This build has changed drastically since I first posted- everything but the mobo, CPU, PSU, and case have changed. I am waiting until it is fully complete to repost and change all of the details.
Current benchmarks: http://www.3dmark.com/fs/10781507
I game almost daily and I do massive amounts of research with like 100 tabs and many word docs, pdf files, etc. open simultaneously- then I like to take breaks to game while leaving all of that up. This PC was built to handle any games at max settings 1080p for years to come (hopefully 144Hz soon), and to never be limited by how much I am doing at one time. Everything works beautifully. FYI I just moved in yesterday, a second time (was just moved in on the last post too lol).
This has been changed a bit since the original posting/comments. Here is a link to the parts list with the PC only: http://pcpartpicker.com/user/stonedboss/saved/Z8THxr
CPU - I decided 6700k is the way to go so that I won't ever be CPU bottlenecked for a long time. Thus the k version so I can overclock in a few years, and I had the room in my budget to go i7 quad core so I figured why not future proof a bit. Who knows when I'll want to stream or something. Plus the tiny improvement in games is nice.
CPU COOLER - I didn't want liquid cooling, and I wanted this to be a mega air-cooled rig so I went with the biggest air cooler with the best benchmarks. Noctua's thermal paste tested as one of the best as well.
MOTHERBOARD - I am a fan of ASUS and this board looked the most promising with all of the features I wanted and then some. Their software package has quite a lot too, and it has been the easiest mobo I have ever worked with (most expensive too lol).
MEMORY - I didn't want to have a limit of RAM for anything in the next few years, and I wanted to go overkill rather than just enough with 16GB. As I mentioned I generally have a **** ton of tabs open, and don't want to close them. Now I don't even think about it.
STORAGE - I wanted to go SSD only, so originally I went with the fastest SATA 1TB SSD, the 850 Pro. I realized I wanted to partition it since 1TB feels too large as an OS disk, and with a sale it came out to $10 more to just get the 512GB 950 Pro and 512GB 850 Pro so I returned it for this setup. It turned out perfect- I have an extra HDD bay slot and it is fast af.
VIDEO CARD - Figured it was a good time to upgrade with the price of Pascal cards finally lowering. The GTX 1070 felt the best price/performance for lasting long at max/close to max settings at 1080p. I went with the ASUS Strix OC for the triple straight blade fans (max air output), GPU Tweak and Fanconnect (Fanconnect is amazing), and the benchmarks were great. Add to that their RGB is the best out of any 1070 and it is the perfect card.
CASE - I wanted the case with the most amount of 200mm fan slots. The V71 won with four (2 front intake, 2 top exhaust), plus two 120mm (bottom intake) and one 140mm (rear exhaust) that are all being used. The exhaust feels room temperature...
POWER SUPPLY - Just wanted to overkill here too so I won't have to worry in the future in case I want to run SLI.
OPTICAL DRIVE - I needed something to burn M Discs, and having Blu-Ray was necessary as well.
SOUNDCARD - I am an amateur audiophile, so a soundcard makes a massive difference to me. The SoundBlaster Zx seemed to be the best from reviews and I am not disappointed at all coming from an ASUS Xonar DG in my last rig. I picked it up for $107 and it is completely worth if you have good audio equipment (NOT "PC speakers" or a headSET). In the future I plan to upgrade my speaker system to 2.1, then 5.1, so I will get the full use of the soundcard eventually lol. It has great software too.
FANS - This rig I wanted to have high quality cooling so I ignored the price and went with what was the best performance outright. The 200mm fans were chosen for max airflow, with the Cooler Master Megaflows being some of the best 200mm fans currently (there is almost no testing for 200mm so far). I also love their sound profile- not whiny at all and just a dull sound of air moving.
I don't care about noise (in fact I like the noise if it isn't whiny), so the IPPC 2000s were a no brainer. The 2000s are practically silent in my rig at 1200 RPM (by practically silent I mean you don't notice them vs the rest of the fans). They don't get annoying to me until 1700+ RPM, making them the perfect choice (they run at 1200 RPM constantly- higher under load).
