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Sandy Bridge-E OC Gamer

by DirtyPrank


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

April 3, 2017

Date Built

Sept. 20, 2012

CPU Clock Rate

4.5 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

50.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

75.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

2.025 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

6.055 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

34.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

65.0° C


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:


Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

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.

Video Card

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.

Power Supply

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.

Comments Sorted by:

Zveir 9 Builds 5 points 23 months ago

Frankenstein PCs are best PCs. +1

Also, you SERIOUSLY need a monitor upgrade. A 1080ti on 1080p 60hz is a sin.

DirtyPrank submitter 4 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

You are NOT lying! Waiting desperately for the 4K G-Sync monitors with HDR to come out. Saved up for months for that!

Zveir 9 Builds 3 points 23 months ago

Awesome! I'm waiting for some 3440x1440 144hz ultrawides to hit the market. I really want a 21:9 but I'm not willing to give up 144hz and 2560x1080 is poop.

Sockens 3 points 23 months ago

X79 still ticking I see. This is a wonderful build dude. +1

ImperiousBattlestar 2 points 23 months ago

Nice build, great to see X79 still going. I'd get rid of that Raidmax PSU, it isn't really the best unit. Other than that. +1 :)

DirtyPrank submitter 4 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

Thanks! I've definitely heard that sentiment about Raidmax before. I got this one on the cheap (admittedly without doing much research), and it has served me well for going on 4 years now. Hopefully that luck continues...

fn230 8 Builds 2 points 23 months ago

Was tempted to complain about the Raidmax PSU, decided to do some research, and it turns out the PSU is fine. :P

Anyway, hello Sandy Bridge-E. Not a common sight.

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nakaman 4 Builds 2 points 23 months ago

Something with elvolve in its name and no phanteks stuff. Surprising +1

DirtyPrank submitter 4 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

Ha! I didn't think of that

syg101 3 Builds 2 points 23 months ago

Is the 3930k bottlenecking ur Ti at all? seems like it might, but probably not. Anyways, I cant wait to see the fully upgraded system

DirtyPrank submitter 4 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

Great question, I was wondering how this was going to turn out myself. At 1080p it definitely chokes the card, but then again, this card really isn't designed for 1080p gaming. Witcher 3 maxed out gets about 90 fps at that setting, which is below par. I'm going to dabble in overclocking it soon, but for now it's running at the turbo 3.8 GHz speed. At 4K this card really gets to stretch its legs. I was playing Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (I know, I know...) at 4K ultra, about 85-100 fps depending on the scene and render distance.

When the G-Sync HDR monitors finally come out, I'll be able to upgrade to a true 4K system, plus I'll have a secondary monitor to make it more convenient to monitor CPU and GPU usage, temps, etc. during games. Curious to see what that will yield.

syg101 3 Builds 2 points 23 months ago

That would be really cool, how long do you think until they come out?

DirtyPrank submitter 4 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

I'm hearing May

FurryJackman 3 Builds 2 points 19 months ago

I was wondering how you got 4.7Ghz then I saw you only used 2 sticks of RAM. My E5-1660 (3960X Xeon counterpart) is struggling to reach 4.5Ghz on a 280mm rad with all RAM slots filled. I have to use 1.5v exactly with the 2nd highest LLC setting.

Blackhat132 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Nice build and how is the 1080ti? is it worth the money

DirtyPrank submitter 4 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

It's amazing, even with the reference blower. Looking at the performance upgrade over the 1080 and titan, plus the lower price tag compared to previous Ti cards, it's easily the best value for a top level card I've ever seen. $700 is a lot to spend of a gpu, so "worth it" is a very subjective question. The 1070 is probably the right balanced card for most power gamers. But if you want bleeding edge, this is the best deal I've ever heard of.

weirdcamy 1 point 7 months ago

Got to upgrade that RAM my dude

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DirtyPrank submitter 4 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

Exactly. Lesson learned. Much better value (plus more fun) researching and building yourself.

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Jeuloth 1 Build 2 points 23 months ago

It means something quite specific, actually.

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Jeuloth 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Therefore it means something, i fail to see your argument.

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DirtyPrank submitter 4 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

Not yet, but soon! ;)

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DirtyPrank submitter 4 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

Got in in fall 2012. Agreed, I've looked, hard to find these boards.