The purpose of this build was to put together a machine ready for VR that ticked off the following points:
- $1500 budget
- No sacrificing of quality (meaning a good PSU, good case, etc), with solid, well reviewed components
- Quiet idling (and not too loud at load)
- M.2 SSD main disk
- Small footprint, was looking for a mid-size to compact case, w/o 5.25" bays
I decided to go w/ an i5-6600K instead of an i7. My previous desktop was an i7-950, and I'll be honest, the decision to "downgrade" the processor class to i5 wasn't easy (But 5 is less than 7!). However, for gaming an i7 really makes no sense if you're building on a set budget. Single threaded performance is relatively the same at base clock speeds and nearly identical when OC'ed. "Sacrificing" the i7 for an i5 left room for going big with other components.
When looking for a motherboard, the Z170 chipset is the only option for overclockers. My goal was to keep the purchase under $125. At that price, a good microATX is hard to find. However, an ATX board doesn't necessarily mean a large case when the Corsair Carbide 400 series is an option. It's one of the smallest ATX cases you can get due to the fact that it's got no 5.25" bays, leaving a sexy completely blank case front. The 400C has a slick looking window, but since I wanted this thing running quiet, I went with the 400Q which is Corsair's windowless version with sound dampening.
For storage, I've taken advantage of the M.2 PCI-E on the Z170 and went with the 256GB Samsung 950 Pro. 256GB is large enough for the OS, some applications and a game or two. I have some spare EVO SSD's, so I'll likely thow in a 512GB or purchase a 1TB down the road, but for now that M.2 is a good start.
Graphics is the GTX 980Ti. There are more budget conscious cards available, but at present they are the best cards available for VR, and not going with the i7 and a $200 motherboard clears up a few bucks for some splurging on the GPU.
Cooler is the H80i V2. While the case definitely has room for a front-mounted H100i, the newer H100i is made by a different supplier and lacks the temperature sensors and fan controllers to allow fan adjustment based on CPU temperatures. That's right, the H100i can only adjust fan speed based on COOLANT temps, meaning your CPU will be have to be running hot enough to heat the coolant before the fans spin up. That's less than ideal when overclocking.
The EVGA PSU was chosen for it's quality, as well as it's quietness. The PSU fan doesn't spin at all when idling, only picking up speed when it reaches a certain load and temp threshold. When not gaming, this thing is SILENT.
Anyways, this is my build, let me know if you have any questions!