+ Total (United States):
Hi. My name is DirtyPrank... and I was a Mac addict.
When Apple released the "trash can" MacPro, I finally came to terms with the fact that they are a full-fledged phone company now. They abandoned me.
But that's ok... it's for the best. It freed me... to venture to better, more efficient hardware... to overclocks and real games...
I won't lie. I have relapsed a time or two. I created a virtual machine running macOS. I'm not proud of it. But I was told this is a place where we don't judge.
Anyhoo, as a Mac guy, I did not understand PC components. So I bought a "gaming" PC, hoping it could replace the Xbox in my life. I found it... shall we say... lacking.
After 6 years of testing, being underwhelmed, researching, learning, and replacing damned near EVERYTHING, I have cobbled together what I am proud to say is a nice gaming rig. It hasn't been cheap. And it certainly hasn't been the smoothest path to this place. But it has been fun, educational, and I even learned to boost some clocks along the way.
I had the CPU up to 4.4 GHz on air, and got to 4.7 GHz on Corsair's AIO Liquid H115i. Though temps are good, I had to cap the voltage to a point not capable of a 6 hour Prime95 stress test. Ultimately when I moved from my Corsair 300R case to the NZXT 340, I had to disable 2 cores and settle for 4.5 GHz. Benchmarking proved it had a minimal effect on games.
The real unsung hero of this build ("sung" hero being the 1080 Ti) is the pair of Samsung Evo 850 500GB hard drives paired in a RAID 0 setup for screaming hard drive performance. Who needs M.2?!
The PC building community has been wonderful on this journey. Thank you all for your help and encouragement!
This was my UserBenchmark on the air cooler. I clocked 4.4 GHz, but disabled all but 4 cores for stability:
And here is the full-Monty, 6 core/12 thread 4.7 GHz final overclock:
The radiator is bulkier than other 280mm coolers, and it can get fairly noisy. For the price and size, it really doesn't lower temperatures as much as I hoped. I installed this cooler twice, so the second time was using Arctic Silver thermal paste, which is better than the paste that comes on the cooler, but temps only improved marginally. Granted, my Sandy Bridge-E CPU does crank out some heat, but my experience with the H100 (and even the single-fan H-55i) were not much different.
This motherboard is incredible and I will not hesitate to go Gigabyte for mobos in the future. Years after release, it has all the features I could ask for, plus stability and durability. This and the case are the only parts remaining from the original purchase. Thank you Gigabyte X79 for all of the crazy experimentation I have put you through.
What can I say? It registers correctly, overclocks to the specified 2133 MHz, and has served me well. I just don't know how much overclocked memory serves a gamer.
This hard drive is amazing. I have 2 paired in RAID 0 for double speed, and the performance is easily felt. I haven't had any problem with either drive. They are fast, responsive, and boot and load times are crazy fast.
At purchase time, this card is the absolute beast it claims to be. The newest games cranked up to ultra at 3440x1440 mostly go over the 100 fps my monitor is capable of. The Founder's Edition blower-style cooling is definitely limited compared to other cooling options, but I was still able to get a decent overclock, and I like the fact that the warm air is ejected out the back of the case, as opposed to recirculated inside.
I am in love with this case. Its sleek, minimalist aesthetic is beautifully executed. The tempered glass panel is a welcome upgrade over the easily-scratched plastic of the non-Elite variant. The basement for the power supply and 3.5 inch drives neatly hides my PSU's cable mess, and I especially like the touch of putting the 2.5 inch SSD's on full display. Cable management options are abundant; in addition to the aforementioned basement, cable clips are installed behind the mobo panel, and protruding panel sections replace the traditional rubber grommets. The case also comes with handy zip ties, and a magnetic hook for headsets. The biggest drawback is the relatively poor air flow. Air is drawn in through the top and bottom of the front bezel, which is a bit limiting, and there aren't any ventilation areas other than the top and rear exhaust fans. Overall air flow is very limited. The fact that there is only space for a single top-exhaust fan doesn't help. It should also be noted there is no space for a 5.25 inch (ie DVD/Blu-Ray) drive.
I've heard a lot of negativity regarding Raidmax PSUs, but as of writing this review, I've had this drive for 4 years with no issues. This includes overclocking, and a power-hungry Radeon 290x GPU at one point. The one knock i'll give it is that the included cables are not particularly attractive, with exposed red/white/yellow insulation near the connectors.