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This is my personal gaming computer. Packed with great hardware and a custom water loop, in a small foot print case. I've been wanting to build a new personal machine for a really long time. And now I'm at the point where I can finally do it. I have a huge passion for building computers, and I hope you appreciate the time and effort that went into this build. I'll highlight a few things here with more details in the part descriptions.
The SSDs are setup in a Raid 0 for a total of 500GB. The HDDs are setup in Raid 1 partitioned into 2 500GB partitions. One for extra storage, and one for a direct back up of the raid 0 config.
The custom loop has a drain valve as well as a fill port. This makes it very easy to work with the loop. A lot of time and planning goes into making a custom loop. Working with tight tolerances can make things a bit tricky. Its very important to check every dimension of a piece of hardware. I had to order a new 120mm radiator for the rear because the first one was too wide! Forgot to take in to consideration the side panel clearances.
Another fun tip, when working with small builds. Try to assemble what you can outside of the case. I pre-installed most of my motherboard components, minus the GPU. In some cases, when you have to deal with cumbersome CPU brackets, its best to do it outside of the case where you can control the surface more easily and have more room to tighten things down. Keep in mind this may not always be the best solution if you are working around a large cooler. As for my front radiator, I pre-installed the pump mount, pump bracket, pump, res, fittings, and the first tube from the outlet of the pump to the inlet of the radiator. Then I slid it all in at one and secured the Rad from the front of the case. Made my life much much easier!
The i7 4790k has been OC to 4.8GHz with an idle temp of 32C with fans on lowest setting. 25C on highest setting. And it has a load temp of 41C on high fan settings.
GPU: 980 is OC to 1500MHz and runs at 28C on idle, 40C on load.
All the cables in this case have been sleeved and cut to length for the best possible cable management.
There has been a lot of discussion in the comments about water cooling, so feel free to read through them. If you have another question, feel free to ask, I'd love to help in anyway I can. The least I can do to give back to this awesome community.
This thing is a power house. I was easily able to OC this thing to 4.8GHz stable. I managed to make it to 5GHz but it was causing issues with the GTX 980, not sure why but I didn't mind backing down the clock a little bit. For the price range this is a fantastic CPU, unless you just have money coming out of your ears or you just have to have the new x99 chipset, grab this guy. Especially if you live near a MicroCenter. I picked this up for $279.
I went with this board for two reasons.
1) It was build with super high rated capacitors and heat tolerant components that will increase its life time 100 fold. (ASUS is known for their reliability, I have an ASUS ROG from 2006 that is still kicking ***)
2) Its aesthetics. Man this thing looks clean with its thermal armor. I really wish that ASUS would come out with thermal armor upgrades for all of their boards.
Things to note: this would not have been my first choice board. I'm not a big fan of the camo theme, but luckily most of that gets covered up in my build anyways. I like the maximums series but red did not work for this build. Also this board is a little more difficult to OC the RAM, it was very easy to do with the asus z97 pro + wifi (the board I bought at first) Also the AI suite was a little better with the z97 pro as well. But overall the board functions fantastically. You can't go wrong and its a very good price.
These are great sticks. They overclock super easy with XMP profiles. You can easily push them up to the 2400 range. And for much less than the other high profile memory like corsair dominator. (not a knock on those, I probably would of went with them had I not already bought the CBEs)
Samsung makes great SSDs. I havn't been running them that long, but so far they handle raid 0 like a pro. No crashes yet (knock on wood).
I don't have much to compare them against so anything I really have to say is probably biased. I'm building a few other machines with Intel and crucial SSDs. So hopefully I'll learn more and update this review.
