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Build

Lightroom and gaming PC

by Dusante

28
56 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

Aug. 15, 2016

Date Built

Aug. 12, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

4.6GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

46.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

2.05GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

9.34GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

34.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

60.0° C

Description

I'm a photographer who uses lightroom and photoshop a lot, as well as enjoys a bit of PC gaming on the side. (Also I wish 3D TV gaming took off, because when it works, it looks incredible these days).

I'm focusing on single core clock performance, since that's the biggest metric to get lightroom and photoshop working at peak performance. Beyond 4-6 cores, real world performance does not change.

I'm migrating all my old hard drives over just for an easy move but buying what seems to be the fastest SSD connected by M.2 for my lightroom catalog and OS. At these speeds, a RAID array appears to be mostly obsolete so I'm ignoring RAID.

I'll be storing the PC in the living room next to the 4k TV for gaming and media center fun, but I'm running an HDMI cable into the office in the room next to it so I can use the sit stand desk and work in there too. So it will primarily be a powerful work media machine for lightroom, photoshop and video editing, then double as a gaming pc in the living room.

We managed to overclock to 4.6ghz which is what I was expecting. Curiosity dictates I should try for 4.8 ghz but we are having trouble getting it stable beyond 4.6.

Part Reviews

Motherboard

Intro:

Originally, we had decided to purchase a Gigabyte Z170x-UD3. This decision was based on features, decent reviews, and the price (180 CAD at the time). After getting the UD3 home we discovered that installing an M.2 SSD in the main port would cause it to be covered by the GPU exhaust. It’s like they were literally trying to get us to sandwich the NVMe SSD into the board with the side of the GPU, it was ridiculous and the heat could cause the SSD to throttle. Using the other M.2 port would disable many of the SATA ports. We assumed the UD3 Ultra would be just as good as the UD3, and the M.2 placement was above the GPU, giving it cooler air flow. Therefore, we bought the Ultra for 185 CAD minus a 10 CAD rebate (175).

So far the UD3 Ultra has performed well and given us no issues. I feel like it has some nice features and "future proofing" that aren't available in other boards at this price point.

Pros:

  • The blue lighting effects are cool if you want them or they can be turned off (Solid, Pulse, Off). There are no other colours. I wasn’t going too much for looks as far as the inside is concerned but I do say it is neat looking at it glow sometimes.

  • The Ultra is slightly larger than the basic UD3, so it covers all the motherboard stand-offs, and is sturdy when installed. (Reviews of the basic UD3 indicated the one edge awkwardly hangs free).

  • After buying the Ultra, a free Thunderbolt 3 driver update was added. I don't know what to use it for, but it's great to have for the future. This is also a standard USB-C 3.1 port. I imagine later down the road some of my backup solutions will take advantage of it, so it's nice to know it's there and ready.

  • The USB-C port can supply up to 100 W. Again I don't know what to use it for, but it's great for the future. I can fast charge my Nexus 6p but I don't use it regularly.

  • There is a DisplayPort mini input that can be used to take the output from a graphics card and feed it through a TB3 connection. I haven’t tested it yet.

  • The SATA / PCIE SSD interactions were more straight forward than the basic UD3. Check the manual for your exact configuration, but generally each PCIE x4 drive disables 2 SATA ports.

  • There more USB 3.0 ports at the back than the basic UD3. Our case only has 2 USB 3.0 ports in the front, and the UD3 Ultra provided exactly that number.

  • There is a USB 3.1 Type A port at the back

  • Plenty of fan headers and some can switch between PWM and Voltage control.

  • Decent GPU spacing.

  • U.2 port adds another connection type for PCIE x4 SSDs.

Cons:

  • XMP didn't work on the shipped firmware. Version 5 should fix the issue. I downloaded the beta (5b) and it's working without issues.

  • The BIOS isn't as intuitive as I would like, but it's probably not any worse than other Gigabyte boards. I completed a manual overclock to 4.6 GHz, but couldn't figure out how to enable adaptive voltage. With an automatic overclock in the BIOS to "i7-6700k 4.6 GHz", it does utilize adaptive voltage, so I stuck with that. It's a hard to tell how the board is setting the Vcore voltage because of droop under load (~1.275) and otherwise low values from adaptive voltage. However, it's stable so far.

