Description

All my previous builds have been black or beige boxes under my desk. After 7 years of running a tiny IT-company of my own I decided I could finally reward myself with something more colorful.

Aurora Borealis is first and foremost my most important business tool. That being said, after a hard day working in front of a computer, it's nice to relax exactly in the same place by spinning up the GPU fans a bit.

I started planning the build in early autumn 2017. I wanted something that is virtually silent next to my head during typical office workloads and can also handle occasional 3D rendering and gaming without sweating.

Case, cooling & motherboard I was really tempted to build a custom watercooling loop, but after much research I realized it would give me slightly increased risk of failure without any additional performance. Luckily the NZXT Kraken X62 is an absolutely stunning AIO-cooler in both aesthetics and performance, so it was a great middle road. White sleeving kit from Cablemod is used as a finishing touch for the liquid tubes.

Beautiful S340 Elite in white from the same brand was a logical choice for the case, though I admit googling through 98% of all cases in the world, including some custom engineered ones. I eventually chose a full ATX size because cute mini-ITX motherboards simply had too few PCI-E slots and mATX cases were hardly smaller than the S340 Elite. Believe me, this is still a huge reduction in size from my previous Nexus Edge ultratower.

After choosing the ATX form factor it was much easier job to decide the board itself, since I had already decided what CPU to use. The new Coffee Lakes only work on Z370 chipset, so I picked up the high quality (and WHITEish) Asus Prime.

CPU I've been an Intel guy for a long time but I naturally inspected the new AMDs very closely. In the end I couldn't rationalize a ton of extra cores for a ton of extra cost (despite 3D rendering), so I gave up on Threadrippers and i9:s. Luckily the new Intel Coffee Lakes had just been released, so I went straight for the 6 core 12 thread i7. This lovely piece of rock seems to have no trouble with 3D rendering and other graphic workloads.

RAM I know this is ridiculous, but memory was one of the most troubling components in my build. As I'm sure you're aware, DDR prices are crazy right now and I wanted something around 100 euros per 8 GB, because I needed more than 16 GB total. It also needed to be white, naturally, and I had this weird obsession how it needed to be in the motherboard qualified vendors list.

GPU My previous graphics cards have been sub-150 euros, but I felt such cards wouldn't be a good fit for a build like this. I was in no hurry, but I didn't want to wait for the consumer Nvidia Voltas. Therefore I picked up a new GTX1070Ti from (black friday?) sale. Despite crypto currency madness, the price was somewhat reasonable. Thanks to the massive heatsink, it can run passive on light use.

Since it's hard to hide such a gigantic card like the Asus ROG STRIX, I covered it with an absolutely stunning laser cut 2-layer acrylic backplate with RGB lighting. I can't take any credit for building it though, you can get yours from V1 tech. Non-RGB versions are also great. The same company is responsible for the GPU support bracket and NZXT fan grill with mirror-blue sublayer.

SSDs I've been buying almost solely SSDs since 2009, but the Samsung 960 Pro was my first M.2 NVMe drive. What can I say, it's crazy fast and hides under one of the motherboard heatsinks. Two other drives are traditional Samsung SSDs from my previous computer.

Sound card I love my old Sound Blaster Zx because it lets me change between speakers and headset from the software and it sounds great. I really have to do something about the RED shielding though, it's simply the wrong color! Oh, and I literally cut away the awful red leds in it, because you can't shut them down or change color.

5" information screen Perhaps my favourite part! It is a 5" HDMI display meant for Raspberry Pi, installed on the third SSD slot, running some customized but simple Rainmeter apps. The 800x480 resolution is more than enough for the purpose and the display gets the power through HDMI.

PSU Titanium certified and usually runs passive, Will save some money in the long run.

Misc comments Everything marked 0 euros is from my old build, except the Win 10 Pro, which is free through the Microsoft BizSpark program. If you're a software entrepreneur or similiar, check it out.

I planned on installing white SSD covers as well, but the GPU bracket forced me to install the sound card so low there was no room for the covers anymore. Doesn't matter though, the drives look good enough.

Future plans include connecting the RGB strip behind my desk into the motherboard Aura Sync and perhaps replacing the fan cables with something white/black. All other cables are already custom white from Cablemod or quite well hidden.

Oh, and the headphones don't originally have a microphone. It's Antlion Modmic, so you can add a high quality microphone into your existing headphones without needing to replace them with a headset. Recommended!

