Description

This is my 13th complete build since I started last year in May. This is a secondary personal computer, used as a backup or guest computer; friends can come over to play video games, I can stream or watch movies on the TV, or I can haul this to LAN parties (I hate having to unplug my personal computer for LAN parties).

CPU: I couldn't pass picking this up for $250 from Micro Center during their holiday sale; it was too good of a deal. I'm personally a fan of the i7 (and the i5), since they generally have strong single thread processing, but with enough cores to also do multiple threaded processing as well. This gives a great balance of processing power so older games (generally single-threaded workloads) and newer games (some capable of multiple-threaded workloads) will work equally well. As a side note, currently, I have no interest in Skylake since (at the i7 level, i7 4790k vs i7 6700k) the price to performance makes no sense. Micro Center generally prices the i7 4790k at $279.99 and the i7 6700k at $399.99. From reading reviews and benchmarks, the i7 6700k only gives ~10% (give or take a few %'s) better performance over the i7 4790k, which does not justify the $120 up-charge (in my opinion).

CPU Cooler: Noctua's NH-U12S is one of the only 120mm tower CPU coolers that does not overhang the RAM and cause compatibility issues (like I found the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo did in my first build). I was drawn to Noctua for a couple of reasons; Noctua's CPU coolers are well known for performing extraordinarily well, even compared to all-in-one liquid CPU coolers, Noctua's fans are well known for providing high airflow and static pressure while being extremely quiet, and Noctua's mounting hardware is amazing, it's easy to use and mounts gracefully. Also, the performance is unreal; compared to past experience with the i7 4790k and the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, the Noctua NH-U12S shaved off ~10 degrees C. The i7 4790k w/Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo would run about 30-35 degrees C idle and 60-65 degrees C at load (in Prime95 V26.6). The i7 4790k w/Noctua NH-U12S runs about 20-25 degrees C idle and 45-50 degrees C at load (in Prime95 V26.6).

Motherboard: Personal preference; I love MSI, enough said.

Memory: It's RAM. Low-profile RAM at 2400 MHz with decent CAS latency. It works well. Also, gives me the option to use a larger CPU cooler if I decide to (like Noctua's NH-D15). This may seem counter-intuitive given my reasoning choosing my CPU cooler, but if anything, it means I have fewer constraints choosing parts to work with my build.

Storage: Probably one of, if not, the best SSD's at the moment. Samsung produces its own SSD controllers, firmware, and NAND. Given how much the prices have come down recently, it's really hard to go with anything else. For the up-charge, there is no reason for me to go with the Samsung 850 Pro 512 GB, based on my uses.

Video Card: Personal preference: I love MSI, enough said.

Case: I accidentally found out about the NZXT S340 in a previous build, but it has become my favorite case to work and build in; case airflow is superb, with nothing blocking the intake fans (no HDD bays), cable management is amazing, with the case bar and the power supply shroud. My only complaint about this case is the cheap power supply filter.

Power Supply: Personal preference: I love Corsair's (high-end) power supplies. There are plenty of other high-end, well-reviewed, power supplies to use, but I like what Corsair is doing. Corsair is pushing for more power supplies with digital control and monitoring (via USB link), fan off during low loads, and fully modular cables.

Fans: I mentioned this in the CPU Cooler section, but Noctua is well known for performance fans that provide high airflow and static pressure while remaining extremely quiet. When Noctua released their Industrial fans, I knew I had to have these. They provide all of the above features, and better yet, they come in black (instead of poop brown and vomit tan (thanks LinusTechTips)), and the IP67 are dust-proof and water-proof. For most people, paying $25 - $30 per fan seems insane, but as someone who keeps his personal computer on 24/7 and hates dealing with dust and pet fur, these fans are amazing. I have these fans in my personal computer, and I opened up my computer after 4 months of running to find that I had to do zero dusting, thanks to proper intake filtration and no dust build-up on these fans.

The power supply cables are from Corsair's website.

This build was completed in early January 2016.

Sorry for the crappy photos; I am by no means a photographer, and they were taken with my phone.

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Comments

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Great price on the CPU, and great choice on the rest of your parts! I'm in the same boat regarding what fans to choose. What fan is on the CPU cooler?

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

I swapped out the standard Noctua NF-F12 with a Noctua NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 IP67 PWM fan. Also, thanks for the comment.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Definitely. Its still around $500 here in Australia.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build, mate! Lots of great parts and consistency. It turned out very nice. Great job!

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice build with solid components!!!! +1

You definitely did an excellent job! :)

I love Corsair's (high-end) power supplies.

I agree this is an excellent unit (AX760) made by seasonic, the only problem I see is the price. When on sale its a great buy!

Also, gives me the option to use a larger CPU cooler if I decide to (like Noctua's NH-D15).

There is the S version (NH-D15S), that has more compatibility because of its asymmetrical design and performs the same as the non S version. The sad part is that its not compatible with your case......

Personal preference: I love MSI, enough said.

Only thing I hate about this card is that MSI didn't include a backplate. :(

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks pegotico,

I think I ended up with a $20 mail-in rebate on the Corsair AX760, which would have brought the price down to $129.99. Between all the builds I do, and how long it takes to receive rebates, I tend to forget about these. But I agree, Corsair is generally a bit pricey. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for full-themed, matching parts, and could have gone with a Seasonic X650 or EVGA Supernova 650.

I forgot that the NZXT S340 is a small case and barely clears the NH-U12S and the Hyper 212 Evo. You're right, I don't have compatibility, but I could always transplant the build into a larger case ... I won't since I like the case and CPU Cooler too much though.

Yeah, sadly, MSI didn't do a backplate on this model, but the other options were Gigabyte's Windforce, which does clock higher, but the fans are always on, and get loud from what I've read, or Asus or EVGA, which did slightly worse on benchmarks, but the EVGA one also had the problem where people were noticing that the heatsink wasn't lined up with the chip on the card. I'm still happy with the card, but yeah, first-world problems =D

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Well.. you can always purchase a backplate for the MSI.

I won't since I like the case and CPU Cooler too much though

Me too! I love noctua. Only difference is all my fans are brown.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

I should look into that, thanks for the feedback.

Yeah, gotta love Noctua. Honestly, I wish I had a build that gave me an excuse to use their stock fans in a theme. Asus' Z97 Gryphon was a definite possibility. Sadly, I haven't seen a whole lot of varying colors among Z170 boards.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

I know the 1.65v voltage on that RAM exceeds the recommended Intel max of 1.575v, how did you get around that? What clock speed are you running that RAM at?

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

The RAM is running at 2400 MHz at 1.65V, but this was set based on the RAM's XMP profile. All I did was go into the BIOS and change the XMP from Disabled to Profile 1, which had the preset speed, CAS latency, voltages, etc. I'm not sure if this is the answer you're looking for Vauun, but I'm not much of an expert on RAM at this level.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

You're not having any issues with stability, are you?

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

I haven't done any runs with Mem Test or AIDA 64 for stability, but I've used this kit in two machines, and I've used other 2400 MHz RAM at 1.65V (like G.Skill's Trident X series), and I haven't seen or noticed any problems. No random crashes or other oddities. Temps across the board are well within normal operating zones (on CPU and mobo). CPU-Z reports that the RAM is running as designed, for its XMP profile at least.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Neat.

Thanks!

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