Description

Originally, I wanted to build an overkill PC with a mid-tower. I came to the realization that as much as i would love it, I would not be able to easily carry it around, especially from home to my dorm with ease or without it taking up valuable car space. So I built this instead, Aurora, my second build, but my first personal built gaming PC!

Star Trek sticker has no relation to the name haha. I name my personal lists off of girl names, and this was named based off the character from one of my favorite games, Child of Light, Aurora. She was small but mighty, and I guess you can say this PC is my child of light (literally... It lights up).

Lets start off with some pricing. I originally built this PC when core parts were at an all time low during Memorial Day sales, 900$ exact without a GPU or monitor (monitor I have yet to buy). This is why in some of the photos, a video card is not visible. I waited for the cards to go down until finally EVGA's highest tier 970 went on sale, and I went for it. Came with a free backplate and game.

You may notice two different monitors, both temporary. I switched to a small Dell one that I own and found in my colleges scrapyard corner (someone dropped it and it fell apart, i simply put it back together), and the widescreen one you see is actually a Sony all in one that I was using for input.

The speakers are an old Altec Lansing 2.1 system i got as a gift, and they sound amazing, especially the bass (you cant really get that much wubs from most modern 2.1 sets). They are old, and when no audio plays through they get static feedback. No biggie.

The headphones are the Plantronics RIG. Amazing sound quality, truly. I am a bit of an audiophile, and these are one of the best sounding headphones. The price may not be attractive or reflect the quality, but the extra features are worth it. The Volume Mixer is an input for optical and a phone, so you can switch the mic in game to your phone and take a call, or listen to music on your phone. It also has 3 EQ settings built in, a call button that also server as play/pause, and a dedicated mute button. Its a nice headset, its immersive, even with music, and the mic quality is clear and crisp.

The LED lighting is custom. I had a roll left over from adding underglow to a scooter, and decided to use some of it for my PC last minute. Just a little soldering, using some fairly thick gauge wire, and the wire fit perfectly into the PSU Molex to Floppy connector.

Yes, that is a RasperryPi on the back of the monitor. And the old router is just to network it with my PC. Also, I just like stickers.

NOW FOR REVIEWS

Air 240: The case is beautiful. I was torn between the 780T and this for a case. I chose this for the extra PCIe slot that comes with microATX, for whatever the heck purpose I decide to use it for, likely a TV Tuner card for my bedroom. But, it is the most difficult thing to build in, especially if your motherboard is not very cooperative. Everything is compact and hard to reach, cable routing options are plenty for miniITX but not for mATX. This is kind of a given, considering the purpose of this case...compactness with good air flow. And its wonderful once everything is settled in, but you will spend more time building this than any other thing. The one complaint I have is the tool-less expansion card clip. It kinda works, but the card does not sag much anyways...I've seen worse, even with screws.

i7-4790K: Holy carp this thing is fast. I have never owned an i7 in my life, and this thing is a dream come true coming from i5's. The temps are low low low with the H100i, 23C (27 when I run my Minecraft server hah) and 63 upon full stress and load.

H100i: It works. I have it in push pull with some Airflow fans for looks mostly. Case has positive pressure. It cools great (see CPU review above). Not much to say, it already has a reputation of its own. The only con is the flimsy Corsair Link fan cables and the SATA/CPUFAN header that is just way too cheap. Flimsy/flexible is good. Cheap material is not. Default mode is very quiet, but put this thing on Balanced or Performance and its decently loud. Put the fans on Maximum and I'm pretty sure my PC will take off on an air strip.

G.Skill Ripjaws X 16GB 2400MHz RAM: RAM is RAM. Nothing special. I would have gotten G.Skill or Corsair RAM no matter what but I got these during a newegg email savings or some sort, and 98$ for 2400MHz RAM is an utter steal. It works well with Intel XMP, no issues at all, and seems to load pretty fast for anything, especially Chrome. Plus, theyre blue! I wasn't planning on "themeing" this build, but hey, it turned out to be Blue and White.

MOBO: Best bang for your buck, many ports, designed for gaming and overclocking, looks awesome and not like other boards in the similar price range with cheaper components/looks. ONE COMPLAINT, and HUGE ONE TOO. The USB 3.0 CONNECTION IS RIGHT ANGLE. mATX boards are likely to put in small cases MSI, where its likely going to be edge to edge. Change this horrible design. I had to bend front panel cable so tightly just to fit it in, and one of the ports does not work. I dont know if its the Corsair front panel or the port is slightly damaged, maybe from me trying to put it in. Whatever, I dont have other components to test it, and I do not care to take this thing apart again, it was fun horrible enough putting it together.

