Actual Price (Singapore Dollars): 1601.79 SGD
This build was for a friend with the title in mind, raster graphics editing in Photoshop/Lightroom and x264 encoding in handbrake. He had an additional SSD to be used for PS/LR's scratch.
CPU: The 4690 is the CPU to beat for encoding duties, and using one in this build wasn't much of a conscious decision at all.
MB: Storage was an important factor in this build, and ASUS's H97M-PLUS has a lot going for it in that department with a M.2 slot and 6 SATA connectors. Arguably the MSI H97M-G43 offers the same storage capabilities, and with the added bonus of all 6 SATA connectors being right angled, for less. But it's not much less and Asus motherboards are just universally regarded as high quality motherboards. Call me biased.
Memory: I'd proposed 16GB of RAM but he wanted 32GB. If he ever needs to open photoshop files a few GB big, he'll be able to do it.
GPU: Note: the GPU used is the full length Windforce card from Gigabyte (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD) and not the ITX card. Gigabyte's GTX960 G1 Gaming and the Windforce card deviate from the standard 6-pin/8-pin power connectors of other GTX960s. And in this build was actually a big downside, something I didn't really plan for.
The GPU was another area I had suggested something a little less powerful, a 750Ti would handle Photoshop's GPU acceleration features easily and it would still be able to use NVENC for encoding, if he ever wanted to use that over x264 for some reason. Furthermore, if I'd gone with a 750Ti, I wouldn't have pushed the CX430M so close to its limits.
Case: It was either this or the Corsair 350D, I love Fractal Design's cases and went with this (the arc mini/midi was out of stock at the shop I went to). With 2 5.25" and 6 3.5" bays, it'll can use up all of the 6 SATA connectors on the motherboard, and then some. There's a PCIe lane left for a SATA card if he ever needs that absurd amount of storage.
PSU: The CX430 (non modular) wasn't in stock so I had to get the modular one, and use all the cables anyway. Even then I was cutting it particularly close. The 2 molex to PCIe 6 pin connection is extremely unsightly, if this was a windowed case I would have considered suicide, thankfully this is not the case (pun). The PSU only comes with cables for 4 SATA power, which would not be enough to power any additional drives. After the build it only a single molex connector, and a 4-pin fan power connector was left. It's possible to get a molex to 5x SATA power, I've never used one, but at least it's possible.
System Trials: The stock cooler kept the CPU locked at 80C while running at 3.7GHz, which is perfectly fine and expected of the stock cooler. The combined GPU and CPU stress test pushed the CPU over 85C after 25minutes and triggered the safety shut-off in OCCT. With an additional case fan and perhaps a third party cooler, it would be possible to run the GPU and CPU full tilt concurrently, but there likely isn't going to be any real-world scenarios that that would occur.
- 6 SATA ports and a M.2 slot in a MATX form factor, and with the Asus quality and BIOS you all love.
- A little pricey and 2 of the SATA ports aren't right angled.
- A cheap card with good IO (3x DP 1x HDMI)
- The Windforce and G1 Gaming versions of this card uses 2x 6-pin power connectors, whereas every other GTX 960 card will use 6+2-pin or 6-pin connectors.
- A good quality case with lots of storage space and good acoustic properties.
- Rubber grommets come off easily, easily fixed, but wasn't a problem on the Define R4.