Lastly the NF-A14 was chosen because it matches perfectly with my CPU cooler and it is one of the best 140mm fans. It is very quiet and smooth with lots of airflow. I am aware of diminishing returns for fans being massive, but if you felt my exhaust then you'd probably want just as many fans too haha.
MONITOR - I have had the HP 2709m for many years and through 3 different PC's. I have never had a problem with it to require an upgrade. That being said, I will upgrade to a 144Hz 1080p IPS monitor this Black Friday. Also, I bought it for around 400 at the time, but I set it as $200 since it was so long ago (and the oldest part of this build). The Acer isn't great but I got it for $70 a year ago and it gets the job done for note taking (like now lol) and multiboxing.
KEYBOARD - I actually have the BlackWidow Chroma Stealth edition, not the keyboard listed. I already had it- bought it with a student discount and it has served me well. The RGB is awesome, which was the main reason for picking this keyboard (at the time the RGB was way better than anything else out).
MOUSE - I have had the Razer Naga Hex for a few years and I have loved it. I always felt like the buttom spacing could be better though as it felt like I had to reach for a couple. I tried out the Hex V2- the layout is so much better, but I cannot stand the texture. IDK what they were thinking.
I picked up the G502 Proteus Spectrum and I haven't used my Naga Hex since then (returned the V2). The button layout is almost perfect (very intuitive) and the mouse feels smoother than my Naga Hex at high DPI (currently running 6000, I was doing 4200 on my Naga Hex). The only downside is that the RGB is extremely minimal- it is only for the "G" logo.
SPEAKERS - I use Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Bookshelf speakers with a Dayton Audio 30 watt amp. After looking at many many audio charts and reading reviews- these seemed the best by far in their price range. They completely **** on any PC speakers, and I even prefer them to my ATH-M50x's. The best sub-$300 speakers imo.
HEADSET - I needed a good mic. I got the G930 on sale, but regardless it fit the bill for what I wanted exactly: noise-canceling mic, it was wireless, and it had extra programmable keys to boot. The sound is pretty good too- better than most headphones.
HEADPHONES - I love good quality music, and I love bass. My EQ settings are generally + tons of bass, - a tiny bit of mid, and - a lot of treble. These fit my listening style just right, and I got them on sale for around $100.
DESK - I am using a black glass desk I got from Costco. I love it. It is the Nalu Desk by Bayside Furnishings (http://www.baysidefurnishings.com/category/home-office/group/desks/000703)
It runs very fast and keeps my games from being bottle necked. If you have the budget for it then no reason not to buy it.
I love this board. It was so easy to install everything, the BIOS has many features, and the board itself also has more features than I'll need. It has been the easiest board to work with in terms of installing everything. Everything runs great on it too. It also came with some sweet free programs like Daemon Tools Pro.
I had this for over a year before I got the 850 Pro and 950 Pro. I love this SSD and still do- the Pros weren't much of an upgrade in daily performance. If on a budget, this SSD is the way to go. I have never had a single problem with a Samsung 850 EVO in the 2 years I have used them (both 250 and 500 GB versions).
Works flawlessly and very fast, but the best part is having a 10-year warranty. This is awesome as the long held HDD lifespan limit was 5-years. Now I won't have to go searching for a new SSD for a VERY long time to replace this one. This will probably be obsolete by the time I lose warranty on it.
I am not sure that the performance of this SSD is worth the extra cost- it definitely is not for the average consumer, especially considering you lose out on the 10-year warranty with an 850 Pro. The speed isn't noticeable.
I could have gone with two 850 Pros, but the reason this SSD was the better choice is that I don't have the increased risk of data loss from RAID while still getting higher max outputs than with SATA. That being said, as I mentioned for the average consumer this boost in speed isn't really worth the price and loss of a 10-year warranty. It isn't even "subtle", it just doesn't exist in regular tasks.
I gave this 5 stars still as it does perform perfectly as it should, even though it isn't worth the price for the average customer imo. I only spent an extra $10 to get mine (over an 850 Pro), so I didn't care and it wasn't a loss for me in terms of money. I wanted to try out a NVMe m.2 SSD to see for myself what they are like, and I have not been impressed after being accustomed to a 850 Pro.
