PC 2016 Build Log

I decided to build a new PC. It’s been over five years since I did my water-cooled rig and technology has made some serious leaps. After weeks of research, the goal is to build a high-end gaming rig in a compact form factor. This rig will be built around having the option to Crossfire or SLI. This will be a combo CLC and air-cooled rig. The CPU will be on a CLC and the video card will be Air Cooled (as of now).

Here are the parts:

CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 4.00 GHz LGA1151 $415
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX $105
Motherboard: Asus ROG Maximus VIII GENE Intel Z170 (Skylake) mATX $230
Graphics Card: Asus AMD Radeon R9 NANO 4GB HBM $510
RAM: 32GB (2x16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2400 (PCA 19200) $240
Storage: Samsung 950 PRO Series 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD $330
PSU: Corsair AX1200 (The only part I am reusing from my last build!)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 mATX $90
Case Fans: 4x Corsair Air Series SP120 PWM $70
OS: Windows 10 Professional $120

Total cost: $2110

It’s crazy that this build won’t be using a single SATA device! With new PCIe SSD technology, I can finally have the same SSD performance I have been getting on my Mac Pro but now on a PC! Apple was way ahead of the game when it came to PCIe storage technology. Typical SSDs get 500 read / 500 write performance. These PCIe M.2 sticks get 2500 read / 1500 write!

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.26.18 PM

Another big leap in tech I wanted to take advantage of was in graphics cards. I picked the ASUS Radeon R9 NANO because it is the first video card to have it’s RAM on die, called HBM (High Bandwidth Memory), so bandwidth is increased between the RAM and the GPU. And because the RAM is on die, this allows the card to be half the size of it’s equivalent card without HBM!

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 6.27.46 PM

Keep following my blog these next few days to keep up with my build out!

Dominator GT + Airflow II + Airflow Pro

I received all of my “dream” RAM parts today: Dominator GT RAM – in RED! Airflow II Fan – in RED! And the Airflow Pro LED module – for BLING!

I was able to stretch my overclock a bit further, up to 4.266 with the RAM running at 1500MHz 1.5V. And this is with about half of my OC settings set at AUTO!!! Since my RAM is rated at 2000MHz at 1.65V, I still have plenty of opportunity to try going to 4.4GHz. It will take a lot of manual tweaking…but I’ll leave that for another rainy day.

I changed my mind…

Just yesterday I ordered the Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer RAM and the matching fan from Newegg. And today, Newegg decided to put run a promo for 15% off all RAM! Ugh!

So I immediately cancelled my order to place a new order with the promo…but then new buying scenarios started popping in my head! All along, throughout this PC build, I have been longing for Corsair Dominator GT Ram with the red Airflow fan and the Airflow Pro LED module. Well, at $50 off with a 15% discount…it was my calling! So I decided to go with my original plan afterall! In fact the discounts were so deep, I decided to go with the 2000 MHz version!

6GB Corsair Dominator GT 2000 MHz @ 1.65V 8-9-8-24
Airflow II Cooling Fan
Airflow Pro LED Display

Here is the Airflow Pro in action:

The only compromise is that I am getting 6GB of Corsair RAM, while the Crucial Ballistix order was for 12GB RAM. But it isn’t much of a compromise because the way I use my rig, anything more than 4GB is simply unsused. And by only using 3 of the 6 slots available, overclocking will be far more stable with less load on the memory controller and less heat.

Here are a few closeups of the gear:

Doesn’t Corsair gear look badass? The Crucial gear looked pretty good but I think Corsair looks a bit better.

Never-ending mods!

When I installed the third GPU, my system became very unstable and buggy. It was likely caused by installing the GPUs on PCI-E slots 1 2 3. The manual states that I must use slots 1 3 4 for the best performance, but I felt using 1 2 3 was more aesthetically pleasing. I was willing to take the performance hit. Unfortunately, the performance hit was much larger than I anticipated, so I decided to put my GPUs in the recommended configuration. And guess what? Bugginess is all gone! And it doesn’t look bad at all!

Since I had to drain my system to make the change, I decided to apply a few other mods.

Lamptron FC5 V2 fan controller.
Corsair AirFlow 2 RAM cooler.

Replaced PrimoChill Clear tubing to Feser UV Red tubing
Removed Red LED light bar and kept two White CCFL light bars.

Oh boy.

I’m gettting rid of my Thermaltake Toughpower XT 875W. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. In fact, I was very happy with it. I replaced it with a Corsair AX1200. There is really only one reason why I would need more juice…stay tuned.