Special Thanks to all my friends and fellow students that voted for me!
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT VOTED FOR ME!!!!
ain't even is my final form
I will post an awesome video of the assembly and DBZ modding in the completed builds section.
Alright, why did I enter this competition? Now that its over, I'm glad to answer this. My little brother has wanted to play PC games with me for a very long time, and more so when i left for college. Now that I'm in college, I can't play the console games I used to with him without purchasing another console. With this contest, I saw the chance to give him a PC to play with me :D We're both HUGE DBZ fans, and he'll be helping me with the mod. This was my motivation. Thank you again for voting for me!
400+ 500+ 600+, thanks everyone :D
I have decided to make my mod theme for the build - if I win - DBZ/DBS based!
I've yet to decide the exact design, but I'm working on it. Been a fan for years and it's time I did artwork on a PC. Suggestions for what fight combo I should use are welcome! I'll probably do the
Vegeta Final Flash vs. Cell and the Majin Vegeta Sacrifice scene. More in the FAQ. UPDATE: I've picked the Majin Vegeta evil grin and the Final Flash scene. Both will be redrawn in high quality and custom printed.
Hey, it’s weird.
Some of these other MSI contest builds seem to be…very basic. Unimaginative. Repetitive.
Enter The Malevolence. The quintessential gaming behemoth.
This is the Morgoth to everyone else’s Sauron. This is The Emperor. The Alien Queen, compared to the other repetitive minion builds.
A gaming PC designed by someone with years of extensive building experience and researching prowess.
I will convince you that each and every component in this build is the perfect choice for this PC’s purpose.
To address feedback, I have included an FAQ at the end.
Ready? Pay attention to my choice of storage, as that’s where this PC stands out!
-|-|-| THE GOAL |-|-|-
This PC will be carefully designed for use in high resolution gaming and some specific use content creation. Monitors and other peripherals will not be included, as each person has individual preferences in mice and keyboards (MOBA/MMORPG vs FPS gaming). Monitor choice can vary depending on the need for color accuracy or smooth refresh rate technologies like G-SYNC or FreeSync. No operating system, as those prices fluctuate and as a student I get Windows 10 for free anyways. I have the Scarlett 2i2 from Focusrite and inexpensive studio monitors, so my sound needs are taken care of! NOTE The price for the build is a lot lower now than when I published it, stinks because I could have gone with a better quality power supply.
-|-|-| THOUGHT PROCESS |-|-|-
For gaming an I5 would be fine, but this isn’t just for gaming. An I7-6700K with ample overclocking headroom will provide the oomph to slide through content creation and include the benefits of the Z170 chipset platform, but not come with some of the cost of investing into the Haswell-E platform. DREAM BUILD! Why not use the 5820k? See the FAQ at the end.
Skylake is known to hit the voltage wall before the thermal wall, so a normal AIO cooler will save money and won’t be a bottleneck. I’ll pick the Corsair H60. Rather than implement a dual fan radiator, the H60 is a compact single fan solution and will produce little noise. Furthermore, the savings of ~$40 can be put towards finishing touches on the PC (which I needed to stay well under the $2000 limit). Plus, there's no reason to invest heavily in a cooler beforehand when I could do poorly in the silicon lottery. Why not a better cooler? See the FAQ!
MSI provides stellar motherboard options, and for the price I can’t think of a better option than the well-rounded Z170A GAMING M5. This motherboard has an insane amount of next generation technology, with not one but TWO M.2 ports, USB Type-C, USB 3.1, and more! Paying extra to get auto-overclocking features would be a waste with the myriad overclocking guides on the internet.
Content creation changes this thought process, and while 8GB would be fine for a gaming PC, this is a $2000 MSI DREAM BUILD!!! 16GB would be fine, but it has personally limited me in heavy content creation (Orchestral composition) and computer usage. We’re going with 32GB of 2400MHz G.Skill Ripjaws V RAM, which will be plenty to meet content creation needs as well as gaming. Why not higher speed RAM? See the FAQ.
