Description

Used primarily for gaming and music and video production.

It's called Perpetuity because the build never ends. For example, I started with an i7-920/X58 motherboard upgraded to an i7-960. Then I replaced them with the i7-3930K/Asus P9X79 Pro combo in my old Thermaltake Spedo case. This was powered by a Corsair TX950.

I then moved the whole operation into the massive NZXT Phantom 630 and replaced the TX950 with a Seasonic Platinum 1000. I have since replaced the i7-3930k/X79 combo with an i7-8700K/Asus Prime Z370-A combo.

Just about every Nvidia release, I grab the base flagship card (currently GTX 1080 FE) until recently when I picked up an EVGA 1080 ti SC2 card (Awesome!). Thank goodness for the EVGA step-up program because they just announced the 2080s will be out at the end of September 2018! Originally, I had 2 Radeon 5850s, then I added a 3rd. I was getting constant driver errors and the nasty judder finally revealed (by way of FRAPS circa 2012 of all AMD cards to that point) and switched to Nvidia and never looked back. Started with 580s in SLI then went to 680s, 780s and 980s. Upon the release of g-sync, it was no longer necessary to have two cards to drive up frame rates in order to reduce perceptual tearing. Upon the release of the 1080, frame rates skyrocketed. The 1080 ti release added an additional 30%+ performance to the equation for 1440p gaming. I picked one up just before the release of the 1180. More history will follow...

After the Phantom 630 case was released, NZXT sold the windowed side panels so now it is the Windowed Edition of the Phantom 630 Gunmetal case. I tried to replace the front stock 200mm fan (which has blades so brittle they break if the fan is dropped from hand height) with a Noctua 200mm PWM, but the case does not facilitate these. Other than that, this case can hold just about anything, though it is no longer sold. July 3, 2018, I moved all of my parts into a Fractal Design Define R6 Black TG case.

The Fractal Design Define R6 is a pretty amazing case. Very well though out and incorporates just about anything most people need in a case while making the build as easy and clean as possible; sorry no pretty lights. See the image of the 3rd SSD mounted using the HDD mount to the backside of the case. Also, the front-top connection panel is modular and can be replaced to accommodate future connection types!!! Why isn't everyone doing this on their cases? If a case is great, all you need is to swap out the connection panel for any future builds. That's what they call forethought. As you can see in the images, I've set the case up with the optional "open" and "silent" configuration, but this case accommodates many different configurations.

Any upgrades have been a cinch as long as I can reach around the NH-D15. The NH-D15 is giant, but has offered better cooling than any self-contained liquid cooling solution I've tried (and I've tried quite a few - not sure where the review sites get their performance numbers for these things...).

I am really impressed with the quality of the on-board sound on the Asus Prime Z370-A motherboard and its built-in resistance detecting amplification feature. I've never had a gaming experience sound so good. I pair it with Sennheiser 598 SR headphones (and use my webcam's mic).

Also, when I'm not wearing the headphones, I have a Bose Companion 5 system that features great surround sound from a 2+ setup. It's pretty incredible.

My monitor is an Asus PG279Q which offers 1440p and G-sync. I can't go back to gaming on anything without one of the sync technologies.

I recently removed two WD Black 500GB drives and added a Samsung 970 EVO NVMe M.2 drive as my boot drive. My former boot drive, the Intel 520, has been recommissioned as another app drive. I added a 970 EVO 500GB drive for another app drive.

I'm a firm believer in less fans is more. The minimum amount of fans it takes to get good positive pressure in the case is what I'm after. It keeps things quiet, cool and relatively dust free. I've delved into the realm of tons of fans and found I couldn't stand the sound and the returns diminish once you get to a certain point (at one point in the lifetime of Perpetuity, I had nine case fans). High-quality larger fans seems to be significantly quieter than smaller fans.

