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White & Simplistic // 7700K Kaby Lake Build

by bospk


After about 6 months of switching gear in and out, and being the recipient of some insanely high levels of bad luck , I finally have a stable running Kaby Lake build - and I'm chuffed!

My aim for this build was threefold:

  • I wanted a system with a minor level of maintenance;
  • I want an elegant aesthetic;
  • I wanted a straight forward build process

To help achieve the first goal I went back to air cooling (I had a Dark Rock 3 back in the day, and since then have been through Corsair and NZXT AIO's - both of which had to be returned for faults), which was a first step towards a calmer life. I find the inherent nature of a heatsink much more straight forward; apply the thermal paste, install the device on the motherboard, plug into the CPU fan header, fin. One less app to install and keep an eye on. As long as the fan is working, we're fine!

To achieve the second goal I made a seemingly 'backwards' decision by going with both an older case, and no RGB. Yes - aesthetics are subjective. So, with this in mind, I should clarify: my idea of 'elegance' is something which blends into the room, but not completely. It sits there, matches the surrounding environment in tone and presence, but doesn't draw too much attention. The white Define R5 hits the mark for me and my office environment.

And again, regarding the third goal, the Define R5 satisfied. It's a larger case, which instantly means I'm not too cramped when I'm screwing in the motherboard, or routing pesky CPU or fan cables through small. The selection of the Noctua also comes into play here. I had a good experience with my Dark Rock 3 back in the day, but it's no secret that Be Quiet's mounting methodology is infuriating. The NH-U14S has that straight forward 'position and screw down' mentality - which was an absolute pleasure to work with.

A quick note on new parts vs existing, as well as pricing; I sourced a lot of parts through eBay stores who were running sales at the time, so the total was no where near what PC Part Picker quotes. Also - I had several things before this build, that I've included on the list anyway (like the monitor, HS8's and things like that - which I've mentioned below)

P.S. added some bonus pics of the case feat. Marceline the cat for funsies :)

Part Reviews


My previous build had a Kaby Lake chip. I was semi-impressed with it’s overclocking ability, but I must admit I don’t think I stuck lucky in the Silicon lottery. Hitting 5GHz wasn’t possible, even with my Kraken X62, and a pair of Noctua NF-A14 Industrial PPC 2000RPM fans up agains the radiator. Sure, other things were probably involved with it’s downfall, but the one lesson was clear; these guys run hot. My plan with this build isn’t to go after a hardcore OC approach, but rather give the chip a bit of a boost, and then stop there.

CPU Cooler

I was debating between all sorts of CPU coolers; the Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 3, the Noctua NH-D15, NH-D14, NH-C14S and so on. I decided on the U14S as I figured it was a nice middle ground between cooling ability (a lot of folks with experience of Noctua CPU coolers stated that the U14S showcases a cooling performance not far from a NH-D14, but with a much smaller heatsink) For now it’s doing a stellar job, keeping the CPU within a very acceptable temperature range. I’ll consider putting a second fan on it if I need to, but for now it’s doing a great job.

Thermal Compound

When it comes to cooling, having had some negative experiences with bad chips and CPU AIO coolers in the past, I chose to avoid shortcuts. Forking out a little bit extra for a thermal paste which comes up quite a lot in stress and heat testing turned out to be worth it. This stuff keeps the CPU running cool, and was easy to apply.


It may not be the highest Gigabyte Z270 board available but for my needs it was perfect. It came packaged really well, and the bulk adapter for case electronics (Power LED, Reset etc) make getting that particular (often painful) task in the setup phase a real breeze. I love the smart fan headers, and the BIOS is easy to navigate and change around.


Super solid. No complaining here. It’s the Vengeance series. There’s a reason, despite their age, the demand for this model continues to grow as time goes on.


It's fast. It's real fast. The M.2 SSD was a lot smaller than what I expected but that's more a passing comment than anything else. It's just bloody fast. That's all there is to say :)

Video Card

Nothing to report that hasn’t been said before. I didn’t have the capital for a 1080ti model, and the online shop where I sourced the majority of these parts had. A few regular 1080’s for a reduced price. I’ve had an ASUS Strix 1080 in the past, but unfortunately that model was still a bit too much so this MSI choice seemed to fit the bill. No complaints here. It powers buttery smooth gameplay on my 1440p display at 144Hz. I would have liked to have seen a backplate on the unit, however.


I had one build in this for about 2 weeks but the majority of the parts, for no explanation, were just faulty. As mentioned above, it’s a joy to work in. I removed the mechanical drive bays which allows for a better airflow, as well as the CD drive bay. The build quality of the case is great (nothing feels flimsy or cheap), and the sound dampening material on each side is just enough to keep acoustic down low without causing overheating issues.

