Hello my fellow gamers!
I would like to show you my first overclocked CPU/GPU and first water-cooled PC build. This build was my 4th computer build, but the previous 3 were "plug and go" with no overclocking and air cooling. I upgraded from a Coolermaster Storm sniper case (a metal beast, but I loved it), a stock 3770K, an Asrock Extreme 6 motherboard, and a EVGA 980 FTW. I wanted a PC that could handle Star Citizen with a VR headset, The Division, and high end games for years to come. Please forgive my walls of text I wanted to include a detailed review with the build log, TL:DR in bold!
Case: Noctis 450--Aggressive case with trusted H440 layout and nice lighting. PSU shroud and Fan hub help hide the mess. Issues with paint finish and Hub setup. I loved this case when I first laid eyes on it; the trusted interior layout of the H440 with the aggressive look I wanted. It was a toss-up between this and the Coolermaster Mastercase 5 Pro. Bought for $126 from Directron on sale.
Pros: Fantastic aesthetics, above average airflow, excellent water cooling support and clearances, PWM fan hub, wire management with grommeted motherboard tray cutouts, PSU shroud hides messy cables, and nice case lighting.
Cons: Finish- A few times simply tightening the screws removed the paint
Panels- I cringed when I tried to remove the panels, I felt like they were going to break (I ended up shearing off the corner of one of the top clips on the front panel after I removed it the first time. Functionality wasn't effected).
Front dust filter- Please, NZXT, for the love of god, make it so you can slide the dust filter out from behind of the front panel on the bottom without having to remove the panel!
PWM fan hub instructions and setup-- The included instructions were not clear enough, especially with water-cooling units. I had to call NZXT twice to clarify how the hub should be setup with a cooling unit (they were very helpful). I basically was told the best way to wire this was to plug the Kraken's pump into the CPU_FAN header and attach the two radiator fans to the daisy-chain on the Kraken. You then attach all the case fans to the PWM fan hub and plug that into a CHA_Fan header. If you don't plug a fan into both the Kraken daisy chain AND the PWM fan hub "extension" (meant for the CPU fan) cable, your motherboard wont be able to read your fan's RPMs. Originally I had all of the fans connected to the Hub (leaving the Kraken daisy chain empty), the Kraken pump connected to the "extension" cable, and the Hub's PWM cable connected to the CPU_FAN header. With that setup I got CPU fan errors and no RPM feedback. Also, if you have non-PWM fans, the hub will run them at max RPM.
CPU: I7 5820K Tray Processor--Cheap 6 core with great overclocking capability.
I bought this for $320+Tax-bundle discount from Microcenter along with my motherboard. I've overclocked it to 4.4 with a core voltage for 1.25V. I've run AIDA64 and Intel XTU for 12 hours each and without any BSOD. I ran Asus Realbench for 30 minutes and it BSOD'ed, unsure why. I benchmarked a score of 130242 with Realbench. I idle at roughly 30C and after a 4 hour The Division on ultra settings session, it averaged about 44C. I wanted the 6 core for the enhanced physics score performance and future proofing. Update: Upped voltage to 1.26 for increased stability
CPU Cooling: NZXT X61 Kraken--Slightly overpriced, but the high quality is there. CAM software is decent, but uses too much resources to run.
I was debating between this, and the Corsair H110 and the H100. I decided to go with a 280mm AIO because I wanted superior cooling while running lower RPM fans. I chose this because of the terrible Corsair Link reviews and for the petty reason that the NZXT pump logo matches the case. I wish they would sleeve the tubes like Corsair's AIO units instead of leaving them bare rubber. Still, it looks good and functions great so far. Little to no pump noise. CAM could use some optimization in the resource usage department. Bought from Newegg for $140
Motherboard: Asus X99 Pro/USB 3.1 Motherboard--Hits the sweet spot for performance and cost. Lowest failure rate among all Asus X99 motherboard (yes, even the Sabertooth). This is were the nightmare started. Originally I bought an open box Asus X99 Pro from Microcenter online. When I got there, I noticed the box had about 6 million "Returned for repair: Complete in working order" stickers on it and it appeared to have bent pins that were repaired. My face looked like that Fry from Futurama meme after seeing that. I gambled and exchanged it for an open box Asus X99 Deluxe with the same stickers, but lacking the evidence of bent pins. As you can guess it didn't work after I spent a few hours testing everything. Microcenter's customer service kicked *** and discounted my above board from $340 to $260+tax for my troubles.
