First off, let me be all reminiscing and thank PCPartPicker.com for allow me to “build up” my confidence in “building” my first computer after 14 years I didn’t touch a Windows based machine. Second of all, hopefully you guys are going to enjoy this build as much as I enjoyed building it.
14 years ago, in fact, I switched to Apple Mac and never looked back...until today. Since Apple’s future is very unclear about the quality of its MacPros, and I have deadlines to meet, I felt like I wanted to have much more control over my technology and how it allows me to meet those deadlines, switching to Windows and building my own rig.
Now, few premises: This build is kinda/sorta temporary. Meaning that this is to be looked at as a bridge-build. In other words, I am getting some money off of a gig and building a pumped up version of this build, on freaking steroids: The Macro Rex Rig. (see links below)
Macro Rex MASTER - WS https://pcpartpicker.com/user/lorenzog.music/saved/#view=FyN323
Macro Rex SLAVE - Samples https://pcpartpicker.com/user/lorenzog.music/saved/#view=GrkLkL
Because it is a temporary build, don’t bash on cable management nor color scheme selection too much. I didn’t build this thing around these two concept at all, therefore, don’t expect a Picasso job on this sucker.
Now with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the build.
This computer needs to handle two main jobs: Music Composition with a lot of Virtual Instruments loaded at the same time and decent gaming in 1080p and 1440p. I don’t compose music for hobby. I compose for work, so I need a machine that is able to give me the stability of a MacPro, while allowing me to game like a PC (Thank you Windows 10….you da man).
I went with the i7-6700 because that K, for me, was useless. I don’t plan to overclock because, in my line of work, you should never compromise stability in favor of performance. Too much to lose. So that’s why the regular 6700 was perfect for the purpose. Some may say its 4-cores are actually a step down from my old MacPro Xeon E3 v2 6-cores...or is it? Actually it isn’t. Skylake has proven much more reliable and fast than the old E3 v2 ten-folds. Benchmarks don’t lie, especially when ALL OF THEM say the same thing. But hey, of course it comes without surprise, since the E3 v2 is quite of an older model. So Far it is pushing well above my expectations. Although, after working a little bit with it, I must say that, no matter what, having 2 physical cores more helps A TON for professional workstation demand.
Since I have no intention to overclock the CPU, I wanted to save some money on the cooler, except this unit performs like a $40-$50 more expensive model. It’s greatly built and keeps my CPU cool under load. So far, a “fan” (see what I did there? lol).
What to say...if you need to go for a compound, go with Noctua. They just do it better. My thermals are never about 50C, even when playing GTA 5, max settings 1440p or playing an etire orchestral piece in real time directly from RAM and drives. (For those who don’t know, this last task is excruciatingly hard on the CPU)
The tale behind this motherboard is quite frustrating. I originally went with a ASRock H170Z Pro 4, but it came dead upon arrival (sad face) I fell in the depths of my innermost despair...but then… (Angelic choir in the background) ...she found me. Asus came to the rescue with a model I never before saw around. This unit saved me. It has ALL the features I was looking for and I love the BIOS. Such a solid, well built, powerful and feature-packed board. Amazed so far. It supports 64GB of RAM and up to 6 SATA 6G/s units and, most importantly for me, the M.2 4x PCIe capabilities and RAIDability. My M.2 Kingstone HyperX flies on this thing.
What can I say. I found this 32GB DDR4 kit on sale on Newegg.com and I just...had...to...have it! 32GB, of course, is something that I need for work as I have far too many virtual sound to load at the same time so this was the best deal possible around. This was 104 bucks for a 2133MHz DDR4 32GB G.Skill Ripjaw V kit...C’MON!!
