My first build!
I plan on using this PC mostly for shooter games and video editing in 2K for the next 4 to 5 years with a GPU swap out in 2 or 3 years if necessary.
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz Quad-Core
Overclock: 4.66 GHZ Voltage Setting: AUTO Idle Temp: 22 C Load Temp (AIDA64): 62 C
I chose the Z170 platform with an Intel Skylake i7 6700K to have the latest RAM and Storage options, good temperatures, and an enjoyable overclocking experience.
I only plan on using two to three GPUs and do not need the additional lanes of Haswell. I emailed Gigabyte and they claim that I will have a full 32 lanes available for GPUs with three x4 M.2 SSDs installed and that they would have listed any limitations of the motherboard in the product description if there were any. I can verify that there are at least 16 lanes available for GPUs with 3 M.2 x4 SSDs installed, I will update on the actual number of lanes I am seeing when I get the second GPU.
I ended up using the AUTO setting for voltage when applying an overclock, as it has a very wide range and works well. I have seen the voltage to the CPU reach 1.417 V on AUTO, plenty enough.
CPU Cooler: EKWB Predator 360
There are are a lot of people who have had issues with this cooler on amazon but my experience has been a positive one. I am getting good cooling performance as you can see by my CPU temps above and the installation was easy enough. I do hear it making bubbling noises from time to time, but it is infrequent. I run my pump at full speed to get the performance I want. The fans seem to have little to no affect on CPU temperatures when running the pump at full, I essentially treat them as case fans.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z170X-SOC FORCE EATX LGA1151
The Gigabyte Z170 SOC Force has everything I could ever want in a motherboard and more. The aesthetics are exactly what I was looking for.
I don't know if it is operator error or an issue with the motherboard, but I have not gotten any of the buttons on the motherboard to work for me (other than the CMOS button). I also was having issues with loading different BIOS profiles after a system crash while overclocking, I think I just wasn't waiting long enough for the profile to load though.
Update 4/11/16: I have discovered through my testing that this motherboard will support 4-way SLI (x8 per GPU) and 3 Samsung 950 Pro's (x4 each) at the same time with full bandwidth! This is an amazing motherboard!!
Memory: G.Skill TridentZ Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3400
Speed: 3400 XMP
I chose the G.Skill TridentZ series based on positive reviews of G.Skill products in general and the great aesthetics of the TridentZ. I selected the 16-18-18-38 timing as it has proven the most consistently stable (as per the reviews on Newegg) and a speed of 3400 as that is about as fast as you can go while still getting some value for your money (this is based on a fairly detailed study I remember reading sometime after Skylake launched, although the cost of fast DDR4 memory has been falling recently, so things may have changed since then).
Storage: Samsung 950 PRO 512GB M.2-2280 SSD
I wanted the best of everything in this build and there is not much debating the power of the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSDs. See pictures for my CrystalDiskMark snip.
Video Card(s): EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB K|NGP|N ACX 2.0+ Video Card (2-Way SLI)
GPU Clock (Under Load): 1290 MHz Memory Clock: 7010 MHz GPU 1 (Top) Idle Temp: 32 C* (Fans at 64%) Load Temp: 64 C* (Fans at 100%) GPU 2 (Bottom) Idle Temp: 28 C* (Fans at 19%) Load Temp: 58 C* (Fans at 100%)
22.4 C room temperature, GPU temps set to throttle at 64 C, running Battlefront in Ultra at 2K
I was originally wanting to use two Titan X Hybrids, but decided they were too expensive and realized the radiators were going to take up more of the case then I wanted. I then decided I'd drop down to two 980 Ti Classifieds, but once I finished my build (less the GPUs), I realized that the rest of my build would outclass the Classifieds aesthetics, enter the 980 Ti Kingpins! More to come once I get the second 980 Ti Kingpin and start overclocking.
Case: Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ATX Mid Tower
I chose the Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ATX Mid Tower after seeing it on HardwareCanucks (Youtube).
My criteria for a case was simple:
- It fit under my desk
- Looks nice (IMO)
- Support for 4-way SLI if I wanted to be crazy (well, crazier, I guess)
It didn't hit the mark on number three (only 7 expansion slots (three graphics cards)), but neither did anything else that met requirement one :P So I sacrificed the ability for one extra card I will likely never install, so be it.
This case has great fit and finish, save for a few scratches I made while building and a sizable gouge from the factory on the bottom of the case.
Cable management is fairly easy in the EVOLV ATX, with a sizable opening behind the right side panel and around the PSU to work with.
Other than the gouge on the bottom of the case, the only other issue I had was with one of the motherboard standoffs which did not align well with the hole in the motherboard; I ended up screwing the screw in and out until I opened the hole up in the motherboard enough to compensate. I don't know if it was the motherboard or the case that had the alignment issue.
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA P2 1600W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
I chose the EVGA SuperNOVA P2 1600W PSU because:
- Its EVGA
- Its a P2
- It has everything I need.
1600W will give me more than enough headroom to do 3-way SLI if I so choose.
Pictures taken with Lumia 950 and lots of lights.
Guide for installing Windows 10 OS in RAID on Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSDs:
Here is how I did it...
Step 1: Prepare your PC for OS installation (complete your build, add SSDs, backup data currently stored on SSDs, etc. all that apply to your build)
Step 2: Use a 5GB or larger USB stick to create GPT formatted Windows 10 installation media, (note all data will be lost when creating installation media) I used Rufus.
Step 3: Turn on your PC and press the Delete button to enter the UEFI BIOS. Follow the pictures above (12-20) to prepare your BIOS to accept a RAID volume (the pictures are in the proper order). After saving and exiting the BIOS after the 20th picture, reenter the BIOS and continue with the 22nd picture. Picture 23 was borrowed from PCPerspective's guide.
Step 4: After you have saved and exited the BIOS for the second time, you can boot from your installation media. You will need to load the Intel RST driver from the folder you created in your installation media USB stick in order for windows to install.
Step 5: Follow Windows installation prompts and you are done!
This is the first guide I have made, let me know how I did and what I can improve upon.
This RAID installation process is also detailed in the motherboards manual on pages 69-73.
Tags: 980 Ti, Kingpin, Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD, Evolv ATX, TridentZ, trident z, AF140, SP120, XB271HU, Acer, EKWB Predator 360, DXRacer, Deep Cool RGB Color LED, Cablemod E-Series, Xbox Elite Controller, Windows 10 Pro Full, Gigabyte GA-Z170X-SOC Force EATX LGA1151, insane, crazy, high end, water cooled, The Force, K|ngp|n