Description

This is my first build, primarily for work but occasionally I play a game or six. My goals were top-end performance, low temps, low noise, and stable, with a budget of $3K. I achieved this while coming in 27% under budget, so I'm pretty happy. (I bought all of the components in early January. I got some pretty good discounts at the time, but prices on some of the parts have dropped since then, so if you look at my price tag and compare it to current prices it doesn't look nearly as impressive.)

All of my productivity programs and apps run great. As far as games go, playing Batman: Arkham Origins, Splinter Cell Black List, and Assassin's Creed Black Flag with all settings on max, it's quick and smooth. I haven't experienced any stuttering, tearing, crashes, or anything else that detracts from game play. Average FPS on Batman is 104. My Unigine Heaven benchmark is pasted at the bottom of this post. Not sure how it compares to other systems, but I'm pretty happy with it. The only noise the rig generates is a faint fan whir when game action is intense.

Hardwear: The only real problem I had was when I initially mounted the SSD on the back side of the MB. I discovered that there wasn't enough clearance between the SSD and the mounting plate to fit the power connector, so I ended up having to pull the MB back out to get at the SSD mounting screws. Ended up sticking it in the drive rack between the HDDs. I put it in the middle to preserve airflow around the HDDs. Also, I was at a loss as to what to do with the PCIe cables powering the GPUs - I ended up doubling them back on themselves, then zip-tied them to the drive frame, side-on to the fans so as to minimize airflow interference.

Softwear: I made the mistake of having all three drives connected when I installed Windows. Instead of installing the OS to the SSD as intended, it installed to one of the HDDs. I disconnected both HDDs, reinstalled Windows, then reformatted the HDD with Windows on it. That did the trick. Currently, SSD is the OS drive, one HDD is the storage drive, and the other is the back-up drive.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0

FPS: 77.2 Score: 1945 Min FPS: 30.0 Max FPS: 172.9 System Platform: Windows NT 6.2 (build 9200) 64bit CPU model: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-4670K CPU @ 3.40GHz (801MHz) x4 GPU model: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 9.18.13.3467 (2048MB) x2

Settings

Render: Direct3D11 Mode: 1920x1080 8xAA fullscreen Preset: Custom Quality: Ultra Tessellation: Extreme

Any constructive criticism to improve my system is more than welcome. Thanks!

Comments

  • 70 months ago
  • 15 points

Nice build. Very well put together. And +1 for getting the kid involved.

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

lol

  • 70 months ago
  • 9 points

A fantastic machine. And just as Alduka said, +1 for getting the kid involved. It remindes me of how I helped my father on building our first computer, good memories.

  • 70 months ago
  • 7 points

So there is gaming after children!

Pros of your build: Obviously great stats, great components. Great performance predictably results!

Cons: How close to the maximum capability of that 750W PSU do you think you're pushing with that overclock? It worries me, but then again it is Corsair, so I'm probably worrying over nothing.

  • 70 months ago
  • 6 points

There is...but you have to call the computer a work machine in order to sneak it by the spouse.

  • 70 months ago
  • 11 points

My solution is to slowly convert the spouse. It began innocently enough, with a game or two of facebook Scrabble. Then I stepped up to The Sims 3, then Sims 3: Medieval. The big jump came when I introduced her to Minecraft and Civilization 5. Minecraft took, Civ 5 regressed, and I she recently regressed to Candy Crush, but my hopes remain high.

  • 70 months ago
  • 7 points

primarily for work but occasionally I play a game or six

Lol... this just made my day.

  • 70 months ago
  • 3 points

I understand the kid is the builder :P. Very Nice build with awesome components! +1

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks like you did your homework that is for sure. I have to give you major props for going with Noctua Fans... I have the Corsair 350D so I had to go with the 120's instead...

This build is entirely yours, so anything said by anyone is pure opinion... but I would have gone with one GTX 780 and upgraded the monitor to a 27" 2560x1440 monitor...

Great build though Hoss!!!

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Replies, in no particular order:

First, thanks for all of the compliments. I did put a lot of effort into getting it right the first time, and I'm always on the look-out for things I can do with Blake, my middle son. The oldest, 7, and youngest, 2, tend to get the lion's share of attention. Having built it, though, I'm ready to build another one or at least start tweaking and modding this one. For now though, I'm going to stick with playing with fan configurations and control - at least until my wife stops watching. She accepted my justification, but I don't think she bought it...(Look, honey! A squirrel!)

