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Arcturus - White/Red | Skylake | 980 Ti | MSI Z170A XPower | 760T

Hello everyone!

This is me documenting my first own full PC build. So I've been into computers for quite a while, I got my first PC when I was three and it's been love, hate, joy and tears ever since. After some cheap laptops I had during elementary and middle school and an AMD Phenom-based Acer Predator until the Fall of 2012 that was practically indistinct from a jet taking off, I started looking into custom building but I was very apprehensive about the whole deal and was eventually too scared to go through with it and opted for a custom built PC that you can see in my sig until this day(in case it isn't there, 3770K, 7970 GHz, Z77, no SSD, 500W, WD Green). Now this will change.

Just about two months ago I started looking into doing a PC build. It began when I thought about building a sleeper PC into a W98 running Dell Dimension XPS D300. After some research I concluded that it would be too challenging as a first build and I should rather make something in a modern case that's easy to build in. The sleeper PC idea is just on hold for now, I might eventually get around to doing that, too. Then I started to look into building a new gaming rig to replace my current one. I was originally going for a GTX 970 with a 4790K(this was about two weeks before Skylake's release). After managing to research a whole rig I read on a single line in a TechPowerup article that Intel's got a whole new CPU architecture coming out. Full stop. I had to writhe in my PC fever for two whole weeks doing nothing, just waiting for Skylake and Z170. I didn't want to go all out on a rig just to have the hardware be old the moment it's complete. I was also able to convince my friend to buy my old PC at a good price so I can go all out with the budget on a clear conscience.

Why didn't I just upgrade my old PC? I mean it's not like it's a prebuilt or anything! Well, firstly, I have upgraded it. It originally had a 7870, which I sold and replaced with a 7970 GHz Edition. There is potential, too. The 3770K as a CPU and Z77 as a platform are no slouches. The thing is, the way the custom built PC is put together, it makes upgrades just so... frustrating. It has a non-modular Antec EarthWatts 500W and I'd need to tear everything out to replace it, the Sonata III, while it was a great case back in the day, now has just dreadful airflow for today's standards. Changing the system drive to an SSD... I despise reinstalling Windows. All of the upgrades available are just so labour-intensive that I couldn't be bothered with it. If I had to go through that much work I'd want it to be for a whole new PC that wouldn't be such a pain in the arse to upgrade.

The Parts

Here I'll list my parts and explain why and how I got them.

CPU:

I wanted the best unlocked CPU from the new architecture, so here we are. Funnily enough the oh-so-scarce Skylake was one of the earliest parts to arrive.

Intel Core i7 6700K

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GPU:

I'm not entirely sure how the original 970 turned into a 980 Ti... I think it was some type of a chain of "If I pay just X more I get Y more performance!" - situations. Ah well. At least I'll have a great graphics card! It's also my first dedicated nVidia graphics card, I used to be a bit of an AMD fanboy. Now I just buy whatever's the best performance. The MSI version is my favourite 980 Ti card.

MSI GTX 980 Ti Gaming 6G

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Motherboard:

Now just to be clear, I don't need this board. I could have gotten a waay simpler Z170 motherboard. But when I saw it, I had to have it. It is just gorgeous. So gorgeous that I waited for over half a month in queue at a German hardware store just to get it. But, boy is she pretty!

MSI Z170A XPower Gaming Titanium Edition

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RAM:

My original Devil's Canyon build was supposed to have white HyperX Fury DDR3. I like the way they look and Kingston is a trustworthy memory brand so I got HyperX Fury DDR4 for my Skylake. I just wish I could've gotten it in white too. I got 16GB because it's more than I'll ever need. Also got the 16GB kit for the low low price of 150€.

16GB Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133MHz

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PSU:

Well it's a good power supply. And 850 watts for a potential second 980 Ti. I do know it's not the best choice as far as price-to-performance goes, but Finland doesn't exactly have a massive PC component market and popular stuff like EVGA G2's, SF Leadex's, Seasonics, they can get hard to find.

Corsair RM850i

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SSD:

Now my old PC doesn't have an SSD. It's running completely off a 1TB WD Green drive. I never upgraded because... well, the way my old custom built PC is put together, all of the stuff you need to do to upgrade is just... frustrating. But now I'll have a 500GB SSD with OS and programs and I too can experience the snappy bliss that is an SSD system drive! Why this SSD? Well, it had decent benchmarks, a good reputation and a juicy price so I went for it. Also the 500GB drive had a better price per gig than the 240GB one so I saw no reason to get the smaller drive.

