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Build

The Sleeping Colossus

by violetgil

2
2 Comments

Details

Date Published

May 10, 2017

Date Built

May 6, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

4.8GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

35.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

75.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.56GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

11.0GHz

Description

This is my first computer build, and I was determined to try to go as top-of-the-line as reasonably possible. It's certainly overkill for my gaming tastes, but I'm planning on taking advantage of the next Steam Sale to pick up some more graphically intensive games that were out of my reach before.

The 1080ti + 7700k combo seems to be very popular at the moment, and I'm of the opinion that the 7700k is the only chip that enthusiast gamers should be considering from Intel. It runs everything smoothly at any graphical setting, and, from my use cases over a few weeks, the only time I could ever get the system under a load that could strain it was during synthetic benchmarks.

The case fit my needs perfectly in that it's essentially cat proof, but its source being an essentially unknown name does hurt its build quality a bit. I also managed to install things in the most difficult order possible. If you get all of the components first and then install in an order that makes sense, you'll have a much easier time with this case, and you'll probably get better cable management as well. It is a good middle ground between a mid tower and a horizontal motherboard faring cube case, however, as it will fit pretty much anything you throw at it. You can also probably aid airflow by adding an extra fan onto the top of the case, near the back, although my thermals are good enough where I don't think it's necessary. Also note that the one I got is windowless, as getting the window would be the difference between $50 and $100. I'd like to get around to doing a DIY window sometime in the future.

All of my thoughts on other components in this build can be found below. I'd like to get some feedback on how I did for a first time build, as I had a lot of fun building this and would like to get better at things like cable management and aesthetics over time.

Note that part prices will probably be lower depending on your area, as I had to pay a pretty steep sales tax as a Californian.

Part Reviews

CPU

This is a great CPU from an established brand and is easily the highest clocked CPU in the consumer market. It will handle pretty much anything that you throw at it, and the extra clock speed is great for applications like emulators that are notoriously single-threaded. The Ryzen 1700 is probably the better all-rounder at this price point, but if you're mostly interested in gaming and only casually stream/edit/create content, I'd recommend this instead, as the 7700k is certainly no slouch in that department either.

Also, overclocked to 4.8GHz easily using just the automatic OC tools on my mobo. You can probably reach 5.0GHz if you put any real effort into it, which is what drew me towards this CPU.

CPU Cooler

Great choice for if you want the power of a D15 on smaller mATX motherboards. Compatible pretty much all RAM sizes and graphics cards, no matter which mobo you use. Just make sure you install it in the correct orientation to save yourself the stress of having to do everything twice.

Motherboard

The only mATX 1151 motherboard with built in wifi and bluetooth. If you're willing to buy a cheap adapter, you can probably get the same functionality for a lower price, but if you're willing to shell out this has everything you need, and the extra software gives you a lot of bells and whistles to play with, including an automatic overclocker that doesn't suck. Every feature worked right out of the box, so no annoying drivers that keep the wifi and bluetooth from working.

I wish they got rid of two of the USB 3.0 ports on the back in favor of another 3.0 header though, and one of the 3 non-CPU fans is reserved as a "water block" fan, although you can probably use it for a chassis fan anyways without issue. Overall, good board but too expensive for its own good.

Memory

It's RAM, and it works. Make sure you go into your mobo settings to get your advertised speeds from the 2400 default.

Storage

My first SSD, and it works like a dream. More than enough space for an OS and all of your most well-travelled games.

Storage

Good, cheap 7200RPM drive. Time will tell how reliable they are, but I fit my entire Steam Library in this with over half a TB left to spare.

Case

I had a very specific set of limitations: Wide enough so my cat wouldn't be able to knock it over, but compact enough to fit on a desk, yet roomy enough to take a full size cooler, graphics card, optical drive, and media card reader while still having good airflow. I also wanted the horizontal motherboard layout to eliminate the risk of component sag. This is probably one of the only cases that ticks all of those boxes, with enough space to fit everything above in the top compartment.

The horizontal motherboard layout is made even better with the removable mobo tray, which works as well as you'd expect. the space on the bottom houses the power supply and the hard drive tray, which can take 4(!) drives. There's quite a bit of dead space in the bottom corner for another optional hard drive cage that never got released, which sucks, but overall the form factor was exactly what I needed. It also has more features than you can shake a stick at, with 4 USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0, and 4 included fans.

The build quality, however, was hit and miss. The drive trays in particular are low quality, and I felt like they were going to break as I installed my 3.5 inch hdds. I also don't like the locking mechanism for the PCI brackets, which nearly broke my motherboard when a metal piece fell onto the board as I was installing my graphics card. There are also quite a lot of screws involved in terms of holding everything together, which is going to rub some people the wrong way.

Honestly, this is probably a case that appeals to a very niche audience. My requirements are likely way too specific for most people, but if you happen to fall into my camp, where you want everything and have a cat that could potentially wreck, this is the perfect case for you despite the build issues. Everyone else need not apply and can pretend this is a 3-star.

Power Supply

A great power supply with a staggering number of cables to work with. The option for a fanless mode works wonders in getting a quieter setup and doesn't sacrifice power stability. This thing should be able to power whatever you throw at it.

Optical Drive

It's a bit on the slow side, but it works and it's one of the cheaper BD/DVD/CD optical drives, especially for ones that can write in all three formats, and it works well.

Monitor

Good for one of the cheaper 144hz monitors on the market. The adjustment options are great and give you great flexibility to situate the monitor to your preferences. The viewing angles aren't great and the colours take some calibrating to get right, but it's a good monitor to start 144hz gaming with. The speaker is a nice touch, if on the mediocre side.

Keyboard

It's a good little mechanical gaming keyboard that allows you to take advantage of the excellent Logitech Gaming Software interface on a keyboard with actual Cherry MX switches. Not many options if you don't want to use the software, as there's no way to adjust lighting from the default wave animation unless you're using it.

If you plan on getting a Logitech mouse to go with it, this is a great choice so that you can take care of all the settings in one place. Otherwise grab it when it's on sale.

Mouse

It's massively (and probably overly) expensive for a mouse, but it's also probably one of the best all around mice on the market. The sensor is the most accurate and responsive I've seen in both wired and wireless mode, and the shape and weight is perfect for most any hand size and use case. A great choice if you can afford it.

Comments Sorted by:

shanerobs45 1 point 5 days ago

I like your build there's really no need to have a side window with the motherboard in that position. Was it easier to install parts with the motherboard in that orientation? I thought it was funny because my cat does the same thing when I'm on my computer jumps on top or on the keyboard lol. With that cpu+gpu combo you should be good for years to come waiting on my own 1080 ti sc black i just ordered from evga.

violetgil submitter 1 Build 1 point 4 days ago

I'd assume that people building in standard towers would just lay the case on its side so they can install components with the mobo horizontal, and they have the added benefit of being able to take off the side panel completely while building. This case in particular has a removable motherboard tray, which makes the initial installation much easier. Adding extra components afterwards is much more difficult, however, since you can't pop the top off of the case completely. You either have to work through the sides, which is a nightmare, or undo all of the cables to remove the motherboard tray again.

If I was under absolutely no space limitations, I probably would have gone for a case like the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO or the Thermaltake Core X5 to get the same horizontal mobo benefits with much more space. Keep in mind that my case is still an mATX.