Description

Well, it's been some months since I completed this build (late November, 2015). I realized I never officially 'completed' the build on PCPartsPicker, so here it is. I've been using it for Netflix, and some gaming (Mass Effect 3, Fallout 4, all graphics set at maximum, 1440p res.). Temperatures have been good. I haven't been checking FPS rates, just playing the games. Absolutely awesome. No cpu or gpu overclocking yet. It just isn't necessary. We'll see what happens with GTA-5, Crysis 3, WitcherWH.

This PC is overall phenomenally quiet, while still being fairly high performance. Under normal usage (web browsing, youtube, movies and TV), it is functionally SILENT. The Corsair PSU and EVGA video card typically remain in Fan/Off mode; the case fans and cpu cooler run at ~50% rpm. Under gaming load I can hear the fans come on, but it is very muted and not at all intrusive. Very satisfied.

Soon to come will be a Corsair K70 Cherry MX Brown keyboard, and NAS/external storage. Additional cooling/fans to be added as OC'ing requires it; stock fans work fine with current setup and heat.

edit: Apologies for the bad camera and pictures. For laughs I included a comparison photo of the Fractal Design R5 next to my old Antec P180/181, the original 'quiet' pc case. That thing is built like a Russian tank, and the R5 is quite flimsy in comparison. I'm going to keep it around if I can, maybe use it for a NAS if I can get new components cheap enough.

Intended for movies and TV (streaming, BluRay, stored media), music, gaming, and modest cpu/gpu overclocking. Most major pieces purchased at 15% to 20%+ discount.

CPU, 6600K Skylake: At this point, a Z97/Haswell based new-build makes little sense. Component prices are nearly comparable. You may save ~$80-$150 total, on DDR3, discounted K-CPUs and medium to high-end motherboards.

6600K vs 6700K: synthetic and 'real world' benchmarks consistently show minimal difference in performance between the two. Price difference will go to recovering the budget. If an 'i7' upgrade is needed, for 4K video or future hyperthreading games, Kaby Lake (Skylake-refresh) will be out soon. Kaby Lake is confirmed to be lga-1151 compatible. Cannonlake (10nm) will also be out about this time, probably non-1151 compatible.

CPU COOLER, Noctua NH-D15: What else can I say? Poop-brown and HUGE. Very quiet. Very effective. Be sure to verify RAM clearance before buying RAM and/or this cooler. RAM with large heat-sinks won't fit, on some MB.

MOTHERBOARD, Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7: The upper-tier Gigabyte Z170 motherboards (G1, GT, Gaming 7, and UD5-TH), along with 1 or 2 upper-tier Asus boards, are the ONLY motherboards currently available, certified to be HDMI-2.0 / HDCP-2.2 compatible. Hopefully future-proofing for 4K streaming and Bluray. The Gaming 7 offers other nice features like upgraded onboard audio, dedicated DAC/USB, good overclocking, and more. Horrible red-on-white colors clash with the poop-brown Noctua-D15 cooler. But it is a closed case. I broke the budget for this MB.

GPU, EVGA GTX980 Classified ACX: Got this on sale for $445 at NewEgg. One of the very few EVGA GTX980 cards with power-phase and voltage regulation sufficient for serious overclocking.

Right up to the end I was stuck on R9-390 vs GTX980 vs GTX980Ti. The R9-390 is MUCH cheaper than the R9-390X, GTX980, or GTX980Ti. Yet it has 8GB vram and, with the right graphics card, can be overclocked to match stock 390X /GTX980 performance. The R9-390X is already maxed out and there isn't much overclocking potential left; for this price-point one might want to pay the extra $100+ for a GTX980, which does have overclocking potential. So at the end I was focusing on GTX980 and GTX980Ti, when this EVGA unit went on sale. This particular card has premium pcb components, and beefed-up power-phase and voltage regulation. Several reviews and benchmarks indicate it may overclock close to stock 980Ti performance levels, albeit with only 4GB of vram. I broke the budget on this one, to get a significant potential overclock performance gain, versus the R9-390/390X. But I payed $200+ less than a 980Ti would have cost (at that time). If more performance is required, in the next 12-18 months 980Ti prices will come down.