I say put the biggest fans you can mount (if you have a choice between 3x120 or 2x140 in front I say choose the 140s) in the system at the front and back and things stay quiet with good airflow. Right now I have two 140mm Noctua PWM intake fans in front. Both are connected to the same motherboard fan header using Noctua's included y-connector. I have a single Noctua 140 PWM exhaust fan attached to another one of the case fan headers on the motherboard. That with the two Noctua fans on the NH-D15 are all I need and things stay extremely quiet between the case and CPU fans. Now the GPU on the other hand can add some noise, but it's not too bad considering the work it's doing. The Define R6 keeps all noise to a minimum compared to any cases I've used in the past; even from the GPU.

I don't mind spending on parts I can use as long as possible such as monitors, headphones and speakers.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

I've tried so many different self-contained liquid cooling solutions and none have compared to the cooling capability and low sound level of the NH-D15.

This is the cooler that makes me doubt the motives of most review sites out there because I have not personally experienced any self-contained liquid cooler that cools better than this air cooler. I've tried single-rad, double-rad and double-thick single-rad solutions from multiple vendors. None are even close to being as quiet as the NH-D15 and none can cool as well.

The self-contained liquid coolers I've used have such loud fans, it's unbearable. It's like 1st-gen PS3 loud.

The NH-D15 (or the fans on it rather) is the quietest cooler I've ever experienced with the best performance I've seen to date.

Motherboard

This motherboard has every option I currently need or want to have in a board. It accommodates 6 SATA 3 drives, 2 NVMe M.2 drives (one slot of which can be configured to use either the PCIe or SATA bus). It is SLI-ready (but SLI has increasingly become less necessary).

One of my favorite things about this board is the amazing on-board sound with a built-in headphone amp. I have never worn my headphones this much! The best sound I've ever experienced on a PC compared to both discrete cards and other on-board sound.

Also, I'm not quite sure how effective it is, but the lower NVMe M.2 drive slot (configurable as either PCIe or SATA 3) has a heat sink over it built right into the motherboard. I am currently using this with my 970 EVO drive. Tested right at 3.5GB/s sequential reads as spec'd.

There is an LED strip on the under side of the top-right edge of the board (the area behind the 24-pin power connection), which can be used to add subtle lighting accents using Aura Sync software. It also has one 12v 4-pin connection for additional RGB LED lighting. I'm not crazy about the Aura Sync software since I've often seen in consuming 10% of my CPU!!! What the heck??! That's really my only grip about the board. I uninstalled the sofware altogether and won't be using Aura Sync until they release a version of the software that not resource-intensive.

From a UEFI/BIOS standpoint, it's very easy and intuitive, but will try to convince you to enable MCE along with XMP; so be aware of this. I'm pretty sure it has just about every option that ROG products have with regard to overclocking; it just has a more toned down color scheme.

To summarize, it's a high-end mainstream board with as many bells and whistles as most enthusiasts would want in a board. The board is sufficient for any gaming or multi-media production build out there. If you're not the kind of person that needs to break an over-clocking record, it will work for you.

Memory

It's RAM that works at the rated voltage and speed. What more is expected from a RAM kit? I also need low-profile RAM that works with my NH-D15 and this fits the requirement.

If you're not into pretty lights and have a large air cooler, this is a rock solid kit by which I've installed two on my system for 32GB total.

Storage

It flies. I can't say enough about the performance. You want instant on? You got it!

I ran the included performance tests and it hits the speeds as advertised. 3.5GB/s sequential!

It gets to about 47C in a warm room, but it is well under the 70C operating ceiling.

You need to be sure your motherboard can accommodate a 2280 M.2 drive.

