Welcome to the completed build for The Liberator!
This build was done for a friend of mine who wanted a great gaming build that he could upgrade in the future. He uses his computer almost exclusively to play games so that was the main focus here. In the past he's bought most of his computers from Alienware so I wanted to do this right.
I decided to go with a i5-6500 since he won't be overclocking and the boost clock is only marginally slower than an i5-6600. I originally paired this with a MSI B150I motherboard but the one that was shipped to me had a bad DIMM slot so I switched him to the Gigabyte H170N-WIFI board instead.
I originally went with a Cryorig m9i CPU cooler but the capacitors around the CPU bracket prevented me from mounting the cooler correctly. I switched to the Cryorig C7 because I had it sitting around for my little brother's build. It run's pretty cool and quiet for what it is and looks pretty good.
Originally we had some GIEL LUCE RAM but I was having an issue installing Windows with it. As a last ditch effort to figure out what was going on I ran to Best Buy and picked up whatever RAM they had. We chose just to keep what was working and thus we ended up with this overpriced kit of PNY Anarchy RAM.
Storage was pretty easy. He only had one 7200 RPM terabyte drive in his old system. The upgrade to a M.2 SSD and a 2 terabyte HDD should satisfy his storage needs.
Since we were going to ship the computer across the country I wanted a relatively small case, but one that could accommodate full size components. At his price range the Thermaltake V1 was a great option and he wanted a white/black build so we went with the white version. See my review for more info.
The EVGA SuperNova GS is a great little unit, would recommend it to anyone.
The crown jewel of this build though is the 1070. Amazing performance from this card. Picked it up on launch day from Newegg thanks to NowInStock. Yeah it's the founder's edition and no that won't boost clock as well as other cards in the series, but in an ITX case the blower style cooler works great and this card absolutely destroys my rig. Very tempting to pick one up for myself!
The build didn't go too well. First I noticed that only one of his DIMM slots was registering RAM which meant an RMA for the motherboard. Then after driving down to my local MicroCenter for a new motherboard I discovered after hours of trying to install Windows that the kit of RAM that I originally picked up was faulty and was causing an error during install. Cable management was pretty easy except for that USB 3.0 cable. Overall not too bad, could have been a lot worse.
Sadly I only got a few benchmarks before I sent the machine off. You can see them in the attached pictures. CAM picture was CPU temp under prime95 load.
Total cost with shipping and tax came out to be a little over $1200. All in all I think this is a great gaming rig now and a great platform to upgrade in the future!
This CPU runs games great but isn't overkill. A good buy overall.
Runs quiet and cool. Mounts okay and doesn't interfere with anything on the motherboard. Good stock replacement if the price is right.
No frills motherboard. M.2 slot on the back of the board and built in wifi. Not my first choice (would rather have an ASUS mobo...) but get's the job done. USB 3.0 placment (between the CPU cooler and the GPU) makes routing more difficult than it needs to be. BIOS is okay.
I got this RAM to replace a bad kit quick. It looks okay and the performance was on par with what I had before. Overpaid to debug the build, but decided to hold onto it since it was working.
This M.2 SSD is enough to hold his OS and other applications. Works well and performs on par with other SSD brands since he isn't going to be doing any editing or anything else like that. Placed on the back of the MOBO you can't (shouldn't) see it which is okay.
I know a lot of people say Seagate Barracude drives are not as reliable. The orignal report saying this was testing the drives in a data-storage environment which is not what these drives were designed for. For gaming this drive is great and works well for game storage.
The reason behind this build. The GTX 970 was a great card for 1080p gaming. This card seems to be it's eqivalent for 1440p gaming. Ran everything I benchmarked very very well and I think he's going to like it a lot. Yeah the FE is paying a premium to get the card quicker but hey, he wanted his computer and I was able to find it on launch day. The blower style cooler works well in his case as well.
The Snow edition looks good but there are a few things I didn't like about this case. First, the thumb screws that hold the panels and drive cages are complete crap. They are plastic around a silver screw and feel flimsy. Get a set of black steel thumbscrews for your build. Second the drive cages are a little flimsy and are slightly awkward to work with. The two 80mm rear exahust fans are a little strange as well. Would have prefered a 120mm fan mount. The build in the case went well and I am a fan of cube style cases. It's a little large for an ITX case but overall it's not a bad product.
Good powersupply which is a little smaller than most. Picked this up just in case he wanted to switch to a different case in the future. This should fit well in any case that supports ATX style PSUs. Fully modular and gold rated this is a top-tier part.