Disclaimer: This isn't my first computer build, but it is my first build where I focused more on performance than being on a budget.
Build is pretty much done. Still need to tweak some things.
What do you use the machine for?
- Gaming and Video Editing and Rendering. Not even video editing. I am just taking raw 2.7K video footage and overlaying data over it, compressing it, and then uploading to YouTube. The main reason I upgraded to this machine is so that I could render video in a resolution higher than 1080p. My previous i5-4670K (on Windows 7) was unable to do that due to the limitations of the OS.
- i7-8700K overclocked to 5ghz (also delidded), 32GB of DDR4-3200 Memory, Reused my ASUS GTX 1070 Strix, 500gb Samsung 970 Evo, EKWB S360 Watercooling Kit (360mm radiator), EKWB S280 Radiator, EKWB GPU Water Block
- When I set out to build this system, I wanted to do so in such a way that it didn't hit my wallet all at once. I ended up building the computer in stages with only the necessary stuff being purchased first. I started out purchasing the CPU, memory, motherboard, SATA M.2 SSD, and power supply, and then adding the other pieces later. I reused my ASUS GTX 1070 from my last computer. To save more money, I ended up buying open boxes of the SATA M.2, the NZXT case, and the power supply. Easily saved $100 across those three parts.
|CPU Stock||CoolerMaster Evo 212||Arctic Silver||Not Delidded||Load - 61 C|
|CPU Stock||CoolerMaster Evo 212||Arctic Silver||Delidded||Load - 55 C|
|CPU Stock||EKWB S360 Kit||Thermal Grizzly||Delidded||Load - 50 C|
|OC - 5.0ghz||EKWB S360 Kit||Thermal Grizzly||Delidded||Load - 75 C (Need to Retest)|
|OC - 5.1ghz||EKWB S360 Kit||Thermal Grizzly||Delidded||Load - 80 C (Need to Retest)|
Delidded the i7-8700K and applied liquid metal (Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut). Overclocked to 5ghz on all cores. With the current fan curve (for silent system), the temperature settles around 70-71 C under load (Intel Burn Test or Intel Extreme Utility). According to the max temps in HW monitor, package temp does spike toward 80 C, but it seems to be just that. I forget what the fan curve was set to, but it is the minimum 20% until CPU reaches 55 degrees. From there, it ramps up. I think at 80 C, the fans will be going full blast. Like the watercooling fans, the case fans are set to silent. There's definitely more room to work with if I am willing to deal with the noise.
5.0 ghz (on all cores) Overclock Profile - Main Profile - Was able to overclock to 5.0ghz. Looks like it is stable. Not that Folding@Home is an ideal stress test or anything, but what it does allow me to do is to put load on the CPU and GPU at the same time for extended periods. Takes some time for the system to become fully heatsoaked, but otherwise, still have some thermal headroom on both the CPU and GPU to play with.
5.1 ghz (on all cores) Overclocking Profile - Experimental Profile - Still working on this. So far the system seems to be working just fine with CPU only. Still need to try to see how the system will handle both CPU/GPU load at the same time. If this holds okay, we'll try for 5.2 after.
- The ASUS GTX 1070 comes factory overclocked. I installed an EKWB waterblock on this. At full load, temperature is around 40 C to 50 C depending on the fan curve.
|ASUS GTX 1070 STRIX||Speed|
|Base Clock (Default)||1,632 mhz|
|Boost Clock (Default)||1,835 mhz|
|Max Clock (Default)||2,037 mhz|
|GPU Stock||Stock Cooler||Load - 63-70 C|
|GPU Stock||EKWB WaterBlock||Load - 40-50 C|
Custom Loop Water Cooling
|EKWB S360 Radiator||3x Vardar F3 120mm fans|
|EKWB S280 Radiator||2x CoolerMaster RGB 140mm fans|
|EKWB Supremacy MX WaterBlock||CPU: Intel i7-8700K|
|EKWB FC-GTX1080 Strix WaterBlock||GPU: ASUS GTX 1070 Strix|
|EKWB SPC Pump/Reservoir Combo||Upgraded 250 ml reservoir|
|Koolance Drain Fitting|
|AlphaCool Flow Indicator|
|In-Line Temperature Probe|
CPU Fan Curve - This fan curve controls the 3x 120mm fans mounted to the front 360mm radiator. Minimum speed is 20% from 0 to 35 C. Between 35 C and 60 C, the fan speed increases from 20% to 35%. Between 60 C and 80 C, the fan speed increases from 35% to 60%. Anything above 80 C, the fans will spin at 100%.
GPU Fan Curve - This fan curve controls the 2x 140mm radiator fans on the 280mm radiator and 1x 140mm rear exhaust fan. Minimum fan speed is 20% between 0 C and 40 C. I was considering setting these fan to 0%, but at 0%, the RGB fan lights don't work. Between 45 C and 50 C, the fans run at 50%. At 55 C, the fans will run at 75% and at 60 C, 100%.
