Description

This Ivy Bridge build replaced a single core Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop and a single core Athlon 3000+ custom build that I used throughout college and had begun to show their ages about two years ago. I originally built TK-421 in May 2013 before Haswell was released and have been slowly adding to it piece by piece as funds have allowed. I primarily use TK-421 as a gaming machine, but also run BOINC@Home for several projects in the background during non-gaming computing sessions and when it is not in use.

CPU: I ended up buying an i7-3770K from my local Microcenter because it was cheaper than buying a locked i7-3770 from an internet retailer at the time.

Motherboard: The ASUS P8Z77-V is very well laid out, but I would have preferred to see the Sata 3G ports replaced by Sata 6G and the legacy PCI slots dropped.

Case: The NZXT Phantom 630 is extremely roomy to build within and is easily the best case I've ever bought. I especially like the fact that it has a built-in fan controller and can accommodate both of my Galaxy Geforce GTX 660 Ti 3 GB in SLI with plenty of space to spare.

Graphics Cards: The Galaxy Geforce GTX 660 Ti is an awesome card and can take whatever you throw at it on Ultra settings. Gameplay is very smooth and the cards never go over 60 c in SLI.

Cooling: I ended up replacing the stock fans of the NZXT Phantom 630 because I wanted white LED fans that were quieter. During the installation process of the BitFenix Spectre Pro LED 200mm fans, I discovered that the inset mounting locations made it impossible to mount the fans without the longer case screws provided with my NZXT Phantom 630. The provided screws by BitFenix with the Spectre Pro LED 200mm fans were utterly useless. Additionally, the top 200mm fan mounted next to the USB ports and fan controller proved difficult to install correctly. Both issues were caused by the additional mounting brackets that BitFenix provided.

Operating System: Previously had Kubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail installed as the operating system and but have since acquired a full copy of Windows 7 Home Premium due to growing tired of using wine and the linux version of steam due to various compatibility issues.

Keyboard: Despite being an ergonomic keyboard, the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is really great to game on.

Mouse: The Logitech G700s is a very good mouse to game with. I like the build quality of the mouse and the wealth of buttons provided. However, while I'm not a big fan of the rough texture on the sides of the mouse itself, it does help cut down on the "sweaty palm issue" of other mice I've used after extended gaming sessions. The battery life of the provided battery that comes with the G700s is terrible and barely lasts more than a few hours with even moderate use during gaming.

Speakers: The Logitech Z623 200W 2.1ch speakers are great speakers for music and gaming. I use the auxiliary input on the right speaker frequently to listen to my iPod as well.

UPDATE 3/30/2014: 1. Bought a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium. 2. Purchased Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 for keyboard, Logitech G700s Wireless Laser for mouse, and Logitech Z623 200W 2.1ch for speakers. 3. Purchased Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" SSD. 4. Bought Asus Xonar DSX.

Update 5/7/2014: 5. Bought a second stick of ram and added NZXT CB-LED20-WT 2-Metres Light Sensitivity Sleeved LED Kit (White).

Update 1/21/2015: 1. Purchased a TrackIr 5 Optical Head Tracking System Bundle + Track Clip PRO, a Saitek X52 Pro Joystick, 4 x ASUS PA248Q (over the course of the last year), an Ergotech Freedom Quad Desk Stand (Provantage.com, part # 100-D28-B13), an various other cables used to connect the monitors listed below.

The Ergotech Freedom Quad Desk Stand is quite possibly the best investment I have made in reclaiming desk space in regards to having multiple monitors. If you are planning to have multiple monitors, I suggest heading over to wsgf.org and taking a look at the stands there.

Comments

  • 75 months ago
  • 3 points

7950 would be so much better than 660 ti with three monitors. You have the 3gb of vram on both but the 7950 would have so much more bandwidth to the vram.

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

I did consider the 7950, but decided to go with the 660 ti since the review by HardOCP (http://hardocp.com/article/2012/10/31/galaxy_geforce_gtx_660_ti_gc_3gb_sli_review/1#.UjnQP3fGFQs) found that gameplay is smoother on multiple monitors with it in SLI over the 7950 in crossfire at lower FPS.

I also had bought the first GPU prior to the nvidia 700 series being released, so I couldn't really consider that in my purchase decision.