-also the RAM slots is a bit too close to the PCIe..or maybe PCIe too close to RAM? My EVGA card shipped with a free backplate, and I had to maneuver the card in the slot from a downward angle in order to slide it under the RAM clips. Otherwise, the clips block it. So yes, there is a minuscule amount of pressure on the clips. And yes, I could have just not installed the backplate. But hey, life decisions are not always that simple....also free backplate. I wanna use it.

850 EVO: I should have just named this PC Build "Sanic". 3 second boot time from BIOS, about 15 seconds from the moment the power button is pushed. Instant login. Games just pop up after clicking "play". Enough space for games I play at any given time. I have 1TB of OneDrive space with Office 365 (its worth the money, I renewed it after getting 1 year free during the iPad app promotion) anyways, so I only need the drive for games.

the OTHER drive in the pics is from an old laptop that I replaced with an SSD. Figured I'd put it to use, its 100GB, so I dedicated it to Linux (Elementary OS to be specific) as I am a computer science student who requires Linux to program. May change the partitions to allow some for Windows later.

PSU: Honestly, it works. It was on sale, I know I could have gotten "better", but its stable, it provides, and it works great with overclocking ( I have the headroom, Its 80 PLUS Gold anyways, and its not like its wasting more power than an electrical dryer). And if it wasn't "clean" power, well the motherboard VRMs and capacitors will clean that up. It doesn't heat up at all, its quiet, and overall, there are no problems. It provides clean electricity at the watts necessary. I just wish the cables were sleeved.

GTX 970: This is the best card for 1080p gaming. Everything is so smooth, frame rates never go below 60. The EVGA fans are awesome, they don't turn on until high temps. Its quiet, but there is a little bit of coil while if you put your ear to the case. I just wish it lit up the logo. Also, the adaptive V-Sync is nice, especially since I'm stuck with these 60Hz monitors at the moment.

AOC 144Hz: HOLY DANG IT'S HUGE. It barely fit in my desk. The colors were off at first but editing them was no problem. Its.... Flawless. Came with every cable I would ever need. AND THE 144 HZ is amazing, not just in game but in Windows itself.

Finally, I'd like to give thanks to family contributions that helped me save for this thing for a couple of years, as well as LinusTechTips for giving me ideas, knowledge, and motivation since I've started watching them from several years ago. Go support those guys.

Comments

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

I like. very nice to look at. 144hz is the bees knees. good pick!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Dude everyone's telling me their experience and I have yet to experience myself. Can't wait, I can easily tell that the monitor is the bottleneck with how smooth games are.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

From what I heard the 970 is more of a 1440p card. Austin Evans tests did really good. I am heavily debating between 144hz 1080p or 60hz 1440p. Nice build though!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Yessssss dude love seeing other air 240 builds. Whats that clear cased gadget stuck onto the case?

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

Attached to the back of the Dell monitor is a RaspberryPi. It basically a ARM based micro computer if you don't know, no more powerful than a smart phone. Right now it has no relation or use but I'm trying to think of ways that it could functionally serve this build as a mod. Any ideas or thoughts welcome!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

1+ For my favourite case

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Darn, that was the exact name I was going to give my computer when completed. >_> Nonetheless great build! I almost wish I selected that case myself.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice build. Plus I love that mouse pad.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

You can custom order one on Artscow! They usually always have a 1$ mousepad promotion going on (no shipping cost either!) search online for the coupon code. It's a great fabric mousepad too, very smooth.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow! I feel like I'm looking at my own build, which is awesome because it's not actually built yet... lol. But yea thanks for posting this with plenty of photos. I've been piecing together my parts for about a month now and I'm getting excited to just put it all together (will be happening this Friday!) With minor differences in ram, drives, PSU and GPU I was able to see what this build will look like and read a thorough personal review of these components. Well done!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Just a hint, when choosing your parts avoid MSI and some ASUS gpus! They're great, but because they generally have huge, wide heatpipes, they extend past the side panel and cause it to bulge greatly. I almost went for the MSI 100 million edition GPU (It's pretty much a green Twin Frozr) and it would have not fit without modifying the window or having bulge. EVGA or someone who bases their designs on stock cards, or a stock card, they are not as wide (but the power cable does touch the panel... But any standard card this will happen).

