Description

Initially, I built a computer to speed up my photography editing and improve on the work flow of my photos. I do wedding photography and always used an iMac and MacBook Pro for editing but once I learned how powerful a custom pc can be and cost less essentially, I turned toward building one.

Sort of spiraled out of control without realizing it. I ended up enjoying gaming as well and this computer can handle everything I do with ease. I am very happy with my 7700k and although Ryzen would potentially be better for my editing, I am waiting for the second generation of CPUs and Motherboards before I transition.

I have found that building a computer was very theraputic for me and extremely enjoyable. There were some growing pains as I was not all that familair with the process but youtube videos and learning from mistakes helped out. I feel that building and tweaking the pc components is more a fun than playing games at this point!

Part Reviews

CPU

Im going to open this review of the 7700k with saying that you need to delid this chip to get the benefits of it. I had a 4790k prior and was hesitant to 'upgrade' to the 7700k based on what others were telling me but once I did it I feel a big increase in speed and efficiency. The issue with these chips are that they run really hot due to the very poor application of TIM between the die and IHS. I will include a picture of mine when I delidded it to show how bad this was. I was unable to overclock the CPU prior to delidding even with the Kraken x62 (too high temps).

Once delidded, the 7700k reached 5.0 on 1.3v no problem maintaining 35c on idle and hits mid 70s on ROG Real Bench. During gaming, such as BF1, I have not seen temps exceed 65c all while keeping a low fan curve (silent gaming).

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the 7700k. I am interested to try out a r7 1700 on my next build but for gaming, this is the way to go.

CPU Cooler

BEAUTIFUL!!!

Great CPU cooler with a very beautiful pump. I only got this AIO for aesthtic purposes. I previously had an H115i which was not bad at all but the pump was throwing off my build so a straight swap for the Kraken and it really stands out. I did replace the stock NZXT 140mm fans with two Corsair ML140 WLEDs to reduce the sound.

I have the ring and logo match whatever color scheme I decide to go with at the time. I do play with the different presets whenever I feel like a change but overall just keeping it nice and clean. The 280 rad is rather large and some cases may have difficulty finding a good place for it. I went with the Air 540 specifically so I could place the radiator at the top for exhaust.

Overall - Keeps my (delidded) 7700k nice and cold allowing for a high overclock all while maintaining a low fan curve.

Motherboard

I became a fan of ASUS boards simply because of their amazing BIOS, not to overlook how great the actual board looks. I had a Maximus Hero vii with the 4790k and form there I was sold on the ASUS brand.

ROG Strix simply looks wonderful in my build and I highly recommend this board. I am able to overclock (5.0) the 7700k with extreme ease at a decent voltage (1.3v) without any issues during stress tests and real use/gaming.

I use cablemod led strips with the AURA adapter connected to one of the mobo's RGB Headers which allows me to change the colors via AURY software, essentially syncing the motherboard, LED strips, and GPU all to look the same. These strips are currently running outside of the case, behind my desk.

Absolutley LOVE this motherboard and extremely happy I went with it. A little on the expensive side but worth every penny!

Memory

This is quite possibly the one area I am not 100 percent sold on for my build (other than mice which I will get to later). I originally wanted to go with G Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4 but found these Corsair sticks on sale at Best Buy for 115 each and could not pass up on them. Full RGB is nice as I can change the entire color scheme along with everything else whenver I feel the desire to do so. What I dislike about the RGB portion is that it is really limited on what it can display via the Corsair Link software. The choice of colors is fine but the presets are definitely lacking. I would like more customizable options within Corsair Link to make these exactly the way I want. As of now I just have them fading between two different colors, which the software limits to only two colors :(.

As for operations - I have them all running at 15 15 37 3000mhz manually through BIOS at 1.35v. The pass memtest and ROG Realbench without issue so I am happy.

Overall - 3 stars for personal opinion really. I am more than likely going to get the Trident Z RGB sticks soon but this ram works and works well.

