Description

It was finally time to upgrade from my i7 2600k rig (which still goes strong though). I skipped other generations but 8th generation finally offers a considerable leap in performance so I think i7 8700K will keep me going for long time just like i7 2600K did

WHY NZXT Kraken X62 Rev 2 ?

It's the best looking and quiet AIO liquid CPU cooler on the market. I was a bit skeptical because of all the negative reviews (pump failure etc.) but I think people usually have problems because of incorrect mounting or inefficient radiator position. I did my research before hitting the trigger (note that it's revision 2 so I guess it's less risky) and came to these conclusions:

  1. I think pump failure or pump rattle noise happens when you allow air bubbles to go through the pump. For this reason, I decided to mount the radiator horizontally at the top of the case (as exhaust). As the air bubbles always go up, they will stay at the top of the cooler liquid and they will never enter the tubes. An alternative to this, is mounting it vertically on the front of the case but tubes facing bottom, however this would be not possible in most cases because tubes are not that long. Also with my preferred position, I made the tubes facing the back of the case so they are not hiding my beautiful LED RAMs :) Currently my CPU is 30-33 degrees at idle and 57 degrees on load (tested a game only, no stress test yet) so the values are great and it's very quiet. You can hear the pump only if put your ear inside the case at least I could do that on the first day but currently I can't hear it (seems running the loop for a day removed the very low rattle sound), I can only hear the radiator fans now if I open the case window.

  2. Contrary to NZXT's instructions I connected the pump to AIO_PUMP socket of the motherboard instead of CPU_FAN (radiator fans go there). New motherboards have AIO_PUMP socket which works on 100% speed and I think this is more healthy for the pumps. Variable speed for pumps is bad and can shorten their life because pumps are not like fans, they are quiet and made to be running full speed continuously. I did not install NZXT's infamous software CAM yet because of the horror stories of some users (e.g. it stops or breaks the pump etc. and it's a spyware). However I may install it only for changing the LED colors. So the cooler does not even need the software, it works very well with its default settings, no need to play with pump or fan speed (at least for now in my case).

WHY Asus ROG MAXIMUS X CODE ?

I wanted Asus Aura so that RAM and GPU LEDs are all synchronized with the motherboard automatically and I love Asus Bios (I think they are better than other brands in this area) and they are durable. Maximus X series is a bit expensive but they look sick and have quality components. The main reason I chose Code over Hero is that it has onboard bluetooth and wireless (though it seems there is also Hero Wi-Fi AC version but I could not find it locally) and Formula only has water blocks in addition which is useless for me. I also needed internal USB TYPE-C socket for my case.

WHY G.Skill Trident Z RGB 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 ?

Best looking LED RAMs and they support Asus Aura. 3000MHz is sufficient, no need to spend more, you can't see performance difference between 3000MHz and 3600MHz anyways. This is C15 (lower is better) so I think it's more important than clock speed (imho better than 3600MHz C16). By the way I didn't go 32GB because it would be overkill, I had never seen myself filling up 16GB for years.

WHY Samsung 960 EVO 250GB M.2-2280 SSD

Well Samsung is the "one" for SSDs for years, best performance and stability. 250GB will be enough for system disk (Windows 10). I already had Samsung 850 PRO 256GB SATA and I will use that for my data. You don't even need 960 PRO, 960 EVO is ridiculously fast (thanks to M2 NVMe). Windows 10 installation took 4-5 mins and it boots in 8-10 seconds. So as a system disk EVO is more than enough, you should prefer PRO only for your data disk (10+years writing guarantee). 960 EVO is vastly faster than the old gen 850 PRO. Samsung Magician is very good software, updating firmware and stuff is very good (I remember all the problems with OCZ Vertex in the past)

WHY Western Digital Red 4TB 3.5" 5400RPM

Red series is not only for NAS, I chose it as my main storage disk in this build because it's fast and quiet. Don't be duped by 5400 RPM, it's actually faster than most 7200 RPM disks (at least which I used before). This is also related to the size of the disk, for example a 4GB disk is faster than a 1GB disk. I had Black series in the past but damn that thing was noisy. So this thing is sufficient for gaming from my experience (no need to trash SSDs), the games I tried loaded fast (or normal). I usually trust Western Digital disks, they never disappoint me.

