Description

This is the second build log I've created for this 250D, I feel the upgrades warranted a new one, you can find the first log with some insight on parts selection I may miss in this log HERE.

I find keeping the main build downstairs a nice retreat but I do spend most of my time at home upstairs in the family room. I'm also a cable cutter who often uses Chromecast but it's obviously got it's limitations, so I created a Media/ Game Streaming PC. I loved it as it was, but I've had a ton of time off work lately and boredom is the Devil's playground. I got the Red Hydra up to a state I'm satisfied with then the idea's on how to improve my Streaming Box started dancing in my head.

When I first built this PC I focused on budget with room for improvement. I got 1600MHz ram despite my $25 Pentium CPU only supporting 1333MHz with this thought in mind. The H97 motherboard was the cheapest I could find with AC wireless & bluetooth, I needed both, the AC to get a good seamless connection for Steam game streaming and Bluetooth for connecting my PS4 controller (I can even use the trackpad on it as a mouse to pick out games and the light bar goes from green to red to tell me battery level).

Streaming games was all well and good as long as the game didn't use Uplay or Origin, I also had to go downstairs to make sure the PC was on. I eventually used it less and less and decided now was the time to make my Streaming Box stand on it's own. I've been caught up in the GTX 970 hype and they are nearly impossible to find in Canada, so to see this one in stock and on sale(?!) I had to bite. I know EVGA's gpus have been embattled at release this gen but I gave them the benefit of the doubt based on my positive experiences with them, their new 0db fan firmware and free backplate promotion. With the gpu on route I went out to get the rest of the parts I'd need to compliment it.

Summary of the parts I added to turn this from a modest media PC to a capable gaming PC below:

CPU- Based on the H97 board I had to buy a locked cpu. The less I have to tamper with this build the better, I know I'd obsess over it and eventually get a better cooler. Benchmarks show there isn't much difference between Haswell cpu's for gaming performance going down the product line, I just made sure to get a quad core for the increasing amount of games that use more than 2 cores. Opted to get it for $10 more than the i5 4460 since it seemed cheap enough whether I perceive the difference or not, the next jump in clock speed would've cost me another $20 so I hit the brakes there before I kept going and going.

GPU- EVGA recently released a new bios that makes the fans cut out under 50°C in the same vein as an Asus Strix card as well as cut down the fan speed at load. The result is slightly hotter when looping benchmarks but quiet execution, I look forward to reading reviews on this card reflecting the change.

The SSC has a two way bios switch (I will eventually use), an older heat pipe design (two 8mm copper pipes centered down the die with a third 6mm off to the side for support) than the FTW model (a plate over the die with multiple pipes coming off the edges). They both share ACX 2.0 fans and a better vrm controller than lower models.

I put it through it's paces to find it's max OC. It settled at an effective 1505 mhz core clock and +450 on the memory before crashing out or showing it's hitting it's power limit. So now I'm comfortably over a 10,000 Fire Strike score with my locked CPU. The GPU doesn't go over 77C while looping the heaven benchmark and its fan noise isn't offensive (nice whurr) in keeping it there, so no throttling. It's of course even cooler in-game.

To me that's unbelievable, no need for water cooling to reach it's max potential and not only could I find the card in stock but I got it at a $20 discount! (Cdn economy anyways). The SSC comes with a higher stock clock out of the box, I normally don't care but keeping with the theme of hassle free operation I have with the cpu I've opted to leave my OC software turned off. My testing came with the case outside of the stand you see in the last photo. Air is very restricted when I stick the case in there, I noticed the temp climb a bit after I stuck it in and said forget it after playing with the fan speeds a bit, I have my OC profile saved, I'll revisit this again the day I don't squeeze 60fps out of a game.

My free backplate will be on the way soon as well. I'll update this log with photos when it arrives.

HDD- Got this refurbished at my local Memory Express. With the operating system and utilities on the SSD, I needed some space to compliment it now that I was going to store games and media locally vs primarily streaming. Finding space for it was a pain, I use the case's HDD bay to store excess cables so I had to remove a piece of the bracket holding the DVD drive to squeeze it in below where the SSD was. I used velcro to stick the SSD above, it just clears the top panel and sits nicely.

