Description

I've always been a mac person... I've owned a 2011 iMac for quite awhile and when the new Apple 5K iMac came out, that was the machine I had planned on buying. However, after speaking with a few friends, and doing some research on the web, I found out that I could build a more powerful (and upgradeable system for about the same or lower cost as the Mac). I realize that I won't be able to get the 5K resolution that the iMac promises, but what I give up in resolution, I gain in versatility. I'm currently running the system as Windows 8 only, but I plan on trying a Hackintosh at a future date.

Overall, the build went extremely well. I read a lot of articles on Tom's Hardware and used PC Picker to find the best prices (Decided to stay with Amazon for the entire build). It took me about two weeks to gather all the parts and about 8 hours to put everything together.

A few notes:

  • The Gigabyte Gaming GT motherboard initially gave me a few problems when paired with my ASUS 4k Monitor. No matter what I tried I could only see a black screen (with a blinking cursor). Eventually I hooked my system up to my tv using an HDMI cable. Once I installed windows and the necessary drivers, I was able to use the monitor (but could never get to BIOS). Not until I installed my two GTX 970's was I able to see the BIOS screen. Not sure if this an ASUS or Gigabyte problem? If you only plan on using discrete graphics, this may present a problem for you.

I have yet to fully benchmark my system. However, I was able to get 60 FPS+ with Ultra setting on Tomb Raider (@2560x1400) and 44 FPS at 3840x2160. I ran Bioshock Infinite with everything turned up at Ultra and played at 4K and my system didn't even break a sweat (Temps were around 52 degrees).

Overall, I am extremely happy that I chose to build this system versus buying the mac. My system does take up a lot more space, and I don't quite have the 5k resolution. However, this system is much more powerful, and I can always upgrade my components as needed.

Let me know what you think....

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Comments

  • 64 months ago
  • 6 points

Builds like this makes me want to sell my kidney for $$$

  • 64 months ago
  • 6 points

I was wondering why I ended up in a bathtub full of ice and stitches on my side... Oh well, at least I have one left (I hope!)

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  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Great looking build, both aesthetically and part-wise. Can definitely show that off. Makes me want 4K resolution (I'm hopping between that and 1440p when I can make my monster build).

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Brother-in-Law just upgraded to 980s and 4K... Makes me want to cry into my 7870

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

xD

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks ReluctantGeek.... Yeah, it's really a totally different experience in 4K. I imagine as games get more fine tuned and the hardware catches up (and drops in price) everyone will be playing at this resolution soon. That being said, 1440p is still a nice format.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Since I'd have to buy a new monitor anyway, I'm definitely leaning towards 4K. 4K will be becoming more common, so I might get more life out of the monitor to make up for the cost difference.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

For a first build, that looks really good!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks GhostTaco...

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

That is a nice build bro. Good work!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Zachwellner.... I appreciate the plus!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

nice build m8 +1 im a mac person as well i have a macbook pro 2012

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks denttim... I also have a Macbook Pro (2011 retina) and thought I'd I just connect a 4K monitor to it, however, the resolution and colors just didn't work well. You're lucky as the 2012 MBP will run at 60 hz whereas I can only get 30 hz on my model. I'm hoping that I can run my setup as a Hackintosh as well and have the best of both worlds.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

i thought about making it a hackintosh but i decided aganist it

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build wish I could get one this good.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks...

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Dell has actually released their first 5K screen. http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&sku=UP275K3 But unfortunately, it will require A LOT of graphics horsepower in use, aside from that pricetag ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWVUwIfFSbs

Other than that; Quite the build you have here. Nice cable management and a decent case. Not sure about the motherboard of choice, though, I've had my problems on this new Gigabyte line as well (manual overclocking freaks the thing out). Still, looks good!

  • 64 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for your comments... I believe the Dell 5K screen is the same one that Apple currently uses in their own 5K iMac. For now I'll be happy with 4k and wait for prices to drop in the future. So far, the Gaming Motherboard has been okay for me (am able to over-clock about 20%), but I'll have to see what the long-term holds.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Really nice build! If you ever miss Mac, you could always dual boot ;)

