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Colin's Games PC
by cstein
Permalink:   (38 comments)
Description

I'm not much of a gamer, but when I do play, I want them to run well. I recently picked up Bioshock Infinite and Borderlands 2 based on the recommendation of friends. I also like to play warcraft occasionally and use it to make videos about interface design and introductory programming topics. My day job is writing software but I need a UNIX platform for that (cygwin isn't great and vim on windows is an exercise in frustration), I'm hoping to find a Linux or BSD that can run reasonably well at least until the new Mac Pro ships.

Minor Upgrades Since it was Built

When the 840 Evo came out and 1TB versions were available I got rid of all the spinning rust drives and replaced them with SSDs. Right now it's configured with

  • 3x 256GB in RAID-0 for the system disk
  • 2x 1TB in RAID-1 for data

Samsung's Magician software doesn't work with RAID configurations but PrimoCache will give you the same memory caching trickery that lets you post obnoxiously high benchmark scores.

I found some gold leaf (24k food-grade, left over from a party, turns out it's not very fun to eat metal). I applied to the memory heat spreaders for a laugh so they're gold now.

A little while later added an Oculus Rift dev kit and half a dozen Philips Hue lights. I wrote some custom software to make the room get red if the system over heats and to automatically shut off all the lights in the nerd cave if I start using the office computer or leave the house.

Finally, I bought half a dozen noctua fans and replaced all the stock ones. Two 'air flow' versions on the drive cage + 1 at the back for exhaust. Two of the 'static pressure' versions at the front of the case and a couple more for the radiator. One of the fans that shipped with the case was making an annoying buzzing sound so it was best to replace them all in order to avoid being forced to tinker around inside when another one went bad.

Obsolete // Out-of-Date information

Apart from windows installation being a complete mess (make sure you download the raid, and lan/wifi drivers onto your install media because it didn't work out of the box), and having issues with activation everything was mostly fine.

Asus AI Suite III isn't installing but that seems to be a known issue - other people are having trouble with the version on the website right now. I don't have a CD/DVD/BD-rom so I can't use the version that came packaged with the motherboard.

The hard drives are supposed to be: • 2xSSD: RAID-0 Windows boot/games/etc. • 2xHDD: RAID-0 for video capture • 1xHDD: Local copy of stuff on NAS • 1xSDD: write-through cache for the HDD storage disk, swap file, scratch disk, etc.

The only thing that was tricky was getting Windows to use one of the SSDs to cache the single HDD -- it keeps wanting to use it on the raid-0 set of HDDs instead.

Mostly it boiled down to software issues which I guess is to be expected when you're building a PC. The hardware all did exactly what it said it would. The case window + million glowing LEDs is a bit obnoxious. the graphics cards glow green, the keyboard mouse are blue, the motherboard has red lights, the cooler is blue. Fortunately everything but the motherboard light can be disabled with software.

Details
Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate4.6GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle29.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load57.0° C
EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.06Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate6.51Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle38.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load85.0° C
3DMark 11 Benchmark Results
Extreme Preset ScoreX8907
Performance Preset ScoreP16890
Comments
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Sorted by:
 
 
Norm101 [2 Builds] 17 points 9 months ago

Holy s#!t? For a non gamer, this is one hell of a build.

 
 
gseyffert [1 Build] 9 points 9 months ago

Damn son! Well, you're probably older than me. But damn! That's one hell of a workstation... Also, as someone else has mentioned, putting Ubuntu on one of your SSDs would be a great solution to your UNIX platform need. And no need to buy an overpriced Mac Pro (sorry, I have to get the digs in when I can). Or you could always try a hackintosh.

Though as a programmer, I'm sure you're aware of all of these solutions. I've used Ubuntu for developing, as I'm currently a CS student at Cal, and I absolutely love it. Free, and runs much quicker than OS X in my experience.

 
 
Enlyten [1 Build] 8 points 9 months ago

Meanwhile in Africa... Great Build, I love it.

 
 
Snowdrift128 6 points 9 months ago

Whoa.

 
 
smittypantz@hotmail.com [5 Builds] 6 points 9 months ago

110% jealous... Time to start gaming.

 
 
pbjelly [1 Build] 5 points 9 months ago

Wow this is really impressive, and for your dillema with Windows and vim, (I use emacs for clisp), id recommend either ubuntu and distros (GNOME is a good one) or Fedora, depending on what you want to do. Besides that, Amazing build, looks clean and is really well done, only thing I would've done differently is the BlackWidow, heard some bad parts about quality control and really hope the prices are incorrect for the peripherals. +1

 
 
construction [3 Builds] 5 points 9 months ago

"I'm not much of a gamer, but when I do play, I want them to play well." Haha, Nice Build :D

 
 
Hakumisoso [2 Builds] 4 points 9 months ago

Great build! Except i hate asus gold motherboards. So so ugly.

 
 
dschutt84 [3 Builds] 3 points 9 months ago

Not really sure why you need 32 gigs of ram and raid 0 on ssd boot drive. but i guess if you want it why not. Nice Build!

 
 
j5haw54 [1 Build] 3 points 9 months ago

Very nice build. I don't know why but that bottom 780 looks crooked. Might be because the wires.

