Description

This has been a build long in the making that's undergone many changes. It all started way back in 2014 when I was getting really interested in PC gaming. Being that the Alienware gaming laptop I had basically died in every regard, I was ready to make the plunge to desktop gaming as I would hardly move my Alienware from its dock anyway. December of 2015 rolls around and I go up to the legendary Micro Center about an hour from my house with 4 friends and we all buy like $2,500 worth of gear, take it back to my house, and had 5 working gaming desktops by the end of the day. Thus, Project Venom was born. I technically already have a Completed Build for Project Venom but it's been upgraded many times over the years and the parts list couldn't possibly reflect all of the changes I've made, but I'll link it below.

Being that it's gone under many revisions, hardly any of the components were the same from the original build. Just a few weeks ago I finally decided to replace the case from 2013 and give it an updated look, and after months of careful consideration I finally decided on the Corsair Crystal 460X RGB. I was going to go with the non-RGB version as I would be replacing the front fans anyway and would never use the RGB control buttons on the top I/O, but Amazon Prime Day came along and made the 460X RGB considerably cheaper than it's non-RGB counterpart. As of current, the only part in this system that is still from the original build and running strong is the power supply.

There's a paradox that goes a little something like this. You have a boat, something breaks, so you replace it. As the years go on, more things break and you replace each part until you've replaced every single component that this boat consisted of until no original parts remain. Knowing this, is it still the same boat you started with? The same goes for PC building, and Project Venom is a living example of that. It started out as a very modest gaming PC and has evolved into a powerful workstation that I do basically everything from gaming, video editing, rendering, programming, 3D modeling, and whatever else on. It's about the experiences you have and the memories you form using said PC (and technically, the files you save on it) that make it the same to you as what is once started as years ago.

Also it's got dope RGB so that's fun.

Links: ~ The Original Project Venom Build: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7u5IDVRKkg&t=

Project Venom 2.0.0 Completed Build: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/7MnH99

Project Venom 2019 Upgrade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFqu3ti2GkY&t=

My YouTube Channel Where I Try To Do Tech Things: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXzSPKUKgC9IRt-CCvT19JQ?sub_confirmation=1

Part Reviews

CPU

Despite being several years old, this is still a beast of a CPU for my needs. Would I recommend you buy it for a brand new build? No, not at all. When this came out, 6-core CPU's weren't exactly the mainstream. Snagging this chip for about 50% of its retail price was a fantastic find and a worthy upgrade to my 4-core i5-4690K considering what kind of work I do on it.

CPU Cooler

Absolutely fantastic cooler. I love the design, it ties into Corsair's software nicely, and it's built very well. It keeps my i7-6850K nice and chilly. I haven't gotten around to running benchmarks to see temps but I know that I run about 33C idle.

Thermal Compound

Nothing more than a solid (not literally) tube of thermal paste. I've had this for about 3 years now and am not even close to finishing it. Performs well and is easy to clean off.

Motherboard

Great motherboard for my needs. I haven't done any crazy overclocking so I can't exactly ramble off choke and mosfet stats to you. It's definitely an older motherboard so the "STRIX" logo above the rear I/O and ROG logo on the heatsink are nothing more than stickers that you have to peel off to replace. The board comes with reddish orange ones preinstalled but there are green, silver, and pink ones included in the box. However, there is a strip in front of the "STRIX" logo, a "Republic of Gamers" heatsink, and all of the PCIe clips have integrated RGB lighting. I kind of would have liked to see more than 2 USB 2.0 ports on this board (one standard, one optional) but I can understand that USB 2.0's on its way out. A big reason I picked this board was because of its large selection of USB ports on the back. I have, however, had some issues with this board but it may be a one-off thing as I purchased this on clearance. There have been times when my PC would boot just fine from an off state, but for whatever reason, only the USB-C and USB 3.1 ports would be active. I spent like 3 hours once trying to figure out what was wrong and even got an RMA form from ASUS before finally figuring out that my USB ports were turned off in Device Manager? Very strange as this never happened with my ASUS Z97 board.

