Description

My computer from 2012 is getting outdated and I felt the need to upgrade from the i7-2600, GTX 970. Instead of upgrading just the video card I decided to create a new machine to utilize DDR4 RAM and PCI Express x16 capabilities.

Some items were taken from my old build to furnish the new one: 2 Noctua case fans, the Asus VG248QE, the Sennheiser headphones and Logitech Z623. I still have old peripherals that I will furnish for the old build to have two working machines: Logitech G Pro, Logitech X-530, a 22" Samsung 1920x1080, and a Das Keyboard 4.

With the limited storage space, I decided on getting a Synology DS918+ to handle my backups and media needs. I was getting tired of using all the external HDDs and setting up sharing through Windows. I decided to go with a pre-built NAS for Synology’s simple, yet highly customizable interface, and for its low power consumption.

Part Reviews

CPU

I chose this over the AMD Ryzen 1800X after seeing benchmarks from YouTube and online reviews.

CPU Cooler

I originally had a Noctua NH-L9I, but a user on pcpartpicker pointed out it's only designed to handle 65TDP. I've always had the Fractal Design Node 202 oriented vertically, with the GPU on the left side and towards the top. I've noticed the CPU will only get to 70° with it towards the top and having the Cryorig C7 at full. Even with it at full speed it's not very loud.

Motherboard

The motherboard featured the most USB 3.0 slots, a USB type-c slot, and most importantly has 2x m.2 bays. The top m.2 bay does not support NVMe SSDs. The bluetooth and Wi-Fi do not work very well if the the antennas are not attached.

Memory

I would've bought the 32GB pack if prices were a little lower. Corsair Link must be installed to adjust the RGB.

Video Card

I’m not running a 4k monitor, but still wanted something that allowed for a little future proofing and that will provide the frames per second to take advantage of the 144Hz refresh rate. I opted to go with the blower style fan considering the small form factor case.

Case

The small form factor was chosen for a smaller footprint on the desk and its travel appeal. I saw no need to have a mid-tower case for 3.5" HDD bays or optical bays. The drawback of the smaller form factor is the air flow restriction and higher temperatures, thus the decision to go with a blower-style fan for the graphics card.

Power Supply

Selected for its power output, form factor, efficiency and modular cables. The cables are a little stiff and were a little hard getting in the power supply.

Case Fan

For a closed panel system the color scheme of the beige and brown doesn't bother me. The NF-F12 is quiet compared to the original case fans of the Corsair 300R. The original fan for the Cooler Master Hyper Evo 212 broke and I replaced it with one of my Noctua NF-F12. I noticed a three degree decrease on CPU load temperatures when replacing the fan.

Case Fan

This fan is unnoticeable. There's just enough room to mount it on top of the Cryorig C7 in the Fractal Design Node 202. I feel that it helps bring in fresh air into the small form factor case.

Monitor

The GTX 970 on my old machine cannot produce 144 frames per second while playing certain games to take advantage of the 144Hz refresh rate this monitor provides. The viewing angles aren't too bad on this TN panel and the color reproduction for my uses is negligible.

Keyboard

I have a Corsair K70 with cherry mx red switches. I wanted something with a smaller footprint on the desk and selected the Logitech G Pro for its ten keyless design.

Mouse

I have an affinity towards gaming mice and have quite a few: Logitech MX518, Logitech G500s, Razer Deathadder Chroma, Logitech G9, Logitech G302, Logitech G Pro, and a Logitech G502. I’m still in search for the perfect gaming mouse and use the Logitech G Pro for games and the Logitech G502 as my daily driver. I’ve been testing the Logitech G403 and I like it because I’m able to palm grip it better that the Logitech G Pro.

Headphones

These are the most comfortable headphones I have ever owned. The microphone is the best I have used for combination headset. It doesn't pick up audible sounds from my mechanical keyboard or mouse clicks when I use an open microphone in audio programs.

Speakers

I upgraded or downgraded, however you want to look at it, from a 5.1 surround setup. The previous speaker system was 5.1 but did not have the power that the Logitech Z623 provides. I wish the monitors were a little heavier so that when I adjust the volume on it they speakers wouldn't move. The audio quality is decent.

Comments

  • 19 months ago
  • 3 points

You should get a 1440p monitor. Your build could get good fps at that resolution. Great build overall!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I could get one. However, I'm perfectly happy with my setup and got the 1080Ti to last me awhile. Getting a 1440p monitor would only make me want to upgrade the video card sooner.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Like stated up above 1440p 144hz is the way to go. I have GTX 1080 ti too (slight OC) and an overclocked i7-7700k @ 5.0 GHZ . I play Battlefield 1 and I hit 130 - 145 fps.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

The GTX 1080Ti seems to run hot with stock settings. I have two Noctua fans blowing on top of it since the Node 202 has very limited air flow. I may have to adjust the fan curves within the BIOS before I decide to overclock the video card. I play Battlefield 1 quite a bit too, but had to take a hiatus from it for six months because of work.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

What temps is your cpu getting up to? That cooler is only rated to 65w.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

CPU package reached 83° C with a case fan blowing directly on top of it.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm guessing that's without overclocked?

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, I've adjusted the fan curves and only improved CPU by 3°.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

You will probably have to upgrade to a better cooler eventually. You could try sticking a 60x10 fan or two right above the mother board as exhaust. Might help a little bit.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

I appreciate the recommendation. After looking at Noctua's specifications, I decided to order a Cryorig C7. It should be in tomorrow, I'll install it, and I'll post the differences.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I just ordered two 50x10mm... I had two 60x15mm fans but it was impossible to fit them in, so maybe a bit smaller and thinner will fit in...

