This build will be used primarily for gaming, with some possible light video editing in the future. I know that the black and red color scheme is cliché, but it was somewhat unintended and I really just bought the parts because I liked them for their features and performance. Also, I know that there will be people that point out that a 980 Ti pushing 1080p is way overkill. I know. I agree with you. But, I have two reasons for it- 1. Dynamic Super Resolution 2. Some people just like to see a really high number when they look at FPS. At this point I really don't mind running 1080p, but the monitor will definitely be my next upgrade when it starts getting old (unless something super-duper amazing comes out and I forget everything else and buy that)
During construction, there were a few problems getting the Noctua fan screw holes and Kraken x61 screw holes in alignment - I managed to get 2 screws total all the way through, but the rest are just holding the fans in place and not actually going through the radiator. I spent the longest on this and it's the least complete part of the build. Luckily the 2 screws going all the way through are in opposite corners, so the radiator is still held in place pretty well. You may see the black electrical tape that is over the gap between the front fans and radiator; that was an afterthought to seal all of the air in and not let as much air escape instead of going through the rad.
Update August 3rd, 2015 - I had the extra 140mm fans lying around from the case and CPU cooler, so I used the quiet Fractal Design fans to run a push-pull layout on the radiator. I definitely never planned for this, but the fans were free and quiet so I said why not. They give some more directed airflow into the case which is actually a good thing. And as they are plugged into system fan headers, I can control them in the BIOS unlike the system with the Kraken, where it's all semi automatic.
I had been running Windows 7 on this machine waiting for Windows 10 to come out, but I didn't want to write 40 gigs of operating system storage to my brand new SSD and never get that life back. So, in that time I used my dad's old 120GB PNY solid state drive as a boot drive. That thing had read/write times in the 300 - 330 MB/s range, but I was still amazed coming from a laptop with a horribly slow HDD. And now that I've migrated everything (after upgrading to Windows 10) over to the Samsung SSD with read/writes of nearly twice that, minds are being melted. It's so fasst.
8:20 PM (20:20), Central Standard Time - New pictures added!!
I chose this CPU because I really wanted a Core i7, although it is definitely overkill for gaming, I know. I just wanted a chip with more... spunk than an i5-4690K. And it does have spunk; a lot of it. I have no regrets spending the money on this.
Although this may not be the most popular choice for an IAO, I really like it, and it cools with the might of a thousand angry snowmen. Unfortunately, the installation was... only just acceptable. I watched an installation guide on youtube that was absolutely no help at all (I won't name names), and even NZXT's own youtube instruction video just glossed over the part I was stuck on (coincidentally, the reason I was stuck was because of faulty instructions from the first video). But it was over quickly and it was all worth it. Matched perfectly with the Noctua fans. The CAM software is very good, actually. I like it; I'm not sure what everyone else is going on about. It's good looking and easy to use now (there was probably an update). There is even a handy dandy FPS meter which is fully customizable to display whatever you want (e.g. RAM usage, VRAM usage, CPU/GPU temps and load, and obviously FPS with lows, averages, and highs). As a side note, there were a few bent fins on the radiator itself out of the box D': This sort of upset me but I'm sure the performance is not really affected. Sorta gives a dirty look at NZXT's quality control though.
I love this motherboard. Everything about it is just A+. And although this is secondary; the overall look of it... it's just eye-melting. I was looking at it in the box days before I even started building with it. But as for features, I wanted a lot of USB ports because I was sick of only having 1 USB 3.0 port on my laptop. With 2 USB 2.0, 6 USB 3.0, AND 2 USB 3.1 ports, this thing will surely have enough for whatever devices I ever need to plug in all together. Another selling point for this is the fantastic onboard audio. I wasn't interested in getting a sound card... so this was great. Every review I read said that it was very good, and I do agree now that I have it. Everything sounds crisp and clear, especially using my Razer Leviathan soundbar (I'm a slight Razer fanboy but I do understand that they have their faults, overpriced products being one of them.) But I digress. Overclocking is good, I haven't done much but it seems to be very stable, and the BIOS is pretty easy to navigate and has a lot of cool features like Board Explorer and an easy to use fan speed controller. Unfortunately I'm not able to adjust my front CPU fans through the BIOS as they are plugged into the splitter on the NZXT Kraken. This just means I have to use the CAM software to do it. One thing that I really liked, though - the IO shield is padded and has absolutely no sharp edges. It was a breeze to put in; like installing a little pillow into the case. And it is colored black on both sides to match the case as well. A+, 5 stars, 8/8 gr8.
