* Mail-In Rebates:
Update: Thank you for the feature! I am very glad that I get to share my passion for PC hardware with the community!
Another Update: By popular suggestion, as well as personal interest, I got BOTW running on this puppy! (Pics added)
Hello, Fellow PC Builders!
Have you ever looked at the new NZXT Kraken coolers and thought: "Hey, doesn't that cooler look like the eye of the Guardians from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild?". Well I have! That is what inspired me to theme this build after my favorite video game franchise ever!
This is mostly a gaming PC, but I do delve into 3D modeling a little for 3D printing. I went with an mATX case on this build because I was really curious as to how much power can be crammed into small form factor cases nowadays, and boy does this one pack a punch. I know that small form (SF) PCs are not as popular on the market and have more limited parts and capabilities, but I wanted to change it up and support the niche. It is nice though to see that some SF PC components are emerging recently.
You know as they say, "With great smallness comes...great complications...in the building process...as well as high load temps...???". Yeah, I did run into some issues balancing the looks, size, and performance of this build. The Phanteks Evolv mATX TG was a must as the tempered glass looks amazing, however like its big bro it has quite restrictive airflow in both intake and exhaust. Sooo, I modded the case! I placed washers on the front panel mounts to increase the space between it and the case for better intake and I cut a hole on the top panel for better exhaust ventilation. This helped the top mounted 240mm radiator on the Kraken cooler drop my CPU temps down a few degrees, but there was still something else causing heat issues.
Smaller PC cases which have tighter spacing tend to cause components to heat up more because there is less air around and between them for the heat to saturate into. Aside from the poor airflow of the case, this was more of the underlying issue that made my 7700k and 1080Ti Strix (with stock cooler) get hot when gaming (~68C CPU/ ~80C GPU). This caused the case fans and GPU cooler fans to ramp up and produce loud noises. On top of that, this also turned the PC into a heater! My solution to this was to install the NZXT G12 on the GPU as it was the one producing the most heat and noise. I did consider doing a custom loop as I have done on a previous ATX build, but I more loved the idea of easy maintenance and swap-ability of parts (I also needed to keep the Kraken cooler for the build theme :D). I was hesitant on the G12 for its looks and if adding another AIO would even fit in the case, but after seeing a fellow PCPartPicker do the same to their 1080Ti Strix and after carefully measuring the length of the GPU to the front of the case, I went for it. It was a tight fit (giggity), but I was able to squeeze the GPU in with the front mounted rad with only millimeters to spare! I was surprisingly happy with the looks and the temps were now sitting at ~55C CPU and ~60C GPU when gaming.
First world problem: "I have nowhere to put my RGB Led strips in this case!". This was legitimately one of my problems LOL! Luckily, since the inside of case was more compact than others, the NZXT Aer RGB fans I chose for the build were enough to light up the interior and components. First world problem solved!
Overall, the build was fun! I achieved everything I planned for and couldn't be more satisfied.
Best single core performance hands down for gaming and good performance for other applications, such as 3D modeling. Clocked mine at 4.8GHz at 1.25v. This was a really quick and simple OC, so I do plan to get that 5.0GHz when I get the time.
Great looks and great performance. Got it on push pull since the radiator is smaller than the X62. CAM software needs some work as the RGB lights would sometimes not turn on or change color when the PC boots up from off and sleep. Closing and restarting the application fixes the issue, but it is inconvenient.
Nice looking board with a great feature set. Aura Sync was a must to get that nice unified RGB control. I also just love Asus boards! They have never failed me yet!
Great performing memory, but I admit that I got it for that sweet RGB nectar. And yes, you buy it at a high price.
Best GPU for a high end single setup. Asus hit it on the head with the looks for this card (even though I did remove the stock cooler, the backplate is still sexy). The stock air cooler would perform adequately in an ATX case, but in smaller cases it needed room for improvement :D
This keyboard (not the Claymore Core version which doesn't come with the number pad) was extremely hard to find. I was EXTREMELY lucky enough to buy one used but still in good condition off of Ebay for $200, which is a really good deal considering it retails for $269 if available at all. It has Cherry MX Red switches, which are my overall preferred switch. I got this of course for the detachable number pad, which is something I had always wished for on a full keyboard. I remove it for gaming as it gives me extra space to move my mouse around which has low sensitivity and I put it back on when I'm not gaming for the convenience of the numpad!
Just like its predecessor the Gladius this mouse feels great for my mostly palm grip style, but it does also feel great for claw and hybrid which I switch to from time to time. While the addition of RBG light was great, I did not like the addition of the sniper button. You can disable it in the Asus Armoury software, but I still mis-click it when playing games.