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[UPDATED] Starck : R4 / 3770K / 770 / MPOWER / H100i / 840 / Etc.
by stnz
Permalink:   (60 comments)

1. Concerning the build :

First of all, the name of the build is inspired by the designer Philippe Starck and not Games of Thrones nor Iron Man ;). I decided to name my builds after designers I like. You just guessed my work ? Right ? To make a long story short, I work as a webdesigner and as tech (computers, smartphones, tablets, etc.) and I had never build any computer yet.. I owned a Gateway 6801, a 3 years old setup which was performing well but I was tired of the awful case, the lack of filters and the lack of airflow in general, the specs were : i7 920, GTX 285, 12GB DDR3 and 1TB of storage. I thought about it, as the idea of building a computer was tickling me for a while. I then decided to build one and to use my old setup to make a nice gaming rig for my girlfriend which would have some upgrades as well.

Didn't have a single problem, no parts to RMA, I builded a bit fast and therefore missed some things but learned well overall, just a thing though, when you start building the computer, start by putting the PSU first, I did that last and it was a pain to route some of the cables.. Windows installation went extremely smoothly, I have multiple editions of both Windows 8 and 7 but decided to stick with 7 for now as 8.1 is not yet released and I do not truly with Microsoft's new politics and choice of interface.

So I went on to the search of the perfect parts, deals and more. And for that dear friends, I had a greaaaaat help - and I will never be able to thank them enough - at overclock.net, the thread is HERE by the way. And dear god wasn't I helped ! Without all these fellows ready to give a hand it would've taken way longer to actually build the thing ;).

2. Concerning the parts :

CPU wise, all started with a deal I could have through my work via Intel Retail, a i7 3770K at 85$ (gotta love these summer deals) ! I thought, wow, that's quite a nice deal ! Then the shipping was added and finally customs, the price of the CPU itself was around 145$, still less than half than it's retail price at the time (the 4770K wasn't out yet), the build was then built around this CPU which was the first purchase. I wasn't satisfied with the stock cooler, I didn't like the massive heatsinks of air coolers so I went for an AIO kit, also because I'm planning on swapping parts around quite often as I will later receive products to test quite often so that seemed like a good choice rather than a full loop (I didn't have the money for it, I did not want this build to exceed 1600$ and then 1500 due to an unexpected expense).

Then I waited for the 7xx to be released and as I am playing on a single monitor went for a 770 (and no, not a 780, sorry guys, kinda out of my budget), the greatest I could find for a good price still, especially considering that the 680 and the 670 were still selling around that price at the time. I heard only good things about EVGA and that ACX cooler seemed to have a good reputation so I went for it !

Then was the turn of the motherboard, that was the hardest choice of them all, but as I wanted a black & white scheme all along the MSI MPOWER seemed like the right choice, top of the line, great features, good build quality, tested for a while before going into your hands, this motherboard was begging to take her and happily.. I was weak :). And I do not regret my choice, the BIOS is extremely well made, overclocking is so easy a child could do it also I have not yet decided to overclock for reasons that are still obscure to me, anybody want to push me over the edge ?

The RAM was the obvious part, I needed white RAM as I did not want to start painting heatshrinks.. So I went for this nice set of Corsair RAM and I'm quite satisfied with it, I used the XMP profile for now, haven't tried to push them to their limit yet, I'm still trying to enjoy a bit the build before tweaking around also I've tweaked my windows badly already.

The SSD was a tough choice but since I needed to buy two (one for me and one for my gf's upcoming build) I went for a reliable and good product and yet not too expensive, ordered from the US just like the RAM, the LEDs & the thermal paste (among other things, went for a 500$ order and only 275 or so were dedicated to the build). The PRO would have been a better value and the Plextor M5P Extreme was just in between these but that was still 30$ saved and it's enough right now, I might purchase the Evo or Pro later on and use this one for my games.

The case was the second item I purchased, I first fell in love with the H630 from NZXT as I love simple yet elegant case full of features and nicely made, but this one was taking too long to be released and after some thought I did not need a full tower especially considering the fact that I move around with my case at times. I literally fell in love with the R4 as soon as I saw it, and even more when I opened the box, it's a great case and will last me a while, it has tons of possibilities !

