Edit May 25 2019: Stock Case Fan swapped for Matching NF-S12B redux, perf seems about the same
I've been rocking a budget build my dad built from since before I went to college for the past 5 years (and that re-purposed build will have it's own post soon) but the 4 core i5 and 750 ti struggle in modern games and while streaming. I've finally been able to build my first pc from start to finish, although I do have a previous history with PC building from previously mentioned dad.
My needs for a pc are both typical and atypical, being that I run Ubuntu Linux as my OS, but still want to do the typical gaming and streaming thing, with 1080p144fps/1440p120fps in games while capturing at 720p60fps/900p60fps being my targets. The two separate sets of numbers are due to me looking to get 1440p monitors in the future, as well as stream quality settings being limited by what a sensible bitrate to send on Twitch is (if you crank it to 6000kbps but you don't have transcoding, people with bad internet can't watch your stream!) I did briefly think of building my pc around VFIO but felt it could get expensive (two graphics cards) and limiting (specific motherboards)
The first thing I pinned down for my build was the cpu, the i9 9900k. I wanted that single threaded performance (for source games and wine) along with the multitasking and was ok allocating a large part of my budget to it over the options that are less than half the price…
Overclocking was definitely something I was going to try to do, and gigabyte seemed to be the only ones with sub $300 mobos that were good for 9900k OC, going by the Gamers Nexus Z390 VRM Video. Unfortunately this meant forgoing a ps/2 port which would also prove to be a problem for something else later. For a CPU Cooler, I picked air due to wanting to be able to just "set and forget". RAM and Power Supply were chosen due to sales, PSU is EVGA B Series.
One component that took more time to figure out was the case. The tempered glass + RGB look just isn't my thing. With thermals in mind, I decided to pick between the Lian LI O11 air and Fractal Design Meshify C, but it turns out the O11 air can't fit the NH-D15... so I was left with one choice. I do really like the polygonal front of the Meshify C though, and went without TG due to not wanting to deal with the extra weight and fragility. For case fans, I copied someone else's setup from reddit comments, with NF-P14s under the logic that the mesh front is thick enough to warrant high pressure fans, and using a fan that comes with it for the outtake.
I wound up picking the GPU last but knew I was going with an upper mid range card, since the current options aren’t the most compelling for 1440p/144fps imo, as well as to keep my budget lower (although I underestimated how much taxes would eat into that) AMD is known as the more linuxhead friendly option but Nvidia wound up being better for my use case, being that I have a capture card with an extra driver blob.
For the build itself, it went pretty smoothly for a first build (it posted the first time), although not as smooth as it could have been since both the PC building toolkit and 2060 I bought didn't arrive until after I built my PC. The Meshify C was really nice to work with, with the pre-set cable management. Getting the motherboard screws in was tricky without the hex screwdriver my toolkit would've given me, although I did eventuality figure out a workaround by magnetizing my screwdriver with the magnetic end of my flashlight. The cpu cooler was finicky as one side easily screwed in the mounting bracket but the other took a lot of time to get to finally thread, I hope this didn't make my thermal paste spread too unevenly. I also thought the cooler itself, along with my massive G Skill ram, would together be too tall for the case side panel to fit. I even took the measurements of the NH-D15, G Skill ram, and case from online before I bought the parts and measured it would not fit without removing the second fan. I put the second fan as low as it could go on top of the ram stick (hopefully the fan doesn't melt) and the side panel goes on fine, thankfully, as the other option I would have taken was remove the heatsinks from my ram. I initially intended to have a windows 7 boot hard drive, but the lack of usb drivers and a ps/2 port made that impossible. I could get a pcie usb card as a workaround but for now I'll just go without windows instead of using windows 10. If I change my mind it'll take a bit of effort since my gpu power cable blocks the one extra sata port I have.
For the overclocks, as a first time OCer I managed to get 5.0 GHz on my 9900k with 1.315 Vcore and High LLC, although I might go back and put a bit more time into it as I was getting 5.1 stable but with a bunch of high voltage spikes I don't like. Currently it seems the AVX offset is bugged on my mobo and it always applies, at least that's what the CoreFreq application on Linux reports, so I wasn't able to get as much prime95 stabilty as I wanted, but unless h265 becomes the new standard AVX shouldn't be a huge concern for me. For the GPU the GreenWithEnvy application worked pretty nicely and I achieved +67 on the Core and +920 on the memory. Getting the power limit to save required me to google a bit and find a Level1Forum post but it doesn't seem to matter since the GPU never goes over the "stock" 190W limit. Adjusting the fan curve was arguably a more important OC mechanism since the stock curve favors quietness, but upping the cycle by just 10% lowered temperatures greatly while not being that much louder.
The quietness of this build wasn't something I had in mind when I built it, but surprisingly it can be relatively quiet. At idle this thing is way quieter than my old pc, although I can’t say the same thing at all under load, unsurprisingly.
Temps are interesting with generally all but one core staying around a cool 33 degrees C at idle, the other in the low 40s, and a similar story in low and medium loads. In most games while streaming the cpu stays in the low 70s while the gpu is generally in the low 60s with my custom fan curve. For more demanding games, such as DOOM 2016 in wine, the CPU reaches the high 70s and the gpu reaches around 67 degrees C.
Compared to my old build this thing blows it out of the water, TF2 could not hold above 60fps while streaming on the old pc (optimization issues oh boy, this is with mastercoms config) while it easily holds above 120 on this pc. DOOM 2016 was playable at 30fps while streaming (720p30fps NVENC) on the old pc on low, while it can be cranked to ultra and stay pretty consistent at 200fps on this build (with "720p60fps x264 faster" settings) The three big changes that may come to this build in the future are another ssd, more tweaks to the cpu OC, and a higher end Graphics card way down the line
Does what I thought it would do, run games at high framerates with streaming at the same time having low impact, even with more cpu intensive x264 presets. Only hot under really high loads with the NH-D15. My particular unit seems to be harder to run past 5 Ghz.
With Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, keeps my 9900k nice and cool at idle (33°C), around 72°C while gaming, and under the throttling limit with 8 cores of AVX loads. Quiet at idle, makes the sound of air moving under load, so not an annoying sound.
Lets my 9900k OC to 5 GHz stable with no prior OC knowledge. Gigabyte BIOS a bit buggy though, at the time I write this AVX offset applies always. Lack of PS/2 port and way to switch BIOS slot puzzling. Was tricky to figure out how to install M2 drives from the manual.
This has been used for ~6 years and is still going strong.
Despite 3 fans, is relatively quiet at 40% fan cycle and lower, and stock fan curve stops fans with no gpu load. Was able to apply +67 core and +920 memory on top of the factory OC, the higher than stock power limit is nice but my particular OC actually does not climb over the stock 190W limit. I imagine the Gaming OC Pro version is simply quieter with it's two extra heat pipes allowing for less effort cooling.
Personally like the polygonal look. This was a very nice to build in case with the cable management partially pre-done, and was barely able to get my NH-D15 to fit with tall G.Skill RAM. Lets air flow very well, I can feel the suction with my hand over the mesh front. Only issue is that the front mesh filter is not as easy as you'd think to get out.
Great capture card that does modern and retro consoles well, handles 240p over component even. Works well with Linux and Windows.
Lets me continue to use my esata backup drive enclosure, I only needed one port but the other cable can easily be unscrewed for less loose cables.