I got this case mostly for the four 200mm fans, but in general the total amount of fan spots and the customization for cooling. I have a LOT of open space in this case- all of my wires are hidden and it was the easiest thing to do. Thus far it has been the easiest case I have worked on in general.
There are some downsides though, which keep it from being 5 stars. There is no hotswap bay which sucks. There is only 1 front drive bay, with a second extremely tiny bay (I had to cut my fan controller in half to fit). The built in fan settings are crap (high/low) and only work for the stock fans supposedly. I had to cut off part of one of my 200mm fans for them both to fit on the top.
Overall I do like the case a lot, but I would buy something different if I had to get a new case today. I would rate it 3/5 but I knew about the majority of the shortcomings beforehand, so I cannot fault the case for that.
My computer works
Everything sounds amazing, the card has a ton of extra features, and the software is great with many options. If you use PC speakers, then it is definitely not worth it to buy this sound card. Just get a $30 one at most, if that. Your onboard sound should be good enough.
If you love music and you are really into sound and you have decent audio equipment (great headphones, speakers), then this is definitely worth it. After owning a ASUS Xonar DG for 2 years, this seemed like a huge upgrade. It was very easy to setup as well.
They are decent- definitely not even close to the quality of a Noctua fan, but it gets the job done. One of my fans had a wobble and made an annoying noise a month in. I moved twice since then and it persisted after the first move, but now it has gone away. It seems like just a matter of time before it starts wobbling again.
Can a Noctua fan get any better? I guess it can. This is just as awesome as their standard fans, but it is dust and water resistant, it goes up to 2000 RPM for higher cooling (vs 1200-1500 RPM max for standard fans), and to some it may be more aesthetically pleasing since it is all black without the vibration dampeners.
I keep mine idling at 1200 RPM, but I know it can go as low as 1080 RPM. I am not sure if it can go any lower, so if you want to be super stealthy then this fan is not for you. Otherwise, if noise is not an issue but you want maximum cooling, then this is the best 120mm fan to get imo.
This is a bit more efficient than the IPPC-3000 in terms of noise:airflow ratio, and I don't believe I will ever use 2000 RPM to ever need 3000 RPM (or any average user). 2000 RPM sounds like a 80mm fan lol. According to the charts at uk.hardware.info, it is the best 120mm 2000 RPM fan in terms of air flow.
At the time it was amazing for its amount of extra programmable buttons and lack of clutter like the regular Razer Naga. I really enjoyed using it- even now comparing it to my G502 there are no major flaws in the Razer Naga Hex. Easy to program and works perfectly. The only reason why it gets a 4/5 is because the button spacing/layout could have been slightly better- my finger had to reach for 2 buttons. The newer Naga Hex V2 has a better layout (but the mouse texture on it feels horrible).
I have the G502 Proteus Spectrum. I love it- the layout and buttons feel extremely intuitive. I jumped straight into using all of the extra buttons. The scroll wheel is awesome too- it unlocks for insanely fast scroll speeds or "auto-scrolling".
The RGB is very weak though- only a small "G" of all things is RGB, why is pretty lame. Well 3 dots that show sensitivity settings too, but those disappear. The bigger downside however is the programming software. You can only have 3 profiles- that sucks really bad. I like to have many profiles so in 6 months from now I don't have to recreate my Fallout 4 profile when I play again.
The G502 also comes with customizable weights- I thought it was just a marketing gimmick at first, but wow! They really do improve your mouse control a lot. I use the mouse at 10,000 DPI very smoothly now.
The sound is surprisingly good for a headset- it was much better than any of my other pair of headphones (this was before owning a pair of ATH-M50x headphones), including low-end Beats (I don't own them but I have compared them).
The mic works fantastically too- the noise-cancellation allows me to use speakers without bothering anyone on comms. The mic mutes when raised too which is a great feature.
My review won't do justice, so just google a review lol. They are amazing headphones and they fit my preference perfectly (extra bass).