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a similar build https://pcpartpicker.com/b/MNsZxr but I used the Big Shuriken 2 Rev B CPU Cooler/Heatsink. My i7 8700K gets no more then 75C on full load. I dont have other fans in the CPU part of the case but just ordered 2 50/10mm fans that I was thinking to trying out on the side case vents next to the CPU. I want to see if forcing warm air out of the case will further help with cooling. For the GPU Case Fans I set them to follow the CPU load curves, so when I game and CPU temps go more then 50C fans start kicking in. When I am not gaming they are silent. I wish there was a way to have them track GPU load but Speed Fan is pain in the *** to configure...

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

I've adjusted my fan curve in the UEFI. I was able to fit the 15mm Noctua fan over the Cryorig C7 to help bring in fresh air.

I have two machines and just noticed how loud my mid-tower is compared to the mini ITX.

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

What are thermals like on the 1080TI? Great looking build man. +1

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

I've only had it running for a few hours and played Battlefield 1 for about an hour. With everything at default it hit 83° C. I haven't had a chance to play with the fan curve. Thanks for the compliment!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey btw I just saw your last photo, and I noticed you have the GPU on the top. Keeping the case in vertical position with the CPU on the top helps with heat dissipation through the vents.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, I haven't noticed a heat issue with the GPU with it being up top. I think having two case fans helps bring in fresh cool air to the GPU. I'll give changing the orientation a chance. The CPU seems to have the heat issues.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, changing the case orientation and putting the CPU on the top will help with CPU heat. Cheers and have fun gaming!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I'll try it out and see how it affects the GPU temps.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey BTW how do you like those headphones? Are you using an AMP or do you just plug them in directly to the motherboard sound port?

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

The headphones are amazing! I don't have an additional DAC and plug straight into the front audio jacks. The sound is decent and I think would benefit from having a DAC. The microphone is by far the best I've ever had. I don't like using push-to-talk when on Team Speak, Ventrilo or in-game audio. It doesn't pick up key clicks from the mouse or mechanical keyboard. They are extremely comfortable and almost noise canceling.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah good to know. I have a mechanical keyboard and that is the biggest issue when playing, picking up my keystrokes :)

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Just ordered the Sennheiser G4ME One :) they are same as G4ME Zero but with open back. Cant wait to get them :)

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

You won't be disappointed. I hope you like them as much as I like my Zeroes.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, what did you use to get the cooler mounted without the back plate? Are there some spacers or something between the nuts and the motherboard? I have the same cooler, and Node 202, and really had to wedge the backplate in there, but your solution looks a lot cleaner.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

The Cryorig C7 came with little white spacers which I used to mount the cooler onto the motherboard. It was pretty simple especially since I had already mounted and plugged everything in prior to installing the heat sink.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the reply! I bought mine used on eBay, so it makes sense that It didn't come with the spacers. I bet I could track down something similar from the hardware store though.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

how's overclocking on this mobo? Nice build btw

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I haven't tried overclocking for two reasons: it handles everything I need it to (over 150 frames per second while playing Battlefield 1 and over 170 frames per second while playing Destiny 2) and I am not confident that the Cryorig C7 can handle the 8700K if I overclock. It is rather straightforward in the UEFI to overclock the CPU. The m.2 slot on the top of the motherboard with the heatsink will only recognize a SATA m.2. The m.2 slot underneath the motherboard recognizes my NVMe drive that contains my OS. I appreciate the compliment. I would easily recommend the Gigabyte motherboard based off of price, USB 3.0 slots, USB type-C slot, the 2 m.2 slots, and it's easy overclocking menus (EZ mode and Classic).

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

You stated that the m.2 with the heat sink on top of the motherboard would only recognize a SATA m.2 SSD. I was wondering why. Is it because of your GPU takeing all of the PCIe lanes? I was planning on using this mobo without a gpu and putting an m.2 nvme pcie ssd in the topside m.2 slot. My case, Silverstone GD06B doesn't have a cutout for a backside m.2 socket.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I think it's the limitation of the motherboard that does not allow for an NVMe drive to be placed on the top. It's hard to tell by the motherboard manual as to what the top and bottom m.2 slots support. The manual states:

1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support) (M2A_32G) 1 x M.2 connector on the back of the motherboard (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280 PCIe x4/x2 SSD support) (M.2)

I initially tried putting the NVMe drive in the top slot but had to move it when I noticed the motherboard did not recognize the drive. I don't think it will be an issue loading a m.2 SSD underneath the motherboard. The standoffs should provide ample room regardless of having a cutout for the motherboard.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I might be mistaken though. On every boot up I had the mix of NVMe and SATA, in alternating positions. I have a feeling it would work with two NVMe drives; I just don't have two to test it out.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

First, off great setup, you got here. I am working on my own soon just finalizing the spec list. My build going to be meant for a living room setup and I will be playing just emulators and some modern games here and there.

Just a random question though. Why the RGB RAM? Is it even showable with this case?

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The lights do show through the vents of the case. RGB wasn't the selling point for the RAM, the timings, the speed, and the low height clearance for the CPU cooler were why I chose the Corsair RAM.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

That's understandable. Here are the specs I'm shooting for in my build. I bought a majority of it just gotta get an OS and the two HDDs.

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/NzYpRJ