In my opinion, the R9-390 absolutely is the budget price/performance king here. It will give phenomenal 1080i performance, and overclocked with 8GB vram it will give 'decent' 1440p performance. In my opinion, the R9-390 is at least a step above the GTX970 in 1440p performance. If one chooses this route, I would first recommend the Sapphire TriX-Nitro, with backplate, or secondly the Gigabyte or XFX- models. Sapphire is debatably the best on AMD cards these days, and reviews indicate they did an exceptionally good job with the 390/390X. Gigabyte and XFX -390 are both well constructed, good overclocking boards with good cooling, though neither is as quiet or as cool operating as the Sapphire.

CASE, Fractal Design Define R5: Requirement for a solid, well built case that is quiet, well-ventilated, and very functional. This was a VERY close contest between the Nanoxia DS1/DS2, and the R5. Both are constructed similarly, with similar functionality and aesthetics. In reviews and benchmarks the DS1 just barely beat the prior R4 in noise suppression, due to better/quieter fans. Fractal Design upgraded fans for the R5, which now barely beats the Nanoxia cases for noise suppression. Subjective observations on the web, from several people familiar with both say the Fractal Design R4/R5 are constructed a bit better, and are slightly more functional in small ways. Win goes to Fractal Design R5.

PSU, Corsair RM750i: Requirement for a psu which is quiet (FAN/ON mode), reliable, with high-quality power and voltage regulation. No SLI planned (gpu performance upgrade when necessary will procede from overclock/air, directly to a new higher performance single gpu). 600W to 650W would be adequate for this build. I went with 750W so that the psu will operate longer/quieter in FAN/OFF mode, at a lower temp, and for overclocking headroom. Also for future gpu upgrades.

My psu short-list was the EVGA Supernova G2/P2 series (10yr warranty), and Corsair RMi/HXi series (7yr warranty). The G2/P2 are not particularly quiet in FAN/ON mode. The Corsair RMi and HXi series psu's are some of the quietest FAN/ON psu's available; quieter in benchmarks than most self-proclaimed 'quiet' psu's. Corsair's line-up of psu's range from excellent (AX/AXi) to relatively crappy and unreliable (CX/CS). The new RMi-series is NOT part of the mediocre RM-series; it is an update of the excellent HXi-platform, in GOLD efficiency. Some have commented that it is actually better than the original/older HXi platform, disregarding efficiency. Both the RMi/HXi-series tend to have inflated list prices. They do go on sale frequently, along with rebates, discounted as much as 30%.

OS, Windows 7 Pro 64bit, OEM Builder DVD: I'm somewhat uncomfortable about Windows 10, regarding the extreme tracking and telemetry which is enabled by default, and the degree to which this tracking and telemetry can actually be disabled. Some reviewers/testers have already found that even when supposedly disabled, some form of telemetry/data transfer continues. Regardless, it is known that each Windows 10 OS has a unique identifier code visible online which cannot be disabled(?) I still have questions I need to answer for myself before switching over.

Windows 7 is going to be supported with security updates through the year 2020. So I'm going to keep it for a year or two, while the code geeks and paranoia freaks sort out the Windows 10 mess. I'm going to wait and see whether DirectX 12 is worth it, and whether Windows 10 can actually be locked down privacy-wise. I will be using the free upgrade to get a Windows 10 license and activation. I will then reinstall Win7. I may even setup a dual-boot option.

MONITOR, Crossover 2795QHD, $313: 27" @2560X1440 resolution, sharp and intense color AH-IPS panel (from LG), 6ms response time, low-input lag, overclocked to 95hz. Some have reported 110hz+, but typical 'easy' overclock is 95hz. This monitor was purchased from green_sum on Ebay. I've seen prices as low as $200 for "0-5 'bad' pixel" panels. I paid the additional for a "Perfect Pixel, 0-1 'bad' pixel" panel.

DON'T buy this monitor unless you actually understand what you are getting. RMAs overseas can be very expensive. There are potential compatibility issues, and some tweaking may be required for an overclock. Most have found it quick and easy for a stable 95hz overclock. Much information can be found at OVERCLOCK.NET, in the 'Official Crossover 2795QHD' thread, along with another thread dedicated to QNIX monitors. If you are considering these monitors I would strongly suggest you research and do your due-diligence before selecting a QNIX. They have used at least 3 different IPS panels in the last few months; some of the vendor provided specifications, and claims, found on NewEgg and elsewhere, are misleading, mismatched to the wrong model number, or simply false.

STORAGE, 1-250GB Samsung Evo SSD for the OS and some games; a 2TB WD-Red HDD for primary backup, and some media storage. Plans are for an all solid-state system, without hard drives. Hopefully prices will come down more on high capacity SSDs. Secondary backup and bulk storage will eventually be handled via NAS or external hard drive enclosure (USB 3.1/Thunderbolt). Still researching and finding out what I need to know.

