After months of research and and countless hours spent pouring over Linus Tech Tips videos I was finally ready to build my first gaming PC rig. I am a college student and I plan on putting my computer in my dorm room. This left me with three requirements. My PC had to be: 1. Extremely Quiet or Silent and 2. Good looking and 3. Capable of playing the latest AAA titles on ultra settings at 1080p. I didn't want to disturb my roommate with overbearing fan noise every time I loaded up a game and I wanted my PC to look good and perform well so I could show it off. I decided on a black and white theme because, quite frankly, I'm tired of the over-the-top blue/black, red/black, green/black builds and I wanted something more modest. Also finding black and white parts was easy, with the exception of the motherboard which took me weeks to find. With that out of the way let us get into the parts:
CPU: The Intel i7 4790k is definitely overkill for my gaming oriented machine at 1080p. With that said, I think what sold me was the codename for the Haswell Refresh line, "Devil's Canyon." I know I could save about $100 on a similarly performing i5, but since the i5 4690k is $230, I really didn't mind spending another $100 on a CPU that I know will chew through calculations for years to come.
CPU Cooler: To increase the longevity of my CPU's lifespan as well as confidently overlock if I desire, I had to get the H100i. I originally was set on the H80i which goes for about $75, but I ordered my H100i on Black Friday and got if for $80. I also looked into Swift Tech's expandable AiO CPU cooler, but I don't think I will ever expand water cooling to anything beyond my CPU simply because the price of water blocks, radiators, and fittings is not worth it to me. The H100i keeps my CPU under 55 degrees celsius under full load (playing Battlefield 4 on the ultra preset). My only gripe about the H100i is the poor quality of the Corsair Link software. Corsair Link didn't recognize the H100i until I uninstalled and reinstalled the software three times. I decided to not use the stock fans included with H100i and, instead, I bought two Corsair SP120's which are virtually the same fans, but have included color rings and rubber screw mounts. The fans are surprisingly very quiet. I keep the pulse width modulation fans idling around 900 rpm's at all time and they are barely audible.
Thermal Compound: I wiped Corsair's pre-applied thermal compound off the H100i's water block and and applied Arctic Silver 5. Did it help with temperatures? Probably not.
Motherboard: The MSI Z97S SLI Krait is not the best motherboard out there. The only reason I purchased the motherboard was for the black and white color scheme. With that said, the UEFI BIOS is relatively intuitive and well designed. The MSI Z97S is essentially a no BS motherboard with everything I needed. The price was right and the motherboard has worked perfectly for me since I purchased it. As far as the poor onboard audio goes, I have an Astro A40 with the included MixAmp Pro that I use for gaming. The only thing that I see desperately wrong with the board is the upward facing USB 3 port. A right angle USB 3 port is crucial in ensuring that you don't over torque the fragile USB 3 socket on the motherboard when cable managing. The board also does not have enough USB 2 ports. I couldn't plug the Corsair Link connector for my power supply (Corsair RM1000) into the motherboard because I ran out of open ports.
Memory: Kingston memory has a great reputation that I can attest to. The asymmetrical heat sink on these sticks look good and came in black and white. My motherboard immediately recognized the memory at the correct frequency of 1866 Mhz. I pretty much installed the RAM and forgot about it- It has worked great so far.
Storage: I bought the Samsung 840 EVO for the price and the price alone. I honestly could care less about all the Samsung marketing junk surrounding their SSD technology. Looking back on it, I probably should of gotten an 840 Pro, but I got the 250GB 840 for $110 on Black Friday so I really couldn't beat the price.
Video Card: After seeing the GTX 970 give the GTX Titan a run for its money and go neck-and-neck with the AMD R9 290X, which at the time was $500, I knew I had to have it for my rig. The GTX 970 has 80% of the performance of the flagship GTX 980, which translates to about 20 frames per second in most AAA titles. To me an extra 20 FPS was definitely not worth an extra $200 for a 980. At 1920 by 1080 the GTX 970 is almost overkill. I get 110 FPS on average in Battlefield 4 on the ultra preset at 1920 by 1080 at 60 Hz. With Dynamic Super Resolution I can render my games in 4K and play them at 1080p which justifies over-spending for the GTX 970 since a lower end card may struggle with this. I picked the ASUS Strix version of the 970 simply because of the zero decibel fan mode. Believe me when I say this card is quiet. Also my card has no coil whine, which seems to be a popular term used when discussing the 970.
Case: The Fractal Design Define R5 has again set the standard for silenced optimized cases just as its predecessor the Define R4 did. The product developers at Fractal have, in my opinion, perfected the Define series. The R5, in addition to its great functionality, looks awesome. Cable Management was a breeze and the included fan controller and high quality fans justify the big price tag. The Moduvents and sound dampening material combine with sleek looks to make the perfect case.
Power Supply: To follow in true silenced optimized form, I had to buy the RM1000. The fan in the RM1000 doesn't even spin until it reaches 60% load. Since the power supply can deliver a continuous 1000 watts it only reaches 60% load when gaming. This means that the fans don't even spin while the system is idling, which is great for cutting down on overall noise coming from the system.
Optical Drive: Garbage. I paid $16 for it. Im surprised it even works.
Operating System: Windows 8.1 is not as complicated as it's made out to be. Just take some time to get familiar with the functions..
Monitor: The ASUS VS247H-P 23.6 Inch monitor is your typical budget, run-of-the-mill monitor. The only reason I purchased it was for the 2ms response time. It only displays at 1920 by 1080 at 60 Hz which is good enough for me right now. As of now, the price for a 4K G-SYNC monitor is far from anything I'm willing to pay.
Keyboard: The Corsair Vengeance K65 is ten-keyless keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches. I have limited space on my desk so a ten-keyless was my only option and the Vengeance K65 is a very good-looking keyboard with premium Cherry MX switches at an "OK" price.
Lighting: I used an extremely cheap $12 cold cathode light kit.
Overall, thanks for taking the time to read through my build! Make sure you tell me what you think- Good or Bad all appropriate criticisms are welcomed and appreciated.