Description

I have not done a good build for myself for a long time. A couple Frankenstein builds over the last few years and some laptops have been holding me over; primarily for work purposes, but also some limited gaming. I decided it was time to do something about that - this is the result.

This is my Welcome to Texas Summer Build, aptly named because my family just moved to Texas. I am another work from home type, but I had to dig deep to get back to my gaming roots as well, so this build reflects both my professional and adult-child needs.

More details ASAP...

7/24/2015 @ 3:11 PM Central: I have a few minutes right now, so a little more story and some initial benchmark results. I have not done any tuning, poking, voodoo, or any other thing besides the 4.7 GHz overclock. When I have more than a few minutes I may start playing around some more, but this thing will probably treat me pretty well regardless.

My six year old daughter helped me build this thing, mundane tasks like removing the protective film from things all the way up to securing the Kraken block on the CPU (okay, I had to tighten it a little bit). She is my little nerd child and I love it; she had asked not less than 2994 times if she can now "explore the old big case," a reference to my current Frankenstein VM host computer.

Alright, a couple benchmark results to tide y'all over! I will get 3DMark Advanced and run some Fire Strike later...

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0

Unigine Valley Benchmark 1.0

7/24/2015 @ 6:30 PM Central: I want to write up some things about the components - hopefully tonight or over the weekend - but I did get 3DMark Advanced and I ran Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme. Still have not done anything else besides CPU to 4.7 GHz, so not bad I suppose for "plug and play" at this point.

Fire Strike

Fire Strike Extreme

Aside from posting about my components, is there anything else useful to know about? I have read through some of the recent builds here but haven't had much time to determine what is helpful to the community. Any feedback is, of course, accepted!

7/30/2015 @ 9:25 AM Central: I've had Windows 10 installed previously from preview builds, etc. but today I updated this system and ran the 3DMark API Overhead test; if you are unfamiliar with that, you can read about it here.

DX12 will make even more amazing things happen! DX11 multi-thread can do about 2.5 million draw calls per second before hitting 30 fps; DX12 hits over 18 million per second, as seen on my test. Good times ahead, plus the wife (aka the boss) said towards the end of the year I can probably grab another GTX 980 Ti and two more Swift monitors... <3 that woman!

Part Reviews

CPU

Nothing bad to say about this CPU, and nothing really new that hasn't been said before now. Currently holding 4.7 GHz very well and more than enough power for my large VM infrastructure that I run for work.

CPU Cooler

Overall very pleased so far. Probably on par with high end air coolers, but definitely no custom loop competition. Five stars because I find it hard to imagine a similar AIO performing better to any large degree, but I have not personally tested any others.

Thermal Compound

Works well for my needs, though brief research indicates some better options if you really need the best!

Motherboard

Beautiful, solid motherboard that looks good and performs equally well. This meets all MY needs perfectly and I have experienced no issues at all outside of those caused by me poking around with OC settings, though YMMV depending on what you need to do.

Everything was easy to install, and there are some nice header extenders that can be used to attach all the case wiring to first, then attach just one piece to the motherboard - kind of a nice touch.

The mPCIe combo card needs to be installed - no problem, except that it appears the mounting hole is on the motherboard... oops. Rush build saved - it can also be mounted to the I/O dust panel. Yay.

Nice that there is an air/liquid cooling option for the MOSFETs - good for now with just an AIO for CPU plus expandable for inclusion in a custom loop later.

Holds my GTX 980 Ti flawlessly; I guess I need to add another one soon...

Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

So what games are you playing on it? Do you have any benchmarks?

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I had a few minutes on my break so I got this ball rolling - some benchmarks are running and I will make some updates later today.

If anyone wants to see a particular benchmark I am happy to run it. Gaming wise I am limited at the moment, but I will figure something out.

  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

minesweeper pls

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

So is this a "haha" comment or does it actually refer to the Minesweeper IE10 demo from a couple years ago? I think I have seen both usages around...

