My first build for about 8 years, things have really moved on!
I went for this combination of parts as a combination of gaming and light vmware use. The goals were to build a new rig that can play modern games, cope with anything I can throw at it for work and that will last a long time.
I'm overclocking lightly and have never done this before. The motherboard BIOS and included software made this initial overclock very easy. I got the CPU up to 4.7GHz as a test but it was a bit unstable so have dialled it back to 4.2Ghz, not had any issues at all.
The motherboard and accompanying software are quality. Fan control is very good. No issues with anything and nice interfaces on the software. Some of the software that came bundled (which I installed) turned out to be eval which I was pretty irritated about but not the end of the world I guess. Actually one thing that I did struggle with, the damn backplate for the IO ports is not great with this case. It's got some padding on it which made it very tricky to fit, I had to use quite a lot of force and it bulges a bit at the back. Seal is good though.
The CPU cooler was the biggest gamble space wise. I've got it in but had to remove the optical drive trays and card reader trays for it to fit. I don't care I never use them anyway got a USB Blu-Ray drive for rare occasions I use discs. THe CPU cooler has blocked the first PCI slot but I don't mind because I'm not using it anyway but if you wanted to SLI or something you'd need a different cooler I think. A GPU with a smaller backplate than my Strix might just scrape in. Cooling performance is excellent.
RAM clearance would have been an issue if I had gone for the original G-Skill, glad I swapped this out for lower profile Corsair Vengance at the last minute.
I really like the case, only criticism is once you have your GPU in that pretty much covers the entire side window so you really just look at the GPU. I also started installing the mobo then had a small hissy fit that there weren't enough included standoffs. I searched through everything, all the boxes I'd unpacked gradually getting more irritated they could leave something like that out, also missing cables etc. then I remembered the cardboard box tucked in the drive bay....everything nicely labelled and sorted even with a special little tool for easily installing the extra included standoffs. Told my angry self off for panicking and got on with the build :) I was just already stressing about scratching the mobo on the standoffs trying to force it into that stupid padded I/O port plate. Anyway all was well in the end and it fits ok.
The aftermarket filter for the front fan works really well, the magnet on it is a bit weak it struggled to stick to the case and kept slipping down but eventually I managed to get it in a spot where it stayed put. It covers that fan hole well, I'm happy with it as a solution. I didn't need any other filters as no other unfiltered intakes on this case.
The lights I got are awesome, never had these before. Like the remote control and about 12 different colours to choose from, they look really cool and even made my wife interested in playing with that part of the rig! White looks best I think. :)
The Predator drive comes with a big drawback, you cannot upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 using this drive. For anyone planning to use the Predator drive and Windows 10 upgrade, it doesn't work, only a clean install of Windows 10 works at this stage. Kingston have recognized this on their website and say they are working on a fix: http://www.kingston.com/us/support/technical/products?model=SHPM2280P2
Very very disappointing, especially since this problem has been around for a couple months already looking at a few threads on various sites. I got around this by installing 8.1 on an old HDD upgrading that to windows 10 then doing a fresh build of windows 10 onto the Predator, this worked fine no issues. Just skip all the license key requests on the second Win 10 install, your hardware is already registered with MS from the 8.1 upgrade on old HDD so no need for a key ;)
PSU fits, it is a little tight but not that much of a problem. I have average to slightly large hands and got everything in without problems. Tip: fit all the cables to the PSU before you install it, they're a ***** to get in afterwards. The only thing I found annoying about the PSU is they advertise it as supporting Link but don't supply the cable and you can't buy it in Aus (not thatI've found). After doing some research on this turns out it's pretty much useless anyway since the fan is off most of the time on the PSU and the power reports as temperature or something like that. Anyway I looked into it and decided not to bother getting the special cable.
Case build quality is very good and if you remove the cages I mentioned earlier cable management is easy by taking off the front panel and routing stuff behind it, wouldn't be possible with cages in place, in that scenario cable management would be more tricky.