Hi guys, BucketInABucket here!
I grew up around computers. Not just shop-bought pre-mades, but actual hand-built towers. My dad was, fortunately or unfortunately depending on who you ask, a very big fan of custom-built PCs. Every few years, he would map out a rig for me and then build it right in front of my eyes. As I grew older, I had more say, but I could never really customize the rig to my liking as my dad had all the say and all the money. This all stopped when I went overseas, but my love for custom-built rigs has never really faded.
As for this project? This all started about a year ago, with a wee little Asus UX303LN laptop and piddly little NVidia GT840m graphics. It was, at the time I bought it, the most powerful ultra-book I could find short of the Razer Blade, and that was hideously expensive. As was typical of me, I had gotten rather bored of lugging around a small laptop and wanted something that could play games! Proper games, with max settings! Games like Crysis 3, and Metro: Last Light! The talk of the online benchmarking websites! Typical teenager, right?
Needless to say, I gravitated to the 980Ti, which at the time was the most powerful graphics card one can get their hands on, other than the ridiculously priced Titan cards. My brain started thinking. What if I could build a relatively compact system, but one that could hold sli 980Tis AND be water-cooled at the same time? I had very high standards, I must say. However, I had neither the funds nor the support to allow me such a rig, and thus I stayed with my laptop for another year. However, a seed had been planted.
A seed which would eventually grow into this.
What is Project Tao, you may ask? (following paragraph mostly from Wikipedia cause I'm lazy).
Well, Taoism is a Chinese philosophy based on the writings of Lao-tzu, advocating humility and religious piety. Yin and Yang are parts of a Oneness that is also equated with the Tao. Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. As you guys know, a GTX-1080 by itself is completely useless!
This is the core of what my build is based around. Or it could just be me wanting a cool name and concept and talking out of my arse to justify it. Who knows?
It has a surprisingly simple goal, carried over from my idea a year ago. Cram a ridiculous amount of power into as small a case as I can, while balancing the space with a proper water-cooling loop. Of course, in my mind, it's far more romanticized than that. In my mind, it is the ultimate harmony of form and function. Sleek, subtle, water-cooled and, of course, powerful. Very powerful.
Naturally, I will need a case to start, and my weapon of choice is the Jonsbo UMX4. A svelte Micro-ATX- sized case supporting two 240mm radiators, albeit only slim 27mm ones, and full ATX boards. However, I will be going with a MicroATX board to give myself more clearance for radiators at the bottom of the chassis. If I go smaller, I might as well have gone for a Mini ITX build if that was the case, but then I wouldn't have the option to SLI. Plus, as much power as possible, remember?
Here are my current components.
The 6700k is an incredibly powerful CPU, and will be useful not only for gaming but also for university work, which is why I chose to run with this. I don’t feel like I need the multiple cores any 2011-V3 socket-based chip offers me.
Cheap and very effective cooling especially when used with a push pull setup.
Asus Maximus VIII Gene mATX
Fairly neutrally-coloured motherboard with SLI capabilities and the legendary Asus featureset which make them famous. Also gives me a little more clearance from the bottom for a thicker radiator if I ever need one.
Corsair Vengeance LED White 3000MHz 4x8GB
Looks pretty and I can take off the light spreaders to get really sexy lightbars which fit this rig perfectly.
MSI GTX-1080 Gaming X
The cheapest 1080 (which wasn’t Inno3D which I don’t trust that) that was on sale when I went shopping. The GTX1080 is the most powerful GPU not named Titan X Pascal which I simply cannot justify. I plan to get SLI GTX1080Tis eventually when they come out and I can afford them and hopefully 480x27mm worth of radiator will be enough to cool everything. I won’t pretend to say that the temps will be the best as that would simply be delusional, but I hope the radiators can at handle the TDP of the system without too much overclocking. The red doesn’t bother me too much as the entire thing will be replaced eventually.
WD Caviar Green 3TB Drive
Hand-me-down from my father. Will be replaced in time.
Fujitsu F300 480GB 2.5” SSD
Also a hand-me-down. Will be supplemented with an NVME boot drive in time and eventually replaced by faster storage when I feel the need.
Corsair ML120 Pro LED White fans
I love the ML120 sound profile, the very wide PWM range and the excellent performance it offers. White LEDs, cause black and white theme. Somewhat dumb, I know, but I am a very dumb person after all!
Corsair Commander Mini
This will tie the entire build together. I like to control my fans from windows, not the bios, and the usage of a Corsair i-enabled PSU was the tipping factor to use this over the NZXT option.
The 160mm PSU with the largest power output I can find. An excellent power supply in general as well.
My cable management sucks and it took me 5 hour but I'm finally done with this! It was most definitely a challenge but I had a lot of fun building it and the final result is just exquisite.