This is where I stand out from the rest. Everyone has fancy Skylake builds, but where are the M.2 drives?? People are showing their inexperience. I chose the Samsung 950 Pro 256GB NVMe M.2 drive for the main boot drive. This drive is God-Tier, with the 512GB variant competing with Intel’s $1000 NVMe drives. Originally I was going to go with the 512GB for the increased performance, but I decided to save money and purchase a second M.2 drive instead. The previous generation 250GB Samsung 850 Evo M.2 is extremely inexpensive. This is the PERFECT drive for gaming libraries! Games will load ridiculously fast. 250GB is more than enough space to hold whatever games you may be currently playing, and if it’s not enough there’s always the 1 Terabyte WD Blue drive.
That’s right, TWO M.2 Drives and a 1 Terabyte Drive!!! Why pick a motherboard with M.2, and not use it?
(See FAQ on further info on the M.2 drives and the differences between the 950 and 850).
Obviously, the MSI 980 TI GAMING 6G is the best choice here. If you spend $2000 on a PC and don’t get 980 TI class performance, why are you even building? Maxwell GPU’s are also thermally efficient, so no need for a full system custom water cooling solution – especially with Pascal on its way. Think ahead! Why no SLI or Crossfire? See the FAQ at the end!
The 980 Ti hit the budget hard, but you NEED a good home for this epicness. I decided on the NZXT Noctis - this thing comes with 4 fans, one of which is 140mm, and can fit many more. Epic red underglow radiates the dark power of this PC. Available in Black/Red and White/Blue, NZXT cases never disappoint. 8 port PWN fan hub, PSU basement, and LED lights on the IO panel are welcome luxuries. Personal experience with multiple NZXT cases makes this a clear choice. Further justified in the FAQ.
Note: After I made this guide I noticed many more new guides popped up choosing the same case. Bummer :( So I promise to mod mine to the best of my ability to make it unique!
While I would prefer a Seasonic or Thermaltake toughpower, the positive reviews of the EVGA SuperNOVA 650W 80+ Gold PSU led me to choose this unit. The cost savings make this well worth my pick. Plus, fully modular! While units slightly more expensive can be had for much better performance, this wasn't possible at the time I did this guide (too close to the budget). I have a thermaltake toughpower 750w 80+Gold PSU that I can use if I find my EVGA unit inferior. Had I known the total would settle around $1910, I'd have chosen a better power supply. FAQ for more details.
Arctic Silver, tried and true. Why need AS silver when its not the best? See the FAQ!
-|-|-| CONCLUSION |-|-|-
For $2000, you can do a lot. I think that this PC does the most. The choice not to use a custom water loop is future-minded, as new GPUs are on the horizon that promise better thermal performance and Intel CPU’s get better with time as well. The inclusion of not one, but TWO super high-speed M.2 drives and a 1TB hard drive offer the perfect solution to extremely fast OS and program performance, game loading times, and massive storage needs. Allocate only the games that benefit from fast storage to the M.2 drive (games that need to load maps and levels) and you’ll be hard pressed to feel like you’re running out of space. Plus, with ~$30 left in the budget (at the time of writing) you can invest in custom power supply cables to match the red and black theme of the case! Also, local processor pickup/motherboard bundling at Microcenter would save even more money on this build. As mentioned, I'll attempt to mod the case to make it unique.
The Malevolence. The quintessential gaming behemoth.
Thanks for reading! Looking forward to opinions!
A big thanks to PCPP and MSI for hosting the competition.
-|-|-| FAQ |-|-|-
1) 6700k vs 5820k?
There were a lot of compromises in this build to stay comfortably under $2000. Going with the 5820k would provide better content creation performance, but would require a beefier cooler for the 6 cores. My content creation needs do not require long hefty post-rendering, but rather real time processing. Through personal use and fellow content creators, I have found that an overclocked quad core will serve my needs well enough that I don't need the 6-core monster 5820k. Furthermore, I don't make any gaming compromises. Price-wise, if I win I hope MSI will let me do local pickup from Microcenter, which will save money on the 6700k to keep the price comparable to the 5820k. I've also never personally been able to own a processor that could go past 4.0 GHz (plenty of clients, but personally didn't have the money), and the 6700k will fulfill a personal dream of mine if I win and can overclock it.
