UPDATE 2: Got the third card from Newegg, and while it's not drastically quieter than the first two, it overclocks the best of the three. I posted a video of the coil whine on YouTube and comments seemed to indicate that the whine was pretty mild, especially for being under benchmark. Between RMA'ing 3 times and not really being able to hear the card once the case is closed, I'm keeping it :)
UPDATE: Received the second card from Newegg after RMA, and it also has coil whine :( Going to reroll and hope third time's the charm.
The Electric Daisy Pocket Rocket - or Daisy Rocket for short.
I spent almost 9 months researching this build. I decided to plan around building mini-ITX early on because I live in a small apartment and don't want to dedicate a ton of space to a desktop PC. Plus, I wanted to build for my particular use case - I would never need SLI or more than a couple of hard drives, and WiFi connectivity was a must. However, I did want to maximize the performance I could get out of a smaller form factor in gaming and emulation within a healthy but reasonable budget. So I waited until Kaby Lake, Ryzen, and the 1080 Ti released to finally take the plunge.
One particular stroke of luck I had during the part collecting process was finding a factory-sealed brand new Samsung 850 Pro 2 TB SSD on Craigslist for $360. That drive goes for $850+ new from almost all retailers. Originally, I was planning to go with a 500 GB 850 Evo, or maybe splurge on a M.2 NVME drive, but I decided the enormous space and still excellent I/O speed and durability of the 850 Pro was a much better proposition. Now I dual boot with Manjaro Linux, and even with my entire music/movie library from my old laptop, I still have 1.5 TB of space for all my storage needs in the coming years.
On the less lucky side, I already had to replace the Asus Z270I motherboard once for coil whine under load. The 1080 Ti, while a monster of a card, is suffering from its own coil whine, so I am probably going to RMA that as well. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that big a deal, just another week or two without a graphics card (hopefully) before I settle down.
Ultimately, the pictures and performance numbers here are representative of the final build. I overclocked the 7700k to 4.8 GHz @ 1.220V with the Cryorig H7, and after 12 hours of Prime95 Large FFT it is rock solid stable. The max temps spiked in the high 80s C, but hovered on average between 78-81 C, which I think is perfectly acceptable for a synthetic maximum load. I overclocked the 1080 Ti to 2000 MHz with little issue, although I had to bump up the fan speed to 70% to do so, and may decide to stick with the quieter default clock until I feel like slapping a waterblock or hybrid kit on it sometime in the future. After all, it's still faster at stock than an overclocked 1080 :)
And of course, what would a build like this be without a little RGB bling? The RAM was a splurge but it's pretty and the CAS latency is very low, and the Cablemod LED strip adds some nice overhead lighting. Once I get a whine-less GTX 1080 Ti, I may sand off the green paint from the "GEFORCE GTX" logo for white light, or just wait again until the waterblock.
The most powerful CPU I've ever owned. Overclocks like a demon. I don't particularly care about having more than 4 cores for the moment since it's perfect for what I want to do (gaming, emulation, some coding). Got it at a minor discount from MSRP from Newegg's Ebay store so I'm happy about that too.
The price to performance champion of CPU coolers. Given the diminishing returns of overclocking a CPU for gaming, I don't really mind not being able to sustainably clock to 5.0 GHz yet. This works great for now and is very quiet, and aesthetically fits very well with the rest of the build.
Very pretty and performs well. I'm removing a star because I had to replace the first one for coil whine (on a motherboard? really?) during stress testing. Even the replacement board has a teeny tiny bit of whine during Prime95/Realbench, albeit less loud than the CPU cooler. Since I have another 30 days until my return policy expires, I may RMA it one more time to make absolutely sure, but if I don't then it's still fine.
tfw your ram costs more than your motherboard
This was a splurge and definitely not the "price-to-performance" option, but damn they are pretty and the CAS latency of 14-14-14-34 is hard to argue with. I do wish the lighting control software was better, because right now I can't control the RAM lighting independently from the Asus AURA motherboard lighting.
Best deal I scored during the parts hunt. Absolutely enormous, fast and durable drive. I hopefully will not have to worry about adding another drive for a long time.
Won't give a final opinion on this yet as I am in the process of RMA'ing it for a card with no coil whine. Yes, it can get loud and hot because of the blower style cooler, but for a smaller build like mine it works great and helps move hot air away from the CPU as well. In fact the card design is probably the reason why I can overclock the 7700K so well with just a Cryorig H7.
Gorgeous little case and half the reason I wanted to go Mini-ITX in the first place. It was a joy to build in and has just the right amount of amenities to make a first-timer like me comfortable with the build process.
Solid PSU, very quiet and efficient. No complaints here.
SO MUCH BETTER than the stock case fans included with the Nano S. I bought one at first to see if I liked it, and once my wallet recovers a bit I will probably swap out the other case fans for their corresponding Venturi models. Another protip: the Asus Z270I only has 3 fan headers (CPU, chassis, and dedicated AIO pump), so while the two front case fans are connected to the chassis header with the Nano S's included fan splitter, I used the low RPM adapter that came with this fan to connect the back case fan to the AIO header so it doesn't spin crazy fast. Saves a few bucks on buying a dedicated fan hub.