Hello, and welcome to my first desktop build :)
This computer was built with 3D Animation and Modeling and Rendering in mind. I am a college student majoring in Computer Graphics, and initially I didn't have that great of a computer to start with, as it wasn't making the time cuts that I expected (and factoring in that it overheats like crazy). So I was rationalizing a desktop computer for a while.
I play games too, and the laptop I was on was not able to play the games I play at an acceptable resolution and graphics fidelity. Games has been a part of my life, and I am proud to be pursuing game development, along with being a PC enthusiast. How well does being a gamer, an aspiring game developer, and a PC enthusiast go together? Sounds like a match made in heaven :D
Autodesk 3ds Max
Unreal Engine 4
Rise of the Tomb Raider
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Morodor
Mirror's Edge Catalyst
History Up to Building the Computer
It started with a Z170 platform, but after some discussion on the forums (and some thinking to myself), I decided to go with X99 instead, as the applications I use will harness 12 threads of a CPU appropriate for that chipset. After completing my Fall semester, I thought now would be a good time to start acquiring the parts.
The parts collection started around late last year, and has now ended today. The RAM is the last thing that is coming in today (along with the headphones and the monitor).
Because I live in California, taxes are applied to 99% of the parts here. And because I am also a PC enthusiast, when I was getting all of this hardware, I decided to treat myself to some expensive pieces.
This is the list and why I chose them in the first place (Please note parts configuration is subject to change without notice, as I try different configurations):
Intel Core i7-5930K 3.5 GHz 6-core CPU: This chip (though not exactly a monster chip), has the 6 cores, 12 threads that I can throw around in my 3D workloads. It runs a little faster than the 5820K out of the box, and it has 40 PCI Express lanes for future expandability, plus two cards can run at full 16x bandwidth for feeding all of the GPUs in those kinds of workloads in GPU rendering with Nvidia Iray. If you're wondering "why not Broadwell-E?" I'm not too enthused by the marginal gains and the exorbitant price premium you're paying compared to Haswell-E. This is $578.99 when I got it at Fry's Electronics, and the 6850K (the 5930K replacement), is $624.99. That equates to a $50 premium, which for me, is quite the amount right there. If I didn't have to pay for the sales tax, then I would have gone with the latter instead if I wanted to.
Asus Rampage V Edition 10: I Initially thought that Asus wasn't going to do a Black Edition or something, but it seems that they quietly released this as part of ROG's 10th Anniversary. This motherboard has an ***-load of features, and is the single most expensive piece of hardware that I have ever acquired so far (and for this whole system). I may be even one of the few so far that has this motherboard in their system. It looks beautiful, and is also chock-full of RGB LED lighting.
Corsair Dominator Platinum Special Edition 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4 3200 MHz CAS 14 RAM - Blackout: Numbered 338 out of 500, this is some of the nicest looking RAM I have ever bought. Plus it runs so ******* fast it lets me render my projects much faster on this computer as well. I also needed 32GB of it so I can hold much more data in certain projects which will gobble up RAM. This is limited edition as well, and I am proud to actually own this stuff.
In addition to that, it is also compatible with my Haswell-E processor, whereas G.SKILL claims that their TridentZ RAM (another option that was up there) is only compatible with Broadwell-E CPUs, but I think it also has to do with motherboard compatibility as well, which the Rampage V Edition 10 motherboard supports DDR4 RAM speeds of 3333+ MHz with all 8 DIMMs populated.
PNY CS1311 480GB SSD: Now I can choose to go with the ever so popular Samsung drive, but for around $110 before tax, this can't be beat. It uses the same TLC NAND as the 850 EVO drive, so there's pretty much no difference in endurance.
Western Digital Red 3TB 5400 RPM HDD: For around $119 before tax, 3TB of HDD couldn't be beat either. The WD Black 3TB drive was $169 before tax, which for a similar price, I could have gone for the 4TB version, but because I had to work with the budget I had, I had to go with the 3TB version, and I can always expand my storage later on down the line when I need (or wanted) to.