  • Fan control in the BIOS is available, but the profiles are limited. The included software for windows can enable more complex profiles if you want them.

  • Apparently the Realtek Audio codec is an older model than the one in the basic UD3. However, we output most audio digitally to the surround sound receiver. The Stereo 2.1 output to our other speakers did not have any quality issues. Maybe an audiophile would have more to say.

Summary:

I would recommend this board for up-to-date features (Thunderbolt 3, USB-C @ 100W, M.2, U.2) and aesthetics. The bonus of extra connectivity makes this a surprisingly good buy at this price point.

Comments Sorted by:

AdamTheMan26 2 Builds 6 points 25 months ago

Hi nice build. May we see some pics of the inside? That's my fetish ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Cheers

Dusante submitter 1 Build 2 points 25 months ago

Ohhhh my gosh I didn't think there would be so much interest! Okay, I'll update with some professional photos when I'm back from holidays in a week.

sgill007 1 point 25 months ago

yes i would love to see the inside of that beast

Dusante submitter 1 Build 2 points 24 months ago

Updated with some interior photos!

AdamTheMan26 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Great job on the cable management and photos. Looks great!!

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Thank you, I'm glad it's appreciated! I had fun doing it, kind of wish I had more computers to shoot, or wish I aimed more for internal aesthetics!

Wachtel 5 Builds 2 points 22 months ago

Beautiful build and truly stunning photos. +1!

Donu 1 point 25 months ago

Sweet! Beautiful case.

What monitor(S) are you using? Thanks.

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

I'm using a dell 2407wfp for the desktop part. I'm currently looking to get a dell U3415W ultra wide one, or maybe 4k. But I'm having trouble deciding. There are so many pros and cons between the two that I can't directly compare.

Baesick 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

What desk is that!?! +1

Baesick 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Looks like the Bekant, Thanks!

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

It's the ikea skarsta. http://m.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/spr/29084966/

It's a manual crank sit stand desk. The crank and table legs are all in one and independent of the table top, you can potentially put any surface you want on it. So we are thinking if we get tired of the white we might find some cool material to refurbish and use as the surface. The legs are SO SOLID and steel. It doesn't feel like ikea at all, heavy and strong. I'm really happy about it, it would survive a tornado let alone multiple moves. It was a nice surprise.

CyberShockz 1 point 25 months ago

Awesome Build. Beautiful Case But So Much $

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

It is, we hope to keep the case for a few computer generations. It feels so nice and looks like it is meant to to be seen. I think it will age better and hold up with regards to scratches compared to a plastic case. Surprise bonus, it's really easy to dust. It doesn't seem to adhere to it.

Sometimes I go up to it and just run my hand across the aluminium, weird but satisfying. Fun fact, I'm coming from a 2009 Mac pro, so the aluminium is kind of reassuring, while the new darker colour is fresh.

Sonla13 1 point 25 months ago

very nice build!

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

Thank you!

Battlefield 1 point 25 months ago

You have the mobo I'm looking for. Can you provide more pics of the lighting system and your impressions. I'm going for a blue n white build.

Dusante submitter 1 Build 2 points 24 months ago

Updated with pics!

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

OK, I will take photos in a week when I'm back! I'll tell you about impressions when I get to a keyboard.

Edit-posted some impressions below.

AuraNightheart 1 point 25 months ago

How is the motherboard running? Is it good? I'm considering it since I have a blue/black theme but I can't find any reviews.

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

We first got the non ultra version which was well reviewed. But upon looking at it we discovered our GPU would sit on top of the NVMe SSD plugged into the m.2 port and likely overheat and throttle. So we took it back and got this, the ultra version which I can compare.

We liked that there was more USB ports because our case only has 2 extra ports on the front, I'm only buying accessories that are 3.1 or USB C so I like that extra compatibility with the 3.1 A port. The USB C port is 100 watts, which is hilariously insane, I can fast charge my Nexus 6p but I don't do that.

XMP for the ram don't work on shipped firmware but they work on the future bios and the beta which we are on. Beta BIOS seems fine.

The bios is not visible on the TV via HDMI while the dvI monitor is plugged in, it shows up on monitor only. That tricked us for a moment when we were in the living room instead of the office.

