Description

I run an up-and-coming YouTube tech channel known as TechFox. I built my first computer back in 2016 and learned a lot from that experience. My workflow has evolved and my video production requirements reached a point where I needed to upgrade my hardware. I didn't want to make any compromises so I started saving my YouTube and Amazon revenue for over a year. I finally purchased my components in December of 2018 and assembled everything in January of 2019. I've built 8 computers for family and friends since 2016. Some of these PCs were water-cooled but I've never attempted a custom rigid loop until now. This project was a labor of love and I enjoyed every minute of it. Hopefully you do too!

Build Video

CPU: 9900k

My workload on my PC is about 60% video editing, 20% general desktop use, 10% gaming, and 10% homework. I use the adobe suite and all my research indicates that the i9 9900k is the best option. I considered the AMD competition for Premiere but Photoshop seems to prefer Intel by a significant amount. The ability to use hardware encoding with the integrated graphics was also a contributing factor for choosing team blue.

Motherboard: MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge

There were only 3 realistic options for motherboards for the 9900k in the Micro ATX form factor. The MSI Gaming Edge was the most feature-rich and, honestly, the best-looking. I know the ASUS Gene exists but, as far as I'm aware, isn't coming to North America. It's also incredibly overpriced.

Memory: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro @3000MHz (4 x 16)

Aside from the CPU, the memory was my next-largest improvement. Coming from 32Gb, running at 2133MHz, this new kit from Corsair is a huge upgrade. I like to implement motion graphics and specialized effects with Adobe After Effects. Unfortunately, the amount of time it took to edit and render those effects previously made it not worthwhile. After Effects is one of those programs that will use every ounce of RAM you can throw at it.

Storage: 500Gb Samsung 970 Evo (x1) and 1Tb Samsung 860 Evo (x2)

I organized my storage according to the recommendations of Puget machines. My fastest drive stores my active projects, media, and scratch disks. One of the 1Tb SATA drives is for my OS and programs. One of the 1Tb SATA drives is for completed projects and games. I want to eventually buy a large QVO 4Tb drive from Samsung as a dedicated game drive, but that will have to come later.

Video Card: PNY GTX 1080 TI

For a while I was set on buying the new RTX 2080, but it just isn't a good value proposition. For this reason, I picked up a very lightly used 1080 TI for $500. Gaming benchmarks seem to have them basically on par across the board. Some video production benchmarks actually seem to favor the larger 11Gb VRAM capacity of the 1080 TI anyway. Of course, I could have stepped up to a 2080 TI for an extra $700, but I'd only see a marginal increase in video production capabilities. My 1440p 75Hz monitor is already basically maxed out by the 1080 TI for gaming so a 2080 TI would be complete overkill.

Case: Corsair Crystal 280x RGB

With my first PC build, I used a case that was much larger than I needed. This time around I wanted to reclaim my desk real estate and also give myself a bit of a challenge. I found a good deal on the 280X RGB which comes pre-loaded with 2 LL120 fans and a lighting node pro.

Power Supply: EVGA Supernova G3 850W

I recognize that 850w is probably overkill but I selected this PSU for a reason. This new G3 series is smaller than the outgoing G2 series and I need every spare millimeter I can get behind the motherboard tray. This PSU also has an "ECO" mode that will keep the fans off until it gets warm enough to need to kick on. Hopefully, this extra wattage overhead means it won't ever have to spin up. While increased performance was my primary goal with this new PC, less noise was a close second.

Fans: Corsair LL120 (x2) and Corsair LL140 (x2)

I swapped the included EK Vardar fans with a few Corsair LL120s. While not strictly for static pressure, the LL series actually perform admirably well considering how quiet they are. I also added a pair of LL140s to the front as an intake to balance out the two pairs of LL120s that are being used as radiator exhaust. In all honesty, I just really love the way the LL fans look! It was worth the added cost and marginal potential performance decrease to really make the machine pop.

