* Mail-In Rebates:
Well this is the final iteration of my first gaming PC guild, which culminated over the past year and a half. I recently posted (and deleted, twice) a completed build that some of you may or may not have seen, but I decided this will be my official, first, "completed build", as I refuse to spend anymore money on it right now (else my wifey shall murder me). >:D
The original build consisted of a MSI 970a-G43 motherboard, 8gb DDR3-1333 RAM, an XFX r7 250 GPU, an Antec VP550F PSU, an AMD FX-4300 CPU, Cooler Master Hyper TX3 CPU cooler, a throwdown optical drive, a 1TB Western Digital HDD, a 500GB Western Digital HDD that I frankensteined out of an old PC my mom had lying around her office, and an NZXT SENTRY 3 fan controller, all stuffed into a throwdown Antec case, that I can't even seem to find anymore, but I still have it (in fact, I still have all the old parts).
After some time went by, probably the better part of a year, I then added an additional 8gb DDR3-1600 RAM to the rig, but had an issue getting Windows to recognize it. After much frustration, I decided my 970a-G43 was to blame, and promptly purchased an MSI 970 Gaming motherboard to replace it.
And there it was.......
That single purchase, right there, sparked the PC building bug in me again, and I was hooked.....hooked harder than a 16 year old runaway getting high on smack in a dark back alley for the first time. It was only a matter of time that I became frustrated with my crappy Antec case, and went out and bought my current TT Commander G42. Well, I had to basically rebuild the computer from scratch right? So that meant I need cooler (pun intended) fans, so I picked up some SickleFlows with blue LEDs, along with two blue CCFL tubes, only to discover one was red when I got home, but I didn't care, I just wanted to build!
I ran with that setup for a little while, a few months, but couldn't scratch the itch I was still having, so I decided I just HAD to have a better GPU, and picked up an ASUS STRIX R9 380 4GB GPU. Threw that bad boy in, but got less than stellar performance. I then toyed around a little with OC'ing the CPU, before deciding I wasn't going to be cool like Joe Camel unless I had a water cooler, so I snagged a LEPA AquaChanger 240 and a 128GB Patriot SSD that I found as an open box. It was then I posted my first "completed" build on here, and learned from you fine users that my CPU was bottlenecking any gaming performance I may have had with my new GPU.
So I did what any responsible adult would do...............buy more parts. I decided that my PSU wasn't gonna cut it, did some planning ahead for dual R9380 setup, and picked up a semi-modular TT Toughpower GOLD 750w PSU. I also picked up an FX-8320. But I only had that a day or two and, honestly, I didn't like it at all. Call me crazy, but I returned it. I then found myself at MicroCenter (because up until now I had purchased exclusively through Fry's because I have one a stone's throw away from mi casa) because I had never been inside one. Best place I could have wound up, for I found an open box ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 for only $144!! Then I learned that, if I purchased a CPU with it, that motherboard was 50% off. It was like fate and I met face to face, and I kicked it's ***! I decided on an FX-8320e due to the overclock head and lower TDP.
A few days later, that open box Sabertooth crapped out on me for whatever reason (acted like there was no CPU), and the socket retention clip broke during troubleshooting, so needless to say i returned it, but they didn't have anymore, so i opted for a GA-990fxa UD5. Then the LEPA AquaChanger 240 broke at the CPU header input, so I returned that and went with the LEPA ExLLusion 240. The pump busted after a week, which was very frustrating as this was the second LEPA AIO I had purchased which failed! I really wanted to be a LEPA fan, but they need some quality improvement. I picked up an H105 instead. Now I know the 990FXA-UD5 R5 is a well-rated board, but I just wasn't happy with it, and returned it a week later and dropped the money for a brand new Sabertooth. Couldn't be happier!!! While getting the Sabertooth, I also picked up the NZXT Hue (just because I feel $60 is asking a lot for the Hue+), some AF120s, SP120s, and an AF140, a Corsair Air540 (LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS CASE!!!!), an 80mm CoolerMaster heatsink fan, and two new Patriot DDR3-1600 (which had to be returned twice because I recieved a dead stick in each box the first two times). Threw it all together and drooled over my own creation. I love this build. I placed an 80mm fan over the VRM's for active cooling, a 120 SP fan on the backside of the socket, and another 80mm fan setup for intake in the rear chamber of the case. The H105 is in push/pull exhaust with quad SP120s, I have three AF120s in the front for intake, and a AF140 for rear intake. I performed a minor "smoke test" for the airflow, and jesus christ, the air gets exhausted out the second it hits the intake fans. Anyone looking for tremendous airflow across the board, get this case! I can't say enough about the Air540; it's fun to build with, it looks nice, its well functioning, and its high quality!
I also have been wanting a new monitor, so I found an Acer 27" FHD LED monitor on sale for $160 at Best Buy on Black Friday, and snagged that. I was planning on giving one of my 19.5" monitors to my brother, to whom I gave all of my old parts and built him his own entry level rig, but when I got the new monitor home, unboxed it, and set it up in triple monitor, I fell in love. Overkill? Definitely. Do I care? Nope. I really don't have a need for three screens, two does just fine for me, and I only game on one (can't stand the breaks using Eyefinity), but it's cool to look at, and on occassion I do multitasking stuff that three screens comes in handy for. I'll have to add more pictures when I get home. I've been able to OC this rig to 4.7ghz stable on the processor, which produces quite a bit of heat, but still within thermal margin (not like the CPU is running at full blast all the time anyways). The RAM was FSB OC'd to 1732mhz, which seems to be the max I can get out these sticks at 1.65v (which ain't bad in my book for non-gaming DIMMs). I've also OC'd the GPU to 1140mhz core and 1700mhz memory by overclocking the PCIE VDD and PCIE Frequency a bit.
3DMark scores are 7761 on default Firestrike and 20860 on default Skydiver. I was able to get 8611 on Firestrike with a higher overclock, but wasn't stable under real gaming conditions. API Overhead Test DX11 Single-thread DCPS was 865,548, Multi-thread DCPS was 869,668, and DX12 DCPS 15,774,85. I am quite confident that when 3DMark updates it's benchmarks to run on DX12, this rig will soar. And when games in general roll over to DX12, I expect that this rig will be able to render 1080p at 60 FPS with max graphical settings consistently and possibly even 2K with respectable FPS. I'm still tweaking for a higher OC.
Very much in love with this build. Future plans include a second R9 380, either Dominator or Vengeance DIMMs, and a K95.
Great processor, works better for 970 boards. Don't expect a huge OC from this chip without extreme cooling and high voltage. I'm stable at 4.7ghz and 1.55 VCORE
Massive radiator, good performance. Seems sturdy and of good quality. Easy install.
Best AM3+ board out there, next to the ROG stuff. Lots of customization options, great features.
I wish I could give this case 10 stars. Seriously, this case is awesome. Pure blast to build with, TONS of rooms, lots of configuration options. sleek looking, huge window, I can go on and on. If you're kicking the tires on this case, GET IT!
Love this controller.