Description

Powerful and silent, AIO coolers abound

Photos show the tear down of the old build and the rebuild with the new parts - first photos are of all the new parts to be inserted

This build was a compromise between my wanting to build another desktop this summer and trying to figure out what I would do with my desktop from last summer. My last build here was a bit more fiscally conservative, whereas this build was more originally more aggressive in terms of part quality and possible performance. I planned to start a new build from the ground up but I could not justify having 2 PC's built for gaming. As a result, I chose to overhaul the PC I have now and put the slightly older parts into a mobile ITX build (coming later).

This is what I would consider min-maxing a PC build. I could not find anything online about seeing a performance drop using my H170 chipset mob with a 1080 Ti - sure I would lose features but the Z270 would offer, but I wouldn't use said features even if I had them (more PCI slots, more SATA ports, etc). The H170 serves my needs which are simple; I need a platform to plug everything into, and that is compatible with parts I would like to install. I wanted an i7 7700k with a 1080 Ti, and an H170 board achieves that.

Additionally, changing motherboards would require a migration of all my programs and files from my old build to my new build - upgrading the components on my motherboard avoids all that.

Lets talk parts.

Part Reviews

CPU

It's great, it reduces the theoretical bottleneck I would've encountered with an my old i5-6600K and the 1080 Ti I wanted to upgrade to. It works hard, and I expect it to stand the test of time well. I've heard concerns about the crappy thermal paste they used in this one and for a while I considered deliding it out-of-the-box, but I know I'm clumsy enough to render it unusable if I were to try it. For now, the cooler I have does its job and I don't see any temps I would consider worryingly high (will post temps if requested).

Oh and note that microsoft claims my i7 is no longer compatable with win 7. Its a cheap ploy to force me to windows 10 and a quick google search reveals that the fix is actually some dll file that checks to see if your processor is kaby lake or higher. There are no real compatability issues with a kaby lake processor and win 7, but if you dont like the popup, there is a github repo out there with a fix. **** you microsoft, win 7 was the last good OS you put out.

CPU Cooler

I love this thing. It's quiet, it keeps my temps down, and EVGA has r a v e reviews when it comes to customer support. I keep the LED off because RGB is retarded and I cant see the damn thing anyway. The stock fans seem to be of ok quality - I find the blades a bit thin for my taste but if I give the fans a push in my hands I can actually feel a noticeable airflow on my palm (something my old cooler master fans never game me). In either case, I replaced the stock fans with the 2 Noctua 140 mm fans and my god they're wonderful (more below on them).

Motherboard

It's a motherboard, the BIOS interface is easy to use and it has enough fan headers for my system such that I can control all the fans speeds (all fans are PWM fans). It works and thats it. I had to use my i5 to flash the bios and gigabyte really made me work to find the exact mobo i had because for some reason there are ~3 h170 gaming 3 boards and the wrong bios will brick the machine if installed. But after flashing the bios, I got my i7 to POST and then I took my old machine apart and put it back together with the new parts. In short, cant go wrong with the board but know that you'll need a skylake processor to update it.

Memory

No complaints, does its job and no issues in a year of decent use.

Storage

Its an SSD, very fast and no issues - I cant see a difference between this and the pro series, and if there is one, its small enough that it doesnt matter to me.

Video Card

MRW it finally came in the mail Its a god tier piece of hardware. Dishonored 2, Ultra settings across the board @ 2560x1600 on my pre 2005 Apple Cinema HD monitor (which is awesome), constant 75 fps and the card hits 60 degrees C on a busy level. I've never known power like this.

But really, EVGA did a bang up job on this. The build quality is high, the cooler is the same material as their 280mm CLC CPU cooler, and the fans (in the card and the stock fan on the 120mm radiator) are as a silent as the Prius under 5 mph (RIP Dwight Schrute). The fan on the radiator was also later replaced by a noctua redux 120mm PWM fan, and I saw another 2 degree improvement, but that might be because I plugged the fan into the MOBO and keep it running at 100% instead of having the card turn it on when it needs it (when booting up the machine and using it for low requirements use, the fan on the card doesnt even turn on - it only spins up when gaming which makes sense to me).

