This is my 2nd build that I've done for myself. I've built several for friends. By day, I'm a full time SysAdmin managing over 100+ Servers, 50 or more applications. Working in the industry you get to see trends and you get to see what products actually do compared to what they are supposed to do. Knowing this, it helped me decide for Hard Drives, SSD's etc..

I run about 3-5 VM's in HyperV on my machine mostly Windows Server's, some Linux. It's used as a testing environment for scripts and other things I dont want to run on a Production Active Directory environment. But when its not running VM's, it's gaming!

I wish I had more time to game than I do, but the chances I get, i love it on this machine. Fast and speedy, no complaints other than my GPU is getting old in age, and sometime's can't keep up.

it's also going to be a part time media server, not sure which applications I'm going to use for it yet, trying to find good sales on larger Hard Drives for this purpose. Trying to decide between a NAS, or just a 3-8TB drive plugged in directly.

I took a lot of photo's during the build which, I'll upload. Towards the end, I got tired and wanted to finish, so the photo's stopped, But I'll add a couple of my setup and of the computer finished in it's case!

CPU: My last computer had a xeon as well, it lasted for almost 4 years. Nothing is physically wrong with my old E3-1245v3, it was just time to get a updated motherboard that support some features that I wanted. The E5-1620 isn't the processor I wanted, but could afford. I had my eyes on a 6 core 12 thread xeon but it was over 600$. With wanting to get the computer done and working, I went with the cheaper option. Currently, its ideally around 95 degrees for the entire CPU, and anywhere from 80-95F per core. So far, its been amazing, and I can tell the difference between the E3 and E5.

Had a hard time between one of the new i7's or i9's but was worried about their ability to handle multiple VM's plus running the computer itself, plus chrome and other background tasks. From working with servers, I know Xeon's are where its at :) They come at a higher cost when you start getting more cores, but it's worth it.

CPU Cooler: My last build had a Kraken X61 which performed amazing... I loved it, but the management software was terrible... My kraken was set to high performance all the time, just because I didn't want to deal with its software. I switched to the Corsair this time around, and no complaints. If anything, its a bit loud. But I'm willing to accept that because I like its software much more.

Motherboard: I had the hardest time choosing between the new x299 and the x99 platform. My computers are a mix between workstation, server and gaming. I knew I needed a ton of SATA connectors, m.2 slots, quad channel memory, and dual NIC's for the future. I had my eyes on the ASUS EXTREME Anniversey Edition, but costing upwards of 500$ with the rebates is was around 300$, it was loaded with features. But I had a hard time dropping that much just for a motherboard, while this one has all the features I wanted, and then a little more. My previous build also used a ASRock MB, it was a LGA1150 Z87 board. I love the building room this board has, dual M.2 slots, dual NIC's, USB3.0/3.1/C, tons of SATA ports+express, and plenty of PCIe slots.

The feature set of the x299 was attractive to me, but A-Didn't support Xeon's and B-either had a ton of features or none at all.

Memory; ............ Still in shock that I had to wait over 5 months to find a good enough sale on DDR4 to not pay with my kidney. I had to sacrifice 32GB (8x4GB) due to price again. I will be upgrading sooner than later for more RAM. I liked the Red Accents on the RAM, and the cheap sale price I got it for. Other than that, it's RAM and it does its job.

Storage: Reused my old EVO 120GB from old computer along with a 1TB WD Blue, Seagate 500GB, and WD Blue 120GB. I bought a new M.2 250GB and I love it. Its so fast, and will never go back to SATA3 SSD's. Also, bought another 1TB for general storage, and 6TB black for games so Steam doesn't eat up my HDD's again :) I'm planning to move all my Hyper-V servers to their own Drive, which will make my life easier. I plan on replacing my older HD's with newer ones soon. I'll start aging them out when NewEgg starts having sales on Storage. Planning for 1TB or more size capacity. My object, is to never run out of space

Video Card: Reused my 970GTX, still love it! <3 , However, it's starting to show it's age... Recently bought Rainbow Six Seige, and my 970 will only play it on low-medium settings :( . While this crypoboom has all the GPU prices sky high, I don't plan on buying on. When the prices come down more, I'll think about buying a 1070 or 1080.

