You might be curious, so here it is. Setting this up gave me a bit of a headache (it’s rare builds from the ground up don’t), but now it runs nicely. I neither recommend for nor against duplicating some or all of my system for yourself; I’m open to answering questions but I’m certainly not tech support. YMMV.
- CPU: Intel Core i5-6600k Skylake 3.5 GHz w/ Corsair H100i v2 heatsink
- MEM: 32 GB of G. Skill Ripjaw 5
- MBD: MSI Z170A LGA1151 (Gaming M5)
- VID: GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 980Ti 6GB G1 GAMING OC EDITION
- Boot: Samsung 850 EVO 512GB
- Storage: 2 x 1TB WD 7200RPM (one for games and general data, one for video footage)
- PSU: EVGA 650 Super Nova G2
- Case: Phanteks Eclipse P400S (Glacier White)
- Logitech G600: 12-buttons at the thumb, mouse-wheel clicks down, left, and right.
- Razer Black Widow Ultimate Keyboard, because it clicks nice and has blue lights. (That’s really why.)
- Display: Samsung 28-Inch Ultra High Definition LED, 2160p.
Wait, only an i5?
Yep. The difference between the i5 and i7 isn’t measurable to me in any way other than cost. The bottleneck for video games right now isn’t the processor: it’s the video card. The processor has lots of downtime (effectively) as it waits for the GPU to jam out polygons. As a matter of fact, I could have gone with an even skimpier chip and not noticed much (if any) of a difference while purely gaming. I have that chip because I wanted more power for non-gaming tasks. As it is, Adobe Premiere (priced to own for makers of cat videos) is the only thing that really leverages my chip, pushing it up over 90% when encoding.
Why water cooling? Are you overclocking the processor?
Again, the bottleneck in these systems is the GPU, not the processor. There is no reason to overclock unless I either want to brag about how many useless cycles I’m getting or if I want to instrument a large program (with PinTools or Valgrind)…or brute force something. I don’t do these things often, and when I do, I probably still won’t OC. I’ll just go make a sandwich.
The real reason I use water cooling is due to paranoia on my part; my first system melted itself due to insufficient cooling. That is not an exaggeration. The power supply was completely deformed…but still functional (if no longer safe to use). (I was young.) (And dumb.) I discovered both the PSU fan and the CPU fan were dead (there were no other fans) so I pulled the cover and used a 24″ room fan on it. It ran so well that I’ve always overcompensated on cooling since then.
What temperatures are you running at?
My CPU idles around 20°C and gets into the 50s under load. According to all the literature I’ve read, these are “good” (in that they’re expected and safe for operation).
When the GPUs are under load the primary can get as high as 70°C (compared to 55°C prior to OCing them); the CPU’s running temp hasn’t changed.
Is SLI worth it?
It was; if you’ve been here before, maaaybe you remember that I ran SLI (two 560s) for a long while. Now it’s at the point where I really can’t afford a monitor that would truly leverage the power of two SLI’d cards at the level I’m running right now. But, as a stopgap upgrade, it was really good. High maintenance, though. Very high maintenance.
Is SLI necessary?
Hell, no. Honestly a single video card was just fine.
Is the solid state drive really fast?
The keyboard is overkill and screams “hot rod”…however the anti-ghosting means I can simultaneously mash a ton of keys and all of those actions go through (as opposed to my old keyboard’s inability to transmit more than three simultaneous key presses) and the keyboard is back-lit. There are also five macro keys on the left side which, admittedly, I have yet to really leverage. But when I need to constantly move and adjust facing (one to two keys) and use an ability (key three) and maybe jump a gap while moving (a fourth key) all while using Push-to-Talk (a fifth key) and my previous limit was three keys…well, I really appreciate this keyboard. Besides, the back-lighting on both the mouse and the keyboard is blue, which matches the rest of my system.
I had one for like five years, it worked great. This has three more buttons, a toggle (that works like Ctrl to allow double assignment to each button) and a cleaner feel. I miss the Naga though, for no good reason.