Just completed my third PC build, and the first one with a real focus on style and acoustics. What started as a "small" upgrade for my previous build has ended as a hefty investment. I'm just glad it's done - about halfway through I realized there was no turning back and still quite a bit of work to be done.
My first build, completed in 2014, was an i5 4690K with a MSI GTX 970. I had a budget of $1,200 for everything - including peripherals - and my goal was to squeeze as much performance as I could out of my budget (for the most part). I ended up with a red motherboard, blue memory, and white/black throughout. It was a great computer, but I knew I could do better.
When it came time for my second build, shown here, I wanted to put a little more thought into the design. I decided on a black/white theme and put some blue LED's in the case to light everything up. This was the PC I was originally going to upgrade, I was planning on putting in an 8700K and calling it a day. That is, until the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming 5 board went on sale. If the motherboard was going to be RGB, shouldn't everything be RGB?
That question lead me down a spiral of spending, until finally, when the dust had cleared, we were left with the computer I lay before you today. The only thing remaining of the previous build was an 850 EVO and a Xonar DSX, and the only reason the sound card made it over was for convenience (having headphones and speakers plugged in together) - the new motherboard has a better chip than the DSX built-in.
I've taken the plunge and swapped my air cooler with an AIO - the EVGA 280mm CLC. I'm very impressed with the results (although it performs identical to a Noctua NH-D15 I got my hands on) and it's a huge improvement over my previous cooler. Plus, it looks fantastic!
I think I may have lost the Silicon lottery though, because I was only able to push it to 4.7GHz, and even that topped out at 95 degrees Celsius.
Things are not quite done yet. I am still waiting for the TRUE Spirit 140 Power to come, and I am very excited to do some benchmarks testing it against the Cryorig H7 I have, and POSSIBLY a Noctua NH-D15. Once tests are completed it will be time to choose the best cooler and see what this chip can do.
Unigine Valley: https://imgur.com/OKlcQcY
This is the first AIO I've owned and overall I'm impressed by it. It's a lot quieter than I thought it was going to be based on what I was reading, it looks fantastic, and it definitely works way better than my Hyper 212 Evo and Cryorig H7.
HOWEVER - It performed identical to a Noctua NH-D15 I got my hands on, which is cheaper and has no risk of damaging other components, so it's difficult to justify the extra cost of this cooler.
This motherboard is leaps ahead of anything I've used before. I never knew I could enjoy working with a board this much, and I understand now why people spend more for nicer boards. The amount of detail and design that was put into this board is fantastic.
I went through two NZXT S340's before this and I was pleased to find out this case has all the things I liked, and improves on everything else. The sound dampening is great, the tinted glass looks AMAZING, and it was absolutely fantastic to build within. There are cuts in exactly the right place for every cable and I was able to hide almost everything (the grommets give it a really clean look!) I'd say this is a bigger, better S340.
I upgraded from a STRAFE keyboard and this is the best keyboard I've ever used (and owned, so that makes sense). I'm so happy to have a volume control dial again, that is a must have on any keyboard I get, and the roller on this is one of the best ways to implement it.
It's a great mouse overall - buttons are clicky and easy to reach, mouse is accurate and highly customizable. However, the wing that your thumb sits on is made of two plastic pieces and one is slightly higher than the other, so there is a plastic edge against my thumb while using it. I also don't care for the texture on the rubber - for some reason my hand finds it very irritating to hold onto. I liked the simpler texture of my G402 better.