Greetings fellow PC enthusiasts! Welcome, this here is my first ever fully custom watercooled build. I had never even used an AIO cooler in the past, so needless to say I was pretty nervous about taking on this task. After completing it I was as relieved as I was excited to see it work. Let me tell you briefly about my journey. It all began when my longtime friend told me that he was going to have a pc custom built for him. Apparantly he had met someone who knew the basics on specing out and building PCs, and with a very cheap budget, my friend had his built. This intrigued me. It was back in 2013-14 and my Core 2 Quad Q6600 system was becoming quite dated. I decided a few months later to take on the endeavor on my own. I watched a lot of youtube channels about PC building, read hundreds of forum posts, and did as much research as I could while I saved up some cash. When I thought I was ready, I used this fantastic site to put my first digital pc together. I ordered everything in early 2016 and built my first PC with much success. At the time it had a sweet Asus Strix 980 Ti in it, which powered through a suite of my favorite games. It was completely air cooled (I was way too nervous to even use an all-in-one cooler) with a Noctua cpu cooler and corsair case fans, in a Corsair C70 case. I ran that system for about a year, and continued to take an interest in more advanced pc building on youtube. Channels like Jayztwocents, Paul's Hardware, Bitwit, and Vir1lity Custom PCs are highly recommended! I became obsessed with the idea that had originally terrified me, watercooling. I decided to have a go at it, did a lot more research, and ordered the parts. Now, here we are! I finished building this last month, and it has been running fantastic. Temps are super low, even more so than I expected. I hope you guys enjoy it!
This powerhouse overclocked to 4.5GHz stable @ 1.25v while on a massive Noctua air cooler, with load temps occasionally reaching up to 81°c during prime95. After putting the EK Supremacy EVO block on it, I got it to a 100% stable 4.7GHz @ 1.3v with load temps never reaching higher than 68°c during prime95. Cinebench scores hover around 1000.
Decent board, M.2 support for when I actually buy a gum stick storage drive. Excellent SupremeFX on board audio that's actually insulate from the rest of the board to prevent interference. Chipset and VRMs stay cool enough to keep my overclock stable. For twice the price, I feel that a high end board would not achieve much more than this one did.
Quick ram, got it cheap on sale. Color matched, that's about it.
This has been an excellent drive overall so far. The only issue I've had with it, is on every start up, it has to fix an error in system critical files. I haven't really diagnosed this issue yet, it's likely not even a problem with the drive, but rather a windows installation error.
This dinosaur fits all my extra junk and games with low load times, and manages to load everything pretty quick considering it's a mechanical drive. 128mb cache on this bad boy! Plus trustworthy Western Digital reliability.
Where do I even begin with this card...well, let me just say this.. IF...you are in the market for a new gpu, and are patient enough to save your money for the real good stuff, don't even think about it, BUY THIS CARD! Any GTX 1080 Ti for that matter will do. This card just about doubled my average framerates in demanding games like Ghost Recon Wildlands and Ark Survival Evolved, way out-performing the GTX 980 Ti it replaced. The reference cards get pretty hot on their stock blower coolers, but on water this thing stays cooler than an ice cube at an average of about 26°c at idle & 38°c under full load. If water cooling isn't your thing, one of the aftermarket cards should suffice nicely. 6 out of 5 stars!
This case was designed to be extremely watercooler friendly. I chose this case because of its extensive radiator support, roomy interior, clean cable management options, and great value. The captive thumb screws on the case panels are a nice addition, as well as the easily removable top moduvent system. I would have liked to see some sort of dust filter for the top case vent, especially considering it has an offset for fitting larger radiators. However Fractal Design does not yet offer any such option other than the solid removable moduvent covers that come on the case. Their Define C does have this filter, but unfortunately it will not fit flush when you have fans or a radiator mounted. There is no support for any 5.25" bays, which bums me out a bit. As a person who likes options, I would have liked to squeeze my disc drive in here somewhere, but there is really just no place for it without compromising on cooling capacity. The 3.5"drives have 3 convienently placed slots behind the interior wall, so they sit flush behind the cable management side panel. This also works to greatly lessen the annoying grinding sound that mechanical drives make. The case also offers two mounting brackets for 2.5" drives, also convienently placed right behind the motherboard tray. The motherboard standoffs were not pre-installed, which just seems like lazy manufacturing to me nowadays. I feel that every case should include pre-installed and threadlocked standoffs, but that's just my opinion. Accessing your cooler mounting bracket for maintainance is a breeze with the large cutout to the motherboard tray, allowing access without removing your entire motherboard. Overall this case feels like an eggshell when compared to my old Corsair C70, but it is a great case nonetheless. Where else can you get support for a 420mm x 30mm radiator AND a 360mm x 60mm radiator in a case that costs under $100!? Seriously! If another one exists, please let me know!
EVGA is the only brand of power supply I ever use. Their reliability, quality, value, and customer service is immaculate. You'll be hard pressed to find anything better.
Do we really have a choice?
I have three of these fans mounted to the front radiator. While they can get pretty noisy as they get up above 50% speed, they also perform outstanding. Keep in mind I got the performance edition SP fans, rather than the quiet edition ones. When my headphones are on full blast in Overwatch, I can't hear the pc at all anyway. However I'd definitely notice dips in FPS if my system was thermal throttling! So bring on the noise if it keeps my system as cold as possible. Honestly though, even during Firestrike Ultra stress tests the system still never gets hot enough to spin the fans very fast.
These two fans are mounted to the top 420 radiator. Due to space constraints I had to leave the third fan out, but the two on there were plenty to pick up the slack. I let the fans spin just enough to prevent negative case air pressure, and exhaust warm air out through the top radiator. The pure white LEDs provide a nice soft light inside the case to help showcase the interior that's visible through the case window.
This monitor's color palette leaves a bit to be desired. Blacks are dull instead of deep and the optimal viewing angle is basically front and center only. But that's to be expected with any TN panel. That being said, this thing is fast. Latency is brought to its knees with this lightning quick panel's 1ms response time and true 144hz refresh rate. Images are crisp, clean and buttery smooth. The stand offers a sturdy base that allows for tilt and height adjustments, so you can easily achieve that optimal viewing angle you'll need for the panel. It also has a track that allows you to turn the monitor a limited distance without moving the base, and the screen also pivots 90° to allow for easy transition between a portrait or landscape style layout. The power cable is a bit short, which seems all too common with every power cable.
This is the best darn keyboard I've ever used. Period. My xbox friends sometimes complain about my clacking on the keyboard, but you know how whiney these dirty console peasants can be sometimes.
I really like this mouse, the only gripe I have is with the dpi adjustment buttons. During intensive gaming sessions I frequently will hit the dpi buttons and find myself doing 1260° turns with one small wrist movement. I actually had to disable this feature entirely. Other than that, tracking is great, durability and ergonomics are top notch. Great for people like me whom have larger than average hands.
These headphones are really quite comfortable, the sound is...okay. I am an extreme audiophile though, so to the average gamer these are sufficient enough. The audio enhancements built into the software cause conflicts with onboard audio, and must always be disabled, otherwise it will cause many games to crash at launch or during play. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why CS GO wouldn't run on my PC, this turned out to be the reason why. For $100USD, you can do better than these.