  • 75 months ago
  • 2 points

I personally would have gone with 2x4 GB RAM, but that's just me.

  • 75 months ago
  • 3 points

It seems kind of unreasonable, but I think there's a purpose. With one stick of 8, it only takes up one RAM slot. Therefore, when he needs to upgrade, he doesn't have to throw away/waste time reselling his old RAM, and can just add more sticks of 8. Better upgradability.

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I plan to possibly add another stick of 8GB ram in the future for dual channel. I didn't want to limit myself to 4GB sticks.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Using one stick of ram halves your memory bandwidth, keep that in mind when comparing things

  • 75 months ago
  • 2 points

quite a lot of things put in this, i dont really agree with ram choice(you dont get dual channel benefeits) and the 660ti's arent appeaing but if it serves you well then thats all that matters

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Maybe he got one stick of 8 so he could just add another stick later and not be constrained by the number of RAM slots he has in the future.

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

good point

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice! I have never seen a white theme with a white Phantom case, it looks fantastic! The only ones I've seen are white and blue themed ones. This is really refreshing and looks great too!

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I decided to go with white since my last case was black. I almost did white and blue (hence the motherboard and ram) as well but decided to go all white with everything else at the last minute.

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Do you have a hurricane in your room?

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Only if I turn the fans on full bore. Running them on medium is audible but not annoying and low is silent.

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

That's good! Those fans are great for quiet cooling. Great build!

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

This build is really nice and deserves more plusses than it has right now, so here is another one! +1

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Is that quite loud?

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

What fan did you use for the front of the case? want it for my phantom 530

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

BitFenix Spectre Pro LED 200mm. I had fitting issues though due to the additional mounting brackets on them. I had to use longer case screws than what came with the fan as a result, but luckily the NZXT Phantom 630 came with some.

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh ok awesome looking into buying some since we have the sameish case

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Loving the case a ton

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey there. I have the same case as you and ordered the spectre pro 200mm as a replacement for my rear NZXT top fan.

The problem im having is the screws provided by BitFenix fit and are long enough but just dont want to hold into place. as soon as i get 3 screws in. all of the screws then pop out. like they are being forced in to much. i dunno. The fan stays nice and tight with just 2 screws in. so i went witht that. not sure if this will cause more vibration...

I cant use the screws NZXT provided because they are to short lol. to make things worse. the top case did not want to fit back on because of the large mounting brackets on the spectre. did you not encounter this?? i had to saw off 2 of the middle clips on my top case to make it pop back on. everything is all well now.

no noise seems to be coming from the fan due to 2 screws being left out either. but im a little pissed it didnt want to fit. so yeah was just curious as to how you fitted the screws in with no hastle.and how you got the top case to fit on without modding it. thanks mate

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

I used the longest case screws that were provided with the NZXT Phantom 630 specifically for mounting fans inside the case. What I did was mount the rear fan on the top using the center holes on the outer most edge of each of the brackets. I then positioned the front fan in a way that it did not block the mounting clip holes for the top of case, the fan controller, or the top USB controller. While I used four screws to secure the front fan, one was only used to secure the fan filter itself due to positioning but this doesn't seem to be an issue. I can't use the reset button very well, but the fans do fin.

I probably should buy a dremel tool and shave off the parts of the fan brackets that I don't want to make them fit better because NZXT did not design the mounting brackets on these fans very well. They do however fit fine inside the front of the case and on the side panel of it as I have Spectre Pro 200mm in those positions as well.

I hope this helps!

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Are the spectre pro 140mm fans good? Are they quiet and move a lot of air?

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, they are great fans. They are very quiet and move a ton of air. I usually keep my case's built-in fan controller on its lowest setting and can't hear them at all.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! Ill probs buy them then :)

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 for name and good use/description of the white LED fans.

  • 67 months ago
  • 0 points

You should buy windows 7 bussines or ultimate if you're going to use more than 8gb of ram. H P only uses 8gb so you get benefits from that 2x8 gb.Pleasecorrect me if im wrong.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit is limited to 16 GB of ram. Please see the following page: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366778%28v=vs.85%29.aspx#physical_memory_limits_windows_7

[comment deleted]
  • 75 months ago
  • 3 points

Sorry, sir. I was playing Minecraft with Lord Vader. He doesn't like to lose.