Description

Goal

The goal of this build was to make a Tier 2 gaming rig - somewhere in the middle ground. The other primary purpose of this machine is use as a Plex server, but that had little influence on part choice.

Background

TL;DR: Used to game on PC back in 95, sold some MTG cards to enter back into the PC race.

I have never considered myself a PC gamer or enthusiast, but that may be changing. My earliest experience with PC gaming was playing DOOM II on an old Hewlett-Packard running Windows 95. My gaming style had since evolved to console systems as it was the most economic way for me to keep up to date with current titles. Building a PC just seemed too intimidating to me, but as I have found out it is easier than putting a bag of Legos together.

Before building this system, my main computer was a Dell Studio XPS 16 laptop from 2009. I knew that my laptop was probably nearing the end of its life, and I had both my internal hard drive and external hard drive filled to the max - a good push towards a new system. I had actually never used my laptop as a laptop; it remained powered on for 75% of the 7 years I owned it and plugged into my 32" TV and used as a psuedo desktop. For this reason it was obvious that the more sensical system for me would be a desktop.

I had originally planned on just buying a desktop and Alienware was in my sights because I had always found their aesthetics appealing, but my fiancee asked, "Why don't you just build your own?" and for that I am forever thankful.

Being a design engineer, building a PC just fits my personality. I enjoy getting totally enthralled in a project and researching every angle of it for hours before feeling confident in the outcome. For anyone who has ever been on the fence about building their own system, I highly encourage it.

The decision was made, so I sold some of my Magic: the Gathering cards to pay for this build and I haven't looked back since!

The Build

Now to the nuts and bolts. As a brief top down, I wanted something that could actually play current games but I also knew before I began that I wasn't going to go top of the line for anything. Therefore I targeted a mid to upper ground for my components (i5, gtx 970, etc.). I also wanted my build to be a showpiece that I could be proud of, so without further ado I will go through my part choices below.

Case: In Win 805 Black

This was the first thing I decided on for my first build. I knew that once I found a case that spoke to me I could then work with motherboard form factor, cooling options, storage options, etc. I must have literally looked at every case offered on the market today (we are talking months of research here) before I settled on the In Win 805. The look was exactly what I had dreamed of, and the build quality nothing less than what I would accept. Tempered glass was important to me after viewing other options because if I was going to have a window I wanted it be a a beauty that wouldn't scratch while cleaning it. Once I had the case in my possession I could inspect it and plan accordingly for the rest of the build.

CPU: Skylake i5 6600K

At first I was hesitant to go for the latest and greatest, but after reviewing all the key differences and advantages over previous generations of processors I knew it had to be Skylake. However, at this point in the build I was also very carefully considering aesthetics because literally every component of my build was going to be visible in the skeleton case. What I mean by that is this: each generation of processor has it's own generation of motherboards (which all look different). Therefore I went through many different iterations of different generations before settling on Skylake.

Motherboard: ASUS MAXIMUS HERO VIII

This was the next hardest part of my build. I wanted a color neutral board in the worst way because I had already planned on having configurable LEDs in my build and didn't want to feel tied to a certain color. Obviously color isn't everything when deciding on components, and I was more than pleased with the aesthetics and performance of the HERO. This decision also influenced other aesthetic decisions in my build because this board has more angled/aggressive lines in contrast to the case's bold, square lines. This impacted CPU cooler and RAM decisions.

CPU Cooler: NZXT KRAKEN X61

It was hard for me to make an informed decision on this part of the build because of all the contrasting research and opinions on the matter. I loved the look of a water cooled system, and for a while I had priced out the parts for a custom loop. At the end of the day went with an AIO cooler for simplicity sake. The NZXT was chosen for a couple reasons: the lines matched the motherboard more closely, the software would work alongside my HUE+, and the performance was highly reviewed.

RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR4 2666 MHz

RAM is RAM right? That's what I had to tell myself in order to steer myself away from cracking $200 on some Dominators with light bars because they just looked cool. This RAM looks wonderful and better yet it works wonderful.

GPU: Gigabyte XTREME GAMING GeForce GTX 970 4GB

I knew that this just had to be the most expensive part of the build. It is a good rule of thumb for a gaming build. I also knew that I wasn't going for tier 1 and I quickly settled on a GTX 970. I dug through the heaps of cards and read reviews like crazy until I stumbled on this new release. It was meant to be. Full spectrum LEDs and performance that has been said to match some GTX 980s. Better yet it is very quiet.