PSU- Overkill. I swapped this out of my last build and didn't have a home for it. Didn't opt to sell it because I still have 9.5 years of warranty left. If I ever find a more appropriate PSU with modular cables I will consider it's purchase but it'd have to be on a smoking sale. As it stands this one still has gold rated efficiency for whatever little power it draws, it' won't bother me that much that I can't take advantage of it's power ceiling.

Up next, I may switch up the color of my cable extensions a bit if I'm really bored. I went for a bit of a blue flair to try and match the gpu. The case is stuck in that cube stand anyways so it's not as pressing as the need for more airflow before I start oc'ing again. I'm going to look into a 200mm fan for the front of the case to see if it helps the rock solid gpu temps that jumped up when I enclosed it in the stand. EVGA also offers a step-up program that allows my to trade this card in at retail value over the next 90 days for another model. I can't see me ever needing something stronger for the 1080p TV it's connecting to but I'll chew on the idea closer to that promotions expiry.

All prices are CDN.

Comments

  • 57 months ago
  • 10 points

Oh My God, that cable management.... is Gorgeous 8D +1 from me man

  • 55 months ago
  • 7 points

Was playing I Spy with that last image. Very nice and clean build.

  • 57 months ago
  • 4 points

Really nicely done. Nice components and super clean!

+1

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 57 months ago
  • 3 points

Woah! Amazing but 1000W? Surely this thing can't consume more than 400W under load.

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Definitely, it's an older PSU from my last build that needs a home. I'd be open to trade it for something smaller but as it stands I have another 9 years of warranty through EVGA with it so I'm going to keep using it for now.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

ok i was about to flip if you actually purchased it for this build lol but thats a great idea

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha, I have a watt meter too so it is something I'm a stickler about. I have updated this build, again, and am just waiting on a good time this week to publish the log. I switched out the psu for a 550w, and having pictures of my meter to show even that's too much.

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

sweet thats good to hear :D

  • 57 months ago
  • 3 points

am jelly +1

  • 57 months ago
  • 3 points

Very clean, and it looks so discreet in the shelving.

One of my favorite mini builds +1

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks!

  • 57 months ago
  • 3 points

Using Corsair's crappy drive mount design for cable management instead, smart.

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks nice and solid to me, but 0.0C on the GPU's idle temperature? Did you put in the wrong number or something? A component's temperature going below the ambient room temperature can actually be dangerous and damaging in some situations, so let's hope this is either human error or something wrong with the program you used to measure the temps.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha wait you're right... I was thinking about fan volume for some reason, since the fan will stop spinning at idle I put in 0 as in 0 db... Whoops! I'll edit that now.

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

That looks really clean. Very nice build you got there.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

On the last photo i sat there like... Whats the point? Then i saw the computer. Oh gaud Looks so nice.

Lets play a game!

Spot the computer

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha I was on the fence about the case until I checked the dimensions of both, when I saw how well it matched I went straight to my local shop to bring it home.

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

The slim slot load drive bay looks real slick. How did you do it?

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

It's a Silverstone slot loading bay. It's brushed look matches Obsidian cases really well. It comes with a bracket to allow x4 2.5' SSD's under the disc drive but to fit in my 3.5 HDD I had to modify it a bit.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Such a great idea. I may have to do the same. Did you just take it off another case?

edit: was is this? http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/361066815568?lpid=82

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome. Thanks a lot.

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Beautiful, such clean cablemanagement in a ITX build, just build one in the same case but mine is a mess

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

I keep the excess cables buried in the HDD bay. Everything else just gets bundled together from the PSU to the motherboard.

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

gorgeous

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

+1, your builds are awesome.

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

One does not simply have a peasant controller present in the showcase of a glorious gaming PC!

  • 57 months ago
  • 3 points

Ah but that's the beauty! We can take their finest peripheral and make it better!

When I turn the controller on it connects automatically, the trackpad doubles as a mouse, I can scroll with two fingers, click it for left mouse button or click the bottom right-hand corner for right mouse click. After I select a game it acts as a 360 controller. The light bar will start off as solid green then slowly fade to yellow then red to indicate it's battery life for me!