SPEAKERS, Presonus Eris e4.5 Studio Monitors, 70Hz-20KHz, with selectable low-frequency cut-off: Don't need a full-blown 5.1/7.1 system at this point. These active speakers will do for now. I got these from the Presonus store on ebay. $100 Factory-Warrantied refurb ($200+, new). Sound great, much better and louder than I was expecting. Presonus is known for well made, durable equipment. A powered sub-woofer is in the works. Considering a Presonus Temblor-8 or Temblor-10 if I can get one for the right price. May end up with a 'budget' priced Dayton Audio Sub-1000.

Comments

  • 42 months ago
  • 4 points

Return your GTX 980, if it's not too late.. The GTX 1070 comes out tomorrow and it is $70 cheaper and significantly better..

Other than that, good parts selection. Kinda went overkill on the PSU and Memory.. But it's a solid build.

+1

  • 42 months ago
  • 3 points

As I wrote, this is not a just birthed new build. I finished it some months ago and just got around moving it to 'completed' status here. I actually bought it (the GTX980 Classified) almost 8 months ago, and wrote most of the detail around that time. As such, some of the commentary is bound to be a bit out-dated, and I'm just too lazy to fix it. At that time, $445 -$30 rebate was a pretty good price, especially for the 'Classified' version (many lesser 980s were selling for $490-$520). The next best available choice was the 980Ti, at well over $600. I was not impressed by the Titan, or Fury/X especially at the price point at that time. At that time there was a lot of market adjustment going on, what with the 980Ti coming in and double sucker punching both the GTX980 and the Titan, forcing down the price on the gtx980s, 970s, and the r9-390/x cards. Realistically, I bought a well priced (at the time) decent performing card which will meet all my gaming needs, at least for the next couple years, maybe longer with overclocking. Then I will again buy the best card I can, at a reasonable price, which will almost assuredly wreck the gtx1070 in both price and performance.

Regarding the PSU, generally speaking you are correct. My power calculations indicate 500-580W would suffice, for a bare-bones system with minimal hard drives and no cpu/gpu overclocking. I do intend to overclock both at some point, I do want the option of multiple internal hard drives, and I may even water-cool at some point. Hence my minimum specification of 600-650W. There is also the question of future GPU upgrades and power requirements. But the primary reason for my PSU/wattage selection is efficiency: heat and noise. This was built as a near-silent PC, and the intent is to minimize fan-noise and heat-generation. Hence my selection of a PSU with Fan/Off mode. I examined the PSU bench-tests at jonnyguru.com, and found that the power-loads I might see, would cause the 600/650watt PSU to run in Fan/On mode much of the time. Comparably the RM750i/750watt was demonstrated to run both cooler, and in Fan/Off mode much longer. This suited my needs, versus a noisier slightly cheaper PSU.

Regarding the memory, generally speaking you are correct. 4GB RAM would suffice for 80+% of the applications and games available in 2015. The rest, AAA games such as GTA-5 and who knows what else in 2016/2017 are happier with 8GB RAM. 8GB is kind of the standard now for an enthusiast PC, especially if you have a 3-4 browser windows open, while running a heavy game. Well, some years ago I did a build when 2GB was considered enough. In less than 2 years 2GB was not enough, and I ended up scrapping that RAM for an upgrade to 4GB. As I overclocked that system and kept it going, I ended up wanting 6-8GB, but by that time the older RAM prices had doubled. I did not want to pay for more old RAM for an aging system, and was stuck with a paltry 4GB far longer than I was happy. I am much happier buying matching RAM that exceeds my needs now, and not have to fiddle with it later. Penny wise and pound foolish as the saying goes. I don't do builds every 2-years like many of you. I do builds that last for many years, and I overclock the bejesus out of them, as needed.

  • 42 months ago
  • 3 points

The 980 for $450 8 months is one hell of a deal. I definitely missed the part about completing the build in November. So, I take back what I said about that.

The PSU is a great unit, no doubt about it. There are just units out there that would easily overpower your system with the same quality for $60 less. It looks like you got it at a really good price though, which could sway decision making as well, but still overpriced ever at $99.

Regarding the memory, I was referring to the speed, not the capacity. 2133Mhz would have netted you the same performance in gaming and would have cost about $40 less. 16GB is quickly becoming the new standard and should be a staple in high end builds.