WHY Asus GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX A8G

As I was going Asus Aura (motherboard), I also needed to choose Asus graphics card. So that its LEDs are automatically synced to the motherboard. This card is very quiet (they improved cooling a lot), fans rarely spin even in some games (that's a huge jump for me after gtx570). ROG STRIX Series has 3 models:

  • 8G = Non OC
  • A8G = Advanced
  • O8G = Overclock

I preferred A8G because as it's slightly faster than 8G out of the box (higher clock speeds) but I didn't need O8G because I am not going to exploit it much (at least for now, not a big gamer). Actually all 3 are the same cards but the difference is the binned chips: When 1080 chips come from Nvidia, Asus tests overclock ability for every chip and they bin them (put in a basket) according to their capability so they separate them into 3 different groups. So GTX 1080 should be enough for me now, I don't plan going 4K (although this card can do 4K) because I determined that the best size is a 27" monitor with 2560 x 1440 resolution (still using 24'' with 1920x1080 for now so it would be a good upgrade) and GTX 1080 would easily kill 1440p.

WHY Corsair Obsidian Series 500D

Actually I was originally going with BeQuiet! Dark Base 700 but because of delivery problems I was fed up and looked for an alternative. Corsair 500D was already on my list but I had leaned to Dark Base 700 because it supported inverted motherboard (so that I can put the case on my left and the window is visible on my left, i.e. the window is right-side of the case). After the delivery problems, I decided I should just go "standard" (not-inverted motherboard) and I bought Corsair 500D as it already ticked my requirements, e.g. front USB Type-C port (too few cases have it) and this one looks better than Dark Base 700's cheap port. Dark Base 700 is also a quality case but man that USB Type-C port is a hack job. In the end, I am glad I went with Corsair 500D, I am very happy with it. It's really high quality, metals will not cut your fingers inside this case, tempered glass is elegant with dark tint, cable management is very good. It comes with 2 fans and they are sufficient imho (I bought 1 spare fan just in case but did not mount it for now), I am happy with cooling performance and quietness. It's really a premium case.

WHY SeaSonic FOCUS Plus Gold 750W 80+ Gold

This PSU has quality components, it's quiet and I think it will last a long time. There are enough cables and their lengths are good. The cables are coated but they have some shock protection diodes in them so it's a little hard to bend the connector heads. But those diodes are useful for durability so it's not a big deal. In the end, you can manage the cables without problems. It would have been good if the coating continued till the connector head (e.g. motherboard 24 pin) for a better look but black cables still look nice.

Part Reviews

CPU

It was finally time to upgrade from my i7 2600k rig (which still goes strong though). I skipped other generations but 8th generation finally offers a considerable leap in performance so I think i7 8700K will keep me going for long time just like i7 2600K did

CPU Cooler

It's the best looking and quiet AIO liquid CPU cooler on the market. I was a bit skeptical because of all the negative reviews (pump failure etc.) but I think people usually have problems because of incorrect mounting or inefficient radiator position. I did my research before hitting the trigger (note that it's revision 2 so I guess it's less risky) and came to these conclusions:

  1. I think pump failure or pump rattle noise happens when you allow air bubbles to go through the pump. For this reason, I decided to mount the radiator horizontally at the top of the case (as exhaust). As the air bubbles always go up, they will stay at the top of the cooler liquid and they will never enter the tubes. An alternative to this, is mounting it vertically on the front of the case but tubes facing bottom, however this would be not possible in most cases because tubes are not that long. Also with my preferred position, I made the tubes facing the back of the case so they are not hiding my beautiful LED RAMs :) Currently my CPU is 30-33 degrees at idle and 57 degrees on load (tested a game only, no stress test yet) so the values are great and it's very quiet. You can hear the pump only if put your ear inside the case at least I could do that on the first day but currently I can't hear it (seems running the loop for a day removed the very low rattle sound), I can only hear the radiator fans now if I open the case window.

