Description

Aged like milk, noisy drives, overpriced motherboard (not even what I ordered!). Peripherals slowly accrued over several years. Only praise worthy aspect is that it's all liquid cooled and the gpu clocks nicely. Why did I bother? Perspective. I thought everyone griping about Coffee Lake & Ryzen 3000, Navi & Turing should appreciate just how bad builds could get just a few years ago, and how much better pretty much everything is now.

Part Reviews

CPU

This has to be the worst generation of Intel cpus since Netburst. Grossly inflated price, terrible thermals, little improvement over the last generation yet somehow completely outdated by the 8700k just a little later that same year. Delidding and an overkill cooler were still not enough to bring the thermals down to what I would call reasonable. Somehow I can cool an X5650 Westmere hexacore drawing similar power on a little 120 mm AIO with the fans barely spinning, but this quad core will spike to 70 C watching youtube videos. Could just be the terrible power delivery on the motherboard.

CPU Cooler

It's a fairly thick 280 mm AIO and the leds are less garish than most. The stock fans are loud and set to destroy eardrums by default which is probably why they were replaced in newer products. The Corsair Link software that it came with started out as pretty good. Good level of fan curve control and temp monitoring with many options, little resource consumption; intuitive ui. Unfortunately it was replaced with the significantly worse iCUE rgb software which doesn't even allow manual fan curve tuning it seems. An incredible step backwards.

Motherboard

Very little about this motherboard is commendable. I received it instead of the Extreme4 and for various reasons was not able to ship it for return/replacement. The vrm and heatsink are anemic leading to high vcore, high fan speeds, and lower maximum overclocks. The uefi is a mess, prone to freezing, poorly explained tooltips, many values changing when one setting is touched, and a terribly implemented overclocking control that makes it impossible to disable Intel spec turbo duration limits while running a stock core multiplier or higher. This meant a great deal of time was spent tinkering the base clock. Also terrible memory support! Even with 3866 MHz rated B-die kit, could not get over 3300 MHz dual channel stable even at 1.5 V Vdimm and loose timings! Hynix AFR performed even worse. ASRock customer support never responded when I asked for help making sense of the QVL.

This was my first impression of ASRock products and I've heard the same issues across their product lines.

Memory

It's B-die, it has good heatsinks. Oh how I wish I could get it for the prices available today.

Storage

I have had nightmare experiences with early ssds with faulty controllers, but SanDisk has never caused me issues. I haven't scrutinized the read/write performance, and I would advise most people looking for a boot drive to invest in NVME today.

Storage

NAS drives are called NAS drives for a reason. They belong tucked away in a server rack far away from your desktop and ears. These are hot & loud. I'm not entirely sure if the drives themselves are to blame, or if running them in raid 1 with IRST is to blame. Regardless I spent months tuning fan curves and tinkering with air flow in my case to keep them idling ~40 C. At one point they were reaching <52 C! They're certainly rated for those temps but data shows the failure rates of harddrives skyrocket over 45 C average temps. In retrospect raid 1 was a dumb backup solution and I didn't need premium drives for media storage. A cheap 5400 rpm green drive inside my case and a hotswap dock for backup every month or so would be a much smarter solution.

Video Card

GPU prices have been inflating every generation but recent marketing gimmicks and the frustration caused by the mining bubble has made the GTX 1080 ti's reputation improve. With a no power limit vbios it can hold it's own with Navi and Turing cards just fine in most titles. The AORUS cooler isn't great and I removed almost immediately after getting the card. The pcb and vrm have caused no issues.

Case

A fairly small case with a lot of room! Highly modular with great options for air and water cooling. At stock the mesh front is rendered pointless by a thick foam filter which requires bending the tabs on the metal front mesh to remove. The stock 200 mm fan gives plenty of airflow to the top compartment and runs fairly quiet, but the quality isn't great. It's a 2-pin which gave me issues trying to daisy chain it on my limited number of fan headers. It actually has a lot of room for 3.5" drives but the lack of fan mounts near the drive cage caused me issues with particularly hot drives. The 200 mm has poor static pressure so there's barely any airflow in the bottom of the case. It's a great option for a custom build and even in its stock config it's fairly decent with plenty of room for a tower cooler and full sized gpus. It's a subtle but unique case at a reasonable price.

