Description

Just completed my third PC build, and the first one with a real focus on style and acoustics. What started as a "small" upgrade for my previous build has ended as a hefty investment. I'm just glad it's done - about halfway through I realized there was no turning back and still quite a bit of work to be done.

My first build, completed in 2014, was an i5 4690K with a MSI GTX 970. I had a budget of $1,200 for everything - including peripherals - and my goal was to squeeze as much performance as I could out of my budget (for the most part). I ended up with a red motherboard, blue memory, and white/black throughout. It was a great computer, but I knew I could do better.

When it came time for my second build, shown here, I wanted to put a little more thought into the design. I decided on a black/white theme and put some blue LED's in the case to light everything up. This was the PC I was originally going to upgrade, I was planning on putting in an 8700K and calling it a day. That is, until the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming 5 board went on sale. If the motherboard was going to be RGB, shouldn't everything be RGB?

That question lead me down a spiral of spending, until finally, when the dust had cleared, we were left with the computer I lay before you today. The only thing remaining of the previous build was an 850 EVO and a Xonar DSX, and the only reason the sound card made it over was for convenience (having headphones and speakers plugged in together) - the new motherboard has a better chip than the DSX built-in.

Update:

I've taken the plunge and swapped my air cooler with an AIO - the EVGA 280mm CLC. I'm very impressed with the results (although it performs identical to a Noctua NH-D15 I got my hands on) and it's a huge improvement over my previous cooler. Plus, it looks fantastic!

I think I may have lost the Silicon lottery though, because I was only able to push it to 4.7GHz, and even that topped out at 95 degrees Celsius.

Things are not quite done yet. I am still waiting for the TRUE Spirit 140 Power to come, and I am very excited to do some benchmarks testing it against the Cryorig H7 I have, and POSSIBLY a Noctua NH-D15. Once tests are completed it will be time to choose the best cooler and see what this chip can do.

Benchmarks:

UserBenchmark: http://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/6104201

Unigine Valley: https://imgur.com/OKlcQcY

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

This is the first AIO I've owned and overall I'm impressed by it. It's a lot quieter than I thought it was going to be based on what I was reading, it looks fantastic, and it definitely works way better than my Hyper 212 Evo and Cryorig H7.

HOWEVER - It performed identical to a Noctua NH-D15 I got my hands on, which is cheaper and has no risk of damaging other components, so it's difficult to justify the extra cost of this cooler.

Motherboard

This motherboard is leaps ahead of anything I've used before. I never knew I could enjoy working with a board this much, and I understand now why people spend more for nicer boards. The amount of detail and design that was put into this board is fantastic.

Case

I went through two NZXT S340's before this and I was pleased to find out this case has all the things I liked, and improves on everything else. The sound dampening is great, the tinted glass looks AMAZING, and it was absolutely fantastic to build within. There are cuts in exactly the right place for every cable and I was able to hide almost everything (the grommets give it a really clean look!) I'd say this is a bigger, better S340.

Keyboard

I upgraded from a STRAFE keyboard and this is the best keyboard I've ever used (and owned, so that makes sense). I'm so happy to have a volume control dial again, that is a must have on any keyboard I get, and the roller on this is one of the best ways to implement it.

Mouse

It's a great mouse overall - buttons are clicky and easy to reach, mouse is accurate and highly customizable. However, the wing that your thumb sits on is made of two plastic pieces and one is slightly higher than the other, so there is a plastic edge against my thumb while using it. I also don't care for the texture on the rubber - for some reason my hand finds it very irritating to hold onto. I liked the simpler texture of my G402 better.

Comments

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow! Awesome build and explanations. How is the Thermalright cooler on the hot coffee? Haha, thanks for sharing.

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Legend has it the TRUE Spirit 140 Power should perform similar to a Nautica NH-D15. It's arriving later this week so I will find out then! (For now I'm using an H7)

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

I have the TS140P, its an amazing cooler. And it looks awesome too with those six heatpipes poking through the top. Check it out on my build! Cant wait to see the results when you get yours.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

You may be disappointed to hear I went with an AIO water cooler instead! Sorry! Nice to hear someone else has the "unicorn" air cooler though! I've heard great things about it.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh ok. What made you go for an AIO instead?

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Being my third build I thought it was finally time to give it a try. Plus most people with this CPU are using them so I thought I'd get the best performance with it.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool! I will sit tight. In the meantime, enjoy that build!

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

I've decided to go with an AIO instead! I was doing some tests with a friend and found that EVGA's AIO performs on par with the Noctua NH-D15, and I fell in love with how it looks in the case - so I was sold.

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow! I can say you've made a great decision. It really does look great in your system. Poseidon would be proud indeed!

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Quick question, which LEDs are you using to light up your case?

