This is an upgrade and rebuild of my first system, Absolute Zero (A0). I've learned a ton since building my first, and decided it was time for a refresh. It's a rig I use mostly for gaming, and is a little more than I needed for the titles I play most often. I consider myself an enthusiast however, so I put a little extra time and care into it. I kept a few essential parts from A0, PSU, RAM, GPU, etc; while upgrading the board and processor to the newest generation. A new case and a couple new fans really make up the rest of the changes, but they tie the build together nicely.
- Do yourself a favor, buy an M.2 SSD if you don't have one already. They are truly spectacular for games with long load times (ARK, Skyrim, Space Engineers, GTA V).
- The board and CPU upgrade was something I was very excited about, with the 8700K being 6 cores and the board having advanced cooling capacities. I had tried my hand at overclocking on my previous rig and found it an interesting and rewarding challenge, so I saw this as an opportunity to build on that interest. I've managed 5.1GHz, not including a small boost to base clock, to all 6 cores thus far, creating massive leaps in benchmark scores over my last cpu (6700K).
- I'd like to add an additional 16G of RAM soon, stuck deciding between another identical set to what I have now, or adding TridentZ RGBs instead. I think the Tridents would be a nice contrast. That said, maybe some Dominator Platinums...that could look really nice.
I'll eventually take advantage of the built in water cooling capable board with a custom loop, just don't have the time or money to do it now. I'm also incredibly indecisive on how I want to do it, so that's stopped me for a while.
- I spent quite a bit more focused attention on my cable management this time around, as the first was sorta thrown together with cables crammed in. I've also moved away from the white components, blue LED look, opting instead for a little subtler, refined look. As cool as full on RGB everything can be, it does get old, and is a little ostentatious if not done tactfully. In light of that (pun half intended), I've gone with a softer white glow just to accent components.
5.1GHz on 6 cores for less than $350? Yes Please
Excellent cooler that looks great. I did have to RMA it due to a failed pump, but it seemed to be an outlier case, and NZXT's customer service was quick and helpful.
I'll be honest, this stuff made me nervous when I applied it. It doesn't behave like normal thermal paste, and extra care has to be taken when applying. Keep in mind that liquid metal compounds will short your board or any other components it might accidentally get on. Be sure to watch where it goes very closely, and have rubbing alcohol handy just in case.
Incredible board with a few minor frustrations:
- This is THE board for people who want to take cooling to the next level
- Very solid build quality
- Looks nice, with subtler LEDs and an imposing matte black finish
- USB 3 header is facing out, which some might like, but I find frustrating when building in small spaces.
- Very limited USB 2 connection
- Fewer PCIe slots than my last board, though not a huge deal for me.
It does it's job well, but not all that impressive past that. I get framerates and benchmark scores I'd expect out of a 1070, but it doesn't stay cool very well and has very noticeable coil whine under any extended stress. Headphones recommended for benchmarking; the coil whine on top of the already loud fans makes for loud stress tests.
Cooler Master seem to have thought of everything you might need when designing this case. I found myself immensely impressed with the small details I continued to find as I was building in it. Job incredibly well done Cooler Master.
Mechanical/Membrane switches are the greatest thing in the world. I don't think I could ever use anything else after this. They're tactile and responsive, with good feedback as you're typing, all without feeling clunky and unnecessarily loud like normal mechanical switches feel in my opinion.