For over 6 years I've wanted to do a full build for myself, that dream starting back in 2013 when a prebuilt DELL XPS system just wasn't giving me enough juice to run newer games running out. Upgrading the GTX 650 Ti it came with to a GTX 960 / 4GB helped alleviate some of the problems of that prebuilt, but I still wanted a top-of the line PC.
Years later, after squirreling away enough money and graduating middle school, high school, and starting university - I finally reached my goal and just finished my first complete build, with only the knowledge from manuals and probably hundreds of hours of Bitwit, Linus, JayZTwoCents, Tech Deals, Hardware Unboxed & Gamers Nexus swirling through my head.
To the people on /r/PCMasterrace, /r/Overclocking & /r/BuildaPCSales - I can't thank you enough for all the free help and insight they've given me. I've learned an unbelievable amount, and have evolved from an aspiring young teenager simply wanting a high-end, expensive rig to an adult with the knowhow to build one and, more importantly, comprehend why certain parts work and why others don't. Overclocking is still a new and unventured territory for me, but one I am anxious to hone my skills in and tinker further with the dream PC I've finally managed to build.
Thank you, to everyone in PC community, you guys & gals are unbelievable! Keep up the great work, and good luck with your own builds!
1) Putting the Noctua cooler on the CPU, installation was a breeze. Little worried about the clearance of the front 140mm fan with the RAM, but as you'll see it fits - if just barely.
2) Replaced the stock & rear 120mm Fractal fans with x2 140mm Noctuas on the front and x1 120mm Noctua on the back. Moved the stock Fractal fans up top blowing out.
3) Testing clearance and lining up the rear 120mm Noctua and front 140mm Noctua with the CPU cooler for a straight-as-possible airflow through and out the CPU cooler.
4) You can see how I scooted the Fractal 120s as far over as I could above the CPU cooler. With the front 140mm fan mounted on the cooler, the Fractal fan to the right shouldn't be sucking much air away from the cooler that the front-mounted 140 is pushing into the case.
7) You can really see how close the clearance is with the Vengeance RAM. The front 140mm CPU cooler fan barely fits, I was worried I would have to scoot it a bit over to make room for the RAM heatsinks, but fortunately that wasn't the case. It's a close, but perfect fit.
10) GPU upgrades down the road. Top is a 650 Ti (1GB), Middle is a 960 (4GB) Windforce by Gigabyte, and bottom is the monstrously big 2080 Ti FTW3 by EVGA.
11) Showing the sag/bowing of my old 960. This poor card was used for over 4 years without any support holding it up, and especially in the middle the sag is pretty noticeable. This card is solidily built with a back plate, but even that wasn't enough to stop the sag.
12) Leveling the 2080 Ti before I attach the support bracket to it.
13) UpHere support bracket installed. The card rests upon it perfectly level, and this should (hopefully) reduce or completely nullify sag. Hoping for the later, this card is insanely big and really needs extra support. I'll check on it regularly and if I start to notice slight bends I'll get more support for it.
14) All cable managed. Wasn't too bad at all, the Fractal case has great points for zip-tying cables down.
15) Completed build. I was going to run the GPU power cables down rather than over the top initially, but running them over the top looks way more clean. Decided to leave them like that. If you look hard you can see all that hard work I did making the cables look nice above the giant CPU cooler and top fans, which kinda block all that effort. Oh well!
18-20) More views of those cables running over the top of the GPU
21) Really hoping that support bracket works out. It feels and looks better with one than without, and any support is better than none.
EDIT #1 (12 July 2019):
Corsair PSU bit the dust. No idea what happened, and 850W should be more than enough to power this build even overclocked and running full tilt. Guess it just gave up. Currently in the process of RMAing the old PSU for a new one.
EDIT #2 (20 July 2019):
Corsair sent me a new PSU after RMAing the damaged one, PC is working fine. Fortunately no components seem to be damaged.
EDIT #3 (22 December 2019):
Upgrading RAM from 16 GB to 32 GB. Still 2 sticks, same RAM specs, manufacturer & model. Added an additional 1 TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus.