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Build

The Monolith

by codebooker

15
31 Comments

Details

Date Published

Jan. 22, 2017

Date Built

Jan. 21, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

4.5GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

36.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

75.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

2.01GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.0GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

39.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

65.0° C

Description

Note: I encourage comments, I will try to reply to all comments after reading them.

So, not so short story time. For the past three years, I've known I wanted a desktop pc that could handle most anything I throw at it from gaming, to image editing, and even possibly video editing. I've never had a desktop pc before this one, I was always a laptop user. I recently (last couple months) started having problems with my laptop, a Lenovo Y50-Touch touting a GTX 860m 4GB, an i7 4710HQ, 16GB of ram, and a 512GB Samsung SSD. It was overheating badly due to poor TIM (cpu paste) and I was getting temps in the 90's when idling. I couldn't use the thing due to it constantly thermal throttling. I took it apart and replaced the TIM (which had solidified) with some Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut paste. The temps on the laptop had an immediate drop, now idling in the 30's and 40's and never getting over 65 degrees celsius. After I corrected the heating issue I realized how slow my laptop's GPU was compared to the new 1000 Series Nvidia graphics cards, and how slow my i7 was (never over 2.5GHz when under load thanks to Lenovo's bios). So I set out planning what I wanted in a desktop pc, and what the cheapest possible method of obtaining the parts was.

I am a Media and Communications Studies at college and will need something that can do image rendering. I have also made a handful of websites for local businesses in my area and do freelance web design as sort of a hobby. My roommate (who has a custom gaming pc) helped me a bit in picking what parts are best for what, and where to splurge and where to cut back to save money. So after watching many LinusTechTips, Gamers Nexus, Awesomesause Network (or is it Bitwit now?), Paul's Hardware, OC3D, and JayzTwoCents videos, and reading reviews on sites like Anandtech I finally settled on what parts I wanted. After making the part list I sat back and had that holy crap moment where I realized I'm poor and cannot afford to buy any of the parts on my list other than the Anti-Static Strap. So, when I got off college for winter break, I got a job mopping floors at a local garage in order to pay for the parts, and as you can probably guess just by the fact of reading this, I was successful in getting the money I needed to build the pc I wanted.

For purchasing parts I got registered as a system builder with a wholesaler hoping to get some cheap parts (which I did). So some parts came from the wholesaler (CPU, Mobo, GPU, HDD, Dust Filter), and others came from Newegg (Cooler, Ram, Anti-Static Strap), and finally, some parts came from Amazon (SSD and PSU) which I was able to purchase using Discover Card Cashback earnings (so It cost me nothing, not even shipping). To top it all off, since I spent over $1000 with the wholesaler, they gave me a $100 pre-paid visa gift card.

For anyone interested, here are some benchmarks:

Note: The CPU is overclocked to 4.5GHz, and I am using custom fan curves on the H100iV2, and chassis fans which can be seen here Corsair Link and here AI Suite.


Synthetics:


Aida64 Stress Test Max Temp: 78 Degrees Celsius

Aida64 Stress Test Average Temp: 67 Degrees Celsius

Run Time: 25 Minutes

Thermal Throttling: 0%

CPU Load 100%


Cinebench R15 CPU: 1056

Cinebench R15 OpenGL: 166.52

CPU Temp During Cinebench: 76 Degrees Celsius


Geekbench 4 CPU Single-Core: 6118

Geekbench 4 CPU Multi-Core: 19572

CPU Temp During Testing: 41 Degrees Celsius

Click Here For The Full Geekbench Workup


Unigine Valley Benchmark (1080p, Extreme HD Preset): 100.9 FPS

Unigine Valley Benchmark (1080p, Extreme HD Preset): Score 4221

CPU Temp During Benchmark: 56 Degrees Celsius


Unigine Valley Benchmark (1440p, Ultra): 57.4 FPS

Unigine Valley Benchmark (1440p, Ultra): Score 2401


3DMark Fire Strike: 15,539

3DMark Time Spy: 6,027

3DMark Sky Diver: 36,779


Games:


- GTA V Benchmark GTA V First Mission (Race Lamar) Tom Clancy's The Division Benchmark Dirty Bomb (One Round) Fallout 4 (After Creation To Cryo)
1440p Ultra Min 45 FPS 52 FPS 74 FPS 127 FPS 0 FPS
1440p Ultra Max 270 FPS 270 FPS 132 FPS 181 FPS 465 FPS
1440p Ultra Avg 94.85 FPS 67.77 FPS 94.15 FPS 163.70 FPS 93.72 FPS
- - - - - -
1080p Ultra Min 63 FPS 69 FPS 104 FPS 147 FPS 0 FPS
1080p Ultra Max 270 FPS 269 FPS 170 FPS 182 FPS 758 FPS
1080p Ultra Avg 110.83 FPS 94.19 FPS 133.69 FPS 177.94 FPS 143.72 FPS

Part Reviews

CPU

I wanted a fast unlocked i7, and since Intel had recently released their 7th gen desktop processors, I decided to go with the 7700k instead of the 6700k.