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

lol just a joke. Nice build by the way, and great to see people using phanteks cases :D

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, ya never know! :) Thanks - the case is really nice.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Parts List shows you took some time ..

Very Nice Build !!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I probably spent about a week (some periodic hours per day) looking at the current offerings; I am not sure that qualifies as a bunch of time, but the first time I stuck my hand in a PC computer case was 25 years ago.

Doing a bit of research - especially if you've never done a build - is important. If anyone is the "I will just buy all this expensive stuff and see if it works" type and you find out it doesn't work - just send that stuff to me. :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I guess this is a rather good reason to travel to Texas? They have great PC builders :) +1

  • EDIT

And you built in that case..... Oh... just perfect.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I like Texas and my wife's family is here, so we moved here from Maryland a couple months ago. I appreciate the vote of confidence!

Yes, this case... when I saw it I was reminded of the first PC computer case I had from Gateway 2000 about 25 years ago - that was a big, steel monster case.

This Phanteks is a much, much better big, steel monster. I will never buy another case for an ATX system.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Wondering why you decided to mount the radiator towards the front of the case, instead of having it near the back or even through the front panel?

Clean build though!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Honestly, that is part lazy, part "it works" and part "I don't care" ...

The lazy comes in because the rear top case fan was already mounted there and I didn't want to move it.

The "it works" just means my very quick setup at 4.7 is running stable so far and I really don't need to push it at this point. I have no intention of vying for a top position in the rankings or anything like that.

The "I don't care" is because I have plans for some custom loop stuff in the future which makes the current mounting location temporary, though how long that temporary lasts depends on about a million things in life. :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

4.7Ghz in Texas? You mst have been lucky with the CPU no matter what cooler you have

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I had it kicked up to 4.8 at 1.275 V but no dice, though I spent only about an hour max with settings because this is also my work computer and I needed to get it up and running so I can, you know, work.

My office room has a separate in-wall commercial air conditioning unit, separate thermostat, etc. so it's very efficient. Still, I only set the thing at 78 F (about 25.5 C) and have a Vornado 660 for circulation. I think I can get it up higher, but I have no need to do it right now. :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

How well does that gpu perform? Nice build btw!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! So far the GPU is excellent - I posted some links to benchmarks I did without changing anything. Mine is actually under 70 ASIC, so if/when I decide to do some more overclocking I can add this to my custom loop. Definitely plenty to keep me happy right now though.

I decided to upgrade to 1440 with this build, and the GPU does not disappoint in that regard. I hoped to have time over the weekend to get into some games but no luck. I will be updating over the near term as I am able to explore and test this system.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

That is a... huge *** case.

Good build tho, good to see ya back in the PC builder game.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Honestly, even though I read the numbers and envisioned it, the size surpassed even that. Definitely huge, and definitely a ton of options when it comes to what to do with all that space.

Building is a good place to be - a lot of differences technology wise but overall exactly the same.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Exactly, glad to hear you like it

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Just get GTA 5 and call it a day! Great rig by the way

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

GTA is not my speed - I'm an old (MMO)RPG guy, so DA, Witcher, etc. I CAN load some serious Minecraft texture packs though. :)

Appreciate the thumbs up - thanks!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

NP man enjoy!!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

How's the kraken?

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Not horrible as far as I can tell. I have yet to do a stability test for a long time, but it keeps the 4.7 GHz happy and it's relatively quiet when the fan curve is not cranked all the way up.

I imagine there is still some room to improve on my system, but it is definitely just a step between air and custom. I would even say that it's just a quiet replacement for a really good air cooler.

Overall not disappointed even though I have nothing else to compare it to.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

I just want to say... Wow. Really beautiful build you have there sir! I've been thinking of going with this case for my red/black color scheme build and this just sold it! Quick question, do all the fans in it have red LED's? I was planning on getting some fans with red LED's, but if it comes with them that's even better!

