Description

Much of this build was taken from my old i7 2700k that I'd had for a number of years but was starting to creak with feeding my GPU. I'd already added SSDs and extra drives since I'd first bought the machine as well as upgrading to an MSI R9 295x2 and the PSU to feed it.

I was also getting a bit sick of the black Coolermaster HAF+ tower, so wanted a little more variety on the look front.

So I finally decided to upgrade some of the other core pieces. Specifically:

  • Case (Corsair Carbide Air 540)
  • Motherboard (Asus Sabertooth Z170 S)
  • CPU (Skylake 6700k)
  • Cooler (Corsair H100i AiO cooler)
  • Memory (32 Gb (2x16Gb) Corsair Vengeance 2666Mhz DDR4)

I also decided to throw in a HUE+ unit for a bit of lighting.

The case is wonderful at trying to go for as clean a build as possible, particularly with the large open case window, most of the wire clutter is in the passive side - I've still tried, where at all possible to keep the wires together and tied down though. You can see through the pictures, where after the motherboard and drives were in, but not the GPU (4th and 5th pictures), I did a lot of cleanup on the wiring.

At the time of the build I also took the opportunity to clean the radiator and VRM fans on my 295x2 before taking it over.

After I'd completed the initial work on the build, a lightning deal from Amazon for the 960Gb SSD came up, and I decided to go for it, nothing ventured, nothing gained of course (this meant that my DVD-RW drive was eve more redundant than before, though I've yet to actually take it out of the case)

The only other major post-build purchase is the Logitech G633 headset, which so far has been a revelation, for a gamer most accustomed to 2.0 small speakers.

I'll add some more day time pictures along with some of the other bits I bought since the main build was completed.

All in all in terms of the parts to do the upgrade, it came to about £1100 with the 960Gb SSD and another £100 for the post build bits.

Part Reviews

CPU

Upgraded this from my i7 2700k, my motherboard will easy Overclock to 4.6Ghz, but I like to keep it at stock at the moment and keep my cooler on Quiet or Balanced profiles for the time being. Handles everything I throw at it, and glad to see stuttering on a number of games has been reduced.

CPU Cooler

Can get a bit noisy, but keeps the CPU at a good temp so can't massively complain. Main problem is the software, I'd like more options on alerts, so I want to have the fans automatically switch profile from Quiet to Balanced to Performance and bad at a set of certain temperatures.

Allows me to decide where in my case the CPU heat will come out, which I think is a huge and often overlooked bonus of AiO. It currently pushes over the rad and out the top, on my previous machine with a standard intel air cooler, I always disliked that the CPU heat was right in front of my R9 295x2 cooler, so never really felt I was getting top performance out of the GPU cooling setup.

Motherboard

Wonderful motherboard, lots of fan headers and places to connect your own temperature sensors - the software allows you to customise your fan profiles dependent upon any of these sensors and bias them accordingly so that say CPU is a more important factor than some of your other areas for one fan, but another might ramp up more dependent on RAM heat, for example. Digital Camo styling is very nice for a white build and is a welcome difference from the propensity of black and red gaming motherboards. Only issue is the automatic turn off of the iGPU outputs when a graphics card is inserted - I'd like to be able to connect my 21:9 monitor to the motherboards display port and have my 4k only running of my R9 295x2 - haven't figured out how to get this combination working yet.

Memory

Bought the 2666Mhz over anything higher because this combination/product number was on the Qualified Vendor list for memory for the motherboard . Got them in white to match the rest of the build, and still got two slots left - great for using virtualbox, and no need to have any virtual memory now. Had no issues with XMP profile.

Storage

Prebought Bought this about 18 months to 2 years ago as a boot drive and reinstalled Windows 8.1 on it. Never let me down, although with bigger apps coming out on Windows Store, it could get a bit tight space wise (looking at you Forza Apex, and UWP apps seemingly incapable of being run through a Windows Junction to another drive).

Run Visual Studio and Office, amongst other things, from this drive.

Storage

Run most of my heavily modded games from here: Skyrim Fallout New Vegas Fallout 3 Fallout 4

Second Drive runs a couple of MMOs, Elder Scrolls Online, The Secret World and Witcher 3

Storage

Got this for £139.99 on an Amazon Lightning Deal - now just to fill it with games

Storage

A couple of old 1tb OEM drives from older machines, considering replacing them both with 6TB drives out of some Seagate Backup Plus Drives from Argos (http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/4139836.htm). Have served me well thus far, but run out of space far too often and have to rearrange things and use junctions.

Video Card

Amazing card when you don't have to deal with the vagaries of Crossfire. Still, two years on, the single slot card to beat (even though it is Dual GPU), bought it for a touch over £500 in May 2015, after finding out the 980Ti's were retailing for around £800. Can play pretty much any game at 4k and Ultra (for the most part) and if not a quick dial down to 1440p is all it needs. Have considered getting a 290x to run it in tri-fire but that would necessitate a 1200w PSU at least.

Case

Wonderful case, separated out so that your hot components get the air they need across them from the front case fans without them being obstructed by drive bays. The passive side that has no fans in, holds the 4 SSDs and the now inert 5.25 in bay, and hides a lot of the wiring clutter, currently I've got all my drive bays full so fitted the 2.5in HUE+ unit to the grill on the back of the passive cooling side. Between being able to tweak fan profiles and temperature monitoring on the motherboard and both my GPU and CPU being cooled by liquid, the airflow off the two 140mm fans get straight across the two hard drives in the bottom and over the rest of the motherboard nicely ready to go out across the GPU cooler and the radiators of the H100i, so I think I've managed to organise the heat areas of the build pretty well.