500GB Samsung 850 Evo

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HDD:

I trust WD with my HDD's and I needed a big ol' disc to dump all my junk in. I also wanted a faster drive than my current almost full 1TB WD Green. So, here we go.

Western Digital 2TB Black

 

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Case:

Oh man, this was a pain. Now, you see, I like white. It's just about my favourite colour. And black PC's are a dime a dozen these days. So of course, I wanted a white case. With the amount I'm paying for cosmetically appealing components, I also wanted a window. I decided to get a Fractal Design Define R5 in white with a window. But it was gone from all stores here. One store did however claim to have five coming soon(in 3 days when I ordered 10th August). Guess the boat got lost at the high seas since those five are still "on the way" almost a month later. So even though I opted for the R5 I decided to get my second pick, the NZXT H440 in white. Cancelled my order and ordered an H440(also nowhere to be found in Finland in white) from Amazon UK that takes almost two bloody weeks to deliver. Well, today is the 4th of September and it's supposed to be here today, the last piece of the puzzle. Fingers crossed.

 

EDIT: My Define R5 never materialised, my H440 got lost in transit and due to availability I've now got a 760T on the way. I hate redoing long-term plans like this.

Fractal Design Define R5

NZXT H440 White

Corsair 760T

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Cooling:

For the CPU I decided to get a be quiet! Pure Rock because CM 212's are soo mainstream. And it's a great cooler for little money and all that. I'm also a bit scared of watercooling. I got a tube of Gelid GC-Extreme which is supposed to be just about the best paste in the west(teehee). For the case and also the CPU cooler I've got a bunch of red LED Corsair SP120's and one AF140 for the rear. I also have two SP140's that I got for the apparently sunken R5(moment of silence, please). I guess they can go to a possible future rad for watercooling(I shall conquer my fears). Now I've got three unused SP120's with the dual 140mm intake of the 760T. Blech, I guess they get to wait for the rad then. And Corsairs because, oooh shiny LEDs.

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I think that concludes my ramblings. The next post(s?) will contain the build itself and more pictures. Later I might add benchmarks and some overclocking results. My monitor is a crummy cheap TN 24" BenQ at 1080p that has miraculously survived without any problems for over five years so I'll be updating that soon too. I've got my eye on the Asus PG279Q.

If you've read through that whole thing(and even if you didn't), thank you, I hope you enjoy.

Arcturus(log here): Intel Core i7 6700K // MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G(1454/1995) // Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133MHz 16GB //  MSI XPower Gaming Titanium Edition // Samsung 850 EVO 500GB // WD Black 2TB // Corsair 760T // Corsair RM850i

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The Build

 

Now that I finally have everything I can execute the build I've planned for months.

 

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There she is!

 

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First I cleaned the silicone-y thermal paste on the Pure Rock that had spread all over in transit. I used some petrol antifreeze. That's just cheaper 99% isopropanol.

 

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I fiddled around with the motherboard for a while, first installing the CPU.

 

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Lift up the retention arm. Lift up the hold-down plate. Align the little gold triangle on the top of your CPU with the matched triangle on the plastic cover. Lower the hold-down plate. Lower the retention arm. A little force is needed here, and your plastic cover should pop off on its own. Your CPU is now installed.

 

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I lowered my motherboard into the case. It was rather tense, but thankfully Corsair has that post in the middle that makes it a lot easier.

 

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I replaced the front and rear fans with my red LED Corsairs. I was surprised by how the rear fan mounting worked. Basically just violently cramming a regular looking screw into unthreaded plastic. Trust me, I did it right, I rechecked so many times.

 

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After screwing the motherboard in I got the CPU cooler mounting hardware installed after reading the instructions a lot.  I even managed to screw the brackets upside down first. Made me really crave some plastic push-pins. I blobbed some thermal paste on there and got ready to shove the cooler on. The paste looked like a bit too much so I scooped a bit off(not seen here).

 

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After some exciting action and steady handwork my cooler is installed. Afterwards I slapped an SP120 on there.

 

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After slapping the GPU in and screwing the PSU in I routed some cables. Just the necessary ones as I wanted to do a test boot. I decided against doing it outside the case as the cooler would've been way too difficult to install outside the case. I hooked up the PSU and flipped the switch. I pressed on the boot button on the motherboard. Drumroll... aaand nothing happened. I poked at stuff until I tried the connection on the 24-pin and boom! It flew into life. All the lights and the rear fan turned on(the front ones weren't connected). Looking at the display... waiting... and... huzzah, the BIOS!