CPU Cooler

Chose this water cooler for overclocking, it keeps the CPU at a nice 30° Celsius when idle, and hovers around 60° Celsius under load. Not too bad to install, I did have one issue with the fans, though. The fans would not attach snugly to the radiator, they were loose even after the screws were tightened all the way. My solution was to put the fans between the radiator and the case to allow the case to fill the small gap that was causing the fans to be loose. The included instruction booklet shows the radiator being installed as an exhaust, but since I don't want to try to use hot air from my GPU to cool my CPU, I set it as an intake (and that's the only way it would fit in my case).

Thermal Compound

Absolutely amazing thermal paste. It costs a pretty penny, but it's worth it. I would highly recommend this paste whether it be for laptops, desktops, or water cooled gaming desktops, this stuff rocks.

Motherboard

Great motherboard, but took off one star for the piece of junk IO shield. It had metal tags on the holes cut out for the hdmi, displayport, and usb 3.1 (type A) ports that ended up sticking into the ports on the motherboard. I had to remove the motherboard and bend the tags to keep them from wanting to go into the mentioned ports. The instruction booklet did not mention these tags, nor did it mention having to bend them to keep them from getting jammed into the ports on the motherboard. Also, another thing worth mentioning is the front panel audio doesn't seem to work properly, if I turn the volume over 4, my headphones crackle. I've played around with Asus' audio software, but was unable to resolve the issue. I use the rear line out connector for my headphones now, and have no issues with it. It may be an issue with my case's front panel audio connectors, or the motherboard, or even both, but either way, I thought it was worth mentioning. AI Suite, Asus' software for controlling parts of the motherboard such as cpu clock rate, and fan speed has an issue. At first it caused a memory leak that negatively affected performance. Later it caused BSOD's after login due to a bad driver which forced me to uninstall AI Suite to resolve the problem.

Memory

Bought 3000MHz Ram, it only ran at 2133MHz until I overclocked it. I wish it ran at 3000MHz out of the box, but since the 7700K only supports 2133MHz and 2400MHz ram speeds, the overclock was necessary.

Storage

As cheap as this SSD can be found for, I have nothing to say negative about it, It's actually quite an impressive little SSD. Only problem was that the logo sticker was rotated 180 degrees from how every other major manufacturer puts it. I had to come up with my own wiring solution to make it right-side-up in my case.

Storage

Easy to install, no setup issues, holds a solid ton of data, nothing negative to say here.

Video Card

Easy to install and setup, the included velcro straps came in handy. This thing is scary silent even when under load and fans spinning. I didn't even know the fans were spinning until I looked under the card and saw that they were no longer stationary. It's quiet, powerful, and nice looking for my monolithic black build.

Case

I had some issues with the motherboard installation in this case due to a standoff coming off when unscrewing the screw it was attached to. That issue arose when I was correcting the problems with the tangs on the motherboard's IO shield. Dealing with fixing the seized up screw alone was so much of a pain to fix that I took off a star. Other than that I had no issues with this case, cable management is heavenly, cooling is adequate, and that glass side panel looks classy.

Power Supply

No issues here, semi-modular, all black cables, quiet, five stars...

Keyboard

Loud, clicky, comfortable to type on. It uses Outemu Blue switches which are a bit louder than Cherry MX Blue switches (and I think they are actually more gratifying to type on than their Cherry MX counterpart). Backlighting is red only. Good keyboard for the $35 I paid for it on Amazon.

Keyboard

This brown switch keyboard is just great. I'm coming to this from a blue switch keyboard, and while I like blue switches, they are just too loud to use for someone in college who has to type a lot of papers. The RGB lighting is nice, but it's not very bright. Corsair's CUE software is okay, but I prefer Razer's Synapse 2.0 software, too bad it only works with Razer products. I have had to restart CUE a few times due to the keyboard's lighting not responding to the software, hopefully this issue gets fixed. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, but I use my own wrist rest instead of the one that came with it. The wrist rest that came with it is just too slippery for my taste. My wrist slides off, it kind of takes the rest out of wrist rest. The keys were a bit clacky when bottoming out and coming back up, so I installed clear o-rings on all the keycaps. The o-rings helped somewhat, but the keys still clack when coming back up. Even though they clack coming back up, they are still worlds quieter than the blue switches I was using before. Overall I really like this keyboard, it looks premium, feels premium, and hopefully will last me for many years.

Mouse

Great mouse for people with long fingers but smaller (width) hands. For anyone with smaller hands, I would recommend this. For people with wider hands, I'd recommend you try something else as this is a thin width mouse. This mouse can be found for around 1/2 its MSRP on Amazon.

