Description

6 cores at 4.2 ghz with 16GB DDR4-2133 RAM and a GTX 970. This is a lot of power in a relatively small package- one of the smaller cases with room for full-size everything for MicroATX I've seen.

This build is the culmination of my 10+ years of random building of PCs. I went from an AMD diehard struggling to get an FX-8350 to work on a 3+1 power motherboard (lol) and I came from the Phenom II X6- the Phenom X4 and Athlon X2 etc. before it as well. I decided to go big when I switched, and went for the X99 platform because of its potential power. And fu** do I mean power.

The boot time is incredibly fast due to the SSD, and obviously gains in gaming performance come in loading scenes and assets. 4TB (3 on a 5400, 1 on a 7200 RPM) combined storage means tons of content and no worrying. This thing laughs at most processor-intensive things I do. Rendering 30+ FLAC audio files to M4A and MP3 takes seconds versus the minute(s) it typically takes. Handbrake laughs at encoding videos and only takes 30 mins for 1080p60 versus what I imagine would be a lot faster encoding time if I gave it the headroom in RAM.

Most games run at Ultra / 1080p / 60FPS, as of 2015. Typically I can push 1440p downsampled and keep 60FPS, depending on the engine of course. GTA V lets me do this and it's pretty glorious. MGS V was exceptional in higher-than-1080p. 4K gaming is totally possible if you want to settle for 30 FPS- at which it never seems to tip below with Nvidia Adaptive Sync set to half refresh rate. While not gaming console-sized, it's portable enough to throw a GearGrip Lite on it and take it around- monitor in tow or easily connected to any HDTV.

Temps never go above 60 for the CPU at full load, 71 for the GPU at full load (DirectCU2 is no joke, ASUS), and I installed a side panel with an intake mesh and a dust filter behind said mesh. The case has no real solution for cable management except above the inverted PSU and possibly within the front panel if you're not using it for airflow. It was not designed to have a view inside via a side panel, but just enough management keeps what's within view pretty.

If you're wondering what the name I gave to it is: "Outer Heaven" from Metal Gear. My MacBook is "Metal Gear RAY" and my gaming HTPC is "Metal Gear REX."

Part Reviews

CPU

Incredible floating point performance from 6 cores/12 threads. Overclocking to 4+ghz turns it into a viable gaming processor for years to come as well.

CPU Cooler

Great cooling for the discounted price I found it for

Motherboard

Feature-packed. Great BIOS.

Video Card

Good performance. 3.5gb issue shows when running high res games (rendering at higher than 1080p). F---ing huge.

Case

I inverted the case side that holds the power button and replaced the mobo-facing side with a vented/holed panel that Bitfenix sells. Very cool looking little powerhouse.

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Comments

  • 51 months ago
  • 3 points

Blah Blah Blah x99 is bad for gaming.... Now, then. Build looks nice. I would like to see more pics, but that's fine. It sounds like you're doing a good bit of video editing though, so....

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

It was really hard to decide to not save on money (and gain real world performance right now compared to the 5820k) by going with a 4000k series i7. Once I saw that the same 2011-V3 chipset has Xeons that run 18 cores @2.6ghz, I decided to take the risk in return for huge gains on brute-force tasks like rendering/encoding. I agree 100% that Haswell-E is bad for gaming until those clock speeds go up. Then it's kind of a master of all, imo.

For insight into the "professional" uses of this build- Handbrake as stated before, realtime screen capture for various video purposes and video prepping on Sony Vegas for use in editing later via Final Cut Pro X on said MacBook Pro (i7/GTX650m/16GB).

Thanks for the comment!

  • 51 months ago
  • 3 points

I see. It's just that some people seem to think that if you build a computer, you're a totally hardcore gamer that does nothing else. I can see the logic in buying into the X99 platform for video editing and the like however.

  • 51 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome! I plan to do an X99 build soon for myself. Love these SFF builds!

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

I want to do a mini-ITX X99 build with the SilverStone Fortress Z aluminum unibody case (and do something over their logo of course :P) but the only mobo I see available right now is an ASrock for about $300. I literally see no reason otherwise not to do an amazing high power i5/i7 build in a console-sized form factor these days. Maybe for high-capacity storage, but that argument rapidly fades with the lowering prices of SSD and M.2, you know? It's a beautiful future. Thanks for your comment!

  • 51 months ago
  • 2 points

You just had to use those stickers, didn't you.

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

I was not going to until the very end, tighting up the side panel screws in the time right around when the picture was taken with the controllers up there. It almost felt too minimal and yet the IO is always glaring no matter how stealth the manufacturer tries to make it (not saying mine did)- it was a weird balance so I decided to throw it into full on "utility" look with the component manufacturer badges. So dumb, but a time honored tradition. I may not on the next build. Or maybe even line them up on the inside...

  • 51 months ago
  • 2 points

Just messing around. Really nice build though, I have a thing for SFF builds. Also I have a bunch of stickers saved up and I really want to use them somehow...

  • 51 months ago
  • 2 points

How well does that gpu perform? Would you recommend it? Been lookin into this model. +1 btw.

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

It performs really well except, honestly, in things that involve high usage of VRAM. Mainly downsampling- rendering at anything past 1440p will get a lot of current games below 60 FPS on high and/or ultra settings for me.

Other than that, it's a powerhouse just like the other GTX _70 cards were, I'd say. "Lower high-end?"

  • 51 months ago
  • 2 points

Well as long as it can hold me over till the 980ti equivalent of pascal, we're golden.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

It would've looked a lot more slick for sure, but I was going for a super silent build as much as within my control this time around. When comparing makes of the GTX 970 I noticed that reviews glowed for the STRIX card because it never really spins up unless you're playing a game. Even most browser-based games don't trigger my card's fans. When they do spin, they aren't audible as a low whine until about 68%- a case of which I've never experienced before. I remember my old GTX 275 being a literal jet at 50%. The AeroCool fans used are branded "Dead Silence" (lol) and they're incredibly quiet. It's rewarding to have so much power in a small and quiet package. I see your build and I bet it's pretty quiet too... and THAT'S A VIRTUE. Silence helps one think, sometimes. Thank you for the comment!