  2. Contrary to NZXT's instructions I connected the pump to AIO_PUMP socket of the motherboard instead of CPU_FAN (radiator fans go there). New motherboards have AIO_PUMP socket which works on 100% speed and I think this is more healthy for the pumps. Variable speed for pumps is bad and can shorten their life because pumps are not like fans, they are quiet and made to be running full speed continuously. I did not install NZXT's infamous software CAM yet because of the horror stories of some users (e.g. it stops or breaks the pump etc. and it's a spyware). However I may install it only for changing the LED colors. So the cooler does not even need the software, it works very well with its default settings, no need to play with pump or fan speed (at least for now in my case).

Motherboard

I wanted Asus Aura so that RAM and GPU LEDs are all synchronized with the motherboard automatically and I love Asus Bios (I think they are better than other brands in this area) and they are durable. Maximus X series is a bit expensive but they look sick and have quality components. The main reason I chose Code over Hero is that it has onboard bluetooth and wireless (though it seems there is also Hero Wi-Fi AC version but I could not find it locally) and Formula only has water blocks in addition which is useless for me. I also needed internal USB TYPE-C socket for my case.

Memory

Best looking LED RAMs and they support Asus Aura. 3000MHz is sufficient, no need to spend more, you can't see performance difference between 3000MHz and 3600MHz anyways. This is C15 (lower is better) so I think it's more important than clock speed (imho better than 3600MHz C16). By the way I didn't go 32GB because it would be overkill, I had never seen myself filling up 16GB for years.

Storage

Well Samsung is the "one" for SSDs for years, best performance and stability. 250GB will be enough for system disk (Windows 10). I already had Samsung 850 PRO 256GB SATA and I will use that for my data. You don't even need 960 PRO, 960 EVO is ridiculously fast (thanks to M2 NVMe). Windows 10 installation took 4-5 mins and it boots in 8-10 seconds. So as a system disk EVO is more than enough, you should prefer PRO only for your data disk (10+years writing guarantee). 960 EVO is vastly faster than the old gen 850 PRO. Samsung Magician is very good software, updating firmware and stuff is very good (I remember all the problems with OCZ Vertex in the past)

Storage

Red series is not only for NAS, I chose it as my main storage disk in this build because it's fast and quiet. Don't be duped by 5400 RPM, it's actually faster than most 7200 RPM disks (at least which I used before). This is also related to the size of the disk, for example a 4GB disk is faster than a 1GB disk. I had Black series in the past but damn that thing was noisy. So this thing is sufficient for gaming from my experience (no need to trash SSDs), the games I tried loaded fast (or normal). I usually trust Western Digital disks, they never disappoint me.

Video Card

As I was going Asus Aura (motherboard), I also needed to choose Asus graphics card. So that its LEDs are automatically synced to the motherboard. This card is very quiet (they improved cooling a lot), fans rarely spin even in some games (that's a huge jump for me after gtx570). ROG STRIX Series has 3 models:

8G = Non OC A8G = Advanced O8G = Overclock I preferred A8G because as it's slightly faster than 8G out of the box (higher clock speeds) but I didn't need O8G because I am not going to exploit it much (at least for now, not a big gamer). Actually all 3 are the same cards but the difference is the binned chips: When 1080 chips come from Nvidia, Asus tests overclock ability for every chip and they bin them (put in a basket) according to their capability so they separate them into 3 different groups. So GTX 1080 should be enough for me now, I don't plan going 4K (although this card can do 4K) because I determined that the best size is a 27" monitor with 2560 x 1440 resolution (still using 24'' with 1920x1080 for now so it would be a good upgrade) and GTX 1080 would easily kill 1440p.

Case

Actually I was originally going with BeQuiet! Dark Base 700 but because of delivery problems I was fed up and looked for an alternative. Corsair 500D was already on my list but I had leaned to Dark Base 700 because it supported inverted motherboard (so that I can put the case on my left and the window is visible on my left, i.e. the window is right-side of the case). After the delivery problems, I decided I should just go "standard" (not-inverted motherboard) and I bought Corsair 500D as it already ticked my requirements, e.g. front USB Type-C port (too few cases have it) and this one looks better than Dark Base 700's cheap port. Dark Base 700 is also a quality case but man that USB Type-C port is a hack job. In the end, I am glad I went with Corsair 500D, I am very happy with it. It's really high quality, metals will not cut your fingers inside this case, tempered glass is elegant with dark tint, cable management is very good. It comes with 2 fans and they are sufficient imho (I bought 1 spare fan just in case but did not mount it for now), I am happy with cooling performance and quietness. It's really a premium case.

