Description

EDIT: Thanks everyone for all the comments! I wasn't expecting so much positive feedback - you guys are awesome!

This is my first build since 2009 and also represents a transition from a laptop back to a desktop. I simply got fed up with my laptop's overheating issues and poor peripherals that I decided it was finally time to move on. My old desktop was a bit unwieldy and noisy, so my target was a build that's more compact-looking and silent while not sacrificing performance. After weeks of research and catching up with the times, this was the result.

The Corsair Air 240 perfectly suits my needs for an ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing case. It produces plenty of airflow and was very easy to work with. It's clean-looking and small enough to rest on top of my desk side ledge. The only downside was that most air coolers were too large to fit, so I had to use a liquid cooler. I wanted a Skylake CPU since it just came out, but there was just the one mATX LGA1151 motherboard available at the time so I didn't have a choice. So far, it hasn't had any issues.

For me, the main focus of this build was not solely performance, but overall user experience. I wanted a modern multimedia entertainment package. For this reason, I spent a little more cash on peripherals. I was able to get the speakers and headphones in a combo deal from Adorama, and they are simply stated, amazing. I've had surround sound Logitech speakers in the past, but if my memory serves me right, these new studio monitors produce much crisper and more accurate sound. I generally don't like using headphones as they tend to physically strain my ears, but these are comfortable enough to wear for several hours straight. I've never used a mechanical keyboard before, so it took some time to get used to, but the response and feedback from the K70 is fantastic. And of course, my trusty Naga Hex is perfect for playing MOBA games.

Finally, the GPU. This was the item I spent the most time deliberating due to so many available options. For my budget, I could have went with either the GTX 960, 970, 980, or the R9 290, 290x, 390, 390x. I spend the majority of my gaming time playing MOBAs such as Dota or HotS. While I would like to play some of the latest titles at Ultra-High settings, I don't consider myself enough of an enthusiast to really enjoy the difference between 60 FPS and 50 FPS. This is how I made my decision. While I could have bought a 970 for about $100 extra, I'm not running a 144hz monitor to truly appreciate the difference. I intend to eventually upgrade to a 4K monitor with my current setup, but none of the GPUs in my price range could produce playable framerates at 4K anyway. I'll some a few bucks and wait until next year to upgrade. As for the R9 cards, the additional power consumption cost is significant enough that I might as well spend a bit more on a higher tier Nvidia card. So I went with the GTX 960, silent and efficient to complement my build.

The build was quite easy and took me around 3 hours with my limited knowledge of hardware. If I had read the instructions on installing the liquid cooler backplate, I could have likely saved myself another hour. Since it is a Corsair liquid cooler with a Corsair case, everything was compatible. I didn't have to remove the case fan and replace it with the cooler fan, since they were the exact same dimensions and same hole placement. The motherboard was actually the most cumbersome to install due to the bendable metal tabs on the I/O shield. Plugging in the power supply cables was super easy and ergonomic due to the dual chamber design. I am fully convinced now that modular power supplies are worth the extra cost.

The only drawback of the case was the lack of an optical drive slot. I didn't think it mattered since we're approaching the year 2016, but I was wrong. I was thinking of just downloading all the drivers from the motherboard's website. The motherboard's drivers came in a DVD, and without it I couldn't install the network driver to access the internet. I could have burned the DVD to a USB on another computer, but that seemed like a hassle so I went with the more direct approach. The cables were just long enough to connect both the power supply and SATA to my old optical drive, which I rested on top of the case. It worked, and life went on.

I am more than pleased with my new machine's performance. The liquid cooling enables the CPU to stay around 30 C at idle and no more than 45 C under load. The GPU maxes out around 63 C under load. It stays extremely silent during operation and I can't notice any heat output either. Simply stated - it's efficient, clean looking, and produces more than enough oomph for what I require.

My desk is the Ikea Fredde. It's very spacious and ergonomic, and allows me to rest my forearms on the desk while typing or gaming. It has hangers in the back for headphones and cables, enough ledges for multiple routers/speakers/whatever, and an adjustable monitor stand. For $200, it's well worth it. I'm extremely satisfied with my new multimedia entertainment setup and consider this project to be an overall success. In the future I intend on upgrading my GPU and adding either a 4k or ultrawide monitor.

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Comments

  • 58 months ago
  • 4 points

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I WAS GOING TO BE THE THIRD SKYLAKE BUILD BUT MY MOTHERBOARD STILL HAS NOT ARRIVED

Cries

  • 58 months ago
  • 2 points

So fresh, so clean.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

7up, no caffeine.

  • 58 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build! Any reason you went for a crummy water cooler when you could have had a MUCH better air cooler for the same money?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm looking for a new air cooler. Any suggestions? Something around the $50 price range.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/phanteks-cpu-cooler-phtc12dxbk

Best $50 cooler there is. I have used them many times. They are great. Come in many colors too.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, others with the Corsair Air 240 case have had to return quality air coolers due to their height, which is an issue since the actual space between the motherboard and the side window is limited. I didn't really want to potentially run into this issue, even if there are air coolers that would have fit. Plus, I never used a water cooler before and wanted to try one out so it was more of an experimental thing.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

It totally respect your decision, I just would never personally buy a $64 AIO that is beaten by a Hyper 212 EVO.

