Since building a PC for the first time back in June 2018, I have made several updates and changes in the past 8 months. I felt it was time to do a repost. And what better time to do it than Super Bowl weekend.
*Please note, that all of the colors of the paint and lights match the official Carolina Panthers colors. This was real important for me. Anyways, you can tell in person that the colors are true, but both cameras I have used make it look very different in the pictures. Also, keep in mind that with the Carolina Panthers themed colors and swag, the build was $337 higher than if it was built without a specific theme.
Most Recent CPU Overclock: 5.0GHz at 1.31V; Idle 32C, Avg 71C, Max 77C; The temps and clock rates at the bottom of the page are at 4.7 GHz and not the 3.7 GHz that the page makes us list. I usually play at a CPU Clock Rate of 4.7 GHz at 1.20V, as that is plenty for all games at this point. Why stress your PC more than needed?
Updates (for those interested):
7/8/18 Update #1: I realized that I wanted more control over the fans in-game. I mainly got the fan controller for the cool blue look, but quickly regretted it. I was able to sell it back for most of the cost after only a month of use. I moved up the Panthers-Painted front panel to the center and it looks much better now.
7/20/18 Update #2: I bought my first ever gaming headset: a Kotion Each G2000. I have used earbuds for 3 years and it has finally begun to hurt my ears. I think this is the only cheap item in my build, as I don't understand why people spend over $50 for headphones anyways. I was thrilled to not only find one with pretty good reviews and under $25, but it also matches the Carolina Panthers blue color! The sound quality is very nice, it doesn’t get too hot/sweaty after hours of gaming, and it's flexible enough that I can put one side up on my head, so I can hear the kids during nap/bedtime.
8/24/18 - Update #3: I FINALLY moved up to the "big time", by grabbing an EVGA - GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB SC2 GPU for $525! It's only 5 months old, so I feel like I got a pretty good deal. The RTX 2000 series is overpriced. I also don't plan on going to a 4K monitor anytime soon.
9/4/18 - Update #4: I just found out about the EVGA Powerlink and it is so spiffy. Now I can actually SEE the 1080 TI text and I can use two 8-pin power cords, instead of a 6 and 8 pin. I used a silver metallic Sharpie Pro to fill in the EVGA letters. I couldn't see the EVGA name in all black letters with a black background. The silver also goes with the Panthers helmet. I also took the advice of another builder by adding a CloverTale Graphics Card GPU Brace Support due to the card being a little heavier with the Powerlink on the end. I went ahead and moved the LED strip in the middle to the left side, as it was way too blue in the case. Now I think the details in the case show up much better.
9/7/18 - Update #5: V1 Tech made me my first GPU backplate, with the Cam Newton artwork I found and added. Their website has a custom backplate designer and it is very easy to use. I loved how it turned out! Then I got a new Funko Pop Cam Newton, lol. His hoodie is hilarious! A Funko Pop Luke Kueckly joined his buddy soon after that. Now my kids say that they can see their favorite “thrower” and “tackler” every day.
1/4/19 - Update #6: Helllo Christmas and birthday money! I was finally able to grab a Samsung 970 EVO 1TB M.2-2280 SSD for $226. It was only 1 month old, so I was pretty stoked. And luckily the 2280 M.2 (#3) spot on my mobo doesn’t disable any SATA ports. My boot time is now 6 times faster, and my programs load instantly. I am also hoping that my heavily modded Skyrim and Fallout 4 games will no longer have any loading screens. I’ll try those out soon enough. I added ambient lighting for the back of my monitor and under the PC. I wish the actual lights under the PC didn’t reflect off of my wooden desk. But they are overall quite vibrant and I can control them all with the same remote. I could have gone the RGB fan route, but a big goal of mine was to build a silent PC with excellent airflow. So I have no regrets going with the non-RGB Noctua fans, instead of the RGB Corsair ones. I feel like the RGB fans look nicer than RGB strips, but Noctua fans are amazing.
1/27/19 - Update #7: I didn’t care to get a Carolina Panthers colored mouse (since I barely use it). So I got a Carolina Panthers skin for the Xbox 360 controller I use. I think it’s pretty tight. Do people still use that word?
1/31/19 - Update #8: It had been bugging me since the beginning that I couldn’t read the Carolina Panthers name or see the logo very well with the lights off, unless I put a ton of blue light into the case (doesn’t look great). So I did my best amateur job of making backlights for the current PSU shroud that I built last June – and removing the case light strips in the process. If I had actual power tools, been able to use a spray paint (the official CP paint doesn’t come that way), or knew to use a ruler when cutting the acrylic at the beginning, it would look a lot better. But overall, since I am pretty inexperienced at building/fixing things, I am pretty happy with the results. I was also able to put the Panthers helmet inside the case, by moving the Cam Newton and Luke Kueckly Funko Pops to the top of the GPU. Surprisingly, the helmet in front of the partial 140mm fan, doesn’t change my temps at all. I also wish you could see the Funko Pops better in the dark, but maybe I can add some small lighting there in the future. Finally, I added a small “Keep Pounding” pic to the bottom right of my window to cover the butt ugly HDD slots and lighting cables. I really wish there was a pre-installed PSU shroud in this case, but I guess I got good experience making my own.
2/14/19 - Update #9: I finally found a solution to add more lighting to the top of the case without overdoing it with more LED strips. I picked up three 140mm Phanteks Halos Lux RGB Fan Frames. They just daisy-chain together, and after a TON of research/asking people, I figured out you have to shave off the side of the 4-pin female housing to fit into the 5-pin male 12V/RGBW header (leaving the W alone). But hey it works; I now have RGB-looking Noctua exhaust fans. I have no need for RGB in the front of my case, however. Now I do wish I could get the light a little brighter, but I think the only way to do that would be to have white fan blades (vs the grey ones I have now). I wonder if I can spray paint them...
On a side note, I am currently designing a Dallas Cowboys gaming PC for a friend of mine. Yea, I’m hooked.
I was able to comfortably overclock to 5.0Ghz at 1.31V. The all-around performance is sooo much better than my last crappy Alienware x51 R2 PC.
I haven't had any issues overclocking my CPU to 5.0 Ghz. For most AAA gaming, my CPU stays at a cool 50C on ultra settings at a resolution of 3440x1440.
I grabbed the RAM because it was on sale, it had RGB, and the speed was all the way up to 3600 MHz.
This is my first M.2 SSD and it is a beast! Going from a 1TB SATA SSD, to this, my load time is 6 times faster. Loading programs is also instant. I also love how it looks up on my mobo, without using any cables.
I LOVE this case! It's like a million times larger than the Alienware I had previously. I just really wanted a case with plenty of room to build in for years to come. My only wish is that it came with a pre-installed PSU shroud.
These Noctua fans are whisper quiet unless they are up to 100% speed. These fans have helped me to overclock my CPU to 5.0Ghz with no problem. I kinda wish it had RGB, but I'll take a quiet and efficient PC over a colorful one.