Enter a new contest that my employer implemented. I work at a computer/mobile device sales/service/repair shop. The most productive technician would get $100 cash every month for completing the most services. With a chance to get free money, I decided to step out of my structured price range on components and get the best. With 5 months straight of winning the contest I had $500 of cash monies in my pocket and with Christmas and my birthday only being 3 days apart, I figured I could get this build mostly crowd-funded by my family. Ending the holidays with $245 in Newegg giftcards and receiving two parts as gifts, I had $745 to put toward a new rig. All said and done I spent only $277 of my own money.
I have been a devout long-time AMD fan and was not very happy with how hot the new FX line runs. Working at a computer repair shop I frequently used computers with Intel's Core i7 line of processors and was rather impressed with how they performed so I thought I would give them a try.
I repurposed as much of my old rig as I could. I brought over my Corsair 300R case, XFX 850W Pro Gold PSU, EVGA 970 ACX 2.0, Samsung 840 Pro 256GB, and 3x Noctua NF-A15 fans, I had a great base to build off of.
After installation, I realized my Corsair 300R was never meant for AIO Liquid Coolers. I had to install the radiator in the top and install the fan on the outside of my case in pull because the RAM was blocking it from being in a push configuration. Ordered a NZXT H440 in matte black to resolve that issue. I ended up rearranging things and the 140mm radiator of the Kraken X41 fits perfectly into the empty space between the HDD caddy and the ODD caddy. With a Push-Pull setup, temps are in the low 20C's at idle. It should only get better with the H440 as the home for everything.
Some of you may notice the dual monitor stand I got (gifted) and question its quality based on its price. I will tell you now. This monitor stand would be worth it at $300. All steel construction, gas pistons and heavy duty springs, this stand is magnificent. Easily holds my two monitors at full extension with very little to no wobble. I even had to modify one of my monitors as it did not have VESA mounting options. A 100mm to 75mm VESA adapter, epoxying it to the inside of the back panel and drilling a few holes, it now mounts perfectly to the stand.
As for the NZXT Grid+ V2, It works great... assuming you don't have Noctua PWN fans. I submitted a ticket to NZXT and the tl;dr version of it is the IC chip in Noctua fans is different than most PWM fans and if enough voltage isn't applied the IC chip essentially shuts down and it revs the fan down to its base speed. After a few seconds the IC chip turns back on and it revs up to the PWM set speed. All of this creates a "breathing" effect of the fans revving up and down. NZXT also stated that no amount of software updating will solve this issue as it's a hardware issue. After finding this all out, I rewired my rig to have all of my Noctua fans plugged directly into the Mobo connectors and configured the fan profiles as I would have had them in the CAM software (which controls the Grid+) and left all of my non-PWM fans controlled by the Grid+. A ghetto workaround, but I might just sell my Noctua PWM fans and get some non-PWM Noctuas to solve the issue.
UPDATE 01/19/16 - Had audio issues with the ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming. After extensive diagnostics and a good 3 hours on the phone with ASUS it would turn out that the audio chipset was bad. I returned the board to Microcenter where I purchased it and exchanged it for a Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3P. My NZXT H440 had arrived while I was at work, so I set about installing everything into a very well built case.
I was not looking forward to the reinstall of Windows 10. Lo and behold, these two boards share enough of the chipset drivers that a reinstallation was unnecessary and before I could even hit the BIOS menu key (it only takes 3 seconds to boot), Windows had booted up back to my desktop. I quickly uninstalled any and all ASUS drivers and installed the Gigabyte drivers and all is well. I think I can call this finished.
NZXT H440 with the X41 Kraken in push/pull configuration yields a few degrees drop at idle. Idling at 18C.
My full build list is here. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gfHtP6
This processor is a beast! Coming from an AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black the 6700K is leaps and bounds ahead more so than the 5-6 year age difference. Runs cooler than AMD, but a decent cooler is recommended.
This AIO cooler is very good at it's job! My Intel Skylake i7 6700k @ 4.2GHz idles at at 18C and under load is around 46C-48C.
Easy to install and setup, works in many configurations. Currently have it setup in a push/pull configuration and it runs in near silence.
Well laid out board with the M.2 port right underneath the CPU socket, letting you see the NVMe SSD that's installed. I would like more USB3.0 ports and maybe two more USB2.0. With a mouse and keyboard taking up the only 2.0 ports, it forces you to use the two USB3.0 or two USB3.1 ports.
Worked out of the box without issues and is easy to setup.
Very fast, solid ram. Good looking to boot.
Disgustingly fast, runs at advertised speeds. Couldn't ask for more, except the ability to RAID two of these together. W10 can't be configured to see a RAID setup of two NVME SSDs as a boot drive yet. When that happens, I will acquire another one and make things crazy.