Update 4/3/14: I spent the last few months since my first post making some updates to the build. Updates copied from my reddit post on /r/cablemanagement:
Re-sleeved the 24-pin to remove the cable extension and sewed the wires to maintain the evenness of the cable coming out of the motherboard.
Shortened the length of the PCI-E cable and added three stitches to maintain evenness. The stitches keep the cable very rigid and as it passes through the back panel grommet I have it running under the corner of the GPU. This serves to prop the GPU up, eliminating GPU sag completely.
Removed the drive cages and mounted the HDD to the floor with anti-vibration mounting (before while in the Corsair cage, the HDD vibrations would move my mouse cursor. Problem solved and bonus airflow.)
Mounted the SSD to the rear panel to be in view from the window.
Non-cable management related: Added Bitspower fan adaptors and 120mm SP120 PWM fans to the rad. I had to literally break the locking clip on the ESP connector to get it to fit. The ESP connector is very rigid due to the sleeving, routing, and sewing so it does not budge unless I remove the whole cable.
Upgraded to 4770K thanks to Staples for $230
Several individuals over on /r/buildapc recommended that I post my build log over here for you guys to enjoy. Let me know what you guys think. Although if it's anything like the reddit response, I'm gonna wager you'll like it.
Full build album: http://imgur.com/a/32cDo
Obligatory photographer shot:
Parts List: PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($239.99 @ Newegg) CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X60 98.3 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($129.99) Motherboard: ASRock Z87M OC Formula Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($179.99) Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($231.75) Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($122.99) Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (Owned) Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card ($546.81 @ Newegg) Case: Corsair 350D Window MicroATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Amazon) Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF120 Quiet Edition 39.9 CFM 120mm Fan ($17.99 @ Amazon) Case Fan: Corsair Air Series SP120 High Performance Edition 62.7 CFM 120mm Fan ($18.68 @ NCIX US) Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition 67.8 CFM 140mm Fan ($17.98 @ OutletPC) Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition 67.8 CFM 140mm Fan ($17.98 @ OutletPC) Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition 67.8 CFM 140mm Fan ($17.98 @ OutletPC) Power Supply: Corsair RM 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($129.99) Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro - 64-bit - OEM (64-bit) (Free via MSDNAA) Monitor: QNIX Perfect Pixel QX2710 Matte 60Hz 27.0" Monitor ($406.99) Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($121.98 @ Newegg) Mouse: Razer Orochi Bluetooth Wireless Laser Mouse (Owned) Total: $2301.08 (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.) (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-31 16:45 EST-0500)
This is actually my very first start-to-finish build. In the past, I have had pre-builts from Dell that I managed to upgrade on my own and I have always had very strong knowledge of electronics and computer components in general. My last computer was my beloved Gateway P-7805u FX that served me extremely well for 4 years. I upgraded the processor to an Intel T9600, and pretty much everything else that could be upgraded.
My main motivation was pretty much the build itself and making it look awesome and not necessary what I could do with it. When I finished I felt like the boys at the end of Make Love Not Warcraft: "Kyle: So, what do we do now? Cartman: What d'you mean? Now we can finally play the game."
All of the cable sleeving was done by me including crimping, cutting, and soldering of all custom length wires. I purchased the necessary tools and materials almost exclusively from Lutro0 Customs and also relied heavily on Josiah's sleeving guides and tutorials. I probably spent another $200 - $250 on sleeving materials and tools.
90% of the time I spent on this build was sleeving and cable managing. I'm pretty sure I went through 400+ zip ties routing and re-routing cables. The 24-pin gave me the most headache, not because it was time consuming to sleeve nor that there were double wires, but because the wires looked messy and "unkempt" when the connector was plugged in. Here is what I meanMy OCD would not allow this and so I made a 24-pin extension so that the cables would align nicely. I have since bought one of Lutro0's 24-pin cable clamps to see if I can use that instead and remove the excess wire length the extension created.
I purchased the QNIX through Newegg shortly after Newegg began selling them. Although I only paid for the non-perfect pixel version, the seller sent me a perfect pixel anyway. There was one stuck pixel right smack in the middle of the screen when I first powered it on, but I (literally) gave it a little massage and it went away. I have overclocked it to 120Hz.
Timing on the 780 Lightning price cut could not have been at a better time. I was waiting for the 290X non-reference coolers to be released but my dream was really to have a Lightning.
Current and Future Developments:
The CPU is currently overclocked to 4.5GHz at 1.275v which has been very stable via IntelBurnTest, Prime95, etc.
Case and Kraken fans: I am fully aware that the Air Series AF140s I'm using with the Kraken's radiator are neither static pressure fans nor are they PWM fans since Corsair does not make static pressure PWM 140mm fans (except those bundled with the H110). But for aesthetic reasons, I think you can see why I'm using them anyway. That said, I have purchased this bracket to retro-fit 120mm PWM SP120s which will maintain the aesthetic quality of the build. Fitment in the 350D is a question but I'm fairly confident I can finagle them in there.
Lastly, I have some Coollaboratory Liquid Pro on the way as I plan to de-lid and re-apply the TIM to see if I can get to 4.6GHz stable. We'll see how that goes.
Overclocks on the Lightning are fairly unstable and I have left it at stock clocks for now. The card runs BF4 beautifully in stock form, and is very unstable even with mild overclocks. This could be a combination of BF4 being a POS, drivers, or who knows.
As mentioned, I've purchased Lutro0's 24-pin, and 3 x 8-pin cable clamps from Frozencpu to better orient the cables and hopefully remove the need for the additional cable extension that creates so much excess cabling under the back panel.
Because the Lightning takes up 2.5 PCI-E slots, SLI unfortunately is not an option until I commit to a full water loop. This time next year perhaps...
05/28/2014 It appears that Ikea now ships items for a really decent price.
One desk & legs would cost me only $15 and 2 sets would be $16!
I often see people asking what desk they should get and one desk comes to my mind. I have been using the Ikea desks for years now and they work extremely well.
So I figured I would give a little more thought to the topic and potentially others with it.
The great thing about the Ikea desks is that they come in different shapes and colors. Right now I have one holding THREE(3) 27" Monitors. So they are a pretty decent size.
The Larger Table-Top; 35.99 USD / 26.52 Euro This is my preferred table top for desks. The great thing is it comes in a few colors.
For the legs, you have multiple options. Non-Adjustable: 3.50 USD / 2.58 EUR to 10 USD / 7.37 EUR Adjustable: 15 USD / 11.05 EUR to 30 USD / 22.11 EUR Table: 45 USD / 33.16 EUR to 79.99 USD / 58.95 EUR
Tables (Alternative to legs)
Being able to choose the looks of the desk help it make it yours. My personal desks feature the chrome adjustable legs (expensive) And one of the tables to help with some storage. The desks are extremely stable and strong. Great build quality as well.
The joy of these desks is that they are extremely easy to assemble.
The desks come with pre-drilled holes which makes it a breeze. All you have to do is take the screws & wrench that come with the legs, Line up the holes and screw it together in about 10 minutes.
Obviously these are Ikea desks and can be found online or at Ikea.