Update: I recently completed a custom loop for this build, you can find the build update here: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/b/DbKBD3
Thank you PCPP for the feature! As someone who checks out builds here on a daily basis it's nice to be able to contribute to the collection of awesome builds. Keep up the great work, the interwebs wouldn't be the same without you!
I started this build about 6 months ago and I've finally got to a point at which I'm happy to post it on here. The build is inspired by some other great builds I've seen on this site. It's based on Zero Samus from the Metroid games which I use to love and my go to character on smash bros... rip GameCube. I hope you enjoy the photos!
A note on the case:
The following write up is mostly for people looking to build in this case to give them a decent idea of problems they may run into since it's 90% style/build quality over easy of access/convenience.
If you're looking into this case I'm sure you've heard it's hard to build in and I can only agree. I hope you enjoy cable management and undoing screws because you'll be at it for several hours. Getting a decent end result does require some planning but it's worth it.
Detailed build process:
Here I'll go through each component in the order that I'd recommend installing them. In each case I'll detail any problems I encountered along the way.
3.5" Hard Drives / SSDs / HUE+:
- I placed both 3.5" HDDs in the front drive cage and left the mounting positions behind the gpu for my SSDs.
- The main Issue with these was plugging in the power cables with so little clearance between the top of the drives and my PSU. I had to mount my PSU at the lowest point to get decent clearance for my AIO tubes. I'd recommend installing the drive cage back into the case and then plugging in any connections afterwards.
- You can install various combinations of drives between 6 HDDs + 1 SSD and 2 HDDs + 5 SSDs assuming you are using the PCI-E slot, if not you can get another 2 drives on top of those. I found this pretty impressive for a case of this nature.
- I've actually got 2 HUE+ boxes in this build, 1 in the slim cd drive bay and 1 at the back of the drive bay in the front bay. This only leavers me with 1 drive slot left which I'll be using for another ssd eventually.
Picked up a 1080 TI about 2 weeks ago and decided to go for the founders since none of the announced aftermarket cards (<290mm) were really appealing to my tastes. I was considering an evga ftw2 or 3 card but since air flow in this case is hardly amazing I pulled the trigger on the FE card and don't regret it... it's a beast! I've also got the option to water cool easily with the FE but maybe after my wallet recovers.
The only down side to the FE card is the fans don't stop at idle. It's very quite any way and I rarely even notice it them at idle but if you are coming from a dead silence (fan stop) GPU it's something to keep in mind.
I terms of the actual volume and temps compared to my previous 980 TI they pretty much the same. Usually about 68-72 degrees with the in take fans and GPU fans between about 60-75% both set to monitor GPU temps.
My Current clocks:
- 2000mhz (+140 on core clock - this is the value after temps and gpu boost have settled)
- +150mhz on the memory clock
- +120% power limit
I doubt I'll push the core any further but I need to work on the memory clock when I get some time.
- Nzxt CAM - I've had issues with profiles resetting or the huye boxes switching but most of them were cleared up when I stopped logging in and used guest login instead.#
- Corsair Utility Engineer - I have very mixed feelings about this software. I theory it's great but my overal experience when it comes to drivers an
- MSi afterburner/riva for overclocking, fan curves and monitoring
Not much to say here really, it's a fantastic motherboard.
- Plenty of presets for lazy overclockers
- USB Type C fast charge port is really handy
Almost forgot to mention the on-board sound is amazing, I really wasn't expecting it to be so good.
- There are 3 mounting points for the PSU. The lowest works fine for up to 170mm PSUs and should give you more space for an AIO cooler.
- Consider getting a right angle kettle plug about 2.5-3m long for better rad clearance if you're using one. Keep in mind you lose about 0.5m of PSU cable routing it round the back of the case.
- You will also need to detach the back plate on the case to pass the plug through the 2 holes provided.
CPU + AIO NZXT Kraken x52:
This was probably the hardest bit of the build. I wanted 3 fans running along the top so the only positioning that was actually possible is shown in the pictures (with the 240mm rad on the far right of the case). I used a couple of cable ties and extra screws to attach the 3rd fan on the far right.
- There are 27-31 screws involved in removing the top of the case and mounting the rad/fans. It really is the most tedious part of the build.
Once happy with the rad/top of the case I installed the CPU & pump.
A few points to take note of:
- Keep in mind if you're using the Kraken cooler it scratches very easily, you can see I managed to scratch mine (I recommend protecting/wrapping the pump if you need to remove it). Fortunately you won't notice any scratches while its in use.
- The only problem I experienced with the cooler was with the CAM software. It wouldn't open but a re-install fixed that (make sure you install all available modules for CAM if you're having the same problem).
- Also note the pump tubes only just clear the LPX corsair vengeance ram I have installed. I was originally going to upgrade to some yellow and black g.skillz trident z ram but realised it probably won't fit.
I was using the X52 as exhaust with negative air pressure (purely for aesthetics). I found switching to intake reduced GPU temps on my 980 TI (open air cooler) by 10-11 degrees, having the dust filter on top of that is a bonus. I haven't bothered changing it since.
As far as actually performance goes my CPU is clocked at 4.6ghz - 1.3 volts (4.7 seemed to be the max stable clock). I'll have to check temps and post some updates in the future because I can't remember exact load temps with this cooler.
Once everything is installed cable management needs some good planning if you want to get the back panel back on. There aren't any mounting holes for cable ties but it's possible to work around this. I had to invest in a lot of cable mounts/ties but after many hours I'm happy with the result.
- hoping to add another SSD 500GB-1TB
- Full custom loop? Maybe one day...
- Possibly some new speakers, I'm struggling to let go of these though. They're coming up on 20 years or but the sub they came with is incredible.
- Ergotron MX Desk Mount with LCD Arm
- 3m Mains Power Cable with 90 Degree Right Angled Kettle Type IEC Socket (black)
- Toshiba Canvio Desk 5TB Desktop Hard Drive 3.5 Inch USB 3.0 - Black- HDWC250EK3J1. (drive removed and installed internally)
- Xb1 elite controller
- ROG Sheath mouse mat
- Bitfenix alchemy individual pre-sleeved cables
- Samus Amiibos
- Too many extension cables & a USB hub
If there's anything you see that isn't listed here feel free to ask me.
If I've learn anything from this build it's that blu tack is the ****. It single-handedly solved almost every problem I encountered along the way. I completely forgot it existed and I can't recommend it enough!