It finally happened. Almost over a year in the planning, I finally found the time and resources (thank you ever decreasing canadian dollar) to build this gaming PC. Neither picking parts nor putting everything together was without issues but it is very much worth it.
Firstly, I am bringing over parts that I've accumulated over the past 5 years or so (such as the LaCie external HDD, the speakers and LG monitor). All work great. The Seagate HDD and the optical drive I got from an old laptop. I have yet to install the optical drive cause I need to find an external hub for it (so if anyone has any recommendations, hook a brotha up).
Moving on from there, the processor, ram and SSD were easy choices! The motherboard on the other hand was not. I probably picked 3 motherboards before settling on this one. I love it though, I love the way it looks and its features are more than what I need (M.2 drives, usb type C and the such). The only thing to keep in mind is that it's not your standard ATX size so it misses the three right-most standoff screws. This in my opinion does not affect the sturdiness of the board though. Also, it's apparently ever so slightly thinner than most ATX boards so installing the H80i cooler bracket posed an issue (more on that near the end).
I'm also ever so satisfied with the EVGA power supply, which comes with a ton of high quality black cables, a nice cloth case and just feels overall reliable. The NZXT case is also gorgeous. I'm quite glad I waited long enough for it to be released. The matte black finish however, which looks awesome, can be easily scratched. The screws also get stripped on the outside easily for some reason. But man is this a good case; comes with two fans also which worked perfectly in my case since I didn't have to buy any extras.
The G1 gaming card is also fantastic. I was debating between that and the ASUS Strix one, but the ASUS was CAD $80 more at the time and I just couldn't justify the price. Gigabyte's xtreme gaming engine is straightforward and makes overclocking easy. The card also doesn't sag which is a relief. The logitech g710+ keyboard and 502 mouse are also both great - absolutely no complaints.
The ACER monitor I pondered a while over. I knew that with a 1070, I can either do 1440p at a decent 60Hz or 1080 at 144Hz. But since I'm not really that into competitive first shooters and the such, I started looking at 1440p monitors. And this simply was the only one in that price range. I was worried about backlight bleeding but I have yet to experience that. While you can't raise or swivle the monitor, the aluminum body is gorgeous and those thin bezels emphasize the amazing IPS display even more. Over all, I'm so happy with it.
Lastly, there is the cooler and some issues I faced during building. The H80i radiator is stupid thick. Add to that it's meant to be used with two fans at push/pull config. I don't know why I thought that config would fit in the front of the s340 but it can't even fit with one fan. So, with the alternative being taking out the cable management shield, I had to put it in the back with one fan exhausting air out. It's not ideal since I'm not particularly a fan of the way it looks (it also blocks that sexy golden glow from the audio guard on the mobo), but I also didn't test its efficiency with intense gaming yet so we'll see. Moreover, after fitting the cooler's bracket onto the mobo, I was confronted with a ~5 mm loose gap (this is apparently a common problem with this cooler and some mobos, read more online). To solve this, I simply tied 4 of those cable ties around each standoff and pushed them back so they don't touch the mobo (check pics), and that seems to have fixed the issue. Kind of a DIY fix which wasn't too bad, but I was annoyed I had to face problems like that with such an expensive build. Lastly, mobo only has two internal USB hubs so I had to prioritize the HUE+ and the H80i cooler over the front USB 2.0 ports - so far I haven't had to use them so it's all good.
Anyways, that's my build. Sorry for the long post. Thanks to all the pcpartpicker community who literally guided me through this entire process.
PS. Nebula is the name cause she's black, and my white GTI is called galaxy so they complement.
future changes Need to invest in a mic, so if anyone knows a decent desk mic that would work well for skype & gaming, shoot me the link. Might also invest in new speakers as these seem to be deteriorating a little. [EDIT: Altec speakers finally broke down after some 7/8 years of good service so invested in Logitech-Z333 which seem to be working well so far. Will probably invest in an internal USB hub to make use of those two front 2.0 USB ports.
