This is an all black (“blackout”) themed build for my main rig. Some of the builds (and cases) these days are on the absurd end of RGB (especially for someone who keeps a desktop in a bedroom), so I decided to go opposite that. It was focused around the Lian-Li case I wanted to build in, which is an all black aluminum chassis. This build was a budget-buster (I had to sell off all my old equipment), but turned out beyond what I'd hoped for from an aesthetics and performance stand-point.
CPU: With the launch of the Intel Core i7-8086K, I decided it was time to upgrade from my 2013 Ivy Bridge-E rig. I wanted to be able to stay with a 6-core processor, but have a decent boost in performance. I was aware, based on early reviews, that the 8086K is mainly marketing hype with 8700K's hitting 5.0Ghz no problem. However, I wanted to own a limited edition CPU and have that mighty delicious 4 GHz stock out of the box.
CASE: I spent weeks researching a case that would fit my needs, and decided on the Lian-Li PC-V1000LWX based on the all aluminum chassis (in black!), WHEELS (completely shocked how no new cases offer wheels for full towers), solid airflow (vented front/top, multiple fan installation points), and tool-less hard drive bays. It's an older case, had some poor reviews, and was expensive, but after watching a few videos on it, took a risk on it. I have no idea why this case had poor reviews and never caught on in popularity because it was an absolute gem to build in, is gorgeous, and provides awesome airflow. Lian-Li is premium-priced, but you definitely get the quality that you pay for. The tool-less drive bays on this case make it worth it alone. I did remove the stock fans and replace with the Corsair ML (maglev) fans. They are FANTASTIC in terms of noise and speed and so glad I installed them (not that the stock fans were bad, but these were definitely an upgrade). I have 3 x 120MM intake on the front and 2 exhaust on the back (120MM and 140MM). I also added a Corsair Commander Pro to hook up all the case fans for better cable management and to control fan curves in Corsair Link.
MB: After picking most of the parts, I realized serendipitously that almost all of them were black, so I then went on the hunt to make sure I completed the build in “blackout” style. I was pretty much able to find everything in all black, except for the EVGA motherboard which has a white shroud. I didn't remove it though because it actually does look cool as the one piece of contrast against all black items. I am a huge fan of EVGA motherboards and won't go with any other brand for motherboards based on previous build experience. I wish the Z370 Classified K had a few other options (2 additional USB 3.0 ports, additional USB 3.0 header on the MB, etc), but it's been rock solid so far and I know I have the backing of EVGA's excellent customer service and warranty. If you're looking to heavy overclock, you might want to look into other boards that have better options in bios, but for stability, can't go wrong with this one.
CPU HEATSINK: I wish I had the guts, time, and energy to go liquid-cooled, but I was not going to risk frying $4K worth of gear, and potentially having to upkeep pumps/coolant. I’m also not a fan of CLC since they underperform vs air, and can also fail after a few years (due to evaporation). Since space wasn't an issue, I went air on this build. I was stoked that be quiet! had just launched the Dark Rock Pro 4 (since it matched the build perfectly)! Based on reviews I had seen online of the Dark Rock Pro 4, Noctua still came out the king of air. However, temps were very close (within like 95% margin) so I opted for aesthetics. I could've waited for the new Noctua black dual-fan heatsink to launch, but I really wanted to complete this build ASAP. I have to say, even with the improvements over the Dark Rock Pro 3, the installation of the Dark Rock Pro 4 was still a huge PIA compared to the legendary EVO 212. But, it was worth it in the end and I'm definitely happy from an aesthetics and cooling standpoint. Can't forget that I splurged on some Kryonaut for this build, and will be definitely switching to the stuff for any builds moving forward!
GPU: Although the GTX 1180 (or 2080?) announcement is right around the corner, I knew I'd still be set to rip through games with a 1080Ti. The EVGA 1080Ti also came in a Superclocked Black Edition, which of course, matched the build aesthetic.
PSU: I paired the build with a beefy 1kW EVGA powersupply. In addition to motherboards and graphics cards, EVGA also has my heart with their awesome PSUs. They provide clean, continuous power and have lasted for years. I picked up the EVGA braided cables as well for nicer aesthetic and more importantly, for better cable management. Also, I added the EVGA powerlink accessory to the GPU for additional cable management optimization.
RAM: I went for 64GB (4 x 16GB) Corsair low-profile DDR4 RAM (due to heatsink size). I opted for 2400 Mhz as I had to try and save money somewhere in this build and I also wanted to go with known compatible RAM according to EVGA specs. I decided to skimp on the RAM speed, and honestly, not a huge issue since OC'ed RAM is probably the least of where gains will come from (plus a potential source of instability). I stuck with JDEC-spec and stability.
STORAGE: For storage, I use the Samsung 970 Evo NVME (which had just launched) as boot/main drive. I use the Samsung 860 Evo (SATA) for local/cloud storage (Dropbox/OneDrive). I use the WD Black (perfect for build aesthetic and performance) for emulators/media.
The only benchmark I've ran so far is 3DMark Timespy - 9334. I'll update with more benchmarks when I have a chance. But, this thing absolutely soars!! I’m seeing impressive real-world speed increases even vs my Ivy Bridge build (which was a beast in its day as well).
The build is pretty overkill, but I do quite a bit of audio/music production (FL Studio, Pro Tools), as well as heavy duty gaming. It’s also my daily driver for everyday stuff (surfing, productivity, business).
This machine was a pleasure and a dream to build. I’m hoping it will last me for at least another 5-7 years. And I hope this build helps to spur some ideas for you! Feel free to reach out with any questions/comments!