This is the first, aka single card version of Project Exa, a custom liquid cooled Micro ATX gaming and productivity desktop.
Though possibly being the most budget-looking part, the Corsair Carbide 88R case represents the essence of this build. It is compact, lightweight, and fits everything I need while nothing I don't: a 240mm radiator, a bay-mounted reservoir (IMO bay-mounted looks cleaner), a 170mm power supply (as long as flat cables are used), and room for upgrading to an SLI setup. I simply can't find a better case that fits the system that well. Even Obsidian 350D looks too bulky compared to this one. The front intake does look highly restrictive, though. Such intake combined with the slim EX240 radiator sometimes leads to warm coolant under load. Carbide Spec M2 is definitely the better choice for the front radiator, but it was unavailable in August when I built the desktop.
The Gigabyte G1 backplate is kept when mounting the water block by removing the four outermost standoffs installed on the acrylic part of the block. The design of filling and draining port took me some time, since the tubing doesn't have an ideal low point. Placing the case on its back, however, makes a reservoir inlet and the radiator outlet a high point and a low point. Valve and T fittings are thus installed there.
The XSPC and EKWB blocks perform exceptionally well. The only issue I have with the liquid cooling system is that there is a hole on top of the flow deflector inside the reservoir at the pump inlet. The hole can suck in bubbles to the pump preventing bleeding and making loud noise, unless I completely fill the reservoir, which takes time. Meanwhile its output looks sufficient, at least with those high flow blocks, but still makes a little noise.
The Sandisk SSD is originally bought for my laptop, and switched to this desktop. I then put a Corsair Force LE (also 960GB) into my laptop. The Sandisk is no doubt superb, but frankly speaking I can't find perceivable difference in use between the Sandisk and the Corsair, despite that the Corsair is about 60% in terms of price. In the SLC cache mode the Corsair actually runs slightly faster than the Sandisk, and the cache doesn't run out easily. The native TLC speed is also okay.
Overall performance is satisfactory. Note that for some reason Turbo Boost is not enabled for multiple cores by default. (Stock multipliers are 42-40-40-40) Some benchmark results are attached. I will add another GTX 1070 and PETG tubings in the future. I'm also considering replacing the case (for a better intake), the radiator, and the pump. Stay tuned!
Stock Overclocked Difference CPU Base 100MHz 100MHz Multiplier 40 (42) 48 Cache 40 46 Voltage +0mV +100mV Memory Multiplier 32 32 Voltage 1.35V 1.35V GPU Core +0MHz +160MHz VRAM +0MHz +600MHz CineBench R11.5 9.63 11.41 18.5% CineBench R15 883 1040 17.8% Fritz Chess 15819 18881 19.4% 3DMark Fire Strike Overall 15442 17328 12.2% Graphics 19227 20748 7.9% Physics 12680 15315 20.8% 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Overall 8308 9040 8.8% Graphics 9033 9721 7.6% Physics 12659 15288 20.8% RotTR 1440P 59.80 FPS 59.81 FPS 0.0% 3DMark Stress (Maximum Temperature) Ambient 22C 22C CPU 48C 71C GPU 47C 50C
Has pretty good overclocking capabilities. The overall looking and the LED fits my build fairly well. BIOS interface does look a little outdated.
Probably the best looking memory with one side black, the other silver, and a removable red top. Aesthetics alone should justify its price, not to mention that DDR4 3200 is blazing fast. (I don't find memory speed very useful in practice, though)
Equipped with much more robust power design than reference cards, a fancy backplate, and a standard height PCB, this card is truly awesome. Easily overlockable to 2152MHz. The backplate is compatible with EKWB GTX 1080 G1 water block, as long as the four outermost EK standoffs on the block are removed.
Fits a 240mm radiator, a bay-mounted reservoir, a 170mm power supply (as long as flat cables are used), and both 2.5" and 3.5" hard drives. Should fit an SLI setup as well. Well designed given its size and weight. However, keep in mind that the front intake looks highly restrictive, and the power button feels terrible. Consider Carbide Spec M2 if good front intake is needed.
Fairly sleek looking. However, it seems that the fan on my copy is not properly installed, so that it makes a vibrating noise when starts spinning. The unpleasant noise often occurs when loading the game.
Very quiet. The LED can be switched off.
The best mouse I've ever used, among several Roccat, Logitech, and Razer ones. The customizable side areas are simply amazing. I currently use six side buttons with the middle line empty for thumb, and have never misclicked. Also IMO Roccat Shift is far better than millions of tiny side buttons in terms of providing extra functions. (Of course if you want you can easily go G600 or Naga style having twelve side buttons on this Nyth) I need some 20 functions for web browsing and multimedia, and this mouse handles them easily with the Shift. For example, Shift + wheel is particularly handy in switching browser tabs, pages, or undo/redo. (G Shift on G502 doesn't work with the wheel) The location of the default Roccat Shift button is kind of awkward though, so I set it to a long side button.