Description

The lighting in my room is horrid...sorry about that!

Usage: Video editing, gaming, multimedia server, web browsing, content creation

Budget: Spiraled out of control

Aesthetics: Clean, cool, monochromatic

Location: Bedroom, quiet

Headache inducing PC build.

I'm not sure if anyone else is like me, but I'm not one to purchase all of my PC components at once, build the system, and be satisfied with that until it dies. I enjoy researching the latest and greatest, bargain shopping, and general tinkering with my system so needless to say it is ever evolving.

A while back I ran across a cheap refurbished 660 Ti to match the one I already had. I'm not a hardcore gamer and had no plans on spending a ton on a current generation graphics card so this looked like an easy way to upgrade my graphics performance and the cool factor of my build. Looks are sometimes deceiving. This one purchase that I thought was an economical one would lead to the making of an almost entirely different computer.

I knew my Asus Gryphon Z87 supported SLI, but no where did it spell out that to enable SLI your cards would have to be in the first and second PCIe slots. I would have assumed since Asus is a huge player in the graphics game because of their DirectCU II coolers' performance that their motherboards would lend themselves to their use by having the corresponding PCIe slots for SLI further apart so the acclaimed cooling could actually work. My non-reference non-blower style cards were going to choke.

I gave it a shot anyway, but as expected when I started up a game internal temps just kept going up and up. I tried rigging an extra fan to blow directly between the two cards, using a PCIe riser cable and literally hanging the lower card a little further down, and lastly i attempted a ritualistic sacrifice. Nothing helped.

Back to the drawing board for me. I guess buying a new motherboard would be the next logical step. Research. Research. Research. Don't **** it up again.

After a ton of digging through forums, reviews, hogwash, etc. I found there is exactly ONE existing mother board that uses the first and last PCIe slots to enable SLI configurations. {{cRiNgE}} The Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5 seemed like my only option. I've had bad experience with Gigabyte products in the past, but tried my best to remain optimistic. If nothing else the board's bright green color accents were a welcome change from the desert camo and poop inspired palate of the Gryphon.

Why not throw it all in that new Fractal Design box everyone's been talking about?

Now we're up to the present day configuration and SLI works like a charm, but I HATE GIGABYTE MOTHERBOARDS! I suppose since an Asus board was my first I've been spoiled. I do not expect random BSOD because the Motherboard LAN drivers suck. I do not expect to have practically zero fan control from within Windows. I do not expect the overclock in BIOS to constantly be different from the overclock stated in "EasyTune". I need my Fan Expert back. I miss my Thermal Tuning. I miss knowing that my system is stable and my data will be there when I wake up.

Upgrade time again I suppose. Let's spend some more money. The plan is now to go back to the Asus Gryphon Z87 and install a custom water cooling loop to keep my two GTX 660 Ti's cool even though they will be right next to one another (adding a CPU water block later down the road). I'm still teaching myself all of the "in's and out's" of piecing together a custom loop, but I do konw it will require the use of a pump which I assume can gulp a good bit of power. My current power supply is a Corsair RM 650 which I'm surprised is able to keep up as the system is now.

Ideally what wattage should I bump up to to compensate for the extra power draw from a pump?

This little SLI debacle has been a headache and a half and cost me 10x more than I ever wanted to spend. I guess if I would have just purchased a new graphics card in the first place I would have saved myself a lot of frustration. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose. At least it keeps me busy.

A couple special touches:

I also sleeved the power cord that goes from the back of the PSU to the wall outlet and replaced the male plug with an IEC connector traditionally used for high end audio equipment. (Look it up...they're very cool looking.)

Almost forgot..I lined the right panel as well as the top panel with sound dampening foam. The top panel fits extremely snug from the factory so getting it on with an extra layer of foam was quite a challenge.

Ghetto:

If you're wondering what those white things are between the GPUs. I started to notice the cards were drooping slightly so I used small blocks of closed cell foam that was used to ship my Dark Rock Pro 3 as tiny flexible supports.

If you noticed the SLI bridge...I covered it with electrical tape to try to cover that ugly brown thing Asus gives you by default.

I removed the window and covered it with cheap automobile tint. It looks almost as good as if it would have been factory applied.

The RGB LED lighting strips along the outer lip of the door are sold as undercabinet lighting. I ran the power cord through one of the keyholes in the bottom of the case then out to the outlet.

Comments

  • 61 months ago
  • 9 points

+1 for "ritual sacrifice"

  • 61 months ago
  • 5 points

Usage: Everything a PC can do. Budget: Something not all of us can afford. Aesthetics: But something all of us want.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 for quotability. :)

  • 61 months ago
  • 3 points

It's crazy this is still the only micro atx board that allows some space in sli. It's the reason I moved away from the form factor when z97 boards came out. You obviously put a lot of work in your description but where's the pics?