The CPU temp never really goes above 80 C and the GPU temperature never goes above 55 C. In order for one to even get close to those highpoints, both CPU and GPU need to be running at full load simultaneously, and for extended amount of time (few hours). It takes time for the cooling system to become fully heatsoaked from the heat generated from the CPU/GPU.
Pictures of the fan curves are available in the image gallery.
ASUS GPU Backplate
- I reused the original backplate with the LED ROG symbol instead of replacing it with the the EKWB one. More information on how to do that with the ASUS GTX 1070/1080 (non-Ti) Strix can be found here. It was actually quite easy, though the card sags in the case. Short of it is that you are going to remove some screws holding the backplate in order to accommodate the waterblock mounting screws.
What worked well?
- M.2 storage form factor is the way to go. My ASUS board has two slots. One is dedicated PCIe and the other is a "flex" slot that can do both SATA and PCIe. Even if you go SATA, pay a few dollars more and go this route! Easy to install and you don't have to deal with the data and power cables. Clean build and less hassle! I read that the NVME does get hot, but an M.2 heatsink only runs $10-20.
Custom Loop Watercooling
- I purchased an EKWB vertical mount to mount my pump/res combo. With the bracket oriented the normal side up, I was only able to mount the pump/res bracket on the middle fan. However... If I turned the bracket upside-down, I was then able to mount the bracket on the bottom fan and allow me way more space for a larger reservoir.
Any problems? Comments on components? Etc.?
EKWB S360 Slim Watercooling Kit
Only problem that really stuck out was the noise the water pump made in the EKWB kit. That drove me crazy. Remember that you need to bleed the air from your water cooling loop after you get the loop all set-up. Be patient with this part. It still makes noise, but only during start-up and occasionally during usage. Otherwise, the kit was fairly easy to set-up. For fitting the tubes over the barbs, I'd definitely recommend keeping a cup or bowl of hot water nearby. You can heat up the tube to soften them up to go over the barbs.
Before installing everything in the case, I would definitely put as much together. Install all the fittings to each component, assemble the CPU bracket so you are familiar about what goes where, flush the radiator, etc.
Case - NZXT H700i
Removing the cable shroud really opens up a lot more space to work with. It really seemed to get in the way of a lot of stuff. I ended up leaving it out as the insides of the case looked a lot better. The Smart controller (lighting and fan controller) made things super helpful. The fan controller has a three way splitter for each fan channel (3 channels total). The controller also has one lighting channel that supports up to two Hue+ strips.
I really liked that the case allowed you to take out things you didn't need. I was able to remove all the SSD caddies, the cable shroud, and the HDD tray. Ended up pulling out all those things because I like the minimalist look.
M.2 Form Factor Storage
- Definitely go this route. Don't have to deal with data and power cables. Prior to purchasing your board, check to make sure that your motherboard supports your M.2 devices. My board as one PCIe only slot and one PCIe/SATA slot (which can be changed in the BIOS).
Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVME
- For the Samsung 970 Evo, I removed the label to make more direct contact with the controller/memory and the heatsink. The removal of the sticker does void the warranty, but I think it'll be okay. I'd recommend carefully taking off the label with tweezers then saving the sticker by putting it on the Samsung box. I think proper installation of the heatsink is worth the risk. To be on the safe side, test the M.2 NVME prior to removing the sticker!
- Prior to voiding your warranty, make sure to test the CPU for functionality! Better to find out that the CPU doesn't work before delidding versus after. For good practice, I found testing the CPU/motherboard/M.2 on the "bench" prior to installing it in the case as a good idea, especially if you are doing watercooling. Easier to troubleshoot outside of the case.
Cable management. Want to make sure everything works correctly first, then will sort out the cable management. The front end looks really good, but behind the panel... that's a different story.
Update: Finally got the chance to install the 280mm radiator, 3x RGB 140mm fans, the waterblock for the 1070, and the new pump/reservoir tube. Next is some cable management and some nice pictures of the system.
|ASUS ROG Real Bench - 5.0ghz||150,615|
|ASUS ROG Real Bench - 5.1ghz||158,460|
|CineBench - OpenGL||157.81 fps|
|CineBench - CPU||1,644|
|User Benchmark - Gaming||116%|
|User Benchmark - Desktop||152%|
|User Benchmark - Workstation||134%|
User Benchmark - Results
I used Folding@Home to stress test the system because it loads up both the CPU and GPU simultaneously. When both are loaded up, it takes about 4 hours for the whole loop to completely heatsoak.
|CPU (with GPU under load)||75-80 C|
|GPU (with CPU under load)||50 C|
|CPU Only (OC to 5.0ghz)||67 C|
|GPU Only (Stock)||41 C|
Have a Question
If you have any questions of any part of the build, feel free to ask! I love the comments and will try my best to answer your question.