I went with 16GB RAM for the work-side of my PC use. In fact, I'm looking at bumping it to 32GB, and may need to bump the CPU to i7 - I thought it was worth at least trying the i5 first. Also, according to an article I read, increased RAM measurably increases the usable life of the SSD by reducing the read/write load. With the SSD installed, is there any major benefit to adding RAMDISK?

Accessories were an after-thought, but I like them well enough. I'm considering a mechanical keyboard, but not sure I can handle the noise.

For the PSU, I was originally planning to get the Seasonic Platinum 860, even before I added in the second GTX 770, but after discussing with an overclocking guru at Tom's Hardware (ingtar33), I think a 750 is just enough, as long as I don't get crazy with the overclocking, and it was considerably cheaper. It's one of the items on my list of potential upgrades. Right now, I'm running the i5 at 4.2GHz, and with the two GPUs I'm guessing that I'm running 700 to 720 watts maxed out. Not much head-room, but good enough for now. (My OC gurus tell me it's probably closer to 650W, if that. I don't know enough about it to really judge, other than by noting that the rig runs fine, as is.)

For the GPUs, I priced and considered the GTX 780 but couldn't get past the cost/benefit. I also wanted to try the SLI configuration. I decided against the 4GB version, since I don't run multiple monitors (space restrictions)and I don't think I'll have them long enough to make future-proofing necessary. I'll run these until my wife gets distracted, then swap them for a GTX 790 or Titan Black.

The 24" monitor is the biggest that I can practically use due to my office configuration. Same-same with multiple monitors.

I considered the NZXT H440 - didn't work with my "work computer" justification. I may build one for my kids and use that case. I'll build in an LED light show to take advantage of the window. (My R4 is the window-less version.)

I'm borderline OCD on noise, so the Noctuas were a natural fit. And, believe it or not, I actually like the colors. As you can see from the pics, my rig isn't color-themed. When it's all closed up, it's just a big block of black, with a single blotch of blue LED for the power button, so the fan color doesn't really matter anyway. Even in the middle of a really graphic-intensive "work" session, you still have to put your ear right next to the case to hear anything.

There is gaming after children, at least after they get to a certain age. While any of my three boys was under the age of 18mo, any "spare time" was spent trying to make up for the sleep I didn't get the night before. I'm just now getting back into it.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Great looking build +1.

Where to you get the Kid helper?...those little hands could come in handy on a tight build...lol

  • 70 months ago
  • 10 points

I found him at Newegg in the Cramped Space Plug Installation Adapter section. He was on sale for $241,080. I got a little excited and ordered three of them, though, so unfortunately I actually do have to use this rig for work :(

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build, great parts and very balanced if you ask me. Only thing i could argue about are the chosen peripherals but that's mostly personal taste so... +1

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks like a good solid build. My kids had no interest in helping to build :(

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

My father had no interest in building :(

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

If you were just now building it, I would recommend the NZXT H440...but sadly, you've already finished the build.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

R4 is still great.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, but the H440 would suit his needs/style a little more in my opinion. Well, based on what the title and description says, anyways.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

This machine is a beast. Please press the pedal and overclock this to 4.6GHz or more.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Really nice build, i am in the process of building a similar pc with the i5, hero, ssd and rm 750. This should be a really solid gaming/work build for many years!

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Matty - if you're interested in any of the numbers from my build to help you with your own, let me know. I haven't run many benchmarks, but would be happy to. I can also disable the SLI to give you single GPU stats.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice Build!! I'm looking at the same case and Noctua fans. Are you running the fans off of the fan controller on the case and how will does it work with the Noctua fans?

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the compliment. The case is awesome - very easy to work in and plenty of space for cables. I love the Noctuas, also. Very quiet, and when I have them maxed out you can hear them clearly, but very easy on the ears. I haven't used them with the built-in fan controller, mostly because I do a lot of tweaking with them and the 3-setting switch doesn't allow fine tuning. On another build I just finished in a Fractal Arc Mini R2, I used the switch to control LED case lighting. Works very well too, just have to watch the amperage. I used 6 Noctuas in that build (120s instead of 140s) and they worked out very well there, too. Plenty of cooling, very little noise. If you're running a single GPU, you can pretty much configure the fans however you like. If you're going to SLI or CrossFire, let me know - you can still cool very effectively, but I have lots of notes on various fan configurations and temp results that I'd be happy to share.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