Power Supply

More power than I need. Basically wanted to never have to worry about my psu again.

Case Fan

I needed fans for another AIO, so I thought I should get matching ugly beige. Have some buyer's remorse since my expensive fans didn't move heaven and earth.

Case Fan

Replacement for stock corsair fans on an AIO. Quiet with decent static pressure, but probably not worth the high price compared to competitors. The extension cords and y-splitters it comes with are appreciated it.

Case Fan

I suppose all 92 mm fans are loud. I needed better airflow on my hard drives and this was the biggest case fan that could fit next to them. Knowing better now, I'll just get the cheaper alternatives.

Monitor

It's a cheap 1080p IPS screen. Acer continues to be a good budget option.

Monitor

A VA panel that makes up for the common limitations of the monitors. Great colors, good response time, decent HDR implementation with a fairly high peak brightness and decent black levels. While it's not great, you won't find active dimming on many monitors in this price range, and it's still much better than those hdr400 displays lacking the feature all together. For years I avoided curved screens, but once it's on your desk you never notice it. No issues running standard freesync with HDR at the advertised 144 Hz. While the price is higher than I would normally go for displays, I chose it after I had returned a similarly specced Acer panel that was prone to manufacturing defects, and I have no regrets. Overall gives me a very good impression of Samsung displays.

Keyboard

It's a subtle keyboard with functional key backlights that can be adjusted without any drivers or software. There aren't many hotkeys, but I use the few that present.

Mouse

As a longtime fan of the MX518 this was an obvious choice when I needed a replacement. Sadly it's a little prone to grime buildup (especially the wheel) and the dpi switch isn't quite as nice. It's grossly overpriced now though and the MX518 is back.

Headphones

I'm a philistine when it comes to audio, but I got sick of earbuds breaking on me so I got this on recommendation. Have had no issues wearing them all day for several years now. They're fairly open so not suitable for outdoors or the gym.

Custom

A cheap monitor stand that has no issues holding even 32" screens. While it was fairly cheap and much nicer than a stock stand, I find myself regretting not investing in a more mobile monitor arm.

Custom

My DS3 was on it's last leg as the usb mini port was constantly coming loose. I hope next gen consoles don't introduce another new stupid gimmick controller so I can get some actual use out of this.

Custom

I'm amazed how long I went with a regular tiny mouse pad constantly limiting my range of motion. Being able to push my keyboard aside without wearing down the pads is nice too.

Custom

After using a MX blue keyboard someone gave me for years, I became obsessed with reducing key noise. I'm not really sure how much this helped, but for the first few days I noticeably missed a few keystrokes because of them.

Custom

These aftermarket cooling solutions deserve to be more popular. GPU prices are absurd today, and most cards are artificially segmented with power limits and bandwidth limits. The ones with decent coolers get bought up immediately. Save yourself the headache and buy one universal gpu heatsink that can handle any 300 W card you get in the future and just buy whatever pcb is affordable from then on.

Custom

Since I bought a decent pair of headphones, I was terrified of knocking them off my desk.

Custom

Simple enough to use. I killed a cpu trying to do the razor blade method at first.

Custom

Surprisingly many of these adapters don't allow pwm control. This one did. I was afraid the thinness would make it fragile, but it helped with cable management.

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Comments

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

I feel your 7700k pain. I bought mine in April 2017 and 3 months later I hear about a new 6 core. Total Intel bs. Can't wait to upgrade it next year.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

I understand where you are coming from. I waited a little and bought an i7-8700k and paired it with 1080ti. So i understand the cpu pain, but as far as gpu's are concerned i would never replace my 1080ti with any of the current gpu's. Maybe in the next couple of years.