EVGA GeForce GTX 960 4GB FTW ACX 2.0+: For $209 before tax, and factoring in that the Pascal cards are out of stock and that AMD cards doesn't have the resources I need for the programs I use, I had to go with this one. Much more powerful than the GTX 750 Ti, this thing will get me through both gaming and 3D Rendering. Also this is more power efficient and where I live, electricity isn't exactly cheap, and my house isn't rigged with solar panels to feed the AMD GPUs without inflating the electricity bills.
Corsair Obsidian Series 900D Super Tower Case: I've always wanted something big, flexible, durable, long-lasting, and most importantly, very easy to build in. This was the answer! It is huge, and will swallow anything I can throw at it. Components will look rather small in this Goliath, and when I do upgrade to some nice watercooling, it will still look rather empty. But that's okay because it's been over 6 months since I've owned this case, and I don't plan on upgrading it anytime soon. I need to write a review of it, but I have been holding off since I didn't have a system to put it in.
Corsair AX1200i: This beefcake of a PSU was originally purchased on the 26 of December of 2015 at Fry's Electronics during Christmas Sales. This was previously used by my brother, and it all works nice and well. One such upgrade which would call for this is the fact that when I upgrade to some very high-end Nvidia GPUs, overclock it, it's going to stress the EVGA Supernova 850 P2 PSU.
Windows 10 Pro 64-bit: I initially started with Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit so I can get Windows 10 Pro for free because the free upgrade thing is still ongoing. The upgrade process was a nightmare, as it always got stuck at 99%. What I had to do was disable the update thing and I had to delete the whole Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant folder and re-download the whole thing.
2 Corsair ML120 Twin Pack fans: I recently upgraded my cooling fans for my liquid cooler to these brand-new Corsair ML120 fans. I didn't get the black ones, as this particular version gave me better bang for the buck. Plus they perform just as good and they also remind me of those Scythe GT's of the olden days that I was unfortunately not a part of as a millennial. I have these fans set up in a push-pull configuration for my AIO liquid cooler. And since the upgrade, they have actually improved my CPU temperature.
Corsair ML140 Twin Pack fans: These are for the front intakes of my case. I chose these over another set of ML120 as I wanted a bigger fan for front intakes. Plus I only needed two of them to deck out the front intakes and now my intake needs are taken care of.
Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 240 240mm AIO cooler: I've upgraded the cooling from the Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.C to the Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 240 because it couldn't keep up with my overclocked 5930K. Reason being is I wanted something other than an Asetek or CoolIT rebrand. The performance of the rebranded models like the Corsair H110i V2 and the NZXT Kraken X61 are no different if you use the same fans throughout. The Cooler Master one is all designed by Cooler Master as far as I'm aware of, and its performance is really close to its 280mm sized competitors. I also rather prefer more function than form, so aesthetics aside, this is what I much rather prefer.
Noctua NF-A14 "Special Linus Tech Tips Edition" 140mm PWM fan: Now this, is the most expensive fan, I have ever acquired. Also from Performance PCs, this was a limited run and you can no longer get them, but I managed to snag one for my build, and it is being used as a rear intake fan. Also I wanted a trump card, so why not?! XD
Unfortunately you can no longer buy this fan anymore. Performance PCs recently stopped listing these, as the LTT Edition of the fan finally sold out. Sorry guys.
Asus PB238Q 23" 18080p IPS monitor: I've grown tired of the monitors that have barely any adjustment options, and this one proved to be a good one. I used the Newegg power search to find this puppy. What I wanted was a monitor with tilt, height, swivel, and pivot, and is VESA mountable with an available DisplayPort input. This monitor also has an IPS panel for nicer colors for Photoshop, and for general use too. It ran me $209 before tax, so for a monitor that has all of the features I wanted in the meantime.
