Description

The purpose of this build was to put together a machine ready for VR that ticked off the following points:

  • $1500 budget
  • Overclockable
  • 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!

Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

+1 Nice upgrade and a very powerful build! Coming from an i7 950 to the best latest i5 no way that's a downgrade Sure i7 950 has 8 core BUT the i5 6600k out performs the i7 950 by a mile!(single core, quad core, mixed core Speeds) i5 6600k vs i7 950

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh I know! I'm just so used to having the "top" CPU/GPU when I've built out my primary desktops that clicking purchase on the i5 felt a little strange. But you're right, it's a big upgrade and there's no need to go i7 over i5 these days if your primary use is gaming!

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice case! (And build) +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Look pretty sweet and clean except not a fan of the case :P

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

nice rig

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Finally a build in the Carbide 400Q, I'm also planning to use this case, because of its low footprint and sound-dampening materials, making it a quiet case. Very nice build with excellent components! +1

So, how quiet is your build under load? And do you have any issues with cables to close the side panel?

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I don't know why this case doesn't get more love!

When the PC is idling, it can be difficult to tell it's on at all. When it's under load, the GPU is definitely audible (it is a 980 after all) but it's not loud. It's much quieter than any other desktop case I've had (previously had a Corsair 600T). The front cover does a great job keeping noise in, and it doesn't hurt having that silent PSU. If you're looking for a silent build, I'd definitely recommend the GS varient.

Side panels weren't an issue. I had to push a bit when closing the back side, but it wasn't any trouble and the case doesn't bulge at all.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice, I was still doubting whether to pick the 400C or 400Q, but now, I'm definitely going for the 400Q and its silence. Thanks for your response :D

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

What do you mean by "....I'd definitely recommend the GS varient." The GS varient of what? Corsair's PSU, their cases, their CPU coolers?

Otherwise, nice build. I am thinking of picking this case up myself. Looks great and its silent and also at a great price (for a Corsair product).

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry, I meant GS series for PSU - Corsair's GS PSUs and up don't spin their fans when the temps are within a certain range. Help keep things quiet!

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Damn! Thats all I've got to say. +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build!

I'm looking at almost exactly the same components for the exact same reasons, but I'm holding off till after GTC to see how long I have to wait for a GTX X80i (assuming that's what it's called).

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Love this build. I'm looking to build a silent PC once Pascal is out. Wasn't aware of this case but it's definitely on my radar now.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome build! Great look, quality parts, and for the most part cost efficiant. I'll most likely use this as a baseline for my build. I'm glad to see someone use the 400q because I've been on the fence about it for a little while but now I'm for sure on it. I've never done a liquid cooled, is the corsair system hard to install? Also, because I'd like your opinion.... What monitor would you recommend?

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi there, does this 400Q come with the top filter in addition to the sound-dampened cover?

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

It just comes with the sound dampening cover. If you remove the cover, it's just a wire mesh top.

It's too bad, because it seems like the 400C's filter would fit quite nicely. I didn't see it available here for sale, but perhaps you could give them a call and see if they'd send you one.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

thanks...i'll try calling.

that's too bad :( i really want to add a top rear fan in addition to the 120mm one on the back. will need a top filter to make it happen.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

I assume the 2 fans on the front are the 120mm and 140mm that came with the case right? Are they bringing enough airflow to the case?

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Definitely. I actually have them clocked down to nearly silent. Case temps are stable and low.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

I have two questions. First how is that motherboard. Is it any good. Did you have ant issues with it. And my second question is where did you buy the motherboard from.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

1) No issues at all with the motherboard

2) Amazon

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

hey nice clean build!

  • 46 months ago
  • 0 points

Really? 250 GB and that's it? Surely you want, even a small, HDD as a secondary drive as 250 GB will not get you far.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Like I said, I'll be putting a Samsung EVO in from one of my other PC's at some point. Or I'll buy a 1 TB when the price drops a little bit further down.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup, the SSD cage is held in by a couple screws and some tabs. Remove the screws and the cage slides right out.

There's also a removable 3.5" drive bay under that cover to the right of the PSU that is removable, so there's plenty of space for cable routing if that's a concern.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Easy enough, out of curiosity, why?

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