They're honestly just regular RAM sticks, but they look very, very nice. Beautiful. They amazed me when I took them out of the box because of how much prettier they look than in the pictures. 1866 MHz is all I will need, and the CAS latency of 9 is pretty good. I had some problems with it being automatically recognized as 1333 MHz, but that's all fixed now.
Blazin' fast! Using Samsung's included Magician software, I recorded 550 MB/s sequential read speeds and 536MB/s writes. There are a lot of good features on the software, too, like TRIM commands and OS optimization. The interface looks nice, too. I was actually surprised pulling the SSD out of the box because of how light it was. Almost to the point of not feeling very high quality. But the aluminum frame saves it; it doesn't feel fragile at all. It feels sturdy. Sturdy and light. Not that I mind how it feels all that much; as long as it is incredibly reliable and fast (which it is), I'll be happy.
All I wanted was good speed for an HDD, and reliability. One terabyte was way enough for me. That's really all to say about it. Good drive.
Ohhhhh my god. The speed. I am in love with this card. It's flawless. Temps are fine as long as you don't stick with the somewhat idiotic stock fan profile. Just bump up the fans some; they'll keep the card much cooler and stay pretty quiet. Plays any game on Ultra settings guaranteed, although that isn't saying much at 1080p :P. Minesweeper runs pretty damn smooth -^ Haha, I kid, I kid. Recently beat Crysis 2 easily just because of the extraordinary experience running at ultra settings across the board and still getting 100+ FPS constantly. Even with anisotropic filtering and MSAA up very high (can't remember exact numbers). Overclocks like a BEAST. This thing is a hot rod of graphics cards. I easily got it up +200 base clock and +300 on the memory (albeit with a bit extra mV), and that's definitely not all that it can do. I just don't want to keep it all the way up there because of the increased heat output and power intake. Either way, highly recommend this. I rate 6 stars. Yes, six. 5 stars plus a hypothetical 6th star.
First and best case I've ever had. ...I suppose all of these parts are the first of them I've ever had. But this is a really, really nice case. Everything is clearly thought out a lot by Fractal. No sharp edges; all hard drive cages and optical drive bays are removable; and the grommeted slots are placed well for anything that you could need to run a cable through. The front door's hinges can be switched to the other side, which is very nice. The design has no flashy aspects though; I guess it's a mature case choice. Overall it's great. -Afterthought- Mature it may be, but I guess I ruined that part with the LED lights. Whatever. I'm 15. I like shiny things.
This is one of the nicest components in my build, and the one with the best packaging. Rock solid performance, I doubt that I will be having any problems with this for a loong time. Eco mode is nice, but I can't hear the PSU fan anyways so I just leave the switch off. I don't mind a little extra cooling in exchange for very little extra noise.
It's an optical drive. It works fine. I just got it for any driver disks that I might need to install; that or any old games on disks that I want to play. I just couldn't convince myself that not getting one would have been a good choice.
This fan... is okay. I like it for the most part, but I really want to like it more. The fan screw holes don't come pre-threaded, which makes for a really tough time screwing it in at first. And to add insult to injury, the part that should have the thread in it is made out of really malleable rubber which isn't held in much at all. So what you get is a piece of rubber bulging out nearly to the point of tearing as you try reealy hard to screw the screw in. Not too fun. But after you get the screw through once (heads up, I'd recommend putting all the screws through first outside of the case to get the threads in), it's twice as easy. That shouldn't have to be done though. The rest of the fan is alright. There's moderately good airflow at full speed, definitely enough for an exhaust. And even at full speed it's dead silent, which is an upside.
