the cases in that form factor are Mini ATX or ITX. When I found the Lian Li PC-V33WX I knew it was the case I had to build around, as I really wanted to build an ATX rig for the most flexibility with hardware as possible. The Glass side panel, and sleek brushed aluminum case really makes the High price worth it in my mind. Another cool aspect of this case is the fact that with the side panels removed, the front flips up and the whole rig turns into a test bench. Although I don't have much need for a test bench, It really made sliding the components in and out a breeze. We wanted to go with Zotac 980Ti GPUS, so this meant I couldn't run a 240mm AIO... The max GPU size is 330mm and the Zotac extreme is 328mm, this left me no room for even a normal fan. After looking at the design I realized I could fit a Slim fan in the front part between the panel and radiator cage. Picked myself up some 15mm slim fans and they just barely fit in the opening. Overall this is a solid case that is probably one of the best looking out of the box I have seen.
CPU :Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor
Initially I was going to go with an i5 4690k to offset the cost of my case, My wife decided to go with the i7 and I just couldn't let her have more computing power than me (yeah I'm petty like that). I decided to eat the cost difference and chose the i7.. i know it's not a huge difference and I could have over clocked the i5. But we play a lot of Simulation Heavy games and it would really suck to be left in the dust, not able to keep up with her rig.
CPU Cooler :CRYORIG R1 Ultimate 76.0 CFM CPU Cooler
After realizing I couldn't possibly run a 240mm AIO, I decided to look for the largest, Highest performing CPU Cooler on the market. The way the case lays the ATX board on its side, Really elimintes any fear of a heavy cooler hurting the board. and there is a ton of headroom in the case. I was looking at the Noctua Cooler, but after some research I found that several websites listed the Cryorig R1 Ultimate as having a lot better performance than the Noctua. Plus it looks way more Bad ***! This is mounted with Artic Silver 5
Thermal Compound :Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste
Does the Job
Motherboard :MSI Z97A SLI KRAIT EDITION ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
I have future plans to go SLI when the 980ti is no longer pulling its weight with current titles. The color scheme of this board was spot on and it is only 15$ more than the Z97S board, The main difference being this has USB 3.1 and a few other features I was looking for. Price isn't showing ($136.99)
Memory :Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory
So we were going to pick up some Ram locally, unfortunately the Japanese yen is weak right now and Ram is about 25% over cost of NEWEGG. In fact almost everything is roughly 25% over cost, and the selection is very limited. We ordered the Low profile, Higher clocked Corsair Ram just because it seemed to be the most reliable, and for 10$ more than the 1600 ram in the same configuration.
Storage :Samsung 850 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
So I made a Mistake when I purchased this SSD. Although it is M.2, it uses a SATA3 interface, this means that it is not 10GBs speed, but 6GBs. If I had known this I would have just gotten a 2.5" SSD, Basically I am only gaining the form factor in the configuration. Still cool, But useless if you want to transfer or do anything outside of your rig.
Video Card :Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB AMP! Extreme Video Card
This is the most bad *** 980ti I could find on the market.. It's also the biggest at 328mm. This left me with some changes in cooling, but ultimately I sacrificed very little for a lot in GPU power. The Card fills the entire length of my small compact case. it sits next to the glass panel and is really the showcase of the build. Later I will add some Purple LED lighting and will update the pictures when I do. the Stock clock on this card is insane (1253) and even though I will eventually overclock some of these components, I really don't think I will feel the need to for quite some time...
Power Supply :EVGA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
The biggest thing I can say about this power supply is that for the price, I don't think there is another power supply that has as nice of cables in a modular design. The finish is sleek and unless you are gaming it goes into eco-mode and is essentially quiet. When I game I wear Surround sound over the ear headphones (Sony elite pulses) and Fan Noise doesn't affect me at all.
Mouse- Logitech G502
really love this mouse, previously I was using a relatively cheap 1600dpi Cobra. The amount of flexibility of the G502 really lends to why it is rated so highly among gamers. only downside is the fact that the LED color cannot be changed. although the newer models do have full RGB Leds. I would buy this mouse again.
Keyboard- Tesoro Excalibur RGB
So For the money, I am extremely happy with this keyboard. both my wife and I use it and it has fully customization RGB keys with multiple macro/profiles. Cherry red keys and really rugged feeling with braided cable. I know Tesoro isn't a very well known company, but i'm sold.
Headphones- Sony Pulse Elites
I have used these headphones for almost 6 years, I really cannot say enough good things about them, they have been deployed with me several times, and offer a virtual surround experience I haven't felt in another headset yet (they have have motors in them that pulse with the bass). I have left a full review on Newegg, and I will be buying this exact headset again when these break.
Future Plans: So In the future I am hoping to add a 1/2TB 7200 HDD. I actually have a 8TB NAS that is currently networked for us both to use in our home theater (has over 3000 movies and 3TB of music). I want to add some RGB lighting. and some cable mod cables in purple. Maybe next year i will add another 980ti in SLI, or perhaps the year after. We are currently looking at 21:9 1440 Monitors, I will update the build when we get them. I will continue to use the Lenovo laptop on the road, and am very pleased with the purchase. for a 4 year old laptop it's just now starting to show its age.
In Closing: Really happy with the build. I will get my wife to post up a Build Log on here as well. We set to build two 1500$ gaming computers with very little compromises, and despite going over budget by a few hundred, there isn't really any component holding the build back. I can't wait to put some mileage on this build. I will update the component reviews once I get the new monitor and have a few months on the parts.
Sorry if you are reading this early and I haven't uploaded many or decent pictures yet. Currently pictures are low quality Mid build pictures, I will update soon I promise!
This is a welcome upgrade over 8.1