Description

I've been creating part lists on NewEgg since I was 13, and now that I'm an adult with disposable income I decided to pull the trigger. As is apparently the case for most people...things (and budget) escalated quickly. All I really want to DO with it is play Overwatch and run benchmarks. This build is definitely more of a hobby than a means to an end.

The Air 540 was an absolute pleasure to work with. Build, upkeep, and cleaning could not be simpler. My biggest complaint would have to be dust - the DEMCiflex filter kit solved it. Now I open the chassis once a week and hit it with canned air.

As far as cooling, I'm not sure whether I've gone the best route - just looking at the specs of my fans, I'm guessing that I'm running negative pressure (1x 140mm 2x 120mm rad exhaust back & top; 3x 120mm intake up front). I'm not sure if the three 120mm Corsair fans up front are moving enough air to keep things as cold as they could be. I might upgrade to Noctua fans at some point in the future, but most of the brown ones I've seen are just so damn ugly and contrast with my red/white theme. The dust filters certainly hurt temps.

The Gigabyte Gaming 7 wasn't too difficult to install -- if I have any complaints, it's the location of the case fan headers and the way I'm forced to route the Kraken cables. The BIOS isn't amazing, but it gets the job done. Thus far I've been underwhelmed with the automatic overclocking profiles in the BIOS, it gets my 6700k up to a stable 4.6 but I don't love the voltage settings. I'm going to do a lot more research before I start fiddling with manual settings (or maybe I'll just buy the Intel overclocking warranty). That said, it looks amazing. I love the color scheme, I love the back plate LEDs. The board itself runs cool.

The SM951 is wonderful. I'm booting into Windows in under 12 seconds (as in, fully logged in + ready to open resource intensive applications). I'll probably update the HDD to a Raid 0 SSD setup once high quality 2TB SSDs get even cheaper. Or maybe I'll go all M.2! Excited to see what the future holds for storage.

I bought the MSI GTX 980 Ti 6GB "Golden Edition" on sale. The color scheme doesn't match, which irks me...but I couldn't beat that price. Maybe I'll start looking for a replacement backplate (I'd welcome suggestions! Not sure if they make them, or whether I'd have to have a custom part made...). Using Afterburner I put on a moderate OC of 100mhz core clock, 280mhz memory clock, which runs warm (75c under full load) but stable in everything but extended Overwatch. After an hour or two in-game, I get a "display device lost" error or something along those lines. I believe it's a driver/game issue, so I don't think I can fault the video card just yet. Depending how far prices fall in the coming months with Pascal, I might pick up another one for SLI. But I'm in no rush.

The Kraken is awesome, and the LED effects are perfect (if not particularly feature rich). CAM is decent - I wish I could manually control the case fans through the software & use a simple slider for the RAD fans/pump...but it's not bad at all. The readings correspond with GPUZ/CPUZ/HWinfo within an acceptable margin of error. I still rely on those other applications, but all in all CAM isn't bad considering I expected it to be bloatware.

I wish I had gone for faster RAM, but honestly from everything I've read, it makes little to no difference in actual performance. I may upgrade to 32GB down the road out, but that's more for fun than for increased performance or necessity.

The LG 23GM77-B is probably the most cost effective purchase I've ever made. Absolutely stellar build quality and performance. Stock brightness is blinding, but the menus are relatively intuitive and you can make it do what you want it to do.

The Logisys LED stick is bright, but the adhesive is awful. Fell down after less than a week. I'm going to explore alternatives for lighting...maybe something a little more feature rich. I'm only looking for white light, but maybe something with RGB options would be cool too.

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Comments

  • 45 months ago
  • 3 points

I personally would've waited for the 1080, but that aside it's a solid build and definitely OP for Overwatch!

  • 45 months ago
  • 4 points

I was definitely tempted, but I've played the waiting game in the past and sometimes you just have to pull the trigger. I was ready, I was excited, and I didn't want to wait.

The benchmarks from the 1080 have me jealous, but I'll probably have more fun putting another 980 Ti in for SLI down the road anyway. Like you mentioned, this is huge overkill for Overwatch and the other games I play (mostly Crusader Kings 2...loving all my CPU resources!) and I'm using V-Sync to keep it capped at 144hz with everything maxed (but keeping render scale at 1080p)

  • 45 months ago
  • 3 points

I was ready, I was excited, and I didn't want to wait.

I can agree with that

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh I get it haha. I'm as impulsive as it gets. I know I should wait until some aftermarket versions of the 1080 come out, but honestly the reference card is plenty for playing in 2K compared to my 970 SLI setup now. I get playable frames in the 40s/50s at high settings, but I want 60+ in Ultra. ;)

  • 45 months ago
  • 3 points

The card doesnt look as bad as you made it seem. If you recently bought it that sucks because of polaris. Awesome build though!! Id like to see more pics

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

polaris

Kek

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Pascal lol. Thanks for pointing out my ****** mistake and my amd mixup

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I'll have to post a few more pictures with everything running/LED on for the mismatch to be evident. It's really not that bad, I'm just nitpicking (spend this much money and you're bound to, I guess).

I was definitely on the fence about waiting for the new GPUs, but I was really eager to play the Overwatch beta with friends. With electronics, there will usually be something bigger and better just over the horizon...given the price (and what I'll actually be using it for), I'm pleased.

Hopefully it won't be too hard to find another Golden Edition down the road for SLI. Might even roll the dice with a used one, if the price is right.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

The beta was worth it lol. Hopefully the price drops for you man!

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

I have that case, it is amazing. Only downside is that the thing barely fits on the shelf above my desk. It looks like it is about to fall down!

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

I hear you - but I'll take the height/width trade-off all day. And separating the PSU + cabling is so aesthetically pleasing. Worth it!