Power Supply

I was taken back at the quality of the SuperNOVA. The PSU unit comes in a nice bag, and all the modular cables are sleeved which really brings the internal aesthetic of the PC to a higher place. If I had a tempered glass or windowed case I’d go out and get a CableMod kit, but in this instance the cables that came packaged up were perfect. 750w easily covers my system requirements. There's a bit of coil whine which I'll have to keep my eye on. I imagine getting a replacement isn't too hard when such issues are present.

Wireless Network Adapter

I need the most help I can get when it comes to wifi signal in my current residence. The PCE-AC88 is blistering strong/fast, and if you aren't too worried about the large antennas on the unit, then I'd say absolutely check this PCIe unit out.

Case Fan

Noctua make downright amazing fans. I’ve used some of their NF-A14 fans in the past, and they blew a gale (with an great decibel rating) so the decision to remove the stock case fans and replace them with Noctua’s was a no brainer. The Redux model is slightly cheaper than the AF model, but the different is minor. The 1200RPM models I got is have just the right level of air flow, RPM’s, and acoustic readings to fit the criteria. I thought PWM would be handy in the event I want to go in and change the fan curve, but even at their maximum RPM the noise levels are extremely quiet.


I’ve had this monitor for just under two years. Once you go 144Hz you never, ever want to go back. This thing is a dream.


My only other experiences with mechanical keyboards have been with a Corsair Strafe RGB and a Razer Blackwidow X TE. The switches in the Strafe weren’t to my liking (despite being made as ‘silenced’ switches, they felt really unresponsive), whereas the Blackwidow was okay but sadly had to be returned as half of the board stopped working. I took the chance to try something else. The folks over at /r/mechanicalkeyboards, whilst being hardcore DIY enthusiasts, maintain that the Masterkeys series are worthwhile. I can now fully back them on that. Going from the custom switches of the Strafe and Blackwide (Razer’s trademark ‘green’ switches, which are similar in nature to blue switches) to standard MX brown’s is unreal. The keys have. A great tactile feel, and the finish is a nice brushed plastic which gives off a rubbery-feel


I’m happy with the mouse. I’ve had Logitech mice throughout the years, only having just had a brief stint with a Razer Deathadder (which I rather fancied), so using this was like returning home after a long while. The battery charge on this thing is really impressive, and the included sleeved USB cable is a nice touch as, even when it’s plugged in and chords are going along the desk, it has a really nice look. Bundled with my headphones, controlling everything through Logitech’s gaming software app, is a nice bonus.


The voice quality on the G933 is quite impressive. I’m not too thrilled with the sound quality, but I chose to pay a tad extra for the convenience of wireless so I can be up and about when I’m on web call with work or friends.


Not really PC related, but I thought I’d comment anyway. I’ve had these studio monitors for years, as I do a bit of music on the side of PC stuff/work. I run them through a Scarlett 2i4 audio interface, which is a reliable little unit handy for small jam sessions. I tend to keep these monitors plugged in even when gaming (mostly because getting up to switch them on and off all the time is annoying, but hey - they’re active monitors - so it’s required!) - which is fine if you’re use to a flat EQ.

Comments Sorted by:

Firewalp 20 Builds 5 points 20 months ago

Do you have any pictures of the inside when completed? Interested to see. Thanks. +1

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Also added some bonus pics feat. Marceline the cat :)

Firewalp 20 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Marceline is beautiful and so is your PC, thank you :)

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Thank you kindly :) I'll pass on your compliment to Marcy!

bospk submitter 2 Builds 0 points 20 months ago

Yep just uploaded some then :)

UneditedSkunk 1 point 20 months ago

Gunning for that feature spot! I love the close up of the 960 in picture 13, in fact all the photo's are top notch. Beautiful Job.

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Thanks friend :) I was really surprised when I got the 960 out of the box. In reviews they look small, no doubt, but wow - it's tiny in real life! Pretty amazing technology, huh!

FL350 1 Build 1 point 20 months ago

Crisp looking build! G900 is on my wishlist; seeing other people like it makes me more confident in my choice


bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Thanks a lot :) Agree. The M.2 market is starting to catch on, which definitely helped my confidence levels. Motherboards are catching up as well. In some older models you need to 'switch on' the M.2 slot so the HDD is essentially 'discovered' on initial boot (i.e. pre-installing Windows) but, at least with this Z270 Gigabyte board, it was plug and play which was a delight. Can't recommend this enough man. Let me know if you end up going with one :)

milomcp 1 point 20 months ago

Incredible case! Great build, awesome quality photos too. Great job!