Headphones

I've had these headphones for a while now. They sound nice and are fairly comfortable to wear. The top headband cracked in half and I rednecked a fix for it with super glue and electrical tape. They still sound as good as the day I got them. Would recommend if you can get them for a good price, otherwise I'd recommend a headphone that uses a metal headband.

Other

It has okay color accuracy, max refresh rate of 60hz, hdmi input for computer, it's a TV. After looking up color profiles online for the tv's panel I was able to adjust it for better color accuracy. During gameplay there is a bit of screen tearing, even when the GPU is pushing out 120+ FPS. There is a setting for low latency which helps a bit, but some tearing is still noticeable. Upside is for dorm life, it's both a television and a computer monitor. The ability to use VESA mounts is nice. At college I clamp a hydraulic arm monitor mount to my desk and attach this tv to it. It makes it really easy to aim the tv at my bed for watching Netflix, and aim it back at my desk for doing work. Would recommend it, if it can be found on sale, otherwise I'd recommend a real monitor.

Other

For $200, this monitor really impressed me. The colors are not 100% accurate, but there is an sRGB mode built in that helps. For image editing or even general web browsing, this monitor kicks butt. It's okay for 1440p gaming, there is some screen tearing, but it's not very noticeable unless you are looking for it. I would recommend this for any gamer on a budget who wants to dip their toe in the water of 1440p gaming. I'd also recommend this for general productivity, reading websites is easier on this monitor, and same goes for typing word documents. So, if you want a solid monitor that is a little less than 99% sRGB, and has great clarity and ease of use, get this. If you want a 144Hz monitor for gaming, this is not for you, if you have to have 100% sRGB, this is not for you, but for everyone else, you might wanna try this.

Comments Sorted by:

vycelord 2 Builds 3 points 3 months ago

I may have gotten a gold cert PSU with those expensive components, but otherwise awesome build, sweet case and more more more pictures!

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

[Typo Repair]: I thought about getting a better 80 Plus * Rated PSU, but after reading reviews and tech specs, a better efficiency rating was not worth it for me. I barely came in within my set budget for this whole thing, so I figured a single 12-volt rail was enough for one GPU and everything else I have hooked to the mobo. So far I've had no issues and am only drawing around 400 watts max from the wall.

[comment deleted]
Jasperzigterman 2 points 3 months ago

Hi! I'm also planning on doing a build in this case. What did you do with the front panel USB type-C connector? Unfortunately the NZXT S340 doesn't offer a USB type-c port on the front panel. This is my parts list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/YdMVbj

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

I didn't use it, I may try to find a use for it later

LeMMingSlayeR 8 Builds 2 points 3 months ago

Pity there isn't a PC case which has sides preserving the precise 1:4:9 ratio of the TMA-1, or Monolith. Love the reference though, and love the build.

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Yeah, couldn't decide what to name it, the only thing that came to mind was "The Monolith"

FL350 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

I had the same problem with the fans on my H100i. Turns out that because I was attaching the fans in a pull config (and thus the fans were screwed to the rad first, and separate screws attached the rad to the case), the screws were too long. Had to trim them down with some bolt cutters.

Nice looking build!

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Thanks, it turned out that after sandwiching the fans between the radiator and the case, and using the included washers the thickness problem went away.

Caminon 1 Build 2 points 3 months ago

What do you think about the diamondback?

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

I like it, it fits my hand well, and I got it on Cyber Monday for $30, so I'm happy with it.

museprime 2 points 3 months ago

I purchased this case. And I was considering exchanging the mobo I am using (GIGABYTE G1 Gaming GA-Z170X-Gaming 7) for the mobo you're using for your build. Would you recommend it?

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Sure, but (and it's a big but) if you like using motherboard software (AI Suite) to control fan speed and what not instead of going through the BIOS, be warned, it caused me to BSOD. I would get intermittent (not every time) BSODs immediately after logging in, culprit appeared to be a bad driver file Asus needs for AI Suite to work. I removed AI Suite and the problem seems to have gone away (done 20 reboots, no more BSOD). You may not have this issue, and granted it is software related and may get patched at some point, but I thought you should know about this before you choose your Mobo. Other than this software error, I've not had any issues with this motherboard. It overclocks well, and will even control the voltage automatically for easy overclocking, and the built in 5ghz overclock profile (for Kaby lake CPUs only) is a nice touch.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

-Codebooker

museprime 2 points 3 months ago

Hey thanks for the response. I decide to pull the trigger and go for. It sounds stupid. but the one of the reasons I considered this is because I'd never had a ASUS gaming mobo. TO honest I could never see myseif spending $300 on mobo. at least not right now ;)

But I was gifted a NZXT Case. I had a GIGABYTE Z170 Gaming 7 Mobo. I still have and am still on the fence whether to keep or go for the ASUS. They were the same price essentially. got the ASUS for around $188.