While the cooler itself has been able to handle CPU temps no problem I would not recommend this to other people for a couple of reasons. (1) the tubing is VERY hard to bend and makes fitting the cooler with the rad quite difficult (even in a mid tower) and I was worried about cracking it multiple times while trying to make it fit. (2) As it stands right now, the corsair LINK software (v.4.something) is crap, looks and operates like it's from the 90's - very unintuitive. (3) The screw holes in the fans weren't actually threaded so screwing the fans onto the case was missions. And lastly (4) there are THREE cables coming out of the cooler that have to be managed - too much.
Sturdy, good-lookin, and full of features! The debug code, the gold audio panel LED, the numerous fan headers, SLI compatibility, easy overclocking and the fantastic I/O with usb-c are a few of the things that make this board worth its price! Having said that, I have two main problems with this board: (1) it's unusual width makes it narrower than the standard ATX size which means it might not fit all of your cases standoffs. That is in fact the case in my S340 elite (it misses the three on the right hand side) but I have yet to see or feel any structural risk or pull. (2) it's also ever so slightly thinner than other boards which poses a problem when installing your coolers (whether than be AIO or fan) - had to do some DIY problem solving to overcome this (read build description if interested) but it was quite annoying to deal with a problem like that when paying so much money for a MOBO. If these two issues either pose no relevance to you or you feel you can solve them then I highly recommend this mobo for any z170 chipset build.
Fantastic speeds - no complaints
Great case and worth the hype! The added magnetic puck actually comes in handy (holding two headphones right now). Space is sufficient for a lengthy GPU with fans and an AIO rad! The filters are a bit difficult to take in and out without handling the entire case, and cable management space is nothing to brag about - although the metal shield does provide a convenient space to tuck extra cables. Note the HDD drivebay is NOT removeable which would have been very convenient. Overall, definitely #1 recommendation for mid tower cases!
Even though this thing is hidden in the basement of my case it's probably my most favourite part! The PSU itself along with the cables are of the highest quality - you can feel that simply by handling the parts. The unboxing experience on its own is also so special - EVGA spoils you with so many little things like quality velcro belts and a super spacious cloth pocket thing that now houses all of my extra cables, parts AND booklets from my ENTIRE build. I was hesitant at first to go with a cheaper PSU but so glad I went with this one!
Wireless Network Adapter
Does its job, nothing special. The range of the antennas is not great (always sitting at 50%-ish or so connection strength while my phone is at 100%). It helps a lot if your PC is close to the router and not sitting in a corner in the room (which is the opposite of my case). The TP-LINK software from their website is also nothing to brag about.
I'm giving this thing 5 stars because it's approaching 10 years old now and it hasn't had a single fault or problem .. #respect. Having said that, the display is not the brightest (not sure if due to age or it was originally like that), and viewing angles are nothing to brag about.
Had this monitor for almost half a year now and I am loving it! The brushed metal frame and build quality are phenomenal (which is unusual for ACER from my experience). The IPS display is also vibrant and SO bright (I have it on 13% most of the time even in daylight) which compliments the crisp 1440p resolution very nicely. I have not suffered any backlight bleeding yet (knock on wood) so I've been very happy about that. The non-adjustable stand however is annoying to be honest - I've had to prop it up on a few textbooks to bring it up to eye-level. The buttons are also hidden underneath and are not labeled and not very intuitive either, and I don't see myself getting used to them anytime soon - but I'm just nitpicking at this point. Overall, I definitely recommend this monitor due to its build quality and since it's the only one (as far as I know) that's IPS and 1440p at this price point.
I love this thing! At first I thought I might regret not getting the blue chery mx variant but I'm so glad I didn't. The browns feel great if you type a lot, and I've been enjoying them while gaming as well. The side shortcut keys also come in handy quite often (even for launching applications and not just gaming). The glossy surface though does catch fingerprints and dust like crazy and that's why it loses a star for me. I end up dusting this thing every other day or so but oh well. Definitely worth it!
This is my first ever gaming mouse and I am floored. It feels great, performs as you'd expect, has a non-rubber cable so it doens't come in the way at all. The software is also easy-to-use and provides very useful features! I love the lockable scroll wheel since it comes in handy when going through documents and long webpages. The button placement is also on-point. My only gripe would be that I wish they added one or two more side buttons for gaming but if you don't care about that then this is a perfect mouse.
Owned for over 4 years now and no complaints! Works and performs perfectly with no fail. The metal surface can be hard to clean sometimes though