Case

Great design. I moved everything from a massive ultra-tower case into this case. I use the optional "open" and "silent" configurations. I replaced the stock fans with Noctua 140mm PWM fans and this case is so very quiet. I worried about the temps and they only rose 3C idle and load above the wide open ultra-tower with the advantage of quiet operation. It is so easy to build in this case. It will fit an air cooler of any size (I have an NH-D15). It is designed to fit up to a 360 or 280 rad in front or 360 or 420 on top. So many options for cooling. It comes with 6 HDD/SSD drive trays and 2 SSD drive trays. With the "open" configuration, I was able to mount 3 SSDs behind the motherboard tray. You have options to mount the the SSD trays just above the PSU enclosure. There is one main cable channel with two velcro tie-downs that accommodate just about every cable you'll run. There is also plenty of room on the "dark side' of the case (behind the motherboard tray) by which even more cables can be run. If you look at my build called "Perpetuity" you can see just about every cable in the build is easily hidden. This case still has a mount for an optical drive, though it is very non-intrusive and not noticeable if you choose not to use it. Sound-proofing is in the top, front and panel behind the motherboard tray. The top sound-proofing can be removed to expose the dust-filter covering to allow a more "breathable" rather than "silent" configuration. There are dust filters in the top, front and bottom of this case. The front door can be reversed so the door can open to the left or to the right. You can mount a graphics card vertically in this case with the purchase of an optional PCIe extension. The window allows a full view of the motherboard and Cooler and GPU. If you're into the pretty lights, this is the type of enclosure by which to showcase them for sure. The front panel is modular and can be replaced to accommodate new kinds of connections in the future. This is really an amazing aspect of a great case and is an impressive design feature. When USB 4.0 comes out, will Fractal Design release a new front panel connection module? This will make all the difference in whether they'll support this great feature or not. The only con and it's not even to do with the case itself, but rather with the company: I tried to contact Fractal Design to order another SSD tray. I didn't get a response until a week later which was a canned response asking me to clarify the nature of my issue. I indicated it was a sales inquiry on the "contact us" form and that I was looking to purchase additional SSD trays for the case. Doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling when the sales team could care less about selling more things to a customer. Minus one star.

Power Supply

One of the best kilowatt PSUs ever made. It's now a little long in the tooth, but still plugging away as it did on day 1.

Case Fan

If you're not concerned with making your rig look like it came out of a my little pony cartoon, these are the best fans money can buy. As quiet as can be in my Define R6.

Keyboard

This is a great responsive keyboard for gaming.

It is incredibly responsive so much that a feather-light touch will trigger a key. This is a good thing when you're playing FPS games. This is not as good when your trying to type and the slightest touch will trigger a key. When you type on this thing, you really have to hit the keys vertically.

That said, I've gotten used to it and love using it.

The reason I removed a star is because the cord on this thing is so thick and heavy it challenges the integrity of any USB port. I appreciate the sturdiness of any hardware, but there is absolutely no reason for a thick and heavy keyboard cable. It actually puts stress on the USB connection; absolutely unnecessary.

Headphones

Best set of headphones I've ever used for gaming. Used in conjunction with the on-board amp on my motherboad's on-board sound (Asus Prime Z370-A), the sound is amazing. I've used gaming headsets in the past (including the tiamat 7.1) and none have sounded as good or have had the great positional audio this set of headphones has. One thing to note is it did not sound as punchy and realistic on my previous motherboard which did not have a headphone amp built-in to the on-board sound. If my motherboard did not have a headphone amp built into it, I'd purchase one. It is comfortable for all-day wear. There are no pressure points and it fits snuggly and comfortably on my big noggin. If you use them in a hot environment, you may not appreciate the soft velvety cushions since I imagine they're highly absorbent, otherwise they make these headphones extremely comfortable.

UPS

Good UPS, but hard to maintain. I've had my unit for around 6 years. It can maintain a high-end system at full capabilities for around 10 minutes and while only running the OS for around 20-30 minutes. Plenty of time to safely shut it down in the event of a power outage.
I had to replace the batteries around a year and a half ago. Replacement batteries were around $70. The way this unit is put together, it is hard to get the batteries into the unit very easy to break the display upon doing so. The unit works as advertised, but if they made it easier to maintain, it would be a five-star product.

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