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Gaming and Editing Rig mid-life refresh - Summer 2013

by psherrard



CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

65.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate


GPU Temperature While Idle

29.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

50.0° C


Sorry for the crappy camera photos.

Updated my gaming rig that I built last year that ended up becoming my Do Everything Rig - http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/b/zJw

I wanted something a bit smaller and quieter which didn't heat up the home office as much. I replaced the stock cooler on the GTX 680 with an Arctic Twin Turbo II, which brought the GPU temps and noise way down, but I was still in a behemoth of a case.

Ditching the Corsair 600T, I tried out a Cooler Master HAF XB first. It was small, but the open-air design left it a bit dusty and noisy for my liking. I'd swapped out the stock fans on the H60 for Cooler Master Excaliburs, but they were a bit whiney at high RPM's.

I ended up settling on a Fractal Design Define R4. The appeal of the case is that it's noise-insulated, while still having room for adequate cooling and the rest of the parts I've acquired over the last 18 months.

While moving over to the new case, I changed the cooler from an H60 to an H100i, and the XFX 750 power supply for an EVGA NEX750G modular power supply to help with cable management.

Front-mounting the H100i with 4 SP120 High Performance PWM fans was a bit tricky, but ended up working out pretty well. My 2 SSD's are mounted on the backside of the motherboard tray, and my 3.5" is in a 5.25" slot.

I changed up my audio a bit, going for headphones (went through Razer Megalodons, Siberia V2s, some Logitechs before settling on the Razer Carcharias) and a ASUS Xonar DGX soundcard to power them.

On the monitor front, I ditched my Samsung 27" for a QNIX 2710 2560x1440 display, which runs nicely at 120Hz. The GTX 680 is overclocked to 1.2 GHz core and 6800 MHz memory, and plays all the games I like on ultra (Skyrim, WoW, Rift, SWTOR).

I decided to freshen my peripherals as well, going green with Razer Orbweaver Stealth keypad, Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2013 keyboard, and a Logitech G600 (because my man paws make the Naga feel small). Add in some glitz like the Razer mouse bungee and the Razer Goliathus ridiculously large mousepad, and my battlestation feels pretty good!

I'm running the fans through Corsair Link in silent mode, so they stay around 900 rpm, even under load @ 4.7GHz. Ambient noise in the room is about 30-32 dB, and putting a meter right up to the front or back gets readings of 34dB. Pretty quiet. Taking it up to 4.9 GHz, the fans have to run about 1400 RPM, and we go up towards 38-40 dB.

Honestly, at this point, OC'ing over 4.5 is less important to me than a quiet system. I've found a happy middle ground at 4.7, and nothing seems too warm - I top out around 60 C in Prime95 testing.

Any suggestions on what to do next?

Comments Sorted by:

godshawk 4 points 52 months ago

People'll complain about the 2500K and the 16GB of RAM, but if it works, then MOAR POWER TO YOU!!!! Lol

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 4 points 52 months ago

I haven't seen a need to update from that 2500k yet - that'll be on next year's list. and 16 GB of RAM has been great when working on ridiculously large video files, but not noticeable at all for gaming.

godshawk 1 point 52 months ago

See, then put that in the desc, because people'll see "gaming" and start foaming at the mouth...

Frostbyter 3 points 52 months ago

I haven't the need to upgrade from the i7 920 yet, running a Titan with no bottleneck so its all good up in the hood.

Smily 1 point 52 months ago

Exactly. Honestly, jumping from a dual core to a quad core makes a difference. If you jumped from that to a 3770k or 4770k, I doubt you'd notice a difference. I don't think you can bottleneck yourself with an Intel (core) quad core just yet.

on4209 1 Build 2 points 52 months ago

Wow those are pretty good temps for a 4.9 OC on that cooler. Nice build!

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

Thanks. I had it at 4.9 with the H60 as well, but was seeing temps under full load in the mid to high 70's, sometimes as high as 78. The H100i with 4 fans is MUCH better at cooling.

ageedb 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

Wait, what kind of monitor is that?! I may be showing my ignorance but I thought 120hz and high resolution did not exist yet!

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

Korean monitors with IPS and PLS (mine is PLS) displays. You can overclock them to 120Hz, or spend more and they arrive already overclocked. Amazing deals on them, but essentially no warranty.

ageedb 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

Would you say its worth the risk? I was planning on getting the 144 hz 24' asus monitor.

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

Totally. Do some research by googling, but I felt happy with the Qnix over the Yamakasi Catleap, and had it in 4 days after ordering.

ageedb 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

Off your experience, how is the quality? I've always been big on buying name brands and knowing what I am getting. But high resolution with high HZ just sounds amazing.

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

The quality is astounding. I use an Apple Thunderbolt display (pretty much the same panel, only IPS), and I actually like the QNIX better for the matte finish and the 120 Hz overclock. Moving windows around on the desktop has an odd, surreal quality to it.