If you want to sink $800 into a gpu, this is it.

Case

GPU Sag terrifies me. Seeing pre-builds @ my local frys and noticing that the cards are ~1-3 degrees slacked over annoys me more that it should. So I began my search last summer to find an atx case with a horizontal mobo config. What a surprising search - the market lacks a solid, enthusiast grade case for horizontal mobos. There was the Thermaltake core x5 and x9, but they are way larger than I needed them to be and I had no plans to build a custom water loop to take advantage of the space. I could lay the Corsair air 540 on its side but the PSU would be starved for air intake. Caselabs had 2 I considered but @ $400 I will build the damn thing myself. Plus 10 wks is a bit too long for me. So I kept my case from last summer as it had what I wanted - horizontal MOBO and two 5.25 expansion bays. Its technically a test bench but i think of it more as a lan box.

Oh its great btw, would definitely recommend - I'm working in dallas this summer (internship) and I go to school in austin and this case has handles for EZ transport.

Power Supply

Its a PSU, it keeps up, comes with high-quality power cables - 750w was enough to ensure that future upgrades wouldnt require another PSU. 5/5 for the price and performance.

Optical Drive

It play my old games, probably going to go to a blu ray drive down the road to watch my Blu Ray Star Wars collection (6 films, TFA was a hot pile of garbage, directed by Jar Jar Abrams). It works, came cheap, cant complain.

Operating System

The last good OS microsoft will put out. Kaby Lake is fully compatible, don't believe the message popup.

Case Fan

Noctua makes some next level fans. They're quiet and move more air than my stock case fans - best CFM per db. Wires are sleeved well, and the packaging is simple but shows off your premium fan. Worth the price to me.

Case Fan

Noctua makes some next level fans. They're quiet and move more air than my stock case fans - best CFM per db. Wires are sleeved well, and the packaging is simple but shows off your premium fan. Worth the price to me.

Case Fan

Noctua makes some next level fans. They're quiet and move more air than my stock case fans - best CFM per db. Wires are sleeved well, and the packaging is simple but shows off your premium fan. Worth the price to me.

Case Fan

This is a new addition to the Noctua family of fans. I wanted a PWM fan to adjust its speed for use but tbh i keep it @ 100% anyway. I made this review separate because the fan, in addition to the nice packaging the other fans also had, not only sports 4 sets of mounting holes (a total of 16 holes) but came with non vibration pads, removable silicon mounting nibs, and 4 fan cable accessories. It really is worth $30 to me, especially with the name.

Comments

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice but z270 would've made so much more sense

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

It def would have but the h170 works and changing boards would mean having to reinstall the OS and the programs I have. If it was a new build, z270 all the way for sure.

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

If you do that, look at the Gigabyte Gaming K5, awesome board for an awesome price. Nice build and don't worry too much about the m.2 i'm sure you're getting awesome boot times with that EVO. +1

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

I got an M2 off a massdrop purchase, so ill let you know how it works compared to the EVO when i put it into a smaller media center build.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice, simple. Lovely.

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! :)

How are your CPU temps with those Noctua fans on your CLC? Wondering if they perform any better than the stock fans.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

i saw about the same performance tbh but for me, this was a quality & longevity decision. also, a little irresponsible

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you have any problem fitting the EVGA CLC 280 AIO kit? The reason I ask is that the spec says max size is 240mm.

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you have any problem fitting the EVGA CLC 280 AIO kit? The reason I ask is that the spec says max size is 240mm.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

nope! checked with cust service before ordering

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  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

At the time, i was more focused on single core performance in addition to wide support for intel architecture. I considered overclocking but I have 2 issues with it: A) The difference I would see between overclocking and stock performance is negligible for the gaming I do and B) overclocking is never worth the strain on the parts - I intend to keep the rig closed without having to worry about upgrading for at least 4 years, or sooner if I had elected to add overclocking capabilities.

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