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RBW (Red, Black, and White) i5-7600K (with 6600K comparison), Asus Z270-A Prime, MSI Gaming X 1070 Rebuild

by themasterofrobots

5
6 Comments

Details

Date Published

Jan. 10, 2017

Date Built

Jan. 8, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

3.8 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.506 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.108 GHz

Description

Benchmarks: http://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/2522171

Performance: Very satisfied. As mentioned, I max out both the CPU and GPU on well optimized games. Right now, I can run Battlefield 1 at the ultra preset, 100% render scale, 95 FOV at 85-90 fps at 1440p. Overwatch runs at 130-135 fps at all maxed settings, 100% render scale, 103 FOV at 1440p. System is pretty quiet as well, though it runs somewhat loud with both side panels on due to imbalanced out/in airflow (see fans). Temps at the OC (see below) are about 32C at idle, can creap near 70C during load.

Comparison vs 6600K: The Skylake i5-6600K that was previously in here was pumping out Battlefield 1 at 85 fps, Overwatch at 120 fps. This was with the Skylake 6600K overclocked to 4.3 GHz for all cores. I have my 7600K at 4.7 GHz for four cores, 4.8 for three, 4.9 for two, and 5.0 GHz for single core. Both are capable of handling more with stability but I like to have a little extra bit of stability and lower thermal stress and I'm also locking voltage at 1.3V. I was able to get 7600K to hit 5.0 GHz on all cores, but it would eventually throw an error after 15 minutes of prime95 or hour+ gaming session that heavily taxed the CPU. So I dialed it down a bit. I did a terrible job of applying thermal paste, but I also noticed that the CPU does tend to temperature spike a little more severely than my 6600K, and of course run hotter because I'm running it at higher clocks.

Goals: This is my first PC build (hoorah!). So actually, this started life as a Skylake + Z170 computer during black Friday. I started off with i5-6600K + MSI Z170-A Pro, but the MSI mobo had defective PCI lanes. Went for an Asus Z170 Ultra Gaming, wouldn't boot 20% of the time and bad overclocking performance. So yay.

I built this primarily for gaming, with the goal of wanting to be able to play AAA FPS's at/near 144Hz and also wanting it to perform very well for VR as well. I decided to hold off onto grabbing a VR headset for now, but will probably will hop on the bandwagon in a few months! When building this, I also kept in mind future proofing, and kept looks/color scheme as a secondary goal.

Budget I initially started with the great gaming build guide as my base (although knowing I was going to go mid-tower and ATX), though in the end it ended up being in closer to the excellent build guide. My initial target budget was $1200 for the system (so excluding the monitor), ended up being $1350 excluding the monitor. Eh, this is how things work :).

Other Parts In addition to the parts listed, I have an old 1080p Dell Monitor used as my secondary monitor, and also recycled a boring Dell membrane keyboard + Havit HV-MS732 gaming mouse from my laptop setup as well. I also purchased a Logitech c922 webcam for both video and array mic purposes (~$50). I also had a spare Windows 10 Pro key that I snagged from my university before graduating.

What I will upgrade: My first upgrade will actually to be to chuck my membrane keyboard and grab a mechanical keyboard probably :) But in terms in machine, I'll probably decide to upgrade the PSU to something higher quality components, 800W range for SLI , and 80 Gold or above sometime. I might also throw a second 1070 and SLI it. So much for "eh, SLI is dumb". TBH think I've built this to be a pretty good machine that won't need any changes for the next 2 years at least, as the PSU + SLI change is really overkill :).

What I would change if I wanted to save money (aka guide for people who want to follow my build): I would probably look for savings in the storage side first. The NVMe is probably my worst price for performance upgrade. Not to mention I have nearly 1TB of SSD space and 3TB of HD space, which I don't need. If you can be satisfied with one 512 GB SDD or pair it with a TB HD, that could easily save you $150-200 from my price (just be aware that you lose performance if you use smaller than 512 GB SSD drives). The other main thing that you could cut down is the monitor. Right now GSYNC is super expensive. If you want to get a 1080p 144Hz, you can run everything easily at 144Hz so the gsync isn't necessarily, probably can get a good one for the $200-250 range. If you want to cut down further, the case could go down to a S340 to save you like $30. After that you got to consider serious system changes, and then you shouldn't use mine as a guide :P

Fans: All fans are NZXT FN V2's, as 3 came with the case and I decided to keep with the theme. One 120mm bottom inlet runs constantly at low speed. The rest of the chassis fans are controlled by the manual fan controller build into the case, including two 120mm inlets at the front, one 120mm outlet at the back, and two 140mm outlets up top.

Since I do have two 140mm outlets and one of the inlets is constantly on low (bottom inlet is pretty loud if I run it on mid/high), I do have slight to moderate negative pressure. I don't have enough mobo fan inputs to control everything automatically, but I'm trying to think about my options ...