The other reason for the switch up is that the mobo color didn't really fit the case. So do you believe that ASUS will fix the AI suite issue?

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Well, the Asus Mobo will definitely solve your problem with color coordination. The issue with AI Suite's driver has apparently been plaguing Asus ROG motherboards since 2012 (according to my research). They seem to patch the issue after they notice it in a particular piece of software, but then it'll pop up later in another piece of software. I think it's specifically used by EZ Updater, which starts when you login possibly triggering the error. I'm testing my hypothesis by installing the ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors part of AI Suite only and seeing if the BSOD occurs, as the ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors is what contains the fan control and overclock software for the motherboard. I'll let you know how it works after a day or so of testing.

-Codebooker

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 2 months ago

So, I installed only the ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors part of AI Suite. I set it so that it does not start when I login, and I've had no more blue screens (so far). I am hopeful that Asus fixes this issue, but at least for now there is a work-around.

Best of luck on your build.

-Codebooker

1-Z 2 points 3 months ago

What peripherals are you using?

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Attached to my PC is a Vizio E24-C1 TV, Razer Diamondback Chroma Mouse (on a steelseries QcK Mousepad), Redragon K551 Red LED (Blue Switch) Mechanical Keyboard, and a Xbox One S Controller.

I hope that answers your question.

-Codebooker

The_Dak_Attack4 2 points 3 months ago

I'm in the process of ordering my PC Parts for my first build and I have on question. It also helps as you chose multiple parts that I am considering. Such as, the processor, the motherboard, the memory, and an S340 case. I'm just paranoid that I might get the parts, and I forgot to buy an extra, or necessary cable. So I ask this, did you buy and use any extra cables that were not included with your parts? Thanks!

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

Nope, everything was included, SATA data cables with the Mobo, SATA power with the PSU, didn't need to buy anything extra. I was a bit worried too, a buddy of mine is building a PC and his Mobo didn't come with SATA data cables. He didn't realize that until after he got everything else, so now he is waiting on SATA data cables.

I hope your build goes well, remember to bend the metal tags on the HDMI, display port, and USB slots up so they don't get caught in the ports on the motherboard.

-Codebooker

The_Dak_Attack4 2 points 3 months ago

Thanks Codebooker,

You've been a big help in answering my questions about PC building. With that I hope you don't mind answering my last question. I plan on having a dual-monitor setup. I'm generally confused on which outputs to use. Since I'm running a dual-monitor setup, should I use 1 port from the MOBO, 2 ports from the MOBO, 1 from each, or 2 from the Graphics Card. I hope I explained my situation well enough for you to provide an answer.

Thanks again, Dak Attack

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

All display outs will most likely need to come from your GPU, none from the Mobo. Some motherboards disable the built in display outs when a GPU is installed, since I have yet to try a multi-display setup I can't say for sure what will happen. I've ordered another monitor from Newegg and it's supposed to arrive Monday. Once I get it I'll be able to give you a concrete answer, but from what I've seen and read, all outputs will most likely come from your GPU.

-Codebooker

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 2 months ago

So, after receiving my new monitor (which I am thrilled with, btw) I have an answer for your question. You should hook both monitors to the GPU, not the mobo. You can hook them to the mobo, but then they won't be able to use the GPU for games. Once you hook the monitors to your GPU, it's a simple matter of tweaking some settings in Windows to re-arrange your monitors to how you see fit. I am attaching a link to a photo I just took of my current setup so you can see it with both monitors (http://i.imgur.com/Rk0iBuo.jpg).

I wish you luck on your build, and if you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

-Codebooker

The_Dak_Attack4 2 points 2 months ago

Hey Codebooker,

Thanks for giving me this info! Now I'm all set to start building my computer. I will be sure to give you pictures when it's done too!

Your fellow PC Builder, Dak Attack

Leedos 2 points 2 months ago

Is that.... is that a banana for scale?

codebooker submitter 1 Build 2 points 2 months ago

Indeed it is, I was wondering when someone would notice. I was half hoping someone would comment "Why the heck is there a banana?".

Thanks for your comment.

-Codebooker

LightProtecter 2 points 2 months ago

do you recommend the mobo?

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 2 months ago

I'd recommend it if you can get past the issues with AI Suite 3. Other than the issues with AI Suite 3 and the piece of junk IO shield, I've had no issues with this motherboard. It's great for overclocking too.

-Codebooker

LightProtecter 2 points 2 months ago

Thanks for the fast reply! I love dat banana! +1

SuperGuyDoesGames 2 points 2 months ago

+1 for banana in pic 4

Other than that, great PC

codebooker submitter 1 Build 1 point 2 months ago

Thanks

-Codebooker

Pixelbox203 1 point 10 days ago

Are you enjoying yourself?