The meat and potatoes of this build. As I explained before I work in music composition. That means mostly tons of MIDI instruments that are very heavy to stream from disk. Ergo, SSDs are not an option, they are a necessity. HDDs are not able to perform at all (trust me I’ve tried with the Mac Pro...dark times, I tell you...dark times). For gaming it doesn’t make a great deal of difference except for the loading screens, but performance wise, no improvement whatsoever. So if you are one of those that believes that playing on an SSD improves the FPS...I tell you: go milk a cow. (No offence to cowmilkers, without wich I would be eating my Krave cereals using yeast infection….okay that was gross...but really...okay I’m done!)... MOOVING ON! The Kingstone HyperX 240GB M.2 it’s just...just...beasty! And it’s not even the fastest M.2 around. Boots my windows well under 20 sec. The PNY CS1311 are the SSDs of choice here for 2 reasons: cost and reviews. I’ve read and heard so many good things about them that I cannot deny that I went with it and winged it. So far, so good. The 120GB is mainly for GTA V and The Division (yes I am dedicating one SSD to two videogames…….Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will go and milk a cow, cheerio.) and for other small apps. The 240GB is for additional Virtual Instruments storage. The 2 480s are going to be RAID 0 configured and they are going to be the bulk of the Virtual Instrument storage, where I will stream from mostly. The HDD I harvested from the MacPro and it will function for as other games storage and general file storage.
mKay...kay… so… This component’s got history too, sad but with happy ending. At first I went with a Gigabyte GTX 970 Extreme Gaming Windforce. I was so excited about it...till I slapped it in and the card started giving me all sorts of flickering-colored pixels. Everytime I launched an app it looked like that I stepped in a disco-bar with the strobo-ball going off full speed. Browser and background apps had wrong-colored pixels all over. After uselessly trying to find a solution, installing various drivers and stuff, we learned on a forum that, sometimes, a malfunctioning card can be the cause of crazy pixels like I had going on. So, I decided to RMA that card. To be noticed, IT WAS A USED CARD. Yes...I broke rule number one on this build, to never buy used parts. Anyways, lesson learned. Anyways, I was left without a card, so the next day I was like “Screw it. Go big or go home” So I closed my eyes and pushed the checkout button on this beautiful Gigabyte GTX 1070 G1 Gaming Edition. I was so excited. Because of the strong demand it took it about 4 days to get to me, even with the expedite shipping. But eventually it arrived and...OOOH MY GOODNESS this thing is a Goddess. I am currently playing The Division, GTA V and Fallout 4 at almost all maxed out setting (with few exceptions here and there) at 1440p!!!! GTA V hovers around 70-90 Fps average even when I wreck havoc around town with explosions and crazy shiz going down all around. A.MA.ZING! Looks sexy and performs even sexier. A beast!!! Would I recommend it? Pfpfpffppfpfpffyyyaaa??!! It cost 100 dollars more than the 970 Xtreme from Gigabyte and it performs 3 times better.
It works. I mean...I ain’t a big fan of the sucker, but it does it’s job for now. My wife will inherit this things so I am not too concerned with it. However I don’t hate it too bad. It has cool features like the 6 3.5” cages, insulated material on the inside facade of both side panels and 3 5.25” rails. Too bad there is very little space between the back panel and the frame to tuck away cables. I had to force the back panel in place because just the motherboard power cable, plus few SATA cables, were sticking too far out. Shame. But hey, it’s a temporary build, remember? Right!
Duuuuude! This this is so beasty! I love this power supply, from the look to the actual...powering...job...thing...BUUUT...it’s a little noisy, I have to say, although once I put both side panels on, you barely hear anything, anyway. Still, I was bumped by that a little, but overall I would definitely buy this brand again for PSU. To me it is either Corsair or EVGA, for sure.
Speaking of Corsair…..HOLY MOTHER OF BUTTONS!!! This K95 RGB, guys, is the real s$&%. Amazing feel, amazing software, amazing built, amazing solidity and functionality. This thing is so good I don’t even want to buy anything else ever again. When I game, I feel like a blazing thunder riding a fire horse dispensing death from above to all unworthy motherEffers. When I work, those Gmacros keys make my workflow so fast and solid it’s unbelievable. Bye bye Mac. It comes with price tag, of course, but hey...capitalism. You get what you pay for, and this thing is definitely worth every dollar.
That’s it, guys. Hopefully you had a blast going through this wacky build, but stay tuned cause in few months I’ll come at you with those beasts I linked up above! Now those are going to be quite a work to put together.
For now, though, I welcome all types of comments, except the ones where you display all your ignorance (JK, comment away), AND suggestions, most importantly.