I didn't really need to upgrade, but I knew I was moving to a smaller place and what better excuse to give yourself to build an entirely new computer than going to a smaller form factor? So that's exactly what I did.
As soon as I watched the Hardware Canucks review of the Fractal Define Mini C I knew I wanted to build in it. I almost went with a Parvum Systems acrylic case, but later decided against it.
I use this computer almost entirely for gaming, but I also do some light photo editing occasionally.
This build had a few changes along the way, but the end product turned out to be one serious powerhouse. I carried over my 1070 Strix from my prior rig Blue Ice with the intentions of buying a 1080ti hybrid and upgrading to a 4K monitor from 1440p. I got impatient after a month and a half waiting for the stock to stabilize, so I went with the discounted water cooled 1080 instead. I can play Witcher 3 maxed out with hairworks off and PP a smidge under max at an almost constant 60fps. It is a seriously beautiful game.
One of my goals here was to have awesome lighting and as tedious as it was to get set up, it looks awesome and it's fun to play around with. Hope you enjoy the photographs! I took them on my Rebel T5.
I absolutely love the carbon cables I ordered from CableMod, which I purchased with a discount coupon that came with my motherboard (thanks Asus!). Unfortunately, when I upgraded my GPU, I realized I needed two 8 pins, so I had to swap it out for the standard PSU cables. I plan to order the replacement eventually, but in the meantime I don't really notice.
I am now retiring the Blue Ice name, since none of the existing parts in this build were a part of my first ever PC build back in 2015 (accidentally overwrote and deleted the part list RIP).
I've read that it's pretty normal for this CPU to run warm, but even with an AIO in push pull, it still gets close to 80 when playing Witcher 3 for example.
I have my logo and ring set to a temperature setting so I know what range my CPU is in at all times! It's very big though and the tubing pushes up against my fourth ram slot a bit, but it hasn't affected the RAM functionality as far as I can tell. That probably won't be an issue on ATX motherboards. Beautiful design, very happy with it.
Although I am concerned about its ability to keep my 7700k from hitting 80C, even in push pull.
Only complaints are how ugly the cables look coming out of the top on the sides of the waterblock and occasionally the logo doesn't come on. I'm not sure if it's the block, cables, or the hue. A computer restart usually solves this.
Not much to say. Good looking board, no issues. Nice bios. Could use one additional fan header though and a IO shield considering the price.
I definitely did not need this much RAM, but I couldn't just put two in my rig, so here we are. Gorgeous.
It's fast, it's the size of a stick of gum, and it also means fewer cables!
These are so much more affordable now and motherboard support is only growing. What a time to be alive.
The tubing material is ugly and some parts feel kind of cheap, but the card itself runs cool and plays my games in 4K, so I can't complaint too much.
This is a quality case and considering how much I had to pack in here, I'd say it still looks clean and organized. Well designed case with plenty of great features even in a smaller form factor like this. Goes to show you don't have to give up everything at smaller sizes.
Does this mean he'll show up at my house now?
Review Edit November 2017: I have no idea when it happened, but the front IO must have been damaged when I removed the front panel. there are two parts on either side that screw it down and the plastic piece on one side broke, so it is somewhat recessed now and moves whenever I plug something in or power the PC on. The power button also sticks sometimes which can cause problems with booting my PC if I can't unstick it fast enough. Knocking off a star for this.
As much as I like this case I will probably replace it with something else.
Fully modular and a trusted brand. That is all.
White, purple, and orange are the hardest colors to get right, but otherwise these fans look great. They're pretty tall, so keep that in mind for clearance in smaller cases.
To say I love this keyboard is an understatement. I chose the model with brown switches and after going through several different keyboards (Deathstalker, Logitech G910, Corsair Rapidfire) I can comfortably say this is the best keyboard I've ever used. I opted for the ten keyless to save desk space for when I get a smaller desk.
I love the satisfying sound of the keystrokes and the fact that it takes just a bit more pressure to get a full keystroke, as opposed to the rapidfire and G910 that felt too squishy to me and made my hands tired. I think I naturally apply more pressure when I'm concentrating, so I need more resistance to prevent fatigue. There were also times my finger would twitch and hit a key unintentionally and in a competitive game that's the difference between having your ult and using your ult.
10/10 would recommend
I wanted a simple mouse that looked good and could help me improve my accuracy in competitive games. I'd say it satisfied all of the above, though I'm still working on the accuracy. xD
I wish it was a little bigger, because this mouse is surprisingly small.