I’ve been gaming on an Alienware m14x since December of 2011 so this is a major upgrade. I’m a technician in the Navy and move around a lot so it has made sense to stick with that, but I’m finally settling down for the last 9 months or so before I get out so I’m ready to make the move to a desktop. The m14x was my first gaming pc/laptop and once I got it I instantly got the bug to learn more about pc gaming and hardware in general. I’ve been researching desktop hardware for about a year and a half and have planned this build since about May of 2014. I started with all my base hardware selections but after doing so much research, reading so many reviews, and combing through builds on pcpartpicker I probably switched out everything for something else at least twice, which led me to this final parts selection. Initially I wanted it to cost around $3k but I said screw it, this is my ‘hey you suffered for the last 5 years in the Navy’ present to myself so I let it slide to $4k. If you subtract the cost of the monitor, the keyboard, and the headphones, I actually feel like I didn’t do too bad for the price of the tower itself. I started buying the hardware in mid August as things went on sale and finished all purchases at the end of October. I originally planned on finishing around the end of November but got a little impatient. =)
The purpose of this machine is to destroy any game I throw at it in 1440p (144hz) for awhile. Right now I’m playing a lot of BF4 but plan on starting AC4, Borderlands Pre-Sequel, and DA:I real soon. I know that some of the parts are overkill, but I’m going to be honest, I just wanted an all around bada** rig that not only performed well, but looked just as good. Money wasn’t a huge factor for me. Initially I chose the 900D but switched to the 750D because it still has all the room I need and then some, even if I decide to do a custom loop which probably will happen in the future, and then even farther down the line if I want to make any upgrades. I plan on using this case for many years to come, along with some of the other components which explains why I went with RM1000. Hopefully I can make the i7 4790k last for awhile too, I feel like even though next-gen processors are out I really don’t see a reason (right now) to go with anything over this. Other components I went with, including h100i, Maximus VI Formula, Dominator Platinum, 840 Pro, and Corsair Quiet Edition fans were chosen mostly because from everything I’ve reviewed, these are all very solid choices regarding performance and aesthetics.
Now for what really matters, the GPU’s. The 780ti’s were an obvious first choice, I just wanted the muscle. But after the 980’s came out it made sense to go with those. With the better power efficiency I’m excited to overclock and see how far I can take them. Since the 980’s were out of stock for awhile I went ahead and started the build without them.
Everything went pretty smooth, as you can see I kind of went crazy with the paint. I originally was only going to do a couple things but when I realized how quick and easy it was to throw a coat over something I went all out. I’m really happy with the color scheme, I didn’t want too much green so I went white with the motherboard, hard drive bay, and case gpu backplates. I think it actually makes the green pop out a little more. I even used some white electrical tape to spice up the case’s USB 3.0 cable. The cable management was what I was worried about the most and as you can see I was a little OCD about it. I probably spent about 5 hours alone on cable management but I finally placed every wire/cable perfectly (in my opinion). Overall it's pretty clean because I had to wait so long to get the 980's, I wasn't in a rush at all and took a lot of time to make everything as clean as possible. The 750D is amazing, it seemed like there was an anchor or hole or whatever I needed placed perfectly for everything. I highly, highly recommend this case. I guess the only issue was that the sticky tape on the NZXT Hue LED strip didn't stick for very long so I went ahead and used super glue to keep it in place, problem solved. I’m going to make sure I post a lot of pictures of the cable management because I know I scoured through a ton of builds to find individual placements so for anyone who would like some ideas I want you to have a full resource right here. I finally was able to get a hold of the two 980's after about 3 weeks of waiting and I think their paint job turned out really awesome.
I would also like to thank the 10,000 cable ties that heroically gave their life for this build, you will not be forgotten. Finally, for all of you curious folks out there, yes. This computer does run Minesweeper at ultra settings.
Just a reminder, this is my first build so I am absolutely open to positive criticism and recommendations and of course if you have any questions about any of the hardware or experiences with this build please ask! Also, if you would like to see a picture with the LED’s at a certain color just ask and I’ll throw one up, cheers!
^ Me when I woke up this morning and saw I had almost 150 upvotes overnight, thanks everyone!
Update 11/15/14: My ROG Swift came in a couple of days ago and it's amazing. I've been reading about some quality assurance issues with these monitors but mine arrived with no issues at all. I highly recommend this monitor, playing games at 1440p, at 144hz with G-Sync is absolutely night and day from where I'm coming from and I couldn't be happier. I was also having some problems with flickering when playing in full screen mode in SLI, but found out that it had something to do with having the SLI bridge on the left slots of the cards. I just moved it over to the right and the flickering was gone. Pics have been added of my full setup! I don't really like having to put the tower under my desk but it's just temporary until we relocate next year. I also had time today to overclock, these pics are also included. I met and slightly surpassed the goal/sweet spot for these cards which is 1500 MHz GPU clock at 1512 MHz so I'm happy about that. Memory clock was set to 1830 MHz and I also set an overvoltage of 50mV. 4790k was running smoothly, 4.7GHz at 1.280V. After about 4 hours of strenuous gaming, top GPU peaks at 86C and bottom at 83C.
Update 02/15/16: I recently made the switch from the Blackwidow Ultimate to a the CODE 104-Key with Cherry MX-Clear switches from WASD Keyboards. The clicking of the Blackwidow was a little too loud, especially when I've been up late writing code for school. I modded the new board with 40 A-L 0.2 mm O-ring switch dampeners so there is much more of a softer sound when typing but still a full keystroke. This keyboard is an absolute pleasure to type on. For anyone who spends a serious amount of time on their computer, I highly recommend investing in a peripheral like this. The Spectre Project build is still chugging on stronger than ever, 15 months after it's debut!