On the whole, I'm very pragmatic about builds. However, this is a periodic hobby, so I'm up for trying different things each time just to expand my experience.
The plan for now:
CPU: i5-4690k (will overclock)
Mobo: ASUS Maximus VII Impact ?? [Note 1]
RAM: 2 x 8GB DDR3 1600
Video: MSI GTX 770 Lightning (already purchased - currently in use)
Optical: None / USB
Sound: ASUS Xonar U7 [Note 2]
Storage OS/Game: 512GB Crucial M.2-PCIe [Note 3]
Storage Supplementary: 512GB Crucial MX100
Case: (Uncertain MiniITX, preferably "cube" or "tower" shape) [Note 4]
PSU: Seasonic SS-520FL2 / Seasonic SSR-550RM [Note 5]
- Not solid on the Maximus VII. It simply has everything I want: M.2, 3 fan headers with speed controls in BIOS, 2 Gigabit LAN ports (preferably Intel) or 1 RJ45 and 1 802.11ac.
- Despite the fact that on-board sound is pretty good now, I generally can't use it as I pipe sound in from a second PC. Few motherboards have Optical-In, and using Line-In creates very annoying ground loops.
- M.2 is a bit young still, but I'm interested to try it out.
- Why mITX? Because I've never done it before. I don't actually need more than what a mITX supplies. I'd like something smaller than an ATX build. Yeah, mATX is also an option, but the extra board space doesn't solve any problems for me and most of the cases are either the size of a large mITX case or a small ATX case.
- Yeah 500W is more than necessary. My calculations put the top end power draw at just under 400W. However, the plan is to upgrade the video card in the next 18 months, and while I think 50W is a generous amount of overhead, it is enough to make me pause.
The Case and PSU
My first choice for case right now is the Corsair 250D. It has what I'm looking for in a case:
- Support for normal sized ATX power supplies (I'd rather avoid special form factors)
- Primary airflow which doesn't require a top vent (My cat loves to nap on my PC)
- No power/reset buttons on the top-plane (My cat loves to step on buttons)
- Positive pressure design with filtered inputs
The bigger problem is CPU cooling. I think the max cooler height is just under 130mm. That rules out pretty much every tower cooler I would be interested in. Top-down coolers would still work, but they don't follow the front-to-back flow that the rest of the design would use. The other alternative is... AIO water cooling. The case is pretty obviously designed with that in mind. And while part of me is curious about trying it, the other part of me is still very skeptical. If I'd do it, I'd consider something like the H100i with both fans replaced with Gentle Typhoons or something similar.
So, how bad would the H100i/GT combo be? Is it worth switching to a Bitfenix Prodigy case, for the better air cooler support, but slightly noisier construction? I know people like the Node 304, but I'm not sure about the amount of air flow if I'm going to be overclocking an i5 with a 770 next to it. Also, I don't think the Node 304 would support a fanless Seasonic, either.