Comments

  • 14 months ago
  • 11 points

Aurora borealis!? At this time of year, in this part of the country, localized entirely within your PC?

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

May I see it?

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

No

  • 16 months ago
  • 4 points

The LCD is so cool, I had to login and comment about it!

  • 16 months ago
  • 3 points

Thanks! Such screens are widely available for cheap and Rainmeter is very versatile :)

  • 16 months ago
  • 3 points

Thats is what hell of a clean build. And props for your pics, they are excellent. And the NZXT fan grill adds a nice touch. You deserve a feature for that build

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for your kind words!

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks really good! Like the first comment that LCD screen is everything and more I love it.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

For what you did with the 5" information screen is there a video online on how to do this? I think this could be the best part of the build.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice thank you. I'll check it out

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Astonishing! In my opinion this build very close to perfect! And like all the others said, man, this tiny LCD is soooo nice

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

where does ur minidisplay connect to? the motherboard?

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

To the graphics card via HDMI. The cable goes through the case, out from the back and into a normal HDMI port.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Can't you run the on-board GPU and PCIE at the same time? I really want to make a setup with that tiny screen (so damn cool looking), but I have 3 monitors and don't want to give up one for the smaller screen... plus the mouse-locking might be an issue either way.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

You can get a USB-HDMI adapter for 15 euros. Usually not good for gaming (latency), but for this purpose it should be more than enough :)

Then position the small monitor in such relative location in windows so you are unlikely to even find it with mouse. The resolution is small so it's easy to hide.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, that'd be a much better solution. I think USB->HDMI adapters are more $ than the actual tiny screen =P The question then would be if there's a way to do it from the USB on the board, rather than outside and running a cable back in. It'd be nice if the mobo just had a small video out for exactly this purpose, even have the software baked into the board.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, you can buy an internal usb connector cable or even an internal adapter without the cable part. They are usually only 2-5 euros/dollars.

That being said, looping the cable outside the case doesn't look as weird as it sounds, because it's still only small part of the mess behind a case. You can see two of them in this photo of mine: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2z3f8c6gpbntkih/20180322_170843.jpg?raw=1

The larger HDMI in the marked section goes to front/top panel for VR use. The info display HDMI is the tiny cable behind it.

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  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Amazing build... love the idea with the screen

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

wow, just wow.

definition of PCMR

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautiful! I have always wanted a small screen for demonstrating the usage of our server! Could you elaborate how to mount the screen on SSD tray?

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I would love to describe an elegant solution, but to be honest I used thick double-sided tape. The edges of the display are a bit ugly, so I ordered a cheap Raspberry Pi case and only used the front part (the white edges around the display). The HDMI cable is hidden with white electrical tape.

If you want a clean solution for your server, experimenting with Raspberry Pi cases might be a good idea, instead of attaching the display circuit board as it is. Custom laser cutting services are quite cheap too.

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build! Could you link the case you ordered for de pi lcd? can't seem to find anything like it. Thanks!

  • 14 months ago
  • 2 points

Here you go :)

https://www.waveshare.com/bicolor-case-for-5inch-lcd-type-b.htm

(Notice the price versus Amazon)

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

thats awesome, could you maybe make a build guide on your profile as a tuotiral on how to get one setup?

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Finland?

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Finland.

  • 16 months ago
  • 3 points

Nätti + +

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Which Rainmeter skins?

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points
  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautiful build you made right there! Your Idea with the 5 inch screen really inspired me to integrate a Display like this into my upcoming build with the same case. Is it possible for you to share some information about how you put the display into the ssd slot? It would help me alot. Gz for your awesome pc bro!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! To be honest, I just used thick two-sided tape to attach the display. Part of a raspberry pi case and white electric tape was then used to cover the ugly parts.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

thats what i call a really good build. it looks verey nice, and i really like the white. +1 good job

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

I see you're using a support bracket for your gpu. I own the same NZXT S340 Elite case and paired it with an msi armor gtx 1070 and msi krait 3x motherboard, but the gpu suffers from a significant amount of sag.

I mounted the gpu in the lower pci-e slot to make it less visible, but it's really been starting to annoy me. Does the bracket ever bother you in terms of looks and do you think it's worth it to purchase one?

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

It doesn't bother me, quite the opposite. That black&white photo of my support bracket was shared at Asus ROG instagram, where it got almost 13000 likes in 4 days, so I suppose someone else likes it too.

