Hello All! Thanks for stopping in, and double thanks if you manage to read through the whole build log below. If you have questions, by all means ask. I actively check back to look at builds and comment here, and I will answer your question in a fairly timely manner.
This build was built to replace me 7 year old daily driver/ gaming rig (which was a QX9650/8800 GTS 512 SLI). The following list of goals were what I hoped to achieve:
- Fairly high overclocking headroom with CPU/RAM/GPU
- Neutral color scheme
- RGB Lighting to match RGB Keyboard (future purchase)
- Clean looking cable management & case aesthetic (Tower will sit up on my large desk at some point)
- Nearly silent @ idle, not very loud @ load
- Room for SLI (plenty of power, support from Mobo, etc...)
- Ability to game at 1440p @ 120+ Hz. (after future monitor purchase, and perhaps second GPU)
- High Storage Capacity - I was constantly compromising with my previous 750 GB Setup
- $1800 USD Budget
Here is a list of things I will/will not use this machine for:
- Daily tasks (paying bills, studying, email, youtube, etc.)
- Database Design
- I will NOT be doing any sort of content creation
Here are some of the big decisions I had to make, and why I made them:
1. Z97 or X99 - At the $1800 price point there is simply no reason to go x99. I literally did all the research, and priced out a X99 build, and it was looking like it would be LESS powerful from a gaming standpoint at the $1800 price point. Said in other words, It made more sense to go with Z97 because ultimately I could build a higher performing machine when it comes to gaming as compared to X99 at the same price point.
2. i5 or i7 - Because I am not going to be doing content creation, there really isn't any great need for the hyper-threading that the i7 devils canyon CPU offers. Again, when looked at from a gaming perspective, it just didn't make sense to spend any more on a CPU, all of the benchmarks suggest virtually no gain between the 4690k and the 4790k.
3. RAM Density - I really don't see any point in having more than 8GB of ram. Again, without the need for a machine that can handle content creation, having more than 8GB of ram didn't make sense. There are very few games currently on the market (less than 3 that i can think of) that use more than 6 GB at any one time. There is some room for the "future-proofing" argument, but ultimately, I can always purchase more/different ram down the road in the unlikely event that 8GB is insufficient.
4. Closed Loop/Air Cooler - This one was probably the toughest choice, but ultimately, I choose to go with an air cooler. Again, I wanted a silent rig, and most CLC's tend to be quite noisy at the entry level price point. In addition, most decent air coolers cost less and function just as good as the entry level CLC's out there on the market. The aesthetic appeals to me, but at the end of the day I chose to lean towards lower noise and less cost.
5. Ram Choice - A thorough person might ask why i spent 94.99 on the Corsair Vengeance ram, when I could have spent about $10-15 less on higher spec G.Skill ram. Ultimately, I decided to go with aesthetics on the ram choice. The difference between 1600-1866 is fairly negligible in day to day computing (and at best 1-2 FPS difference in demanding games), so even if I cant overclock to 1866+, i'm fine with having my ram run slightly slower. I try to look at it as the same price as an ugly equivalent part, but with a small up-charge for looking classy.
6. PSU Choice - This was sort of tricky, but again, I wanted to have plenty of room for SLI down the road, which meant that I needed at least 530 Watts. I also wanted a modular PSU with sleeved cables. This was the best power supply I could get that met that minimum wattage requirement. It was on special at the time of purchase so the choice was easy. I've read that running a good margin below your PSU (verses running close to its max) is a great way of extending the lifetime of your PSU.
OVERCLOCK - CPU: 4.5 Ghz @ 1.295V (Cache @ Stock) RAM: 1866MHz 9-10-9-27 2T @ 1.500V
UPDATE 1 - I have had just a little bit of time so far to do some tinkering in the UEFI. I am currently running stable at 4.5GHz @ 1.290 V. Temps max out at about 78 for the Intel stress test, and I have been running 24/7 with it set at 4.5GHz with all the power saving features turned off (it doesn't throttle voltage or clock rate at all) with no issues.
UPDATE 2 - After some more testing, it seemed as though the CPU was in fact quite stable at 4.5GHz@1.295V. I set the CPU back to stock for a bit and started tinkering with ram timings. First I tried 1866 Mhz with timings 9-10-9-27 @ 1.5V, and sure enough, the system managed to post without any issues. For the record, I used the exact settings that corsair lists for their Vengeance LP 1866MHz part. I ran a few tests, and did a few hours of gaming, and had no issues that I could concretely tie to the overclock (I had one system lockup, but it happened while using some poorly written software...). I set my CPU back to the overclock settings above and did some more testing with both CPU and RAM overclocked, and still no issues. =)
After Tax & Shipping The Parts Were $1842.67, Newegg's Iron Egg Guarantee Reduced the Price by $50 (after the fact, in the form of a 90 day newegg gift card), which ultimately resulted in a final price of $1792.67 (OMG Under Budget, amazing!!!!)
------ WARNING ------
Newegg's Iron Egg Guarantee is not to be trusted. You can only use it on one item, and it can only be used once per Newegg account, and they will do their best to find a reason to deny your claim.
In my case, my SSD was $50 cheaper on Amazon AND on Newegg a few days after purchase. In addition, my CPU was $35 Cheaper on Amazon AND on Newegg. I filed both under the Iron Egg Guarantee, and about 4 days later both claims came back as denied due to "The price being below Newegg's cost." That obviously was complete ********, as Newegg was selling the two parts for the same price as Amazon, the same price I was asking them to price match to. After 25 minutes on the phone with their customer support team, they agreed to "Settle this dispute by awarding a one time $50 dollar gift card," but refused to admit that I was in fact correctly interpreting their policy, and they also refused to admit to selling the parts at the same price as Amazon, even though I had screenshots and both PCPartPicker and HoverHound could corroborate my claim. They denied my second part claim (the CPU) because their Iron Egg Guaranshitee can only be used once per account.