Cooling: EKWB Fluid Gaming

Early on I knew I wanted to do a custom loop, but I underestimated how prohibitively expensive it is. The fluid gaming kit is a great budget option but it limits your options of graphics cards to those that leverage the reference PCB. You also have to be very careful to only purchase aluminum components to prevent galvanic corrosion. The tubes in the front chamber are all rigid and the tubes going behind the motherboard tray to the pump/res are the soft tubing that came with the A240G kit. I did this to allow me some flexibility with the res/pump. It should make draining the system easier as the fluid gaming series does not currently offer any ball valves in aluminum.

Lighting: Corsair RGB Expansion kit and MNPCTech UV Light Strip (x2)

The 280X RGB comes with a lighting Node Pro. The Node has 2 RGB channels. One channel runs the RGB lights for the fans and one channel was available for an RGB strip. I also purchased a pair of UV strips to help the UV-reactive coolant really glow.

Custom Cables: MainFrameCustoms Expansion Kit

From what I've seen online, these small shops that hand-make their cables seem to make the most impressive products. I was blown away at how good the cables from MainFramCustoms looked. The fact that that curve by default makes routing them easy and prevents them from getting bunched up.

Modifications:

I had to make a couple modifications to the case to accommodate the hardware I wanted to implement. I started by removing the HDD and SSD caddies. The NVMe drive connects to the motherboard directly but I needed to find a new home for the pair of 3.5in SATA drives. The 280x has this weird "attic" on top of the case. It's just barely tall enough to house the two drives. I drilled 4 holes to attach them with washers to the case and cut a slit to feed the cables. The 280x has 3 holes with grommets to feed cables from the front to the back. If you're using a MicroATX board, however, 2 of the 3 holes will be covered. For this reason I cut a new hole and added one of the now unused grommets to it. While the cut wasn't perfect, the grommet covers up any potential imperfections. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I needed this extra hole for the thick custom cables and tubing that needed to be fed to the back. Finally, I drilled 4 holes into the bottom to give the pump/res a place to mount to the case.

Comments

  • 10 months ago
  • 24 points

sniff sniff
You smell that?

Smells kinda like a feature.

  • 10 months ago
  • 10 points

Damn, I should play the lotto.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Lol

  • 10 months ago
  • 4 points

sees all the Muse stuff

I see you're a man of culture as well

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

That is a really impressive man! Clean build especially in a matx case. Nice picture quality aswell.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I tried to keep it as tidy as I could.

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Super tidy. The RGB lighting paired with that level of quality photography is stunning!

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Think you'll spring for a 240hz monitor in your future?

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

I'm sure I will at some point but considering I game so little as it is, it's not really worthwhile at the moment. Not to mention I promised the wife I was done spending money for a loooong time. ;)

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

A E S T H E T I C . Love it.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah! I was going for a "Back to the Future", "Blade Runner", "CyberPunk" vibe.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Back to the Future will need a DMC sticker. Mandatory.

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Love the synthwave vibe! +1

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Very great build!!! Goid choice with the i9 and 1080 Ti, since Adobe actually favor Intel CPUs and the 11 GB of VRAM can be very useful for big video projects. Very clean look

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

the progress pictures look lovely!

gotta ask, what camera are you using?

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Thanks! Canon 80D with an EF-S 24mm lens

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

You sir, have just earned a new subscriber.

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

That's a great looking build.

Thumbs up and congrats on the featured spot.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Appreciate it!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice parts selection for the purpose. Pics are very good too. I bet you can get work done in half the time now. Congratulations!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! It's been a long time coming.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Incredible Build, and even better photography!! This is really inspiring!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Not related to the build(which is awesome) but are you a muse fan or is it just simulation theory?

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Both! I'm going to their concert later this month.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

I am in love. I've been thinking about doing a 280X with pump/reservoir combo in the back of the case but I wasn't sure it was possible until now. Thank you so much for doing this build and demonstrating the potential of this case.

