Description

 I am a post-doc researcher in archaeology. I work from home several days a week running statistics for geochemical data (mostly Laser Ablation - Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS)) and 3D graphics files from scans taken with a FARO Edge and FARO Prime 3d laser scanners. I had a Mac Mini (running in dual boot PC/Mac) that could not run the programs quickly enough for me to be productive. I moved the Mac Mini to the living room and hooked up it to the big screen for internet browsing, music, etc. I will use this new machine for running macros in Excel that would bog down my little Mac Mini for at least 3 hrs. I also use CS6, Photoshop, and JMP Pro 10. The boot time for the Mac was 7-8 minutes. I am now booting in 7-8 seconds! The SSD is amazing and fast. I will probably upgrade to a 500GB to put underneath it. I am planning on running multiple OS Mac, Windows, and Linux using VirtualBox. Windows 8.1 Pro wasn't my first choice but my wife said I should try something new. I don't like the look of it at all. I installed a cool program called Classic Shell that lets you make it look like Windows 7 and XP (maybe even earlier)?
The build was easy with the Fractal Design case, but it is big! It barely fits in my cabinet. I had a dilemma in deciding on which GPU to get, but I couldn't justify the upgrade to one of the 780s; mostly due to the fact I wanted a new monitor and a beefier CPU for the $100-250 in price difference. I also made sure that I could add a second card in SLI mode for future needs. I wanted to make the build last a while so I went with the i7 for multiple threaded programs that will come out in the future. I also allowed expansion for the memory to go up to 32GB if I needed it. It works really great as is, with 16GB (2x8). The Optical Drive is a little clunky when opening and I may get another type (suggestions)?
 I had a hard time understanding the push/pull dynamics of the fans and radiator. I think the radiator sucking cold air from outside the case is great but blowing hot air into the case is not efficient. I think maybe some kind of ducting for the radiator would be beneficial. The radiator was very easy to install and I had no issues. The case fans are very quiet and I can actually hear my Fireproof ioSafe 500GB backup running. I usually run the fans with the lights off; but it is cool to open the case and have it running with them on when I am playing "WatchDogs"!
 The cord management was a snap but I did not like the two PCIe power connections on the GPU. The loop on top had to be bent over to allow me to close the case. I purchased the back-plate for the GPU and I did see a 1 degree average drop while idle and 3C drop while under load.  The fully modular PSU from Corsair worked really well and made cable management super easy. I may upgrade some day to the 1200W but the 860W seems more than adequate now. The platinum rating makes me feel a bit better about the longevity of my other components. One issue that arose was that I had the SSD initially on the top rack, when I went to install the WD Black HDDs they were so long that they bent the cords up for the SSD. I slipped out the racks (which is a nice feature) and rearranged them quickly with the SSD on the bottom. You'll notice in the pictures that I also rotated the top HDD rack to allow the top front case fan to have unrestricted air flow to the GPU.
I still have some tweaking to do with the processor, voltages, and GPU to get better scores in the benchmark, but it is working well after 2 weeks since the build. I have not played any PC games in 6-7 years and I received a free copy of "WatchDogs" with the purchase of my GPU. I have to say it works flawlessly with everything on the "ultra" settings. It is amazing how far games have come since my last experience. I already owned the Logitech speakers, keyboard and mouse for around a year now; they all are fantastic and I haven't had to change the batteries yet. If any one has any suggestions to improve this please let me know.  I frequently used PCPartPicker, Tom's Hardware, PCMag, and various YouTube channels (the ASUS channel was really awesome! I highly recommend!) to research all the parts and read advice about compatible components.
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Comments

  • 70 months ago
  • 11 points

A great build, good job. I recommend adjusting your fan setup slightly, especially in a padded case as they can get quite hot:

  • Flip the rear fan around, as it's currently set as an intake.
  • Flip the bottom fan around, as it's currently set as an exhaust.
  • I would also flip the H100i's fans around. Whilst having them set as intakes can decrease CPU temps, it also pushes hot air into your case.

I can't see how your front fans are setup, but I would recommend having these as intakes as well.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for your suggestions. This is where I meant I had problems with the push/pull stuff. The fans didn't have a direction arrow on them. The rear is set to exhaust and the bottom fan is intake from underneath as you suggested. This is where it gets confusing; the Corsair manual said to have the radiator sucking cold air from outside through the radiator. I can't decide if I want them to push cold air through the radiator or suck cold air; I would think pushing the air would be more efficient with the fans. Any ideas?

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Hot air will always rise, thus if you have the h100i sucking in air, the rad will heat it up and push it into the case. It will then rise back up into the rad but keep getting pushed down creating a hot air loop around your cpu, ram, and mobo heat sinks. A rear exhaust fan can help, but pushing that hot air out through the h100i is defiantly much better. My setup has air coming in through the front, bottom, and side, pushed along diagonally by an internal fan connected to the hdd cage through the gpus towards the cpu, and out through the back and top.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

He's got his fans set up fine, they're just backwards to what they would be usually. His rear and top fans are intake, and his front and bottom fans are exhaust. This is actually better in this case because the Fractal Design's front panel is hard to pull air through, so having it come OUT there and in from easier places actually makes sense, I think.