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

I've been reading about the process. I'm going to try to get OS X running in the next few weeks. My motherboard allows me to switch between BIOS settings, so I think I'll run OS X from one and Windows from the other. If that's even needed. I plan on keeping Windows on my current SSD, and OS X on an SSD I already had available.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Always enjoy seeing a red themed build, best color in my opinion. Cheers!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey how do you like that motherboard? I'm really thinking about getting one, is it really 4 way sli compatible? All 4 slots can take gpu's? Is there anyway to shut off the orange lights on the motherboard? I have no clue why gigabyte would make the led's orange when it's a red and black themed motherboard. Awesome build. Let me know on those questions. Thanks.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm really liking the board so far. The only problem I keep running into is sometimes, I fail to start in windows. I get the proper code (A0) on the motherboard, but Windows never shows. I have to reset the computer and then everything magically works. Another odd thing is when my computer goes to sleep I get an error code 03 (which is normal when the computer sleeps), but when it wakes up, the code never changes (until a restart). However, I think this has more to do with my Asus 4K monitor than it does with the mother board.

As far as the lights. If you are talking about the red (orange) strip near the sound card, there is no way to turn it off. However, I think it looks more red than orange. If you are talking about the flashing colors near the ram, that's my Ballistic Tracer memory. I imagine if you really wanted to get rid of the lights near the sound card, you could probably short them out..

Thanks for the positive feedback. With he exception of the occasional weird behavior of the board, I really like it. The sound is great, the SATA ports are very fast, and the board is built very well.

GL

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey thanks for the response. I'm talking about the start and reset buttons on the motherboard. Are those orange? Any way to turn them off if they are?

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah the power button is a little orange (but supposed to be red). I'm not sure if you can turn it off software wise, but your could probably pop off the cover to the power button and do something there. You could also place a small piece of black duct tape over it and that would black it out. Good luck...

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi Tikishark,

This is an awesome build!! I built mine using Corsair 760T few weeks back but, i'm going to replace it with H440. Could you please share how is airflow and cooling performance for this case...?

FYI - I'm planning to install h100i on top but in pull (fans over rad and pulling air inwards from top)..

Thanks

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

I've had pretty good luck with the case so far. I've been able to maintain temperatures in the 36-42 degree range during non-load times, and 66-70 degrees under full load (Playing Tomb Raider, Alien Isolation, etc.) The highest I've gotten so far is 72 when I ran my Valley benchmark. Of course, this is during winter and my house is only 64 degrees on most days. I imagine I'll have to open the side panel on warmer days.

The case is amazing. It looks really nice, assembly is very easy and all the wires are hidden away perfectly. Keep in mind, it can be a little tight feeding the cords to your PSU, and the side panel is a little tight, but otherwise, you'll love the case.

I have not overclocked anything yet, so temperatures could also go up.

The h100i been a great cooler. It's very quiet and I barely know that their is a water pump in there.

Let me know if you have any further questions....

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

I F***ing Love this Build. <3 you. +1 I will sell my left testicle for this...

No, really...

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks... : )

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

How do you get so low temps? My build which is exactly the same (different ram and storage) is over 70 C on 80% load. On full load I get around 82-5 C, i'm planning to swap to a case with more airflow e.g the Phantom 530

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

It's probably due to how cold it is in my house. I actually had a lot of problems with my temperatures recently (running in the 90's). Found out the the pump on my Corsair failed. Now that I have it fixed, I'm running in the 60's, with 99% utilization, CPU running at 4.30 GHz, and 2405 mb of ram being used. I also bought additional thermal paste...

Did you end up getting a different case?

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow thats all I have to say! How was it working with that case and these huge 970's? Did the motherboard fit smoothly I know you had issues with display but any problems physically fitting it? Looks sick man have fun thanks for sharing!! :D

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the complements...

The case is fantastic. Everything fits perfectly, and I really like that I can hide the wires next to the PSU. As far as the two 970s, I did have to remove one of the drive sleighs, but that was no big deal because the case has so many drive spots already (I'm currently using two SSD's and a 3 TB drive).

The display ended up working out in the long run. I just had to make sure that the right drivers were installed, and that my MOBO was configured properly. I had an old 720 P monitor lying around so I just use that when I have to re-configure my system.

Now I'm in the process of deciding if I want a third 970... They are pretty cheap right now, and it would allow me to push my system a little more.

thanks again for the comments....

  • 64 months ago
  • -2 points

A 295x2 would have been a better option for this build.

http://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/amd-radeon-r9-295x2-review,17.html

80 fps at 4k resolution playing Tomb Raider, would've cost around the same price.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

True...

I'm just partial to Nvidia...

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  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah... I've gotten the bug now... Thinking about going with a 3-way SLI next. I just have to justify another 400.00 bucks (and maybe even a bigger power supply)

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