HP Compaq LA 1956x: I needed a second monitor for extra desk space. Though mind you this 5:4 junker is not great for color grading, but it does its job for expanding my real-estate. I have a totally different model on this parts list, but I would expect this one to be around the USD $100 range.
Kensington keyboard: It's all I got. It was in a tote somewhere in my room and I wanted something with a little bit lower profile keys. But typing on it is something left to be desired. Keys occasionally get stuck, as they're not greased at all and I don't intend to do that, as I plan on upgrading my keyboard to the Corsair K95 RGB MMO keyboard, as it is listed here. I will update it once I acquire it.
Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum: This is my favorite mouse by far. I've tried out my brother's Razer Naga Epic Chroma, but this is my favorite. I like that it has weights that you can put in and customize to your heart's content. It also has RGB lighting so I can customize it to whatever I am in the mood for.
Sennheiser HD 598 SE Headphones I've grown tired of "gaming audio". It's either you get good audio, or get garbage audio! So I chose these headphones over anything else, and I can easily pair it with the SupremeFX Hi-FI USB DAC/Amp Combo for a listening experience the way it was recorded at the studio.
On a final note
When I get the system up and running, I will add all of the details of the final clocks and temps I hit. For now I need to wait for the RAM to come in before I can build the system.
I will be making changes to the configuration of this build. I will also be adding more pictures as I get the parts and during the build process. So stay tuned. Let me know what you think as well! :)
3 August 2016 Update: Here's some juicy pictures I took. I had to ghetto-rig some desk lamps to try and evenly light up the build as best as I can. These are the results I got out of it ;)
10 September 2016 Update: Changed my testing methodology. I used OCCT Stress Test for both CPU and GPU, and what I did was I cold-booted my system and took their idle temps. Then I loaded my CPU down with a 30-minute, 64-bit regular load and took the temperature that my motherboard was reporting. That temp was setting it up for some thermal throttling that I set in the motherboard's BIOS (Yes, you can manually set your thermal throttle limit, I set it to 85º centigrade). Then for the GPU, I used the EVGA OC Scanner Furmark stress test using the Furry E scene at 4K and 8x MSAA, and took the GPU's temp. I used the Silent fan profile in my EVGA PrecisionX OC software.
25 October 2016 Update: New Corsair ML120 and 140mm fans in the twin pack flavor. Removed all of my Noiseblocker fans to now have all-PWM fans. This makes my computer so damn quiet and with these new ML120 fans, they helped improve my CPU temperatures. I also changed my CPU frequency to 4.4 GHz which there is 1.185 volts being pumped into it to not run this thing too too hot. I know that the CPU can run safely at 4.6 GHz, but doing so causes my CPU to heat up too much, so until I can upgrade my cooling to custom water cooling, I have to run the CPU at that frequency and voltage, but it's still stable.
11 November 2016 Update: Upgraded my RAM to 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum Special Edition in Blackout. Numbered 338 out of 500.
27 November 2016 Update: Just got around to updating all of my pictures. I am also doing a brochure project of my build. It will be finished by December 17. It is still in progress until then.
I also hope that the pictures turned up well. I did not undo my AIO liquid cooler entirely because I did not have more "good" thermal compound on hand, and I did not want that swanky Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut to go to waste as it is an excellent TIM.
I also had to underclock my GPU as it was getting unstable with drivers crashing. It now runs at 1,495 MHz. Memory and voltages remain the same.
Pictures will be updated when I get around to updating them.
Jurunce the Mod Guy (JurunceNK)
Fast processor. I can clock this thing to 4.7 GHz at 1.325 volts, but because I am on an AIO and I do 3D animation, I have to leave it at stock to keep temps under control when it's pegged at 100% load while it's rendering.