 

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Now I connected everything else. It went smoothly except for one thing. The front USB3 connector was under the GPU and quite hard to reach. Just pull out the GPU and put it back in, right? Wrong! The CPU cooler rendered the latch on the top PCIe slot pretty much unaccessible. After unsuccesfully trying violence and miraculously not bricking the motherboard, I connected the cable by peeking through the cracks between the front intake fans. Whew. The rest of the cable routing went smoothly enough, I got a taste of Corsair's legendarily easy cable routing and finished up.

 

At this point I decided to do one last test boot and had a heart attack. I connected the power cable to the PSU and the DVI cable from the display. Pushed the button and... nothing. My stomach started to turn. I'd bricked the $300 motherboard, I thought. I panicked. Poked at the connectors and buttons and everything. Then my anti-static wristband caught my eye laying on the floor. Then I looked further and saw that it was attached to a grounded wall plug. While the PC's power cable was not. Wow. I don't remember when I've felt such relief in my life. I corrected my mistake and proceeded to boot the PC and everything went fine.

 

Then I realised I'd been working for five hours straight on this and I'd had one piece of toast, a glass of milk and a cup of coffee today and went to eat when I found out the fridge was broken so my Windows installation got pushed back a bit. It went fine until it was installed and I discovered my Ethernet connection doesn't work presumably because of bad or no drivers and I can't download drivers because there's no internet connection. At the same time my rig doesn't have a DVD reader so I'm in the process of moving everything off my mobo driver disc to a USB drive we'll see how that works out. But, for now, here's the finished product.

 

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I might be interested in adding some LED strips later and getting some sleeved cables, but for now, I'm happy. My first PC build is finished.

 

Arcturus(log here): Intel Core i7 6700K // MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G(1454/1995) // Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133MHz 16GB //  MSI XPower Gaming Titanium Edition // Samsung 850 EVO 500GB // WD Black 2TB // Corsair 760T // Corsair RM850i

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My body is ready.

PEWDIEPIE DONT CROSS THAT BRIDGE

 

 

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Dude! this is like the exact same freaking build plan that i had made like 2 weeks ago, parts for parts, similar

 

 

#Brother? :o

Details separate people.

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I hope that cooler of yours is enough, personally I have been having issue keeping my 6700K cool. Either I have a shitty air cooler, or the 6700K I have just likes to get hot.

I am aiming to get an AIO water-cooler soon, H110i GTX IIRC. Then I should be able to get good temps. This thing was pushing 78C+, 80C+ in BF4. Somehow BF4 got it hotter than intel XTU... That was before I even touched it, I toned down the voltages drastically (-0.09 IIRC), without downcloking, managed to get temps down to ~70C 

 

Spoiler

Case Bitfenix Ghost, Mobo Asus Maximus VIII Ranger, CPU i7 6700K @4.2 Ghz cooled by Arctic cooling Freezer i30, (barely). GPU Nvidia GTX 970 Gigabyte G1 @1519Mhz core, RAM 16Gb Crucial Ballistix CL16 @2400Mhz. SSD 128GB Sandisk Ultra Plus as my OS drive. HDD's  1TB  Seagate ST31000524AS its OEM, 3TB Seagate Barracuda, 2x 500GB WDC Blue (RAID 0)

If it isn't working absolutely perfectly, according to all your assumptions, it is broken.

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The case didn't turn up on Friday, but since the standard Amazon int'l delivery can apparently take even a couple days beyond the estimated arrival date, it might still materialise on Monday or Tuesday. I don't know since the damn thing doesn't even have tracking. I knew I should've paid for expedited delivery. Ugh.

 

Dude! this is like the exact same freaking build plan that i had made like 2 weeks ago, parts for parts, similar

 

 

#Brother? :o

 

Great minds think alike!

 

I hope that cooler of yours is enough, personally I have been having issue keeping my 6700K cool. Either I have a shitty air cooler, or the 6700K I have just likes to get hot.

I am aiming to get an AIO water-cooler soon, H110i GTX IIRC. Then I should be able to get good temps. This thing was pushing 78C+, 80C+ in BF4. Somehow BF4 got it hotter than intel XTU... That was before I even touched it, I toned down the voltages drastically (-0.09 IIRC), without downcloking, managed to get temps down to ~70C 

 

I hope so too. I don't know anything about your cooler, so I can't really comment on that. The voltages might affect that since Skylakes seem to have higher stock voltages than the last few architectures. Even when many of them seem to work just fine at stock clocks with lower voltages. Either way I too will probably get an AIO for the CPU later anyway. We'll see where my temps settle once it's all put together.

