Description

I’m a videographer/photographer so this build is 99% for editing/productivity purposes, though there may be the rare 1% occasion where I want to game (been thinking about getting God of War and Final Fantasy XV). Felt like a stealthy black look might be pretty cool so that’s the theme I went with for all my parts. Here are some notes on my parts with prices at the time of purchase (all $ in CAD):


Motherboard: Gigabyte z390 Designare ($362)

This was the only reasonably priced MOBO with Thunderbolt 3 ports I could find. As an editor who deals with large file sizes, I wanted to have a system with the latest and fastest ports to make sure it’s future-proofed. But what a challenge it was in getting this board… It’s been sold out everywhere in Canada since early December 2018 so had to ship it to New York and ask a friend to grab it for me smh. I'll definitely be getting a Thunderbolt 3 hub soon to make the most of these ports. The Caldigit TS3 Plus seems to be the most versatile and likely candidate in my eyes.

CPU: Intel i7-8700k ($480)

The i7-9700k and i9-9900k have been out at the time of purchase but I didn’t find a big enough advantage in getting the 9700k, and the 9900k is stupid expensive. I plan on overclocking my 8700k in the near future.

CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken x62 ($189)

I had to have this purely for its aesthetics lol. I love the simplistic yet sleek NZXT branding on the pump.

GPU: MSI GTX 1070 Ti Titanium ($583)

I didn’t need a top of the line graphics card for my purposes but a 1070 Ti is no slouch. I also plan on overclocking it and hopefully getting 1080-type performance. Also, having OCD on aesthetics, I needed a card with a nice looking backplate lol. I don’t know why all cards don’t come with backplates considering the exorbitant prices on GPUs these days…

Memory: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB 3200MHz ($381)

Needed 32GB RAM and needed RGB. That is all. When RAM prices drop a little I plan on filling up my DIMM slots and upgrading to 64GB total (hence the reason I got 2x16GB instead of 4x8GB).

Storage: WD Black NVMe SSD 500GB ($130) & 2x Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD ($180 each)

I got the WD Black for my Windows 10 OS and all software installs, and I got two SSDs for organizational purposes (also worked out because two 1TB SSDs cost less than one 2TB SSD). One drive is for my videography projects and the other is for photography, games and video media cache/scratch disks. Potentially looking into a 4TB or larger hard drive as well in the future to store completed projects.

PSU: Corsair RMx 850W - $130

A 650W or 750W PSU would’ve been sufficient, however this motherboard has an additional 4-pin CPU connector along with the usual 8-pin, which means I needed two CPU cables. The Corsair PSUs only provide one CPU cable unless you grab an 850W or 1000W product. You don't need to connect both CPU cables, the 8-pin alone is sufficient, but I wanted to make sure I had the 2nd cable available if required in the future.

Misc:

  • NZXT H500 Case ($85): Since I knew I wanted Corsair fans, I chose the H500 rather than H500i (the latter comes with an NZXT fan hub and LED strips).
  • Corsair LL140 RGB Fans w/ Lighting Node Pro ($99) & 2x LL120 RGB Fans ($30 each): Since I went with all black, the RGB fans were needed to illuminate the internals. These Corsair fans are the best looking RGB fans in my opinion. You need to get a 2-pack or 3-pack fan kit because they come with the fan hub and Lighting Node Pro, which are mandatory to be able to use the RGB on the fans.
  • NZXT Internal USB Hub ($23): This motherboard only has one USB 2.0 header and I needed two (one from the Kraken and one from Lighting Node Pro).
  • CableMod Basic Extension Kit [Black] ($40): Since I’m spending all this money on the build, I def. wanted the internals looking clean. If my back panel was visible I would’ve gotten the full cable kit. Basic kit was perfect since it’s a cheaper alternative if you want just the few visible cables (1x 24-pin, 2x 6+2 PCI & 1x 4+4 CPU) rather than the whole cavalry.

TOTAL COST: $2923 + tax = $3256 CAD


If you're interested in what I use this PC for, my Instagram page containing my work is linked below. Build video for this PC will be on my page soon.

@_faiaz | https://www.instagram.com/_faiaz/

Part Reviews

Motherboard

Being a videographer, this was a key component behind my build because it has Thunderbolt 3, and is one of the few motherboards on the market currently with these versatile, high-speed ports (another one is the Aorus Xtreme, which is approx. double the price). Helps to have a Thunderbolt 3 Hub to make full use of the ports, like the Caldigit TS3 Plus. Some things worth considering when using this board are: (1) you'll need an internal USB hub if you require more than 1 USB 2.0 header, since this mobo only has 1; (2) mobo has 8+4 CPU connectors - all PSUs don't come with 2 CPU cables so if you intend to use the optional 4 pin connector as well you need to get a PSU with a 2nd CPU cable; (3) check manual to know which SATA connectors to use because m.2 shares bandwith with some SATA connectors

Monitor

Sharp and incredibly bright, so I'm very happy with the picture quality. However, beware of the backlight bleeding - it's quite noticeable when you have your room lights turned off. I'm okay with it since 99% of the time I'm using my monitor with the lights on so it's not at all apparent then.

Comments

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Excellent photography

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks a lot! Spent all this time into the build, figured might as well capture it properly :)

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi,

How is the motherboard performing so far ?

