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Air-cooled gaming rig - UPDATED with more photos and info

by danielsryan



Date Built

Oct. 1, 2013

CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

55.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate


GPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

79.0° C


This is a basic air-cooled gaming machine.

I chose the Corsair tower because I wanted lots of room, and lots of airflow. I swapped out the stock front 200x200x20mm fan with a BitFenix Spectre Pro LED (blue) 200x200x25mm fan, which required a slight modification to the side of the hard drive cage. I added 4 Cougar fans to the mesh side panel for additional GPU cooling, and replaced the stock 120mm exhaust fan with a 120mm NZXT fan. The NZXT fan definitely puts out the most blue light in my system. Had I put four of those in the mesh side panel, I'm not sure I would have ever been able to sleep again.

For the processor, I went with an AMD FX-8350, as I felt it provided the most performance per dollar on the market. 4 GHz is a nice starting point, and overclocking shouldn't be out of the question later, should I want to do so. I topped it off with a Zalman 9900MAX fan (also with a blue LED). I used a 92mm Zalman in my first PC build over 4 years ago, and that fan is still going strong today. I figured it would be hard to go wrong with another Zalman fan. The Zalman doesn't install as easily on an AMD board, but once it's on, it's a solid fit.

For the motherboard, I opted for the ASUS Sabertooth, as I had heard there were a few issues with AMD/Gigabyte combos. The motherboard didn't auto-detect my Corsair memory at 1866 out of the box, but thanks to some advice from the friendly people here (see comments below), that issue is now resolved.

For the power supply, I chose a 750W 80 Gold EVGA unit, which is fully modular, and very nice. I've used EVGA parts before (especially their nVidia video cards), and they have not yet let me down. I'm hoping this PSU is no exception.

Speaking of nVidia video cards, the GTX 760 was just what I was looking for. This card is the factory overclocked version, with the extra ACX cooling fans. I don't usually like to spend over $300 on a video card, since the price will usually fall pretty fast on the most expensive cards if you are patient. This card came in just under $250 after a mail-in-rebate, plus included a free game and a free backplate, which EVGA got to me in less than a week! I'm hoping that the new AMD cards will cause the price to fall on this one, so I can order a 2nd one for around $200, or less.

I'm running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, as I still don't yet like Windows 8. I'm booting from the SSD, and doing most of my extra storage on the 1TB WD drive, and an external 500GB (not listed). A month after building, I added a 3TB WD storage drive.

I picked up the 27" LG HD LED monitor last year at Best Buy on a Black Friday deal.

UPDATE: Over a year after building, I bought a second EVGA GTX 760 for 2-way SLI for $80 cheaper than the first one! New benchmark result photos have been added to show the gains.

UPDATE #2: 18 months after building, I found the same Corsair memory on sale for $139.99 again. I got another 16GB, putting me up to 32GB of RAM, at 1866mhz.

Comments Sorted by:

xSWATxBadkid 1 Build 2 points 49 months ago

You have to change the memory speed in the BIOS, it should work.

danielsryan submitter 1 Build 1 point 49 months ago

Anything over 1333, and it will not boot, even with most recent (1903) bios version. Like I said, it's my own fault for not double-checking ahead of time.

RyneSmith 7 Builds 1 point 49 months ago

That doesn't make sense as the board says it supports up to 1866... weird

RyneSmith 7 Builds 2 points 49 months ago

Damn that sucks :(

PickItApart 1 point 49 months ago

that doesn't make sense. How can a really good $180 mobo not support 1866 RAM? If I were you I'd look into it more.

Hakumisoso 2 Builds 2 points 49 months ago

It is the model that it does not support.

PickItApart 1 point 49 months ago

I think the Vengeance Pro is a new model and it could be supported down the road.

danielsryan submitter 1 Build 1 point 49 months ago

I'm hoping that a future BIOS update will allow the Corsair Vengeance memory to run at 1866.

manirelli staff 8 Builds 1 point 49 months ago

Did you simply change the frequency manually or did you select the XMP profile in your BIOS?

danielsryan submitter 1 Build 1 point 49 months ago

I changed the speed manually in the BIOS setting. It wouldn't boot. I pressed MEMOK on the motherboard, and it booted. I checked the setting, and it was back to 1333. Unless it becomes officially supported later, I'm stuck on 1333. It's not a huge deal.

manirelli staff 8 Builds 1 point 49 months ago

Changing the speed manually will almost never work. You need to select the XMP or AMP profile so that the timings and possibly voltage change as well. Take another look, you might get lucky.

danielsryan submitter 1 Build 1 point 49 months ago

I'll see what I can figure out tonight after work. I'm also going to take more pictures, and update the post. Thanks for the help. :)

xSWATxBadkid 1 Build 1 point 49 months ago

Welp, that blows lol.

Highwlaker 1 Build 1 point 47 months ago

Personally, I would have gone with cheaper ram. And not spend 90 bucks on a 1tb drive. (and I apologize if this is covered in the description, I'm at work and just like the pretty pictures) and use that money towards a 770. Otherwise a very solid and nice looking build. +1

danielsryan submitter 1 Build 1 point 47 months ago

Thanks. :)

I didn't mind spending a little extra on the RAM, since it ordinarily costs around $165-175 and I caught it on sale for $140.

Since I bought a relatively small 120GB SSD, I wanted a good 1TB drive to run the rest of my programs that won't be installed on the SSD. The Caviar Black was perfect for that.

I didn't order the 3TB storage drive until six weeks after building, when my external drive crashed. I needed a place to restore my backed-up files from BluRay media. Even if I had the 3TB drive on day 1, I still would have wanted a separate drive for my programs.

As for the video card, the plan is to buy a second EVGA 2GB 760 as soon as they drop to somewhere around $200. With two of those in SLI, I'll have something roughly equivalent to a Titan for around $450 total.

torrinbc 1 Build -1 points 49 months ago

Why the hell would you spend $409 dollars on F***ing windows 7???

danielsryan submitter 1 Build 1 point 49 months ago

That isn't what I paid for it.

18hockey 1 Build 4 points 49 months ago

You can edit your parts list and make it say $0 for a more accurate representation of the build price ya know.

danielsryan submitter 1 Build 1 point 49 months ago

Done, thanks for the tip.