Description

This is something I've been planning for about 2-3 years now. My machines have always been mid-range builds with rolling upgrades over the years. This build is so I don't have to think about computer parts for at least 5 years. This PC is for 1440p/144Hz gaming and Blender on the side. This build has gone through several revisions. All prices are set to what I paid and do not include tax. Running Windows 10 Pro x64 OEM with a key that was gifted to me. Please excuse the slightly lazy cabling; I had to remove the cable management bar which is what I was hiding things in and didn't feel like rewiring. Case normally sits on books and not directly on the carpet. If you want pics added or have questions just ask. Down the road will clean up the wiring. I'm not a photographer so the pics may not be amazing quality. Overall color theme build is black/dark silver with ARGB. The only lights that can't be turned off easily are the power button light and HDD activity LED.

Before: https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/6859786

After: https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/16435188

Old Rig:

Intel i5 2500k @4.3GHz OC: CPU bottlenecked in many games.

Be Quiet Pure Rock: Can JUST handle the i5 overclock. Hits about 90C in stress tests.

ASUS P8P67 Deluxe: Zero problems, great motherboard!

2x4GB GSKILL Ripjaws 1600MHz: Zero problems besides running low on RAM sometimes.

EVGA GTX 770 4GB: Struggles with AAA games at high settings, fan is getting noisy, takes forever to do Cycles renders. High temps even when cleaned as it's dual fan. Biggest bottleneck in the rig.

LG 27EA63 display 1080p 60Hz 27inch IPS: It's time to move on from 1080p/60Hz. The stand also fell apart which was unfortunate.

Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB: Running out of space.

Seagate ST33000651AS 3TB HDD Running out of space.

CoolerMaster 700W Silent Pro PSU: Great PSU

Windows 7: OS degraded over time. Takes 10mins to fully boot, driver issues, many little problems that I'd rather not fix, and don't want to clean install if I'm rebuilding. Also lacks DX12 and RTX. Needed a clean install badly.

NCIX warranty: Press F to pay respects.

Solution: New machine!

(see reviews for my review on each of the parts for this new build)

FPS Results At 1440p, no overclocking, Ultra settings, Hairworks off, average FPS using Fraps benchmark

Far Cry 5: 109 FPS

Witcher 3: 114FPS

Battlefield 5: 93 FPS RTX OFF, DX11 mode

Metro Exodus: 101 RTX OFF, DX11 mode

Fallout 4: 72 FPS game locks it to this FPS. Unlocked it goes past 200FPS before the game physics bug out and the came crashes. Good job Bethesda.

(can't get Fraps to work on DX12 mode)

Benchmark Result differences, 2500k build vs 9700k. These tests are done using the with CPU at 5GHz on all 8 cores.

Synthetic/Gaming Benchmarks:

Sky Diver: From 18,127 points to 53,973 points

Firestrike From 6668 points to 23,506 points

Firestrike Ultra: From 3370 points to 6560 points

Time Spy: 10868 points (this doesn't even work on Windows 7)

Heaven Extreme: 37.6 FPS average to 135.0 FPS average

Valley Extreme: 45.2 FPS average to 184.3 FPS average

Superposition: 1340 points to 7047 points

Blender Classroom (Cycles): 2 mins 40 seconds

CPU Benchmarks:

Cinebench R15 Single Core: From 153cb to 218cb

Cinebench R15 Multi Core: From 583cb to 1629cb

Mozilla Kraken 1.1: From 1067ms to 668.1ms

Google Chrome Jetstream: From 176 points to points 289.01 points

CPU-Z Single Core: From 437 points to 599.1 points

CPU-Z Multi Core: From 1728 points to 4470.4 points (2700x scores 4935 with 2x the threads)

Wprime 1024M: 289 seconds to 110.812 seconds

Geekbench: From 4351 Single Core/13054 Multicore to 6405 Single Core/31763 Multicore

Thanks for checking out my build/wall of text.