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Thanks buddy. It's interesting isn't it; amidst the RGB and tempered glass fanfare, there's still room for a more 'traditional' looking case when the design is top notch, and the build quality is true. I love the look!

MannyPCs 1 point 20 months ago

This build looks amazing! The photos are so crisp, especially the one for the G900s


For a 1080 would you recommend 1440p 144hz or 4k 60hz?

bospk submitter 2 Builds 2 points 20 months ago

Thanks :)

I think that's totally up to you. The only thing I'd say is; can your GPU handle 4K? And even then, do you want to trade performance in the lines of refresh rate and overall stability for the allure of 4K (as pretty as it is)? I think the new 1080ti's will handle 4K rather well, but they may not get the kind of frame rates you'd get with a smaller screen.

For me, personally, I'd choose 1440p at 144hz every time because I love that silky smooth refresh rate :)

MannyPCs 1 point 20 months ago

I have seen a 1440p 144hz screen in real life and I agree, they are heavenly, but they are just kind of expensive, while with 4k you can get one as cheap as $250, so it is hard to ignore

clarkey93 1 point 20 months ago

I would have recommended the Asus z270e motherboard as it has fantastic built in wireless and Bluetooth, then you would have saved £80 on a pcie adapter. Otherwise a great build!

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Hah, funnily enough I had both the Z270E (and the Z270F before that) and I had to RMA the both of them (hence the mention of 'bad luck' in the post)

After struggling with two motherboards in a row (as well as some other parts) my (somewhat irrational) philosophy with this build was "avoid using brands you've had issues with in the past" (hence no ASUS motherboard, no Razer peripherals, no Corsair fans etc)

Thanks though :)

clarkey93 1 point 20 months ago

That's worrying as I have corsair fans and an Asus z270e motherboard! Luckily I don't own any razor peripherals! ;) id like to think its bad luck over bad build quality though, hopefully ill never find out.

Could you help me out? I've recently started using pc part picker, how on earth do you upload your build? I'm using the mobile version right now so I dont know if that's more restricted than the full site

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

I'm sure you'll be okay! I just think I was the recipient of some consecutive bad luck, as most of my history with ASUS has been rather positive!

Sure thing :) I was using it on a desktop so I'm not sure if it's the same method but basically navigate to 'See All Completed Builds' then, on the left-hand side where the filters are, there'll be a button that says 'Create A Completed Build'. That's where you want to go.

clarkey93 1 point 20 months ago

Ahhh thanks! Much appreciated! How did you find the r5? I was considering the black r5 but I decided I wanted tempered glass, would you like to take a look at my build? I haven't yet got photos apart from idle temps but id appreciate your feedback on the list. I know its an overkill system for what I use it for

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

The R5 is brilliant. There's a lot of space which makes building in it a breeze (and future proof's it in the event you want to put in a larger heat sink one day, or a 280mm AIO cooler/radiator)

Your build looks fine to me. SanDisk do good SSD's, and your Corsair PSU and fans will do the job well. I'm curious to know how well the Cooler Master V8 goes under gaming/pressure. I guess I'm a little skeptical of the Kaby Lake chips, as they have a tenancy to get really warm - hence why I spent a bit more and got a Noctua cooler to eradicate my fears of thermal throttling.

The Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX is a nice case. A good friend of mine has one. He was a little taken back with the build quality of some of the things (not quite what you'd expect from a premium-priced case), but the glass sure looks fantastic. It all comes down to your preference on aesthetic! I had a S340 Elite for a short time and found it to be way too small for my liking. Sure - the glass was nice, but it wasn't worth the time investment in getting RGB stuff 'perfect' and running out of USB headers due to lighting requirements etc. The list goes on!

Inaureoled 1 point 20 months ago

V nice build. What is that mousepad?

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Thank you kindly :) the mouse pad is a SteelSeries QcK XXL. I absolutely love it :) If you have the space for one, totally make the investment.

mlach 4 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Freedom Arm represent! +1 on the build! Noice!

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Heh, thanks :) I had to order it from Amazon as no one here in AUS sold them. I love it though. Especially with this desk which is a tad less deep than my older one, having some desk space freed up from the absence of a big monitor stand really helps!

mlach 4 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Absolutely agree, so much desk space was freed up without the monitor stands. I went with 2 of them. Now waiting for my XXL mousepad XD

Lyrix 1 point 20 months ago

1+! nice build! but why buy a that goodlooking motherboard when you dont have a window? anyways looks dope!

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Thank you kindly, Lyrix :)

Hah, have a read of the above. I wasn't really in the game for RGB 'anything' to be honest.