Memory: Avexir Raiden 4x4 DDR-4 2800 RAM--Runs at correct speeds in XMP with no issues. Unique lightning effect on top. Tallest RAM Ive ever seen. Avexir is relatively new to the RAM game from what I've gathered. They have made RAM for other companies, just a few years ago they ventured out on their own. I was wary of this, but so far they are running great. The reason why I bought them....just look at the pictures! Ram is super tall, they would block normal CPU mounted heatsinks. Bought from Newegg for $90
Youtube Link-Watch it on 0.5 or 0.25 to see the effects better if you want: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjfLfNvtqEE
Power Supply: EVGA 850w G2 Gold Power Supply--Best rated 850w supply with a 10 year warranty. Just buy it. Sorry, no wall of text here. Oh, its sleeving is nice and its fully modular. Bought from Newegg for $100AR.
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SSD--Reliable company that improved on their 840 series greatly. 1TB fits all of my needs and I currently does use HDDs in this case. I had a 840 EVO 250G SSD in my old build, I cant live without my OS being on an SSD anymore. 1TB more than meets my needs and only having one SSD and no HDDS cuts down on wires and allows for unrestricted airflow. Bought from Newegg for $270
Video Card--EVGA 980 TI Hybrid-- Excellent candidate for overclocking, lackluster stock shroud design. I chose this card because I wanted to keep my heat down and wanted to only use one card with a 2k setup. An overclocked 980TI seemed to be the choice and the hybrid is the easiest one to do it with lower heat exhausting into the case.
Shroud Mod-Brought you by Goo-Gone: This was a mess. I purchased the new shroud for $50 off EBay (EVGA.com was out of stock) and decided to paint it. First I had to take it apart and it turns out that those metal rails are glued with some super adhesive and I used Goo-Gone to break it down. I slightly bent the longer ones in the process. Next I needed to choose the colors. I was thinking of blacking out the shroud and painting the rails white and blue with a white backplate. I decided to go with a white shroud with black and blue rails instead. I saw a Linus video that used Plastidip and decided to try that. The finish wasn't what I wanted and the edges weren't crisp on the shroud. I used Goo-Gone again to help remove what I couldn't peel away and it worked like a charm. I researched paint again and decided to use Duplicolor's Plastic and Vinyl paint based off of the TekSyndicate video on coloring your parts. One stinky basement and 2 days later, it was perfect. I colored the rails blue and with what I thought was black. Nope, turned out it was "Dark Walnut" and it looked like a UPS truck. Goo-Gone to the rescue? No sorry, paint thinner and a poor scrape job later it as good as it was gonna get for a new coat of black. A few coats of black revealed my poor scrape job was showing through. I wanted to just be done so I glued the parts on using Loctite Plastic bonder and it worked like a charm. In my attempt to remove the old shroud, I found an over tightened screw and I ended up striping it....yea, I know. I literally ripped the shroud off in my anger and it worked, minus one ruined shroud and a stripped screw. On a side note, the cable attachment on the new shroud had a "barbed" connector and probably wasn't meant to be removed very easily. My poor attention to detail drew this project out to about 1 week, around 10 hours of labor and three trips to Home Depot. I bought the card for $615 from Jet.com, the shroud for $50 from EBay, and spent about $30 in paint. Update: Decided to keep the black rails off to see how it looks.
Monitor--Asus ROG Swift PG278Q 27" 2K Monitor--MY first monitor about 1080P, bought it used so there is minimal backlight bleed and no dead pixels. I like this monitor, I don't think that gaming right now is even marginally optimized for 4k and in my option I think there is more support readily available for 2K. I knew I wouldn't be able to power a 4k monitor on ultra setting and have 60 FPS on anything but two 980 TIs, so I chose to step down the resolution to 2K. If you win the panel lottery, this is one of the best 2K monitors out there.
Fans--Thermaltake Riing Fans: 3x 120mm and 3x140mm-- Loved the ring look instead of the normal LED fan lighting. Non-PWM, but super quiet even at full bore. These fans are supposed to be radiator fans, and my fan selection was more of a aesthetic choice rather than one based on performance, though they are excellent fans. The non-PWM is definitely a con if you want to fiddle with fan curves, but there really is no need because they are so quiet. Purchased off of Newegg and Fry's with a Google Express promo
Keyboard-Logitech G710+--Excellent keyboard. I Like the white backlighting, dislike the orange trim.
Mouse--Logitech G502--Best mouse I've ever owned, very customizable with DPI settings and weights.
Headphones--Sennheiser PC363D--Out of the 5 gaming headsets I've owned, including three 7.1 headsets, this is the best. Very comfortable, excellent mic, outstanding sound balance, good build quality. Less bass than Astros, but more balanced sound profile
Lighting Kit--NZXT Hue+-- Setup added a lot of cables to the build. Had to purchase the NZXT internal USB header extension to fit the 3 USB cables onto the motherboard. Kit has a ton of functionality and is probably the best lighting kit on the market, I'm just not sure it was worth adding all the extra cables to the build for it.
Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOqjGTEj8Wk