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Build

SR2 Normandy

by stricken404

10
13 Comments

Details

Date Published

Aug. 29, 2015

Date Built

Aug. 10, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

3.8 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

39.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

67.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.03 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

5.6 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

47.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

68.0° C

Description

Gaming and multimedia machine, pure and simple.

The peripheral choices were my friend's, the hardware and component choices were my own (with the exception of the 760T, which we both decided would be the best chassis for his build)

Even though this doesn't scream Mass Effect like the name kind of implies (though I think an Alliance or N7 sticker could fix that) it's still my favorite build I've done to date by far, as far as colors, theme, and style. Performance is rock solid, but price to performance could be better (usually suffers in themed builds anyway)

Build process: Straightforward as heck thanks to the great design of the 760T. As a Phanteks Enthoo series fanboy, I think this is hefty praise coming from me. The standoffs are pre-installed, however the ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 requires an extra one to the left of the PCH for some reason. Intelligent tool free SSD mounts that show them off through the window. Magnetic cover on top that can be removes to install fans, radiators, etc. Snap on/snap off front dust filter (major props here) Cable management is decent, though I wish they had a small cutout area to the rear of the case for chassis cables like HD Audio and USB 2.0 as I found myself having to use the grommets reserved for PSU cables to route the front panel connector wires and everything else through. Top and side cable management is stellar and you can install some pretty massive radiators in push/pull on the top of this case with the amount of clearance you have.

Installing the optical drive was annoying as Corsair's non removable front cover and "tool-less" installation don't work as well as they could. I ended up just breaking off/bending back the tool free mounting system for the optical drive as it was impeding installing the dang thing. I'm more of a fan of good old fashion screws myself.

Overall, I loved this build, and so does he.

Part Reviews

CPU

It's a locked i5-4690k, what else is there to say. Functions perfectly, and the stock heatsink is just fine.

Thermal Compound

Solid TIM, perfect consistency, awesome temperatures

Motherboard

Feature heavy: Dual M.2's...in 2014... WHAAAAT?

A solid board for the price. Competes solidly with the Asus Maximus VII Hero and MSI Z97 Gaming 7.

Shipped with quite a bit of bloatware, but we all know how to use control panel.

BIOS is intuitive and easy to use. Shame we have a locked CPU in this machine (that could change soon). In terms of usability I would say the BIOS skin is between the marginally better Asus RoG BIOS and something like the Gigabyte G1 BIOS.

Feature heavy is no understatement, ships with tons of cool stuff in the box, like a converter to run USB 3.0 front connector to the USB 2.0 port on the motherboard... I just don't understand... because this motherboard has a front panel USB 3.0 connector.

Speaking of USB 3.0 connector, this one needs some better security, the 3.0 cable literally is about to fly out of it's socket.

Memory

Solid RAM. Cool looking heatspreader. Haven't tried overclocking. Downclocked by the motherboard to 1333 MHz, but I easily fixed that in BIOS and assigned the proper frequency. Will seriously consider buying another package of this memory to round out for 16GB of single channel.

Storage

Let's be honest. Very rarely do you open up a PC product that isn't a graphics card or motherboard and have your jaw drop from beauty.

This must be without a doubt the most awesome looking 2.5 inch SSD on the market, beating out the Intel 730 Series quite handily. It features a red matte front face with black accent siding, and the HyperX logo in very nicely done rough single grain textured aluminum. I took a close up picture for the build, so you can see how it looks. It feels rough to the touch, and is very, very shiny.

Sequential read and sequential write are off the charts, tying the Samsung 850 Pro, thanks to the terrific Phison S10 controller.

Random read is great, but random write is mediocre (which is okay, as most users don't use that often)

This drive beats out most of the offerings on the market, only being edged out in price performance by the Samsung 850 Evo. If you're not planning on showing off your drive, get the 850 Evo, but if you have a case that shows it off.... definitely buy this.

Storage

The best 1TB drive on the market for the price bar-none. No point for 99% of people in getting the more expensive BLACK SERIES over this. I use this in all of my builds, and out of 32 drives purchased to date, I have never had a single one arrive DOA, or fail since.

Video Card

As a MSI R9 290x Lightning owner, I know what it's like to own a beefy Radeon card, OC'd out the butt, that weighs a ton, and features a totally redone heatsink.

Though this card leaves something to be desired in terms of packaging over the "black and gold leaf jewelry grade box" that the Lightning comes in, it makes up for it in sheer performance. This card can't decide if it's a R9 290, or an R9 290x. It's OC'd to a terrific 1030 MHz out of the box, which I was able to push up to an amazing 1120 MHz.

As opposed to the Lightning logo, which changes LED color based on load (so very sporadically, and looks ugly, so I stick it at red). This card changes the Sapphire logo LED color based on temperature! With blue for cool, yellow for warm (expect it to be yellow in 99% of gaming scenarios, even when OC'd) and red for hot (only achieved red when running OC'd in a completely ridiculously modded Skyrim, and Crysis 3 maxed out)

5/5 for this card, and for Sapphire. They have definitely earned their name as the EVGA of AMD. Would definitely pick another one of these up, even at 350 dollars.

Case

Hands down one of the best looking chassis on the market for the price. Not nearly as modular and mod friendly as something from Phanteks, but this thing is build ready, and is a solid 9/10 for everything you could want.

THAT MAGNETIC MASSIVE ACRYLIC WINDOW DOE.

Shows off SSD's? Check. (PS: I hate tool-less anything, but these SSD mounts hold the drives nice and snug, 10/10)

Fan controller button works well (two speeds, low and hi) though it's hard to tell what it's set to. Thankfully, the LED fans we have installed (including the front ones that come with the case) get brighter based on voltage, so it's easier to see.

Power Supply

Great PSU, no problems.