The inevitability though, with these current gen motherboards, is that they all have an RGB element of some sort (which, again, isn't a bad thing. It just isn't what I'm into at the present moment)

Lyrix 1 point 20 months ago

well yeah you are right it can be annoying but a window is nice anyways... you can turn those lights off afterall.

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

I'm not right, nor am I wrong. I just chose to do a build that suited my preference :) getting non-RGB stuff also helped the budget!

Lyrix 1 point 20 months ago

yeah of course but the motherboard is rgb andkinda very highend

ling_nammers 1 Build 1 point 20 months ago

Looks great! Aesthetically one of the best builds I've seen yet.

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Thanks a lot, ling! :)

Wolf88 4 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

This looks better than any RGB build, very nice.

Wolf88 4 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Also, another build on here used an nh-d15 and swapped the stock fans with the noctua iPPC fans and he got a 4-5c drop in temperatures. You gotta email noctua for brackets to mount the fan and they'll send it for free. Something to consider , I like noctua products.

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Okay great - I'll totally keep that in mind. The jury is still out regarding how well the U14S cools the rather warm Kaby Lake chip. If I need more grunt I'll totally upgrade to a D15 so something like the Industrial fans in the mix could be a winner. Thanks a lot :)

Wolf88 4 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

oh I just read again, you already have the fans. All you would need is the mounting clips. What is your clock speed and your temps ?

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

As in, I'd still need to email Noctua and get them to send mounting clips?

I haven't overclocked yet, so it's sitting at the default 4.2GHz at the moment (same as power - sitting at 1.3V)

Idle temperatures are sitting between 25 and 32 (more so around the low 30's since playing with the fan curves for both the CPU cooler fan and systems fans to not spin too fast until around the 65/70 degrees mark, so things are a bit quieter) and gaming usually goes anywhere between 50 to 75 (depending on the game, really). Again, those gaming temperatures were lower before I adjusted the fan curve. The max gaming temperature I saw, before doing so, was around 65/68 degrees.

Wolf88 4 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I was just saying that this person got better temperatures when he replaced his stock fans on his noctua cooler with the iPPC fans.

Then I re-read your description and you said "even with my Kraken X62, and a pair of Noctua NF-A14 Industrial PPC 2000RPM fans up agains the radiator.". So you already have the fan, you would just need to e-mail noctua and they will send you the mounting bracket for the iPPC fan, since the stock mounting brackets do not work with the iPPC fans.

Have you tried to set the Vcore manually ? If its on auto you are probably getting more voltage than you actually need.

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Thanks a lot, Wolf. Yeah I think there's a timelessness design aesthetic with the traditional look without the bells and whistles :)

AdorableNinja 1 point 20 months ago

How is the Noctua NH-U14S 55.0 CFM CPU Cooler doing so far? What are the temps? I'm thinking if I should get this cooler since I'm not overclocking the same CPU as yours.

Thanks for sharing your build, it helped and was interesting to read.

bospk submitter 2 Builds 2 points 20 months ago

Hi Mr. Ninja. The pleasure was mine. Really cool to see how many folks digg the old-school look and that there's such an interest :)

The U14 is going well so far. Idle temperatures range between the 25 to 32 mark, which is definitely acceptable. When I'm gaming the fan hits max RPM and a quick Alt+Tab out so I can see the Core Temp app says it's hitting around 70 which, again, isn't too bad. These numbers are without the CPU being overclocked though, so do please keep that in mind.

I'm keeping a very close eye on this stuff because I've found the Kaby Lake chip to be rather warm. If I decide to do a light overclock and things look a bit too got for me, I may consider upgrading to one of the more full-sized/premium CPU coolers from Noctua (D15, D14 or the D15S) to help cool things a bit more.

AdorableNinja 1 point 20 months ago

Those temps are not bad at all. I'm thinking maybe d15s allows to add or replace ram without removing the cooler. The other d15 d14 are huge and don't give much ram clearance? Or I don't know, maybe that's not an issue...

bospk submitter 2 Builds 2 points 20 months ago

Yeah, I'd go the D15S before the D15, purely for spacing reasons. From the benchmarks I've read through, there isn't much between them from a temperature POV.

Regarding RAM clearance; anything higher than, say, the Vengeance series from Corsair (like what I have in this build) would be risky. Check the measurements on the Noctua website, then compare it to the RAM you have. I know Noctua released the C14S for this reason, as a lot of folks with newer RAM models (i.e. with taller head sinks) were running into issues. The C14S is raised to allow for maximum RAM compatibility :)

AdorableNinja 1 point 20 months ago

Hello again bospk! May I ask you couple of questions, if you don't mind?

