Description

I never thought my first computer would bring so much fun.

Planning the build and every parts (over months!), purchasing everything and waiting for shipments, assembling the machine, and then enjoying the games. I am now considering some upgrades!

This first build has been intended to be some kind of project : somewhat future proof.

For this reason, I chose the Intel Core i7-6700k 4.0GHz. The piece I want to keep the longest among my build parts. Assembling it to the motherboard was pretty easy, as any CPU, but since it was my first time, the pressure I had to exert had me worried :) . Also, I bought thermal compound for no reason since I ignored the CPU (or is it the motherboard?) came with some. For now, I am not overclocking it since it outperforms, by FAR, my other components.

I recently acquired a Swiftech H240 X2 watercooling unit. This decision was mostly about look, but also about keeping the CPU in good condition for a long time. I chose an expandable cooling unit. Since it's a double 240mm radiator, and that the pump is pretty strong, I could add two GPU units on the loop. I miscalculated things and had to place the radiator fans atop the case. I am now looking for slim fans to fit everything inside the case.

Prior to watercooling, I had a cheap fan : Cooler Master Hyper 212. It works well, moves air as supposed. However, if I had to start over, this is the piece I would not buy again.

  • It's too big and blocks one of the four RAM slots. Luckily, I only need two of them.
  • Installation was HORRIBLE and difficult.
  • Also, as a rookie, I made the mistake to place it upside down... It was blowing air down, directly on the GPU. I recently snapped the fan on the other side of the radiator for better air blow (upwards). The "Cooler Master" letters on the radiator are still inverted though.

To fit with the Skylake processor, I went with the MSI Z170 Krait Gaming motherboard. Keeping in mind I wanted to future proof my build, I went for a motherboard that included a M.2 port, plenty of SATA ports, overclocking capabilities and dual video cards support. The white allure is gorgeous. The only concerns about that motherboard are as follow : plugging the power cable (24-pin?) into it required a LOT of force and made it bend which had me worried. Also, placing a second GPU as long as my GTX970 will partly block 4 SATA ports. Since those ports are inverted, one would then need some 270° SATA connectors to use them. However, there are other unobstructed ports available.

Next important piece : NVidia GTX970. Since the monitor I already had was a 1080p, 60Hz one, going higher than a 970 was pointless. It runs EXTREMELY cool and silent. fans wont start before it reaches 60°C, and will keep it at 60°C. For now, it runs everything on extreme settings at 60FPS, except The Witcher 3 (ultra settings), where it gives between 45 and 60 FPS. My only concerns : it sags about 5°, and a small LED stays on even if the computer is shut down.

With all those parts, I went for the EVGA 750W G2 gold. It runs extremely silent and cool, and could easily support another GPU. No complaints.

Everything is encased in a Fractal Design Define R4. The case is nearly perfect : Awesome air flow, great window, super easy cable management and hiding, big and easy HDD placement. Very minor esthetic issue : the screws locking (and allowing easy, fast removal) the panels are big, showing and don't seem to be changeable.

Other parts :

  • 2x G.Skill Ripjaw 8GB DDR4-2400 RAM Great, cheap as RAM comes, but I should have went with blue or white ones.
  • Kingston SSD For the OS, boots under 10 seconds.
  • Seagate Barracude 1TB HDD. Big enough for what I need, no other comment.
  • Samsung Optical Drive. Came with a red?? SATA cable.

First "upgrade" part (More like a pimp-up part)

HUE+. This makes a HUEge difference in the looks. I am now planning some changes for a blue/white theme.

Future considerations

  • Better monitor. I would enjoy some refresh rates above 60Hz. However, this leads to the second upgrade point.
  • Another GTX970. Will be necessary to fully use a better monitor.
  • Blue/White SATA cables. A second GPU would inevitably lead to some cables changes as explained above. This would be the opportunity to focus on a color theme.
  • Painting/Changing RAM color. Theme oriented consideration...
  • An M.2 SSD, whenever they become affordable

Thanks for reading me, I will deeply appreciate any comment or suggestions.

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Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build! Nice choice of parts, it allows a good while of fun while being easily upgradable later. I am trying to think of some sort of advice to give, but your build is solid. The 970 is almost an overkill for 10800, but that makes your build more future proof. Enjoy it!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

10800? I don't think the 970 can even display that many pixels at once, much less render a game at 60 FPS.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

If you installed the 212 EVO vertically you wouldn't have the RAM clearance problem. Parts look good, +1.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the comment. Of course, you're right. This is however a too small inconvenience (I'm using 2 DIMMs) to turn that radiator and touch that thermal paste and CPU.