What's your fan setup?

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Noctua makes an industrial line of black fans that are more rugged. Not quite as quiet but still PWM programmable on a curve for performance and they pull a lot of air. I have a 140mm and 120mm. The 140mm is exhaust in my ITX case and the 120mm will go on a cooler when I bother to get one. The stock cooler is keeping my Xeon at really solid temps but I don't want it in my window...

I have yet compare the 120mm regular noctua fan I have vs the industrial in terms of cfm vs Db level in real time, just on paper.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Good call. I'll take a long hard look at replacing my RAD + intake fans with the industrial Noctuas (2000 or 3000rpm, I wonder...). I respect Noctua for sticking by their guns with branding, but c'mon...did they have to keep brown corners?

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

You can buy accessories, chromax line. Annoying really making you buy the add ons for all black but they looks nice once done!

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Chromax are sweet. I grabbed the red vibration pads (set of 16) and then red drubber mounting things (set of like 16 too). Looks great inside the red/lack case with red/black fans.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

That's awesome (if still annoying), I had no idea. Thank you! The dust filters have a substantial effect on airflow, so I probably need the extra RPMs anyway.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Be warned the industrial line may push about 1.5 CFM of the regular fans but are also quite a bit more loud at full. I have my 140mm set to about 30% minimum and when the system temp goes above 60C or so it shifts up to 60% of max. it is quiet enough on my desk that I can hear the fans running however If I put it under my desk I think I might barely hear it.

Compare the db level of each before going for the black.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Just ordered the parts for a very similar build, which is my first real build as well.

Will keep a close eye on any updates.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Need more pics! looks like a solid build, would be neat to see some more.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Will do! I submitted this while slacking off at work, so I'll absolutely post a few more once I get home (showing the LED that I've been forced to relocate due to ****** adhesive, red GPU cable, red NZXT LED, etc.).

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks great!

Your temps are fine. You have about 10 degrees of headroom. Plus, you'll likely never come near those temperatures in everyday use. I wouldn't replace your fans. Corsair's 140 mm fans are some of the best/most noise-effective 140 mm fans on the market. Which app(s) did you benchmark with?

If you want more silence and you're willing to vacuum more often, you can simply remove your dust filters. I know you spent $70 on them, but it may be worth pulling them out if you value the airflow. Also, positive pressure, negative pressure: it's not a big deal. Negative pressure increases the dust that enters your case in it's current configuration. However, removing the filters will take stress off your components (heat-wise, and rpm-wise) and increase their lifespan while hardly increasing your case's dust intake.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Your temps are fine. You have about 10 degrees of headroom. Plus, you'll likely never come near those temperatures in everyday use.

The GPU gets pretty damn hot during prolonged gaming sessions. Granted, the card comes overclocked out of the box, and I added some on top - but still, should I worry about 75c for hours at a time?

I'm happy to hear I have some headroom on the CPU - I'm pretty excited to learn what I'm doing and shoot for a stable 4.7 on the 6700k, although I've read about difficulty doing so with my mobo.

Which app(s) did you benchmark with?

Prime95 (only 1 hour at a time max, I can't stand to just walk away from the computer while its under stress...too much anxiety, even when I know it would just shut off if anything went wrong. I suppose I need to let it run overnight to really gauge the stability.

Also Firestrike (http://www.3dmark.com/fs/8376484).

I may selectively remove some of the filters (RAD exhaust, rear exhaust, maaaybe the intake). I think the biggest difference maker was the bottom filter & the ones that cover the miscellaneous grilles. I open the case weekly anyway, so maybe you're right.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Your GPU is designed to withstand temperatures upwards of 80 degrees. An emergency override should kick your fans up to full blast near 85 degrees. Your GPU won't sustain damage then, but it will get really loud. As long as it sits below 85 degrees, your GPU is fine.

If you don't do anything more intensive than gaming, you could tailor your bench-marking to your needs. For instance, since I only use my current pc for gaming and browsing, I run two cores on Prime95 and a full GPU load with Furmark at the same time. No game will put even this much stress on a system (100% constant load), but it's a more applicable load to stress your pc under.

As for filters, you should remove the filters on your exhaust fans at least; they will actually allow more dust to enter your case by pushing your case pressure further into the negative. Your filters on the exhaust fans will restrict airflow with no benefits.

Additionally, your fans in the PSU chamber aren't necessary. Your PSU fan will provide all the ventilation necessary.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

No fans in the back PSU chamber - I'm not that anal...yet, at least.

The info re: max temps is reassuring, and I'm excited to see how far I can push this 980 ti & 9700k.

How long should I leave the two-core Prime95/FM stress tests going to get meaningful results?

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

I could stand to be more methodical here. I'm a little apprehensive about furmark because it's so intensive, so I normally only run it until my temps quit rising for a few minutes. It's good to also use Heaven and some of your games to verify that your overclocks are stable.

Just be sure to do your research on the limits of your components. While I Benchmark my builds, I'm not versed in overclocking because I prioritize silence over performance. If I were in your situation, I'd probably be underclocking your components. :D

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I read somewhere, briefly, that Prime 95 doesn't do very well with Skylake. Something about compatibility issues.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

R.I.P.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Is this computer going to kill me?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I'll be adding more pictures of the final build shortly. I'd appreciate any feedback/comments/recommendations re: anything at all! I'm still new, so all advice is probably 1) news to me & 2) appreciated.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, there!

If you do end up splashing out on some Noctua's I would recommend checking out this site -https://www.quietpc.com/na-savp1

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

You shouldn't need to dust your PC once a week, especially with a filter kit.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

I like this alot :) Thinking about replacing my R5E with one the new X99 boards from Asus .. more LED's :P Check out my build ;) +1

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