Description

My inspirations came from Building the Ultimate mATX SLI PC with Intel's 5960X and Nvidia's GTX 980 and Ecoboost's Scout Trooper Dark Side Build. The first time I laid my eyes on their builds, I was hooked. I wanted something small, yet powerful, and within the budget. Having built my first PC over a decade ago, and since being a long-term laptop user, I felt it was time for a master desktop PC build. My main use for this build will be for high end gaming and HD video rendering.

THEME: I have always liked the dark themes, especially with black and red. My other option was to go with orange instead of red, but parts with this color scheme is hard to come by, unless I do a custom paint job.

CASE: This was the first item to check off the build list. The idea of squeezing extreme performance parts in a standard ATX box into a micro ATX box fascinated me. The Corsair Air 240 caught my attention because I really liked what Corsair did with the case. The case is split into two compartment sides: the front side houses the motherboard, CPU, GPU, and all the necessary fans to cool it down; the window view on this side was a nice touch because you can see into the rig; the back side holds the PSU, hard drives, SSDs, and is an essential area to hide all your wires. I didn't need a disk ROM drive, so this was not an issue for me. I can always use a portable USB disk drive for this matter.

POWER SUPPLY: It is all about the deals. I bought the EVGA 750W 80+ Gold power supply on a good deal. 750W is more than enough for this setup, unless I add more hard drives and go with SLI. Until then, this will suffice.

MOTHERBOARD: I chose the X99 platform because of what it has to offer, such as Haswell-E, DDR4 support, SLI, etc. Plus, the EVGA X99 Micro just looks amazingly built by itself. I knew going into this platform would force me to shell out more cash, but it is worth it.

CPU: From reading, the i7-5820K is the best bang-for-the-buck CPU for the X99 platform at this time of my build. Fair enough, it is the cheapest and lowest CPU I can get for the motherboard. I can opt-in for the i7-5830K, which benefits from more lanes, but at the cost of roughly $200 more. The i7-5960X would be too extreme for my system and at the cost of over $1K. Perhaps, one day. The 5820K is more than what I need.

CPU COOLER: I chose the Corsair H100i because it fits the chassis perfectly vertical and has the perfect cooling power. Combine it with quad-fans, it just looks beastly. Another viable option I had in mind was the Corsair H80i, which might be a better setup as it yields similar cooling temperatures (from reviews) and leaves more open space for airflow on the bottom side. The Corsair H100i GTX would have been a nice upgrade to the H100i, but at the extra cost, it is paying just for the extra looks and features.

VIDEO CARD: It was a hard decision between two GTX 970 vs. a single GTX 980 for me. After reading countless reviews from enthusiasts, I got the impression that the GTX 980 was the way to go. The whole GTX 970 with 3.5GB useful memory did not throw me off, but the thought of two GTX 980 excites me. After all, I do plan to SLI this setup in the near future. The GTX Titan X is another viable option, but at a bigger cost. I went with the EVGA GTX 980 SC w/ ACX 2.0 design because I got a decent deal for it. The reference cards, at a slightly higher cost, would be better suitable for this build because the hot air are exhausted to the rear instead of inside the case. However, I believe my setup has more than enough airflow to keep it cool, even with SLI.

RAM/MEMORY: CAS, latency, timing, frequency, clock speed, etc. All these terms were confusing for me at first. After reading, I learned that having lower CAS latency and timing is better, while having higher clock speed is better. In real benchmarks, there is a difference, but in the real world, maybe a difference 1-2 FPS. The G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3000 with CAS 15 for the price I got was hard to beat.

STORAGE: I had a spare 500GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD laying around, so I decided to just use it for my build. Perhaps I can do RAID0 with two of these or two 850 EVOs in the near future. I might look into the M.2 SSD as well since the motherboard supports this. I do plan to add a few TB hard drives in the 3.5" bays for some long-term storage for my multimedia and games.

