Description

Hey all! This is my first build, and I for one welcome our new robot overlords. I was a Mac person for 10 years, but when they canceled production on my 17-inch MacBook Pro and jacked up all the prices, I just couldn't justify it anymore. Every mac I ever bought would overheat and fall apart in two years. I'm a filmmaker and a gamer. I wanted a machine that could handle all of my needs and stay frosty while not breaking the bank. I designed H.A.L. so that he could edit 5K video seamlessly, handle design work perfectly, and also play any game I had a yen for on high settings.

First choice I made was to go with fan cooling rather than liquid cooling. I adore the way liquid cooling systems look, but it seemed far too advanced for my purposes. I had no intention of overclocking my CPU, so I decided to stick with wind. Honestly, PC part picker was an incredible help in designing everything. I went through every single component and read a ton of reviews for each one. I also watched every YouTube video review and unboxing I could get my hands on. After that, I posted my build on Reddit and was given a few suggestions by pros, one of which was that I use the Noctua fan, which is incredible. My filmmaker colleagues are all hypnotized by the aesthetic of Apple computers, so I wanted to create a PC that would be even more beautiful to look at. Because of that, I went with the 780 T Corsair case. I love the white and black contrast, which feels very Kubrickian, and the side panel window is lovely. Since it was my first build, I decided not to go with a mini ITX or mid tower case. I wanted something big that would have enough room for all the fans I intended on using. Something that was almost like a piece of furniture or an art installation. In this age of mobile devices and iPads and pods and portable things you drag around with you, I wanted HAL to be stationary, monolithic, and imposing. My price was a little above two grand.

The build itself took about six hours total. I used Newegg's build videos as a guide. It was terrifying at moments, but everything went quite smoothly. The Noctua fan is huge and requires this massive bracket that goes on the back of the motherboard. I was terrified that when I stood the case up, the Noctua would just rip off the motherboard, yanked down by its own weight. The designers of the fan did their homework tho and it stayed on beautifully. It's kept my processor extremely cool and despite the beige colored fans, it looks quite futuristic. I love the iron spikes on the front. Very Mad Max. I used the thermal paste that comes with the Noctua fan instead of the Arctic Silver 5.0. I also purchased the Rosewill toolkit, which I highly recommend. The only thing I didn't have in my initial build was an extra SATA cable to connect the Western Digital drive to the motherboard. The 780T assumes you won't be putting in a Blu-Ray drive I guess. I had to order that and plug it in a week or two later. I made a few alterations to the 780 T. The first was that I added three 120mm red LED Corsair exhaust fans to the top of the case. My goal was to have an incredible amount of airflow constantly moving so the hot air would be sucked up and out as it rose. The three top fans give a lovely ruby glow through the dust filter. I wanted almost everything to be a combination of red, black, and white. The MSI graphics card has a beautiful white dragon logo in the front and red lighting, so I decided to leave the two white LED fans that come with the Corsair780 T in the front, but I replaced the back fan with another red LED which has a nice effect. After the initial build, I noticed that my processor was extremely cold but it seemed like my GPU was mostly cooling itself through its own fans. I was hitting temperatures of 67 while playing video games with maxed out graphics and 35 idle. I know that's perfectly normal, but I decided to see if I could lower it. I bought another 140mm Corsair red LED fan and put it in the bottom of the case so it was angled at 45°, aiming up at the GPU. In order to stabilize the fan, I used zip ties to anchor it against the drive cage. I was surprised at how tightly locked in the fan was after I did that. There's probably a better way to lock the fan in, but with my limited technological skills, the black zip ties are totally unnoticeable and the fan, even when shaken by a human hand, doesn't move. I was delighted to see that the temperatures on my GPU immediately dropped to 31 Idle and 59 at full tilt. I also use MSI afterburner to keep an eye on things.

I can't tell you how much I love this computer and how thrilled I am at his performance so far. I also love the monitor I got. It looks gorgeous. I debated a lot about whether or not to get a 4K or 2K monitor, and in the end I'm very pleased with the 2K. The scaling of certain windows 10 apps and PC games makes the 2K a better choice imo. I also love this graphics card which easily handles any game that I want to play at max settings. Just to be clear, HAL is not a silent computer. When he's on you can definitely hear a lovely, soft whooshing sound. Personally, I find it very soothing, but those who want a quieter computer might want to consider less fans in a build like this. Personally, I couldn't care at all about the noise the computer makes. What I wanted was a cold, well functioning machine that looked beautiful. I know one day he might gain sentience and quietly tell me in a monotone voice "I'm sorry, Carlo. I can't do that."

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Comments

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Pretty nice part choices... The cable management could be much better though. I wish you would put leds/ lights in the case and not the fans for better lighting for the pics. Pretty nice build though... One more thing for improvement sake, that psu is not bad... Just not good for the price and would if you want to get a better one get a seasonic, EVGA b2, p2, g2, gs, etc. Nice first build!

