Yeah, you read that title right. I HAD to build this! It was necessary!
Kind of... if you just believe hard enough.
So here's a bit of backstory to explain myself... if you don't care about me, skip the first two paragraphs below, and if you don't care about any of that nonsense, skip to the line.
You see, I receive money from Social Security because I am unable to get a job. Why that is doesn't matter, but ideally, I would save up the money to do something meaningful with it, like starting a business... but I can't. If my balance ever goes above a certain amount, I get cut off. I'm literally required to waste my money every month. Pretty cool, huh? So I figured, why not dump it into something nice? I could, so I did!
I like to plan builds on this site for fun on occasion. I'll pick a price range and a vague theme and put together a part list I liked based on that, maybe save it for some reason, then go do something else. Almost all of those lists were ITX systems, for you see, I do not believe in wasted space. I'm the kind of guy who believes buying a full size ATX case for your i5 and 1070 is a retarded decision, no matter how big your hands are or how afraid you are of small spaces. I'm wrong, but I digress.
This is one list that I put together one day on a whim. I decided to make the craziest, most powerful system in the smallest case I could find, with no price limit. Never did I imagine I'd actually build it. What actually kicked this whole build off was when I noticed on one fateful day in November of 2015 that I had slightly over $1000 saved up and needed to get rid of it... so I bought the 5960X on impulse, immediately regretted it and cancelled the order, then rationalized the idea of going through with building this computer and re-ordered it.
As soon as the processor arrived, I hugged it and loved it and named it George, then came to the sudden realization that I was actually going through with this plan. It's worth noting that until this happened, my last computer was worth about $1000 in total, and I considered that "a bit extreme." Naturally, I had to share this wondrous feeling with my friendpals, and some of them shared it with some of their friendpals, and I had found a naysayer! To this day, I don't know his name, and he probably doesn't even remember whatever happened (I know I don't,) but he said this was impossible! That it would melt the polar ice caps or something! Bah! I showed him! It only melts plastic on occasion!
And so began the 15 month plan. Every month or two, I would buy a new part or two until I had everything. I was also fortunate enough to have an amazingly generous friendpal who was willing to put some of his money down on my behalf (for which I am eternally grateful,) which is the explanation for the missing or reduced prices on some things. Were it not for his help, this build wouldn't have been finished before June of 2017, nor would I have been able to begin using the system as soon as I did. Wouldn't you know it, my previous computer was starting to crap out due to a faulty motherboard and power supply, and it failed mere days after getting just enough parts for this system to run in October of 2016.
Let's get this out of the way, first and foremost. This is overkill, and I know it. I do not currently, nor will I ever truly need anything near the processing power in this system. One graphics card and a 6700K would have been completely sufficient, but that's not the point. Overkill is the point. I do need all 10.5 TB of storage though, that's actually getting used.
CPU: Bought on impulse when I noticed I had the money for it, immediately cancelled, then re-purchased after some thought. I still believe 16 threads is more than I need, and I haven't ever actually seen it go beyond 50% usage unless playing a certain triple-A game at 5760x1080, or when rendering/encoding stuff.
CPU Cooler: Death to water coolers! I hate them, I hate water cooling so diddly-darn much. I understand the benefits and I don't mind the idea of maintenance, but what I absolutely cannot stand is the sound of the pumps. Goodness gracious, the pumps. I've listened to all kinds of water cooling pumps, and they all produce a sound that just grates on my eardrums. Cannot stand it. So I got the biggest air cooler I could fit in the case. Job done.
Motherboard: It had the features I wanted, and it wasn't ASRock. At the time of purchase, it was also the only mATX X99 board in stock. I do kind of wish the M.2 slot was PCIe 3.0 x4, but 2.0 is fine. Shame I don't get the full NVME goodness though.
RAM: Because I can. I wanted 64 GB, I wanted fast, and frankly, I just wanted the TridentZ looks. At the time of purchase, this was the fastest kit available, and the only color... and then two days after the return window closed, the black and yellow kit came into stock. It's irritating, but it's fiiiiiiiiiine...
Storage: Here's the part that makes my friends and family ask the big questions, to which I have big answers. First, I bought all OCZ SSDs because I like the warranties. RD400 is a boot drive with key programs also installed on it, the 960 GB drives are 100% dedicated to games (not in RAID,) and the 240 GB drives are used as scratch disks and cache for the mechanical hard drives. I bought Western Digital because I will not have Seagate in my house, and the comparable Hitachi drives were too loud. 4 TB because I'm set to begin working with many large video files in the future and need to keep local backups at all times, and I already work with a lot of music and audio, but those drives are mostly empty for the moment.