Memory

Great memory kit all around as Corsair is definitely one of the leading brands. I picked this kit up for $310 which wasn't uncommon at the time and was also right before the RAM shortage hit which I saw this kit skyrocket past the $450 mark. The RGB glows bright but something to know is that you have to enable a setting in the BIOS so that Corsair's iCue and/or ASUS' AURA software can talk to the RAM for lighting control. The reason I'm giving this 4 stars is because one time my PC would refuse to boot just out of the blue and after tinkering with the hardware I was determining that one or two of the RAM DIMMS just weren't cooperating with my motherboard in certain slots. This may have been a motherboard issue (see my motherboard review and you'll see I gave it 4 stars also) as I eventually swapped the RAM sticks to different slots and all 32GB were being detected again.

Storage

A quick, snappy SSD for the money which is perfect for any kind of build if you get it for the right price. I currently have my OS on this drive which got copied over from a 240GB SanDisk SSD.

Storage

A great SSD all around. Larger capacity SSDs are becoming more affordable which is fantastic if you can get them for great prices. I got this one for about $40 off by a random sale from Micro Center which was a steal in my opinion. This drive holds most of my large, and frequently used games.

Storage

A nice, large capacity drive which I use to store my YouTube video footage and pretty much any other mass-storage destined file. I noticed with my previous case that it can be a little noisy at times but I just think that is the 7200RPM platters hard at work. I have heard that Seagate tends to have a much higher failure rate than other brands so plan accordingly and back up your drives. I'm considering getting a large NAS to back up my system onto in such an event.

Video Card

A fantastic card overall. It's not necessarily the king of 4K and especially with the RTX series of cards out now, it's got some tough competition. But I use this for VR gaming as well as 3440x1440 ultrawide gaming and have no issues with either. I also can't complain since I got this card for free in a giveaway by NVIDIA themselves. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7UG9uj9Gvc&

Case

Hoo boy, I've got a lot to say about this. In my opinion, this case hits the nail straight on the head in the aesthetics department. I wanted to move my system to something smaller but not tiny, sleeker but not plain, and premium feeling without the "premium price". This case excels in all of those departments, and even better I got this case for a sick price through Amazon Prime Day. If you're building a new system and looking for something sleek to put your system in with a little bit of a budget to keep your PC looking sharp and not cheap, this is the way to go.

HOWEVER! I had a LOT of installation issues when moving my hardware into this case. My first culprit was a very small cutout directly under the motherboard designed for routing your HD Audio, USB 2.0, and front panel connectors do. At first I didn't even notice it and sighed as I realized it would be beneficial to use it. Unscrewing my motherboard, I routed the only cable that made sense in my case which the HD Audio, and even then it was very concerning to me that the cable was making such a sharp bend backwards into the board. The cable itself couldn't have been more than a few millimeters thick and was basically being shredded by my board. Another issue I had was radiator & fan compatibility. I've seen many people on this site use 360mm AiO's in this case with a good portion of them being the same cooler I used so at first I had no worries about fitting it. Unfortunately, the front panel connectors, being on the top of the case, had to go somewhere and that meant directly in the spot where my radiator was gonna go. There is probably zero space left between the top of my radiator and the block housing the PBCs for the front I/O as I literally had to use a screwdriver as a wedge underneath of the cooler to push it up high enough to screw my fans through the front of the case, and into the radiator. Then I made the mistake of not using washers on said screws, and the VERY LAST SCREW slipped past the fan mount which, being OCD, made me completely remove the AiO ENTIRELY to reinstall it with washers. At this point the screw basically had like 2mm worth of threading to screw into the radiator making it incredibly difficult. On the bright side it gave me the chance to remove my motherboard and rescue my poor HD Audio cable. One last major gripe. If you're like me and have too many files to save your life and don't have the money to dish out for VERY large capacity SSDs, you'll need to watch your PSU length with the HDD cage. A big reason I picked this case was because it still had physical HDD cages that would hide under the PSU cover, but with all of my cables installed I had to force them to do a sharp 90 degree turn out the backside of the case to be dealt with later. This wasn't necessarily hard to do, but the whole point of a PSU basement is to just shove the excess cables down there and forget about them which is very hard to do when you don't have any PSU basement left. Gripes aside, this is still a very competent case to build a sexy and sleek looking system into. Whether a gaming machine with 40 different RGB zones or a compact workstation designed for shredding render times, this case will serve you very well. JUST CHECK COMPATIBILITY BEFORE YOU BUY!!!

