THANK YOU FOR THE FEATURE!
Ten years ago on October 4, 2009, I learned that one of my best friends from high school had died in a car accident. We hadn't talked as much since graduating, but while we were in school, he was the one who encouraged me to build my first PC in 2004. It was an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ with 1 GB of RAM and an ATI Radeon 9800 PRO.
I built two other systems since then, one in 2006 and then started watercooling in 2012. All three were very blue. You can find the 2012 build here
Yesterday, exactly a decade later, I finished my fourth PC after about a month of building. It's the second one I've watercooled, and the first one that isn't blue. Everything worked right out of the box and leak testing was a success. I'd like to think I had some help along the way.
Many of the parts I already owned: namely the PSU, monitors, peripherals, and water pump. Below are my impressions of the new parts:
Case: Coming from a Corsair Obsidian 650D, I wanted something with a smaller footprint. I really like the aesthetic and internal layout of the Meshify C, and it was a fun challenge to fit two cross-flow radiators in it. The front fans are slim Noctuas mounted externally from the case frame to give more internal clearance. Standard thickness fans would not have cleared the front mesh, and I didn't want to cut any of the plastic. I had bought 3 Chromax fans for the top (2) and rear, but the rear wouldn't fit with the tube coming out. My only real gripe with this case is that the glass side panel is mounted with thumbscrews.
CPU: Eight cores and sixteen threads at a lower TDP than my old i5 3570K. Ticking all the boxes of a great upgrade.
GPU: Speaking of great upgrades, my old GTX 970 was not cutting it when it came to pushing pixels to a 27" 1440p 144Hz monitor. This 2070 Super XC Ultra should be able to handle what I throw at it no problem.
RAM: My first 3 builds used Corsair memory. In fact, this is the first build that has zero Corsair parts in it. The heatspreaders on this ram look sharp, and literally are sharp. The LEDs are uniform and easily manipulated using Asus Aura.
Mobo: I was considering an MSI board but for the third time ended up going with Asus. The chipset fan doesn't sound anywhere near as loud as I had expected, the aesthetic looks pretty cool, and I used the yellow and gunmetal accents on the PCB as the basis of this build's color scheme.
SSD: Boot times are incredible with this NVMe drive. 500GB isn't a whole lot of space nowadays, but I plan on adding a less expensive, 1TB drive in the second M.2 slot to use as storage, while the Samsung will be solely for OS and applications.
CPU Block: Looks great, cools well, but the mounting hardware never seemed to fully bottom out at the end of the threads like I would have expected. CPU idles at about 30c.
GPU Block: Same deal. Looks great, keeps the GPU under 30c at idle. Mounting again was a little tricky. EK instructions aren't great, and the fact that they put 5 different types of screws in a single bag doesn't help either. The manual said to use all of the same type, but clearly some holes needed longer screws.
Radiators: I won't use anything other than HardwareLabs. Fit and finish are spectacular, cross-flow really helps with draining in a vertical orientation, and very little if any flux leftover from the manufacturing process.
Fans: After treating fans as an afterthought with my previous builds, I went with the best of the best and tried out Noctua for the first time. Under 50% speed they are literally silent, and air is still moving through the radiator fins. Very impressive. The Chromax fans rubber corners are interchangeable, but I got the grey ones (not included) to compliment the color scheme.
Reservoir: This model comes in dozens of colors, and the D5 pump screws right into the base. My only complaint is that the clear acrylic tube was not cut at an exact 90 degree angle, causing it to appear slightly skewed when viewed at certain angles.
Fittings: Look great, match the colors perfectly. They're a bit difficult to screw the compression collar down, and end up turning the tube with it, so there was a lot of trial and error when getting tube runs lined up.
Tubing: Pretty flexible compared to traditional soft tube. The matte black is a perfect match for the blocks and Mobo.
Cables: Almost went with Cablemod, but their color selection is limited. Ensourced delivered a quality product and the colors match perfectly.