Storage: 2X Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB SSD in RAID0

The In Win 805 does have a slight limitation depending on the type of build you are targeting. I myself decided to add intake fans and a 280mm radiator which removes the included option for a HDD. I'm glad that my case made the decision for me to go to solid state because WOW. I have never felt so spoiled with fast boots and overall performance.

PSU: EVGA 750W SuperNova G2

I read many reviews here as well, and at the end of the day I just went for the unit that was highly recommended and better yet was neutral for the most part. I was blown away by the presentation of the product and everything worked flawlessly.

Fans: Thermaltake Riing RGBs

Once I found these fans I was dead set on them. Beautiful. Really fit my theme as well. My only wish is that there was an option for the LEDs to be software controlled, but I have found that I just mainly leave the fans on white anyways.

Operating System: Windows 10

Before this build I was using Windows Vista, so I was ready for whatever. It just seemed like the obvious choice here.

NZXT HUE+

What an elusive accessory. I wanted one in the worst way, but was almost ready to give up on it because they were impossible to find! Well I'm glad I was persistent, because this is the accessory that really gives that something to my system. I will say it took some love to get all the diodes to work properly, but now they all are functioning as they should. I had to use the 3M tape instead of the magnets because the 805 is aluminum. I also had to modify the plastic In Win logo a bit with the hack saw in order to allow the RGB to pass through it.

NZXT IU01 USB INTERNAL EXPANSION

It was near the end of my research that I realized I wasn't going to have enough USB headers to support my AIO, HUE+, and case ports. I considered PCI-E cards, but couldn't really find a desirable one, so I went with this hub. Can't complain one bit - it works without a hiccup and tucks away nicely behind my radiator plate.

Monitor: ACER H236HLbid

I know that 4K is a thing now, but I couldn't convince myself to spend that much for a monitor. My plan is to upgrade graphics in 3 years or so, and then I will make the move to 4K when it is more economical. As for this particular monitor, I knew I wanted a thin bezel and a glossy screen to match the appearance of the case. It is also my experience that glossy screens produce crisper images and truer colors, but that just may be me. I haven't noticed a single glare when my monitor is on. A nice bonus of this monitor is that it has a brushed base which matches the brushed aluminum on the 805 perfectly.

Keyboard: Corsair K65 RGB

In the spirit of saying goodbye to a drive bay and HDD I also said goodbye to a number pad. Glad I did. I was already RGB everything else, so why not on the keyboard as well? Also, double points for this having a brushed aluminum frame. All of my components now match.

External Storage: Buffalo USB3.0 4TB

Amazing how much the price on things have come down since the last time I bought an external hard drive. This one had a good price to capacity rating and also very high reviews. Simply plug and play. I use this for media storage. Currently holding 600GB of music and 1TB of movies.

Conclusion

And there you have it! This was a a very rewarding experience for my first build and I am definitely hooked on it! Can't wait to build again in 6 or so years. Please feel free to leave feedback or questions and I will be happy to answer.

Comments

  • 48 months ago
  • 8 points

This case gave me a good reaction and then I got sued by FineBros

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Exclusive: Builders React to In Win for First Time

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Hahaha :D

  • 48 months ago
  • 5 points

The Inwin case looks really nice as they always do. Plus all the lights look great. Some good part choices for your build as well. It looks like a nice machine.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I am very impressed with the quality of the In Win case.

  • 48 months ago
  • 3 points

How many MTG cards did you sell??

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

A little over 200 cards. Had some that really went up in value since my initial purchase :P

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

I hear ya, we sold 7 dual lands to pay for 6 cords of wood last year to heat the house for the winter.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Gotta tap those forests

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you pay for the whole thing with those cards? Most expensive one?

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Almost the whole thing. Most expensive was only a foil Cavern of Souls. Also had 4 Lion's Eye Diamonds. Just sold them all to Starcity's buylist.

  • 48 months ago
  • 3 points

Beautiful build, good job!

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 48 months ago
  • 3 points

+1 for financing strategy.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

It's a good hobby to invest in for sure.

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh man, your build looks like something i build... Very very nice my good friend!

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I am more than pleased with the results.

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

can it run Minecraft on low tho? :P

  • 48 months ago
  • 3 points

Might need to install a leaf blower turbo

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

lol

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

just wondering I am doing a build in the gold version of this case soon... where did you install the hue+ because to my understanding it wouldn't fit in an SSD bracket in the back.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Correct - there isn't enough space between the bracket and the glass panel to mount the Hue+ there. What I did was mount it to the ceiling of the case using velcro. You can see it right above the radiator in some pictures.

Have fun on your build! The case is truly impressive.

