First of all, I'd like to thank all of the PCpartPicker.com community for helping me make my first computer build so easy and painless.
So, I started my photography hobby a few years ago when I bought my first DSLR. After a year of just snapping pictures, pulling them off the SD card, uploading them to Facebook. I actually started editing them in Lightroom and Photoshop. Well the old i5, 8GB ram computer I was using wasn't cutting it. So I ended up buying a Dell T3500 server w/six-core Xeon (3.5GHz), 12GB of RAM, Quadro 4000 2GB, and 7200rpm drive. What a difference that was over that old i5 with only 8GB of ram and on-board video. Now that I had experienced how much faster my post processing could be. I asked myself, "how fast could this Dell server be?" So I ended up putting 24GB of Crucial Ballistic RAM, GTX960 4GB, and 512GB SSD into the Dell. Whoa!! What a difference. Again, I was so spoiled over what I was using before. But unfortunately, I had the bug/itch for the "need for speed". I decided I'd try and make the fastest Lightroom/Photoshop rig on my budget. Picking parts for a build was so much work. I started with a $2,000 budget and figured that would get me what I wanted. But I ended up having to spend quite bit more. "It's only a few bucks more for this..." Anyways, I'm sure all of you can relate with that.
So, the basis of this build was directed around cooling. This computer is in outside in a shop environment. I work at a car stereo shop in Fresno, California. It gets very hot (110+) in the Summer for those that aren't familiar with Central California. With that said, it's not the best place to store a computer. But that's the cards that have been dealt.
CPU (Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz Quad-Core) I definitely wanted to go with the latest generation chip-set since I'd probably use this computer for many years to come. After reading and watching a number of reviews on the Skylake 6700k. It was the most logical choice. Plus it's sitting pretty @ 4.9GHz with perfect stability.
Case (Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5 ATX Mid Tower) The first part that I picked from the build Plus the hardest part to decide on. After watching every review on YouTube about cases, the Cooler Master Mastercase PRO was the winner. Extreme airflow and plenty of room for a 240mm CPU radiator and 120mm GPU radiator. Plus it's really nice for a first time builder.
Motherboard (Asus Z170-A ATX) This is a really tough decision. I don't know how some of you decide on what mother board to choose from. Anyways, I went with ASUS from recommendations from a few friends. Then I picked the "cheapest" motherboard that had all my wants/needs. So far the ASUS Z170-A has been great.
Memory (G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3200) It wasn't hard to pick RAM. I needed 2 sticks of 16GB for a total of 32GB. There isn't a lot of choices here. SO I picked one of the cheapest in the category. Plus G.Skill is highly recommended by the PPP community. Plus it's very reasonably priced.
Storage (Intel 750 Series 400GB PCI-E SSD) I was going to go with the Samsung 950 PRO m.2 drive. But this Intel PCI SSD came up for sale on newegg, so it was a no-brainier. I wanted the fastest HD I could afford for editing.
Video Card (EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB HYBRID) This card was an easy pick for me. I wanted a 980Ti that was water-cooled out of the box. So it was a choice between EVGA, MSI, or Corsair. The EVGA came in the cheapest, so I went with it. So far it's been great. I have it overclocked to 1550ish MHz and it doesn't even get warm. Great job, EVGA.
Cooling (Corsair H100i GTX 70.7 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler) Since I'm going to have this computer in an outdoor environment. I decided water cooling was a must. The Corsair Hi100 GTX was a perfect fit for my case. Plus it's really reasonably priced and performs very well.
Power Supply (EVGA G2 750W) I wasn't sold on any brand. Price drove my decision on which one it was going to be. My only needs were, fully modular, Tier 1, and 750W minimum. This EVGA PSU @ $120 was a deal.
Monitor (Dell 34" Ultrawide 3440x1440) 34", Ultrawide, Curved. Any brand that suited those needs I would've bought. So the Dell came in under my budget of $700 first. Plus it can be overclocked to 75Hz. So it was a no brainier.
Final Thoughts This computer is so f'ing fast in Lightroom and flys through Photoshop with unparalleled speed. I achieved my goal with no regrets. Thanks again to the PCPartPicker community for all the help/guidance.
Update: I added a few misc details and more pictures.
Overclocked to 4.9GHz without any heat on a all-in-one cooler.
Great bang for your buck if you're an ASUS fan. Good performance and great looks.
Great value and performance. I wish it looked a little better, imo they looks and feel a little "cheap"
One of the fastest single 980Ti cards on the market with watercooling built-in for the same price as the premium air-cooled cards... Win.
This case has been a pleasure to build in. I can tell Cooler Master thought of everything when it comes to this case.