<<The Who>> Named 'The Salvaged'.It's simply because the core components of this build come from the classified corners of the webs, and most of the parts are used.
<<The When>> I've been working on this machine, kinda like a on-going project, for almost one year - exchanging part, for part, for part.
<<The How>> Most of the components are sourced from Kijiji - a classified website sub-division of Ebay that is the most popular of its kind here where I live, Toronto.
One of the most important things to look at when being used is WARRANTY. However, when buying used, many components do not come with receipts/warranty. Therefore it is critical that I test every single component prior to purchase (which in my opinion, is even better than directly purchasing from retailers because no retailer will open a sealed unit for you to test). For this purpose, I have a portable MATX rig that I bring everywhere to test components.
When choosing used parts, you have different factors to consider than when buying from retail. Sometimes, you can end up waiting for weeks before a specific part shows up on the classified, Sometimes, you just give up and say ‘fk it, I’m going with another part’ or ‘fk it, I’m buying this part at a retailer’. Sometimes, it's worth it spend a couple of bucks more to get a receipt. Sometimes, it’s choosing between brands that has a has a transferable warranty (e.g. ASUS, MSI, EVGA, etc). Sometimes, it’s choosing a brand that has a RMA center in your city - coincidentally, both MSI and ASUS have RMA centers within a five minute driving radius from where I live. Decisions, decisions, decisions!
<<The Where>> It’s important to know which manufacturers have RMA centers in your city/country when considering your choices. Also, watch out for currency exchange. Here in Canada, the price of electronics are directly affected by the exchange rate between the Canadian Dollar and the USD. A 600 USD 980TI would cost around 1100 CAD after tax. Due to fluctuating currency, prices changes quickly - it’s important to know how much the parts you want are worth in USD or you could be kicking yourself. So it’s a good idea to regularly keep an eye on the news, and the financial forecast.
<<<The What>>> So what exactly do I do with this build? I game, but unfortunately it’s less nowadays due to work. I’m a full time photographer, so I mostly run Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC. This build powers through those programs, making my workflow silky smooth.
Powered by an i7 4790k on a Maximus Hero VII motherboard, overclocked to 4.6 Ghz at 1.20v - this chip is golden. I had it stable at 4.9Ghz at one point but the temperatures were higher than I had liked. I've also had the chance to try an MSI Gaming 5, and the Gigabyte Z97X-SOC motherboards. Both are extremely well made boards. The Gigabyte SOC board even managed pushed my chip even higher than the Maximus Hero VII did, but, the BIOS was...just confusing to say the least, and my overclocking skills just wasn't good enough to put the board into its full potential. Eventually, I settled with the HERO VII, sold the SOC (bought for 130 CAD, sold for 200 CAD), and gave the MSI to my wife (bought for $125 CAD). The 4790k I picked up for 380 CAD and the Hero VII for 250 CAD on Kijiji, both prices are significantly less than retail.
CPU is cooled by a AIO watercooler by Coolermaster, the Seidon 240m with the Noctua NTH1 thermal paste. Currently overclocked at 4.6GHZ, the idle temperatures rests at mid-to-high 20’s. Gaming at around 50-70% load, the temperatures sits comfortably at low-to-mid 50’s. Using AIDA and 100% load, I did an 30 minute stress test and ended with the temperatues at mid 60’s with a peak max temp of 72. I bought this AIO on clearance at 90 CAD after tax.
For RAM, I’m running the 16 GB (2x8GB) Avexir Raiden DDR3 1600 Mhz RAM. Man, this is the ram I had dreams of. I even downgraded from a set of 2133 RAM for these bad boys. No photos can do true justice for these RAM modules. Just so damned sexy! The lightning! Prior to settling on the Avexir Raiden, I've tried the GSkill Ripjaws, the Corsair Dominator Platinums, and the Crucial Ballistix Tracers - all very nice RAM - but it just doesn't come close to how sexy these Raiden RAM modules are.
My OS and games are loaded onto my SSD, a Samsung 850 EVO 240GB. I have all of my data loaded onto 2 HDD - a Seagate 4TB SSHD and a WD 3TB HDD. I personally never buy used drives, just a little paranoia I have over privacy issues.
Powering the machine is a 1000W EVGA P2 Platinum Rated PSU that I snatched off Kijiji for 120 CAD, what a crazy find! I just love EVGA’s warranty too - transferable, cross ship, 7 years - best option for when buying used.