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Great CPU cooler. Nice and compact compared to a lot of other air coolers, very quiet especially at idle, and it's extremely cool. Doesn't block RAM slots (though note this is only true in the configuration where the fan points towards the back of the case, not where it points to the top). Very glad I got this, water cooled options are like double the cost, plus a lot of them come with not-so-great-fans so you want to replace them with new fans, just adding even more to the cost. It was actually the first part I bought for my build. Built-in thermal paste is quite good as well.

Memory

I actually got a GeIL EVO Forza, but it's identical, the only difference AFAIK is the cosmetics of the heat spreaders. Apparently GeIL is a pretty well-established company, just somewhat new in the direct-to-consumer memory category. Well, all I can say is the RAM looks great, and has gone straight to 3000 MHz without any issues once XMP is enabled on two different motherboards.

I wanted 16GB cause I like to game without closing my browser, which sometimes has like 100 tabs open. I was a little concerned it wouldn't be enough cause I hit 75% usage constantly with 8GB, but I haven't had any utilization issues with 16GB at all. I did want to go for DDR4 RAM for future proofing, better performance, and now it's about the same price as DDR3 (and in that line, Kaby Lake mobo). I went with 3000MHz DDR4 RAM cause 2133MHz has pretty bad latency issues. In exchange, I went with a not so well-known brand. So far, it's been a great decision. The RAM looks nice and I've had no trouble hitting 3000MHz. I do notice that the system does do much worse when I don't have XMP enabled and the RAM runs at the default 2133MHz, so I suggest that everyone spend the $10 extra or so for faster RAM. Reviews online say that you maybe lose "only" 5-10% CPU performance and not to bother, but let me ask you: is 5-10% of your system performance worth $10? Here's some metrics for non-believers.

http://www.techspot.com/article/1171-ddr4-4000-mhz-performance/page3.html

Storage

This is a cheap SSD. You're not going to break any speed records with this, hovering at about 550MB/s sequential reads and 500MB/s sequential writes according to CrystalDiskMark. But it's still going to beat platter hard disks by a long shot, so you've got great value here.

Storage

So NVMe is the future. But if you're looking for top of the line NVMe SSD performance, look elsewhere (for example the Intel 950p series as of this writing). If you're looking for bargain basement SSD deals, also look elsewhere.

So why does this deserve a 4-star rating? Cause it's the cheapest NVMe drive on the market today, and if you can get it for a steal during Black Friday, it's pretty comparable to regular SATA SSDs.

NVMe drives are, in theory, great for system performance, especially when you need to grab a lot of small files like an OS needs. Since they move away from the disk platter model that AHCI had to follow and acknowledge that you can parallelize disk operations since you have lots of chunks of flash memory, plus reduce latency by eliminating lots of steps, you should have awesome system performance. Some online reviews have found a pretty negligible effect on boot times though, so make your own judgement.

Anyhow, this is a M.2 drive. NVMe works through PCI lanes, so no 600 MB/s limitation. I found that with crystal benchmark, I was able to get about 1900 MB/s read, and 570MB/s write speeds. So your read speeds have tripled and your write speeds are a little lower than that of top-of-the-line SATA SSDs. But these results also don't test the biggest advantage, that of multi-queue performance advantage over SATA drives. There are super expensive drives (like the 950p series I mentioned) that can double that read speed and get >1000MB/s write speed and have an even larger gap in multi-queue situations, but those also cost 4x as much.

So if you want to grab an NVMe drive but need to save on your budget, the 600p series is your drive.

Storage

It's a great platter hard drive at a nice price. 220MB/s sequential read and write speeds according to CrystalDiskMark. Great value.

Video Card

Multiple reviews indicate that it has superior cooling design (no hotspots), noise, and extra 6-pin power input in addition to the 8-pin standard compared to other brands. I don't have other cards to compare it too, but I can confirm that the card is very quiet and cool. Gaming X is fine enough, has a nice sleek design that set the red-colored theme, and I don't need to pay more for the additional factory overclock of the Gaming Z. Mine seems to not want to quite break 2000MHz core clock, but that's probably partially due my pretty bad PSU.

Case

Okay. Boy. Well I have a lot of feelings about this one. First of all, the case looks freaking fantastic. RED RED RED. Not having the completely transparent side panel is a bit of a minus though, as only half of the side is transparent. Nice cable management space, built in fan-controller is great, and 2 each of USB3.0 and USB2.0 on the front is great. BUT. 3 5.25 bays kind of shows its age. I think 2, 1, or even 0 would have been a better choice. Admittedly I have a lot of flexibility to get a adapters for 2.5 or 3.5 bays, but I don't know about the 5.25 bays. Speaking of which, the push-to-open mechanism feels awful, and the bay covers look cheap. The 3.5 bays aren't great either. The tool-less design is hard to get drives into. Having the middle 3.5 bays be removable for long GPUs is great for compatability, but for example if you have a 279mm card in the 280mm space but you want to remove the bay anyhow for additional clearance, well now you lost 4 of your 6 3.5 bays. Would have been better to see a 2 2-bay sections. Also, the case is pretty large as well for a mid-tower. However, the fans it come with are quite nice in my opinion. They're not high CFM fans, but they are exceptionally quiet: so much so, that I decided to return the Corsair AF120 quiets and ordered a bunch of the NZXT fans because the Corsairs were noticeably louder. Remember two fans is twice the airflow of one fan but only like ~1.3 times the perceived noise. No LED fans for me cause I sleep in the same room, although I usually turn it off overnight.

