This beast is my own personal first build, technically it's my 2nd build as I had to postpone mine to build my father's, which is almost this exact same build, when his laptop crapped out. In case you're wondering the name is a reference to the most corny hacker movie ever made "Hackers".
This PC will mostly be used for multi core and memory heavy digital painting, gaming and some 3D modeling. I wanted something that would be the best for mixed use and actually be cost effective.
Notes on build and parts: This is going to be a wall of text so I hope you want as much info as you can get. :P
This case is MASSIVE and very heavy but it is also very sturdy. This case was also a last minute change from a Corsair 780T. I changed because this one was available at the Micro Center store where I bought some of my other parts. I had been on the fence about the other case because it had some negative reviews about its panels being flimsy. You could not say that about THIS case!! The glass side is thick, has a slight tint and fastens with 4 thumb tightened screws. The opposite side has 2 screws on the back of the case and then slides and lifts out of grooves.
When I got the case and opened it up I was really confused for a while about where the drive bays were. Turns out there are 4 vertical 2.5 inch mounting brackets visible through the glass side of the case. The panel has convenient little rubber grommets to run through for cable management. The brackets are held on by two tabs in slots and one screw. The ssd is screwed onto the bracket using 4 screws that are provided with the case. There are 2 3.5 inch brackets on the opposite side of the case which use the same method of attaching. With a normal hard drive I might worry that the tabs don't create enough friction to hold without some vibration that could be both a sound and a hardware issue. I haven't installed any 3.5 drives so this is just a guess. This could probably be remedied with a small amount of some kind of rubber cement, silicone or other substance. The ssd holds perfectly fine without any issues.
The case has a fan control button that has 6 speed settings and an fan LED control that ONLY has fast flash and solid, NO OFF option!! For my personal habits I wanted to be able to control the fans and LEDs with software rather than a button so I didn't utilize these features. However because of that there were a very large amount of thin cables coming from the top front of the case that had to be separated, controlled and concealed. Some of them had to be used such as the USB 2 and 3, audio, and the cords from the power and reset buttons. Most of the cords were either labeled or it was very obvious what they were from. Although one cable had a splitter on it that didn't look like anything else. I didn't know what it did until I tried it both ways. Turns out it was the power for the front fans white LEDs. But I didn't end up using those fans. I was originally going to but they had a little too much flicker (even on "solid") for my eyes so I switched to the 3 120mm Deepcool RGB ones. Speaking of fans this case makes you jump through so many hoops to be able to install fans!! First you have to remove the top panel which is held on by around 8 tension tabs. Then you have to remove the front panel also held in place with tension. Next comes the frame that holds the fans, it is held on by 4 screws. You remove the frame and screw the fans onto it before putting everything back together.
The large top fan and the back fan I kept in place. They seem like decent fans.
The installation of a 5.25 blueray drive is very easy. The individual black pieces on the front come of with a pinch to one side and the drive is slid in place and attaches with 4 screws.
I didn't set up the XDOCK but it looks like it has a large 4 pin molex for power and a sata for the mobo, neither of which came with the case.
There is one filter in the top of the case and two in the bottom that slide out for cleaning.
My one real irritation with this case is that the pcie slot covers and their screws are hard to work with if you have an arm for your heavy *** video card!! The Sapphire Vega 64 comes with one of these arms because it weighs as much as a newborn. I had to remove 4 cover screws just to be able to use it. 2 were replaced with the longer screws that came with the GPU but the other two couldn't be replaced. Which meant that 2 of the slot covers were loose and basically just held in place by friction with the arm. I ended up "solving" this by doing a very janky zip tie job where I zip tied them together and to another of the covers. At some point I may find some really flat screws that I can put behind the arm but it only bothers me a little so I might not. At least it's in the back where I won't be spending a lot of time.
The CPU chip is really easy to install and settles into the pin groves nicely letting you know that it is in place. However the Prism Wraith cooler can be a bit of a *****! Thankfully I made my dad's system first and it went pretty smoothly. So I knew that the cooler should hook over the motherboard brackets and then the arm should easily flip into place creating the tension that holds the cooler on. This is basically what happened with my dad's system but on my system the arm refused to flip. It appeared to have a strange issue where one edge of the tension brace just flat out refused to budge. I wasn't going to force it so I ended up taking it back to Micro Center and getting a new one. Which did the EXACT same thing!! The nearest Micro Center is 150 miles away and I wasn't about to go back again so I spent some more time looking up alternate solutions. In the end I had to loosen one of the mobo brackets, flip the arm and then re-tighten the screws. This was not easy as the cooler itself mostly blocked access to the screws and the screws were so tight that they almost stripped in the process. But in the end I got it installed and I must say it is a really beautiful cooler! I'm just using the Asus Aura to match all the colors of the LEDs but for some reason it can't control the thin outer ring of the cooler. Normally I would want all the RGBs to match but I find the tiny ring going in a smooth color transition kind of nice so I left it. This is why the ring color is different in different images!