Storage

I love SSDs! I purchased the SD Ultra on sale from Amazon for 50 percent off so it was a an easy decision to add it to my system. I use this as a scratch disk for editing my rather large RAW files produced from my Mkiii dslr. The SSD has sped up my editing process as it is much faster than a standard HDD. If I find another on sale I will grab it and put it in RAID0 just to do it.

Storage

A high rated SSD but to me I cannot tell the difference in performance. I am using this to store a few games that I play frequently to reduce load times as I value my time highly! I aint gots the time to wait for games to load! Also purchased on sale and would not mind adding another to RAID0 for additional games. RAID would not necessarily increase speed or performance but it would combine the disks to make it one drive letter....personal preference :) Also personal, I really like the way this SSD looks aesthetically. If I were able to display an SSD it would be this one. (might have to mod the air 540)

Storage

Not a bad SSD at all. My first of this form factor but it performs identical to the standard SSD. If you want an increase in speed and performance you will have to get the 960 EVO. I went with this for my OS simply because it was less cables (no sata cable or power). It is a great size, porbably too big for my OS but I know that I will never have to worry about storage space.

Overall - Not a bad chouce if you dont mind paying a slight premium for the m.2 form factor which I really liked.

Storage

Not much to say about this which means nothing bad! I like the size and will use this to store some RAW photos and JPEGs that I use on my wedding photography business. Some may complain about the noise...this is pretty much the only audible sound coming from my PC which is a testament to how quiet I made my computer.

Overall - Good size and reliable.

Video Card

One of the absolute best GPUs out there right now. It is very fast and, important to me, it is quiet when under load! I use this to push a 1440p 165 hz monitor and it does so with relative ease. I don't play many AAA games, in fact I think the only one is really BF1. I mainly play SC2 and will fire up GTAv, ForHonor, and The Witcher 3 whenever I get spare time but with school and work I just squeeze in some Zerg matches and call it good.

I use the GPU acceleration in Photoshop and Lightroom and have noticed a big difference between this and the 390x I had prior. Many versions of the 1080ti perform identically, I went toward the Strix to match my mobo and well I have an Asus ROG monitor so...themed!

Overall - If you can find one at a decent price (mining craze is starting to affect the 1080ti) snag it up! It will push 1440p very well and one single card can push 60fps on 4k! This should be in my PC for many years to come.

Case

This is the second version of the Air 540 that I purchased. Originally I went with a black version and decided to 'upgrade' to a Phanteks Enthoo Evolv TGE. Although the Evolv is one heck of a beautiful case, the airflow was negatively affecting me. I found this white Air 540 on local craigslist for a very good price and jumped on it. I run all fans at low RPM to reduce noise and the air flow is EXCELLENT! Temps on both CPU and GPU have reduced under load and my room does not get nearly as hot as it was with the Evolv. (The difference is in the exhaust fans not pushing out too much heat due to components remaining relatively cool)

4/5 Overall because it is rather large and different form factor plus it is not tempered glass so that one star being docked is due to personal preferences. This is an excellent case and it looks rather cool. I am enjoying the white theme and with everything RGB I can alter the accent colors anytime.

Power Supply

One of the BEST PSUs out there. The G3 series has replaced this version but not enough difference, if any, to force an upgrade. I am absolutely in love with this power supply. Very stable and quiet! Fully modular assists cable management and allowed me to add custom EVGA cables which look amazing by the way. I understand this is capable of pushing more power than I probably will ever need but the comfort factor was worth every penny. Grab it on sale if you can!

Overall - Phenomenal power supply that sits on top of many reviewers lists. Highly recommend!

Operating System

Decent OS but definitely adjust the privacy settings! I went with the Pro version to utilize BitLocker. Other than that I enjoy windows more than OSX but to be honest Linux is king.

One thing I do like about this OS is that I can tie it to my Microsoft Account rather than my Mobo. As I have changed gear many times I am able to easily move the OS to the new system without having to purchase a new one. Don't pirate...purchase!