Power Supply

A very solid PSU which will have been running in my system for 5 years straight come this December. Modularity allows you to plug in only the cables you need while 750W should give you plenty of headroom for whatever you plan to upgrade to along the way. The 80+ Gold rating means you aren't going to rack up your electricity bill as much as you would with lesser PSUs which can be a deal breaker to some parents when it comes to letting their kids build a PC. Lets hope this lasts me another 5 years as it's currently the only component in my system which is still from the original version of my PC!

Operating System

You'll either love it or hate it. Some purists vow to stay on Windows 7 until the day they die. At the time I figured why not be up and running on the latest version of Windows right out of the box? I haven't had any major gripes with this OS and more than likely, neither will you.

Case Fan

Gorgeous fans and arguably some of the best looking on the market. The only reason I'm rating this 4 stars is because the price tends to be very steep for some builders when there are other options on the market for 1/3 of the price, some of which even come with more than 3 fans. I've got these mounted to a Corsair H150i Pro and don't have any issues with temperatures even if they're not necessarily designed with static pressure in mind.

Case Fan

Gorgeous fans and arguably some of the best looking on the market. The only reason I'm rating this 4 stars is because the price tends to be very steep for some builders when there are other options on the market for 1/3 of the price, some of which even come with more than 2 fans. I had these as intake fans in my old case but have since moved them to exhaust fans up top.

Monitor

A great IPS panel overall. This monitor not only my first with IPS, but was also my first with a 34" panel and a 3440x1440 resolution. I received this monitor as a prize in a competition and am incredibly grateful to have won it. It might not be the best for gaming as it only has a 60Hz refresh rate, but if you're not trying to go pro then it'll do you just fine.

Keyboard

A very sleek looking keyboard that comes with a variety of switch types and virtually endless RGB customization. I got this as a Christmas gift and it's treated me well ever since.

Mouse

A great mouse for MMO and MOBA players. Or really anyone, I'm not judging what games you play. I don't even play MMOs but love it because of the obscene amount of buttons on the side. I'm big into FPS games and while my opponent is having trouble switching to their primary weapon because they had to press a key on their keyboard, I've already switched to and fired all three of my weapons, swung my melee like it's no one's business, thrown 4 grenades, healed up with every time of medical item in the game, and still have 3 buttons left to program funny dances onto.

Headphones

A truly fantastic set of headphones for whatever it is you're doing. I got these as I dabble a little bit in video editing and have heard these have a great sound stage being studio headphones. I don't notice the bass or treble being overbearing and they make just about anything sound nice. If the price is a little steep for you then maybe look at some of their older headphones. A friend of mine uses the M20X's and really enjoys them. Highly recommend for the money.

Speakers

For $99, these are great. They fit well on my desk, are incredibly loud, and match my color scheme perfectly. Unfortunately, these tend to have a bad reputation. About a year into owning them one of them started cutting out on me randomly. Now it's a miracle if both of them end up working at the same time. However, it's not like the non-sounding one doesn't work at all. There's a switch on the back of the one with the volume knob to use when switching its location to left or right, which when flipped, causes the other one to work just fine. I'd rate this 4 stars out of 5, but I've emailed Mackie twice about this issue many months apart and have not received a response either time.

UPS

Overall, a nice USP. You really shouldn't underestimate what power your setup can draw from the wall, though. The box says that it can support 'X' different devices up to 'Y' amount of time (for example, I believe it said it can support a PS3 for up to 13 minutes). When having nothing more than my monitor and desktop plugged into it it would beep constantly to indicate the battery was being overused and whenever I'd use it with just my desktop, it'd beep at most high detail in-game cutscenes. If you're running a basic office computer or maybe a budget gaming rig, this should do you just fine.

Comments

  • 2 months ago
  • 2 points

Amazing