PCPartPicker

  • Log In
  • Register

Build

Lou's i5-6600k & GTX 970 Mid-Level Gaming Rig

by bigglou55

3
5 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

March 14, 2016

Date Built

March 16, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.5GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.17GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7.01GHz

Description

I've been gaming on laptops since 2010, and this is my first PC build in 8 years. I was after a middle of road system that wasn't going to break the bank, yet still provide higher levels of performance. I also wanted a decent upgrade path over the next 2-4 years. In comes the new LGA1151 socked type. I originally went with an i7-6700K, but due to availability and price, I had to scale back to the i5-6600k. I'm confident the i5 will do just fine, but I was hoping for the i7.

The Build

The build went smoothly except for an issue with fitment of the Corsair H100i v2 in the HAF 912. It's probably noted somewhere in the reviews/comments here and NewEgg.com. There is not enough room in the HAF 912 to fit a 120 mm X 240 mm radiator with 2 120 mm fans. As a temporary solution, I was able to mount the radiator inside the case above the motherboard (where it should be), but there were three issues here.

  • The radiator could not be mounted with the hoses located to the rear of the case. The frame is a little wider on that side and the mounting holes wouldn't line up.
  • With the radiator mounted, the rear exhaust fan no longer fit.
  • There was not enough clearance between the radiator and the motherboard to mount the two 120 mm fans to the bottom of the radiator.

The temporary solution was to go ahead and mount the H100i radiator inside the case, but with the hose side to the front of the case. There was enough clearance between the hoses and BD drive, so that worked out OK. I Then had to mount the plate and pump backwards (which is why the Corsair logo is upside down) to reduce stress on the mounting/hoses. Finally, I had to mount the two 120 mm radiator fans outside of the case on top of the radiator (pictured). I struggled with doing this because it doesn't look all that great, but it works and that is want counts today. I plan of building a shroud for the two fans, but I may just leave it alone (I'm not entering it in any beauty contests). I will eventually buy a new case or go with a different cooler. I did contemplate modding the current case, but I'm better off just getting a different case since I'd have to remove everything anyway.

Everything else went smoothly. It's been a LONG time since I've built a desktop PC so I greatly appreciated the modular cabling of the EVGA 750W ATX PSU. I also removed the stock 120mm front fan (the HAF comes with two 120mm fans - one front and one rear) and replaced it with two blue LED Cooler Master 120 mm fans. I'm not much for side-view windows and perfectly hidden cabling (aka computer art), but I do like a little bit of bling ;-) . I also added a side panel intake fan for the GPU.

Part Reviews

CPU

I was a little hesitant going with the i5-6600K instead of the i7-6700K, but I have to say I am impressed. I have not had the time to do a full stress test and burn-in, but my initial Linpack single High Stress (4096mb) run yielded: Time = 67.418; GFLops = 114.3275; Results = 3.41475e-002

CPU Cooler

This is a great cooler and it keeps everything nice and chilled. during my Linpack single run, core temps never went above 60c. Installation was easy for me (experienced builder) but the instructions had hardware mislabeled and plenty of procedural gaps (which resulted in 1 star being removed from my rating).

Thermal Compound

It's arctic silver and it's good!

Motherboard

This board is slick. It recognized everything and posts very quickly. It has plenty of fan headers, and it has two modes. One mode for air cooled CPUs and one for water cooled CPUs. I only scratched the surface of the capabilities here, but I know I will potentially be able to push my i5-6600k to 4.4GHz (stock is 3.5GHz).

Memory

Runs great, looks great and stays cool. Not much else to say here. I have not pushed anything too hard on the OC front, but initial stress tests are good.

Storage

Small and fast. This is my first SSD, so I don't really have much more to say except I wish Windows had an easier way for program/file management. I need to hit the registry and change some of the default locations.

Storage

This drive is fast as well. Lots of space to fill up!

Video Card

Quite the difference from my Geforce GTX 660m 2gb in my MSI laptop. This runs "The Division" at a solid 60fps using the 2nd highest graphics level @ 1920x1080. Planetside 2 Ultra locked at 60fps. Space Engineers set to Ultra on planets @ over 40fps. Since I received a copy of "The Division" for free with the card ($59.99 value), I really only paid $250 for this card. That is a GREAT deal!

Case

Great case. Well constructed and plenty of room for GPU, drives, and cable management. What caught me off guard was that the Corsair H100i v2 did not fit easily (see pic and build description). I really needed a larger case. I cannot fault the HAF 912 for my lack of research. Just go with a 120x120 mm radiator (rear mounted) and not a 120mm x 240 mm radiator (top mount). You won't have enough room to mount the fans inside the case.

Power Supply

Great PSU and I love the cable management. There is plenty of spare power for SLi and other peripherals down the road.

Optical Drive

Works as expected.

Case Fan

Great fan and I love the LED level

Case Fan

This is a pair, and the fans work great. They just do not have airflow or rotational markers on them (removed a star for that).

Monitor

For under $200, this is a steal! So much bigger than my 24". Since I was able to push the monitor back a bit, I have more desk space! No dead pixels and the fine tuning is great.

Comments Sorted by:

Vasten 2 points 11 months ago

This is a strong build with great components. Wise decision on the Z170 board. Future proofed for all the new tech their throwing at us. You'll be cruising for years and years with this rig if maintained.

I do have a few questions. I can see that you wanted to stay at the high tier two range for quality and pricing. One step up would cost hundreds, so a fine job balancing cost / performance. I personally would have chosen a different case. I like the Corsair 400 series and Fractal R5 at $30-40 bucks more. What was the deciding factor for you with the Cooler Master?

Lastly, I didn't notice a copy of Windows on your parts list. While I hate to shell out a $100 for an OS I strongly recommend all to do so as pirating Windows can lead to serious, serious problems that a normal user might not even realize.

Very nice build!

bigglou55 submitter 1 Build 1 point 11 months ago

Thank you for the kind words. You hit the nail on the head with the structure of the build. Balanced quality, performance and price. It's tricky to do, but it works very well if you spend the time and do the research. As for the case, it was a my mistake. I should have done more homework on mounting the larger radiator in it (see the next paragraph for more details on this point). I've always loved the look and features of the HAF 912 and used it on most of my "potential" builds for the past few years. It's hard to find a better case at that price.

The build originally was set up for with a LGA1150 MoBo and an i5-4690K. After a little research, I went with the newer LGA1151 socket and i5-6600k, as the older socket was being phased out. I then changed from the H80i to the H100i to offer more cooling. What I didn't do was go back and make sure that the H100i would fit in the case. I will be changing out the case within the year :-) .

On the Win10 front, I don't pirate software ;-). There is a reason you don't see a copy on the list. I'm actually an IT Professional (enterprise operations) and have an active MSDN subscription. I'm running a fully licensed copy of Windows 10 Pro.

Keatononame 1 point 9 months ago

Functional but far from pretty. Any reason you chose to put the EVGA case badge upside down?

bigglou55 submitter 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

I noticed that before even seeing this post. It's fixed now. As far as being pretty, that's least of my worries. As long as airflow is good, I am happy.

Owen_jones998 1 point 2 months ago

this is just me but i think you need to do cable management on then back of the other panel so it looks a lot nicer