I should have added that in the R4, I'm currently running the fans from the mobo using Fan Expert. In the Mini R2 there's only a single GTX 770 (for Photoshop) so I used 3 y-splitters going into an Akasa 3-way PWM adapter plugged into the CPU fan header.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

The title says it all! :D Where you're considering bumping up to 32gb RAM have you had any issues using the i5 (I noticed you also mentioned possibly wanting to move up to the i7)? This is the tipping point in my build right now since the 4770k is only a good deal at Micro Center which is 2 states away from where I live. Anyway! Great cable management, great parts selection. +1 all the way

  • 66 months ago
  • 2 points

Sorry for the slow reply - its been a while since I checked this. 16GB with i5 works slicker than snot for gaming. I O.C.ed the CPU to 4.4, but that doesn't compensate for the lack of hyper threading. I originally planned to go with i7-4770K and 32GB, but let myself get talked out of it. The people that I let talk me out of it were probably right when it comes to gaming, but were dead wrong when it comes to the work aspect. Having just finished an i7-4770K/32GB build for a dedicated, low-level CS6 machine, I can tell you that there's a world of difference. I'm building a new machine for my wife and am transferring the i5 and RAM to that. I'm going to go with 32GB 2133/9 and either the 4770K or the 4790K. More expensive, but also much more capable. I also swapped out the RM750 for a Corsair AX860.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice. You answered my question perfectly (HT w/ the i7 for work). Ironically, the wife & I just spent the weekend in Boston for our anniversary so on the way home I got to snag the i7 at the Micro Center I was speaking of >:D Interesting about the PSU. I got a great deal on a fully modular EVGA 650 which should be adequate; I don't plan to SLI or go too crazy overclocking. Also... Batman ftw!

  • 66 months ago
  • 2 points

Glad to be of service. I decided to put the Hero VI, 4760K and Sniper sticks into my wife's new build. Way overkill for what she does (mostly word processing and websurfing) but she deserves it! Of course that means I'll have to replace them...with a Hero VII, i7-4790K, and 16GB Trident X 2400/10. I'm pretty proud of my restraint - 32GB was soo tempting.

I was probably fine with the RM750, even with O/C and SLI, but I used the P+M=E formula (plenty + more = enough), just for peace of mind.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

Very very nice build, love that motherboard- you are a braver man than me building $2.5k worth of rig on carpet though! Good job mate +1

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

Lol, I was certain when I posted the pics that the carpet would be the very first comment. Surprisingly, you're the first one to mention it. It was actually built on 4' folding table that I set up for it, but the pics came out very poorly because of the lack of contrast, so I moved it to the carpet. Thank for the compliment on the build - it's much appreciated. I've been doing some upgrades - I'll update the post and pictures later this month when I have some free time.

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

your a kid?? hahahaha jk

  • 65 months ago
  • 1 point

Lol - trust me, if that was me in the pics I'd be filling out an application for MIT or CalTech!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

I still think the Noctua's are completely ugly. Nice build though.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

They grow on you, lol. The new IndustrialPPC versions look pretty good...or at least not as bad :)

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 for name.

My parents aren't too fond of me sitting in their basement 23 hrs a day playing BF3. I'm 21. Begins to cry sniff sniff

Seriously though, the parts are MLG, could you recoment the Gigabyte 770 over alternatives such as Asus or MSI. Thanks a lot in advance, and have fun with this beaity. :3 sniff sniff

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

How is the Monitor as I'm thinking of getting the same one nice build! +1

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi - sorry for the slow reply, I didn't realize I had a message. The monitor is awesome. I've got hooked up with DVI dual link and it works very well. In fact, I can't think of any complaints and that's pretty unusual for me.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

OK thank you

  • 70 months ago
  • 0 points

+1 Nice build! The ONLY thing I "bad" I have to say about this build is that you should of went with the 4GB SLI instead of the 2GB. It would have been more "future proof" and gave you the option to multi-monitor.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks much! I considered 4GB, but right now I'm only gaming on 1080P/144Mhz, single monitor. I'm looking to add a monitor, but I doubt I'll use both for gaming. I think that by the time I try anything more extensive, I'll be swapping out the GPUs. Although I have to say that the 770 SLI screams on benchmarks, and is great for my current gaming.

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