Description

First off, I would like to thank PCPartPicker as the information on the site was invaluable. This is my first build ever. I spent about 2 months learning about the components, developing ideas, and watching prices fluctuate.

I am currently working on my doctorate in a science field and I wanted a well balanced computer that could tackle the majority of tasks I do on a regular basis. I have a balance of work and play: Photoshop for microscope images or pictures taken with my Nikon DSLR, some light video editing, lots of movies/netflix, and some gaming (i.e., BF4). I was extremely nervous during the out of case build and was very excited to get the POST to work on the first shot... such a relief!!

Here is a summary & rationale for the component choices:

CPU: I have had better luck with Intel over AMD in the past. I went with a I5 4670K for the option to overclock. I have not tested my luck in the chip lottery yet. I plan to run everything at stock speed for the first week to ensure there are no stability issues and once I am happy with it, I plan to start overclocking.

CPU Cooler: I battled with the idea of going consumer water (i.e., Corsair H100i) over air. Ultimately, I was more comfortable with air and went with the Xigmatek Dark Knight II SD1283 Night Hawk due to favorable reviews and the color. Installing the brackets and mounting the cooler was a bit challenging at first. I think it is mounted a degree or two off center. Further, mounting the fan was a pain. The rubber gromets and fins were a real challenge to line everything up. I wish I had routed the 4 pin cable on the other side, but once it was mounted, I didn't want to try again. Performance-wise, I am happy with the cooler. I think idle and load temperatures are acceptable.

Motherboard: One of the easier choices I had to make. I went with Asus ROG for the quality components, overclock features, and aesthetics. So far it has performed beautifully. The only hiccup was having to load XMP profiles for the ram. The only minor annoyance I have with the board is that the LEDs and power/reset switches are constantly on as long as the PSU is delivering power. You have to disable power at the PSU or wall to turn off the LEDs.

Ram:I went with G.Skill Sniper Series 16GB DDR3 1866. So far the ram have performed extremely well; however, I had to load XMP profile to get the full speed unlocked.

Storage: 250GB Samsung 840 EVO is blazing fast. First SSD I've ever owned and I am amazed at the load times. Windows 8.1 boots in a matter of seconds. I also had a Western Digital 1TB drive from my last PC and I plan to use it as media drive.

Video Card: I agonized over this component more than any other in the build. With high end Maxwell 20nm probably coming out in Q3/Q4, I decided to go for a price-performance ratio I thought was acceptable. I also plan to SLI in the future, so I thought the 770 was a good bet. I went with Asus to match the motherboard and because I have read reviews that the temperatures can be up to 5C cooler than other non-reference boards, thus leaving room for further OC.

Case: What a wonderful purchase. I originally planned for a mid-tower (i.e., Phantom 410), but I wanted to avoid clearance issues and move lots of air. The case is amazing and has lots of space. The rubber gromets helped with decent cable management for a first time builder. The 30W fan controller also made for easier management. I failed to realize two of the pre-connected wires to the fan controller were extension cables, so I accidentally bought more than I needed. The SSD mount on the back was also a very cool feature.

Fans: Went with Corsair Air Series for high quality fans. Did two LEDS for a nice subtle red glow without it being over the top. Put the non-LED for top exhaust. All fans were easy to mount and are quiet as can be. The only complaint is that the cables are REALLY SHORT (especially so in the full tower). Thankfully I managed to get some cheap cable extensions and had 2 included with the fan controller in the case

Power Supply: Went with Corsair once again and I am very happy with it so far. As a first time builder, I did not want to deal with extra cables, so I opted for full modular. I also wanted headroom for overclocking and SLI in the future, so I went with the 860W. The individual cables are generally quite nice, but some were a bit stiff. The instructions were pretty minimal and didn't explain that some of the cables excluded optional pins, so I had to figure out why a pin was missing for a few of them. I have noticed some very minimal coil whine, which is apparently a common issue with this PSU. I have the case far enough away from me to make it a non-issue.

3D Mark score: everything stock so far.

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Comments

  • 72 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks great +1 Every time I see the 530 I wish I got it instead of the regular phantom

  • 72 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you for the kind words!

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point
  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

same!

  • 72 months ago
  • 2 points

That Dark knight is sooooo sexy. Well executed!

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 72 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice cable management for a first build!

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

First build AND IT'S A BEAUTY. Very nice job with this here, I love it.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much!!

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

are you sure you havent done this before? lol B E A U TIFUL +1

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

First time, I swear! Thanks

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

that's what she said.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Me gusta. You didnt spend a bunch on the cpu and spent more money where it matters, like the gpu. Although i heard the Phantom has dust issues

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice parts with excellent execution, +1!

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

A nice build, is the i5 worth the money

+1

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

From what I've read and experienced, yes. The I7 is pretty much a waste of money unless you are using applications that benefit from hyperthreading.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks awesome, makes me wished I looked/cared about color when picking my parts, and I regret going liquid cooled with a big case to loosing a case fan to the cpu fan.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

That cooler looks like its a 3d render that was photoshopped into the photo. lol i like the colour of that cooler. +1 =)

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

I like the design and I like the phantom. IM creating my first build over summer and it has a phantom 530 red(I think). It costs around $1500. Great build. +1 :D

  • 72 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! Good luck with your build!

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice Build! I am finishing a build similar to yours but not as geared up: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3fWbj I need to get a GPU. How is that 860W working for you? Any recommendations?

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the comments. The build is now about ~4-5 weeks old. Overall, I am extremely happy with it. It has performed exceptionally well on everything I've thrown at it.

I think the AX860 is an exceptional PSU in terms of performance. My only annoyance is sporadic coil whine that can last for a few minutes at a time. Apparently it is common with this PSU in particular, and many PSUs in general. Depends on how picky you are about that kind of thing. It can drive some people nuts, while others don't care. Search youtube videos for that particular PSU to see what I am talking about if you are unsure.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build. I'm a new pc enthusiasts myself, I hope to be building my pc this summer. How are the case fans working for you?

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Sirkisboy. The case fans work great. Very happy with the decision. Only hear a faint "hum" even when turning the case fan controller to high. I can't hear anything at low and barely anything at medium settings. Temps are good and the system is stable gaming 2-3+ hours on medium fans.

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Do you think the cooler can do a push/pull setup? Planning to get the same cooler.

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry for the delay. I haven't checked the site in a while. From what I read looking into it, you can do push/pull. You may want to get 2 aftermarket static pressure fans though, as Xigmatek doesn't sell an exact copy of the one it comes with. The box I received included extra rubber grommets for push/pull though.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry that this is a little late, but i just wanted to show you what your CPU could do with a light overclock and what your Graphics card could do with a large overclock. I have an i5 4670K(at 4.0GHz) AND an Asus GTX 770 Directcuii OC(at 1293MHz Boost), just like you. I hope you are enjoying it! Great build! http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/5698311

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

why does this case needs case fans? isn't it has good airflow?

  • 72 months ago
  • 0 points

This build is sex. Wonderful +4805174651048365023407652034965

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much!

  • 72 months ago
  • 0 points

Hahaha It looks like you don't have a high-end gaming pc. Good build anyways. I think the benchmark calls for SLI to have a high-end gaming pc.

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  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, I never even noticed that. Good catch!

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  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, that would be great. Go ahead!