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh wow I didn't even think about that spot thanks so much. I was so confused when I saw you had the HUE and no HDD cage.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem. Make sure to check the clearance if you use a 280mm radiator (though it looks like you are planning on a 240mm) because it got a little tight next to the hoses. Easily alleviated with velcro though.

Your list looks impressive!

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

thanks man, I can't wait to put it together after my birthday

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

Beautiful build! Great pictures too!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

great build man! we have similar style forsure :) upgrade to sli later on? or wait until the new gpu's roll around... I can't make a decision yet lol! We bot have NZXT Hue+ 's too haha! Amazing job!

Btw, when you try to preview the color changes on the NZXT Hue + will it actually preview it for you? It only does for me if I hit save and then I have to go back.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Your build is pretty wicked too!

I was contemplating upgrading to SLI down the road (mostly because it would look cool :P), but after researching pros and cons of it I will most likely just upgrade to a single, powerful card in a couple years. When I upgrade I will also make the switch to a higher resolution screen.

I have never actually tried the preview button on the Hue+... I will have to try and get back to you haha. When I change colors/effects I have just been hitting "save." The only downside I see to that is that it automatically creates a custom profile, and only five of them are allowed. Kind of a very minor annoyance having to manually select a profile and overwrite it, but I guess that may be how it saves settings between reboots.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

One more thing, I ran out of usb headers since I have the GRID+ fan controller as well from NZXT, so I have the h110i gtx and the top case inputs plugged into the only 2 usb headers... so and when you look at my build you can't even see, but I ran 2 micro usb plugs through the motherboard shroud and up to under the gpu and slid it into one of the cracks in the case. I thought about getting the internal expansion but i didn't want to wait any longer! :) Great build again +1

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

That seems like a good solution too. I knew there had to be other ways about expanding internal headers... I was down to the wire as well, so I Primed the NZXT expansion. The internal expansion is completely out of sight and mind in my build, and it has plenty more ports to spare if I ever need them!

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

sorry for another comment but did u OC the card yet? even though it's OC'd factorywise... I'm doing that right now.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I kind of played around with the clock in the OC GURU but I ultimately didn't feel like I knew what I was doing at the moment so I stopped haha. I was like, "How can overclocking be as easy as just clicking the up arrow a whole bunch?"

I haven't seen the need to overclock it yet actually. I have only played some old school games in which the GPU doesn't even break 45C. I plan on seeing what this bad boy can do though!

Let me know how overclocking it turns out! Just make sure to wear the sweat band while doing it.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

I was wondering how the GPU does during actual gameplay and what fps you get on the card on the games you play

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I haven't had a good chance to run it through the ringer, but I plan on it soon. The only feedback I have gotten that might be of value is an average of 110 FPS in Guild Wars 2 with what I believe to be near max settings. That is without tweaking anything on the GPU or CPU. Probably not the best example, but so far it impresses. I look forward to being able to actually benchmark it soon.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Now that I have had the chance to play some "newer" games I can report that average frames per second on Alien Isolation (ULTRA everything) is 61 FPS and average for Shadow of Mordor (ULTRA everything) is 85 FPS (with a minimum of 59).

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Are the Thermaltake RGB fans good for a case? I want RGB fans but i want them to be for the case AND my radiator. Are these fans good for the price? Is the HUE+ worth it?

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

While it is true that Thermaltake's Riing fans are a high static pressure fan meant for radiator applications, I have found them to be adequate for use as case fans. Of course the 120mm model only pushes about 40 CFM of air compared to a case fan that might push 100 CFM, but 40 CFM can be more than enough depending on how much heat is generated from the components. The efficiencies of components nowadays helps a lot with this.

Are the fans reasonably priced? I would say they may be a tad high, but there really isn't any comparable RGB fan on the market, so a lack of competition prevents a fair comparison. If you want to be able to change colors then they really are your best (and only) bet. Being that I leave mine on white most of the time I could have saved a fair amount by just getting some white LED riings, but it is really nice having the option to change colors if I ever so desire.

I definitely think the HUE+ is worth it. I have heard arguments each way, but I really could not be happier with the product. There are some really cool things you can do with the configurations (covering markee, pulsing, alternating, candlelight, etc.) that haven't even gotten old yet. You can also configure each individual diode to whatever color you want, so you could spotlight certain areas of the case in different colors. If you can find one, I would get it!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

How does your pc handle heat? I looked up some reviews for this case, because I am building a computer myself, and the reviews said it had poor airflow. Does it work well for you?

