I didn't realize how long it is until I finished typing. Please pardon it as I am very excited and proud. I would appreciate your comment on what I have done wrong and/or what I can improve on. Thank you!
I grew up with the dream to build myself a powerful machine, and finally I am financially and mentally prepared! I am so excited that I want to write a short journal here to document this dream coming true.
I initially came up with the idea to buy a $800 Lenovo Cube PC to play PUBG but happened to see a Thermaltake P3 build. I was like, "WTF a PC can look like this, not a bulky case". I was right way intrigued and decided to double my budget to build a killer monster bearing the $$ pain, the justification being - this is not for only gaming anymore, this could become a hobby.
I am fairly tech-savvy and have basic knowledge about computer hardware, but have not touched any build-related work before - not even a memory upgrade. So SHOUT OUT to PCPARTPICKER and all previous posts. As ignorant as I am, they provided all answers to potential problems that I could've run into and saved most of my worries, including getting good quality PCIe riser cable, cable management, and so on and forth.
Read almost all Thermaltake P3 case posts here;
Watched 1 or 2 YouTube videos capturing entire build process. I probably should've watched more to get better sense of what to screw first, etc. I just don't have that patience. Wasted lots of time on screwing in actual build;
Most exclusively use Motherboard and Case manuals during the actual build; P3's manual is actually not bad. I found it useful.
Part Purchase: 3 weeks
While I tried to wait for best deals, I gathered all parts within 3 weeks to be able to gift myself on the day-of. Amazon 20% off Amex Offer, Google Express 20% helped a bit. Slickdeals helped a bit.
Actual Build: 7 hours (10pm to 5am, best way to celebrate a birthday)
Embarrassingly it took me 30 minutes to figure out how to put back the back panel of P3 case. And it took me so much time to screw and unscrew pieces as I made lots of mistakes such as tightening motherboard to the case before attaching TT cooler waterblock, etc. Should've watched more build videos.
Roadblocks During Build: (I am hoping the following 2 sections can help other rookies avoid same mistakes)
Motherboard manual doesn't make it clear about the Front Panel connection part. So I had to look up online to figure that out.
Case manual doesn't make screws super clear, so I made time-confuming guesses first, and then didn't care at all - just screwed whatever I deemed fit.
I spent time on figuring out how to hook up TT waterblock. Videos of the exact same model on YouTube do not capture that part.
Had to install/uninstall the video card a few times as the way it's positioned with riser cable blocked cable hookup, apparently due to my terrible installation order.
I accidentally saw a comment saying the waterblock need to be cross-pattern screwed for even pressure. Would never know that had I not seen that comment. I may have made lots of such mistakes simply because I didn't know.
Roadblocks During First Boot:
I am so excited when I first pressed the power button. And expectedly (unexpectedly), it didn't post. There was no signal with ASUS Z270E Motherboard DRAM yellow LED lit up. I went through most relevant google posts and tried to all methods like swap memory stick(s) in all slots but nothing worked. Most people said they ended up RMA concluding the motherboard was defective. No way I am gonna unscrew all the parts! I was so hopeless.
Luckily I encountered one post saying he fixed it by resetting CMOS on CLRTC jumper. I used the paper clip to short it. IT WORKED. I almost cried when I saw Republic of Games on my screen.
I hooked HDMI on the motherboard to boot with CPU graphics. Then after the computer successfully started with OS installed, I switched it to GPU. It showed no signals. In BIOS GPU does come up. And it's lit as well. So I went into Device Management and updated all drivers with question marks. I believe the one that worked is something called "basic display". After that driver installed, I was able to boot with HDMI connected to GPU.
I didn't know TT cooler came with so many cables connected to HUE. They are quite bulky. I need to figure out how to hide them. Also, I still haven't put back the back panel of the case. Need to rearrange the cables in the back and then put it on.
I was debating between this and NZXT X52. I ended up choosing this as it saved $$ on buy extra RGB fans on the rad and the branding/quality seems better than NZXT. It works great and looks soo great.
The WIFI/bluetooth card it comes with is so fast and looks sleek. Better than most separate WIFI card I think. It's totally worth the $40 premium I am paying for this motherboard. And needless to mention the ASUS Aura RGB.
Best looking memory. Works great with ASUS Aura sync.
The write speed is constantly at 120MB/s. Very happy about it at the price.
Its temp is at 60C when on All Extra in PUBG. Looks sick!