Part Reviews

CPU

Hardest choice to make, knowing Zen 2 is coming this summer, 9900k is too overpriced and runs hot like a reactor, and the 2700X just doesn't have the single core performance I want, even though I like it more as a CPU overall. Losing hyper-threading is sad, but all my renders are done on my GPU so I think I'll be fine. Games don't really take advantage of more than 6 cores yet. Not planning on running it overclocked full time until it nears end of life. I actually like AMD more as a company, but I found Radeon 7 a let-down and I don't feel like waiting months to find out if Zen2 destroys Intel. I'm only giving it 4/5 for dropping hypertheading and making people pay a huge premium for the 9900k. I can get 16 theads with the 2700X which is $100 cheaper than this CPU but I needed this build finished.

One week in: Great chip and noticeably faster. Losing HT sucks but this is a better gaming CPU. Average overclocking performance but overall at stock it destroys my 2500k. 5GHz on all 8 cores stable, can get up to 5.2 on air.

CPU Cooler

Almost as good as the NH-D15 except it doesn't look awful. Want something big, quiet, and high TDP if I want to overclock and never have to think about if the cooler can handle it. Was going to get a 360mm AIO, but I decided I don't want to spend every day wondering "Is this going to be the day the pump dies or it leaks and destroys my machine?"

One week in: Easier to install than I thought it would be. Very quiet and nice looking. VERY BIG, make sure you have a big case. The free screwdriver you get with it is excellent and is now my favorite screwdriver. 5GHz on all 8 cores and Prime95 pushed this cooler to 94C on the hottest core, but this was with an ASUS 5GHz profile with overly high voltages. Glad I went with this instead of a 360MM AIO. The black paint scratches VERY easily. Instructions are well written. Non OC temps are 68C with all cores at 4.6GHz which is standard 9700k operating mode. Cleared my TridentZ RAM modules after moving the fan up a bit. Tall kits like Corsair Plats may give you issues!

Motherboard

Solid board. Wanted Bluetooth for my headphones, M.2 covers, and something that looked nice. The 9th gen STRIX boards get flack for their VRMs not being as top tier, but I've seen people do 9900k with this board and OC just fine. ASUS has always been my go to brand especially for the BIOS quality.

One week in: AI overclock got it up to 5.2 Ghz on air before becoming unstable. Ran a few benchmarks but AIDA64 gave and instant BSOD. Froze in Time Spy as well. 5GHz profile worked but not stable temperature. 90C+ peak temps with a 250TDP cooler. Yikes. At 5GHz on all 8 cores I hit 94C peak but that is likely due me using the 5GHz profile and not doing real overclocking. The voltages they use are VERY high. Built in firmware TPM made setting up Bitlocker a breeze; no need to buy a TPM module although the board supports one. BIOS is top notch. M.2 SSD shield I found didn't really do much for SSD temps; during full SSD encryption my temps were somewhat high at 65-69C; possibly worst than not using the metal shield... I know I took that plastic off the thermal pad...

I also ended up not using the Wifi/Bluetooth so I could have probably saved money getting the Strix z390-F. It works out of the box with Bose QC35 II headphones, but like other Bluetooth modules there is about 100-200ms of delay and in games that just doesn't work for me. The max volume is also lower than wired and the sound quality is also lower. The headphones/bluetooth are to blame for this. As for the WiFi, one gigabit Ethernet is always going to destroy WiFi.

Memory

Double the RAM, double the speed of my last kit. Hopefully I don't end up needing to go up to 32GB if I start working with larger Blender projects. Right now my highest is about 7-8GB usage worst case. They look good, but they will be mostly covered by the CPU cooler anyways. Was planning on doing Vengeance RGB but realized I would just end up turning the lights off after 10 mins. That and the cooler hides the modules mostly.

One week in: Zero problems at 3200MHz. Plenty of clearance. Peaking at 8GB RAM used max.

Storage

Blazing fast speeds; these are the hard drives of the future. Dramatically reduced OS load times, project load times, game load times. Basically faster everything, and it looks cool too. Wanted to have as many games installed as I want.

One week in: No issues, runs fantastic. Around 2000MB/s read and write. Installed Windows in 8 mins 30 seconds. Boots in well under 1 minute. Destroys my old EVO 850 in every way.

