I have been wanting to make the jump to Intel for some time. I'm glad that I finally pulled the trigger on this build. I went with an i7 6700k because I figured if I'm jumping on the skylake train, might as well buy the best ticket available. I was a little apprehensive going from a FX-8350 with it's 8 actual cores to one that only has 4 but has hyper threading. Let me just say now that processor technology has come quite a ways since the 8350 was released and have no regrets about making the switch. This almost completely doubled my physics score in the fire strike benchmark.
The 6700k is paired with a beautiful MSI Gaming M7 motherboard running the Z170 chip set. This board has all the features that I'm looking for and then some. I am quite happy with the on board sound which is a HUGE upgrade from my 990fx board. There's only a couple things that I wish I had done a bit more research on before I had settled on this board. The first being the amount of usb connection and the type. I'm having to use some of the usb 3.0 ports for my devices which is fine as I don't really use the 3.0 ports to connect anything that benefits from that speed. The second being the RAM compatibility. Unfortunately at the time of writing this, my RAM won't run at it's advertised speed with XMP enabled.
Speaking of RAM, I chose the Gskill memory because I was happy with the performances that I saw people were having on line and I like Gskill as a brand in general as I had been running them in my old build with no problems at all. I was able to get this to run at a stable 2800 speed which while not the full 3000 speed that I thought I was buying is better than the default 2133. I know that I won't necessarily gain any noticeable performance gains from running at faster speed but still I want to try to squeeze some extra power where I can.
Speaking of power, let's address the elephant in the case. The power supply. I know that it's not the best but it's one of the few components that I was able to take with me from my previous build. I know that it's overkill for what I'm running but when I purchased I was running a 2-way SLI configuration and it had all the things I was looking for at the time.
I have since ditched the multi-GPU config and gone with a MSI GTX-980. This has been an amazing card for me since the first day that I bought it. It's a great feeling when you run a game for the first time and it defaults to ultra detail settings on everything.
All this is housed in the Fractal Design Define S. A case that I fell in love with from the first time I saw it reviewed. I love the open concept allowing for amazing air cooling and even better is it's ability to switch to a water-cooling beast. With it being able to hold an extraordinary amount and variety of radiators in different configurations. All in an extremely affordable package that doesn't look like cheap garbage. I will say that I was a little apprehensive to give up my cd drives as this case has no 5.25" bays but with almost everything being available in digital download form, I'm looking at you steam..., I don't miss it. And if for some reason I do need it, I can always hook up a usb cd drive.
Going into this build I knew that I wanted to try to make something that wouldn't be half bad to look at. My previous build, like most people first, was a mix of different colored parts as I just wanted something that would function well. That's why I went with the sleeved extensions as I couldn't find a cable kit for my power supply and custom sleeving just isn't something that I was looking into at the moment. Keeping with the aesthetics, I bought the fan hub so that I would be able to run the case fans of a single header and cut down on the amount of cables that I had to run to the motherboard.
Overall I am extremely happy with this rig as it stands. I'm able to play games and not have to worry about does it meet the recommended requirements and it doesn't look too bad while doing it. So what does this computer have in it's future? First thing is I'm going to go with a lower wattage power supply. Something that is fully modular so that it will cut down on cable clutter in the back as well as either having an option to buy a sleeved kit or even doing the sleeving myself. After that will be an upgrade to a 980ti. I purchased my 980 shortly after release when everyone was saying that there wasn't going to be a ti version. This is another case of I know it's overkill, but I do plan on water-cooling this and if I'm doing that, I might as well get the best that I can without being unrealistic. I also plan on getting a larger capacity M.2 drive to replace my current ssd to allow more storage for games to load faster and to cut down on cabling needed. Other things I have planned are replacing the current window in the case with something a little more resistant to scratches and custom lighting.
Finally I'll provide the benchmark scores in case you're wanting to see what you get for this price point. The scores are as follows: In Valley I get a total score of 2870 with an average FPS of 68.6 and a max of 124.9. In Fire Strike I get an overall score of 12001, graphics score of 14140, a Physics score of 13304, and a combined test score of 5261. Average FPS of graphics test 1 and 2 are 67.9 and 56.16, Physics was 42.24, and the combined was 24.47.
I would like to say thank you for taking the time to allow me to show of something that I'm proud of.