Power Supply

This PSU has quality components, it's quiet and I think it will last a long time. There are enough cables and their lengths are good. The cables are coated but they have some shock protection diodes in them so it's a little hard to bend the connector heads. But those diodes are useful for durability so it's not a big deal. In the end, you can manage the cables without problems. It would have been good if the coating continued till the connector head (e.g. motherboard 24 pin) for a better look but black cables still look nice.

Comments

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Ive been debating on the Maximus Hero X or Z370-E, but man that Code is a sexy looking board.

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

The main reason I chose Code over Hero is that it has onboard bluetooth and wireless and Formula only has water blocks in addition which is useless for me. Yes Code looks very cool but if you don't need wireless, Hero is also a good choice. Z370-E also has wireless and seems cost effective. I think neither of these Asus series would disappoint.

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

The Hero has a wifi version for $250 that Ive been eyeing with more fan headers than the Z370-E, but this Code is looking schlick. I'll check it out more when I get home. Are you planning on OC the CPU?

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah, just read your mobo section, you already knew about the wifi :)

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes Code with its armor looks very cool. Motherboard temp is at 30-31 degrees, M2 SSD under the armor (slot 1) is at 39-44 degrees so it's not just the looks I guess, it also cools well. I am not planning OC for now as i7 8700k turbo boost already goes to 4400 Mhz when needed but I think with this setup 5 Ghz can be reached easily. By the way, I added more detailed pictures.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Been going back and forth on the black H700i case or the black/blue one for color scheme. That full black with blue lights is calling my name.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

How is the motherboard performance/reliability so far up to date ? any issues?

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

How is the motherboard reliability/performance so far?

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

New motherboards have AIO_PUMP socket which works on 100% speed and I think this is more healthy for the pumps.

Is there anything specific one must do by connecting to the AIO_PUMP socket? Or is it simply plug in and you're good?

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes you simply plug in pump's cable to AIO_PUMP and 2 radiator fan cables to CPU_FAN and CPU_OPT. Kraken comes with a special cable which you normally connect pump and fans to it (so that their software can control pump and fan speeds) but I did not prefer plugging into the connectors on this cable, I directly connected them to the motherboard because I prefer controlling them with Asus Bios QFan or FanXpert (note that motherboard runs AIO_PUMP always on full speed, so you can only adjust radiator fans). You still use this special cable as you need to plug in SATA power connector (which comes from the PSU). And finally you connect USB 2 cable to the pump (in case you want to access it from NZXT CAM software)

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Help me with something, do you think the front of your case can suport a 280mm radiator and a 120mm all in the front?

Thanks

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

It says "upto 360mm radiator" in the specs but I measured the height and there is about 430mm usable space so I guess 280mm + 120mm would fit.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much,i will try it

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Can you put 2 120 fans on the top of the corsair 500D, or do you have to use 140s?

I'm thinking about getting the 500D SE for the 3 120LL fans. I need to know if I have to buy 2 140s for the top and a 120 for the back, or if I can just get away with buying 3 120s.

Very nice build and a detailed reasoning for the choice of components;)

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Have you ever tried to put the GPU in the Vertical Mount? I ordered a Pci Riser but My 1080Ti is 2,5 slot like yours..and i suspect that the side door wont close. Cheers +1

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey man, quick question for you. On this mobo and with the kraken cooler, could you easily have 4 sticks of ram in this build? Or do the pipes from the kraken block ram slots? Thanks!

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Corsair Obsidian 500D comes with 2x 120mm fans, intake and exhaust. Kraken X62 comes with its own 2x140mm fans.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

I think they are corsair SP120 fans without LEDs, part number is RWF0016 (12V DC 0.30A 1200rpm).