2) The H60 choice vs others?
Going with the H60 saved me quite a bit of money over the H100i and other larger coolers. These $40 allowed me to get 32GB of RAM and the SSD configuration I wanted. Furthermore, the H60 should be perfectly fine at cooling the i7-6700K to however far I plan to push it since Skylake seems to be limited by Voltage rather than Thermals. I wanted my build to be clean and easy to manage, the small foot print of the H60 will allow me to mod the rest of my case. Furthermore, if the H60 is for some reason not good enough to cool the i7 because I win the silicon lottery and I can push it far, I can simply mod it to cool the GPU instead. This is the main reason for choosing an AIO over a similarly priced air cooler like the lusciously colored Phanteks TC14PE series; I cant put an aircooler onto my GPU :p
3) 32GB of 2400MHz RAM, why?
If you've ever worked with high resolution audio samples, you'll know that its frustrating working with RAM limitations - especially when you need to load close to a full orchestra. The first PC i ever built for personal use only had 6GB of RAM as that was all I could afford. Later, I threw in a 12GB kit and custom tuned the clocks to get as much stability as I could (very few buying options as triple channel kits were sorta discontinued). Even with a mismatched 18GB set of RAM, I found myself using it up. 32GB of RAM would be a dream, and this is a dream PC! A RAM speed increase doesn't have nearly the benefit of jumping to 32GB of RAM from 16GB. I didn't feel like an extra $35 was worth it when the RAM speed might change during my CPU overclocking anyways.
4a) M.2 differences? 850 vs 950?
As pointed out to me, the 850 Evo M.2 uses the SATAIII bus instead of the PCI express 3.0 x4 like the 950 pro. This doesn't mean the 850 is bottlenecked in any way however. The 850 Evo M.2, as explained by Anandtech (love those guys), is the 2.5" 850 Evo drives repackaged into an M.2 format. Same NAND, same controller. The M.2 won't be bottlenecked any more than the 2.5" drives are. What's the benefit of the M.2 version? The small footprint, being able to forgo cables, and the much lower power draw. Plus, the prices are pretty much the same.
4b) 256GB 950 instead of 512GB?
Yes, the performance of the 512GB version is better. However, using the 512GB version put me over budget :( I had myriad combinations of parts before settling on what I have, and I couldn't get it to work without getting dangerously close to the $2000 limit ($1993.24). I chose the set up I did to give plenty of wiggle room for price fluctuations. If I was using my own personal...eh, imaginary...$2000 , I would definitely drop the second 850 Evo and go for the full 512GB 950 pro. There is another benefit, however, to having both the 950 and the 850 in my rig. I can not only benchmark compare the two myself for fun, but being able to keep the drives separate is a good thing as well. Keeping my games on a separate drive from my OS drive is sure to help performance and longevity of the drives - however small those gains may be. Furthermore, I can easily and quickly do Windows reinstalls since the OS and games are on different drives without having to re-download my Steam library. Having different partitions wouldn't help, as I like to fully format the OS drive and re-install windows onto my personal PCs every year.
5) No red team? No SLI or xFire?
I chose not to go with AMD because well...the power draw. I like using a lower wattage power supply because that means I don't have to spend as much to replace it should either an Act of God or an Act of RNG makes my PSU fail. Furthermore, using green team gives me better thermals, which means I don't have to worry about keeping case fans spinning fast (and producing more noise) or consider water cooling. SLI and xFire are nice but I find that sometimes games don't support them very well or utilize the power to the potential it could be at. Its much easier and simpler to just use a single card solution and keep the build looking clean and neat, and a single card has the highest chance of working well in multiple types of games. After all, its up to the developers to utilize the GPU. When directX 12 becomes the standard for games, I will definitely consider SLI and xFire. In fact, I may (as suggested by a comment) go with both a red team and a green team GPU in the future. This will be supported by DX12, and I could then have the benefits of both teams!