Housing my PC is the NZXT H440. I know how common these are nowadays, but, it’s just looks so damned good. And when I found one on Kijiji, I couldn’t resist - bought for 100 CAD.
Two important parts of the PC that I really spend time choosing are the GPU, and the case fans.
Case fans - these are critical to any build. They cool your pc, they can sound like jet engines or the sweet sound of your lover’s whispers, and, they can be the pillars of personality/style for your rig. I spared no costs, and spend a lot of time finding the balance between great cooling, looks, and noise.
I took advantage of Newegg’s premier membership program, which waived restocking/return fees, and I tried them all (like Cougar, Noctua, Corsair, Xigmatek, Thermtake and Lepa). In the end, I chose to settle with 2x Noctua’s IPPC 3000 RPM fans to replace the stock Coolermaster radiator fans, 3x Lepa’s BOL Quiet Fans with blue LED lighting to mount on the front, and a Noctua F12 on the back. The H440 is a quiet, but stuffy case, and my case fans help balance that. I also made sure to have a negative pressure system by controlling the fan speeds. Dust, be gone!
GPU - I actually shopped around for a long time to find a suitable GPU for my needs. In the beginning, I started out with a Zotac GTX 680. I upgraded to an ASUS 970, switched to a MSI 980 TI Gaming 6G, to a ASUS 980TI STRIX OC, to a Gigabyte 980TI Gaming One, to a Zotac 980TI Amp!Extreme, and finally settling back to the MSI - lol, what a journey! It took me 4months, but hey, it was worth it! (I’ve also tried the Gigabyte R9 390 and the MSI R9 390X for a few days) With all the buying and selling of these cards, I actually ended up making some money (not much though, like 50 bucks). The MSI 980TI Gaming 6G I ended up buying costed only 750 CAD, which I found on Kijiji - the same card would have costed 1040 CAD on Newegg Canada.
To top everything off, I procured a NZXT Hue+ and Cablemod’s White/Black cable set for the bling factor.
<<The why>> To me, building pcs is just pure joy and fun! Honestly, the constant hunt for parts, the great feeling of snatching up a deal, or meeting a fellow gamer/builder are all a part of it. By going through the classified, I’ve had the opportunity to try out many makes of 980 Ti’s out there: ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA, Zotac, and I eventually settled with a MSI. I don’t mind losing a few bucks here and there if it means I can try out new parts
It’s my first time posting on Pcpartpicker. And I wanted to share my experience and the fun I had with fellow builders. Sorry if this build was too long, I know I know tl;dr right? But hopefully it was worth the read.
Edit: for those wondering, 1 USD is around 1.33 CAD give or take
Edit: uploaded some photos. some 'in-progress' photos when I had different components in there.
Without a doubt, hands down, the sexiest RAM in town BY FAR. But the plasma tubing feels a little plasticky/fragile, be extremely cautious of mishandling and damage during installation.
Side note: Avexir states that there will be interchangeable tubing in the future! How crazy is that? And when are those coming out?
Performs great, is cool, and one of the quietest 980's around. It may not be your cup of 980ti, but for sure is mine!
After using the Zotac, Gigabyte, and ASUS, in comparison, the MSI is not the fastest, not the coolest, but in my opinion, it is the sexiest of the 980ti's. Also one of the smallest in size and weight amongst the 980 TI's. It can fit in most ITX cases.
Pros: The best bang for buck high airflow 120mm case fan out there, Noctua, Cougar, Fractal move out the way!!! With maximum airflow 1600RPM/18dBA @ 81.45 CFM, these things are beasts! RPM controlled, high quality cables, includes rubber mount to reduce vibration and sound, sexy blue or red LED (not to say I use them), solid build, what more can you ask for?
I currently have 2x3000RPM Noctua fans on my radiator on top, and one more on the back. I've looked everywhere for a solution that could create a positive air pressure system, I have had no luck. That is until I found these LEPA fans. With these LEPA fans. I'm currently running THREE of these in the front of my H440 case at MAX RPM, they are barely audible, and they balance out my Noctua fans.
Lastly and most importantly, I could buy THREE of these for the price of ONE noctua fan.
Cons: Bought 6 of these from Newegg, 1 came in, DOA MINUS 1 star for that. . Newegg was fast and efficient in its replacement. Packaging looks cheap, but who cares, how else are they cutting down the costs?
Conclusion: If you're in town for fans, THESE GUYS ARE THE WAY TO GO!