The PSU was a great, I was greatly advised by Shilka on the matter at overclock.net (if ever you're here Shilka, yes I will post some pictures of my hale90 !). And the choice of white PSU is quite limited and this was IMO the best out of the bunch available, especially considering the fact that I snatched it at a good price. You're probably wondering why did I went with 750W as I do not need more than 600W or even 550 to power this system, so yes, I'll probably go down the SLI route later on, satisfied ? ;)

Finally, ordered some extras, the thermal paste (not for me but my gf, decided to include it in the build here still as it is a nice paste), the fans (corsair, not the best but I couldn't resist their design and good capacities overall), a basic DVD Drive as I still burn some CDs time to time and run some backups on DVDs for safety purposes. I added a bunch of white sleeved cables from NZXT which are of a great quality for a price relatively low, especially considering the price of sleeving in general as you have to pay for the cables but the tools also if you do not have any, a few basic one at least. I wasn't ready yet, probably for my next build !

I had a lot that went on shipping, I do not know if the price of my custom parts will be showing, but this was a pain to see so much money gone into taxes and shipping since in France (my homecountry) shipping is 90% of the time free, just like in the US. And in France, the taxes are included in the price, and oh god that's great, still not used to that here in Canada. Anyway, I'm drifting ;).

3. The Installation

The installation went very smoothly, the AF120 and SP120 are quite hard to screw in place and the H100i was a tight fit (warning people who might consider the same parts !) but overall, except the mistake I did (putting the PSU last in the case once everything was installed) and regret as my cable management could have been way better than this, I'll redo it later on anyway. Installing windows took just a couple of minutes, and thanks to ninite & maconfig I had my system up and running in almost no time, tweaked my theme, my explorerframe.dll, my personal rainmeter skin and soon everything was the way it was before. By the way, followed a great guide to optimize my installation on a SSD for a first time, it's available HERE, it's extremely well written and you'll save spaces, reads and writes, it's worth it, trust me ! Especially if you know most of these, it's quite short to do, especially since rebooting is so quick with a SSD (yes, as you can see it is still a discovery for me also I had already one on my MBPr).

The things I have left to do : remove the stickers on my MPOWER so it's absolutely black, find some white tubing for the tubes of the H100i, it'll look gorgeous, install my LEDs better as they're not giving their best (installed them quite quickly I must say), verify and check my airflow, update or change the fan orientation if necessary and finally : overclock and have a lot of fun !

So, if you have any critics, ideas to make this build better or look better, or if you think that I should have done something differently or that a part would have been more adequate, feel free to participate !

Update (08/06/2013) :

  • PSU went from Fanup to Fandown
  • Improved cable management for a neater look
  • Rear fan went from Intake to Exhaust
  • System overclocked
  • Just ordered my 2713HM !

Update (08/08/2013) :

  • Changed fan configuration. It is now : 3x Intake (1 Bottom, 2 Front) & my H100i as exhaust, leaving the rear spot empty as a passive exhaust. Also removed my PCI slot covers for better airflow. Front running at 5V at idle and bottom at 50%. 12V under load and 75%.
  • Changed H100i to default configuration rather than fixed RPMs.

Update (08/12/2013) :

  • Overclocked the monitor to 100Hz @ 1920x1080 for games such as CS:GO


Part List
Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.5GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle30.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load50.0° C
EVGA GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.11Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate7.01Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle32.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load60.0° C
3DMark 11 Benchmark Results
Extreme Preset ScoreX7092
Performance Preset ScoreP22894
Entry Preset ScoreE152028
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Sorted by:
InitialP [1 Build] 4 points 8 months ago

Nice and clean. Loving the color layout. And that 3770k was such a steal! But how much did u buy that little infant for?

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 4 points 8 months ago

Thanks :). The little infant ? It came with the 3770K as a bundle, I kinda had no choice :/. Just kidding, I found him on NCIX for around 100$, he builds your computer, but I didn't feel it would be decent to put it there, some people might take it wrong (humanists.. pfft), plus I rather say I mounted it rather than him. Fine, fine ! It's mine, I had him for free 10 month earlier, my usb ports entered my girlfriends IO shield and it was made from this union ;)

InitialP [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

had me goin for a sec. was about to go pick one up myself! anyway, congrats on the baby. but more importantly, congrats on the new computer!!!