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

I may have to get my Peasant box out of the closet... how do you do that LOL

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

What controller is that? I like the features of it!

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

That Cable Management +1

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

I love the incognito look of where you placed it at!

Well done! +1

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

nice build

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Extremely clean build and AWESOME cable management

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Infinite +1s to you this is awesome and is one of the first great builds to use the new 900 series

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

I really like how clean and small this is!

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice computer! Well done!

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Quick question, how is that GPU? I've read that EVGA's ACX 2.0 Coolers have coil whine. Is that the case for you? Also, how does it hold up in the 250D?

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

The gpu has exceeded my expectations (I came into testing it aware of coil concerns). For about the 1st 30 min of overclocking a could hear a faint buzzing not related to the fans and at one point it did whine when I closed out of a benchmark (whined through the duration of the load screen).

Now that I'm back to using it normally the buzzing is gone and there hasn't been another incident of whine. I've left the fan profile at default and it's very quiet at load, heat wasn't an issue until I stuffed it in that stand. To get around that I put the temp target up so now it sits at 82C at load with no throttling. With my build on the floor during testing it wasn't cracking 77C while leaving the fan profile alone.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Alright, thanks! I was also planning on using that GPU in a 250D, since the small blue accent goes perfectly with my build. I'm pretty sure I will use it, as it seems to work pretty well. Thanks for responding!

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

I also have that cpu in my 250D, Im gonna put my 780 ti in it though as I'm planning to SLI 970s in my 4790k build. Overall very nice build and very clean and tidy! Looks better than mine haha.

Question though. Besides the factory OC with the SSC vs SC 970, know of anything different? Would it be better to sli SSC+SC or two SCs if they were the same price? :) (have a SC 970 already btw)

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

That 5.25 slot drive is amazing looking! I've noticed that the 5.25 location on the 250D tends to make ordinary drives look super out of place, but this looks like it came with the case.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

How are the CPU temps with that cooler?

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

Keeps temps in the mid 40's. It's a locked cpu so I used it more for the looks really.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

How loud is this PC? I'm thinking of building a system very similar to it.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

It was very loud, EVGA's cooler wasn't up to the task when I stuck it in that shelf. I've traded up to an Asus 980 Strix that's whisper quiet even at full load.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

well done!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

You need to revil the water cooler?

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  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

No! Go with the Asus H97i. It's cheaper, no wireless support out of the box but better quality inputs (cables will click in and not slip out), as well a much better bios.

I had to RMA the Gigagbyte board, their support was a nightmare. More than a month later it came back without any bios loaded so it couldn't be used.

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  • 57 months ago
  • 3 points

Versus what? Games aren't nearly as dependent on a cpu as they are a gpu. Haswell i5's and i7's are about equal across the board when it comes to gaming performance, if you have 4 cores you're good, hyper threading does nothing, as seen here:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/intel-haswell-refresh_4.html#sect0

I have an i5 4670k I delidded and oc'd to 4.7GHz. I enjoy squeezing the best benchmark scores I can and I'm sure I'm squeezing some extra frames but in reality everything over 60fps won't really matter. That's in my 4k build where I oc everything to keep games playable.

With this build a GTX 970 is going to beat down every game I throw at it for an easy 60fps on my 1080p TV. The extra $$ for a mobo/ cpu/ cooler, the added heat and effort oc'ing the cpu is wasted.

If you meant why not an i5 4460, I don't really have an answer. The 4590 was only $10 more whereas each additional jump up the product line would cost me another $20.

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  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

It really isn't, I spent an hour tweaking my oc settings only to have to throw them out the window when it went into that stand. The card is holding up fine in stock settings though.

  • 57 months ago
  • 4 points

If you wanted to risk it you could put a hole in the back of the shelf and throw a 120mm fan on the back of it to vent out air

  • 57 months ago
  • 4 points

I've already gutted the back of the shelf to make room for the PCs cables (otherwise I can't push it back all of the way).

That's definitely an original idea I'll look at, it hasn't failed me at stock settings yet though.

  • 57 months ago
  • 3 points

Overclockers gonna overclock