CASE FANS: My setup contains four 120mm fans on the radiator, one 120mm fan on the top (needs mounting), and two 80mm fans on the rear. I went with the Corsair SP120 instead of the AF120 on the radiator because of the push/pull setup. SP fans are better for passing air through these constrictive spaces, while AF fans are better for open space airflow. The quiet editions kept the flow extra quiet. Mounting them on the radiator was simple, using the screws from the H100i kit--eight short screws for the inner two fans (must insert screws into the pockets instead of the outside); eight long screws through the chassis for the outer fans. The Masscool 80mm fans were cheap and effective. However, they are quite loud as most of the sound either comes from these fans or the PSU. I also removed the stickers from the fans visible in the chassis for a cleaner stealth black look.

WIRE TUCKING: As an import tuner and enthusiast, I love the idea of wire tucking for a very clean and minimal look under the hood. I try to apply this same concept to my PC build. All wires were routed to the back side as much as possible. Where possible, I ran the wires around the sides of the case, leaving the middle motherboard area clean from obstruction. The back side was intentionally left un-tucked in case I need to do some future upgrades.

Update 06.04.2015: Added Umbrella Corporation branding stickers. Update 06.28.2015: Upgraded to 500GB 850 EVO SSD.

FUTURE PLANS:

  • i7-5960X
  • SLI setup
  • Corsair individually sleeved cable kits (red): CP-8920049 & CP-8920057
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Comments

  • 61 months ago
  • 4 points

This **** is cleaner than when Ray William Johnson shaved for the first time.

+1, this is legitimately amazing.

  • 61 months ago
  • 2 points

LOL I love this comment. Hilarious!

  • 61 months ago
  • 3 points

Great build! My guess is you're using the 5th SP fan as an intake/exhaust on the cable side?

  • 61 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you!

That does sound like a pretty good idea actually. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any more space for it on the cable/PSU side. I planned to place that fifth fan on the top of the case, right above the CPU. This way heat flows out of of the top and rear of the case. I will need to find some custom screws for that fifth fan from a hardware store soon. :]

  • 61 months ago
  • 3 points

Amazingly clean build! + 1000 if I could!

  • 61 months ago
  • 2 points

Dank build man! +1

  • 61 months ago
  • 2 points

That rad almost makes me teary eyed. GGWB

  • 61 months ago
  • 2 points

Damn I wish I had gotten a shorter 970 so I can run a push/pull setup...freaking wind force is too long with this case lol

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

That really sucks. Maybe do a push/pull setup with an H80i. :D

  • 60 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 harp seal

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha! Being a grown man, I don't care what people think. I love baby harp seals! They are one of the cutest things in the world. This little gook has been with me since 1997. :]

  • 60 months ago
  • 2 points

Bro I seriously had a poster of a baby harp seal in my room when for like 5 years lol, they seriously are one of the most adorable animals lol. I'm glad that's what it really is XD

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build! +1 How's the ram doing? Otherwise awesome build looks so clean too

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! RAM is doing great! I love the fact that everything boots up perfectly on first try. I have not got a chance to turn on the XMP to take advantage of the 3000 Mhz speed, or do any overclocking for that matter. Everything is default at the moment, and ram is at 2133 Mhz.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build really clean. How are the 80mm fans are they loud. Got the same case wondering if i should do the same.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

The fans work really well, but unfortunately, they are the loudest things on the box next to the PSU. If I were do a build like this, I would go for the Noctua fans. However, I don't see them make them in black.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you buy those 80mm fans seperate?

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, they were from Newegg since they had the best price at that time. These fans work great for the price ratio.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

+1.

I'm building using this Ram and was wondering how well do they work for you? I need them for the MSI z170a.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I ran these rams stock, and no issues so far for me. It appears the MSI Z170A can handle higher frequency rams, so I don't think it would be an issue. Let me know how it turns out if you decide on the build! :]

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

i just made a account so i could like this, and 1 up it or whatever so i could reference it again. i have a 240 case and your computer just gave me a mad idea that just might work

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

I am curious on your build! :]

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

hows cooling im debating betweeen atx and matx

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

I think cooling is not something to worry about on this case, in my build at least. I would worry about the ATX vs. mATX motherboard and what it supports. E.g. more ports, SLI options, etc. Hope this helps!