Case: LOVE THIS CASE... HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE!!!! My previous case was a NZXT H440 Red/Black, and i liked it at first, but then the Matte finish started to get annoying because it wouldn't stay clean(I'm talking about you fingerprints -.-), the cable management sucked in it, and the Factory LED's burned out less than a month, plus it was heavy and small. THIS CASE IS AMAZING, so much room, plenty of HDD/SDD storage, and plenty of room to add extra fans or radiator's!

PSU: Bought a Fully Modular PSU, Really like it! I had a hard time choosing between SeaSonic and Corsair. I've had Corsair PSU's in the past, so I trust them! I'm excited to get some colored custom cables and give the computer some color!

Monitor-Keyboard-Headset-Mouse: All re-used from my last build, love all of them. Highly recommend the Cloud X II to anyone that needs a headset for gaming and movie watching. I can't hear a thing when they are on.

Was really trying to stay under $3k for this build, I came pretty close with skimping out on beefing certain parts up. Eventually, I want to get the higher core Xeon so I can run the VM's round the clock without worrying about how many cores are free for my system and RAM. I thought 16GB was always enough, but recently, I've noticed, its always used up... Not sure if Google Chrome became more hungry than usual or what. 32GB should be enough to hold me over and give the VM's enough to operate without being too slow its painful to use.

Part Reviews


Love this Xeon. Power house, can handle anything you throw at it. Would recommend to anyone who needs the Xeon power.

One Note: It runs hot, even with liquid cooling, have a hard time keeping it below 100F

CPU Cooler

Simple, easy to use. Amazing cooling capabilities.


Easy to use BIOS/UEFI. Plenty of features. Easy to setup, install, use and maintain. No problems with M.2 NVMe storage. Just make sure to match all parts off ASRock's compatibility site.


It's RAM. Not much to say. I liked the colors.


If I could go back in time, I would buy the EVO Pro series ones, and buy a bigger capacity. Other than that, reliable and has been with me since my first build.


LOVEEEE THIS M.2, Will definitely be buying another one for my 2nd M.2 SSD slot.

If anyones wondering about speed. This sucker installed Windows 10 in about 15 minutes from a USB 3.0 Device


Basic Storage drive, always trusted WD. They have never let me down.


Already noticing speed increases in my game loading times and how they write to this HDD. Love it.

Video Card

One of the best cards for its day.


Absolutely the best case on the market. Yes, its huge. But that leaves room for upgrades, and space to grow into. Maybe future custom liquid loop.

Power Supply

It's a power supply. Works as designed. Love the Fully Modular part. Cables from factory aren't very long and had trouble reaching some of the spots in the case. Looking into extenders or new sets of custom colored cables.


Once you go to 144HZ, you won't go back...


Compared to the VG, I like the MG a lot better. HOWEVER, the software from ASUS doesn't work, and I developed a dead pixel pretty fast. It's not very noticable unless you are looking for it, or displaying black colors all the time.


Love the MX Red keys. Only thing I dislike about this keyboard is how dirty it gets. Dust collects beneath the keys very fast and the key caps them self start to get that greasy coating on them about after a year.


If you don't want to hear outside sources when gaming, then buy these. I can't hear someone standing directly behind me.

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  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Your 970 should be just fine for gaming(depending on what you play), Other than that, nice job picking the Xeon processor. That is a reat cpu for what you do(maintain servers, virtual environments, coding, etc...).

Nice job on the build.

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank You! I mostly play FPS and the 970 was able to max out every game, until i bought rainbox six siege 2 weeks ago on steam when it was on sale, and it can barely handle that. Which makes me wonder (since Rainbow 6 six is the newest GPU intensive game I own) if it will be handle newer games coming out on ultra settings? We will see! Last night I was really pushing it, multitasking to the extreme and it hit 114F. I might look into putting better Thermal Paste. I'm thinking the water block header doesn't have a good seal, hence the high temps...

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Ok. I see what you are saying. I hope everything works out for you on that. You could try to go soft tubing on the GPU to see if the temps lower but that idea you had proposed (replacing the TIM on the GPU) should be to most cost effective option(as long as that is not under warranty).