Arcturus(log here): Intel Core i7 6700K // MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G(1454/1995) // Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133MHz 16GB //  MSI XPower Gaming Titanium Edition // Samsung 850 EVO 500GB // WD Black 2TB // Corsair 760T // Corsair RM850i

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Update

 

Sigh. So I emailed Amazon about the case on the 8th since I'd received neither the case nor any kind of update and it was four days late at that point. They told me to wait till the 12th before they'd work out a replacement order since the original might arrive before the new one leaving me to return one of them. Guess how many computer cases I've gotten. With the cock-up on the first case on top of this I've now been waiting for a case for almost five weeks. I could've walked to fetch the damn thing from the UK faster at this point. We'll see how the situation unfolds tomorrow but it'd better end up with me getting a case sooner rather than later. What a farce.

Arcturus(log here): Intel Core i7 6700K // MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G(1454/1995) // Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133MHz 16GB //  MSI XPower Gaming Titanium Edition // Samsung 850 EVO 500GB // WD Black 2TB // Corsair 760T // Corsair RM850i

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Conclusion: Case lost in transit, as if that came as a surprise, delivery fees refunded and free expedited delivery on the replacement. That'd be all well and good, except Amazon UK has sold out on the case and I'm left with "Delivery estimate: 28th September - 9th October". The only H440's that I might be able to get from other places are the Razer Edition, Orange/Black or Green/Black, none of which go well with my other parts. A Corsair 760T would be a good option too but no store stocks it, so it'd have to come from either Germany or the UK and it'd be rather expensive. Meanwhile the white windowed R5 has made an appearance in Sweden and is in stock there. Gah, what a mess! At this point I don't know what to do. I'll think about it and sleep on it. Tomorrow I'll decide. If I just got a black case I could have this project finished by Wednesday. But that would be just giving up, wouldn't it? Why is getting a white computer case such a colossal pain? Any helpful or incouraging thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Arcturus(log here): Intel Core i7 6700K // MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G(1454/1995) // Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133MHz 16GB //  MSI XPower Gaming Titanium Edition // Samsung 850 EVO 500GB // WD Black 2TB // Corsair 760T // Corsair RM850i

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-snip

What theme you going for? You could always paint the h440 and mod it, imo black with white trims on a h440 looks better than that glossy white generic one :P

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What theme you going for? You could always paint the h440 and mod it, imo black with white trims on a h440 looks better than that glossy white generic one :P

 

Well, my colour theme was to be white, red and black. White being the case + whatever else I could scrounge up in white, red from the LED fans and red and black from my GPU. And since it's a PC there's going to be some black anyway. I've already got my white/silver mobo, red fans and all that, I just need a good looking white case. A black w/ white trim H440 would look pretty sweet, but I don't know if I'm comfortable doing a mod job like that just yet.

 

I'm really starting to gravitate towards the white Corsair 760T. My main gripe with the H440 was the internal chamber division. I like being able to see everything, and the 760T has that gorgeous massive window that shows all of your lovingly thought-out hardware.

 

Update: I managed to get Amazon to give me the free Expedited delivery on the 760T (worth ~50€), so I'll be getting that on Wednesday as long at it isn't lost too(knock on wood <_<). Maybe I'll finally get to build my computer on Wednesday or Thursday!

Arcturus(log here): Intel Core i7 6700K // MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G(1454/1995) // Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133MHz 16GB //  MSI XPower Gaming Titanium Edition // Samsung 850 EVO 500GB // WD Black 2TB // Corsair 760T // Corsair RM850i

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Oh boy, oh boy! UPS delivered and my case got here a day before the Amazon estimate! My impatient child-like excitement reminded me and those around me of Bill Watterson's Calvin waiting for his cereal prize beanie. Oh well, now the wait is over and today is the day! Today I build my first computer.

 

Never mind the 70's carpets.

 

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Just when the aesthetics of a pile of boxes had started to grow on me. Well you can't win every time...

 

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Arcturus(log here): Intel Core i7 6700K // MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G(1454/1995) // Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133MHz 16GB //  MSI XPower Gaming Titanium Edition // Samsung 850 EVO 500GB // WD Black 2TB // Corsair 760T // Corsair RM850i

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And now, after almost two weeks of waiting, my build log has a build in it! It was a lot of work, it had its ups and downs and it was all great fun. For now I'm glad to be finished, but I've still got some work to do sorting out Windows 10 but on the hardware side the rig is complete.

Arcturus(log here): Intel Core i7 6700K // MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G(1454/1995) // Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133MHz 16GB //  MSI XPower Gaming Titanium Edition // Samsung 850 EVO 500GB // WD Black 2TB // Corsair 760T // Corsair RM850i

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