After months and months of research and watching vids and youtube and reading reviews, I have finally built this. Pls let me rant on. This is my first time building a PC. I initially wanted 1 R9 290, a z97 board, some vengence rams, ssd, simple stuff. But as I delve deeper I fell deeper and this finally sucked me into an endless dark pit. Simple stuff then became performance stuff, x79 black edition,4930K, 2 r9 290s, dominator, corsair graphite. Then I changed my mind, obviously poisoned by the reviews and unboxings, I bought the sapphire R9 295x2, decided to wait for x99, then I returned my 295 because the radiator fins were poor and dented and becasue the price dropped to $999 when i bought 10 days back at $1500. Got to be kidding me right. Then I set my eyes on the ares 3 and I decided to water cool. Confident now from watching videos! What the hell that was easy isn't it in that 20 minute vid? Then I was sourcing for good monitor and wanted to wait for free sync. Anyway after changing my mind time and time again.... the below list is where I ended up with, cant wait no longer.
I do not stream, do not post videos, so no intensive work required. I just want to enjoy a game or 2 after a days work, without lag, without screen tearing, without tearing my hair out. So gaming, surfing online, dvds perhaps, some spreadsheets. Thats it.
The build process was not too difficult. Doing up the motherboard for me took an 30 min or so. I did not have to read through the instructions as I guess I have watched enough videos. Manual needed though for where the cables go is necessary. Also had a water block to install.
The case though took me an afternoon. But it was a great case. top quality and huge, enough room for everything and right for a noobie. It did come with wrong color power-on lights though. Also I spent carelessly and bought some extra accessories like hard disk bays, extra psu support, flex bay radiator mounts that I finally did not need. Anyone that is buying this caselabs case, need to know that flex bay accessories means the left side of the bay. It will not fit the right side as left and right side is different in width. As you can see, left side i had 3x140fans, right side 1 had 4x120 fans, so I thought I could get a flex bay 4x120 mount which is useless in the end. The audio cable was too short for my mobo too, so had to get extensions. It had a removable mobo section, the whole back could come off with the rear fan so I could work on the mobo away from the case. Some fan screws were a little more difficult to get in.
Water cooling side of things, its not too difficult too. Time consuming I would say. Plan better than I did, because I got too many extra fittings. And sometimes the lack of description of the websites, it makes it so difficult. I made 4 separate buys from XSPC... I did spill fluid though, due to the design of the res. Filling the reservoir need to be taken slowly. Some people would suggest using a syringe instead of funnel. Also I got the damn inlet and outlet wrong. was looking at the manual in the wrong direction! Also only enough screws provided for push or pull config. To go both push pull, you need to prepare additional screws for mounting fans to the rad. Apart from this, its ok, not too big a job. The most difficult would be to tear up the GTX 980s to install the custom water blocks. Again due to not so clear instructions, some guess work is required. End of the day, if the screws fit, just use them. Because I had to wait for the gpu water blocks, I had the chance to test the effect. Running 3dmark extreme, highest temp 80c. Now 41c. On heaven and valley it runs higher though. 56c.
Another **** up was screwing the fans wrong..... zzzz..... massive job for me, because, with the water in, I cannot flip the side on the side or upside down to reach the screws underside of the case, and radiator on push pull, 4 fans top, 4 fans bot.... I nearly died when I discovered this. Anyway, I have 8 fans bottom for intake, 7 fans front for intake, 1 rear exhaust, 16 fans push pull for exhaust at the top. Total 32 fans. This is working by convection, hot air rises, static fans just push it out.
Now during first start-up, 1 memory stick was not installed properly, so it came up as 12g memory. Anyway easy fix. Also I had planned to use 3 NZXT grids for the 32 fans. Unfortunately the fan extension that came with the asus deluxe board was not registering it. So out they come... and I was very determined to get the cable management right. I needed both sides to be clean because i have both sides on clear see through panels! In the end I have gone with just simple fan Y splitters from Moddiy. 4 fans to 1 cable. Now all my intake fans are just 4 to 1 molex and powered directly by the PSU. And if i am buying cables, might as well change them all right.... So I went for custom white red black cables. Only difficulty here is that the power 24 pin is kind of special on the psu side. The psu lights up at the connectors plugged into the psu. So these are special connectors. So I could not get a custom one here. Perhaps a small disadvantage of going for super flower psu.
Now I suppose its overclocking time, which is a different beast, so more reading up to do. I have at the moment 4.4ghz on my cpu using the asus 5 way optimization program, so its automatic overclocking. 1543mhz on gpus. 7850mhz memory clock. Pretty sure GPU is maxed out until nvidia unlocks the voltage limit.
I just realised the photos are not too clear. The lights are white and red. I just have the phobya lights cycling all the colours! Will try to get better pix up later. Also only 1 AOC monitor, going to get the rest at a later date when there they are on sale! Customs parts cost if you can see them, are including freight and bought from various countries.
