Pictures 3 and 4 are of the WiP period, not the completed build.
Hello everyone, I would like to present you with the first full PC build I have attempted. Right off the bat, I want to say that I was not the one that paid for most of this build, but my parents, so a HUGE thanks to them for this being possible. (I do plan on trying to pay them back with some summer job money, even if they don't want it back. XD )
History/Service Project Toxicity's namesake comes from its color scheme: Green and Black. This build was started with the purchase of the case back in October of 2015, and over the last couple of months the rest of the parts were purchased. Over summer break (I'm in college), I finished up the whole build by Plasti-Dipping the RAM heat sinks as well as all the red shroud pieces on the graphics card, as well as coloring the white case and GPU LED's with a lime green sharpie.The build itself has been running for a few months at the time of this posting, with regular cleaning every 2-3 weeks. I managed to achieve a stable 4.3GHz overclock on the CPU, with 4.4GHz possible but unreliable at startup. As for the GPU, it was able to be boosted by 110MHz (Core) and 350MHz (Memory). I could probably squeeze a tiny bit more out of the card, but I'd rather not potentially risk causing more issues with it by messing with voltages for so little gain. As it stands, it runs games at 2560x1440p flawlessly (read: above 60fps, sometimes right up to the 144Hz limit!), generally on the highest settings across the majority of the games I play with it.
Purpose This PC is as it looks; pretty overkill. That being said, I did not want to build a PC that I would need to upgrade within a few years time to keep up with gaming at 1440p, so overkill for present games was really the only good choice in that regard. You can't flat-out future-proof a PC, but you can future-proof it more than others. (More of a wish than a proverb...) On top of this, I plan on getting a BA in game design (although personally I do a lot of sound effect work), and so this PC was built with plenty of storage space for prototypes, old projects, and other such game development nonsense. :P
Parts Before you read: You may notice that there is a distinct lack of Razer parts in this build, and that was intentional. I see many green-themed builds on PCPP that almost always have at least one Razer part in them, and I wanted to try doing something different as a kind of mental challenge. What came out of it is amazing in my eyes, some of the parts that wound up in this build I hadn't even heard of when I first started putting the build together, while others I knew about but were out of stock and only popped up for sale sporadically. It was a real challenge indeed, but it came together and I couldn't be happier with it!
- CPU: The 6600K is what I consider the ideal version of Skylake for multipurpose gaming and light video/audio editing. You aren't wasting money on any extra threads that you never use outside of a few applications, and the four cores are a necessity for a few games to even run nowadays.FC4. Couple that with the fact that you can overclock it pretty decently, and you've got yourself a winner.
- CPU Cooler: The Kraken was chosen because of its great intersection between looks and performance. It cools the CPU really well (280mm rad) especially when coupled with a good set of static pressure fans, and it has a RGB logo housed in the pump unit. The tubing is also of good quality, and it doesn't have any of that (in my opinion) terrible ribbing that so many cheaper options had.
- Motherboard: Man, this was a trick to find, but it was worth it. I found it on sale from OzGameShop in New Zealand, and they shipped it over here to the States in no time. Kudos to them for that, especially when it was free shipping. Now, I did learn a few things about this motherboard, and to be honest it's not the greatest performer out there, but I didn't really expect it to be either. The main issue I had with it while overclocking was that the Vdroop is pretty bad, but still not too much of a hindrance to squeeze a good amount out of the CPU. I did have to disable power states in order for it to stably overclock however, as one of the lower levels kept causing freezes followed by a crash. Other than those issues, it has everything I need: Z170 chipset, SATA Express, several PCIe lanes, room for a (possible) sound card in the future, and a really nice green paint job at that. The LED's are nice too, but I just keep them lit solid rather than flashing or going along with any audio coming out of the jack.
- Memory: RAM is RAM is RAM for the most part, picked out a good set of 16GB (because muh Google Chrome), 2400 memory. I do believe that the increased RAM speed has helped a tiny bit with audio file loading times, but that might just be the placebo effect, so take that with a grain of salt. Plasti-dipped the top of the heat spreader from red to green to match the system, although I had to be very careful with the peeling part due to the shape of the red piece.
- SSD: Nowadays it's always a good idea to have an SSD as your boot drive, but I decided to make it a little more multipurpose and got the 500GB model of the 850 EVO on sale. It currently houses the OS, many of my smaller but frequently used programs like Skype and Steam, as well as Star Citizen, hopefully in its entirety at some point.