This case is absolutely designed to get the best out of your airflow, even if it is a bit wider than most. The icing on the cake is the large passive area that allows a lot of hiding of wiring, allowing for a very clean build, although I can still see areas in need of improvement in my own wiring.

Power Supply

Works great, got it at same time I got my R9 295x2, checked that it worked on the beQuiet website, and other than the socket hook for the main motherboard lead getting broken it's been 100% fine, currently run the r9 295x2 off two separate two headed GPU leads so that it's not pulling all the juice from a single output on the PSU, just to be safe.

Monitor

Fabulous monitor, love the aspect ratio particularly in RPGs, was originally looking to get this as the centrepiece in a 6400x1080 Eyefinity display, but moving rooms and having to get a smaller desk scuppered that idea, and opted for the 4k monitor instead. I have thought about getting the bigger 34in 3440x1440 monitors but they're still a little too pricy. Lots of inputs, including Displayport Passthrough. Small but serviceable speakers on the monitor, fair amount of weight to the whole unit and the stand isn't the most adjustable, but all in all, a great purchase.

Monitor

Good monitor, love the clarity of the resolution, stand is a bit lacking in stability and the adjustment of the monitor is difficult to prove that it exists at all. No speakers on this monitor, which is unfortunate really, meaning you'll either have to have some more bespoke solution (I got a couple of cheap HP PC speakers into my Speaker out) or jack a 3.5mm lead into a speaker and then into the headphone socket on the monitor. PIP and PBP work really well,

Keyboard

Utterly love this little device, easy enough to setup profiles, its of customisability. Sometimes the program detection goes a bit awry but in the main it's a great bit of kit, again another Amazon Lightning Deal where I think I got it for about £60. Fraps, MSI Afterburner and Network utilisation integration all adds to it's usefulness, particularly the Afterburner stats

Headphones

Only got this a few days ago, but I've been very surprised by it. I'm not a huge fan of mic'ing up in my online games, but I like the headset and the 7.1 simulation is great. Has definitely added something to my gaming irrespective of it being online or not.

Comments

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 Really cool build!

You should see how the GPU performs with doom's Vulcan API. AMD cards are seeing like 30% boosts, haven't seen a benchmark of the 295X2 yet though.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

if you are planning any Tri-fire setups real soon

could you PM?

i want to know if this myth of tri-fire setups minimizing stuttering in games is really true or not.

CoolerMaster V1200 PSU is a Seasonic OEM and they are really beefy and cost lesser than the Corsair offerings.

the 295x2 is kinda gimped by the 2x8 pin PCI-E power plugs. i say 3x8 pins or up to 4x8 pins is needed to run this beast of a GPU

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

The biggest gimping of the card is the hard temperature limit of 75C, if I'm honest - if I run any stress test through 3d Mark I downclock the GPU slightly to ensure it doesn't hit the thermal limit and it's completely stable. I've found that for me, it's either thermal limits of the GPU getting hit, or my processor not feeding the GPU fast enough that causes the majority of stuttering

Ive seen the HardOCP test for tri-fire and it seems the sweet spot over running Dual X2s

It just means having to fork out for a 1200w+ PSU even though the price of a 290x will fall over time.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

yea 290X on the used market should be cheaper as compare to few years back.

I wasn't aware of the 75 thermal limit for the 295x2. Not even Afterburner can help?

the 6700K should have no issues feeding the dual GPUs. What i can only think of is because the 295x2 is sharing lanes within the dual GPUs itself

Other than the 295x2 being a Dual GPU card. the Powercolor Devil card which is dual 390s is actually faster than the 295x2 and runs cooler.

the 295x2 is limited by power,temps and prob 4GB VRAM buffer

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 i really like how a good portion of the build is behind the mobo. really cool. and i do believe that the corsair h100i is the cooler of choice for us skylake ppl. it can be a bit loud with the stock fans. im looking into something a little quieter but still efficient.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree about the H100i - I can't discern any pump noise, but I probably will look into getting quieter fans.

The case is a god-send for people doing multi-GPU or full sets of SSDs/HDDs - for those doing a build with a GPU with single power plug or only a couple of drives, a NZXT H440 or Fractal Design R5 is great because even with the reduced area behind the mobo you've not got nearly as many cables to route through.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Have considered getting a 290x to run it in tri-fire but that would necessitate a 1200w PSU at least.

That would be very interesting to see...

+1

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Got enough space?

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

In what sense?

  • 38 months ago
  • 2 points

Look how many harddrives and ssds you have. What is each of them used for?

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Well my boot drive is the 120Gb SSD that's running Windows, Visual Studio and Office, my first 240Gb SSD is running heavily modded Fallout 3,4 and New Vegas and Skyrim installation - so lots of individual files loading means an SSD is a good route to go

My other 240Gb SSD is running Witcher 3 and a number of MMOs because of a lot of patching and stuff, you get a bit less wait time when using the SSD and less noise when it's patching.

My 960Gb SSD is hardly used at the moment as it's a new purchase

As for the other two hard drives they're the usual installation points for any Origin or Steam games - if I find there's a bit of a slowdown, because of disk access, I move them onto an SSD and use a Windows Junction to mimic the original install directory so I don't have to reinstall - they also have clean install versions of the Skyrim, etc.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Where did you get the Fallout Vault Sticker?

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