My favorite builds are always the ones with a simple understated look and clean cable management. With those as my inspiration and the goal of a quiet PC this is what I came up with. I couldn’t be happier, it has quietly crushed every game I’ve thrown at it.
I originally built this in a Fractal Meshify C TG case early this year but I found the Meshify to be too loud for me. The CPU temps were better in the Meshify but the GPU temps were worse so I decided to disassemble my old build in a Fractal Define R4 case and build in that again. CPU load temp (max) is from Prime95 Small fft with AVX. GPU load temp (max) is similar across multiple benchmarks and while gaming, overclocked with a custom fan curve. Chassis fans are linked to CPU temp with custom curves in the Bios. I'm debating if I want to go through setting up Speedfan to link them to GPU temp.
I wanted a faint LED glow to show off the components without being too flashy. The red LED glow seems to blend the different black metal textures and tones the best of any colors I tried. I also found it was tough getting other colors to match between the LED strips, motherboard and GPU LEDs. There are two Phanteks RGB strips in there held on by the included strip magnets to the top and bottom of the case. If anyone has any tips for cheaply diffusing LED strips I’d appreciate suggestions. I had to put the Hunter in there because unfortunately this is likely the only way I’ll ever get Bloodborne inside my PC ☹
Any comments are appreciated, thanks for checking my build out!
Nov. 5th Update: GPU is now overclocked. It's stable at +40 on the core and +1000 on memory with stock voltages. I was hoping to get more out of the core but Timespy crashes consistently above +50 even if I add more voltage. Temps stayed about the same as before the OC with the fans running about 10% faster on a custom curve.
Beast of a processor, probably much more than I need for gaming but I wanted something to last me a long time. One thing I didn’t know when I bought it is that multi core max turbo frequency is 4.3Ghz, single core is 4.7. I rarely saw the processor exceed 4.3Ghz during any use case before overclocking. I settled on a modest overclock of 4.8Ghz at 1.29V which has been nice and stable with reasonable temps during stress testing. I found this CPU easier to overclock than my previous i5 4690K.
I wanted to try a higher end air cooler with this build and loved the look of the Dark Rock 4. I like being able to see the RAM and IO shield and didn’t really need the larger Dark Rock 4 Pro. Installation is really easy, much less stressful than installing the AIO cooler in my previous build. It runs quiet for my use case, you can hear it when stress testing but silent when gaming. I’m using it to cool an 8700k (not delidded) OC’d to 4.8GHz at 1.29V, it keeps me around 80°C in Prime95 small fft with AVX. The cooler fan does impinge on one RAM slot so I’d have to move the fan up about 1mm to run 4 RAM sticks.
I’m mostly happy with this board. I like how it looks (aside from the gamer tag words on the IO shield haha), it has dual M2 Slots, lots of features, good IO with lots of USB ports, high build quality, excellent bios, strong power delivery. I’d suggest reading up on ASUS MCE and Armoury Crate before your first boot in case you want to disable those things. I have some issues with the on board sound that I haven’t been able to solve. I’m running an optical out to an external DAC/headphone amp (Audioengine D1) and I regularly get popping sounds through the speakers or headphones. This occurs on boot and when volume changes quickly, it’s especially bad with Youtube videos. Drivers have been stripped and reinstalled many times, updated bios, tried different cables with and without the DAC, tried headphones direct to the front and rear ports too, nothing helps. Researching online it seems that many ASUS mobos have had this issue and they haven’t done much to fix it. I might consider a separate sound card to bypass the on board audio but this is disappointing for a board at this price.
It randomly accesses memories. Works great, XMP profile applied with no issues. Looks clean and is low profile. In hindsight I might have gone with 2x 16GB but the price was outrageous and this should do me fine for a while.
Works great as my secondary drive for storage, good value for a decently quick and large drive.
I love the M2 form factor, super clean and easy to install. This blazing fast drive holds my OS and tons of games. Most games load before I can read any load screen tips. Boots to windows in like 5 seconds. It is ridiculous. By far the easiest component to cable manage in my build.
This is my 3rd MSI GPU and they’ve all been excellent. It’s a big GPU but fits in my case without issues. I wanted a card to run MAX settings (with RTX) at 1440p for the next couple years and this more than achieves that. I like the triple fan setup as it runs quiet under full load and should have lots of headroom for overclocking. This thing is double the performance of my previous 1070 and was a few hundred dollars more than I paid for that so the value is OK for me. I think the card looks great and it has lots of RGB options, I’m glad MSI got away from using too much red plastic on the gaming cards. RTX ray tracing is OK, I have a few games that use it and they do look beautiful without too much of a performance/fps hit at 1440p. It is overclocked to +40 on the core and +1000 on the memory at stock voltages. I wanted to get a bit more out of the core but it crashes in Timespy above +50 even with more voltage. Temps stayed about the same as before the OC once I added 10% more fan speed through a custom curve. The included GPU brace is a nice touch but I can’t seem to get the brace to sit nicely against the GPU and it still allows some sag no matter how I adjust it. The “True Gaming” branding on it is a bit silly although nothing some black vinyl couldn’t fix. I have since replaced the brace with a post style one that sits on the bottom of the case and has an adjustable arm. It works well sitting against the back of the case and is much cleaner looking.
I bought this case in 2016 and I have yet to find a case that I would replace it with. It’s quiet, clean looking, easy to build in, modular, well-built and well filtered. I wanted a case with a tempered glass side panel and was looking at getting a Define R6 but I found out that Fractal sells tempered glass panels for the R4. I chose to go back to this case after trying a Meshify C as mentioned in my build log, the R4 has similar airflow and is much quieter. I have changed the stock power led from the super bright blue one to a more subtle red one and I’ve also painted the PCI-E slot covers black.
I’ve heard good things about Corsair PSUs and this was an easy choice. 750W more than covers my needs with overclocking and should last me a long time. I bought a “CableMod Classic ModFlex C-Series Cable Kit” specifically for this PSU to clean up the cable runs.
I spent far more time researching fans than I’d care to admit. As far as I can find, this fan has better specs than any other 140mm, including Noctuas. Phanteks claims 85CFM at 19dBA, the closest Noctua is 67CFM at 19dBA with the same static pressure. I’m guessing they all test their fans differently and that Phanteks specs might be a bit ambitious. Regardless, these are excellent fans that run nice and quiet in my application. We’ll see how long they last. I do wish they had a black version with 4pin PWM but can’t seem to find one.