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

I have not had any airflow issues whatsoever. Even by using low CFM fans for intake and exhaust I am more than pleased with the performance. Of course I haven't done a fluid dynamics study to determine airflow in this case, but the temperatures and performance can't lie. With this setup I haven't seen the CPU go over 35C and the GPU hasn't gone over 55C.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Ok that was my biggest concern when looking at the case, but if its worked for you, it should be good for me. My only difference with the build is its a bit more intensive, like I plan on having two GPU's and such, ill just permalink it. Its a work in progress and I'm editing parts and stuff as I go until I get around to purchasing it. Heres the link if you're interested: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Dbcj3C

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

That's a very nice part list you have! Very similar in many ways. I noticed that you have an internal HDD on your list. When installing a 240/280 radiator and opting for the bottom intake you will lose the included option of mounting an HDD via the cage. Just something to be aware of. I know there are alternate ways to mount one...

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Ya I didn't think of that, I guess I'm gonna have to find some other solution I maybe another SSD I guess and maybe an external hard drive for my storage needs. Either way I'm glad you pointed that out because I completely forgot about that.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm planning to do a similar build in the same case so if you can leave some tips for the hue+ and stuff like that let me know also if you want I can send you the list.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry for the late response, but I would be happy to help out if you still have questions.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

it ok i just was wondering where you put the hue+.

PC parts http://pcpartpicker.com/p/8RrysY

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

The Hue+ is mounted directly above the AIO radiator via some Velcro. You can see it in a couple pictures.

Very nice list!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thx, actually i have a new list :D

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FTD8hM

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

can you send me a pic from back of the case because my aio shield is not connecting with the MB.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry I haven't been checking this as much as I should! Do you still need help? It definitely was tricky at first to figure out the shield! It does work though!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you put your NZXT water cooler the wrong way? Meaning are the fans supposed to be towards the outside of the case not facing inside?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi! Thanks for checking out my build! The fans can be arranged in a multitude of ways. I have my fans in a "pull" configuration - meaning they pull air through the radiator. This makes the most sense in my case (no pun intended), because the air flows up through the bottom-front of the case behind the radiator.

Good question though! Fan configuration is always a hot topic (too many unintentional puns!), and I have heard from a couple sources that "pull" is easiest to clean when the time comes. It also looks nice here in my opinion.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the kind reply. You're pretty punny. Lol. Yeah very helpful reply, think I'll have to research about pulling/pushing air. On the InWin website the 805 has a diagram of airflow, but confusing to me. I got the InWin 805 case but figuring out what CPU cooling I need to go with. People have told me the case has terrible airflow.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

At first glance it would definitely seem that the airflow in this case would be pretty poor. It has been wrongfully predicted to be a "hot vacuum." I have never had a single problem with thermals.

I can't find it, but there was a pretty good scientific study of the airflow in this case and it beat a lot of the mesh faced ones... not sure how.

I guess the proof is in the pudding. I had my worries about airflow when buying this case too, but now that it is up and running my temperatures remain very cool. My GPU fans even shut themselves off (meaning below 35C) sometimes during certain parts of gaming on Skyrim with Ultra High Everything and improved textures.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Would you recommend that I go AIO water cooler or tradition CPU fan? Looking at the Phanteks PH-TC14s. But if I were to go water cooling, NZXT x61 or a Corsair (idk have to do more research).

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

In either situation, aftermarket air cooling and closed loop AIO's are very comparable in terms of performance. I considered a couple of things when deciding between the two: Air cooling is cheaper, tried and true, and will last a long time. An AIO is more expensive, has more thermal capacity, and looks better (IMO).

Now, I've seen some aftermarket air coolers that look really sick, and there really isn't much to worry about with an air cooler.

The selling point a lot of people have is that an AIO is "quieter." Well, that can be the case. We still have fans, and now we have a pump. The idea is that the water conducts heat at a much faster rate, so we can keep the CPU at a more consistent temperature, but it is also harder to remove that heat from the water. This is why we have huge radiators.

As a closing point, I prefer the AIO in this case. If my case did not have a window, I probably would have just went with a nice air cooler for the peace of mind as far as reliability.