Low power, fast, reliable. Pretty much the MO of western digital. Cant go wrong for storage and backup use. Just don't pack them in to tight unless you have sufficient cooling. No HDD likes heat. If you are putting more than two of these close together, I'd recommend the WD Reds (designed for NAS environments)
I love this card. Before I had the custom loop, this thing was sexy and quiet. The zero DB feature is great for anyone looking to make a quiet build. And the fan profiles ramp up so they arnt always 100%. This 980 does the job for almost every game you throw at it, with high settings. As long as you arnt shooting for 4K, you can run everything on max settings. I was getting 70FPS for GTAV maxed. Res was at 1920 x 1200. Oh yeah, throw in the reliability of Asus and one of the best price ranges for cards in this class. Its a no brainer.
I love and hate this case. I love it for its simplicity, aesthetics, and seemingly solid construction. However, with a case in this price range not every thing is going to be perfect. Keep in mind this is definitely on the smaller end of mid tower cases.
Pros: Cost, design, construction, basement, cable management (read more below for pros)
The PSU shroud/basement is great. (This needs to be a feature on so many more cases) If you are doing custom length cables, you really need to plan ahead and plug as you go (this is going off using a fully modular psu) It can be really tight to try and get your fingers in there to plug the cables in. The PSU is attached to a removable back plate which is very nice feature when building, allows you some extra room to plug in the cables)
It comes with a 3.5" drive cage in the basement. It can hold two in the cage and one mounted directly below it attached by screwing from the bottom of the case. (no rubber or vibration dampening, :( ... I know its only a $70 case) With a little work you can remove the cage all together, if you don't need 3.5" drives. This would give you all the room you could need for the PSU problems mentioned above. Also note, that there is a place to mount two SSDs on top of the PSU cover. Who doesn't want to show those off??
I'm amazed how how easy it was to manage the cables in the case. For being as small as it is and with very little clearance on the back side, its great. They solved this issue by using this cable management bar that protrudes into the case. This allows you to pass cables back and forth seamlessly. Thinner at the bottom and wider at the top to allow for those bulky 24 pin connectors. Really is a great design.
Cons: Finish, window, door clearance, no 5.25" bays (this isnt a con for me but you should know it doesnt have any.
Ok again this is a $70 dollar case so I can't really complain that much. The finish on this case is super easy to scratch. I mean a fart and a dust particle could scratch it. However, there is a simple solution to fix this. Get some high grade car wax and put multiple coats on, at least 3. Takes a little time but it makes it super easy to wipe off finger prints with the high gloss finish (exterior). The entire is a nice flat black, very sleek.
The window is also easy to scratch, same solution as the exterior finish. Put some wax on it first thing. And you'll be good to go.
This is probably my biggest problem with the case. And only because of how I configured it. Like I said its a small case, but after I put in the rear 120mm Radiator, I couldn't put the panel back on because of the window hardware on the back side of the panel. I'm talking 1 to 2mm of clearance is all I would of needed. I ended up take a dremel and sanding down the acrylic to get the clearance I needed.
Other thoughts: Case comes with a magnetic front air filter, nice quality. The bottom psu fan filter is lacking for sure. Again back to that $70. Its just a cheap plastic filter that fits into some grooves. However, it serves its purpose.
It has nice tall feet to allow the PSU to breath, even on carpet (good thinking NZXT).
Top exhaust grill will allow for either a 120 or 140mm fan. Rear case, supports only 120mm. Front will support both 120 and 140mm (2 slots).
I would really like to see NZXT expand on this case for a future product. I would like to see a more expensive case so that it could include the following: 1) Rubber mounting system for the 3.5" bays in the basement. 2) A rail to slide the 3.5" bays in and out. (make it easier for those who do not need it) 3) Higher quality, less scratch resistant finish 4) Better bottom psu filter (framed) 5) at least 2mm of width added so that the panel window wont contact a rear mounted radiator.
This is a great power supply. 80-plus gold certified. This thing is pretty quiet, even under load. No complaints, good price, good quality. Solid buying decision.
These things are quiet! Definitely recommend the low DB versions. Unless you don't care about sound. Even with their low DB, (lower RPM) they provide plenty of performance and cooling. And the different colored rings are great for any theme build.