Started this build to aid in Unreal Engine 4 work, and generally speed things up for gaming and productivity, coming from my old 2600k + GTX 970 rig. I wanted the latest and greatest tech (within reason) for production and gaming on the side. Spent months researching the primary parts for this and pondering when I should pull the trigger. Here it is...
Things to note during the build.
1: The 6-pin CPU power cable was a REAL pain to get attached to the motherboard once everything was installed into the case and I went to do cable management. Highly recommend getting it in place before securing your main components.
2: The special fan controller included in this case was a waste for me, as with the Kraken X52 this motherboard doesn't have enough connections to support using both at the same time.
3: When using the Kraken X52 in this case in conjunction with a AIO cooler on the GPU and then attempting the installation of the 2080 Ti's radiator+fan in the rear exhaust position, it will seem like it's not going to fit. Install the radiator, then the fan and it will JUST barely fit.
4: The dust filter on the top exhaust fan isn't fun getting to it with all of the hardware installed. It's only 4 screws and taking off the side panel, but it's NOT a quick and easy solution like you would want. It also gets dusty quick being on the TOP of the case.
5: The main M.2 slot on the front of the motherboard is accessed fairly easily with all other components installed. I did have to remove the USB 2.0 cable the Kraken uses, as it was in the way. While the second M.2 is on the other side of the motherboard, and well... I'm gonna wait awhile before I install another 970 Evo Plus 1TB in there.
6: The NZXT H200 case only supports 2 slot graphics cards, while I did try a 2.5 slot (large fan/shroud) it did fit, but with air cooling, two things happened. One: is obvious, it was starved for air and thus unacceptably hot. Two: was the fans on the MSI Ventus 2080 Ti I had in here would scrape on the red reservoir bracket and make horrible noises. This wasn't due to bad initial clearance, but GPU sag over time.
Initially when I built this, I used my old GTX 970 for a little while. The primary parts were all bought from Micro Center locally and the video card was off Newegg. This specific GPU was one of the very few 2080 Ti's that can fit in this case, and stay nice and cool and quiet. The older 2.5" SSDs were a carry-over from my previous 2600k and GTX 970 rig and may get replaced someday with larger capacity faster solutions..
The memory being DDR4-3000 and not higher was due to price differences at time of purchase and availability locally.
Absolute beast for gaming and even in production environments (using Unreal Engine 4 primarily, but some Maya, 7-Zip, Visual Studio, etc). Rendering out some Lighting in Lightmass for Unreal Engine made me laugh uncontrollably at how much faster it was than my 2600k I upgraded from.
Keeps the 9900k nice and cool, very quiet under load and the only reason it's not 5/5 stars is because the required USB connection to power the pump makes it so I can't use the fan controller built into my case.
Fantastic UEFI BIOS and overclocking. Decent layout overall for a compact ITX build. One star removed for having poor placement of different connections. This is probably not an issue in larger cases, but I suspect the more compact you get, the more this will become an issue. At 26 liters of volume the H200i is a large ITX case and it still had some issues with the connection locations on this motherboard.
Overclocked to advertised DDR4-3000 just fine. Can't complain at all. 1 star removed for being yellow in my black+red build. Someday I'll make them red.
Unbelievably fast. The difference in reads/writes on this over regular 2.5" SSDs is nuts. The first time I unzipped a large (30+GB) file on this drive, I was blown away in just simply how fast it was. I had to unzip it again on my 840 Evo just to feel the crazy difference. Worth every penny.
Ray Tracing isn't big yet. But seeing it even in it's infancy inside of Unreal Engine 4 and Metro: Exodus really shows me this is the future. Back when HAVOK Physics started to get put into every game, I thought ragdoll was the next big thing. It really was. I'm banking on Real-Time Ray Tracing being exactly the same. Give it 5-10 years there will not be games without it. I'm hoping this card lasts me at least those 5 years. It's been a real powerhouse for Unreal Engine work, and destroys all games even at 3440x1440 with a 120hz monitor.
My first venture into ITX cases and this has been a really great start. Cable management is very reasonable and the "extra" space you get in this LARGE mini-ITX case does ensure it feels somewhat like building in a mid-tower. Someday I'd like to go even smaller, as long as I can still get CPU/GPU water-cooling.
One of the best monitors money can buy, and it shows. The switch from an OLD Dell D2405FPW I got for Christmas back in 2005, is just unbelievable. 60hz to 120hz means there is no going back to lower refresh rates. Side by side with the old Dell, the laggy response time of the old monitor is extremely apparent. Colors and brightness and viewing angles are top notch for IPS. I will note that it is sad to say that the old Dell had better blacks, as the D2405FPW was Dell's flagship monitor back in it's day. The backlight bleed on the AW3418DW is acceptable and you WON'T see it unless you're playing a dark game (Resident Evil 2 Remake), or watching a dark movie (Pitch Black?).
Extremely well designed and SIMPLE wireless gaming keyboard. I love the looks, feel and design. The star off is because it's not backlit RGB and that they used STICKERS to label the key caps. I understand backlit keys would drain the battery like crazy, but I would much prefer this keyboard to have them, and also have an option to be wired if you wanted to.
Upgraded from the MX518 of yesteryear. Worthy successor, and now I hear they're bringing the MX518 back! I wouldn't go back to the MX518 now that I've used the G703 for so long. I love the option for RGB and wired or wireless operation. It's nearly a perfect mouse in my eyes. I would have liked to have seen the option to toggle regular scrolling and the infinite scroll some other Logitech mice have, as well as left and right buttons on the mouse wheel.
Had the QC15's since ~2010 and they're still going strong. The ear cups and head band have worn out multiple times and back then they didn't have a microphone option. I eventually got a UFlyMike boom mic for them and it's still a great setup. Wanted to get into the modern times and upgraded to the QC35 II's and I couldn't be more pleased with them. The quality of life improvements from QC15 to QC35 II are many, and all worth the upgrade.
Best cheap computer speakers money can buy. Previous setup was a Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 system from 2003. The sub-woofer's amp died (surprise, it's the most common thing to die on that setup) and forced me to get a new computer setup. The old 5.1's speakers are still going 15+ years later and the newer 2.1 setup sounds damn good for the price. Knocking off a star because the cables on the 2.1 setup are NOT modular, in that the right speaker has permanently affixed wires for all the connections and the volume knob is just wide open, no way to indicate how loud it is set to, so repeatedly setting it to the EXACT same level is impossible.