Description

This will be my first PC build. I have always used laptops because of their convenience and portability (and sometimes lower cost). My last laptop, the one I still use, is a Lenovo W530 that I bought in my last year of college, and it is about 5 years old. It's the first one I've bought that had a discrete graphics card, a Quadro K2000M which, while initially for running Solidworks, also gave it some additional power for games. I've upgraded it as much as I can, but it is starting to slow down when it comes to newer games, and I couldn't reduce the video settings too much further. I've had to make do with 25-30 FPS, which has been OK since I didn't really have anything better to compare it to. This new rig is miles ahead of my old machine and being able to really crank up the settings has been great.

This build was intended to allow me to play modern games (Overwatch, Starcraft 2, ME: Andromeda when it comes out) on fairly high detail settings and also give me added horsepower when it came to 3D modeling and some light video editing.

Overclocking:

Starting with the CPU, I was able to achieve a stable overclock of 4.6 GHz with a core voltage of 1.36. I ran Asus RealBench for an hour to stress test and it passed with no problems. I don't think I want to take the voltage any higher so I'm pretty happy with this increase.

My graphics card took a little more work. The 1070 Strix I have has Micron memory, which has been reported to have a lower overclocking potential. I was only able to clock the memory up to 8400 MHz, but after updating the BIOS, I achieved a stable overclock of 9050 MHz. I was able to raise the the core clock up to 2138 MHz. Theses settings ran both Unigine Valley and Heaven for 1 hour each and with no issues. I was able to hit 2151 MHz on the core, but that setting proved to be too unstable (although it passed Valley with a great score, Heaven crashed) There seems to be a bit of a trade off between memory clock and core clock in that a higher core overclock reduces the amount of memory overclock that is possible (at least on my card). It's still a sizable increase so I'm happy with it. I will probably reduce this a little bit for increased stability and lower temperatures at the games I currently play since they don't need all that extra power.

I had some problems with the overclock in Overwatch (driver crash, black screen and some strange tinting), so I reduced the clock to 2101 MHz and the memory to 8950 MHz to alleviate that. I'm still averaging about 150 FPS.

All in all, this cost about as much as the laptop I used to use, but has a ton of extra features and significantly more power. I fully expect this to last me at least another 5 years.

Part Reviews

CPU

I went with the 6700K over the 6600K because I wanted some additional power for running 3D modeling software. I considered a jump up to a 6800K but that would have meant a different motherboard socket and a pretty sizable increase in cost. it also allows overclocking which will be a first for me.

CPU Cooler

My first entry into water-cooling (albeit very minimal). Reviews on this were very favorable and it offered the opportunity for higher overclocking which give the system some more flexibility. I looked at a full custom loop but quickly realized I was in over my head, and also couldn't justify the added expense.

Motherboard

My motherboard choice was dictated by the case I chose. I was going for a smaller form factor, so a mATX offered a smaller footprint, while still allowing me to go for SLI if I want to in the future. ASUS had great reviews on their BIOS, so I went with one of their higher end Z170 chipsets. Plenty of fan headers, and an M.2 slot. The red lighting is a bonus, but will probably be hidden by my graphics card.

FYI some of the software that came with this MB is crap (Game First), and I ended up removing most of it.

Memory

It's ram. Corsair Vengeance has always done well by me (its what I use in my laptop) and 16GB was plenty for my current needs (I currently run 12). I can also easily expand in the future.

Storage

I did go a little nuts here and ordered the 512GB 950 Pro NVMe M.2 drive. Black Friday and all that made it a good deal despite costing more than the 256 I was considering. Samsund SSDs have been great for me so far, and the M.2 option on the motherboard offered the chance to save some space and cables, as well as load the OS and games practically instantly.

Storage

I threw in a regular HD for storing all the stuff I don't need to access at insane speeds.

Video Card

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to get here. A 1080 was my first choice, but the cost was about 1/4 of the entire system, and I didn't expect to be using it at its full potential. I watched a bunch of Youtube videos on choosing a video card (Linustechtips and JaysTwoCents were very helpful) and settled on the 1070. This should easily handle what I play at and cover most of the newer titles at medium to high settings. I'm one of those guys that likes the extra "screen candy" so I'm hoping this does the trick. I went with the Asus because of its larger cooler and, if I'm being honest, appearance.

Case

This was actually where I started my build. I wanted a case that was minimalist and not too ostentatious in showing off all the goodies. I am a big fan of being efficient with space, so a smaller case was desirable. I ran across Fractal Design and loved the clean lines and wide configuration choices their cases offered. I really liked the Node 804's dual chamber cube design and the single window was allows me to see the guts without screaming "LOOK AT ME". It also has a huge amount of radiator options which went well with my AIO cooler.

Power Supply

EVGA has a solid reputation, and although the 850 is more than I need, Black Friday sales made it the same cost as the 650 I was originally going to get. It gives me more room to work with if I add a second graphics card. Fully modular was a must with a smaller case to keep cable management from getting out of hand.

Operating System

Windows 10 since its what I already use. Home version since I don't expect to use most of the advanced features of the Pro

Wireless Network Adapter

I would rather have hardline ethernet, but this is necessary for my current living situation. This particular unit received good reviews and matched the color I was going for.

Case Fan

The 804 has 3 already, but I wanted a few more to balance the case out. I chose SP series on the advice of Linus, and because with this case there might be some obstruction of airflow. I decided to replace the existing fans entirely, but only ended up using 4, so the two extra will probably find a home once I get a feel for how the case deals with heat

Keyboard

This is the first time I've had to buy one of these. It was between Corsair or Razer purely for the RGB and mechanical switches, but the aluminum construction of the K70 won over the engineer side of me. Cherry MX Red was my choice of keys, and so far its been working real well.

Comments

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

I would place the hdd in the back of the case, better cm and temps for the gpu.

I use the same mainboard, cool to see another one :D

all in all a cool rig! +1

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

A little bit overkill if your doing 1080p gaming, but if it's 1440p gaming, fair enough, great build but I would've used the Nano Define S from Fractal but good choice anyways, +1!

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

1440 is on the horizon! This build cleaned me out though so once I save up enough I want to get an ultrawide, either a 2560 x 1440 or even a 3440 x 1440.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Good luck gaming! =D

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Just got the chance to check your build after a long week of work. You commented on mine a few days ago :)

Really nice build bud. How do you like the wifi adapter? I wanted it too but thought that was just overspending.

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks, glad you like it! Regarding the wifi adapter, It does a good job. The external antenna is nice because I can place it on top of the case for better reception. I'm bottlenecked on speed by my router, but that will be upgraded to one that uses the of the higher speed protocols.

I'll be honest, it is a little bit on the overspending side since a USB dongle would have probably been sufficient. I chalk it up to wanting to use more premium components