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Names: Deep Blue Aquarium, Poseidon, I'm Blue (Da Ba Dee Da Ba Dae) or Bluemarine (Blue + Submarine)

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you for the name suggestions! Love the third one, although that's quite a mouthful.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

XD No problem ☺ Great build, by the way

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

From the description I would nominate this builds name to be Blue Abyss. Obviously the color blue makes sense, but the "going into it with a plan", then reacting to a sea of possibilities seems almost like exploring the endless ocean... or the abyss.

Nice build by the way just got my NH-D15 today, should be building it by the weekend with the other Black Friday items.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Hmm... I hadn't considered finding a name that actually had some meaning like that. Thank you for the suggestion!

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

nice build Siowolf

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

How are you controlling the trident z rgb? I have the z370 gaming 7 in my case waiting for my trident z rgb RAM to arrive. but read after purchasing about some difficulty with the software rgb control. I'd like to know what to expect. Thanks

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Currently I can not control them - the program says it doesn't detect any sticks. The manual for the program suggests switching the memory to slots 1 & 3 instead of 2 & 4 might fix it, but controlling the lighting isn't a big enough deal for me to do that. They default to some sort of RGB wave scheme which works for my build.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

u can only control the trident z ram through aura sync which is on asus and asrock motherboards so thats why u wasnt able to control the ram

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm not so sure about that.... G.Skill offers software specifically for controlling the ram sticks.

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

that fractal design case with that evga rgb looking dope as **** i thought about going nothing but evga in my fractal design meshify c case when i seen evga come out with that aio with the evga logo on it ......this is a beautiful build tho and i like how u got that shelf up against the corner did u make that shelf?

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Yes, I did build the shelf! Although, I think it could use some stain and finish. Glad you like the build (and I'll look into that RGB ram more.)

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

How do you manage to fit the psu in the case when its case has 175mm psu length maximum

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Take out the hard drive bay. Also, its a conservative "maximum". Even with the drive bay in there's about 2 inches between the PSU and the drive bay so I could fit it, I would just have to bend the cables a bit more.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey if I buy a CPU cooler like that, do I need to buy the thermal paste too? Is it hard to apply?

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Are you referring to the EVGA water cooler? If so, that one comes with thermal paste pre-applied. I'm not sure if it's any good, though, because I immediately wiped it off and applied my own. It's very easy to apply thermal paste - put a dot in the center of the CPU about the size of an airsoft pellet.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

How do I go about wiping the paste off of the cooler?

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Isopropyl alcohol and cotton balls.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

gorgeous, been looking into water cooling more and more as I look at this processor...you may have just sold me, this upgrade is getting more expensive by the minute T_T

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Same thing happened to me! I put about twice as much into this build as I initially anticipated. I like the water cooler and likely won't go back just because of how cool it looks, but it IS noisy under load.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Really nice! Good to see that 1080ti fits together with front rad! Great studio, too, BTW! I see a microphone. How is the noise from your build? Does it interfere with sound recording?

  • 21 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey, glad you like it! It's just a 1080, though, not the ti. The computer is a bit loud - they werent kidding about these AIOs being noisy, but I don't think it interferes with the recordings much. Cardoid setting and a bit of post processing noise removal and I'm golden.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Hmm, is it the fans or the pump that makes the most noise? I'm trying to decide between the air cooler vs. AIO and noise is one of the important factors.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

It's the fans.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, I'm looking at upgrades and have both this mobo and case picked out with the 8700k but am not sure if I want to risk water cooling just yet but I noticed you mention the Noctua N15, did you have it installed on this board and did it conflict with the bulky rear io shield? Also, when you had the H7 was it good enough temps at stock speed Thanks.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

The D15 fit on this board just fine and performed identical to the water cooling I have now. I would suggest something better than an H7 - it worked, but you won't be overclocking with it.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Build looks great! I was wondering if the CLC280 would fit in the front with a GTX1080FTW and you answered my question with those amazing pictures. Quick question though, are the rad fans configured as exhaust?

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

No, they are configured as intake.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, nice stuff! I just finished the same build and also lost the chip lottery (I think). I tried a manual overclock and also auto overclock using the CPU Upgrade Feature in the bios. I founds the following the setup to work best for 4.8GHz.. Restore BIOS default. Set XMP profile for memory. Set AIO pump to full speed. Goto CPU Upgrade and change to 8700k 4.8Ghz. Do not disable any of the automatic C State or Speed Shift features. Just leave everything on Auto.

Now boot up Windows 10. Goto Power Saving Plan, select Balance. It will dial down voltage when CPU isn't being use.

Now run some CPU Bench Tests. I would avoid Prime95. It's harmful and likes to purposefully create max heat levels. Instead I would use any of the following stress test - CPUZ, Intel Extreme Tuning, AIDA64.

CPUZ should tell you the voltage which should be adaptive with the CPU upgrade feature. Mine will mostly hover around 1.32-1.35 and some times peak to 1.45 but won't stay there. That should be a safe setup if you want to try it out.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm using the same case and cooler. Is there room to put two 140mm fans above the radiator if mounted the way you have it (with the tubes on top)?

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, definitely.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Is there anything that you have learnt when you built computers?