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] -1 points 8 months ago

Actually, I would switch the order -> Congrats on the computer but more importantly congrats on the baby ! (just kidding, I'm saying that because my girlfriend was threatening me with a knife, she can be quite convincing sometimes).

cam313 [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

This is a really nice first build, well done!

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Thank you :)

piuchais 2 points 8 months ago

Your build is so cool I wish I could have it!

piuchais 2 points 8 months ago

With the phone bill I have to pay right now I don't think I can save money for that :/

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Oh, well change your carrier ! Then save for a computer and use this computer to flood their servers !

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Well, you could, save some money ;)

SumanIV [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

Awesome build, awesome parts. Enough said.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Thanks ! Truly appreciated

xdownfall 2 points 8 months ago

Awesome build.. I can only hope my R4 looks half as nice and clean as this! Genius color scheme, cable extensions are on point and just an overall perfect looking build! +1 for you good sir! How do you like those fans, I see a lot of people switching the 100i fans out.. reason?! Thanks! :D

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Thank you a lot ! The reasons people switch the fans of the H100i is that the stock fans aren't that good and often produce and annoying ticking noise, I personally chose the SP120 for the white band and their overall performance also I could have had better with Gentle Typhoons but these were more expensive and grayish rather than black or white.

duramax08 [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

The rear exhaust is setup as a intake, you might want to turn it around unless you have it like that for a reason.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Yes, it is pushing air inside the case, the rad is set as exhaust though, all my fans are set as intake except for the rad as I want to try positive pressure, I might try later on as exhaust.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Rear fan went from intake to exhaust, to build a real positive pressure system and not what I thought was positive pressure at the time. Thank you

IamApropos [2 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

Your parts selection is top class high quality! Good work. One small suggestion based on heat = bad for components and since you have your computer on your desk. Flip the power supply, which produces its own heat, so that it isn't sucking up the heat produced by the graphics card. It'll make your power supply last longer ;) Happy computing!

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Thank you. Regarding the PSU, no worries, I mainly did it this way for aesthetic purpose as I prefer this size which is white and has no stickers in comparison to the other side which has a big black sticker, not a big deal but you know.. Placing it fan up actually acts as an exhaust fan for the heat generated by the GPU and that doesn't really shorten the life of the PSU, it can lower the performance under load since the PSU is not using cold air but warm air but with 750W I'm pretty fine since I have only one card for the moment and truly honestly you can find a good load of test that shows that there is actually almost no difference between fan up or fan down temperature wise. The good thing is that the airflow in this case is actually well made and the front fans are actually pushing the warm air coming out of the GPU toward the back of the case, lowering the amount of heat directed straight in the PSU. Thank you for your concern and for this input ;)

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Flipped the power supply, since I could remove the sticker without voiding the warranty, and if I did it, it was mostly because this way the motherboard & CPU cables would be closer to the cable management entry.

Kashper [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Did you change the H100i fans to the Corsair Air Series SP120 High Performance Edition (2-Pack) 62.7 CFM 120mm. Very nice build, i wish i lived in Canada.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Yes I did, had a good deal and these and knew they would perform better especially noise wise, they have the plus of being better aesthetically speaking.

Kashper [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

ok thanks, how do you like that evga card?

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

I do like that EVGA card a lot, wish the finish could be silver and not gold for it to match my scheme better but you can't have everything in life ;). It performs very well, is really quiet even under load.

Kashper [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

oh and did the H100i come with thermal paste.?

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Of course, the extra thermal paste I bought is mostly for my girlfriend's upcoming build ;)

Kashper [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

ok, can't wait to see that! thanks for the help.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Thanks ;)

aragorn98 1 point 8 months ago

That screenshot looks so clean and not like Windows 7 at all. My desktop is a mess. Philippe Starck is a great designer (had to do a small project in him at school). You have no idea at how flabbergasted I am at a $85 3770K right now. If that's how much they cost to make I am really pissed at Intel. Only thing I would have done differently is bought the Lightning edition of the 770 so it matches your motherboard.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Thanks ! Wait, you had to do a project in him ? O_o. Poor Philippe Starck ;). A 3770K cost actually less to produce than 85$, the packing, shipping, marketing, research cost, that makes the actual price of the product. Just like a graphic card worth 400$ does not cost more than 100$ to actually build, just like an iPhone cost 700$ brand new while it's not even a 150$ construction cost, etc. That's just the way things work. Concerning the matching GPU, I'm not into the yellow scheme there, only white & black, the EVGA one is the simplest one I found without any big pipes or striking red colors and I got it at quite a better price than a lightning that would've had quite the same performances ;).

