I found myself without a computer and was seriously debating a purchase through Digital Storm or Falcon Northwest when I started pricing out their various builds versus doing them myself. I was really quite surprised at how substantial the markups were -- and also how they'd all sneak one or two lousy components in a build. Anyway, I had built a few boxes in the dark ages so I figure I'd go at it again. I knew I wasn't going to overclock and wanted a "build it and let it lie" setup.

I ended up ordering way too many odds and ends that will all get sent back, but the list on the left is where I ended up. The biggest last minute decision was to go with the Scythe Kotetsu instead of the Noctua NH-D14 that was recommended. Honestly, I was just intimidated by how big and unwieldy the Noctua seemed, so it went back in the box. We'll see if this was a decent decision or not someday.

So relative to my 15+ year old memory, the parts that sucked included:

1) heatsink installation -- the bottom mount felt squirrley over the backplate on the CPU, but I guess that's how it works, I got it locked down well, but it felt more like a clamp over something rather than parts that were engineered to go together

2) any fan/cable plugins near the heatsink were a serious challenge, my big fat fingers really struggled to get these things plugged in

3) some of the power cable plugins felt shakey (notably the larger power plug into the mobo doesn't seem to lock in)

4) I probably put too much grease on the CPU but I looked carefully post-install of the cooler and couldn't see any dripping out; also everything seems to be working fine -- so maybe I'm just paranoid

What was easy:

1) cable management was awesome without the stupid "ribbon" style cables I used to use

2) installing Windows from a USB with a single SSD feels like cheating

3) memory and graphics card installs were easy

4) I was really happy that my HDMI graphics card out pumped out audio without too much work

The box is really quiet -- a nice white noise is audible in a dead silent room but any sound will drown it out. I think I'll run some stress tests and post up results so you guys can tell me how it looks like things are performing, but I played some full screen high rez minecraft and my fps was nice.

Any critique or suggestions would be appreciated. Mostly, I'm curious if I had bought a $150 mobo and a $100 PSU if I would've had tighter fits on the cables etc... I'm also curious if I would've had an easier experience locking down the cooler / etc if I had gone with the bigger boy (Noctua).



  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Love the case! Cases have gotten much better over the years.

I agree with the flimsy connectors comment, my first build was a P3, and you knew when you had plugged in the motherboard connectors. I typically only use ASUS motherboards, and they seem to have pretty decent build quality. I'm kind of surprised you got an inexpensive motherboard given the processor.

I'm not familiar with that motherboard, but it looks like all the fan connectors are right under the heatsink. I'm not surprised you had difficulty. Other motherboards have more fan connectors in many places around the board.

Don't see too many Xeon's in budget builds. My guess is you're using this for a little more than gaming. Looking at the specs on Intel Ark, maybe I should've gone with this instead of the 4690k, especially if you're not overclocking. It seems like a very solid choice.

Also, I've heard great things about SeaSonic PSU's. It looks like you got a good price on it as well.

Great build! +1

  • 57 months ago
  • 4 points

Thanks so much!

I was looking at the Core I5 builds on here and the general forum feedback I kept receiving was that if I wasn't going to be overclocking, I'd be better off getting that Xeon as it had performance levels closer to an i7 and was cheaper. I hope I'm stating that right, either way, it seems to work well.

I may consider swapping out the mobo at some point. It's a good thought but if it's working now, I don't see much use for a swap.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

I like this build, +1 for the R5.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

yeah you made an excellent choice sticking with a cheaper CPU cooler since using a Xeon chip that is locked

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

I like this build, clean, efficient and fast. The original CPU cooler was overkill anyway. A smaller Noctua would have done the job.

Also the case seems huge and all those wasted drive bays. Not sure if you plan on adding a lot of parts in the future, otherwise this system was ideal for mini ITX

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I think I'll try a Noctua on my next build. I think I'm addicted here so I'm sure I'll be doing something else in the near future.

The case is HUGE and there is a lot of wasted space, but I had the room in my office for a large case and I figured that it was better to have the extra space if I ever wanted to spend up for a much higher end set of components over the coming years. Good point though!

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Take out those hard drive cages, they look silly!

Anyway, fantastic build. I agree with the whole xeon over i5 deal if you aren't overclocking and have a graphics card of your own there isn't a point. Great job! +1

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha! Thanks for the thoughts. I'll yank them out this evening. I am going to give some serious thought to an MSI mobo just for aesthetics and a bit more ease of in and out.


  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

In regard to the last question on the description, It would've probably been more easy to work with Noctua compared to others as they have what is considered (generally, at least) the best implementation of mounting systems for a long time now since they started using their SecuFirm. Not something I'd dwell on or anything, though.

Also, I noticed you put a Wi-Fi adapter in there. If you want to take advantage of less CPU cycles and better network stability, you should use the Intel NIC whenever possible. Of course, maybe you just want a less cables to worry about so it's not in my place to question the convenience. Oh yeah, as someone pointed out, take out those hard drive cages since you're not using them, or it's just hindering the airflow.

In any case, I'm happy to see a Kotetsu build, we need more of those. Hoping the build will serve you well for years to come.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

If you planned on OC like nutz than the Noctua DH-15 woulda been wiser but you made a right choice in this scenario. Nice Build!

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh yeah, that's a sweet build. I love the backplane SSD brackets on the R5, perfect for system disks.

Personally, I'm a fan of roomy cases. Having had about the same hiatus between builds, I enjoyed not getting a single cut. Ribbon cables in those narrow-*** towers were such a pain, and then you'd inevitably bend a pin on a drive and have to get all surgical with a screwdriver.

Plus, you get extra cooling and noise insulation from all that space. Congrats on jumping right back in! I didn't have the confidence to put anything other than the stock cooler on my CPU. :)

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

Why choose 1866 ram when your mobo desnt support it?

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