  • 70 months ago
  • 9 points

"I am a post-doc researcher in archaeology. I work from home several days a week running statistics for geochemical data (mostly Laser Ablation - Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS)) and 3D graphics files from scans taken with a FARO Edge and FARO Prime 3d laser scanners"

"I had a hard time understanding the push/pull dynamics of the fans"

lol :D lovely build

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Its so complicated with all this conflicting information about how to mount the radiator! I can't understand sucking hot air from in the case through the radiator. You wouldn't do this is a car, so why do it in a computer case?

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

for an simple enough rule of thumb. suck cool air in the bottom and the front, and blow hot air out the back and top. This also favours the fact that heat will rise naturally.

  • 70 months ago
  • 4 points

I see no reason for you to upgrade your power supply to 1200W. It's overkill to have 860W for a 770 now.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Great build, for aesthetics, you can replace those stock psu cables with braided cables. Corsair sells them on their website, and there are also extension cables you may use. Just a thought.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for the suggestion and compliment!

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build, similar to what I have. As a rule of thumb whichever side the sticker is on the fan is the direction the air will blow out from/exhaust.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for the compliment. Great minds think alike! The problem was that the sticker was on both sides! Ha!

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow both sides! Thats a dilemma, one side should have "Corsair" and the other should have random info. The latter is exhaust. I called Corsair and told them I had a weird sound coming from my H100i and they sent me another set of fans for free. Now I have a push/pull effect on my radiator and it helps alot when I overclock. Not necessary for you but hey its a free pair of fans.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

dude, the 4790k just released, its base is 4ghz, not boost clock, its BASE CLOCK IS 4ghz. there are people hitting 5 on air and 5.5 on water

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

You're gonna wanna flip your back and front fans. Other than that, nice build.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks like you really got it goin' for ya! Keep up the good work! +1

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much!

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Didn't need the XL case, should have just mid-tower lol it would've fit in your cabinet better.

Other than that your part choices seem wisely picked.

"The Optical Drive is a little clunky when opening and I may get another type (suggestions)?" Could you explain in more detail?

"I had a hard time understanding the push/pull dynamics of the fans and radiator."

Push - Fans push air through the radiator. Pull - fans pull air through the radiator push-pull 2 sets of fans on each side pushing and pulling air through the radiator. and also..

"I think the radiator sucking cold air from outside the case is great but blowing hot air into the case is not efficient."

Radiator should be pushing air out of your case. Not sure what kind of fan set-up you're using - Fans are generally set up to take air from the front and bottom of the case and push it out of the back and the top because the fans at the front are lower and hot air rises. Purely because hot air rises you never want to take hot air from the top of the case.

If you're not using it. Take the front cage out completely it'll reduce drag and improve cooling.

The fans you've chosen are optimized for air flow in future get high static pressure fans for radiators as they have better performance.

You don't need to upgrade to a 1200w unless you're going to go for SLI and even then you might not need to.

I'm currently running Win8.1 with xubuntu in virtualbox for code aster. Don't forget to give yourself enough memory and storage allocated to your virtual drives and make a fixed size drive as it's noticeably quicker. I recommend Xubuntu as it's a lighter OS and works well in Virtual box.

Are you planning on overclocking the system at any point?

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree that I didn't need the XL case. I should have looked more closely at the dimensions instead of the aesthetics. I was going to return it and get a Corsair Carbide Air 540 case after I took it out of the box but UPS and FedEx wanted $50 to ship it back and NewEgg has a 15% restocking fee. So I took out a shelf in my cabinet to make it fit. I really like it now though! My wife calls it the "mainframe"!

The OD sticks when it is trying to open.

There were no direction arrows on the fans I got and I hadn't plugged it in yet. I found a forum where someone talked about the label. After I plugged them in they were oriented correctly.

I'm thinking about mounting it on the bottom somehow to draw cold air from the bottom but I don't think there is enough room with the PSU. The hoses may not reach either I'd need to measure.

I used the fans the radiator came with but I will think about switching in the future.

I really don't know much about overclocking and the game I have seems to work really smooth.

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions!

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

There's a mid-tower version of the fractal Define XL; the define R4. I use that case. For your drive it sounds like it's catching on something, you can either exchange it or you can try to fix it with brute force.

Fans generally don't have directions on them. The way you tell is by looking at the curvature of the blades the fan spins towards the curved edge. From there you can picture where the air goes.

Don't worry about 'hot-air' in the case cooling the radiator. The ambient temperature of the case will get no-where near hot enough to make a significant difference if it's got adequate ventilation and airflow. The bigger worry is getting areas of hot-air build up. Which is likely what you'll see when you intake air from the top as that heat will build up towards the top of the case.

If you used the fans the radiator came with disregard my comment. They're fine. Though I have heard complaints that they are loud so if you did want new ones you can consider quieter fans. Just make sure they're static-pressure optimized.

If you're not planning on overclocking you could have saved some money with an h97 or h87 motherboard and a non-k series (unlocked) processor. Overclocking the CPU won't show huge changes in games, but it will show huge changes in other CPU-intensive areas. There's a number of tutorials on YouTube I recommend looking at LinusTechTips if you ever need more performance out of your rig.

Good luck!

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Where did you get the backplate from?

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

I got it direct from EVGA for $20. I set up a notification alert when they got one in stock. The link should be paired with the part in my part list.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks :)

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Your benchmarks appear to be wrong. You shouldn't get a higher Extreme score then the other two.