Power Supply

Whelp, here's where I tried to be cheap to scrape some savings out. I was like "eh, why pay $80 when $30 will do the job". And hey, I think it was a very good deal on a pretty well reviewed 80 Bronze though admittedly more mid/low-range yet still semi-modular PSU, and my system runs fine. But I think it's probably priority #1 on my future upgrade list, cause it maybe is holding back my ability to overclock, and the current capacity is probably blocking my ability to change to a more power hungry card or multi-cards. Plus the Corsair Link feature is super cool.

Case Fan

Awesome fans if you know what you want. These are amazing for quiet operation. Other fans will have higher CFM, but these are nice and silent while still producing a respectable CFM. They also look super nice as well.

Case Fan

Awesome fans if you know what you want. These are amazing for quiet operation. Other fans will have higher CFM, but these are nice and silent while still producing a respectable CFM. They also look super nice as well.

Monitor

Okay. Well this thing is a beauty. The headline specs of 1440p, 144Hz, 1ms, and GSync should just leave you in awe. 27" is actually somewhat large for FPS's, but that's a first world problem and it's great for other games though that need more real estate

IMO, GSync is a near requirement for 1440p and 144Hz gaming. Unless you have some SLI setup of 1070's or 1080's or a Titan, you're not going to hit 144Hz 100% of the time in AAA games at very high/max settings. Therefore you're going to want the GSync so that your frame rate still looks super smooth. I had no issues with setting up GSync with my card. And WOW. 144Hz is buttery smooth, and GSync gives you a tear-free picture even when you can't quite hit it.

What about the picture quality? I had no issues with the brightness. I found the gamma and black levels to be average, but honestly I think the picture quality looks pretty good after some fiddling in software + display menus. I do notice a bit of color-banding though, which is quiet unfortunate.

However, these issues all seem to be very commonplace in 144 Hz screens. There are stories of large variances in all 144 panels, especially in backlight leakage. I found mine had extremely minor but uniform leakage, so I thought it was fine.

Other features not touted: There's a physical button that lets your switch between 60, 120, and 144 Hz. This is super convenient. There's a feature called Ultra Low Motion Blur, which pulses the backlight off for smoother motion. The more the backlight is off the smoother the motion gets, at the cost of the max brightness decreasing. I found that ULMB of 50% was the maximum setting I could stand for daytime gaming with respectable brightness, 10% for nighttime. Some people seem to prefer ULMB, others GSync. I prefer ULMB, but be aware that you have to turn GSync off for it, and you can run it at 120 Hz max. So in the end, I prefer to turn on ULMB for games I can consistently hit 120 fps in, and use GSync by default in case I'm playing something which I can't hit 120 consistently.

So the main downside is price in the end. It depends on the deals you can find, or if you can find a lightly-used model on the cheap like I did :)

Comments Sorted by:

HAMZANOVSKY- 2 points 24 months ago

Bro, when I put the intel 600 in the build! I get an issue of incompatibilities! is it ok with your motherboard?

themasterofrobots submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Yeah I've had no issue, have used it with 3 different mobos (first 2 were RMA'd due to minor defects in other areas). Which mobo are you using? You want to make sure the M.2 slot supports NVMe and PCI interface, and that you have it set to be using PCI instead of SATA in your BIOS.

Ryanboss52 1 point 24 months ago

How do you like the 7600k, I have the i7 7700k, but I'm looking for i5 benchmarks, do you like the 7600?

themasterofrobots submitter 1 Build 2 points 24 months ago

I think it's quite good. Gonna assume you're looking for a primary gaming PC. I'm not aware of any benchmarks out for the 7600K vs 7700K comparison, but looking at Skylake, there was a ~10% performance difference for modern gaming between the two at stock frequencies, kind of split evenly between higher stock clock frequencies and the i7's hyperthreading. The stock clock difference is the same in Kaby Lake, but it looks like the difference in OC frequencies might be kind of small. So you're paying for about ~5% difference in perf, which is still non-negligible. Plus DX12 games will eventually start using 8 cores and then hyperthreading will give a much larger performance boost.

IMO for pure gaming, I would go for the GPU upgrade (1070->1080/Titan/SLI 1070) before boosting the CPU. That said if you do plan to stream or do 3D modeling and video editing more than occasionally, the CPU upgrade gives you better overall system performance.

MARCOzid 1 point 24 months ago

what is ur idle GPU temp while fans don't spin ??

and is ur country cold or hot?

themasterofrobots submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

I'm looking at 35C at idle. My thermometer in the room says it's 66F, or 17C.