Description

I've been involved with pc's since the 80's, when my friend in High School bought his first Apple II, with a whopping 8K of RAM. We'd load games using a cassette recorder, and walk away until it was done. Later, I joined the Air Force and was a Communications/Computer Systems Operator, working on mainframe systems and later LAN administration. I've been building computers for quite a while, but this is the first all-new, from scratch build I've ever done for myself.

My old pc was cobbled together way back in the mid 90's, and over the years had one part or another replaced, until there was nothing left of the original. I had decided to upgrade from my old Core 2 Quad, and realized that not only would I need to replace the processor, but also the motherboard, and the RAM. So why not just make a clean start of things? The original plan was a lot more modest; a mid level AMD GPU and processor, new case, etc. This was back in October, and GPU's were in short supply. Not as short as now, but still. Next thing I knew, I got an email from Massdrop, and there was the Gigabyte 1080 Ti, and in a moment of desperation, I pulled the trigger. Good thing, too. They sold out in minutes.

So now I have a top of the line GPU; the mid level plan was kinda out the window. I decided to go all out with the best I could afford. The only thing I've carried over from the old pc is my soundcard; I really like the Essence STX, and I like the cosmetic back plate on it. It looks pretty clean.

The GPU has been great; no coil whine, the fans almost never seem to turn, and I really enjoy running everything at the highest settings. The price was pretty good, too.

I delidded the CPU, and I gotta be honest, I was not prepared for the drop in temps. When I first put the new build together, I had a delid tool on order, but my old pc was dying, so I went ahead and got the new one running before the tool arrived. I ran Prime95, and the temps stabilized at 93C on a stock clock, which was way too hot for my comfort. After I delidded, the same test stabilized at 71C. I'm running a pretty mild OC at the moment, since I want to see how it behaves during the heat of Summer. I may watercool at some point, but not now.

The CPU cooler works very well, and looks good with the rest of the build. I read the horror stories of installations that seemed impossible and took years off of people's lives, but I didn't have a problem. There's a great installation guide on Youtube, and now the Dark Rock Pro 4 has an even simpler installation method. It's hard to go wrong.

In addition to the Be Quiet! cooler, I added some Silent Wings fans. I like the appearance better than the Phanteks stock fans that came with the case, and they live up to their name. Very quiet, very effective. Now the noisiest part of my build is the old PSU that's sitting in my case until my next purchase spree.

The G.Skill RAM looks great, and it works. I was worried more about clearance when I bought it, but there's about 1mm between the RAM and the CPU cooler, which was a huge relief.

Can I just say that I love the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv case? I knew I wanted one the minute I saw it. Now that I have it, I realize that not only is it nice to look at, but the feel of it, and the ease of building in it, are second to none. I have never built with a case that makes it so easy.

I'll update when I've completed the build, but for now, try to ignore the old cabling.

Part Reviews

CPU

I probably spent more than I needed to on this, but I don't regret it. I've delidded mine, using a Dr. Delid tool, and Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut. The paste it came with was more like putty than anything I've used before. I saw a solid 22C drop in temps running Prime95 after the delid; 93C to 71C.

CPU Cooler

It works. It's quiet. It looks good. It installed very easily, at least for me. Yes, I could've gotten an AIO, but I didn't. I'm contrary that way.

Motherboard

Tons of OC options. I love the UEFI BIOS. Asus is another brand that's always been reliable for me.

Memory

I kinda wish they made these in all black, but whatever. I've used G.Skill a lot in the past, and it's always proven reliable. These feel solid, and the RGB isn't as awful as I thought it would be in the beginning. The design looks really nice, too.

Storage

It's tiny, and it's fast. Really fast. It's also hiding under a heatsink on the motherboard, so it's the one component I can't see.

Video Card

I got really lucky with this one. I happened to get the email from Massdrop with this thing listed, and since I was frustrated at the lack of GPU's available at the time, I bought it. Immediately after I submitted my info, I got an alert on Paypal that the money had been withdrawn. It sold out in minutes.

I haven't heard any coil whine, or had any issues with the card at all. I have yet to increase the clock, but I don't really feel like I need to. Everything runs at the highest settings, and a lot of the time the fans don't even turn on. This card is loafing most of the time. I'm still trying to decide if I want a triple 1080 setup or a 3440x1440 monitor, so I'll find a way to stress it eventually.

Case

Best case I've ever owned. The quality look extends to the way it feels. Sometimes I'll find myself just admiring the way the thing looks. I know there's a tempered glass version out there, and yeah, if I had the chance to go back in time, I might well put down the extra $20 or so to buy it instead. Does that mean I'm disappointed in my purchase? Not at all.

Power Supply

Seasonic makes a lot of PSUs for different companies, who then relabel them; makes sense to go straight to the source. High quality performance from the brand that other companies trust to make them look good.

