This is the evolution of my last gaming PC, Hesperus. Built little less than a year ago, Hesperus wasn't in particular need of upgrades, but I love tweaking my build and wanted to give 1440p 144Hz a try. That and the dog in the background of the second pic broke my last monitor.
As for performance, all in all it's satisfactory. Recently I've played a lot of Titanfall 2, Doom (2016), Borderlands 2, and L4D2, and while I can't maintain 144fps in TF2 or B2 on high settings, the others run maxed out very well. It does seem that we are still a GPU generation away from true 1440p 144Hz AAA gaming though.
I don't think any of the individual parts really warrant a section in the build description except the CPU. While the i5-7600k provides a lot of singlecore performance (especially once overclocked to 5.0 GHz), overall I'm pretty disappointed given Ryzen and Coffee Lake's relative superiority at its price point. Perhaps I should have waited just one more month for Ryzen 5. It's not worth upgrading for me now (I realize that may be hard to believe given how much I spent on aesthetics...), but I wouldn't recommend any gamer building a new PC to buy the 7600k, or i3-8350k for that matter, today, especially if you're spending this kind of money.
Getting into PC hardware and gaming over the past year has been an amazing experience. I've spent a lot of time following various tech outlets (Gamers Nexus, Hardware Unboxed, AdoredTV to name a few) and giving hardware advice on Reddit. Once you get past the elitists and various ..."passionate"... fans of CPU and GPU companies, the community is pretty great! And of course there's plenty to learn. I'm currently enrolled in a class on computer systems which I had assumed would be one of my more boring degree requirements a year ago, but now I'm really looking forward to it.
Lastly, I want to thank the staff of PCPP for such a useful tool for keeping track of parts!
It's hard to say how I feel about this cooler. On one hand, it cools very well, with the best noise normalized performance out of the 280mm AIOs Gamers Nexus has tested. On the other hand, its software is notoriously bad, and for good reason. For a long time, lighting software CAM wouldn't recognize the installed X62. Furthermore, when it did, it was often glitchy, always slow, and frequently ate up double digits of CPU usage. With a tremendous $160 MSRP, it's hard to say this product is a good buy, and if I were buying again, I would look elsewhere.
This motherboard looks good and allows me to overclock the i5-7600k to 5.1 GHz (possibly more but I stopped there). For comparison, the MSI Gaming M3 I previously owned couldn't go past 4.9 GHz stable. I managed to get it open box for a really good price, $176 after taxes, but unfortunately it has a dead DIMM slot. I'm not going to count this towards my score however as again it was open box and I could've RMA'd through Asus; I just don't want to deal with it. As it stands, I'll continue on 16 GB for a few years then upgrade to a new platform, so I don't think the RMA is worth the time I would not be able to use the PC.
While I think this is a great looking motherboard, the plastic shroud that covers important locations like the VRM heatsink is detrimental to thermals. However its biggest fault is having only 1 USB header. This should be unacceptable for a motherboard of this price. I actually had to buy the NZXT Internal USB Hub to accommodate my parts. This was very disappointing, but I can still give it 3 stars.
When paired with Asus Aura, lighting control is fantastic. Of course, it runs at rated speeds no problem. I even pushed it to 3300 MHz at CL15, but the PC would crash under certain workloads. Eventually I put it back at 3000 CL16 since the clock and latency improvements didn't reflect in games in any noticeable way.
I have a lot of positive things to say about this graphics card. Among the air cooled 1080 Ti Gamers Nexus tested, it runs the coolest when normalized for noise. In other words, you have greater headroom to decrease fan speeds (and noise) while retaining acceptable cooling. Not only that, but it handles temperatures on all parts of the card, including VRMs, exceptionally.
From my experience, Asus Aura is fantastic lighting software, and the graphics card really does look great. The whites are washed though, so just choose anything other than that.
Performance-wise, it's a 1080 Ti. There are benchmarks everywhere on the web for this GPU, so do your research. In my opinion, it provides a lot of power for the price as long as that price is MSRP.
This case is a thing of beauty. Sticking a 280mm AIO as intake alleviates a lot of its airflow problems as well, though it's still not going to be comparable to a case with a mesh front or anything.
Coming from the Phanteks P400, I do think the S340 is worse. I prefer the rubber grommets to the cable management bar, and the S340's all metal drive cage amplifies HDD acoustics. That being said, it's not horrible or anything.
Solid case. I would definitely recommend it on sale at <= $80, though in my opinion there are superior options at your disposal. Besides the Phanteks P400, the Phanteks Enthoo Pro M TG and Fractal Design Meshify C provide superior airflow (though you would need to buy proper fans for that Meshify), and they cost around the same price.
It's a 1440p 60Hz IPS panel, and you get just that. Viewing angles are solid, colors are beautiful (especially after calibration), and the stand offers tilt, swivel, and height adjustment. What really makes this a good monitor though are its frequent sales, hitting as low as $160 at times. I snagged this for $207 at Newegg's eBay store, but it does go lower on the rare occasion. $200 is still a great price for what it offers though.
In summary, this is definitely the best 1440p 60Hz IPS panel for your money only because it goes on sale so often. Do not spent more than ~$200 on this monitor.
The colors are mediocre out of the box, but for those willing to put in the time to calibrate with an icc profile, this monitor offers impressive color accuracy. Unfortunately, it's let down by massive color banding problems. It really is just terrible in this regard. Some media is completely unwatchable, and even certain games will suffer.
Thankfully this is limited to the panel edition. A07 and greater are better off, but A04 and earlier will likely see bad banding. You can check the edition on the tag, so don't buy any A04s (which are still sold new).
Everything about this keyboard is great!... except the price. Really though, I don't have any complaints. The MX browns provide a quiet tactile bump, the lighting software while unintuitive has surprising flexibility, the volume scroll wheel is useful while in-game, and the backlighting is universal in all keys. I just wish Corsair would be more reasonable with their prices. When compared to the STRAFE, this has very few advantages, yet it costs $50 more. Unfortunately I just couldn't give up the volume scroll wheel.
These are some of the best sounding speakers at their price point. Be sure to look up reviews!
(Also note that they need an amp.)
Ah, the part of my build that CAM never had a problem with. If only my X62 could say the same...
These are great looking fans, far more crisp than an RGB strip in my opinion, and are functional enough to move hot air out of the case quietly and efficiently. They don't work under high static pressure environments though, so keep them running strictly as case fans, not on a radiator.
Note that if you're buying these, you are willingly giving up performance for aesthetics. Noctua and Corsair among others have much better performing 120mm and 140mm options for a lesser price. Whether you would notice that difference for case fans though, I'm not too sure.