This build was a lot of fun to complete. It began as a simple Coffee lake upgrade and somehow, somewhere along the way, a custom loop crept into the mix. Oh well. The design phase lasted a bit longer than expected, as there are so many options to choose from when it comes to water cooling components. Additionally, I thought about waiting for the Phanteks R160/R220 to become available, however, that might be a later upgrade at this point. This machine is used primarily for work - IT. And also primarily for gaming!
Case: I purchased this case for a previous build (that my brother now games on. Finally got him off the console! #pcmasterrace) in all black, and liked it so much I decided to get the Pro M SE for this build. Additionally, I removed the radiator bracket and rear bracket guide (bracket guide removal required drilling out 4 rivets) from the case, and fabricated a bracket to mount the radiator to the top of the case, allowing me to tuck the radiator higher up, and expose more of the case interior.
Motherboard: I've always had good experiences with Gigabyte motherboards, so I figured I would give the Aorus Gaming 5 a go. So far so good. As anyone who has a Gigabyte board will tell you, the App Center software could use some work, but it gets by...RGB Fusion works well, integrated my CPU block into it, so that's nice.
CPU: Intel i5-8600K running at 3.6GHz and consistently see boosts up to 4.2GHz,. Idles at ~25°C and under a stress test it reaches 50°C. Enduring an average workload, it sits around 35-38°C.
Memory: Corsair Vengence LPX DDR4-3000 32GB (4x8GB). RAM is RAM I suppose. Enabling XMP in BIOS was required in order to reach 3GHz bandwidth
GPU: EVGA GTX-1080 FTW2. What more can you really say about a 1080?! Running stock at 2.025GHz core clock and 5.005GHz memory frequencies. Idles at 23°C and under a full load it tops out at 48-50°C. This card handles the most demanding loads with ease. I tinkered with overclocking and saw stable settings for core clock and memory at 2.139GHz and 5.103GHz, respectively.
Storage: Using a 250GB M.2 NVMe as a boot drive. It's lightning fast. I had Win10 previously installed on my WD Blue, and after switching to this M.2, I saw decreased boot times from ~30 seconds to 5-7 seconds, and reboot times of ~1:30 to 10-12 seconds. This pleases me. Two Samsung 850 EVOs - one as a Fedora boot drive, and the other for games. The WD Blue is now used as a backup drive.
Monitor: I purchased the Dell U3415W in the summer of 2016 for ~$720, and it has been worth every penny. Gaming on a 3440x1440 34" curved monitor, with all settings at max/epic, is absolutely unbeatable! I also managed to push it to a stable 70Hz (via NVIDIA Control Panel).
Water Cooling: This is was my first attempt at a custom loop, which proved to be very fun, and not quite as challenging as I had anticipated. I found the hardest part to be, by far, making some of the necessary bends with the PETG. If you are off by even 1-2mm things may not line up, and you can start pushing components in unwanted directions with the incorrectly bent/measured tubing - especially the GPU. Patience and accuracy with your measurements will win the day, here. Also, I could have been more diligent when cutting the tubing. The cutters left scratches on either side of the cut, when gripping the tube.
- Fittings: Monsoon Hardline Economy V2 - Black sparkle
- CPU block: Phanteks C350I - Satin black
- GPU block: EKWB EK-FC1080 GTX FTW2 - Nickel
- Radiator: Black Ice Nemesis 360 GTS
- Reservoir: XSPC Ion (160mL) - White
- Water pump: EKWB EK-XTOP SPC 60 PWM - Clear/plexi
Overall I am very pleased with the performance and visual appeal of this build. Thanks for checking it out.