This PC was the winner of Dreamhack Austin 2017's best BYOC PC contest!!!
Featured as well, thank you so much PCPP!
Boy, this was a labor of love and saving... Well worth the wait!
I have uploaded a high-res photo library to Flickr, check it out here! https://flic.kr/s/aHskUqZvu5
Martini was a computer I've been wanting to build ever since I finished my first computer build a few years back... I've been diligently saving since, and the time finally came...
This PC will be used mainly for gaming. Say what you will about overkill, but 144hz 4K gaming this summer is what I've got my eyes set on... what a world that will be...
I haven't yet had the time to overclock anything as finals have had me slammed the past couple weeks- I will update this with clock speeds once finals are over!
I based its color scheme and name off of Martini Racing (Mostly their Porsches!) and Rauh-Welt Begriff. Owning a Rauh-Welt Porsche in Martini Racing's color scheme is a dream of mine, so I decided to replicate it inside of my PC.
I was inspired by Jayztwocents a fair bit in this build. His build, Red Mist, was the biggest inspiration. I love the White SMA8 and the super sexy acrylic mods he did inside of it. I took his idea of the "floating reservoir mount" and tweaked it a bit, adding a Cablemod ASUS Aura strip behind it, and changing the white acrylic to a 60% white to add that delicious frosted look. I also took his acrylic bottom panel mod and used it in Martini. I LOVED how it looked when all of the LEDs shined off the bottom and reflected back up - something the regular bottom panel lacks.
CPU - Intel i7-6850K
I chose to go with the 6850K because it was the most reasonable/affordable current processor that would offer me 40 PCI-E lanes. I know the difference in performance between graphics cards in x16 and x8 is nearly non-existent, but if I'm going to be stuffing dual 1080Tis inside of the thing, I may as well do what I can to push the limits. (Plus the 6850K is also just an overall great processor... 40 PCI-E lanes wasn't the only reason I bought it!)
GPU(s) - Nvidia GTX 1080Ti (x2)
Ah yes... the "budget" Titans. The difference between the two cards was very minimal, and for $500 less a piece? How could I pass it up? This build was already started by the time the 1080Tis were announced, so I halted everything and waited... very much worth it. Was NOT expecting the performance for the dollar provided with these cards.
Motherboard - ASUS X99-Deluxe II
The X99-Deluxe II was an easy choice for me for a few reasons. First was because it was one of the very few updated X99 boards to still have monoblock support, something I REALLY wanted in Martini. Secondly because the color scheme of the board was white. I had already doubled-down on white with the MASSIVE white SMA8 enclosing everything, and it matched the Martini Racing colors. Nice. Finally, I was a big fan of the accessories contained with it. I could name them all, but you'd be better off watching the Paul's Hardware review as he goes over everything. The standing M.2 mount is also extremely nice as it provides me with an easy way to cool those toasty little... drives.
RAM - Dominator Platinum (4x4GB) x2
I went with the classic Dominator Platinums in Martini because of their very sleek design, easily removable tops, tasteful lighting accents, and overwhelmingly good reviews. The removable tops were very key to me as I was interested in painting my RAM sticks to match the stripes on Martini vehicles. (The Red stripe being the coolant inside the monoblock :) )
Storage - Samsung 860 Pro 256GB + Samsung 850 Evo 1TB
Samsung makes arguably the best SSDs on the market at the moment, so going with a couple of these bad boys was a pretty simple choice for me. Some of my tubing in the back of the case removed my HDD mounting rack, so I'm limited to using SSDs in this beast.
Power Supply - Corsair AX1200i
The AX1200i, the younger sibling to the legendary AX1500i, was the choice for me due to price and performance. While this computer is NOT a budget build in any way, I could not justify dropping $400 on the power supply when I wouldn't be pulling anywhere near 1500 watts even when I overclock my components like mad. The younger sibling, the 1200i, was a much more reasonable choice for me as Platinum efficiency is still incredibly good, the price ($310) was a little better, and it still had a glowing review from Johnny Guru much like its older brother, the only power supply to receive the perfect score.
Case - Caselabs Magnum SMA8 (White)
I decided to go with the SMA8 partially because of its impressive size, but also because of its very, very handy features. The removable motherboard tray is probably one of the most useful features I have ever experienced. Mounting the motherboard and testing my components was a breeze. The massive basement underneath is critical to hide my pumps as well as a majority of my cables. Keeping them out of sight in the front as best as possible was crucial to me, and with such a large area to do just that was the icing on the cake. Due to the SMA8 and all other Caselabs cases lacking rivets anywhere, it makes their cases the most modder-friendly enclosures on the market. Having to drill so many holes inside the case made me nervous, but knowing that I could very easily buy a new panel put my mind at ease. I thankfully didn't need to buy a new panel, but the option was there just in case. Finally, going along with its size, it had just the right about of radiator space for my liking. The two 1080Tis share their own 560mm Radiator situated in the basement, and the 6850K and VRMs get their own 480mm radiator situated on top of the case. THAT much room for radiators was almost what sold me on it alone.