The good thing about brackets is they can be as simple & cheap as you want, or you can easily make or order a custom one to fit your build theme. V1tech brackets are usually around 29 dollars (https://www.v1tech.com/product-category/gpu-support-brackets/) but I bet you can find much cheaper versions too. That amount of plastic or wood costs next to nothing.

To be honest, my GTX1070Ti is so heavy it sags even with the bracket, so I can imagine it would be quite horrible without it. The downside is it partly occupies 3 pci-e slots in addition to 2 slots of the gpu and 1-ish of the gpu backplate, so my ATX-case/board only has room for the sound card and nothing else.

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the quick reply! I'm probably going to pick one up from Coldzero, I own a custom backplate from them for my gtx 1070 so I'm used to dealing with them.

I really love your build and color scheme, it helps me visualize what I want for my pc in the future!

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks incredible! I'm new to this, so I'm gonna ask a dumb question. As far as storage, can you just use a single M.2 and a HDD? You don't necessarily NEED a SSD right?

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, you can use M.2 and a HDD, or even just M.2.

That being said, I haven't installed a single internal HDD in almost 9 years, since I bought my first SSD (Intel X-25). Unless you need huge storage and you have a tight budget, I would suggest SSD only. Also remember that M.2-drive has less noticeable speed gain over SSD versus SSD over HDD, so SSD is usually good enough for almost any build.

(HDDs are still a fair choice for external NAS-drives for example)

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Love the build! Where did you get the NZXT Fan Grill?

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The fan grill is from https://www.v1tech.com/

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

What’s the size 120mm?

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, the rear fan slot on S340 Elite is 120mm.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Which 5" LCD screen did you purchase? Is it powered by HDMI or are you using HDMI & USB? On your picture, I can't see any cables coming out from the screen at all, so I'm confused as to where your screen's ports are, for routing purposes. I'm planning my first custom build now and definitely want to incorporate this mini info screen into my design!

  • 15 months ago
  • 3 points

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L6O2NEE/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_jKe0AbDMGFEVF

I hope that link works. Be warned though, not all units are identical, even when ordered from same url. My screen is powered through HDMI so I don't use the usb, but some models require the usb too.

The ports and cables are in the right side of the display (at least in my unit) and hidden under white electrical tape. The case has a hole there (also hidden by tape) so cables can go through to the backside.

It should be noted that the white plastic borders are not included with the screen by default.

Good luck with your build! :)

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

how hard was the aio sleeving i want know because im planning on picking up some white sleeves for my kraken x62 does it require alot of work and does cause leaking risk i love your build to

  • 14 months ago
  • 3 points

Almost as easy as putting your socks on. The AIO isn't opened in any way, you just put the sleeve on the pipes and close them with plastic parts in the ends.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice build! dude amazing work

Can u show more photos of the interior of the case I want to see how that 5 inch screen is connected on the case.

And... can u give me the amazon link to buy it?

Thx

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

don't you think a custom painted radiator would look better against that light dark contrast? I think the best part about your PC is the v1 tech fan grill and backplate rather than the LCD screen. BTW is that a touch screen or just a regular 5 inch?

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the comments! The screen is a touch screen, but I didn't install the USB cable so touch doesn't work (and it's behind the glass panel of the case).

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

AWESOME BUILD!! LCD is a nice touch

  • 12 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks!

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

I love this build oh so much. I keep coming back to it for inspiration. So so beautiful.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

I think having that LCD in your PC is a smart decision. Do you use it for temps and load only or does it have any other purposes?

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Temps and load only, at least at the moment. The touch part of the screen is broken and the glass panel of the case prevents input anyway.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

How do you like the Dell monitor? I bought the same one in December and the colors look amazing.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

No complaints, it's a great monitor. I can't keep my fingers off of those curved displays for long though...

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

This may sound like a dumb question, but do you need to purchase the raspberry pi in order to get the 5' LCD screen to work? I've seen the screen online but I'm not too sure how it would work. The screen and Pi sandwich together and then you stick the back of the Pi case to the SSD tray??

Thank you in advance

  • 8 days ago
  • 1 point

The screen does not need a raspberry pi. It's basically just a small HDMI-display.

  • 15 months ago
  • -1 points

At this time of year, at this time of day, right here, exclusively in this household, has an aurora borealis??!

Yes.

Can i see it?

No.

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