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

You're welcome! I'll be doing a "Behind the Build" in a few weeks where I'll be going over some of the trickier bits in greater detail and answering questions from Twitter.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

dope build!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

How do you get amazing pictures like that? Is there a certain lens or something for those awesome shots with the small, clear focus area and the rest is kind of blurred? Apologies for my wording, I know nothing about photography but love when people have these amazing shots of their build.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! They're actually screenshots from the build video I did. I use a Canon 80D with an EF-S 24mm lens. I record at 1080p/60fps. I have colored lights to give it the retro look I want. The images were after a bit of sharpening and color correction. The Video.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

The word you are looking for is "bokeh". It's an effect controlled by the aperture. The lower the aperture the more extreme the background blurriness. If you want to have a chat about it sometime, let me know.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah thanks for the help, learned something new!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Sick build! One of the few custom loops that looks clean.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

This build looks so clean it almost looks like it's rendered. +1 M8!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

These photos make me jealous, +1

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

A good pc for video editing is a pair of old Xeon e5-2670 v2 or something like that, (10c20t, ~150$ on ebay)\ then get 8-16 sticks of 16GB DDR3 ECC ram (20-30$ per stick), for a massive ramdisk (100-200GB) for high-speed scrubbing. up to 20x faster than a Nvme raid array, and the 20c total (2 sockets) helps with editing. a xeon e5 memory bandwidth is 59.7GB/s per socket, multiply it by 2, thats 120GB/s

Nice build, love those curves.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Getting those Cyberpunk 2077 vibes!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

You ruined me man. This was the first time I'd seen this case and then I saw it in person at Micro Center. It has to be the best mATX case ever designed by Corsair. I have an ATX system, so I will have to admire from afar lol!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Super clean build well done. Really liked the build video as well, was a nice contrast to what a lot of build videos seem to be these days, a cool Cyberpunk type vibe to the video (and build).

Subbed so I can take a look at some of your other videos when time permits, good luck with the channel :)

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Very sweet build. I'm glad somebody did a feature build of this case, because it deserved one.

Great job.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

How you get a desk like that? Do it yourself?

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Craigslist. $75

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Lul. My desk was $10. But the owners of it before paid $90

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Sweeeeeet

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

I love It! i just don't love the price... Welp time for some saving!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

I think if the 16Th picture was the first or second shown it would draw even more attention!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

F E A T U R E

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Muse FTW!!!!!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build! Have you overclocked it? How come your CPU temp is 77C? If so, what sort of overclock did you get? On the GPU?

Or is it just really hot in your room? Or is this just normal for the 9900k?

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

unfortunately this is normal for the 9900k once overclocked.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

The 9900k runs pretty toasty. The loop technically runs backward over the CPU block, but from what I’ve read this should only contribute to a couple of degrees at the most. I had to make a decision to either have the gpu or cpu run backward. I can orient the CPU block upside down and run both in the correct direction but that will require more tubing and time. Lol The GPU stays cool even when gaming so I think I’ll flip the inlet and outlet on the pump/res and see if it cools more

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

You say you were considering AMD for Premiere but it's even more poorly optimised for AMD CPU's than Photoshop is. For example the 8 core i9 9900k beats the 16 core Threadripper 1950X in most benchmark tests inside Premiere. You made a good decision either way. Nice Build!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

just a dope build, nice work!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Finally, a i9 with a 1080Ti. All the other builds are just the i9 and the RTX. I see that you have taken a different route. BTW, this thing is beautiful and it has everything perfect to be a feature

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I really appreciate that!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

This looks amazing! Do you think you'll upgrade to a 2080 RTX when you can afford it, or will you just settle on the 1080 ti?

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! As far as performance goes, I really don’t have a good reason to switch to a RTX 2080. I’d also have to redo the entire loop because EKWB doesn’t offer a fluid gaming series for RTX cards.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Good to know I'm not the only one struggling to find any aluminum ball valve for the EK loops as well. Beautiful build!

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

have you overclocked it? hows vrm temps etc?

  • 10 months ago
  • 0 points

"comment"

  • 10 months ago
  • -1 points

sorry to be that guy, buy this just looks like an average all watercooling build. unless im missing something special about it, i dont see why this is a feature.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Pretty sure it’s based on likes, I could be wrong though. It’s a sweet build and I can see why it was a feature

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