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."