EDIT: Since After Effects has been eating up all my ram I went ahead and ordered another ram kit. Currently I am running 32GB of ram at 2400mhz, CAS 10. I also added a Dell 1440p monitor that is calibrated for color work, the PCIe SSD for the OS, swapped the ATH M50 headphones for DT 770s, the Razer Keypad for a G13, and the Corsair K65 RGB keyboard for a Das Keyboard 4.
This was my first build, I wanted to do things right the first time. I previously owned a PS4 and played regularly. During Origin's week of free game time I got addicted to playing BF4 on my bootcamped Mac Book Pro, when it was over I couldn't go back to the motion blur and analog thumbsticks. I had never built a PC before but it seemed simple and easy enough, plus there were plenty of guides online, this site was invaluable.
I started by choosing a case. I needed something fairly roomy but also discrete and professional looking, bright colored cases with LED fans behind mesh were out of the question. I replaced all the case and the radiator fans with 1500rpm Noiseblocker Pro PWM fans, they have great static pressure and CFM for their noise levels. The pump is currently the loudest thing in the computer, but even that's still significantly quieter than my fridge. All the fans except the single 140mm rear exhaust run on my PWM fan controller hooked up to the CPU header. The pump runs on a separate header so that I can run it at low speeds and keep it quiet all the time.
- 2x 120mm in the bottom as intake
- 2x 140mm in the front as intake
- 1x 140mm in the top as exhaust (above 5.25" bays)
- 3x 120mm in the top as exhaust (radiator push/pull)
- 1x 140mm in the rear as exhaust
- 2x GPU fans in the rear as exhaust
The cable management was looking much cleaner until I added the Swiftech H220x, the Sata cable from the pump was very short, and the PWM fan controller added alot of clutter. I cleaned the CPU with a lens cleaning cloth, 91% isopropyl alcohol, and used Arctic Silver 5 as the thermal paste. I took the G.Skill stickers off the RAM (seriously looks like it was designed in the 90s) but put the labels with the 2400MHz CAS 10 info back on. It's on the inside of the sticks facing each other so it's not very noticeable. Unfortunately, I lost one of the plastic pins Swiftech uses on the water block to hold the color plate. It flew across my place while I was switching the color to red, I'm sure I'll find it next time I sweep. Also, the Swiftech red has significantly more orange in it than the ROG red so I ended up just going with white for the CPU block instead.
I chose the EVGA Superclocked Reference 980s because the reference cooler is sexy (it also keeps case temps down). I wasn't planning on doing much tinkering with them so the superclocked version made sense. I didn't think the green went well with the rest of my build. I removed the LED logo and used a sanding block with 400 grit sand paper to remove the top layer of paint. The LEDs underneath are white and now shine though without the green. Later, I went back and used the extra Arctic Silver 5 I had to replace the GPU thermal compound. In BF4 on Ultra and at 144 Hz, G-sync seems to cause the FPS to rise and fall as it hits the limit of the monitors refresh rate. I limited the engine's FPS to 140 in a config file to keeps FPS constant.
Storage wise, I have 3 San Disk Extreme II 120Gbs in Raid 0. Based on benchmarks 3 of these seemed to be the best bang for buck in terms of performance compared to diminishing returns. I don't keep anything important on those, just applications and games like, Steam, Origin, BF4, Adobe CC, working photo/video, etc. Important files, RAW and final jpg photo archives, etc. go on my 2x 1TB Western Digital Black drives arranged in Raid 1. Those I relocated to my 5.25" bay where they are out of sight. I'm using Frozen CPU's HDD Noise Reduction System to keep them quiet and have an intake fan pointed at them to keep them cool. I also make a 1TB backup of the array regularly with an external 1TB HDD. The OS resides on the Plextor M6e PCIe x2 SSD which makes for an extremely fast sub 10 second boot time viewable HERE
All photos were shot with Canon 6D, 85mm F/1.2L II, 600EX-RT, and edited in Lightroom 5.