 
 
idhron [1 Build] 3 points 9 months ago

I feel somewhat jelly but also a bit sad for you. You spent an insane amount of money on this thing, and you could run games just fine on something that cost $3000+ less.

 
 
BLC 3 points 9 months ago

Another gaming build I can't buy...

 
 
Mattyice47 [1 Build] 2 points 9 months ago

I would have gotten a bigger power supply. http://pcpartpicker.com/part/corsair-power-supply-ax1200i

 
 
DjArtifact 2 points 9 months ago

That PSU can handle this rig no doubt.

 
 
MadBadger 3 points 9 months ago

Yeah, it should be able to. I've got an 860i and would love to know what Corsair Link reports back on the wattage used in this build (stock or OC). Planning a Haswell, SLI build myself. Minus the 16 hard drives, of course.

Anyway, monster of a build. Dig everything about it. Well done.

 
 
PCGAMER559 2 points 9 months ago

Is your boot time 1 ms? Amazing build by the way.

 
 
cstein [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 9 months ago

Power on to desktop is 7 or 8 seconds. You can get that from any SSD and a recent motherboard that supports the 'fastboot' stuff.

 
 
saw1833 [1 Build] 2 points 9 months ago

A third 256 Pro for HDD caching seems a bit large, especially if that drive is mostly data, but I'm curious as to how you managed to work out the solution to making windows use that drive to cache for the HDD instead of the RAID-0 SSDs, as I'm interested in doing something similar in the future.

 
 
cstein [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 9 months ago

I wanted a disk with good write performance: it doesn't make sense to have a cache that isn't measureably faster than the thing it's caching so that cut out 90% of the 120gb drives with their rather poor write speeds.

I also wanted to avoid sandforce controllers - I was using 3xcorsair f60 as my boot disk in my old computer and had every single disk just give up and die. It wasn't write fatique (smart was saying ~25tb written over their life) - they just stopped powering on or would randomly lose / corrupt data.

Eventually it came down to 'hell with it, I'll just get a third 256gb and be done with it'. It has good read/write performance and leaves open the option for 3 disks in raid-0, and if one of my other disks burns out then I can just swap it without worrying that maybe it won't be available next year. Once I was a few grand into it, I stopped sweating the pennies.

 
 
saw1833 [1 Build] 2 points 9 months ago

Makes sense. I'm starting to get into that whole, "I've spent so much money on it now, why get stingy?" mindset.

 
 
masonexcell 2 points 8 months ago

I'm in complete aw, with your build

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xx116xx [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

"Well, you know, I'm not really much of a gamer, so two 780's should do. May as well throw a few SSD's in there. No big deal." That is one heck of a gaming PC.

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EpicPuns 1 point 9 months ago

Very nice build!Do you think you can do push/pull inside the C70 using a motherboard like the Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3?

 
 
cstein [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

With my board it didn't work: the fans bang into the heat sinks around the CPU. If you were prepared to find "low profile" fans it may work, or if you were to cut the fan shroud with a Dremell you could probably force it to go but under normal circumstances I don't think it'll be worth the trouble.

 
 
EpicPuns 1 point 9 months ago

Yea you're right,thanks!

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izwanadia279 [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

really nice build! :O

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JustinJG [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

I like it, so what did you do for your sound card? Like do you have a amp or anything like that? Whats the audio situation?

 
 
cstein [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

I've got a amplifier couple of speakers and a subwoofer: nothing special, the sort of thing you could pick up at any big-box electronics store for $1500-2000. It's enough to play video games and watch cat videos on youtube but nobody is going to be impressed.

 
 
Mediciu5 [2 Builds] 2 points 6 months ago

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, OP! My favorite kids-are-asleep-wife-is-watching-some-crap-british-soap-opera pastime has just been lumped into the 'Cat Video' bucket!!

"It's enough to play video games and watch cat videos on youtube". - That damned OP

<sulks in the corner petting his cat>

 
 
bobbyschermerhorn [1 Build] 1 point 6 months ago

do you use an ethernet cord? or does the mother board have a network adaptor.

 
 
cstein [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 6 months ago

The motherboard has 802.11a/g/n and gigabit Ethernet built in. I use the later.

 
 
pieman114 1 point 6 months ago

Damn, for 'not much of a gamer' this is a hella nice build. The build I've set up (not built yet, I'm poor) is just like this but in an mATX Corsair Obsidian 350D.

 
 
Yevgeniy_Onegin [1 Build] 1 point 5 months ago

I'm doing a similar build. Is 860 watts enough? I have 2 choices: 1. AX860i 2. AX1200i

 
 
twaelbroeck 1 point 4 months ago

You've got $1000 just in storage drives. O.o' And another $1000 in your GPUs... Needless to say, this build has me drooling

 
 
Tscheys 1 point 3 months ago

Stacked.

 
 
AmamMcMam [1 Build] 1 point 2 months ago

Mother Of God.

 
 
hubjon11 1 point 1 month ago

OOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPP

 
 
airtonylee 1 point 1 month ago

can i trade my mac mini with you