Storage

My dream for the last 2-3 years is to have a PC with NO mechanical HDD, as I've had failures and I honestly don't like the noise they make. Plus they are slow. SSD prices at 2-4TB are brutal right and spending this much on a hard drives makes me feel disgusting. QVO ended up sucking and doesn't perform well enough to justify the cost. These drives came down about $400 in a year so I'm just going to bite the bullet and be an early adopter. I could have saved buying them used or on eBay, but then there are potential warranty issues due to living in Canada. 4TB probably will due me for a while. 6TB WD Black was the runner up but I don't want to deal with drive failure worry or noise.

One week in: It's everything I wanted, but I feel gross spending $900 CAD on a hard drive. Zero noise, basically no heat, and way faster. Only about a quarter as fast as M2 but this is mostly a media/document drive.

Video Card

Wanted a future proofed card but the 2080 Ti is just too grossly expensive. This completely obliterates my GTX 770 (needless to say). Wanted a quiet higher tier 2080. The runner up was the ASUS 2080 but I wanted to stick with EVGA and I like the RGB letters on the side. Plus the ASUS one had iffy reviews. It has so much heatsink (3 slot card) that outside gaming it simply doesn't need to run the fans, and in older games like TF2 it sometimes doesn't even need them. Temps are very good at full load the card is much quieter than my 2 slot GTX 770.

One week in: Amazing except EVGA Precision botched a GPU BIOS update (which I didn't ask/want it to do) and COMPLETELY BRICKED THE CARD, requiring 6 hours of work to fix as a technician. 3 red lights of death on the side and max fan speed even in BIOS. Was very close to having to RMA it and EVGA said they couldn't do anything for me. Without that disaster it would have been 5/5. RTX in Metro Exodus is noticeable although there is a bug which stops G-SYNC from working for that game. Does not work with ASUS Aura but that is no surprise.

High framerates at ultra settings for any game you can think of as long as your CPU is decent. Works in Blender Cycles and Eevee as long as you have the most recent version of blender 2.79 or 2.80. Doesn't work at all in older versions. The sound levels are dramatically better than 2 fan cards and the fans are usually at 0 RPM outside gaming. The RGB lettering on the side looks excellent. Since this card uses an A grade binned processor and has high end cooling, this card has a great deal of overclock potential.

Case

Was going to get a smaller NZXT H500 case, but decided to go for something bigger with better thermals. The dual intake fans sold it for me and the case looks amazing, and has amazing thermals and beautiful tempered glass panels all over. Expensive for a case though!

One week in: Looks great and I can confirm latest ASUS Aura works with this case as my board has an ARGB port. Plenty of cable management options although I didn't to amazing AAA wiring. The graphics card at 11.5 inches forced me to remove the cable management bar so no GPU support bar for me sadly. That surprised me. It was touching the metal. If it wasn't removable I'd have been screwed. PSU and HDD shrouds give a very clean look. Easy wiring although I did get lazy as I wanted to play with the machine. Running it with the mesh default front panel for max airflow. If you want, it comes with a swappable glass panel you can install in the front. The SSD mounting peg system is great and it allows you to showcase your SSDs or simply hide them in the back. They almost lose a star for their instruction manual reading like it was written by aliens.

Power Supply

A slick, high quality PSU. No point spending thousands on a build and then cheaping out on the thing that could kill your PC. Very quiet and looks high quality. Was temped by Seasonic but I'm going with EVGA on this one.

One week in: No issues and very quiet. This will last as long as the PC does.

Monitor

This was a hard choice as I didn't know what I wanted. It was either this, the Gigabyte AD27QD (HDR/freesync), or a more expensive ultra-wide. In the end I wanted real Gsync, decent brightness, and a refresh rate that would not hold my GPU back.

One week in: No issues and it's a new world coming from 1080p/60Hz. Now the LG is running as the 2nd display. You really have to see 1440p/144Hz once and you'll never go back. Going from 60 to 144Hz is something you have to see to really enjoy. There is no going back. Recommend getting an extended warranty on it. I lucked out and got a good panel first time with acceptable flashlighting on the corners. GSYNC makes everything very smooth when I do get the odd framerate drops and NO tearing at all. I was ultimately bottlenecked by my desk with monitor selection. Wish it had HDR and a lower price.

