I recently got a good bonus from work, and had been wanting to build a new gaming system. I explained to my friends that I really enjoyed the building process, but it was usually over in an hour or so. One friend said, "You could always water-cool". I then started thinking, since I had never done water-cooling, that it could be a really fun challenge. I went online and watched every video I could on it, debating soft tube versus acrylic or PETG. Eventually I landed on PETG as it gave a certain classiness to the build.
I spent a couple months researching parts, reading about the new GPUs, reading motherboard reviews, and started putting a build together. I decided on the i7-6800 because it was a powerful CPU, but not overly expensive. I would love to put the 6950 in there, but it wasn't within budget.
You may see the part list, and wonder why there's a CPU cooler listed on a water-cooled system. It was simply a sacrificial cooler, used during the initial testing, to make sure all the parts worked, before my water-cooling supplies were delivered. I didn't want to get 2 GPU waterblocks installed, just to find out one was dead, and deal with returning a disassembled card.
I went with the Asus X99-A II, because it supported the CPU, had an M.2 slot, and seemed like a pretty good board for overclocking. It had great reviews. The only thing I wished was that I had the Deluxe model for the built-in wi-fi, but it wasn't worth an additional $200 when I could just get a $20 USB adapter.
The memory was selected because I wanted decently fast memory with some expandability in the future. I also was originally going with a black, white, and blue theme, so I got some memory that was white.
Next, I selected the Samsung 950 PRO 512GB, because it had amazing reviews, and also meant there would be one less cable on my build. I could have done a SATA SSD, and my case had lots of nice places for it, but I wanted to sleeve any visible cables, which was avoidable. The M.2 boards are awesome, so I grabbed it, knowing that Intel was releasing their new board "any day now".
I knew I wanted to get the new Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080. I then decided that if I was going to put this much money into a build, that I should get two, and do SLI. I ended up with the Gigabyte WINDFORCE models through a parametric filter I originally had, based on which revisions were supported by EKWB's waterblocks. The day I went to buy, the Gigabyte one was cheaper than the others, so I went with it.
Looking at builds, I really liked cases with tempered glass. I've always been a fan of glass, even learning how to do stained glass murals. I thought the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Glass looked gorgeous, as did the InWin 909. Eventually, I picked the Phanteks one, because I thought it'd make a better build for my scenario. I also had heard of the brand, where before then, I'd never heard of InWin.
Everyone asks me why I don't have a 4K monitor with this setup. I went with the BenQ XL2430T because my desk won't support having a 27" monitor, as I already have 2x24" monitors for my work laptop. I want to put my PC on the desk, so I'm limited in space. And for gaming, 24" is more than enough. I prioritized a 144Hz monitor, and BenQ had good reviews, and a friend of mine loved his, so I went with it.
All of the water-cooling supplies I bought were from EK, except the coolant that I ended up with. Originally I bought EK's UV Blue, but I didn't like the blue look and bought Mayhem's UV Green Pastel.
Here is an imgur album of the same pictures as above, but with descriptions of what they are along the progress of my build log: https://imgur.com/a/MrPzv