One thing that's blindsighted us is that the fan rpm via pcm is only one of three settings, I thought we'd have more choices of speeds. We aren't sure if it's the motherboard, pcm hub in the case, or fans. We'd like more variability to optimise cooling with quietness, we'll try it connected to a different fan port. That's a work in progress.

The size of the ultra made it so easy to install, everything just fit. The non ultra UD3 didn't cover all the standoffs which would feel awkward installing having one end floating in space not attached to anything. No problems installing anything.

We use audio via HDMI to the receiver for 5.1 sound so I can't speak to the on board audio much. On board audio is used for stereo audio on the desk and it sounds great.

The overclock is running just fine and was easy to do in the BIOS.

LEDs are blue, I can make them pulse or flash, but that's annoying. I like the solid blue glow just to show that is on. It is a bit funny that the power button on the case doesn't glow but the inner glow of the window is enough to indicate power. I love having the GPU glow depending on the heat of the gpu, just a quick glance to it to see how hard it's working.

AuraNightheart 1 point 25 months ago

Awesome! Thanks. This is definitely the motherboard I'll use for my Skylake black/blue build then.

Stereotypical_Whale 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

Can you maybe leave a review on the mobo cause thats basically the only choice for me because im build a blue themed build.

Bracci19 1 point 25 months ago

Do you like that motherboard? I am looking at the exact same one and really like the color!

zachasoar 1 point 24 months ago

I've been checking bad periodically, hoping some internal pictures had been taken. I've been disappointed every time lol.

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Awe that made me so sad. You've motivated me to get it done today. I took out my professional lighting and sexy gear for these. I hope you like it!

behappyftw 1 point 24 months ago

would you recommend the 1070 FTW for extra LEDs? or is this plenty? nice buil;d btw

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Thank you!

For me, this one has plenty of LEDs. But I must admit it's not a feature I thought about when building since I care more about performance. My taste in aesthetics was mostly about the front of the case.

That being said, my favourite feature is the Aura LED tool when set to indicate temperature with specific colours. A quick glance at the window on the side of the case lets me see what temperature the GPU is running at without having to switch out of a game or open an app somewhere. I really like that. Most of the time it's green unless I'm playing a poorly optimized game.

I tend to look at the computer from a 45 degree angle from the face. When I look into the window from this angle, the GPU tends to look much much brighter than the LEDs. This is because one of the LEDs seems to be facing right in my direction. When I make the LEDs the same shade of blue as the motherboard lighting, it seems a little bit brighter when I look side on.

Another side note with this GPU is that we used the Asus overclocking tool to give us a clockspeed of 110%. Exactly what we expected and it's nice to have the little touch of oomph.

behappyftw 1 point 24 months ago

Thanks!. I am planning on this build. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor $198.88 @ OutletPC
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler $24.99 @ Newegg
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170X-UD3 Ultra ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $175.00 @ NCIX US
Memory Kingston HyperX Fury Black 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory $39.99 @ Newegg
Storage Crucial M500 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $58.00 @ Amazon
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $47.49 @ OutletPC
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB FTW Gaming ACX 3.0 Video Card $458.85 @ B&H
Case NZXT S340 (Black/Blue) ATX Mid Tower Case $66.99 @ SuperBiiz
Power Supply EVGA 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $109.99 @ Newegg
Wireless Network Adapter Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I PCI-Express x1 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Adapter $29.99 @ SuperBiiz
Monitor Asus VS248H-P 24.0" Monitor $140.98 @ Newegg
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $1386.15
Mail-in rebates -$35.00
Total $1351.15
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-09-13 20:35 EDT-0400

The new motherboard and lack of info about it makes me really undecisive. Its a blue build mostly

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Looks like a solid build. Is there any features or concerns you're having that I can look at for you? I also just bought a new monitor and I think it will go a long way for mileage and productivity. It's the dell ultrawide U3415W. The gpu can handle it no problem. I feel like you could get a higher res screen, unless of course you have size or budget constraints for that. The plus side of your 1080p moniter is that you'll be able to play anything on full quality settings at the fastest frame rate your monitor can handle. Games will look very good.

As far as stability goes, we've had it for just under a month. The only hard crashes we've had is when firing up a pre production version of a game while using the auto overclocking with auto voltage.

behappyftw 1 point 24 months ago

Not much. You mostly answered my inquiries ;) You sre literally the only one with it and answering questions xD. Are the LEDs dimmable?