GPUs: Two 1080s because of course two 1080s. What else? For the sake of it, I also wanted the biggest graphics cards I could fit in the case, not only to maximize cooling performance, but also because I'm a glutton for punishment and just have to cram as much nonsense as possible into small spaces. I actually wanted the Zotac Amp edition (not extreme) cards because I think they're just amazingly beautiful, (prettiest graphics cards I ever done seen!) but they were just too big for the case.
Case: It was the smallest case I could find that would fit all this hardware and still look good... enough. The SG10 would have been my choice if it wasn't for the strange brushed look and very obvious hole behind the mesh. I also like Silverstone a lot, and as a cat owner, I like included dust filters even more.
PSU: It fit the case, had the power needed, and is quiet. I was originally looking at a Silverstone unit, but I preferred the 80+ Gold certification of this one. I actually chose this based on the recommendation of a member here on the forum, but I seem to have deleted my thread (and all my other completed builds,) which I don't remember doing, so I don't remember their name. If you see this post, person who helped me, leave a comment!
Optical drive: Uh... I don't actually have a reason for this one. I just kinda... bought it... for reasons. To watch the blu-ray movies I don't own? Sure. Maybe it's to play PS3 games on that emulator that's not really usable.
Other things: Sound deadening material is just something I wanted. It does precious little, what with the unfortunately necessarily sparse application of it, but it does have enough of an effect for me to be pleased with it. Got that Akust kit for the same end goal of sound deadening. Rubber bits for mounting the hard drives has made a significant improvement. The Cablemod cables not only look good, but were 100% necessary to actually have cables that would fit in the case. And finally, Noiseblocker fans for reasons evident in the brand name. If only they made a 180mm model... the top fan on the case is the loudest component of the system until the graphics cards get hit hard with something.
For these benchmarks, I didn't turn off any system processes, didn't disable additional screens, and only closed most (not all) background processes. These scores are not as high as they probably could be (especially not the Valley score, something's wrong there,) but I don't much care about that.
Click the benchmark titles for screenshots.
Intel Extreme Tuning Utility: 2156 Marks
RealBench (Updated): Image Editing: 154984 (Up from 132286) Encoding: 284173 (Up from279224) OpenCL: 165652 (Up from 159090) Heavy Multitasking: 236838 (Up from 222313) * System Score: 177281 (Up from 166410)
Cinebench R15 (Updated): CPU: 1743 (Up from 1710) GPU: 170.21 (Up from 159.81)
Unigine Valley 1.0 (Updated): Extreme HD Preset: 5059 (Up from 4442) (I still call shenanigans on this one, even after the update. This just seems too low for the hardware, and I don't know why.)
Unigine Heaven 4.0 (Updated): Extreme Preset but at 1920x1080 fullscreen: 4153 (Up from 3989) (Shenanigans for the same reason as Valley.)
CrystalDiskMark: A lot of big numbers that mean pretty much nothing in the real world. (A+B = SSDs, C = RD400, H+L = HDDs)
Ambient temperature of the room for all of these benchmarks (which is when I measured the temps in the post) was 21 C (70 F) and did not fluctuate more than .2 of a degree celsius.
OVERCLOCKING AND STUFF
Someone says I didn't push any of my hardware hard enough, but I think it's just fine how it is. CPU is overclocked to 4.5 GHz core 3.5 GHz cache, and it's stable after a 24 hour XTU stress test, and a separate 24 hour RealBench stress test. Voltage is at an adaptive 1.2.
The graphics cards are overclocked asynchronously with a voltage curve using MSI Afterburner. Max core clock for both cards is 2062, but only the bottom card sees that number very often. Both cards have the same memory overclock of +500. You'll have to let me know if that means it's effective clock is 11000 or 10500, because I don't understand that myself.
RAM is overclocked to only 2667 MHz, because the system becomes very unstable (like flipping a switch) beyond that frequency. However, as shown in the RealBench screenshot, the real good stuff is in the timings, which are 12-12-12-32-1T. Completely stable.
All in all, this was a really dumb idea, but I did it anyway. I enjoy it though. I'd definitely do it again, given the chance. Heck, I enjoy building computers so much that I once built a computer for my friend on the other side of the country and shipped it to him without charging him a thing. I had that build posted here at one point, but it's gone now, and I don't know why...
I'm just very excited to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
It only took 15 months.
More pictures on Imgur: https://imgur.com/a/B5U1r
EDIT: Found the problem with GPU performance. The PCIe slots were running as 2.0 slots rather than 3.0 for some reason. Working on fixing that and re-running benchmarks.
EDIT2: Set the PCIe slots to Gen 3 this time and redid the graphical benchmarks. This time, I ran the Unigine ones twice, but they still seem to be performing less than optimally, especially in Unigine benchmarks. I don't understand it.