Colors are fantastic, there's no light bleed, and no dead pixels, so nothing to complain about - it's a $1000+ monitor for 1/3 the price.

Gjeven 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

Very nice, was debating on getting the Fractal R4 instead of the case I got. Would like to have the option of using two 120 fans in the front without having to mod my case.

Great overclock too, wish my CPU would OC that much!

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

The R4 has a great plastic enclosure that the front that has a filter, and allows 2x 140mm fans to just pop in. 120's will fit with screws, and a radiator fits, but strangely.

Thanks, got a lucky 2500k and hope it never dies on me.

Apach3 3 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

wow, 4.9 on a 2500K! any luck on breaking 5?

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

Once, for about 10 minutes, but not at all stable. Even 4.9 will have crashes if I leave Prime95 running long enough (24 hrs +). I got a very nice 2500k, so I consider myself lucky.

Apach3 3 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

absolutely, a stable 5GHz overclock is pure luck no matter what the brand is.

Smily 1 point 52 months ago

What's that on the 680? It doesn't look like EVGA's superclocked signature backplate X extreme K cooler or whatever they call it.

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

Arctic Accelero Twin Turbo II - which is basically what the new EVGA ACX cooling system is. Mine's just uglier :)

Smily 1 point 52 months ago


BR4NDN3W 1 Build 1 point 51 months ago

Nice build. I was wondering if you had any pointers on mounting the H100i in the front of the Define R4. I plan to do this upgrade for my rig but I just want to be positive I can accomplish this as I don't want to mount the unit on top. Do you just screw the fans to the plastic fan mounting bracket and then screw the radiator to the fans? This is the only way I see it happening.

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 51 months ago

Trying to remember how I did mine. I have 4 fans on my H100i, so I put the back two fans on first. I then removed the plastic fan mounting bracket, laid everything down, placed the two front fans on top of the h100i, the plastic mounting bracket on top of that, and then screwed it all in. Then I mounted the whole assembly through the front of the R4, and everything just reached where it needed to go. Fan cables were pretty tight to the H100i's Corsair Link controller, so I just zip-tied them to the cooling lines to hide them as best I could - you may want to consider some extenders for those fan cables. Let me know if you need help - sorry I'm a week slow replying.

A.C.P. 0 points 52 months ago

Why 680 and no 770?

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

It's still the same 680 I had from last spring. I've been thinking about a 780, but after testing the 680 OC'd at 2560x1440, there hasn't been much reason to upgrade yet.

Gjeven 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

but but..the green GTX780 led is sooooo pretty :)

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

I know! And I just upgraded all my peripherals to green lighting. Part of me wants to figure out how to change the R4's blue power light to green as well.

duramax08 1 Build -3 points 52 months ago

Yet another "heat from cpu going back into the case" build...

saw1833 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

While it can be agreed he would benefit from reversing the direction of his fans as to expel CPU heat from the case rather than into it, I feel you could have worded it more politely. Just a thought.

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

Sure, I'm bringing cool air from outside into the case, where it's heated and expelled into the case. I could have the H100i as exhaust, but then I'd be in a negative pressure situation, with only the 1 140mm fan at the back bringing air in. My house is dusty enough, I figured this would be the best way to keep the PC dust free. Even under full load, temps don't go above 38C inside the case, and the air being exhausted is hardly noticeable as warm.

If you have a suggestion as to a better way to set up the fans, I'm totally willing to change things around. This method was suggested to me as the best option so far.

duramax08 1 Build 2 points 52 months ago

You already bought the parts so theres no point in going back. My only suggestion is to plan ahead a little better next time. Sure the 2 x120mm radiator is great for cooling and it looks awesome but it just doesn't fit this build, err case. Will the heat from the CPU affect anything inside the case? Probably not. I would of gone with a 1x 120mm radiator though. The way I see liquid cooling is being great at cooling off the CPU AND exhausting the heat right out of the case so inside case temp would be lower which leads to lower temps for your peripherals. Dont mind me though, its just my OCD kicking in.

Also you mention a dusty environment, check up on that radiator frequently.

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

I spray it out once weekly, and I still have the H60, but the temps with the H100 are 10C lower. I could use the 2x 140mm at the front to bring air in and mount the H100i on the top, but I'm concerned about noise.

Gjeven 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

Dunno, it looks like he sacrificed some temp increase inside the case for noise reduction. Looks like he kept the noise mats in the top of the case instead of using it for ventilation. So if he didn't use the cpu cooler as intake his case would be super negative.

He doesn't seem to have any temp problems with a really nice OC. So probably noise reduction was more important to him.

psherrard submitter 5 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

Spot on! I kept the noise deadening materials in place, and only bought the windowed R4 because it was on sale for $79. Couldn't justify $40 more for half a panel of sound insulation :)