Missed a 5/5 because of the disgusting flat cables that Corsair needs to do away with entirely. 24 pin ATX is also sleeved up to the very end, but the wires are exposed near where it hooks into the motherboard, and they are... let's say colorful. Pink, yellow, green, orange, and red wires are not something you want to see in a White and Blue build....

Optical Drive

Solid Blu-Ray drive. Does everything as advertised. No problems.

Operating System

It's Windows 7, the last good Windows OS :3 What else is there to say? 5/5

Monitor

Decent monitor for the price. Connectivity could be improved with only VGA and dual-link DVI.

Keyboard

I don't honestly know where to start with this keyboard... there are so many things I could nitpick... but at the same time they did everything right....

Let's start off with the pro's first: -The Romer-G switch is one of the best gaming switches I've ever used. Like a combination of Cherry MX Browns and Reds (tiny bit of tactility, like a half strength MX Brown, but a very short and easy throw, like an MX Red) -Backlighting done right... We've all seen the Corsair RGB keyboards that use Cherry MX switches with the pretty apparent key lighting bleed between keys. Well what happens when you put the light at the very top of the switch, and have the switches close together? Absolutely no keylight bleed, and pure awesome color per key. -Great effects on par to the Panasonic controller in the current Corsair RGB keyboards (and Strafe keyboard) -Macro keys out the butt... this thing makes a K95 RGB blush with the number of macro keys it has. -Dedicated media keys and profile keys. -ARX Dock, a freaking dock for your smart phone (portrait mode) so you can monitor your PC and games using the ARX Control App (think Roccat Sense, but completely proprietary to this keyboard) I list this as a pro, because this is the best way to overcome the crappy applet implementation in previous Logitech keyboards like the G19S. -Software is actually decent. About on par with Razers RGB software. This is the key feature in RGB keyboards, big brownies points to Logitech for this.

Now for the cons, and there is a couple: -Uneven wrist wrest. What I mean by this is the wrist wrest is extended for your left hand. This is great if all you do is play MOBAs and FPS and never use your keyboard for extended typing, but compared to the completely symmetrical wrist wrest that comes with the Corsair K series... it's not ideal. -Strange patterns on the keys that are "for gaming". These patterns are etched in so the backlight comes through more... couldn't they have included a keypuller, and extra keys for this though so you're not stuck with it? The only keys that have this pattern is WASD, arrow keys, and the macro keys (G1-G9), so no love for MOBA players here... -Keys are angled, though I don't have the "uncomfortability" problem that most people are whining about with the angle of the keys, some keys are angled differently for no reason... like what? If you are going to angle your keys, do it evenly... the keyboard is RGB for differentiation, you don't need all these laser etched patterns and steeper angles on certain keys to find them. -Price. Yeah, now it's pretty cheap on Amazon, and a pretty much must buy. But this thing retailed for the same MSRP as a K95 RGB for the majority of its life so far. Quite expensive.

Mouse

An awesome Logitech mouse with a free floating mousewheel that can be set to spin freely (like a roller blade wheel) or in stages (like most mice, the little thump, thump, thump as you move it) with the press of a button.

Adjustable DPI, weighting system, macro buttons and macro software...

This is truly one of the best gaming mice on the market.

Headphones

Coming from a Roccat Kave XTD 5.1... I'm not impressed by this headset in the slightest. Audio quality could be improved tremendously and the earcup material feels like cheap foam from a swimming pool toy.

Awesome mic quality and great connectivity (either USB, or 3.5mm jacks) is what saves this headset from a 2/5.

If you are looking for good surround sound, or good audio quality from a headset. Take your cash elsewhere.

Speakers

They're cheap speakers, but they work right, and sound okay.

Comments Sorted by:

Myusername468 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

Its Normandy SR2 not SR2 Normandy...

stricken404 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

Hahaha, well if that's the biggest mistake I've made all day, then life isn't so bad. :)

Thanks for the comment!

Myusername468 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

:) No problem!

jambii420 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

Literally bought one of those 290s 10 minutes ago. Simply beautiful cards. Looks great in this build.

stricken404 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 43 months ago

Absolutely one of the best looking backplates I've seen to date. Awesome GPU with ridiculous overclocking capability. Be sure to turn on the "single fan at idle mode" (dip switch on the end of the card). It makes the GPU run at like 46 C at idle, but only the middle fan is on. Absolutely silent. Thanks for the comment!

tigerblood213 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

For that tool less bracket I hear you with the air 540 they suck as well

stricken404 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

Hahaha, yeah, I ended up just bending the prongs inward and then the ODD slid right in and I used screws (like a normal person!) :) Thanks for the comment!

EZTarget747 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

Nice build! Great theme/name! ME Andromeda!

stricken404 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

HYPE1111. Yes, we're both excited. "I'm Commander Shepard and this my favorite comment on the Citadel!"

Cheers!

tiny_voices 4 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

Love the PC. Very clean and nice looking. I would recommend replacing the PSU before that one causes you issues. It is not a good PSU at all, and for a build like this, a proper quality units is really important.

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2015/01/21/corsair_cx750_750w_power_supply_review/9#.VeMcvPSM5kp

If you decided to replace it, you would want an Antec, XFX, Seasonic, EVGA (G2,B2,GS)

stricken404 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

I completely agree, it is the power supply from his old computer and I keep pestering him to get something like a 750 NEX or G2 from EVGA or something like an AX 760 (my current PSU) from Corsair. Thanks for the comment, and the advice!

tiny_voices 4 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

NO, do not get any EVGA NEX unit. Those are not good at all. Only go with Antec, XFX, Seasonic, EVGA (G2,B2,GS)

[comment deleted by staff]
stricken404 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

He's quite happy! Thanks for the comment!

[comment deleted by staff]