Case Fan

Nice and quiet fan. Far better than the stock 140s that came with the case. Although I have these pretty much hidden at the top of my case on the radiator they emit a nice cool white accent out of the top at night. I never hear them and keep them running at a constant 65 percent for the radiator. I bought these specifically for the radiator so if you are on the fence for any AIO and sound is a concern, consider the additional cost of aftermarket 140s. It raises the price of an AIO pretty high! To ME it was worth the silence and although I am not sure if the temps have benefitted from the change I know they are keeping my 7700k cool.

Overall - They are decent 140s that look great and run relatively silent. Above 70 percent you will hear them!

Case Fan

Expensive! I lowered it to 4 stars for the price. However, you do get three of them and a controller, ok...I bought these to place in the front of my Air 540 and intend on custom watercooling with a 360 rad in the distant future. So these should last me a long time! They do look great I must add but the controller did not really help much with settings as it was pretty limited. These bad boys are BRIGHT just fyi. I ended up getting a NODE Pro as I was fed up with CAM anyway and got away from the Hue+.

The NODE Pro allows these fans (6 total) to be connected to one port and enables Corsair Link to control the RGB. I was able to reduce the brightness, which is awesome, and adjust the colors as well as the mode. I have them alternate between white and purple along with all of my other RGB enabled devices. Pretty sweet looking and I can adjust the colors whenever I want to change things up.

Overall - Pricey for fans! Look great, run silent due to fan curve, limited on mode and colors with controller. Recommend getting these if you have the NODE Pro or Commander to enable software control.

Case Fan

I like this fan. It is more of a personal preference when it comes to this fan as it is pricey compared to other fans and performs similar to stock albeit a little quieter. I have this fan at the rear of my Air540 as INTAKE. And this is the personal preference part, the 'bars' holding the fan in place are clear so the LEDs shine through very nicely and makes my build look cleaner. I had an ML140 White LED back there and the black 'bars' were just bothering me (again personal so don't slaughter me on this). I returned the ML140 and got this fan for the same price on Amazon.

I can control this fans RGB via Corsair Link as it is connected to the NODE Pro along with the three HD120s. If you want to connect 120 and 140 fans keep in mind when syncing them together the timing might be a little off. The 120 fans have 10 leds while the 140 has 12.

Overall - Not a bad fan at all. Kind of pricey for how cheap it feels in my hand but it does its job and it does it well. No real complaints.

Monitor

Seriously...this monitor simply kicks a**. Expensive for sure, definitely worth saving up a few more weeks for. 1440p overclocked to 165 hz and the beauty is in GSync. I know there are mixed emotions when it comes to the GSync premium however coming from a non-GSync monitor to this, night and day! My 1080ti does a great job at pushing frames on this monitor but when it gets tough, like full maps on BF1 with a lot going on, it will dip to the low 100s and I don't notice a change at all. Witcher 3 maxed out is one BEAUTIFUL game and although my PC, as strong as it is, pushes around 80-90 fps on that game it is smooth as butta...

I edit photos and videos on this monitor (hence why I went IPS instead of the 278q) and it has proven to be a big upgrade from my 1080p ultrawide. I thought I would miss the extra real estate on the ultrawide but this resolution makes up for it. This is the one item I was worried about on my rig and one that definitely made me feel guilty for a few weeks after purchasing. Once the guilt subsided I am extremely happy and look forward to having this monitor until the day I die...

Overall - 10/10 if I could. The price will drive people away for sure it almost got me too but once I started driving this bad boy I knew it was the right decision and great investment. I do not intend on going 4k for many years to come. The 144/165hz has so many benefits more than just in games. Even the desktop and applications/videos look so good. Hell youtube looks amazing on this monitor. Thank you Asus!

Comments

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

JAW DROP...

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautiful build, what'd you do for the delid? I'm thinking of upgrading from a 6600k to a 7700k and I definitely want to delid.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much! I used a Rockit 88 tool (https://rockitcool.myshopify.com/) It was insanely simple although a tad bit nerve wrecking when you are applying the pressure and then hear the lid POP!

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm in love with your build! Everything's soooo clean!

also, did you use a filter for these photos?

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

I love it when photographers post their build. Also surprised you didn't use a Corsair PSU to top it all off ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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