Amazing AIO liquid cooler, except that the fans suck balls. I am using two Noiseblocker fans on the radiator, and temps don't suffer. I found out that liquid cooling is necessary for X99 chips, as my Prolimatech Megahalems can't even handle the Intel Core i7-5930K CPU that's been overclocked. With that said, both coolers are amazing, and I'll find a use for my air cooler.
It's crazy expensive. It has an ***-load of features, and usability is a breeze. The SupremeFX Hi-Fi is what I consider one of the best features of this thing. Another is the UEFI BIOS, it's awesome and it's a breeze to use. It's got all the things I ever wanted for future expansions and/or reconfigurations when the time comes. The reinforced PCIe x16 slots will come in handy if you're installing GPU's made by Goliath or GPU's with waterblocks strapped onto them.
Just make sure you install ALL of the drivers (Including the SupremeFX Hi-Fi software to get the add-on to work). The utilities are totally up to you. As of writing this review, both of my BIOS chips are updated to version 0901.
This SSD was only $109.99 when I bought it, which is a kick-*** deal. But over time, boot times worsened. When I ran a CrystalDiskMark benchmark with a 16GB sample, I found the 4K IOPS performance to fall to 106 MB/s random reads, and 105 MB/s random write. I don't know if this is normal for SSD's, especially the Samsung drives, but this is pathetic in my mind. But it's got 480GB of storage which I use to hold all of my commonly-used programs and my Windows 10 Pro on here.
UPDATE: After looking at the sequentials, for a 16GB-sized sample, the performance blows, so I docked another star from the overall rating. The advertised sequential write is 520 MB/s.
3TB should be enough. The WD Red drives I found to have a better GB/$, and the sequential speeds actually improves when the capacity gets bigger, so with this in mind, I split it into two partions of a 1.5TB partition to hold all of my games, and a 547GB partition for all of my projects, and miscellaneous programs and files.
It's also quiet, and runs cool too.
This card isn't the most amazeballs, but in its time within the USD $250 range would be considered total badassery. I once managed to clock this thing to 1.53 GHz at one point, and I benchmarked it with an overclocked 5930K CPU, and I managed to secure first place for the Fire Strike benchmark. For all the games I play so far, I can set the games to high/ultra (or Ultra for older titles), and I still get remarkable framerates for 1080p gaming.
This case is very easy to work in, it's got 1 1/8 worth of cable management space, but its functionality is lacking. Airflow was a miss IMO, and the expansion slot screws are a ***** to get at with GPU's installed. It's also heavy too. And when I bought it, it was USD $299.99, so I can let it slide. But I can't give it enough respect because its functionality is something left to be desired.
With airflow in mind, you can make the argument that it's more of a watercooling case. That's correct, but for either air or liquid cooling, the heat exchangers love cool air, therefore keeping temps lower with nice airflow through your case.
Note to PCPP Staff: Any case that supports an EATX motherboard can therefore support SSI CEB motherboards without any modifications made to the case whatsoever. Such motherboards like the Asus X99-E-10G WS motherboard can easily fit into this case. Some cases like this one can easily fit an SSI EEB motherboard. Can you please correct this issue. Much appreciated :)
This is one huge-*** power supply for this kind of configuration, but I do have plans in mind that will inevitably draw more power. I plan on upgrading my GTX 960 to two Nvidia Titan X's and overclock the whole system once I get custom CPU liquid cooling for my 5930K CPU so I can for once clock the CPU to 4.7 GHz without the temps flying too close to the sun. I found that an overclocked CPU can draw up to 30 amps or more, so for my motherboard, I plugged both of my CPU power connectors. I can imagine that the Nvidia Titan X's can pull more current.
I started with Windows 7 Ultimate, then I upgraded to Windows 10 Pro, so I didn't have to pay a damn dime for a license of my own. But it did come with one problem, when the upgrade succeeded, my Windows 10 Pro wasn't activated, so I got onto the phone with Microsoft, and they activated my OS, so I now have a genuine copy.