I had a GIGABYTE G1 Gaming G1.Sniper M3 build fitted in a totally butchered HAF-X case for 5 years. After building my significant other's NZXT build I've decided it's time for an upgrade. For once (after countless changes, tests and general fooling around) it was raggedy and ticky-tacky. Secondarily, with two 980Ti it was too close for comfort with the temperatures in the loop.
I needed plenty of USB ports through the back, so the new STRIX motherboards were not a plausible option. I have found the Code one of the sleekest looking and well-equipped motherboards in existence, and after the positive experience with a Z270I board, I had no other choice but go with an ASUS offering.
I liked the performance behind the 3000MHz Corsairs Platinums and a 7600K in Agata's build, so I got the same RAM and CPU as hers. When it came to an M.2 SSD, I went for something better than her PM961 and got me a 960 EVO
In order to address the temperature issues, I've managed to get a second hand 360mm Alphacool NexXxos Monsta radiator (84mm thick) and mount it in a push-pull configuration at the bottom of the case.
This brings us to the topic of fans - I would normally choose Noctuas on any day of the week. They are simply better made. The Corsair fans in the upside-down position have a tendency for some occasional jangle and the starting rattle might give you a fright. I got the 2350rpm Corsair fans for one simple reason: a bargain price. That's it.
I've covered the red swappable rings with some orange paint, to match the general black/orange theme.
The custom extensions are a Phanteks kit complimented by BitFenix selection of braided: SATA cables, PCIe 6pin, USB and audio panel extensions.
I had to order a new EKWB SLi parallel bridge for the water loop as the distance between the slots (60.9mm) is different than on my old board.
I had no budget for new water loop, so I've cleaned and reused the old black chrome fittings from all the builds in the past (at least 4 different producers there), cleaned and refitted old radiators:
360mm Hardware Labs Black Ice GTX (top)
120mm Hardware Labs Black Ice GTS (front)
140mmPhobya G-Changer V.2 (back)
The top 360 is fitted with (sadly discontinued) Scythe Gentle Typhoon fans in a pull configuration.
I also held on to an old Koolance water block (CPU-380I), which was considered one of the best IvyBridge blocks. I've used an orange variant of a 3/4"(19mm) x 1/2" (16mm) Masterkleer PVC tubing. All of that is powered by an old, single speed DDC pump with one of the first EK made reservoir top.
The process of building was almost hassle-free in such a spacious case. The only remarks I have are:
The black plastic overlay on a reservoir bracket by the motherboard had to be cut out to fit the graphic cards. On the upside, it makes for a great anti-warping support for those cards.
I had to remove the bottom grommet from the PSU shroud and grind down the top one in order to fit the thick radiator.
The side panels are thin. I'm thinking about a little soundproofing (5mm max.) on them.
Next time don't skimp on extensions - get the replacement cables - there isn't enough space to comfortably fit all of that junk, especially that the XFX cables are thick and stiff. I've spent good 30 minutes trying to cram things in and had to resolder one cable in the process, after yanking one braided thread out of the plug.
The best value, powerful gaming processor in the first quarter of 2017. EOT
I know of only 2 or 3 TIMs that beat the thermal performance of that compound, and none of them has the same ease of application (looking at you, liquid metal). A rice grain size drop of it in the middle, and squeeze with the desired cooler, and... presto!
Absolutely lovely motherboard to work with. A plethora of options and tweaks, sufficient number of USB ports on the back and stunning looks.
Second set I've bought. The best balance between frequency and timings for a SkyLake/KabyLake gaming rig. From my experience, the most frequently bought frequency these days. Dominator Platinums are my memories of choice ever since DDR2 models. They never let me down.
It fits even the big 140mm radiators through the back, takes the thickest Alphacool radiators in the bottom, and still leaves enough room for a 240mm radiator on the front. Spacious, colourful (I got the orange) and well thought through.
5 years running on various SLi and RAID configurations. Zero problems. The downside is the cables - the thickest and most unbendable ones I've come across in a premium PSU.
Air pressure beasts. Work awesome when positioned front up (the airflow is directed downwards). The moment you turn them upside down they make an unpleasant rattle while revving up, and out of 7 I've got at least two clatter occasionally while operating.
Awesome sound positioning, great isolation. Not so good for music. After 4 years, the plastic on the cushions peels profoundly, covering my ears and face with black specks.