Sound Card

This is the only component that has transferred from my old build, aside from my SSD and PSU, both of which will be removed when I get the M.2 drive and new PSU. I like the way this soundcard performs. It pairs very well with my Sennheisers, and I've played around with the opamps to tailor the sound more to my liking. The backplate is purely cosmetic, but it cleans up the appearance.

Case Fan

Truth in advertising. These are really quiet fans, especially if you're running them at low speed. Also, they're all black, which looks better in my mind than the white Phanteks fans that came with the case.

Monitor

This thing is something else! I had a 24" 1920x1080 60Hz monitor, and I never realized how smooth gaming could be. There's only a minor amount of bleed in the corners, but I doubt anyone would notice it during a gaming session. Not cheap, but that's G-Sync and a quality product for you.

Mouse

No, it wasn't very expensive, but it works. It comes with weights to adjust the way it feels, and I like assigning editing and browsing functions to the keys on the side. I can also play around with the lighting and mouse speed as well. Not bad for the price.

Headphones

These aren't genuine HD 650's, but the only difference is cosmetic. They're built in the same factory, using the same parts, but with different colors and a Massdrop logo. I've got a Modmic attached for gaming. Best $200 you can spend on a set of cans.

Custom

This thing is solid. I got mine with the silent reds, making it a keyboard with all the noise of a membrane switch, but the feel of a mechanical. I spent a lot of time with a 10 key, so I like my keyboards equipped with one as well. I don't JUST game.

Comments

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Those pics are super super small

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Ugh, you’re right! I uploaded them from my iCloud account, and I wasn’t aware of how they’d look. Better pictures forthcoming!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Fixed it!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Awsome! Looks good!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I never thought to do a glamour photo shoot with the thing, but I'm so happy with the way it's turning out, I've decided to try it. Better pictures will be added later.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

When will it be finished construction?

+1 looks good.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I should have all the components listed by the end of July. I have to put some money aside for vacation time, you know...

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Where did you get the backplate for the Xonar? I have an Essence STX II and hadn't even thought to get a backplate for it

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I got it here. I had to wait a little while for shipping, but I think it was a modest cost for a big visual improvement.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you! I'm not sure if there is a physical difference between the STX II and any Xonar counterpart...I'll look into it! keeps the look of the build clean for sure

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

I believe they have a backplate for just about any Asus soundcard (or any other soundcard for that matter) on their website. I'm sure you'll find one that's designed for your card.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Sounds good. Cheers!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

How do you like that keyboard?

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

The keyboard is awesome. It’s another Massdrop purchase, like the GPU and headphones.

I got the silent reds, and it’s no more noisy than your typical cheap membrane switches, but with the solid actuation feel of a mechanical switch.

The case is SOLID. Over 2 kilos of aluminum. It stays put.

The only annoyance is the documentation for the RGB lighting. It definitely reads like it was written in another language, and run through Google Translate. It was confusing, but I eventually got it mostly figured out with some trial and error.

I can honestly say that I would buy it again.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

sweet, that keeb looks so nice. i like builds with mk's in them :)

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

If you can find one, GET IT. I highly recommend it.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

did you move up the DRP3 front fan to fit the rams or its just normal height? if I buy 4 Trident Z RGB rams will it fit?

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Nope, I left the cooler as is. I'm debating adding another 16GB of RAM myself, but I know it'll fit if I do.

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

I am wondering now. I have choise between Silent Wings and ML140. I think to put 2 ML140 in front and on top attach to my RAD, just because ML has a better static pressure :) What about your temps with SW?

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

My temps range from 23C in winter and 29C in summer (old building with questionable AC) at idle to 54C under load, such as gaming. The highest temp I saw after my delid was 71C while running Prime95. I have a mild OC on the CPU. I have a pretty quiet fan profile, since I prefer silence. I could likely run a bit cooler with a more agressive fan profile.

What attracted me to the SW was the quiet performance and appearance. I want a mostly black look with just a hint of color. The name I had originally for the build was None More Black (I love the Spinal Tap movie), which should give some indication of my appearance priorities. I’m okay with some RGB, but I prefer to limit it where I can.

  • 16 months ago
  • 0 points

Why did you spend 80 dollars on an air cpu cooler? You could have just got a liquid cpu cooler.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I could have, but I have a friend with one, and all I seem to hear is the pump whirring away. And honestly, I don’t hate the way this one looks or performs. My temps idle around 29C, and I may hit 54C during gameplay.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Besides, some air coolers can honestly outperform AIO coolers. I got into an argument about that a while back (on the AIO side) and after numerous links and reviews it seems there is an elite range of air coolers that, for less money, can out-perform some AIOs. Dark Rock Pro 3 here is a monster air cooler without a doubt.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

It is a monster, and as I said before, it's dead quiet.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey man I believe it, this is the CPU cooler than essentially killed my argument with its stats. an OC'd 8700k is not easy to keep cool, and temps with this thing are nothing short of impressive.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

The temps were even better after the delid. It takes a serious stress test to generate temps over 60C.