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Will! Yeah, my cable management coulda been better for sure. Another reason to keep the interior dark! Speaking of which, I ordered LED case lights, but couldn't figure out how to get power to em. They just wouldn't turn on, so I figured it wasn't meant to be.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Lol your so calm about it. If my led strips didn't work I'd be like "AHHHH! WHAT THE FUUUUUUUU-" head explodes

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Heh heh heh!! I think I was just so blissed out that HAL actually turned on and worked! My friends had been rolling their eyes for months, convinced I could never build a functioning computer. In your face, friends!

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha lol. Everyone in my grade knows I built a computer and now I get asked questions about every single day and it's annoying.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I guess it was. I just wish you had lighting to see the parts for the pictures.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

eye would like to know what you were doing with that eye!!!!! hehehe

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Eye see what you did there

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Hehehe

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

You need to add the triple deer hoofed lamp to your parts list. Nice pc build +1

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Heh heh heh! I should. Some day I'll combine my interests in taxidermy and PC building. Some terrifying day.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Lol damn. Ok that that would be neat to have a stuffed bobcat/mini itx build. The eyes could glow when on and the mouth could be an air inlet. Unfortunately all the wiring comes out the arse.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

That is wonderful! It's so pretty too. Since it was your first time building, I want some beginner tips. I'm going to build pretty soon too. What were some of the "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I BROKE ITTTTTTT" parts and what were the "OH YEAH" parts?

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks so much!! Okay, so the "Oh Yeah" parts first.

  1. When I opened up that Rosewill tool kit and started using the phillips's head screw driver with the handle that twists and has multiple, interchangeable heads. That thing was so incredibly useful and the twisting handle allowed me to really get everything tightened properly. Get that kit.

  2. Using the right amount of thermal paste. I'd read online about folks putting too much paste on and it squeezing out all over the mobo once the fan plate is screwed on. Newegg suggested putting in a small blob the size of a pea. The fan plate pressure will spread the paste out over the CPU. I did just that and no excess appeared after the Noctua was attached. Felt like a pro.

  3. Using fan splitters. I put in a lot of fans and quickly ran out of 780 T cables to power them. At first I was crestfallen, then I noticed that the Noctua came with some fan splitters. And I also realized my two prong fans would work in three prong slots on the motherboard. When they all turned on, it felt great. To be clear tho, two prong fans on three prong slots won't have speed control from the motherboard, they just run at full blast all the time. I had no problem with that tho. In retrospect, buying a few more fan splitters before my build would have made sense.

  4. Using that grounding bracelet. At first, I scoffed about this. Static electricity in my carpet-less apartment? Pffft! I did it anyway, and even with the bracelet on, a static charge jumped from my finger when I was screwing a fan in. Luckily it didn't hit the mother board. Made me think about how many charges were diverted.

  5. Keep a sense of humor. When I first saw all the little cables in the 780 T and realized I had no idea where they went, I started to panic. The Newegg videos skip past cable plug-ins. I went into the bathroom for a minute and just started laughing my head off. Making a PC is like making a movie, it's a little crazy. A bit of a wild move most people wouldn't do. You gotta embrace the craziness of it. I came out of the bathroom and realized the MSI motherboard manual had links to YouTube videos for every plug install. Pulling it off felt great.

Okay, now on to the "Aaaaaaahhh I broke it!!!" Moments.

  1. No signal to the monitor. First time I switched HAL on, there was no signal to the monitor. I panicked. I had built a giant, glowing paperweight. Maybe the ASUS was defective? I tested the monitor through my PS4 and it worked fine. That's when my heart sunk. On a whim, I plugged my television into H.A.L. and the bios screen popped up. WAVES of relief. I did a little dance and loaded up windows. Now, for some odd reason, my ASUS monitor started working. I plugged it back into H.A.L. and wow, everything looked HORRIBLE. Windows 10 was all low res. Took me a little to figure it out, but I was using my HDMI cable when I should have been using the CTI cable plugged directly into the GPU port. After that (and switching WIN 10 to max settings) it all looked 2K gorgeous. I would recommend going into the settings for each Windows app and turning off the upscaling preferences, so that everything looks crisp.

  2. Over-tightening screws. At first, I used the wrong screws to put in the motherboard. I back-tracked, taking them all out. Unfortunately, one screw's gears got stripped and wouldn't fully loosen. I solved it eventually, but be careful not to over-tighten anything in case you need to take it off later. Also, it was a real headache figuring out which screws go where, and they're so small that if you drop them, you may never see 'em again. The Rosewill case comes with extras if you need em. Go Rosewill.

  3. Plugging in cables after GPU install. I'd recommend plugging in all your little cables to the motherboard (especially those SATA cables) BEFORE you install your graphics card. The graphics card blocks the motherboard ports a little and made it harder for me. Also, make sure the SATA cables are where you want them when you plug them in. The latch they come with really locks them in there, making them near impossible to remove at the angle they're in.

That's it! Hope it's helpful.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow thanks so much. Now i know what to expect :)

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Sure thing!