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

No, they aren't dimmable.

In the bios you can set to on, off or pulse. Pulse is a decent fade off and on where it stays off for about 4 seconds then fades on for half a second then back to dark for four seconds.

In windows you can change those settings and there is an additional beat mode that's supposed to flash to the music.

Beat mode does not do anything, the lights just stay on, so I guess that's broken or accidentally left in from the firmware for motherboards that do have those features. There are greyed out options to make the lights change colours, but of course these are blue LEDs only.

We are on the f5b version of the bios, which is the beta.

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Hmm I just noticed that your power supply is pretty hefty. You probably don't need that much even 750 watts might be pushing it. The only exception is if you plan on doing SLI, in which case I'd go with 750 watts.

logcat 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

I just discovered this motherboard today and I'm considering it for a future build. I have the same case, and I love how it looks in your build. One question: if you leave the motherboard lights on, do they go off when the computer is asleep or do you have to turn them off?

Cheers to a gorgeous build, mate!

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Thank you!

The lights turn off when you shut it down. I don't think there is an option to keep them on when you do shut it off.

The only thing that glows is this one LED light on the GTX 1070 GPU. I don't mind it.

Such a great case! How long have you had it? Is it standing up to scuffs and scrapes pretty good so far?

logcat 1 Build 2 points 24 months ago

What about sleeping vs shutting down? I often sleep my computer instead of shutting it down, and it's in my bedroom so any extra is annoying.

I've had mine since January, and it's held up well. Be careful with the window, as that can scratch easily. The case itself is a beast and I love it. It's so gorgeous and easy to work in. I'm planning to use this case for the next many builds.

I haven't posted pictures of my build here yet, as I'd like to use a better camera to do it. I might also change it to Skylake, which would result in a cooler motherboard. I'm thinking about either this Gigabyte or the Asus Sabertooth Z170 S (white camo) or the MSI Titanium. All of them look fantastic, it just comes down to how much I feel like spending just to get a look.

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

It looks the same sleeping as it does when shut down. Totally dark except for the little GTX 1070 white led. Funny thing, it never used to wake from sleep, but now it works. I don't know why.

It is such an easy case to deal with! People were impressed with my cable management but it all had to do with how the case was laid out, there isn't any other way to do it. I hope we can keep this thing through many many builds.

I am liking how I haven't run into cooling issues with anything at all. The CPU over clocks like we expected, it doesn't overclock like craaazyyy. So I was happy we didn't get the worlds largest cpu cooler because we just scored average in the silicon overclocking lottery at 4.6 ghz.

I just took a look at the Asus sabertooth Z170 S. It looks solid, I would have considered it too because of the decent m.2 placement. I think it was never on my radar because in Canada it's significantly more expensive than the gigabyte one I have. The titanium I definitely didn't look at because of price.

logcat 1 Build 2 points 24 months ago

Good to know about the sleeping LEDs. I don't have an M.2 drive, so it would be there as a future benefit. For me in the USA, I can get the Sabertooth for $10 more than the Gigabyte. I like that it has a few more fan headers, and the white looks pretty good. However, the Gigabyte also looks amazing. I would consider the Avexir Raiden memory with it, just because it matches the color scheme so well.

Most of my cabling is pretty good. I bought cable extensions to get the white color, so I've got a lot of extra cabling in the back. I might eventually get the full kit from EVGA so the lengths are easier to deal with. It's expensive though. Even now, all you really see are motherboard power, GPU power, and the water cooling tubes. There are short sections of fan cabling at the edges of the motherboard, but those are hard to see.

How was your experience overclocking with Gigabyte? I haven't done it with my 4770K, but I'm sure I could.

The MSI Titanium is super pricey, but I admit it looks really good. If I'd been able to get the silver Evolv, I might have sprung for it. However, I managed to get the case for $150 shipped, so I opted to take the grey. If I don't upgrade for another year or so, I might see whether prices have come down at all.

This case does stay pretty cool. I've got a 280mm radiator mounted in the front, with push/pull fans, and the rear 140mm fan in the stock location. It seems to work pretty well. I can definitely hear it more than my old Define R4, but the upgrade in looks is worth it. It's a soft whooshing sound, and I never hear my pump, so I think the trade-off is worth it.

