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mATX gaming build. Constructive feedback welcome.

mongoloid4ever

63 months ago

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/mongoloid4ever/saved/MWsMnQ

Just looking for some constructive feedback on a build I will be putting together during the holidays. The main purpose of the build is for high end gaming (but nothing extreme) and for general use for my college studies. My intended budget was between $1200-$1500. I had no idea if I'd actually fall within that.

For some context I always prefer SFF builds with excellent acoustics, hence the Noctua fanboyism you may witness here. I can't pass up their warranty and quality. I started off with my cpu selection which right now appears to be the sweet spot for value for gaming. I will not be doing extreme gaming, or using this computer as a workstation so an i7 was out of the question. Decided to throw on a Noctua HSF because of previously stated reasons and AIO closed loops just don't hold the same value in my eyes.

The motherboard was definitely a feature oriented decision. I knew I wanted the Z97 chipset because I am considering an m.2 SSD at some point. I viewed the selection that Asus, MSI, Gigabyte and Asrock had to offer. I ultimately went with Asus because they offered the built in Wi-fi which I intend to actually use considering I have an Asus ac ready router already. People may think it's an ugly board but I actually quite like the aesthetics. I know you can't really go wrong these days with any other brands (except maybe like Foxconn) but I've always been happy with Asus quality and feature set.

The memory was easy. I wanted 8GB with two sticks in case one failed. Running at 1600 with reasonable timings. I chose the cheapest one I could find from my current favorite company Gskill. However I found an excellent deal on a CAS 7 set with tighter timings for only a few dollars more! Couldn't pass it up as I may just end up using their potential if I transfer them to my workstation in the future.

Storage was also simple. I wanted large capacity at a reasonable speed. So I chose the best value 7200 rpm SSHD from Seagate which right now is the 2TB model. I thought about just using Intel's SSD caching technology but decided to save the money and use an integrated solution.

Now came the GPU which was going to be one of the most important parts of the build. I initially leaned towards MSI with their passive cooling feature, which I thought would help with noise. However I decided to go with Gigabyte simply because their windforce cooler isn't loud by any means, even at max. Gigabyte's 970 seems to run cooler and allow better overclocking headroom. Cooler components with better overclocks is fine in my books. I did consider the 980 but the price jump just seems outrageous to me. I'll take the money saved and put it towards a cleaner PSU.

The case selection was easy for me. I love Corsair and I especially love their solid Obsidian line. The 350D is very well engineered with excellent options for water cooling should I ever go that route (probably not). It had a window so I can view the inside in all its glory, and magnetic dust filters which I absolutely love. I'm willing to a premium for a sturdy case.

For the PSU I immediately checked out Seasonic's line. I never ever skimp on this as my PSU tends to move from build to build for a generation or two. I found they made a fanless Platinum series model. How the f*** they managed that is beyond me but I wasn't complaining considering the warranty is excellent as usual. Supremely clean power, with practically no noise? Win win.

I also threw in a few Noctua fans. A couple high static pressure 140's and quiet 120's. I stuck with the 3pin models for the 140's so they can constantly be pushing air to allow a better positive pressure which I prefer for dust reasons. (lives with a fat cat). I may end up throwing on the included low noise adapters too for the hell of it.

The lighting was chosen just based on reviews of RGB based lighting which I wanted. It's well reviewed, simple, it's RGB and it's not ridiculously expensive.

That about sums up my decision making process, please offer any suggestions and critiques, I'm all ears as Black Friday is just around the corner. Thanks!

Comments

  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

Solid choice for CPU, CPU cooler, and motherboard, I guess the blue RAM would look a bit out of place if you're into colouring your builds. Unless you have a massive Steam library, you can get an SSD first, then add additional storage later. A 240-256 GB SSD would be around the same price and while it doesn't add actual performance, your system would be much more responsive. Looking at current prices for GTX 970s, the EVGA ACX 2.0 is cheaper, while the Asus STRIX and MSI TF5 are a tiny bit more expensive. In my opinion, those three companies offer better features. EVGA has customer service, Step-Up program, fairly good cooler; Asus offers the quietest video card without sacrificing performance; and according to reviewers, the MSI GTX 970 has the highest overclocking ceiling while doing well in other sectors. As with the PSU, you are paying a lot for something that does not impact performance, in fact, only 460 W may limit your performance. It is definitely not enough for SLI and the limit will be easily reached with overclocking. The Noctua fans that you have chosen, there is a difference between static pressure and airflow, I think airflow is what you want.

  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

PSU I never skimp out on, you do get what you pay for in quality of components. As for the load it would be more than enough, I actually calculated out the increased wattage due to overclocking and I am amazed at how efficient CPUs are nowadays. I'm looking at a moderate overclock of about 4.2 which can be handled easily by the PSU with plenty of room to spare. SLI is out of the question however. Asus does have an advantage when it comes to power phases, and I've heard MSI is a great overclocker but it does run hotter which I'm not a fan of. I will research more into this and thank you for a very constructive response. As for the Noctua fans I chose the high static ones because the 350D has a solid bezel in front with limited side intake for airflow. Higher static pressure is preferred in this specific case.

  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

Don't take this as a bad thing, I would never buy a build similar to yours. It all comes down to how much you are willing to spend on components that do not directly affect performance, and hey, I won't comment on how you spend your money.

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey it's no problem! We all have our own preferences. I just felt that these components fit my need for virtually silent operation, with excellent but not extremely high overclocks while being extremely efficient in power. Leftover money was to be pooled into the PSU anyways despite me wanting this to be gaming oriented I just personally find energy efficiency equally as important as I was going to spend the money anyways. I bumped up to 520W btw. I really do appreciate your suggestions though, and I will take them all into consideration. Still plenty of time to think before Black Friday deals start to really kick off for the month.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

Oops my bad for long post. At least those who read it will have great context right? xD And at the wattage load of my particular build the PSU would be most efficient starting at 20% then moving up. At idle I should sit around 80-90 watts which is within that range. Platinum efficiency allows clean power at such low levels. Plus I will never ever hit max load on this system.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

Correct. My full load wattage can never be hit, it's just the specified max loading that companies place. There tends to be throttle which cuts you short of max load on most modern components. My idle load though which is what it'll be at a majority of the time sits within the extremely efficient 20% load for this PSU. The efficiency increases at 50% load and drops a tad at 100%. For idle I should be at 90% efficiency. While gaming 92%. At full load I'll be at 89% efficiency.

  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

Also I do understand that there's no such thing as clean power or dirty power. Efficiency wise though there is a difference. The 80 plus classifications are not completely marketing. Higher grade components tend to be found in more efficient PSU models, it's part of the reason why they can go fanless in this case with the same MTBF.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

You know what I will take a look into that. Thanks for the suggestion! I'm looking into other companies as well. I'm a big fan of PC and Power Cooling, particularly their MK Silencer series. I've also had my eye on EVGA's Supernovas. I gotta do some more research into Corsair's excellent lineup. You have any suggestions when it comes to Antec or Coolermaster? They all pretty much use similar OEM's but does one have advantage over the other?

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