I haven't finished all my testing of the CPU yet so I'll leave that part out and come back later when I put it though its paces.
Ran Assassins Creed Origins for a bit and the CPU temp leveled out at 66.
Again I haven't done a bunch of testing yet but so far it appears to handle things pretty well. It is WAY quieter than the last Sapphire (R9 390x) I had. The fans don't even come on until it reaches 50c something temps and even then they are still pretty quiet! The card is insanely heavy but it does come with an arm to reduce mobo pcie strain. I patterned all my RGB elements to match the blue color of the GPUs LEDs. It's a very nice highlighter blue.
Ran Assassins Creed Origins and the GPU performed very well at 144Htz 1440p with everything on Ultra. Top temp was about 70 average was probably about 65.
The Deepcool fans have a really nice steady color and it pairs with the Asus Aura software well. They seem to be doing a decent job of keeping the system cool enough. They aren't as quiet as the could be but they aren't bad. The only somewhat irritating thing about them is that the stickers aren't completely centered making it look like the fans have a wobble two of them more than the third. This doesn't bother me a lot though and I had read it somewhere before I purchased them so I was already prepared. Issue could probably be solved by removing the stickers but I didn't want to bother. The fans came with a controller on one of the cords but again I wanted all control to be software so I didn't use that cord. It also came with a little power port that you could plug all the fans into before plugging it into the mobo to power the fans. Also came with a splitter for the RGB so as not to take up too many mobo headers.
RGB light bar:
I like diffuse light and didn't want to get a traditional RGB strip so I ended up with this Cooler Master magnetic RGB light bar, it calls itself a "strip" but there is no visible bulb distinction so I call it a bar! I was able to daisy chain it into the same RGB line as the fans since it has ports on both ends and comes with the little male/male adapters.
The RAM was NOT on the QVL but I'm happy to say that it works perfectly and the UEFI BIOS had a D.O.C.P profile that matched its specs automatically that I only had to select. CPU-Z reports that it is running in dual channel at 1596.2 MHz so double that for dual channel and it almost reaches it's full 3200MHz.
This motherboard has some very snazzy UEFI BIOS that is incredibly easy to navigate and the wireless mouse and keyboard worked perfectly the first time I booted into it. As mentioned before the CPU cooler bracket screws were extremely tight which was a bit irritating but I'd certainly prefer too tight to too loose! It's a little hard to get to the SATA ports after the GPU has been installed but that is really on me. The mobo LEDs can sync up well with the other RBG items however when looking at it it looks like the lights should continue up higher than they do. I thought that there were some defective LEDs until I looked closer at images online.
I'm unsure about the Asus AI Suite 3 software that came with the mobo. I've never really done any overclocking or fan control before and I think they could have done a much better job with explaining what everything does and how it should be setup. It appears to have a "simple" and a more complex mode but even the simple one has very poor directions! I'm a firm believer in software that actually helps you understand how to use it and this doesn't do that!!
I'm running into issues that I am still currently testing so I'll leave off on this until I know more. However I can say that the white sleeved cables are pretty attractive! There is no heatshrink at the connectors which is nice. Many of the cables do have some type of connector wrapped with heatshink in the middle of the cord. Not sure what that is about but I was able to hide all of it on the back side during cable management. One thing that I did not appreciate was the fact that the cable combs that came with this power supply did not fit the cables that came with it!! It wasn't just a "tight fit" it was impossible to get them in at all! I ended up doing my own custom combs out of zip ties. It isn't perfect but I like it better than all the strands of individual cabling going wherever they wanted to.
So far this drive seems pretty fast. Boot time is good and shutdown time is really good.