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

I don't have anything to compare the OC experience to, so keep that in mind. Initially I used the Windows utility to overclock because it's easy. You just move some sliders, or there is even an automatic option. For automatic, it wasn't a great OC: 4.4 GHz and a fairly high (not risky) voltage. After, I used the manual sliders in the program I settled at 4.6 and 1.35 V and kept that for a few days. Eventually I transferred those values to the BIOS so that the overclock persisted without the Windows program.

Like I mentioned in the review, I couldn't figure out how to use adaptive voltage, which I wanted to do keep the average voltage on the chip lower and reduce power consumption. It may be possible to do this in a manual way, but I was bored of overclocking and stress testing at this point and just picked the automatic 4.6 GHz setting in the BIOS with the voltage set to Auto. Overall, I'm happy with the results.

The BIOS was simple enough to find the values you need, but at the same time, it still feels like it could be better laid out and more intuitive (people say ASUS is better). I recommend looking for a video of someone overclocking on a gigabyte z170 board. Any recent board should work because they can't have deviated far between models.

Janray119 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Did you have any issues with clearance with the motherboard and cpu cooler? Was it easy to access the motherboard components?

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

It was really easy while assembling. Installing an m.2 drive after the assembly might require that you take out the GPU to have enough room. But that's about all I anticipate.

No clearance issues so far.

Janray119 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Thank you

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

You're welcome.

NaturallySynced 1 point 21 months ago

I was having so much trouble looking for reviews on this motherboard but while searching i stumbled across this beauty of a build. This is my first PC build and you seem very knowledgeable, which is why I was hoping you can look over my build. I intend to use it for gaming and streaming mostly but would like to get into video editing and not sure if this matters but Id also like to have some form of music software. Im still having trouble choosing between RAM (2x8GB for 16 GB or 2x16GB for 32GB) and the case (I feel like a black case will just suck all the color and wont look as good if it were to be in a gray case like yours). https://pcpartpicker.com/list/Cd2bTH

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 21 months ago

Thanks for the kind words. It looks like a solid build to me. I've recently discovered that a good nvidia GPU is really beneficial for a lot of video editing tasks in adobe's software. Adobe pays attention to the CUDA cores in nvidia cards and you can get the same performance from an nvidia powered editing rig than you can with the most top of the line CPUs, saving you at least $4000 but still giving you the performance. So the 1080 is great for that. I'd look at getting an nvme m.2 drive for your video editing in the future. They are really expensive though so I'm doing fine with waiting and using my ssd right now.

Ram might be a subjective thing. I was using 32 gigs of ram in my Mac pro before this computer and was shocked to see that my new windows computer uses almost half the amount of ram that my Mac did running the same programs. Apparently windows isn't the slow junk monster it seems to have the reputation of. However with video and photo editing I'm still using 20 gigs of ram on occasion and I don't think I've ever seen it thrash or page so I'm happy with 32 gigs and would likely have kicked myself if I had 16. I can run some tasks and see how much ram it uses, or half my ram and see if I noticed a difference.

NaturallySynced 1 point 21 months ago

Thanks for the reply man i really appreciate it. I've decided to go with the 2x16GB for that extra RAM. Still not sure if id like to go full or mid tower on this build. Do you know if all my components will fit in a ENTHOO EVOLV ATX TG? and yeah ima hold off on that m.2 drive too steep of a price for me at the moment.

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 21 months ago

Hmmm I am not familiar with the ATX TG so you will have to measure everything out. There is so much room in this case that I'm kind of jealous of the new mATX one. Although I think that would require a different board.

I also just noticed you have a DVD/BR drive. Where do you plan on putting it? I don't think these cases have a place for it. I didn't get one, don't think I'll ever use it. Windows 10 installation comes on a USB stick now.

NaturallySynced 1 point 21 months ago

its just like the case you have but with tempered glass on both sides. My motherboard came with a disc though, wont i need to install it with a dvd drive?

Dusante submitter 1 Build 1 point 21 months ago

Definitely not. We managed to boot up fine. I think windows 10 automatically downloads the important drivers it needs. We went online and downloaded the much newer updated software straight from gigabyte's website. The disk will have old and dusty stuff on it anyways. If you're worried you can download the drivers and software on another computer now and move them to a memory stick and use that right away too. DVD drives are so useless these days unless you have a specific use or need in mind.