Seems about right. The external fan works fine, honestly. The temps are good and the actual paneling on the LL120s looks just fine. It also doesn't really present an issue while being moved. You do have to be careful not to stick your fingers in it while the fan is moving, but you really shouldn't have your fingers around it anyways. It was just an unfortunate discovering during the build. The case itself is the best looking I've ever seen, otherwise.
I think that's a perfectly fine solution. The externally mounted fan hasn't given me any issues and it actually looks pretty nice so I don't mind it. I've never had an issue with temps so there's no issue there, either.
The AW monitor is among if not the best on the market, in my opinion. As smooth as you get, perfect size/pixel ratio, and the colors are fantastic. No issues with bleeding or flickering or anything.
I agree, it's definitely the motherboard's issue. But the heatsink is definitely oddly shaped, too. It's a pretty unfortunate combination, but I've made it work. The way I have it fitted now doesn't really bother me at all. It may make a little more noise, but honestly, this thing is quiet as a mouse relative to my other PC, so it doesn't bother me at all.
Depends how you OC. At reasonable OCs (4.7-4.9 GHz @ 3.0-3.5 V) it runs up to 80 C under stress test load. If you go up to >4.9 GHz and >3.5 V it starts running >80 C on stress tests but maintains < 80 C under reasonable loads like games and streaming just fine. I was seeing barely any benefit after going above 5.0 GHz so I went with that and stable voltage and I don't see temps go above 80 C ever while gaming/streaming at 240 fps. The GPU has never been > 80 C even under max stable overclock and stress testing, even with CPU and GPU at 100%.
Absolutely. I was perfectly fine with a mid range board, as you demonstrate, they're not going to bottleneck any reasonable overclocks and have a lot of nice perks. I took the high end board because I could afford to and it had some cool niche features and looked better (subjectively) to me.
I was also perfectly fine with going for the Gigabyte Z370 Gaming Wifi which is the bottom end of the mid range boards. I bet it'd still do fine with a high, non-enthusiast overclock like ours.
It's insane how affordable these fantastic boards with all these crazy features are. Then we have the same sticks of RAM that were $60 in 2016 which are now $240.
It made dealing with the Cooler far more tolerable!
Sure is. Cardio III, I think. Don't use it, might as well put it to use as decoration ;)
They're solid! I've used Gigabyte before, this one looks great, and it had the most support for OC that I saw. It definitely had less extra perks and more cost than other boards, however.
Absolutely. Overclocker ratings are just that, ratings. Doesn't mean what you get performs better than another board in any specific situation.
Testament to that, the board I have is likely causing issues with the overclock I have. The G7 is considered one of, if not the best, overclocker boards on the market, yet I still found problems.
I was looking at the Asus Z370-A and Gigabyte Z370 Gaming WiFi (both around $100 at time of purchase), too. I'm sure they both work fine. My free Gigabyte from 2013 I got with my FX-8320 still sports a 4.0 GHz OC on that with a stock cooler, haha.
Aura was the first to be compatible with the GeIL sticks, IIRC. And also works the best of all of them. Hopefully, GeIL continues to work with Gigabyte and gets them to be more individually addressable on Gigabyte Fusion. Right now it's sparingly compatible.
I was between the ASUS Z370-E, ASRock Z370 Taichi, and the GA-Z370-G7. All three boards hit $150-$160 when I was buying. I ended up picking up the G7 because of its unparalleled appearance and overclocking capability. Not going to lie, I was very tempted by both the ASUS and ASRock boards, especially with the perks like WiFi/Bluetooth that you randomly find very convenient. But the Z370-E has poor overclocking track record and the Taichi was just such a boring board. I was surprised the G7 doesn't have WiFi/BT, but it was my last concern. The included Optane with my G7 is also a pretty sweet thing I never even knew existed. I was going to sell it, but I'll probably end up keeping it.
Could be cleaner! I plan to make it even cleaner once I play with it a bit, as I got a bit frustrated of tinkering and being meticulous after the CPU Cooler issues and making my own RGB GPU Backplate. But I like how it is even as it is now.
Absolutely stunning case and components. The White GeIL RGB is, subjectively, the best looking RAM I've seen, once you remove the stickers. Seem like high quality sticks, too. Plug and play, work sparingly with Gigabyte Fusion, and they overclock surprisingly well. Similar "household name brand" RGB sticks were literally $50+ more expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the same exact stick in the heatsink, and these are gorgeous and perform excellent.
Why not AIO:
Cost. $80 AIOs are... not great. Getting this from Amazon, with Amazon Prime shipping were also benefits.
Performance. Similar performing AIOs are of the highest quality, and certainly not in this price range. This is literally the best performing Air Cooler on the market that I know of, even beating the NH-D15 in all the benchmarks I have seen. Could add convenience. Even the 360mm AIOs that compete/beat it would be incredibly more expensive, and must be front mounted in the Corsair 570x, which wasn't my preference. The LL120s I had my eyes on are also not great radiator fans.
Reliability. Pumps fail. I intend to keep this build 4-5 years without changing a single part. Pumps typically last 5 years, but that's no guarantee, and pushing the lifespan of a part isn't my idea of reliable.
Safety. Don't need to worry about water when you don't have any water to be worried about. This goes with #3. More time with a build means more can go wrong and more likely something does as time goes on.
Reusability. Pumps fail, heatsinks don't. A heatsink of the highest quality won't be replaced, and can be used in future builds. If I were to get another PC today with components 5 years in the future, I would keep this heatsink and not have a single concern.
Aesthetics. The most subjective, but I actually like the large air coolers. They add meat to your build. Obviously, this has its drawbacks. Forcing me to ghetto mount my rear exhaust to the back where it doesn't even fit properly is super unfortunate. But it works, and looks surprisingly natural.
Mounting the CPU Cooler and getting it to fit appropriately was an absolute miserable disaster, but otherwise it's fantastic.