Parts selection and consideration, my logic:
1. CPU - 5930K 6 cores 40 lanes. Its new gen, has 6 cores, and 40 lanes. This is like the middle ground of whats out there at the moment. 5960X is the dream, but I just didnt find paying alot more that that extra 2 cores. But I do find it necessary to pay more to get the 5930K instead of 5820 for the extra lanes. Maybe a little more future proof if ever i wanted to add more pcie devices and still able to juice my graphics both at x16.
2. Mobo - Asus deluxe X99 as you can see, even though it has been a really expensive build, I have again gone for middle ground. It makes sense to me because I have not overclocked before, I will be wasting even more features on the rampage 5 extreme. This mobo has the looks, built in wifi, sound and bluetooth. I cannot believe my last all in pc did not have bluetooth. I mean blue tooth speakers and headphones are getting popular, no way you should overlook this feature. It has also great sound to complement my bose 5.1 companion, and in the rear io, I can do an optical connection and maybe add on a sound bar in future. For anyone wanting more fans, this thing has a fan extension card included, so you can control up to 8 fans. 3 pin fans will work with this too. I just have too many fans and its a personal decision to leave some fans running full time without control. It comes with the 5 way optimization, so if you do not oc manually, this is a very viable option to boost the performance by software. It has the m.2 ssd too.
3. HD - M.2 samsung XP941 This is from my research and COULD be 1 of the fastest out there when i bought it. There are others that have been rated with higher numbers, but there is 1 particular review and test i read that says this is the ssd that they have tested that is fastest in real world use. The review pitched other beasts such as the scorpion ssd, and OCZ revo with the bling bling casing. I have checked my previous pcs, both work and home, I have never exceed 300g of space. So hey, 512g is more than enough for me, and hence my only ssd/hd in my build. I have however stored files in the cloud, and going forward, I could be getting a home cloud instead to store data. This makes more sense to me than having lots of lots of storage in this high wattage pc and not be able to access it when I am not at home. PS: asus do have a home cloud thingy that is bundled with the mobo, but again i am not keen to have it running 24/7
4. power supply - Leadex super flower 1200W great looks to me, and connectors light up at the psu end. After changing to custom cables, my psu end connector are now smoked and not "lighted", but you can see the 24 pin one to get what I mean. The reviews are pretty good on this too, the worst part being the cables. This is also recently reviewed by OC3D, you can check it out. Leave me out of the 80 plus and signal jitters. Its too much for me. As long as it does close to what it says will do, reasonably priced, and doesnt melt down, its good for me.
5. graphics card 980gtx as I said above, I have considered these: 290x, 295x2, ares 3. These are all great contenders. But I finally settled on 980 for these reasons: 1. timing issue. I cannot wait for free sync. I just had to try g sync now. Is it really worth having gsync? I dont think so. A 144 hz monitor would have been good enough i feel. 2. new chip - this maxwell chip draws less power. Come on this means my 1200w is enough, more than enough. In my parts list I had planned and bought a connector as I was prepared to go 2 PSUs initially. But less power draw is a big big consideration as it means cool, and headroom for oc. 3. Nvidia appear to be innovating, but AMD by brute force. No I am not slagging off AMD, as you can see my other options and 1st choice are all AMDs. but I have to say nvidia wins this round, as they have played smarter this time round. Low power, great performance and cool. Whereas the red team in search of speed, just jammed more power into their chips and added a closed loop cooler. The 295 is still a great card, pls do not be affected by what i say, because if i am not doing custom water cooling, the 295 would be my 1st choice.
6. Caselabs th10a
my other choices are graphite 780T, and lianli DK-02 (desk cum pc case).
No regrets here as the build quality is fantastic. Other advantages listed in my rant above. And do not be put off by the price. Its supposed to be about $570 for the basic case. My came up to about a grand, of which 185 was for fedex. This case will last you a life time, also there are various modifications and accessories available, carefully thought through by the caselabs team, like the wheels that some have commented on. My future build will still be in this case, and my next next build and next x3 build. Interestingly, when i first went to caselabs website, I thought people are crazy to pay for this case. It looks squarish, basic compared to the futuristic cases out there. It was until I saw other builds based on the caselabs that opened my scope to the possibilities with this case. Very expandable and 1 of very few cases that can take a 480 rad.
7. Water cooling Ok I went for xspc for the looks. before this corsair H110 was my choice of cpu cooler. I would recommend XSPC or EK. Appears to be the better established 2 water cooling manufacturers. EK waterblocks for the GPUs as they are the first. I go for the first movers first in this case. Just like gsync.
moddiy cables I have to give special mention to this company. If you are looking for cables, this is the place. Customer service is top notch. I get replys on saturdays and sundays. approx 3 days to custom make you cables. The quality is top top top. better than what those psu makers give you. Or perhaps super flower connectors are poor. for example them stupid 8 pins for the cpu, are made up of 2 x 4 pins. so you have to hold them 2 4 pins together to push in. Moddiy ones are connected by a catch, slide them out and they become 2 x 4 pins again. So simple yet lacking from the psu makers. I cannot recommend them enough.
Any other parts you like to know about, pls feel free to comment. Cheers.