Keyboard

RGB mechanical keyboard that really looks and feels great. The software is solid. The special lighting effects are pretty eye popping although I'll only ever turn them on to show off to people; there are very distracting! What I was looking for was RGB lighting were the key shines only through the key letters and doesn't bleed around the sides, multimedia controls, macro abilities, and of course mechanical. I paid a premium as this keyboard is hard to find and the newer model has those Tron looking keys that I hate the look of. Sticking with my Deathadder Elite to go with it. I tried the new MX518 and the G703 and found them to be too small/uncomfortable. Which sucks because I'm on my 4th or 5th Razer mouse now.

Note that this keyboard is discontinued so it is hard to find and if you want it NEW be prepared to pay a markup for it. I paid $50 above RSRP and bought the last one Amazon had at the time.

One week in: This is replacing a Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate which itself is $200. Looks stunning in the dark; my natural habitat. I have two of these now. Great feel and the Logitech software is great.

Comments

  • 5 months ago
  • 5 points

From a 2500k to 9700k.

You've come a long way, brother.

  • 5 months ago
  • 3 points

Great build! One thing that stuck out is that you said the 9900k is too expensive (I'm not saying it isn't, but it's only $80 more expensive than the 9700k) but then you went and spent so much for your 4TB SSD.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Good point. At the time in my region (west Canada) the 9700k was $519 CAD/ $385USD (all time low) while the 9900k was at $699/$610 USD so about $180 difference. For that extra money you get 0.1GHz and hyperthreading. There were a couple other factors such as heat, power consumption, security issues relating to hyperthreading, and it's low impact of game performance. I kind of wanted 16threads just for future proofing.

Yeah, I got the SSD at a time when it was about $70 inflated which didn't help. The problem is that I have large amounts of media and I wanted off spinning drives badly. I also didn't want to split things up on to multiple 2TB drives which is what most people will do. It's a niche market and Samsung knows it. Problem is nobody else makes a 4TB or up drives yet so they can charge what they want. A year ago the drive was over $1300 so it could be worst. You only ever really see 4TB+ SSDs in some servers or niche enthusiasts with particular needs.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Amazing build. +1

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

no rgb ram :(

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

RGB doesn't mean performance...

...though RGB looks nice

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

RGB ABSOLUTELY MEANS PREFORMANCE

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

RGB lights are only there cuz there is enough space from large heat spreaders

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

and because they provide 50% extra fps

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

yeah IKR the massive heat spreaders are only good for making space for dat saucy RGB

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. Thank you for taking the time for a thoroughly detailed write up.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

You should at least get a decent AIO (like a sealed water cooling loop that you can't do maintenance on) so you can get solid overclocking to not bottleneck AT ALL your GPU. It is probably fine but I just hate any bottlenecking. And they look good.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Was really considering the MasterLiquid 360 (it basically goes with the case) but I opted for quiet and longer life span. I've also worked with a lot of failed AIO coolers over the years. Never seen a leak; it's almost always the pumps failing at either 6 months or well into the first year. Mostly Krakens. Air coolers is going to last as long as the machine. 250TDP is a lot to work with.

I know if I do a proper overclock I could get far lower temps with a lower voltage. ASUS gave me 1.39v and was using 177 watts on the 5GHz profile. I want the processor to last for a long time and at 4.9GHz (2 core boost) I don't think it's holding me back in games. At 1440p I'm pretty sure the GPU is my limiting factor. I actually installed the RTX 2080 in a machine with the 2500k to see if it would work. Now THAT is bottlenecking; not even GSYNC could smooth out the drops. From 120FPS high with lows in the 40-50 range.

Right now at 1440p I'm fairly sure my limiting factor is my GPU

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool. I'm not sure if a build I want to do will be 1440p or 1080p. It looks like the cooling scheme is great with the two big fans up front. If the limiting factor is the GPU you could remove the fans cover and re-aply thermal paster just to push the GPU to even the power. I love the build overall though!