These fans are great. Fantastic airflow and static pressure even at low speeds, and when you turn them up to even 65% they just put a blizzard through the radiator. The CPU is so frosty I could put it in a drink and call it an ice cube. Of course, they do get audible above 50%, but I don't even care. I lived with a laptop cooled with mini jet turbines inside it for years, and this is nowhere near those levels. These fans are on the expensive side, sure, but I think it's worth it for this kind of performance. Highly recommended.
This is a part that I especially like tinkering with. Just having a different color every day prevents me from getting tired of any one particular color. And if I get tired of it altogether then I can just turn it off. It's fun to have there. My one and only gripe that I have with it however - in the mode to fade through all of the colors, it spends the most time in blue and blue based colors, then speeds through red, orange and yellow. I don't leave it on this setting though so it's not really a problem. Just wish they had focused on that more before it was released.
Love it. I wish it were more than 1080p, but it's still better than my laptop and I can always get a better monitor later. I would rather have 144Hz than 1440p. It doesn't have a volume button, stupidly; you have to go into the settings to change volume, but I personally use either my sound bar or my headphones and leave the monitor speakers off so that's fine. I saw on reviews that the built-in speakers aren't that good, anyways, and if you buy this monitor with the intent of gaming you should probably have some kind of aftermarket sound solution to go with it. The colors are great after adjustment - I changed them to match some settings that I got off a Newegg review - Contrast - 80 Red - 96 Green - 94 Blue - 88 These settings make the colors perfectly fine and that's all you need to do. I find that I use standard mode for, well, standard things, then change to Game mode for doing stuff where the colors are important and brightness levels could go up a little bit. You can change the presets to whatever you like though. I brought down the brightness in all presets to about 30-40 because this thing is blindingly bright. I guess there is nothing wrong with options, though. It really is a beautiful monitor. The bezels are not too thick and there is a good matte finish on the panel so you don't get glare. I wish they hadn't used glossy plastic for the stand and bezel though. It is pretty easy to clean still, but it's gonna attract fingerprints and oils. Pretty minor.
Three and a half stars. I've had this thing for a few years, and I would love more than anything to like it more than I do. I want to like it, just like Corsair's Air Series fans. But it has problems, like just general instability, and the laser sensor isn't really that reliable. It's now on top of my desk for looks, and I'm getting way more use out of my Redragon Perdition that I bought for 35 bucks. I'm going to try and get it traded in for a new Razer Mamba, because that thing looks like it has some serious oomf to it. If I can't do that, then a Deathadder Chroma would be great as well with its optical sensor. Just something that has actual ergonomics and doesn't look or feel like it was designed for wind tunnels rather than hands.
This mouse surprises me. Even though it has a somewhat light and scratchy plastic feel and weight (most of the weight comes from 8 removable magnets in the bottom), it performs like I feel my Razer mouse should. All of the buttons have great tactile feedback, all lights are totally customizeable, and the ergonomics fit my hand pretty well (which is saying something; I have certifiably huge hands). The only shortcoming of this mouse lies in the software. While it is somewhat easy to navigate and you can get your stuff done, the translation of whatever language it came from is not... good. It's hard to comprehend some of it and you have to spend a little while thinking about it. For instance, when you try to X it out after changing settings, it promts you with this: Warning The settings was changed, save the current setting anyway? [OK] [Cancel] In this case, [OK] saves and closes the program, but [Cancel] still closes it. Granted, this isn't too bad, but it just comes down to the overall user experience at stake. When you're conflicted about a prompt that should've been a simple "Save changes?", there's something wrong.
Fantastic headset. Pretty overpriced like is the classic Razer style, but they look and sound like a Maserati of headphones. The ear cups are cushy, the metal is the sturdiest aluminum I've ever felt, and it's got one of the best designs out there. The sound signature is a little bass heavy, but that's perfectly fine for my tastes - I usually turn up the bass even more with a phone app. Works beautifully. This headset is perfect for music and gaming, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to spend that kind of cash. I do wish there was a better microphone solution, like a boom mic, but the inline mic works fine too. It's just a matter of it feeling like people can hear you, really. You get that feeling with a boom mic, not so much here, but it works. In conclusion, it's great. It is very possible to get better value for your money, of course, but that's not what this headset is about (think of it like a GTX 980). It's about being appealing and performing as beautifully as it looks.