Description

This was my first ever self-build and I really enjoyed the entire process of researching every aspect of this PC. You'll notice I also customized some parts by painting them red to help accent the build....that process was also fun and educational! That being said, I definitely took my lumps as a newbie PC builder, but I learned a ton of good info and I'm excited to plan and build another PC in the future. I'll write a little about the components I purchased, why I purchased them and any issues I found with each one (if any). Oh....it's called the Red Headed Stepchild for two reasons; the first being that I used the ideas of a few other Red/Black builds I had seen on this site and thus it's kind of the stepson of those other builds. The other reason is that before my hair started falling out I was a red head so I thought that was fitting name :)

Processor: So as a newbie at this whole process I wanted a newer processor with some capabilities that might be above and beyond what I need right now so that is I decide to expand my build in the future (another GPU) I wouldn't be held back by anything. This CPU is probably overkill for what I need right now but it gives me a little bit of future proofing, something I had in mind throughout the purchasing process. As it stands, this thing has been all I've wanted and more. Sitting at a stable overclock of 4.3GHz with pretty good temps (sits in the 40's under load during gaming (Fallout 4 on Ultra settings).

GPUs: All the research I conducted pointed to the 980ti being at the top of the GPU food chain right now. Again, with future proofing in mind these cards were kind of no-brainer. The added fan-cooling on the card is really helpful as I have these overclocked +150mhz core clock and 400mhz memory clock and they keep them nice and cool. I was having some issues with temps when they were sandwiched on top of each other in my case so I moved one card down to the next PCIe slot and that helped quite a bit. These things crush anything I've thrown at them so far. Playing all games on Ultra settings with zero issues and they have hit 99% and 97% on Firestrike Extreme and Ultra respectively. Only thing I'd say about these cards is the stock fan profiles are kind of garbage so I highly suggest going in and creating some custom ones using MSI Afterburner, especially if you are overclocking.

RAM: So this is where I decided to save little money. I initially wanted to go with 64 GBs of DDR4 but decided I could save little here and went with 16GB at 2133mhz instead. I plan on upgrading the RAM in the future but so far it hasn't held the build back at all. For added aesthetics I custom painted the Corsair light bars and I think they turned out really well!

Case: This case has some great pluses and some definite minuses. First, I think the case looks great to the eye. It's very clean looking and really liked the PSU shroud and lighted logo in the front. The inside of the case also has pretty decent cable management features and I like how all of the HDD bays were removable and that you could place the SSDs on top of the PSU shroud. The stock fans were meh so I replaced them with the Corsair SP120s which are good but since finishing my build and doing some more research I might have gone in a different direction if I were to do this build again. The big minus on this case is the cooling....it's pretty bad. NZXT chose to go for aesthetics over function in this regard and it shows. If you are going to overclock a lot and are thinking about this case you'll need to watercool for sure. Which brings me to my next minus. Setting up a custom water loop in this case would be tough....not impossible, but definitely a challenge. I have thought about trying a custom loop in this build down the road but I will have to do some serious planning before that happens, and I may even have to permanently remove some hardware from the case as well.

One other minus I noticed was the foam on the back panel of the case. I assume this was done for sound dampening reasons but it really hampers your cable management and made getting the panel closed a bit of a hassle.

Motherboard: Had the color scheme I was looking for and the socket I needed for my CPU. Also saw some reviews that it had a pretty simple OCing interface which was a plus for me being new to the custom PC wold. Has plenty of headers for USBs and such. Also has a USB 3.1 header (future proofing again).

Lighting (HUE+): I went with the HUE+ LED lighting system from NZXT. Really great product and I think the lighting really adds to the build. I added a lot of pics with the "Spectrum Wave" effect on b/c it cycles through a bunch of colors and I wanted to capture what the entire effect looks like. The other solid color effects were red and a plain white setting. Only drawback to this system is that I had to reinstall as HDD bay so I could mount the HUE+ control box.

Overall I think this is a pretty decent first build. It was fun to research and put together and I learned a lot during the process. I will definitely build another PC after this one and apply the lessons learned from this build to hopefully make the next one even better! If anyone has questions please feel free to ask....constructive criticism is very welcome! Thanks.

Comments

  • 47 months ago
  • 3 points

Holy hell. This was your first build? Damn, jumping straight in to the sick ****. Good job.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

This deserves more upvotes, brilliant build... +1 from me!

  • 47 months ago
  • 3 points

Appreciate it!

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

Solid part choice clean looking build. In all very sweet work for a first build and great write up. Easy +1

Was going to comment on your first pic of how the cards are sandwiched together. But seems your already solved that by moving it to next slot down as per your description.nice.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! Moving the card has helped a ton with temps.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Shiny head and nice name.. +1

My only complaints are the RAM and SSDs both are good but you should've gotten a 500+ and done 16gb 2 x 8gb

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build. A lot of people like this pc case eh.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Much thanks! Yes I think it has been pretty popular on the site as of late. It really is a nice looking case (at least to me) with only a few drawbacks that I have found.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

That puts this months potential featured build guide up to 4. It is going to be a really hard choice.

+1

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow thanks, Rhali! Not sure mine is Feature worthy but I do appreciate it!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

No problems :)

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

This build's components are stupid-awesome!

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks much!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

sli bridge for the gpu's?

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes! Unfortunately I had to use the stock one that came with the motherboard. I custom painted an EVGA bridge but turns out it was the wrong size. Will update when the new one comes in!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

sorry didn't see it in the original pictures.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I really like this build! Very nice parts choice! :-)

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks very much!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Pretty nice rationale in great build! And cool temps to top it off!

Man, this is perfection... +1

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, mate! Appreciate the feedback.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Reason your GPU fans seem like garbage is the H440. Poor intake airflow. Adjust that fan curve and deal with slightly higher load temps or deal with noise cranking up the intake fans.

Nice build overall.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Yes I noticed the H440 had some significant cooling restrictions. I customized all my fan profiles to help with temps and it has helped quite a bit. I don't mind the noise as I am usually gaming with a headset on so I don't really hear the fans.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

If you haven't already, try SpeedFan. Takes a while to setup but allows fans to be controlled by GPU temps rather than either CPU/Mobo temps.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry, I kind of misread your original post. The GPU fans themselves aren't bad, they actually work really well. However, the stock speed profile that they come with doesn't get the fans really turning until the card hits the upper 60's. I used MSI Afterburner to change the fan curve and have the fans spin up earlier than they were with the stock fan profile which really helped with my temps. I'll definitely check out SpeeFan though and see if it's better than what I am currently using. Thanks for the advice!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

No probs, all that matters is that you are comfty with it's performance. by the way I mean 'case' fans as per my previous message.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah gotcha! Either way I think we can both agree that the H440s cooling is sub par haha.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Also checked out some of your builds....awesome water cooling jobs! I'm hoping to attempt a custom loop on my next build.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Those are some incredibly classy case mods O.O

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks much! I was a little nervous about painting parts of my hardware/case with this being my first build and all but I think they really added some nice accents to the build. Thanks for checking it out!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

At first I was freaking out about the carpet, and then that moment of relief came when I saw that wooden surface. Sick build, this is awesome!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh yes, carpet would have been bad haha. Thanks for the positive feedback, much appreciated!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

What framerate on GTA V?

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  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha thanks, mate!

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  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

NAH

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Referring to the CPU?

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  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Or the RAM? haha

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  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks much! Yes, I actually have the AX1500 in there now....good eyes though!