Description

Designed to be the starting point for a future virtualisation behemoth, this system was recently built to replace my i5 4690K.

The GTX 1080, the storage and peripherals came over from the previous system, the original cooler came from an abandoned project, but has since been replaced with a newer one and it does have an all new case, power supply, motherboard, RAM and CPU.

Initial stock benchmarks are right where I expected the performance to sit with this build, and I couldn't be happier with the build so far.

Future updates will be more RAM, more storage, and in the long run, a second video card for the planned Linux system which will act as the primary OS, whilst running Windows as a gaming virtual machine. I'm undecided if that's going to be another 1080 for the option of running SLI, or a lower end card, or potentially upgrading to a better card (next gen nVIDIA?) and allocating the 1080 to the Linux VM?

That last option seems a bit overkill to me, as I'm not likely to game on Linux much if at all. Dedicating a whole 1080 to it seems like a waste.

(Side note: Some of the pictures show the initial build with the Kraken X41 installed, instead of the Kraken X62. That's because it was the only spare CPU cooler I had laying around whilst waiting for the Kraken X62 to come in)

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

The only way you can combine this with the Noctis 450 and the Strix X299-E Gaming, and still keep your 3.5" hard drive mounts is to run the radiator in a pull configuration with the fans on the outside of the chassis frame.

That said, I've noticed a good 10º C drop in high load temperatures running at stock, as compared to the Kraken X41.

Motherboard

This is a fantastic motherboard from ASUS. My major complaint would be the single USB2 port header on the board, which sucks when you have an all-in-one liquid cooler, an internal fan controller and front USB2 ports you'd like to use.

In future, I plan on seeing if I can mod the case and swap out the old USB 2 ports for some more USB 3 or even USB 3.1 ports, if at all doable, so this may not be much of an issue in future.

The other complaint I'd have in mind is that SSD's in the second M.2 slot have to be mounted poking out of the motherboard. While it's fantastic for airflow and keeping your M.2 SSD cool, there's no way you can really make it look good.

Memory

Great looking neutral black RAM at decent XMP speeds, and a lifetime warranty to boot.

Performs well, looks good, and will suit any colour scheme you have in mind when combined with the Strix X299-E Gaming.

Storage

The 950 Pro series were the best NVME M.2 SSDs on the market until the Samsung 960 Pro series came along. It's nice to finally have a system that can take advantage of its speed.

Storage

Until 2TB SSD's don't require a second mortgage on your house, these drives remain your best bet for all your everyday storage needs.

In addition to being the best performing 2TB consumer mechanical drives on the market, they also come with a 5 year warranty.

Case

Eh. If you like the Noctis 450, then this is basically that, but with Aura support.

There's underside LED's, the power button, plus two strips above and below the window at the front which are RGB, and while they are all seperate, they connect into a single hub behind the motherboard tray, and that runs a cable to your Aura header. It's a pity that the lighting inside the case isn't separate from the underside lighting, although I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to mod it.

The inside LED strips above and below the window also really highlight the dust that makes its way into the case and sticks to the acrylic window and the acrylic side of the power supply shroud, so be prepared to clean this thing at least once a week if you're OCD about it.

The Strix X299-E Gaming feels a bit cramped inside this case, and coupled with the Kraken X62, forget about running your radiator in a single push or push/pull configuration, as the fans will prevent you being able to plug in your EPS (CPU power) connectors. Also, it's impossible to connect your front USB3 ports to the motherboard's USB3 side connector or to make the cable running to the bottom USB 3 connector look nice and clean. If I find a cleaner looking solution, I'll update this review/build post.

Usual nice things about the Noctis 450 apply - stylish looking, with great airflow, etc, etc. I'm not sure if the Aura support is worth the price premium, and if I could go back in time with what I know now, I likely would have chosen a different case.

If anyone can find another case that's got the same great airflow, and looks stylish, please let me know in the comments.

Monitor

While 100Hz isn't going to win you any CS Go tournaments and may be too slow for the MLG-Pro-360-noscope crowd, I'd argue that if you're looking for a great gaming experience, the only way you could do better than this ultra widescreen is if you had an HTC Vive.

Best monitor on the market, until you start getting faster 3440x1440 Gsync displays.

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Comments

  • 30 months ago
  • 3 points

any more pics?

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup. Adding more soon.

Edit: ...and updated!

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

earned it +1

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  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

Solid setup! As far as the AIO cooler and USB 2.0, I have my 2.0 ports hooked up to the single header, and my AIO is connected to the ROG_EXT connector. I researched it pretty extensively because I ran into the same problem on my ASUS Maximus VIII Hero I picked up used. It's been running strong that way since I powered it on, and I still get all the info in my Corsair Link program. Could be worth a try, unless your ROG_EXT connection is already taken.

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Sadly, the Strix X299-E Gaming doesn't have a ROG_EXT connection on the motherboard, and there's only a single USB2 connector - hence the internal USB hub.

Weirdly enough, it has a COM port - something I haven't seen on a motherboard in years - but only a single USB2 port.

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Interestingly, I'm putting together a very similar build, an Asus X-299 Strix board, and the ROG 450, but I'm planning on using an open loop kit from EKWB as a cooler instead of an AIO. I'm also using a 1080 from Asus, but its the 1080 Turbo, not Strix, and, please correct me if I'm wrong, but are you using a 2k monitor? I always forget whats HD, FHD, QHD, and UHD... I wish that they were a bit more specific. Anyway, I'm just using a 31.5" FHD monitor... Nice looking build btw!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I'd love to do a custom loop someday, but my confidence level isn't quite there yet.

The monitor is an ultra-widescreen, which I think is WUHD? It's 3440x1440, which is a 21:9 aspect ratio, instead of regular 16:9. Think of it as almost 4K wide, but more along the lines of 2K horizontal.

Just like a 4K screen, it takes a good GPU to drive it - at least a 980 Ti in terms of performance.

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Ah, that's it. Also, I'm not doing a hard line, because even that stretches my confidence, but I'm just using EKWB's soft tubing kit, the S360. At the very least, thats what I intend on doing. EKWB's link can be found here: https://www.ekwb.com/shop/ek-kit-s360

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Red is my favorite color, so maybe I'm biased: this is ******* beautiful. Also, that case looks really dope in the dark.

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  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Keep it polite or don't comment on this site.

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  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

"Finally, for virtualisation, Intel is still the more mature and better supported platform. Ryzen/Threadripper can certainly do it, but Intel is much easier to get up and running with minimal fuss."

Actually, this is true with the IOMMU grouping on Threadripper right now not being optimal. For some reason NVMe drives are grouped in the same group as graphics cards, so you have to do an ACS patch to get Threadripper virtualized PCI passthrough working.

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