- HDD: I originally planned to go with a Seagate Barricuda or WD Blue/Black drive, but after doing some research I though an SSHD would work a little better for my needs. It can load frequently-used games (usually singleplayer, multiplayer doesn't generallly benefit all that much) as well as some other applications with faster speeds than normal HDD's, which comes in handy a lot.
- Video Card: Oh boy, this one will be hard to explain. ("I was drunk!") No but seriously, I thought about getting a pair of 970's instead, but the incompatibilities that SLI can produce just weren't worth it to me, even if SLI does look more cool in a build. The 980Ti was the most powerful per-dollar card at the time I bought it, and it still holds up quite well when OC'd against a Titan or even some of the newer Pascal GPU's. Considering the card I moved up from was a AMD 7770 series with 1GB of memory (used for about 6 years), I think I'll be using this quite a bit longer.
- Case: Can't really go wrong with the H440, and the fact that there was an absolutely sexy green-colored version of it basically sealed the deal for me. As soon as there was a sale, BOOM! On a side note, the wire routing in this case was definitely not easy, but it wasn't excruciating as some other cases look to be. The hardest part was just getting all the cables pressed down enough that the sound-dampening foam on the inside would let it seat against the chassis properly, otherwise it bowed out a little too far for my liking. The dust filters on the front and PSU are a godsend, absolutely wouldn't buy a case like this without them.
- PSU: Found this P2 750W on sale, and the fact that it was fully modular and 80+ Platinum for that price was hard to turn down. Been working just fine for me, and the 'eco' setting for the fan really cuts down on noise whenever I'm not gaming. Necessary? No, not likely. Worth it? Yup.
- OS: Windows 10, nothing to see here. "Iz gud."
- Fans: Got two replacement Thermaltake RIING 140mm fans for the X61, as the stock fans are a bit more noisy and don't push as much air pressure, as well as not being green enough!Blasphemy! These monsters have a ridiculous amount of SP near the fan, perfect for radiator cooling.
- Monitors: I got the Dell S2716DG on sale, first off, as it ain't exactly cheap. But man was it worth it! Running games at 1440p AND 144Hz is just glorious. Insert PCMR joke here. As for the other monitor, it isn't great and there are at least 3-4 dead pixels on it, but overall it works fine for web browsing, socializing, and audio work while gaming. I salvaged it off of the old PC build I was using, that's why it's listed as free.
- Mouse: I have to admit, I hadn't even heard of Mionix until I started searching for Green/RGB mice. I saw a lot of cheap offerings, but many of them looked like they would break, and then I stumbled upon this little fella. I don't really care for wireless mice all that much, and I didn't need a keyboard stuck where my thumb should go, so this thing seemed to be the perfect fit, and so far it has been. The DPI buttons help out with different sensitivities in games, and the extra side buttons are good for navigating in browsers as well as more functions in games. I have noticed that clicking with the scroll wheel requires a bit more pressure to register now, but it's still not too bad.
- Keyboard+Wrist rest: Ducky makes some very nice keyboards, even if they aren't as customizable as ones from Razer or Corsair. I wanted a Cherry Brown mechanical 'board, and it also needed to have backlighting for late gaming sessions. I had a few options left, but I really didn't want to learn yet another piece of software just to adjust the lights, and Ducky's software-less adjustment fit the bill. Color reproduction is great, and the ease of just a few keypresses to adjust them works quite well. The wrist rest matches the rest of the build, and it isn't mushy at all, which is great.
- Various Bits and Bobs: All good audio workers need good headphones. I knew that there was a limit to how far you could go before the placebo effect kicks in, so I simply looked for a good set of closed-back headphones with a relatively flat frequency response without breaking the bank to do so. As for the speakers, they were a spare set we had lying around the family's house for some reason, so I "commandeered" them. Same goes for the external HDD (used for backups and sound effects library) and the microphone. The router was included in this list because it was upgraded during the time that parts were being collected, and I use it. A lot.
TL;DR: This PC was built to be overkill, for gaming and game development. The goal was to also make the green and black theme without using any Razer parts at all, which was accomplished.
Have fun taking a look at the pictures of the finished build! Also, the headphone stand that I have in the pictures was one that I built out of parts fromtwo old boxes of Legos I had lying around my room from many, many years ago. Used some to prop up my drooping second monitor as well. :)