This thing is a bit strange! I put these in both my system and my dad's and though they work they are hard to fit. It's like they were machined a little bit off because when you try and push it into the PCIe slot they start to pull away from the back panel where you have to screw it in. When I installed mine it didn't work the first time so I took it out and reseated it in a different slot being careful that it stayed as far into the groove as it could as I gently screwed it in. It also is a little odd to have a couple of string wires coming out the back of your system that go to a little antenna thing that sits on the desk. But it will do its job when I need to connect to wifi for troubleshooting.
At first I was really pissed off that the mouse I had wanted was just too big for my hand and the only one on display at two different stores that did fit my hand was wired. I've used a wireless mouse for over 10 years and really didn't want to go wired. However I haven't had any issues with this Logitech 502 Hero! It is very comfortable for my small girl hands. I find it rather sexist that I couldn't find any "made for small handed females" gaming mice!! Somebody needs to get on that. The best thing about this mouse is the fly wheel. It has two settings, the button below it clicks and the wheel toggles to free fly or to really nice firm clicks as it rotates. It is also a very sturdy heavy wheel that will continue to spin for a stunning amount of time in free wheel mode. The mouse comes with several little weights that you can insert under a cover on the bottom to customize both the weight and the balance of the mouse. The Logitech G Hub software that you can use with all Logitech G devices is really nice. In it you can set all the variables for mouse DPI, lighting and button assignment. Once I cleaned my desk off and set up my whole system I haven't even really noticed that the mouse is wired.
This thing is huge! Originally I was going to go for something smaller but when I saw it I just got it. It has a stunning look and a really nice smooth feel to it. It also has a fully stitched edge which I noticed so many expensive gaming pads don't bother to include. So far it has worked well with the mouse.
I debated about getting a headset and which to get. There are WAY too many headsets out there and none of them seem to have really consistent reviews. I finally just went ahead a bought the Logitech G933 because I liked how they felt at the store. I haven't used them a ton but so far I'm liking them. I'm no audiophile but I think they sound really good. There were several reviews that said that the ear-pads felt like "sandpaper" but I have no idea what those people were talking about. The pads are really soft and go completely over the ear so that they don't actually touch it. The ear sections have a lot of rotation which makes them much more comfortable on the head. I wear very light plastic framed glasses when I'm at the computer and so far they don't interfere with them. I'm not sure how they would be if you wore heavier and less flexible frames. They come with a pretty long USB cable too if you want or need to plug in. I haven't programed the buttons on the left ear yet but that is also an option. The volume wheel might be a little too easy to rotate. It doesn't seem to have any tension in it as you turn it so it's easy to hit when you put your hand up there. They are also pretty damn good at canceling out external sounds. I just tested with music set at a lowish volume and then played something on my phone at full sound and can't hear it at all unless I lift an ear cup off. I haven't used the mic feature yet but if I lower and/or raise it a can hear the little beep that tells that it is going on or off line.
So far I'm really liking this keyboard. It has a great feel to the keys and the wrist rest is really nice. I normally use my keyboard in my lap and it is a bit heavy but not too bad. It has nice dedicated media buttons and everything is really well marked. I like that it has a non-slip rubber grip along the entire front of the keyboard bottom. The whole thing feels very solid and well made.
This little thing is pretty cool. I have a huge pc game library and can't afford to get enough SSDs to put everything on so I had to go for another option. I wanted something that would be good, economical and fast as possible. This little thing has 4 TBs and plugs in and is powered by a USB 3 gen 1 cable. The cable it comes with is a little ridiculously SHORT at something like 12 inches. I had purchased a 3 foot cable for it but sadly nowhere in its documentation did I find that it connects to the hard drive with a USB MINI type B port so I'm having to get another cord. I installed Assassins Creed Origins on it and gave it a test and was happy to find that other than a little bit of a wait for load the game plays flawlessly from it. I have no problem with a wait to get into the game if it lets me have the budget and space to put more games!!
There are a number of components that I already had but I wanted to include them on the list as it is a better representation of the whole setup.
SSD 2.5: This may be old tech but it is still pretty fast.
Speakers: I've had these for 2 years and they are decent speakers with a nice bass unit. It's too bad they are black and red but I'm not going to replace decent speakers just because they don't match. At least not yet.
Viotek Monitor: More people need to find out about this brand! I had some issues with it on my old system but so far it has worked flawlessly on this new rig. It isn't "old" it was purchased in February this year. (2018)
Blueray drive: This actually came in my 8 year old Alienware Aurora R3 and I just cannibalized it into this system.
Well there's the wall of text! I'll add more info as a use the system more thoroughly. If there is anything I didn't touch on leave a comment and I'll write more.