This build has been superceded by the new v3.2 with Tempered Glass mod. Check out this post for the new version: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/9zNQzy
Update April 3, 2017
Phoebe v3 has undergone several revision since the initial build. GPU has been upgraded, SATA SSD has been replaced with NVME, cooler has been upgraded, cables have been replaced, and last but not least, I'm going to swap the side panel to a tempered glass.
Once I'm done with the tempered glass portion, I will do a new write-up chronicling the journey! Stay tuned
Two quick updates. I initially got 4x Noctua NF-S12B Redux because the cooler I initially picked was the Cryorig C7 which is a low profile cooler so I can fit 2 side intake and 2 bottom intake. However, when changing to the Cryorig M9i tower cooler, the left side intake don't fit anymore so I keep one as spare.
More importantly, I also added 1x Noctua NF-B9 Redux for exhaust. This has helped drop temperature by around 4C on both CPU and GPU. Highly recommended!!
As of today with the exhaust fan, here are the temperature details:
CPU Idle = 29-30C
CPU Heaven load = 49-50C
CPU x264 Stress Test = 58-62C
GPU Idle = 50C (Fan not running)
GPU Heaven load = 75-76C rock solid
The EVGA 980 Ti SC is an extremely good card. However, the full fat GM200 core is showing its age in the thermal department. While the ACX 2.0 cooler can generally kept the temperature in check around 78C, it's at the cost of noise as the cooler has to ramp up significantly to keep up with the thermals.
Along come Pascal. Specifically Asus Strix 1070. This is the non-OC edition and it's a beast. It performs just as well as the 980 Ti but at a much lower thermal envelope... and in turn, less noisy too.
Note that the GPU is an extremely tight fit for NCase M1. You need to gently lower the right side of the GPU to the other side and slowly slide the bracket side lower.
GPU is overclocked to 112% Power target, 83C Temp target, +207 Mhz Core, and +792 Mhz Effective Memory. This brings the card to 1713 Mhz Base, 1890 Mhz advertised Boost, and around 1980 Mhz Boost in game with Max boost to 2025 Mhz.
GPU Temperature is around 45-50C at idle with 0 rpm fan and between 75-78C during full load with much, much lower noise.
Phoebe I started in 2011 as a budget PC build to mark my comeback to PC Building scene after a 6 years hiatus. The build was completed using i5-2500k, 8GB RAM, and Radeon 6870. Over time, I added a second video card for a Crossfire set up (that was a mistake) and eventually upgrading to Sapphire Radeon R9 290 Tri-X when it was released. This is a decent rig but embarrassingly outmatched by my decision to go with a 1440p monitor because once you saw a beautiful 27" 1440p monitor, you're not going back. Neither 6870 nor R9 290 is equipped to drive 1440p monitor at max settings.
Phoebe II was part of the "half upgrade" I initiated in early 2016. These include:
NZXT S340 White Case
EVGA 980 Ti Superclocked.
500GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Arctic Freezer 120 AIO
The newly updated rig was great and I was finally able to play most games at 1440p with very little compromise. However, the beautiful S340, albeit smaller than my original case, is still an ATX case and too large to be desk-friendly.
In summer 2016, I started researching ITX build and was instantly enchanted (and clearly mind-blown) by the fact that you can fit such power in a small package. My initial thought was to go with Phanteks EVOLV ITX but decided against it as the case itself is still relatively large and I want something smaller and more elegant.
When I stumbled upon NCase M1 and Dan Cases A4 over at HardOCP Forum, I knew my next case will be one of these two. They are SFF (Small Form Factor) cases that maximize efficiency while being extremely pleasant to look at. This means my PC can finally be on my desk without being too overbearing or look like an eyesore.
As far as the inside of the case, moving to ITX means I have to upgrade the entire platform. Skylake/Z170 is a no brainer here.
Let's go through each new parts in details:
CPU: The choices are between i5-6600k or i7-6700k. I chose 6700k just because. While I do not necessarily use the PC outside of gaming, my rationale is that the last Sandy Bridge platform lasted me 5 years so I figure why not get 6700k for the next 4-5 years. Note that CPU is delidded and I use Coolaboratory Liquid Ultra as the TIM between CPU Core and the IHS.
CPU Cooler: I initially picked Cryorig C7 but found it lacking. The Cryorig M9i is an excellent and cheap cooler for this configuration. I got approximately 10C lower with M9i vs the C7 while being quieter to boot.
Motherboard: Building an ITX platform means tight spaces. This means motherboard port placement is extremely important. For Z170 ITX motherboard under $200, only Asus Z170i Pro Gaming and Asrock Fatality Z170 has port placement that makes sense. Board like EVGA Stinger has the SATA port in the middle of the board which is just poor. Having said that, the Asus Z170i Pro Gaming is a no brainer as the Asrock Fatality has too much red for my liking and the Asus also supports M.2 for future upgrade.
RAM: G.Skill TridentZ 16GB DDR-3200 Memory is chosen solely because of the look. This is the best looking RAM out there. I picked the White/Black color to match my aesthetics.
Power Supply: The choices are between Corsair SF600 and SF450. Decided to go SF600 just in case.
Fans: Noctua NF-S12B Redux is a good case fan. It runs fairly quiet and supports PWM. Oh and no ugly brown color.
Case: This is the pièce de résistance. NCase M1 is an excellent case. It's tiny yet powerful, elegant yet purposeful. One caveat, this is a fairly challenging case to build as newbie because there is no real "manual". Personally, I would recommend people who have built a few PCs (maybe 2 or more) prior to building with this case. The choice between NCase M1 and Dan Cases A4 is very difficult but it ultimately come down to the fact that the Dan Cases will not ship until later in the year and will be more expensive to boot. P.S. If you are planning to do any watercooling (custom loop or AIO), you can only choose NCase M1 as Dan Cases A4 is too small for any watercooling/AIO or even case fans.
Misc: I also purchased Custom Cablemod cables. I highly recommended this as longer cables mean more slacks that you need to manage. With tiny cases like NCase M1, you need every inch you can get so this custom cable is a lifesaver if you want to make your build as clean and neat as possible. Length as follows:
24 Pin ATX - 250mm (minimum length)
CPU 4+4 EPS - 400mm
(2x) 6+2 PCIE - 200mm
SATA Power - 150mm
Note that I run the CPU power cable behind the motherboard.
CPU is overclocked to 4.5Ghz at 1.28v. Rock solid running x264 stress test from Overclock.net as well as AIDA 64.
CPU Temperature is around 30-32C at idle and between 65-68C during full load.