Regardless, nice build!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I have an Air 240 and all the good air coolers are too high (over 120 mm) so your options end up being a water cooler or intel stock/crappy air cooler.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

two more of those acer monitors and thats a sick surround setup. nice build

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Absolutely approve of this build and that monitor +1

I have one sitting to my left connected to a a build I'm posting tomorrow, it's an excellent choice for everything imo.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

OO! The first i5 skylate system! Congrats.

Looks great! love your office setup.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Over all a great build and i love what you did with the pc (were it is) and what you did with the headphones! great build but could needs some cable management.

+1 from me

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

What desk is that?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I was actually going to ask the same question. I am stuck behind a huge corner desk that limits where I a can move it to. Would like something like the OP's.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

It's a Ikea Fredde and it sells for $200. I didn't bother to put on the side panels since I think they were kind of pointless and limits my view of the router.

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  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah it's the most comfortable I've been while playing a game or just browsing the web. Having extra desk space to lean on is really nice.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Could you take and put more pictures of the inside completed?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I can only imagine the desk was harder to build then the computer. +1 for the desk and ikea having you put it togther and +1 for the build lol

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah it definitely took a lot of energy to take it up 3 floors to my place and set it up. I was exhausted and literally just collapsed on my chair after I was all finished, haha.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Lets see you get this reference:

I meed your help!

+1 btw

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! How's the i5 performance?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

The First one ,,,, you get +1

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Is having the build upside down like that intentional?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I was wondering who would notice that! Yeah I actually didn't realize it was upside down when I took the photos, but I flipped it the other way afterwards. Not a huge deal, but now I can't see the window into my case. I guess I should have set it up on the right side if I had noticed sooner.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Technically, you could have left it with the window facing your chair. Just flip over the Corsair logo and you're set.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah that's true, but my GPU would still be upside down. Not sure how much that matters, just more of a preference.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

It won't affect anything. I used to have an matx build using a Bitfenix Prodigy M case. The build was inverted compared to most builds too. But I'm much happier now with the Air 240.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I see, that's good to know. Maybe I'll flip it over again seeing how easy it is to do so. I just love this case!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build man +1

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build and setup man! How's that 6600K working out for you?

  • 58 months ago
  • 2 points

Blazing fast, especially with the SSDs and DDR4 ram. Although coming from a laptop, everything is blazing fast.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I think Corsair H60 looks better than H55. 240GB Samsung SSD could be better than that OCZ. And not much price difference.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I am in love with your desk. I want it so bad for when I build my pc it even has ******* cup holders!! Defiantly going to get a desk similar to that (maybe cheaper?) Any ways beautiful build!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I have to admit the desk just makes everything better! There's so much space that it can function as a study area and snack table while not having to move the keyboard or mouse around. The adjustable monitor ledge is really nice too since you can move it up and down to your preference.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, it seems that you have some experience in using skylake for your builds. I am also planning to build a PC with skylake, and I was wondering if you could give me some feedback on my build. Here is the link:

http://pcpartpicker.com/guide/WvRscf/black-and-white-skylake-build

Thanks in advance!

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

nice build/setup but visually some basic cable management would make it so much cleaner

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Name of desk? it looks really nice!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Question about the speakers : First, are they sold in pairs or singles? Second, is it just one 3.5 inch connector into the motherboard or did you need extra cable/adapter?

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Love your build. I was thinking about getting the FREDDE desk from Ikea but I've got slanted ceilings so it wouldn't fit very well.

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

24inch looks like 19....

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

great setup! however maybe some cable managementXD and also you could use an ultrawide for sure!

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool build and very nice desk! Question... How is the fit of the Asus 960 GPU in the 240? I have the same GPU and want a 240 as well, but I have read a few people mention that the case does not close over it. How'd you do it? Great build!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey! I just found out about your build and found it really interesting since I'm planning on doing something really similar! I was wondering if the inverted Air 240 was working well? I need my PC to be at my left side and was unsure it would work out. Other than that, how is the Acer H236HLbid for gaming? A lot of people are saying 5ms response time is too much for gaming and all, but I thought it was probably not that bad and if it's working decently, I'd prefer having an IPS screen. Thanks!

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

i’m super late but do u have the link to the desk?

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  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I think that's a great name! In fact when I get home from work that's what I'll officially name the computer :P

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  • 58 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow, that's awesome! I actually just found out about this site two weeks ago and figured hey why not. I got my Skylake from Newegg via 2-day shipping since I wanted to build it over the weekend. Still, very surprised and happy about this achievement!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Dang it! Mine is coming on Thursday!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha, mine is not getting here until Friday. Oh well!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm so excited for it. Which motherboard are you getting? I'm going for the MSI z170 M7.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Maybe I'll be the first to OC it lol

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