6) Noctis? NZXT? Cable managing nightmare!
I decided to mod the case if I win it to differentiate my build from all the others that popped up picking the same case.
Well, all of my recent builds have been with NZXT cases because I like the design. If I could afford InWin i'd go with them, but NZXT looks nice too. The features are there, the build quality is there, and I've had good luck with them. My personal PC is in a HAF 922, my father's I built for him is in a HAF 912, but I just like the dream PC look of the NZXT cases. Plus, the Noctis fully complements the red and black color scheme of the PC. My entire build is easily convertible to the light side of the Force however, simply use the KRAIT MSI motherboard, the blue G.Skill ram, the white and blue LED noctis, and the KRAIT 980 ti. Voila! Personally I'll stick with the Dark side feel cuz Force Lightning.
7) EVGA PSU? 650W?
As I said, this EVGA unit was not my first choice. However, PC components seem to be getting better and better with power consumption, so I don't see the need to vastly overcompensate. A lower wattage PSU means a cheaper price, which means its cheaper to replace. Plus, its only $60 and its fully modular. Throw in some custom matching cables and I don't see the problem! While it would also be wise to invest in a PSU of higher quality, I currently own a Thermaltake Toughpower 750w 80+ gold PSU. If the EVGA unit fails, I have a backup while the EVGA is RMA'ed. Budget constraints again meant that I skimped a little on the PSU; its better for me to skimp on the PSU and put money towards getting better quality components elsewhere. PSU's are easy to replace when theyre modular, but changing your case is not as easy. I do not believe platinum efficiency is anywhere near necessary for something under 850w. Given time, I can upgrade to a much better PSU. If we were guaranteed any kind of price lock, I would have chosen a better PSU. I was overly paranoid about the $2000 limit, and so I saved where I could.
8) Arctic Silver? Really?
After some important feedback, I will clarify why I added AS thermal paste. I have a tendency to mess up the thermal paste when I try to put coolers on (I want to put it on perfectly) so I needed thermal paste. I also plan to replace the thermal paste on the GPU just as an experiment. The Arctic Silver was cheap enough to throw in without any worries. I admit this isn't the best performing thermal paste, but it serves its purpose as a backup supply and is relatively inexpensive. MX-4 was more expensive, and the build at the time of publishing was pretty close to the $2000 limit so I went with the absolute cheapest paste I could see on the list.
9) THE DBZ/DBS MOD
My facebook feed is filled with computer groups and DBZ fanpages. I've watched the series to death and sit on edge for the new Super episodes as we've finally moved past the movie arcs and are catching up with the manga. Winning this competition would be spectacular, and the case deserves some special treatment. I considered the gohan SSJ2 scene, but the epicness of that was seeing the transformation play through, not one single scene of it. Maybe the father-son kamehameha, but I have another mod I can use that scene for. Below is a checklist of what I plan to do to accomplish this mod; I'm serious about this :p yes it helps my build appeal to DBZ fans, but yes I'm actually going to do it. I have a profile on my K70 RGB that makes the keyboard go super saiyan when you press a button (available online).
Research ways to apply a high quality graphic onto the case; decal/paint/etc. Found a vendor for custom high quality decals.
-Draw up the case at various angles and layout image placeholders on photoshop
-Map out RGB LED wiring (Final Flash is gonna look SICK)
-Find best placement of the POP! Action Figure of Vegeta inside the case (I own two, both were gifts!) depending on RGB wiring
-Finishing touches: High Quality Royal Saiyan Crest placement, Whis Training Symbol, Saiyan Forms Silhouettes, etc.
Will add and edit as I get more feedback!
Edits: Added FAQ; cleaned up word choice; decided to mod case; added thank you note to my computer science and engineering friends who will and have been voting for me at their convenience; added note on DX12 and using multiple GPUs at once from AMD and Nvidia; added to PSU and Thermal paste FAQs; 100+ thank you; added thank you note to PCPP and MSI; added modding details and FAQ for it.