I built this so I could work at home when I don't have access to the shop's computers. Needed a powerful CPU for 3D rendering and video editing, but didn't want to spend the cash to go to to an extreme platform (though X79 is pretty affordable these days). I've kinda also been using it to test programs and some hardware.
Had a couple of AMD and NVidia GPUs in it already but, for the most part, I use the on-board Intel graphics, which do a good enough job of running displays. And yes, I can play light games on it too. The longest serving graphics card has actually been a Titan Black. Currently its slot is empty.
Never seen a temperature above 57'C even while rendering 3D scenes in Blender. Thank you Hyper 212 Evo!
It's not the best system but for the price it was a build that would give me the most compute performance. Looking back, I think I should have gone with a Broadwell i7 with Iris Pro graphics but whatever. The 4790K came with a bunch of Software I wanted anyways, and a nice discount for Windows 8.1 (Upgraded to 10 when it came out).
Some future upgrades I have planned:
- Been eyeing an M.2 or PCIe drive for a while but will wait until they go on sale and I can pick a ~250GB one up for under $200
- Moar mechanical storage! Thinking of ordering a 4TB HDD to keep all my files on and using one of the current 1TB ones for a backup bank
- Finally settle on a long-term GPU: 980Ti ?? Wait for next series ?? Fury X ?? Go to the Titan X ??
- Two more 8GB sticks of RAM
- Clear my desk so I can have the computer sitting on top of it instead of under it
- The cooler is awesome but maybe a custom water cooling loop is in its future?
- If a custom water cooling loop is decided on I want a side window!
- If a side window is installed I have to clean up the cables even more and use sleeved extensions to make it nice and all
As a CPU it may be the best Intel has to offer. It overclocks pretty well, provides you with ample processing power, and won't stutter under hard multi-threaded workloads. At stock speeds it's nothing impressive, but if you just push it to 4.5GHz and get a decent cooler on it it really comes alive.
The built in graphics are alright but still leagues behind an AMD APU - no surprise there - and lagging behind its Broadwell brothers with the Iris Pro graphics. You can easily use the integrated graphics for everything work-related though. Will play light/older games in the 1080p/60fps range. (Assassin's Creed 2 at 1080p averaged 45fps on a combination of medium-high settings)
It sucks away lots of heat, stays pretty quiet, and is easy to mount. There is no question why this cooler is the most recommended unit on the market right now. You just can't go wrong.
Be weary of RAM slot limitations though, as the fan itself may cover a slot, forcing you to use low profile memory.
It's a good board with all the features you need, but there are some hiccups.
The good: Lots of rear I/O, easy and clean BIOS, advanced features easy to get to, well spaced PCIe slots, great multi-GPU support, great color scheme
The bad: The motherboard heatsinks are held on poorly, overclocking in the BIOS is more complicated than it should be, too many sub-sub-sub-menus (all the arrows!!), CPU power and 24-pin sockets are annoyingly hard to route due to placement, not enough fan headers to comfortable fill a standard ATX case without using a splitter/hub
Love everything about this case except the space behind the motherboard. Had BitFenix made this case just 2cm wider by giving us more cable management room in behind the motherboard, the overall size wouldn't have changed too much and everyone would have been happier. As it is, there is very little room behind the tray for cable management, leading you to stuff a large amount of cables in the space behind the HDD cage.
The hot-swap SATA slot at the top of the case is great and can accept 3.5" or 2.5" drives easily. The hinged front door is great and closes with a firm and solid click. Filtered fan ports everywhere are easy to remove.
Included cables are extremely long and the sleeving isn't the best, but there really isn't anything else to complain about. It's a great PSU which provides ample power and stays pretty quiet. My first unit had major vibration issues but EVGA sent me a new one within hours of placing a complaint. 4/5 + 1 for such great customer service