This is my daily driver computer. I built it to get me through my years in college to serve as my main machine. I use it mainly for gaming and mechanical engineering applications such as rendering AutoCAD designs and Matlab simulations.
I built this as a dream machine that was affordable because I'm a broke college student so I couldn't upgrade to the X99 platform but this machine does the tasks I use it for pretty well other than rendering for which I wish I had more CPU horsepower. I plan on upgrading this machine as I go along, right now the main upgrade will be some PCle based SSDs and maybe some shrouding mods with some new power cables.
Overclocking was a breeze on this motherboard, easily cranking up the CPU clock to around 4.7 Ghz while maintaining decent thermals albeit the noise level can get a bit loud due to the loud corsair SP140 fans included with the H110i GTX. Memory overclock was super easy to dial in using the XMP profile.
Some basic issues while setting up the machine was installing the cooler on the top of the case was a bit of an issue, some other things to consider were the SATA ports when plugging in the HDDs and SSD because of the port disabling issues encountered when installing m.2 drives. The front bay also disables some ports on the motherboard but a quick consultation of the motherboard manual can resolve that issue. Other than that the system is rock solid stable other than the here and there hiccup caused by windows due to Nvidia drivers but what can you do about driver instability? Often times the main issue I encounter is that the GPU overclock will cause certain games to crash because of the high framerates or general engine instability associated with GPU overclocks (LOOKING AT YOU GTA V). The CPU can get a bit hot with the overclocks dialed in and the system in general can get a bit laggy when rendering and working with many chrome tabs open which can cause some productivity issues when in a tight situation (I procrastinated on doing the renders for my final project powerpoint until the morning of and you could say **** hit the ceiling). But if you are not doing CPU intensive tasks, the 6700k is a great piece of silicone which I had great difficulty purchasing on release date due to shortages and I spent way too much time than I willing to admit finding one. The monitor also doesn't have the greatest color reproduction, but a custom color profile can be used to fix that issue, plus that's the price you pay for a high refresh rate TN panel. I have my eyes on a G-sync monitor, but that may come later down the line. Overall I'm very satisfied with my experience. 144hz is too sexy, everything i do is instantaneously represented on screen.
Some aspects of this built like the Titan X may seem like overkill but the 144hz is quite demanding and is still not reached in some demanding titles like Crysis 3 when on maximum settings and MSAA x2 is turned on. In addition if you're going to ask the question I always get about not buying a 980 Ti, here is my answer: When I purchased my graphics card, the 980 Ti hadn't been released yet. I am very salty about the release of the GTX 1080 though, so if you are looking to buy a Titan X for about 500 dollars, I am willing to sell it to you. I have the original packaging and all the paraphernalia, even the tacky EVGA poster. Shoot me an email or DM on Facebook. I live in NYC but I am willing to pay the shipping costs as long as you live in the US. Furthermore, the Asrock Extreme 7+ may also seem like overkill but I am waiting for the price of the 950 pro to drop so I can setup a Raid 0 512Gb x2 array in the M.2 slots.
My overall experience with this machine has truly spoiled me and I have officially become a hermit in my room at college. I officially broke up with my gaming laptop and I have committed myself to my relationship with this machine. I love this machine with all my heart (well until something better comes along). Plus I have hella bragging rights in addition to nerds coming over to look at my PC.
Quick note: The cost of all this **** is not accurate because I bought most of my audio gear used, and everything I bought was purchased over time through sales because I'm stingy like that, in addition to the fact that I paid for all this myself.
Amazing piece of silicon, easy to overclock, decent thermals and the architecture combined with the new chipset allows for much more IO flexibility than before. The overclocking experience with this chip was interesting to say the least.
Although the chip is solid, it's not like other chips which have a steady Ghz gain as you apply more voltage, but rather had a hump of power that needed to go in to get past the 4.5 Ghz range. I had to crank the Vcore to about 1.3 Volts to get past the 4.5 barrier. Could be the chip because I've seen chips work at 4.5 at around 1.29 but I was able to take the voltage down to around 1.317 to get the 4.7 Ghz goal. I got the chip to about 4.9 but that required around 1.328 Volts and the chip was running too hot which made the PC unbearably loud.
I would give this product 5 stars but the fans are just too loud. They are high performance, but the static pressure and speed that they run is just too high for the fin density of the radiator. Honestly the fans are overkill, the two fans on this alone make my system have negative pressure even though every fan is running intake, even the rear at one point when I tried to make the system have positive pressure (because of dust you fools!). I will most likely replace them with the akasa fan that I have at the front of the case.