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Very good to know, as I really liked the looks of the white MSI 970 with this case. Two things I have thought of in regards to your reviews... And bare with me because like I said I haven't actually started building this thing and it will be my first build, but I consider myself a pretty tech savvy guy... With the USB 3.0 port on the MSI board, I took a look at all of this yesterday to see what problems this would cause me. It seems that if you run the front usb cable through the grommet closest to the front of the case that the "bending" will not be a problem. Or even the second grommet from the front if the radiator and fans are in the way of the first one. And the second thing is why did you decide on a push/pull for the radiator? I too have watched many Linus Tech Tips to attempt to prep myself for this, and he actually said it doesn't make much of a difference. I'm thinking about going with just a pull config where the radiator is mounted directly to the case and the fans pointing in. One reason for this is with push it seems like it gets the radiator very dirty and would require cleaning from time to time, something I wouldn't really want to do. Also I believe Corsair suggests pull with their manual. Just wondering what your thoughts are because I'm very open to changing my plans if provided the right information!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello, sorry for late reply! Internet is down for a week so im using my phone. So first off, this case, with all its openings and limited fan space, is designed for positive pressure. You are right that the manual, and I believe I remember Linus mentioning this as well, that pull is better. Were this not a push-pull config, I would have done so. My reasoning for my layout goes from experience and aesthetics. I wanted to use the LED fans inside the case, however being Airflow fans, it was required I place them on the rad. My first mistake was there is no fan space up top with the pipes and none below with the motherboard, both aspects I failed to identify as problems before building, so I went Push-Pull. Push-pull does make a fair temperature decrease, about 7- 10 C difference in both my builds, but Linus is correct as this is not really useful, especially with how low the H100i gets it already anyways. Were not sub-zeroing here lol. If anything, it does add buffer for when the CPU is full load (if ever). And, of course you are right, the push-pull gets in the way of both grommets and causes the problem of the USB being bent, but for this form factor, MSI should have made it upright no matter what. I do use the grommets still though for the fan cables and GPU power, if that provides any insight on them not being completely useless. I have not checked the dust on the rad, however if I peer inside the front thanks to the lighting, there seems to be minimal dust on the fins. A majority of the dust is on the front grill and in the fan filter, and its already pretty dusty and grey having run this system for about 3 weeks already, so I dont think it is a problem. It could be the pull fans are helping move the dust completely through the fins, as there is some specs of dust on top of the GPU plate. But otherwise the grill and filter does a good job. If you were just going with either push or pull, I suggest pulling for this case like you have planned. It will help internal air flow and give a stronger fresh air stream toward the GPU than if you were pushing. If you want to have light up fans, static pressure LED fans do exist from corsair.

Also, side info I would like to share with a fellow builder, as well as anyone else experiencing problems, I did at first receive a faulty H100i unit from Newegg. Rare case, i know, but some of us are unlucky. It would turn off and on, having power fluctuations. After troubleshooting, I discovered either the PSU SATA was not delivering enough power (as the H100i uses more than an SSD/ mobile HDD to function) or the H100i was faulty. I went that night to buy an H100i from BestBuy as its only like 10$ more. Worked perfectly, and refunded the Newegg one. Please, don't take this negatively with Neweggs warehouse, it can happen anywhere anytime. I would buy the product from them again. I was just anxious to have a working system the day I built it. So if your system seems like its having power fluctuations.....it could be perfectly fine with just a faulty cooler.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Great info! I appreciate all of your insight on this. I too apologize for a delayed response as I was anxious to see what you had to say.

I did go with just pull for the system. So far so good, but I do think I'm going to swap out these fans. I haven't actually pushed the system much yet but on start up they get very loud.

One other thing, and I'm hoping you could help with this! I'm running windows 7 pro and I cannot for the life of me get this computer to stay in sleep mode. Only once did it happen and it was a week after the build when I put the GPU in. But what happens is I put the PC in sleep, or allow it to do it itself and it wakes 15 minutes later, every single time. I researched the problem and found the lastwake command which told me it was "Intel usb 3.0 extensible host controller" I only have my mouse and keyboard plugged into usb 2.0 on the mobo and Corsair link usb to the JUSB1 of the mobo. I've uninstalled corsair link and reinstalled it, closed it in the app tray, to no avail. If you have any info please feel free to PM me so we don't fill up your comments thread!

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

I read that GPU's with backplates are a hard fit on the MSI Z97M-G43 Micro ATX LGA1150. Does your GPU have a backplate?

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes it does, and yes that is true but if you insert the card at the right angle, the backplate will fit under the ram notches well (although snug...). You can see that on one of the pictures.

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  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha in all reality, the name was merely coincidental with the star trek sticker I bought! But hey, it fits well.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry was in bad mood xD Nice build bud

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

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  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

More performance and impressive than I expected, even after reading a ton of benchmarks comparing cards. Worth the money. I know this card is already superclocked and it works amazing, but I have yet to try to see if I can push it a little further manually. The rad fan is right up to it pushing air, so there already is a good high stream of air cooling it that isn't from its own cooler.

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