Can you share more details on why you stopped using AIO coolers and why Noctua? In your opinion, is Noctua better than Cryorig?

I'm really stuck in between:

  • Noctua NH-D15S 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler and
  • Corsair H115i 104.7 CFM Liquid Cooler

I have the i7-7700K not OC'ing it any time soon, maybe OC it a year or so later.

Thanks! :)

bospk submitter 2 Builds 2 points 20 months ago

Hi Ninja! I don't mind at all. Happy to help where I can :)

To answer your first question: I had a few unfortunate incidents with AIO coolers, including a faulty Kraken X62 which had some internal deficiencies which caused extremely unsafe CPU temperatures. Likewise, some of the fans that came with the Kraken were damaged, and quite brittle when screwing them into the case and/or radiator. On top of this, as I mentioned in the post above, I find air coolers a tad 'simpler' to both work with and maintain. It's one unit, you mount it, screw it down, and basically walk away. Sure - you can get a bit 'deeper' and modify some fan speeds to quieten things down, and that's simple enough. But compare that to installing a AIO cooler (mount the cooler on the CPU, find a location for the radiator, decide if the fans will sit in front or behind the radiator, download the software, maybe configure RGB stuff, toy with profiles to get your ideal setup going etc) and you can see why it's just a tad more straight forward, in my book. Especially with these modern 'S' model coolers from Noctua, and other brands, RAM clearance isn't as much of an issue anymore. You just need to ensure you have the right depth and height allowances, and you're good to go!

Regarding your second question: Yes, in my opinion Noctua is superior to Cryorig. From my research I found that the Noctua coolers come with better fans ('better' being a mixture of favourable air flow readings, acoustic levels, and static are pressure levels), better mounting system (take a look at some Noctua installation videos on YouTube and you'll see why it takes less than 7min or so to get one of these things up and running), and much better temperature readings under both idle and stress-based situations.

Here are some videos to check out, to help educate and compare :)

Hardwarecanucks' review on some Noctua coolers and sound tests

BitWit's quick rundown on AIO v Air and some things to know

Salazar Studio's shootout between D15, Dark Rock Pro 3, Cryorig and Deep Cool

Tech City's review of the D15S

Regarding the Corsair; it's a very reputable AIO. I guess something that could be a bonus here, comparing it to something like the Kraken, is that there's no RGB which means less setup time and taking up .a USB header on your motherboard :) But when it comes to comparing the Corsair and the D15S, I doubt there'd be much between them. Most top-end air coolers, like the D15 or D15S, perform on par with your mid-range AIO coolers (and better than low-end AIO coolers, and just under premium AIO coolers) - but we're only talking a few degrees here I'd say.

Hope all that info helps! Definitely check out those videos. The one where Salazar Studio compares the Noctua and the Cryorig will settle any debate you've been having; I find the Cryorig was way too noisy for my liking, and didn't cool as well as the Noctua :)

Cheers :)

P.S. I'll probably end up upgrading to the D15S myself, having spent the weekend keeping my eye on the U14S on a 7700K without OC'ing. The temperatures were actually fine, but the moment I start overclocking with the hot Kaby Lake chip I think the extra grunt of a 15-series Noctua cooler will really help out :)

toaster98 3 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Damn son where did you find that white R5 ?

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Hah, PC Case Gear in Australia! They're one of the biggest PC part sellers in the country. Check them out :)

aWaTT 1 point 19 months ago

Excellent build and your cat's eyes are BANANAS!

bospk submitter 2 Builds 2 points 16 months ago

Heh, thanks! I'll pass your compliments on!

AmazinBuilds 1 point 18 months ago


bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 16 months ago

Haha it's a beautiful case :)

TarikDurak 1 point 8 months ago

I'm really considering picking up this case to match the white drawers I have under my wallnut ikea karlby desk. Do you have any pictures of it on the desk? (I know this is sort of a weird question, but I cant find good examples since no one builds in these closed cases any longer).

Edit: Do you reckon a psu shroud should help with cable management and overall cleanliness? V1Tech sells custom psu shrouds for these cases and I'm used to not seeing my psu (I own an nzxt s340 elite.)

Culture445 1 point 5 months ago

Your cat looks taxidermy.... just saying... But other than that great build! Keep it up!

bospk submitter 2 Builds 1 point 5 months ago

Thanks for the...uh...compliment? Can confirm she is definitely real haha! Thanks for the encouragement, friend.

Culture445 1 point 5 months ago

Sorry. Lmao when I sent that I was really tired didn’t realize that it would be awkward.. Anyway love your build and you seem like a pretty nice guy! Have a good night/day! Best regards.