After many years being an on-again, off-again gamer I decided it was high time to build a proper gaming PC. Specifically to play Witcher3 and Shadow of War as it's release date was looming and Shadow of Mordor was one of my favourite games over the last couple of years. Anyway in general the intention was to build a high-end machine that will see me playing many RPG titles in the years to come.
Starting out I already had an Antec 1200w 80+ Gold PSU lying about from a Dogecoin mining rig I built a few years ago. It's overkill for this build I know and might be marginally more expensive on electricity builds in terms of effeciency but since it's there I thought best to use it and at least I'm future proofed for the foreseeable future. Especially if I ever decided to go down the SLI route with a second GPU. Though from what I hear SLI is dead and is not widely supported so really a lot depends on if the titles I want to play in the future will support it. Either way there's no lack of power available in this baby.
Now I've been playing around with the insides of PCs for many years but this would be the first time I've put together my own part list and put it all together. So it was a little daunting to order all these expensive components hoping there wouldn't be some issue when it all arrived with compatibility or even just simple space inside the case. So initially I was thinking to get a Corsair RGB 460x as it had a really slim form factor and my gaming space is pretty tight. But after going back and forth for a few weeks I decided to go with the Noctis 450 ROG with Aura Sync. Partly this was due to the fact this case had more room inside, (good for a first time builder like myself), and partly due to how bad-*** I feel the case looks. The clincher was the aura sync as both the motherboard (ASUS HERO IX) and the GPU (ASUS STRIX 1080 Ti) were also Aura Sync enabled. So with those decisions made I topped it off with a Gladius II Aura Sync Mouse and a basic but good quality mechanical keyboard from Aukey and a AIO NZXT Kraken X62 CPU cooler which also had lighting effects through the CAM software.
So all the parts arrived from Amazon pretty quickly and I began the build. It all went really smoothly in the end. Firstly I removed all the drive bays from the case as I knew I was only going to use a couple. CPU and Ram were easy to install, as was mouting the motherboard within the case. Was a bit unsure as the 9th centre screw wasn't a screw at all but a mount point. At first I though the hole had a shorn screw in it so I dilligently removed all the screw to check but indeed saw this was just a feature of the Noctis 450. Mounting the SSD was also a cinch.
Next step was to install the radiator and fans of the Kraken X62. Now this posed me lots of questions about the ideal configuration as it touched on overall airflow in the case: whether to blow hot air out of case across radiator, whether to top mount it or not and whether to set it up as a push or pull configuration with the supplied fans. There was also the consideration about clearance from the AIO and the motherboard. The case itself has 4 fans preintalled, 3x120mm intake mounted on the front, 1x140mm exhaust on the rear and space for the two 140mm fans supplied with Kraken on top. Now I read that many people mounted the radiator on the front but for me I felt on top would be best to make the most out of the 3x120mm fans on the front. It also seemed a really tight squeeze to put both the radiator and the fans inside the case as the clearance from the motherboard was so tight. I saw a few configuations on youtube where the radiator and fans were mounted with the radiator inside and the fans outside or vice versa. I tried the shroud on top with the radiator on the outside and it was slightly too big for the shroud to sit correctly so I went ofr fans on the outside, radiator inside. Took me a couple of times to get the fan direction correct but final configuration was fans ontop outside case pulling air through radiator on the bottom. Now perhaps some will say this doesn't provide the most optimal cooling so other configurations welcomed in the comments.
Finally I mounted my two 1.5TB drives (RAID 1) in the case using the supplied bays and leaving space for the GPU. Which didn't arrive for another week but did allow me the time to get the cabling done to my satisfaction and use the onboard gpu on the motherboard to install windows and get the machine set up with all software and games in perparation. Also allowed me to play around with the lighting effects using Aura Sync Software for case, motherboard and mouse. And using CAM to control the lighting on the cooler. Best configuration I found was music enabled for both CAM and Aura Sync. Cam does the bass on the cooler and Aura Sync everything else. Looks really awesome and no need for a christmas tree this year :Dogecoin
When the card arrived (Finally!) It was really straight forward to install it and perform a few cabling tweaks. Drivers were installed and Witcher3 loaded up in Ultra to see what this baby could do. Now I am still waiting on the 120Hz Gsync Ultrawide - could be a few weeks as Amazon still don't have a delivery date for me. So in the meantime I am using a 27" 60Hz Dell U2713HM and good lord even on the 60Hz monitor its looks amazing. Can't wait to see what it looks like on the Ultrawide. Switching off hair works was giving me 100-120fps so can only imagine it will be pretty amazing. (Come on Amazon deliver already! :)
The thing that has blown me away is (pun intended) how quiet the damn machine is. Even at full load I can barely hear it. Such a vast improvement over my previous PC that sounded as if it was drilling to the centre of the earth when you loaded up any title.
My OCD tendencies were slightly annoyed that the cool was using the only available USB2.0 port on the motherboard meaning the 2.0 ports on top of the case has nowhere to be plugged in. I suppose I could consider getting anohter USB hub so I could connect both but not too bothered at this stage. I was also pretty confused through the build exactly how to make sure the fans and lights were properly connected. But I shouldn't have worried. NZXT has the cabling done perfectly in advance so it was merely a case (groan) of connecting the fan hub and the RGB hub to the motherboard.
Other than these minor issues was a pure pleasure to build in this case and thoroughly enjoying the new machine. Only problem is now I have the itch and want to build another. Hope this rundown helps some of you out there. Any questions please do ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer. Oh and will post a pic once the Z35P arrives. Ascension awaits.