Also the Corsair Link utility needs some serious work, especially the custom fan curve because the fan doesn't use the probe on the CPU for some reason which makes the custom fan curve you setup using the according temperatures of the CPU useless. The custom profiles look very odd, and I ended up using Speed Fan to setup the fan curve.
After many hours of research I realized that other than the metal reflow thermal conductive materials used by EKWB, this is the next best thing. I have used this one tube for many years, and will continue doing so, easy spread, and excellent conductivity. Plus it's nonconductive!
Pricey I know, but you get what you pay for. My inclination for this board started with the IO, this board is under the 200 dollar threshold that I am not willing to surpass and packs on as many features as it can while looking great. Honestly, I'm not that big a fan of the color scheme, but it is very elegant and works with the modern look of the Fractal Design R5. Honestly, I chose this board for its functionality over it's looks. This is the renaissance man without the crazy bells and whistles associated with the upper price threshold of the Z170 motherboard selection. This board is no Gigabyte Gaming 1 or ASUS Maximus but it is the poor man's version of those boards.
It starts with the IO, with many more USB ports than almost any other board on the Z170 platform achieved through ASmedia controllers. Although some purists may complain about latency, I don't give a flying **** because it gets the job done. The only peripherals I need to have zero latency are my keyboard and mouse. Everything else can be laggy as long as transfer speeds are sustained. The back packs on two RJ45 ports that can be teamed using a router that supports it (I have one so don't tell me it's useless) which accelerates transfer speeds to my home server/seedbox. There are 4 USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports (keyboard), and 1 USB 3.1a and 1 USB 3.1c port. In addition to the front connector that adds another 3.1a and 3.1c that's 10 USB PORTS, 10 MOTHER-******! That's more than you're ever going to need! And it packs another two USB 3.0 headers on the board, PREPOSTEROUS! Honestly, the place they source all this IO is voodoo magic. I have a lot of USB devices and this was the main reason I bought this board but there are many more aspects that make this board a steal at the pricepoint.
Now the price is essential, I could have bought an ASUS board and I would have the pleasure of dealing with the ASUS BIOS (the best IMO) and the voltage llc graphs in the overlocking utility is a godsend, but alas i had to go with ASrock. The main reason I did this was because ASUS makes you pay the price for having an ASUS board, it's kind of like paying for the name, and at the price point, the boards offered do not match the features of this board.
The board has a 12 phase power supply, making overclocking a breeze and everything stays rock solid, ALWAYS, no dips, nothing ever goes wrong. Furthermore the board also packs 3 m.2 slots, which fit my future plans of upgrading to an M.2 SSD raid solution. I'm honestly waiting for the price to drop and the boot time associated with booting off an M.2 ssd to resolve itself. The onboard boot button and reset button are a huge godsend and to be honest having this on the motherboard will make me buy it and the DR DEBUG LEDS HAVE SAVED MY BACON TOO MANY TIMES!
The only issues I faced are the Vcore ramping up automatically sometimes due to the lack of an llc graph and the bios update may have gone bad at one point but that was due to my own lack of precautions when I didn't check the MD5 luckily it didnt brick the chip. The BIOS could use a little work but then again I'm used to Asus BIOS's, which have no comparison. The EZ bios makes it super easy to adjust fan speeds and the fan headers are well placed and plentiful for a mid tower build.
This motherboard really is a steal for the price and the color scheme is honestly much more flattering in person. Images don't do the board justice. The accents are actually a copper color, not yellow, and it looks beautiful.
GREAT SSD, GREAT SOFTWARE, GREAT SPEED, TONY THE TIGER APPROVES!
Honestly, you just plug n play, install the software, set it on performance, and turn off hibernation using CMD. Great drive, great speed, loads BF4 so fast that I'm always first on the server, ALWAYS. So fast I can turn off spotify and turn it back on to avoid an ad without getting irritated waiting for it to launch. System boots in a flat 8 seconds (BIOS load time is the main issue).
Why not EVO, due to write endurance, I do some gameplay editing and writing 60 fps 1080p footage to ssds can wear them out pretty quick.
OVERALL, THIS DRIVE KICKS ******* ***!
MY MAIN MANS!
This is the only drive I use as mechanical storage, fast, almost as fast as ssds, reliable, this drive has never failed me. I love this drive, it's my main man always and forever. This drive has a special place in my heart and I hope that WD never stops making them. Every build I will ever build and built have used this drive.
64mb cache with multiplatter 1tb means snappy response with great write times. Great mass storage drives.