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

The photos look amazing. All around great build.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Really appreciate it man, thank you!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

excellent build and amazing build just one thing you can get a 2 TB SSD for a cheaper price than two 1 TB SSD

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! And really, which SSD? I'm curious. I got my Samsung 860 EVO 1TB's for $180 each and I've always seen the 2TB priced over $400 (currently $500+ on Amazon)

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

sorry, I was incorrect I read the part wrong anyway amazing build.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey man I'm am looking into getting the kraken and I was looking and realized u have corsair fans on it how did u get that to work did u get a separate controller?

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Yep, you need the Corsair fan hub and Lighting Node Pro to be able to run the RGB fans. These two items come with 2-pack and 3-pack Corsair fan kits. There was no issue, you can run any fans you like with the Kraken

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build! I'm building something quite similar right now. But how did you manage to fit the Kraken x62 in this config? I only seem to be able to do that when I put the fans between the bracket and the radiator which is less pretty in my opinion.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you! So do you mean the NZXT H500 case is giving you trouble fitting the radiator in, or are you getting interference from something else? I did have a bit of interference from the front USB cable but after some pushing and pulling I was able to get it in no prob.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the reply! Yes, I had some issues with the USB cable as well, guess I gave up too soon :) I will try again when I get some RGB fans, running stock NZXT fans for now so it doesn't really matter at the moment.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

It helps if you have someone to help you out free up the USB cable from one side as you push the radiator + fans in from the other. Good luck!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm a professional photographer and have used Mac's for the last 15 years. Going to make the switch back to Windows and roll my own system. A big issue I have is that I have a boatload of 3.5in mechanical drives in various external enclosures that I'd like to consolidate into my build. It doesn't look to me like you have any in your NZXT case. Was there room for some and you're just no using it?

Other questions: How do you build in terms of speed and workflow? Are you incorporating any raid drives for your (I assume) client's work?

Thanks!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

There was room (I believe there's space for two 3.5" drives in the NZXT H500), but I'm still debating as to what my long-term storage solution will be so haven't added any hard drives. I'm thinking about either building a NAS system or buying one pre-built from QNAP or DROBO and configuring it into a RAID 5 or 6. To answer your question, I built this system to try and get the best speed within my budget. It's recommended to have at least two separate SSD's: one for your OS and software and the other for your active projects. I installed my OS and software on my m.2 SSD to get the best possible Premiere/Photoshop/Lightroom load times and stored my projects in my 2.5" SSDs. Rather than adding any hard drives to my PC, my future NAS system is probably where I'd transfer old projects once I'm done with them to keep my PC uncluttered. Hope that answered your questions :)

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the info and advice. I've accumulated quite a few mechanical 3.5 and 2.5 HD's over the years and want to make use of them, if for nothing more than "cold storage" or archive drives. I'm thinking the same as you: OS and Adobe on the m.2 and current projects ans LR catalog on the SSDs.

The QNAP NAS has a lot of fun features built in and can basically act as your own Cloud. You'll enjoy it if you go that route.

Cheers!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah your old hard drives can be good for a 2nd set of backups, I wouldn't use them for your RAID setup though, just my thoughts. No telling how reliable they may still be. I think I have jumped ship from QNAP and now have my eyes on the Asustor AS4004T - seems like an affordable NAS with 10GBe. The QNAP I was looking into(with Thunderbolt 3 and 10GBe) is like 3 times the cost lol

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a set of fairly new WD Red's that will do great in RAID 1. The others are just randoms that will work well for misc stuff.

There are some builds on this site for NAS boxes and I think the site editor does a YouTube build of a NAS running an open source OS. That could be a fun project and probably save a lot of money.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

I would HIGHLY recommend a Synology NAS. They're pricey, but shucking the WD EasyShare 8TB ext. is a no brainier 4-bay setup. Synology 916+ running great 3+ years, plex, phto/vid archive. Check out the 918

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Damn those are some beautiful shots :O Do you think there's enough clearance along the kraken to fit another RAM stick? It's kinda hard to tell with the Designare board, and I wanted to get a 4 stick config without having to rotate the kraken

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Appreciate the kind words! If you take a look at my 3rd photo, it appears that there is enough clearance for more RAM sticks. Either way I'll find out soon because I'm adding in another set of 32GB sticks to fill up my DIMM slots lol. Will update with a photo to confirm when I do :)

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Are you using the commander pro on the Corsair Fans?
If not how are you controlling RPM with the node pro? or are they just on 100%

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

No, I'm using the Lighting Node Pro with the fan hub (can connect up to 6 fans to it). I'm not doing any manual control of the fans' RPM - they're all connected to the motherboard via 4-pin connectors and the motherboard determines the speed based on internal temps

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the info! So i should be able to plug the fan wire into my case hub and it will all be controlled normally. Then I use the usb for the node to control lighting in the icue software? This RGB stuff is confusing, especially with the z390 designare only having a 12v rgb header.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

If you're using Corsair fans you don't connect anything to the 12V RGB header. You need the Lighting Node Pro (which connects to a USB 2.0 connector on your mobo) and Corsair fan hub. From each of your fans, one cable goes to the Corsair fan hub and the other cable connects to your mobo's fan connector. The Corsair fan hub connects to one of the 2 channels on the Lighting Node Pro.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Many Thanks for your build review. It's very helpful and will help save time for others building a similar rig.

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  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for that and I appreciate the suggestion! I do have the WD Black NVMe - that's where I have my OS and Adobe Creative Cloud software installed. I read that there isn't much of a noticeable difference between the PRO vs. EVO so ended up going with the more wallet-friendly option

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