I love the look of the Corsair H110i! I wanted in the worst way to have those braided hoses! This was a pivotal decision on my entire build. The Kraken has more rounded aesthetics, and the Corsair has the bold lines. If I would have went with Corsair I had a list all picked out to match the square lines (from the motherboard, ram, GPU, all the way to the fans). At the end of the day I decided on the Kraken because I really was looking forward to the Hue+, and decided having my AIO and lights all controlled through one software to be more desirable. It comes down to preference! Either choice will be great.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Also do you like your case fans? In addition to having a hard time whether to go water cooled or air cooled CPU, I am having trouble deciding what case fan to go with. Idk what's good and am quite a noob to case fans. I like the ring effect, but I care about the airflow/intake and noise level as well, not just aesthetics. I want to make a Batman themed PC, something like this: http://www.hardwareheaven.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/build.png

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

The riing fans are actually meant to be radiator fans. They are high static pressure fans, which basically refers to the way they handle air. They have a lot of pull, but don't move as much air as a consequence. That being said, I went ahead and used them as case fans. Many people have. They actually do still move a decent amount of air. They are quiet. This case has very little in the means of sound dampening, but I can only hear the whisper of air when idling, and the computer sits right next to me. Honestly, the only reason I chose these fans were for the looks. If the ring RGB LED's aren't that important to you, there are many more, higher reviewed fans that will perform better. That goes without saying though, because I have not had any performance/thermal issues with these fans!

That is an awesome theme for a PC! If I made a batman theme I could see rings fitting nicely in there, but I am imagining some industrial looking, batcave like fans (possibly aluminum?) with very contrasting lighting. Spotlighting in certain areas so to speak (which can be achieved by turning specific LED's off with the Hue+). But I digress!

I look forward to seeing your result!

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Your Build is a god blessed one.

I used to like the old In Win 904 case but forgot about it because the rear of the case was like pain in the *** and u couldn't simply plug in your peripherals so easily.

The new 805 is a big step forward but again, new ventilation issues !! I wonder if there were Roof openings instead of floor ones, so that you could mount some HDDs on the floor !

Taking the decision is so hard, i may go for the Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV (170 USD too), what do u think bruh ?

I have two projects in my Profile, please tell me what do u think about the case issue !!

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I used to be concerned about airflow in this case as well. I had it in my head that I was going to have to add roof vents to this case to improve thermals (which would be easy), but after installing everything and checking temperatures under stress I have been more than surprised. I would not worry about the thermals in this case, especially if you are using an AIO (which I see you are).

Yes, I lamented the loss of an internal HDD when selecting parts, but now I am glad I have all internal SSD! An external drive works better for mass storage in my case anyways.

A note about the fans in your InWin build list: The dual inlets are 120mm. The rear exaust is 120mm. Your AIO is 240mm, so also 120mm fans. Unless you were planning on doing something creative with the radiator plate (140mm's behind it?), then that particular list would only need 120mm fans.

Also, if you plan on doing RAID storage for your SSD's make sure they are the same size (depending on which configuration you opt for), and I also would suggest sticking with the same brand. Might not cause any problems though.

Each case is a very nice choice! I'm glad I went with the 805. If I was going to have a window I wanted it to be glass!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Just wanted to ask whether the tempered glass panels on your In Win 805, has slight striping/color distortions when its reflecting yellow light off a lamp etc?

Thanks!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I think I know what you are referring to. I noticed that at certain (extreme) angles I could see some striations on the glass. I think it is from the tint. I flipped the panels around so that the film was on the inside and I haven't noticed since.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Yes Thank you for the reply, I have contacted In Win quite a while ago and they have told me about this.

Thank you anyways for informing me =)

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Your build looks fantastic. I'm curious - how are the noise levels? For my new build, I'm debating between aesthetics (InWin 805) and quietness (Fractal). I'm using a Thor v2 right now, and while it's not "loud", it's fairly audible when gaming. I'm hoping the 805 would at least be quieter than cases with a lot of ventilation/open air.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I would say it depends on the components inside of it, but I have absolutely zero complaints about noise with my setup. It even sits right next to my face. I'm sure that running solid state and quiet fans has a lot to do with it, along with a power supply that has "eco" mode and a GPU with no coil whine. The glass actually does a decent job of stopping a lot of the noise.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

How did you put in your I/O Shield? I have the same mobo and case

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

It takes a bit of persuasion, and it was something that confused me at first too, but it will fit. The shield kind of latches onto the L shaped flange and then pivots in towards to MOBO. It's a pressure fit. Afterwards the shield can be nudged up or down for adjustment. It will line up perfectly.

I know this confused a lot of people! It is kind of genius, but also very unconventional. Like I said, it takes a bit of thinking for some reason to make it work! I was really puzzled/frustrated at first.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

How did you connect all your fans to your motherboard? I have 7 fans (2 of them are for the CPU cooler) and the ASUS Maximus Hero VIII doesn't have enough 4-pins for my PWM fans.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

You can accomplish this through splitters, but the fans I used in this build came with their own "controllers" - 3 fans plug into one controller and then into the motherboard.

Hope this helps and that you have solved this!

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  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

It does have a candlelight mode ;)