aragorn98 1 point 8 months ago

My friend did a piece of it for his design class however I ended up doing most of it. I hate tech companies for overpricing their products like they do.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Well, that's the only way they can actually live, it's overpriced yes while the production cost is low, but the research itself is extremely expensive, as a business, you have to have enough to invest in research and enough to pay your employees and make a small benefit, which is normal :)

mirchandise 1 point 8 months ago

Fantastic build! :D How can I find that wallpaper? I love it.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Here : http://mariesturges.deviantart.com/art/Flare-for-Desktop-191407517, be sure to thank the author if you have an account there ;). Check out her other stuff, you might like ;)

BevanGachett 1 point 8 months ago

what theme is that? and can I get it for windows 8?

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Nope, this theme is designed mainly for Windows 7 but it could be adapted for Windows 8, here is the link : http://www.deviantart.com/art/Shine-2-0-for-Windows-7-172671190.

Princessefl [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Amazing job on the updated cable management :)

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Thanks ;)

Yochewy 1 point 7 months ago

How is your temperature now with your updated fan configurations?

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 7 months ago

Right now, depending of the ambient temperature I am most of the time between 25 to 28 at idle. At full load it varies from 36 to 42 or so.

Yochewy 1 point 7 months ago

thats really good.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 7 months ago


pivoter 1 point 7 months ago

Very professional Description, Excellent and clean setup, Tons of pictures of how it looks.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 7 months ago

Thanks ;)

tylerste85 [1 Build] 1 point 6 months ago

Where did you get those sleeved cables? In a pack or individual?

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

Individual, from NZXT, you can order them through Amazon, they're pretty stiff but easily shapable ;)

CravinR1 [2 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

No way a single 770 scores that in 3dmark11. The 770 is basically a slightly overclocked 680. Sorry I call BS and want a 3d11 verification. My overclocked 3770K @ 4.5 + overclocked 7950 x 2 crossfire scores lower than you claim and thats not possible. Nice lies for leaderboard though.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 5 months ago

Hu ? Euh, first of all I didn't even they were a leaderboard. Thank you for telling me about it being a slightly overclocked 680, I obviously did not research about the card before buying it. Second of all I just copy pasted the result from 3DMark directly here. And if it's BS my apologies, but I'm not gonna re-run a test just because of a stupid score. If it bothers you, ask me I'll take it off ? Kay ? Have a nice day :)

CravinR1 [2 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I honestly don't care because you are the one looking stupid posting cloudgate scores for 3dmark11. Enjoy your rig its a nice setup.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 5 months ago

Cool then, we both don't care, thank you for your contribution :)

psherrard [4 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Absolutely LOVE this build! It's what I was aiming to do (and failed at) for my last rig! Kudos!

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 5 months ago

Thank you a lot, I appreciate the comment. You were talking about this build (http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/b/HBW) ? If yes that's not what I would call a fail ;)

b3nzonator 1 point 2 months ago

Hi, just wondering what size fan you have in the bottom there pushing air upwards? Is it an AF140 or AF120mm fan?

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 2 months ago

AF120 my dear :)

reece00567 [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

dude, how did you get that skin for your windows, i would like to have something like that on my desktop?

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

The theme is called Shine 2.0, you can find it on DeviantArt, the Rainmeter skin is composed from different skins and rearranged by me, and the hard drives icons are by me as well. Pretty much everything is modified and customised by me except for the wallpaper :). Search for uxtheme patcher / windows 7 theme, orb changer, rainmeter skins, etc.

Karmastocracy 1 point 7 months ago

Could you zip up the Rainmeter folder and upload it to a filehost? I'd love to use that skin!

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 7 months ago

I'll create myself a deviantart account and upload it there as soon as I can, would that be okay for you ?

Karmastocracy 1 point 7 months ago

That would be fantastic, I'd really appreciate it. Seriously, I would be stunned if you did that.

stnz [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 7 months ago
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