  • 44 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi there, thanks! This thing has been treating me pretty well since I left it in the current state. I still have a few more things pending - adding another 980 Ti and two more monitors, but overall great. A couple of hangs while gaming but I am still playing with some OC tweaking. For all my work VMs this is rock solid.

To answer your question, the front fans have red LEDs as shown in one of those pics, but the other case fans are just white blades. Personally, I will be looking at indirect lighting for the inside - LED strips or something along those lines - because I think the quality and color of the finish inside would be better shown off.

Of course, I am also re-purposing a media storage cabinet into a rack and this thing will live inside the bottom, so it's meant to be low-key. If I were showing this off on my desk or something, the LED fans would do it some justice I think. Looking quickly from an above angle, I would be able to see seven fans (two bottom, two back, three top) set of LEDs if I had them; could be a good show for sure!

Happy this pushed you - it's really a nice case!

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Lovely build and nice case.

[comment deleted]
  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Please, ask me a hundred questions - general; specific; anything you want, I am 110% about helping people realize their visions in any way I can. For my company, which is software based mostly, that is the stance I take and it always is a success - maybe I need to get back into some hardware stuff now.

The motherboard is pretty solid - a bit heftier considering the front "armor" and the backplate, but still simple to work with and no installation issues for big hands in the gigantic case. The only thing I would have done different would be to screw mPCIe combo board (bluetooth and wireless) to the board instead of the I/O panel dust shield; my fault for not reading about that BEFORE installing in the case, oops. :)

The board includes manual and DVD, eight 6 Gb/s SATA cables (black with white bits on the end - I will add a pic later), four of the cables have a right-angle connector on one end and the rest of the ends are straight. One SLI cable is also included.

Non-cable items include the I/O shield, the mPCIe combo card, a 2x2 external antenna for wireless, the "Q-Connectors" (will add pics of them) which aim to make installation easier by allowing you to connect case wiring to one piece, then connecting that to the motherboard instead of fidgeting with lots of smaller connectors. You also get 12 cable labels and a door hanger to suggest that people back off from your awesomness while gaming (i.e., a do not disturb hanger like at a hotel).

The 980 Ti has been great so far for doing Windows updates, writing this comment, etc. but I have not been able to dig into any games yet - my boss has 851 things for me to do since we just bought this house, naturally. I did post some benchmarks, and while those are okay for some things, I hope to update soon with some actual game play experiences.

About this monitor - first, I know an ASUS IPS variety is coming soon; second, I wanted to get something available now so I could push something nicer than my 1080; third, I don't care about IPS for gaming and work. I read about dead pixels as well - I don't have any on this panel, or maybe they're getting more stringent on testing, who knows. I have not seen any bleeding yet, though I have not played much and I am color blind so depending where it's at I might not even notice it. No issues with the TN - I prefer the look versus any IPS monitor I have seen. Not that there is no place for IPS, just not for me. That topic is mostly subjective as well once you get past color reproduction and the tech specs. Go with what you like!

Let me know if you want any other pics or to know anything else - absolutely my pleasure, though I might not get to it immediately - work and wife, you know. :)

[comment deleted]
  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

No problem - sorry I have not posted those pics yet, busy work this week.

You could fit a number of games on the SSD but I don't use my SSDs for games; those just have my OS, work stuff, etc. on them. My games will be on the 4TB drive, which is really plenty fast enough (get 7200 RPM) for loading games.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Well it's good to know if I continue to involve her I will at least get a +1, though her involvement is like +1000000!

Seriously, if she wants to dig into this stuff with me and she kills a CPU or whatever that's okay with me. Live and learn - especially when that is with daddy's money, right?! When I got started on PCs I poked around that 386 SX with a screwdriver while it was turned on... let's just say Gateway was very generous with their motherboards that year. :)

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Nah, I am quite happy with +1, +0 or whatever else... I want to share my experiences, try out things and be a generally civil member of society. At the end of the day, a big plus number just lets me reach more people.

If anyone reading has kids - at least introduce them to this stuff, and I don't mean give them an iPad and tell them to have fun...

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