I wasn't calling you out, you have a great parts selection. But if you shaved some money off in a couple of areas, you wouldn't have lost performance and could have had $100-$150 more which could have put you in i7 price range, or 980 ti range.

My comments weren't mean to be a personal attack but more as a comment for people to read as they look at your build. Because while it is an awesome build, it could have been done a little better for the money. Your circumstances and decision making may have been different and I understand that; it's just constructive criticism. I think you did a fine job.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

No offense taken. Just wanted to clarify. I do think your perspective is skewed and wrong though. You are looking at prices as listed June, 2016. These purchases were made in November, 2015, mostly Black Friday sales. Be assured I did my research on both price and specification.

In regards to the PSU, my primary focus was on a QUIET PSU. I started with the Tier-1/Tier-2 PSU's as listed on the tomshardware.com PSU quality ranking (which matches jonnyguru and other reviewers very closely). And, in fact there are few PSU's with similar or better quality (as demonstrated by warranty and review) at same or better price. The EVGA Supernova G2/P2 series would qualify, and there were some great prices at the time. However, the EVGA PSU's are not particularly QUIET. I did my research and the the Corsair HMi/RMi consistently benchmark as some of the quietest PSU's available.

In regards to memory, yes I understand that Skylake doesn't benefit greatly from high memory speeds, 2133/2400 being the sweet spot. But at the time on the particular day I was buying memory (November 2015), Newegg had the ddr4-3000 on sale for less than the 2133 or 2400. Also keep in mind it was necessary to buy RAM that would fit under that Noctua cooler. Had I not been paying attention to price, I would have gotten Kingston Savage ddr4-2133 (still, as far as I know the only DDR4 memory which passes the memtest row-hammer exploit test).

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

PSU tier list 2.0 ...List updated - June 8th 2016 http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2547993/psu-tier-list.html

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Literally the first line of the description 'Well, it's been some months since I completed this build (late November, 2015). I realized I never officially 'completed' the build on PCPartsPicker, so here it is. '

Lol I dont think he can just return it

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Yea, I definitely missed that part.. I was distracted by the bold print lol.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Agreed!

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

I second that. Nice build but not a wise choice to buy a GPU like that now. The 1070 wrecks it in every way and is cheaper while doing it.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you read the description? It clearly states that he built this PC months ago and only now he just completed it officially on PCPP.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Good means he has money to get a 1070 and to get rid of the 980 :P

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

Is your RAM the same height as normal DDR3 Corsair Vengeance Pro? I just ordered that CPU cooler and have the RAM i just mentioned and am waiting for it to arrive to see if I need new RAM.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

?. Don' know. You should be able to find height specs. on the vendor's website. Should work as long as the RAM doesn't have a raised/high-profile heat sink.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I didn't know you could mount your SSD like that on the 5.25 bay

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Yep. I think the Samsung SSD's are a bit wider/thicker than average, and really don't fit in the R5 white mounts. I just bolted the SSD on the reverse side of the white mount, loosened the mounting screws on the 5.25 cd-drive, and slid the mount-tabs between cd-drive and cage. Also better air flow in this configuration.

I will eventually get a 3.5"/2.5" combo adapter for the unused 5.25 upper slot, and put it there along with the 2TB hdd.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I have 2x 840 evo's on the back of my R5 and seem to fit fine. Though they are getting pretty hot as theirs no airflow back their, and the sound dampening material is acting like an insulator for the heat.

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

I didn't mess with the MB underside mounts for that reason. Interesting idea, but I would rather the SSD be mounted where there is a little ventilation ... as well as not generating more heat on the underside of the MB.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

How's the 6600k handle gaming at stock clocks?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Just fine, so far. But the most demanding game I've played so far is only Fallout 4 (unmodded, all graphics on maximum, 1440p). In 100+ hours of play, I've had perceptible slow downs only twice. Both when fast-traveling to open areas with multiple spawn points - several vertibirds, Gunners, and feral ghouls spawning/attacking all at once. This is probably scripting/cpu slow-down. I suspect I'll have to OC a bit for Grand Theft Auto 5.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Have been playing GTAV; stock clock can handle this (HIGH graphics, 1440p) with some occasional momentary catching /freezing. 4.6GHz OC works fine.

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

Meh. That's what happens when you're stupid tired and don't go to bed. Most of it was written back in November 2015. I was stupid tired then too.

[comment deleted by staff]