UPDATE 04/14/15: As of now, I have ordered a clear window for my case so that the parts are more visible during the day. The backplates have been designed in AutoCAD 2013, but are yet to be printed. In regards to the build guide, I have completed it and you may access it on the following link:
First of all, I want to establish four main things: -This if my first build -This is my high school senior project (along with a build guide I'm still writing and will post a link to later on). -I had to bring all the components from the USA since I’m from Mexico where most parts are either outdated or overpriced. This had been my dream for more than 3 years and I spent hours choosing the parts and looking at youtube videos. -I spent all my savings and several hours of my time completing this, I’m really happy with the final product but I’m also happy to hear constructive criticism from people who actually know more than me.
*Before receiving criticism for the dual 970s for a 1080p display, I must clarify that this build is intended to run games at 4k. I WILL BUY A 4k TV/Monitor as soon as I can afford it. Currently I’m using the Nvidia DSR which does somewhat improve the quality and is also more demanding for the system. Also, I will be adding the 3DMark 11 results pretty soon, the problem is that I'm leaving for the weekend.
Although I frequently visit the States, having things shipped to me is a hassle. Newegg doesn’t ship to hotels, and UPS doesn’t meet deadlines, hence I had to add the extra expense of changing mine and my father’s flight. Then again, after a 200USD shipping from Texas to my house in Mexico via UPS, my case arrived partially damaged but I was able to mend it. I could have saved like 60 bucks buying from various retailers, but to avoid further complications I chose to go with Newegg since overall they did offer the lowest prices (plus they were the only ones who actually had all the parts). I actually had all the parts since January 3, but didn't get the case until the 23rd.
Needless to say, all the games that I have currently tested at 1080p (with nvidia dynamic super resolution on) do run at very high fps rates at ultra high settings, and some of them with MODs on. Currently, nothing is over-clocked, however, I do plan on doing so once I have the 4k monitor. For that matter, I bought the liquid cooling (looks cool too) and the HX850w (originally meant to be a HX750 for 90USD but the day I bought the parts they were at the same horrible price so I went for the extra 100w).
MODDING: -Having to paint the MSI GTX 970s is not something I regret but it really was risky, tedious, and time consuming. If anyone wants a detailed explanation on how to do so, I’d be happy to explain since I had to do it with no guide since I found no one who had done the same. Notice, I did use Plastidip for both the black and green layer, so that I may remove it in a future if I wish to do so (also, the warranty is not void this way). -The OC MSI GTX 970s sadly don’t come with a backplate and they really do sag a lot. I “ghetto” fixed it using two rear io shields (which are barely noticeable), and plan on changing this soon.
FUTURE PLANS: -I’m designing a backplate so that I can 3D print it at my high school. If I don’t like the final product, my sister is going to do me the favor of making it out of aluminum at her college. -I currently have a 3TB USB 3.0 external HDD which is pretty fast, yet I’d like to integrate them to the computer itself. Again, once I raise the money again I will be adding them. -In this upcoming month I will buy Razer keyboard (I will keep the Dell mouse I've had for 3 years that I love), in all honesty this just for the looks since I rarely play games with them and I have a Mac book pro that my school provides for all my work. (Note: not a Razer fanboy at all, the case is the first ever product I bought from them) -I already sent two custom stands to be made for the speakers on the floor which you can see in the picture of my setup, and will be uploading the update as soon as I have them. -I will buy a different SLI bridge (black of course) but have had no time to do so.
NOTES: The speakers aren’t the best HQ system, but my father gave me 5 of the speakers when he bought new ones for his TV, and I took the liberty of grabbing the 2 big ones from my brother since he no longer used them (those are pretty HQ). A friend of mine bought a package of several Windows 8.1 Pro (64bit) installations for the computers in his house and he was nice enough to give one to me for free. That same awesome friend also gave me the Corsair Headphones for like 20 bucks since he didn’t use them. (I added them as the 1500 v2 but they are actually the first version) The Xbox 360 controller I already had for a year or so, but it came out of my pocket so I added to the final price.
Special thanks to Mitsuhashi for the great pictures. Check her Instagram if you get a chance: @jmhashi
My thoughts on the parts:
Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core: Great for now. No sort of bottlenecking and the temperatures remain quite low thanks to the liquid cooling. I will do some over-clocking in the future when it’s needed, that is why I bought the K version.
Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid: As I said, works and looks great. There isn’t much to say about it.
Asus SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 1 ATX LGA1150: I don’t know much about motherboards, but as of now I really enjoyed the user friendly BIOS and it looks really good. The 5 year warranty and the thermal protector is great too. I do have to mention that it includes two little fans, of which I only used one, but it does get loud when you turn the system off.
Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866: As simple as it may sound, having to choose the RAM was something that really confused me. I figured I could get away for 8GB for gaming, but the CAS latency and refresh speeds were confusing. From several forums I read online, this RAM speed seemed to be optimal and it also looked great.
Samsung 850 Pro Series 512GB 2.5" SSD: From having a Dell AIO with what was probably a poor quality HDD to having this SSD is amazing. The boot speed is around 17.5 seconds, and reading/writing overall is amazing. Very recommended despite the high price.
Western Digital My Book 3TB External HDD (WDBACW0030HBK-NESN): As I said before, it’s very fast and I’m happy with it. I also have had this for a year or so and bought it in Mexico, I’m sure you can get it for a better price in the States.
MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V (x2): It took me several weeks to decide which GTX 970 to go with. Most reviews/benchmarks showed that the MSI version was the best but several customer reviews stated that they had minor if not severe coil whine, luckily I have had 0 coil whine. Their performance is great, and I keep the temps fairly cool with the combination of the case fans and the air conditioning in my room.
NZXT H440 Designed by Razer™ ATX Mid Tower: It looks great and seems to be made out of quality materials, mostly metal. The four included fans are amazingly quiet. I do have to note that the packing material is pretty low quality, and you could probably attribute the damage to the side panel to it. It also has some noise dampening foam on both panels which does make it hard to close after cable management. (I actually forgot to take a picture of that but don’t want to open it since it took me like 15 min to be able to fully close it but will post one if you guys like - it’s a meh). There really isn’t much benefit from buying a semi or fully modular power supply since you have little access to the bottom part of the case but it’s nice that it hides the cables. I removed all the HDD cages but one to somewhat improve the airflow.
Corsair 850W ATX12V / EPS12V: I found in some forums that the coil whine from video cards was sometimes associated to the PSU, so I decided to go for a professional version to minimize the possibility of it occurring. As I explained before, I was aiming at a 750w but under the circumstances had to go with a 850w. The estimated wattage is 492w, so this does leave room for over-clocking.
Samsung T24B350ND 24.0": I can’t say it’s the best, but it is a good screen. Then again, the price is fair for Mexico so it will have to do for now until I buy the 4k. I’ve had this for almost a year but barely used it until now.
BitFenix Spectre Pro LED 56.2 CFM 120mm (x2) & 86.7 CFM 140mm: They look pretty cool and honestly they make very little noise. Highly recommended.
Thanks to all those who actually read all I wrote :)