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Your request has been fulfilled. Current photos are now available though they may not be pretty.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

That looks fantastic! You're in the 1% that make me jelly. Love the dark rock pro & the form factor.

  • 61 months ago
  • 0 points

I had a whole set, but when I started to post them I realized they were taken before switching motherboards. I didn't want to get chastised for posting pics that don't correspond to the build description.

  • 61 months ago
  • 2 points

You said you would fill in the details, but a lot of people don't want to keep looking at that pc, and coming back to that page. Better to do it all at once.

  • 61 months ago
  • 3 points

I guess you're right...I'm not all that worried about trying to hustle a high rating or anything.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

hows that?

  • 61 months ago
  • 2 points

How does this only have 6 upvotes? I would expect this build to have at least 60

  • 61 months ago
  • 2 points

I just posted it earlier today and just put pics like 30 minutes ago LOL

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha I know, but still. It's an amazing build

  • 60 months ago
  • 2 points

You know when someone builds in something like a 900d and it looks empty?... You don't have that problem

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks I guess. It ends up being a pain because I have pretty large hands. I got someone that works at a hospital to swipe a pair of forceps to help with tight spots. That helped a bunch.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Well it's a sweet build so hopefully you won't have to bust into it much

  • 58 months ago
  • 2 points

I liked the description almost as much as the appearance lol

  • 58 months ago
  • 2 points

How does the slim drive work? I thought it was only slim slot load drives which cost as much as the case that would work.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Slim drives come in two flavors; tray loading and slot loading. The slot loading drives are a good bit more expensive because of the complexity of the tiny motors that it uses to suck up and spit out disks. They are great when space is at a premium, but they will also cost you a premium. The drives use standard SATA data, but the SATA power is in smaller form factor. An adapter is required to convert the smaller SATA power on the device to a standard size like everything else in your PC. (Get a Slimline SATA adapter NOT a Micro SATA this is never mentioned by any of the companies making the cases)

Once you have the proper adapter just use the mounting bracket included with the case and mount it to the inside of the front fascia. Strangely enough The Node 804 doesn't have an eject pass-thru, but a little pressure applied to the front around the drive manages to press eject. I'm not sure if this was planned, but it worked great for me.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

What's that power cable? Looks awesome! Edit: Nevermind, homemade. Dang.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Even more awesome for being homemade!

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Agreed, but I don't have the know-how to do it right now.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

posted a pic of it...not sure what "nevermind, homemade. dang" means though

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

I noticed that you said you made the cable yourself -- which isn't something I know how to do, let alone get the parts for. So the "dang" was because I can't just buy it.

  • 61 months ago
  • 2 points

It was super easy! I just followed this guide. http://www.overclock.net/t/871183/guide-how-to-sleeve-a-psu-power-cord

I kept the stock female end and replaced the male end with a plug I found on eBay. The only problem I ran into was ordering the sleeving and heatshrink from ModDIY.com without noticing they are based out of China. Shipping took FOREVER! You should also order a good bit extra sleeving than you think you will need because as it widens to fit around the cable it also shrinks a lot in length.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Don't feel I bad, I did the same thing, but with triple slot cards. Ending up spending $300+ to fix the cooling problems.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Don't go full custom loop right now. The GTX 660 Tis are worth nothing even close to the money you would shell out for 2 fullcovers. If you're able to find those fullcovers; I don't even remember when we said goodbye to the 660 Ti and welcomed the 760.

Even a CPU-only loop looks like it would be a tight fit with those DCII 660 Tis in there. Maybe your best bet is to look at a better single card? Or just keep it as it is, it looks pretty great.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

I guess I am always looking for the next project to tackle instead of realizing it's pretty good the way it is.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

IMO, in that small of a case, and if you're considering water cooling, you might be better off just getting a single, more powerful card and just water cooling it, instead of trying to cram two water cooled GPUs in there.

Maybe go with a 970 or 980?

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm fine with the performance of my cards now, but that 970 looks like it could be the sweet spot for when the time comes I do purchase another card. My main goal is getting back to using my Asus motherboard and pitching the Gigabyte

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

What is that adapter for the slim line optical drive? Could you send me a link?

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point
  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build, why did you rate the gigabyte motherboard so low? Sorry if I missed it in the description. Lovely build btw!

*Edit: just found it in your description!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice little muscle pc. +1

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Power Cord looks amazing! +1

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 Nice description ! I have the same cooler. It said it was compatible but the fan blocks a RAM slot... Looking forward to your next build! Why is it called the "Otter Box from hell?"

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Zop ties wound have done a wonder to that

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