Lighting - NZXT Hue+ & ASUS Aura
The Hue+ was a no-brainer inside this case. I ended up needing an extender for more strips, but everything worked out and it looks fantastic. The CAM software makes using it a breeze, and the ability to customize each and every LED is just amazing. The ASUS Aura strip I purchased from Cablemod is situated behind the Reservoir mount, which syncs the lighting up with the motherboard. I love this because the frosted glow always stands out from the rest of the case due to it not matching with the Hue+. Not always a good thing, but I really enjoy this because my goal was for the mount to look as unique as possible.
Cooling - Two Custom Loops, 12 Corsair Magnetic Levitation Fans, etc. etc.
I've wanted to try watercooling for a long while now, and Martini was the perfect reason to give it a go. I chose to use Bitspower fittings for my hard-tubing section coupled with Bitspower's 16mm OD tubing due to great reviews across the board and a good amount of recommendations from Jayztwocents. I went with EKWB's blocks on all of my components due to their very high build quality and very clean looks. The same goes with their radiators - very sleek and simple design to them as well as high build quality and great cooling. I also chose EK's soft tubing and fittings for the "behind the scenes" section of the loop for similar reasons. Singularity's reservoirs and mounts stole my heart the moment I laid eyes on them upon release. Very simplistic look, rigid metal mounting, and frosted tops! Nice. I also bought Singularity's Pump tops for my XSPC D5 Vario Pumps. Mayhems Pastel Red and Blue were my choices in coolant as they seem to be the titan of coolants. Amazing coloration on the pastel coolants as well, something I can't get anywhere else. So far I've had nothing but good luck, but its only been in use for a short period of time. The Magnetic Levitation fans were chosen for both airflow in the case and static pressure on the radiators. They are rumored to be as quiet as a case fan can get, and I can tell you that it is true. I have TWELVE of the things running and the noise levels are whisper quiet. Incredible.
Cables - Cablemod Custom Cable Kit
I went with Cablemod due to all the promotions I've seen and the solid reviews I've seen across the board. I also chose Cablemod because ASUS, with some motherboard models, includes a 20% off coupon for a custom cablemod cable kit. Saved me a solid chunk of cash on something I was already going to buy!
Speakers - Audioengine A5+ Bamboo & Audioengine D1 DAC
Black Friday sale. Got them for the price they charge when refurbished- I couldn't keep myself away. My father has a black pair and from the experience I've had using them, it was an easy choice for me. The sound quality is impeccable and very much so worth the money even at full price.
I am absolutely in love with how Martini turned out. Over the course of ~60 hours in my garage with help from a friend we did a splendid job on this PC, if I do say so myself.
My goal with Martini was to have it done in time for Dreamhack Austin, a moderate road trip away from Dallas. I finished everything with two weeks to spare, and had an absolute blast in Austin this past weekend. (April 28th - 30th). The icing on the cake of this experience was winning the "Best PC in BYOC" contest, something I didn't think I would achieve. I thankfully had a corner seat and was able to set Martini on the ground and create one heck of a spectacle for passerbys!
All in all, I cannot comprehend how well this thing turned out. I had my doubts about everything when I spent the massive amount of cash on the watercooling parts, but with hard work and a careful plan everything turned out much, much better than I thought it would.
Huge thanks to Liam (Eldershift) for all the help throughout the build. Without his help I wouldn't be typing this description on the beast of a PC I am now.
(I will have the poorly filmed build timelapse uploaded to YouTube here pretty soon, so be on the lookout for that!)
Here's the timelapse! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY1EpW0DFQk
Great processor, just what I needed for the build. 40 PCI-E lanes, allowing x16 for both of my 1080Tis. Also allows me to use the more enthusiast X99 Platform.
Bought this board due to its color scheme, EKWB Monoblock compatibility, accessories, and standing M.2 mount. So far its been a very feature-rich board, and the Q-Code box as well as the diagnostic LEDs have been wonderful. A bit pricey, but you get what you pay for in this motherboard's case.
Just about the best card money can buy at this current moment. Forget the Titan, for $500 cheaper you can get just about the same card, just more oriented towards gamers with its higher clock speeds and slightly lower VRAM. So far so good with two of these, however the lack of SLI support in modern titles has been a little disheartening. Other than that, my experience upgrading from a single 970 has been night and day.
So far so good. Johnny Guru's glowing review sold me on this unit, and so far it seems he was absolutely right about it.
Amazing sound quality, I have zero complaints about these speakers. While a little pricey, they are the bee's knees when it comes to sound quality. I am currently using them paired with Audioengine's D1 DAC.