DISCLAIMER 1: I've mentioned my build story in past posts, but we've had a ton of awesome new folks and posts in the past few months, so I wanted to put a new one together since it also includes some upcoming upgrades :)
DISCLAIMER 2: And please, don't tell me things like, "That much RAM is overkill, blah, blah blah...trust me....I know what I'm doing. PCs and tech are my life both personally and professionally, so it's where my time (and yes, money) end up.
DISCLAIMER 3: Yes. I like pictures.
So, without going on and on (too much, at least) about my current rig, the primary goal when I built it back in December / January was to originally serve as the "foundation" for three things:
1) nVIDIA "Pascal" cards (GTX 1080)
2) Intel Broadwell-E CPU
3) 1440p / 144hz displays
I had thought that I could build my new rig at the time without going all in, balls-to-the-wall and dropping serious moolah by splitting up the major components into two separate phases. However, one, there was still some uncertainty around when Pascal would actually be launched and two, well, I'm just really, really impatient :)
The build I was running at the time was comprised of a still pretty solid core structure with an i7-4770k, 32 GB DDR3 RAM, EVGA GTX 770 4GB SSC ACX 2.0, a few SSDs, and a pair of 24" 1080p / 60hz displays. That build is being re-purposed to be part of my home lab for work-related stuff, or I may just try and sell it (haven't fully decided yet).
PCPartPicker List for most of it: http://pcpartpicker.com/list/JnTzt6
The new build, as part of Phase I, was originally going to be a new case, motherboard (LGA 2011-V3 to support the "E" CPU line), CPU (mid-range Haswell-E), DDR4 RAM, new primary SSD, new PSU, an all-in-one water cooling unit, and then just a GTX 970.
PCPartPicket List (up-to-date): http://pcpartpicker.com/list/By2tcf
Had I been the patient type, I would have been perfectly happy with that, even with the same two displays. And I was. For all of about 3 days :)
After reviewing the financials and thinking it may be the end of 2016 before we saw the new Pascal cards (there was truly some uncertainty at one point that made everyone think that could happen, or even sometime in early 2017), I decided to go ahead and look at making a new, primary display part of Phase I instead of it contributing to what was still going to be a pretty hefty Phase II at some point. I couldn't just blindly buy a new display, I had to try and find one someplace that I could SEE in person. That's when I went to Microcenter. That's also the same day I made the MISTAKE of going up to Microcenter. So, I ended up coming home with this...
At that point, ok, even my being an impatient sumbitch was pretty content. But patience took a back seat to my anal-re-tentativeness + OCD (bad, bad combination) and I could stand having the new Asus display next to one of my former displays. As much time as I spend in front of the screen for both work and pleasure, shifting back and forth between the two started to really bug me (anyone that's ever tried to move things around between displays with different refresh rates and resolutions knows what I'm talking about, especially the differing refresh rate part...ew), and at that point, I was also completely sold on the buzz around 1440p and 144hz as the way to go. I ended up getting a second Asus MG279Q which, about a week later, was exchanged / upgraded at Microcenter for this:
Which, then, after another week, when stock finally came in on what I had REALLY wanted, turned into this:
Surprisingly, the lady at Microcenter didn't want to choke the life out of me by that point. I suppose that since it was always an "upgrade" and paying the difference, they didn't really care. And for the record, I friggin' love that monitor. I don't think I'd like having the 34" version anytime soon, probably would prefer a third 27" similar to that one or even just the FreeSync variant like the MG249Q, but I'm blown away by the PG279Q with G-Sync @ 165hz. Gaming nirvana :)
So, at that point, sans some minor cosmetic changes, I was (finally) content in waiting until the next set of components was going to launch. Since I had let my impatience get the best of me, hell, I was really only going to be looking at a new GPU and CPU. Quick and easy upgrades.
Intel launched the Broadwell-E chips a couple of weeks ago and I'm still trying to decide between the two, top-end models (the i7-6900K or the i7-6950X). The i7-6950X alone is the cost of a very solid PC (around $1,700...they're always pretty proud of the top-end Extreme chips) and the next step down from it, the i7-6900K, is around $1,100. Just going to come down to either more cores and cache, or higher clock speeds. Outside of gaming, both factor in to things I do on my PC that are work-related. We all know the craziness that's been going on with trying to find a damn GTX 1080 or GTX 1070, too. Regardless of whether or not it's a Founder's Edition or an AiB model, they're damn near impossible to find, and when you do, they're sold out in like 5 minutes.
Well, yesterday, I got lucky. My wallet...not so much. With a quick little run out to Microcenter during lunch, I suppose that Phase II is now officially underway...
And before everyone bombards me with all the "Founders Edition cards suck...", that they're a waste of money, or that they have thermal throttling issues...I'm aware. Two reasons. One, it was an open-box special for $599, so, I didn't pay the extra $100 "premium" for the Founder's Edition and two, I've decided to update / restructure what Phase II will fully entail. It's something I've been wanting to get more involved with but hadn't really had a need until lately, and especially now. The thermal throttling issues are supposed to be fixed with an upcoming driver release (maybe has been by now...haven't installed the cart yet, unfortunately), but, outside of that, can be completely negated by one, other thing:
I've decided that I want to go with a completely custom, open loop liquid cooling system as part of the refresh. I've reached out to a great, knowledgeable source on the topic (a fellow Battlefront Division member) and need to flesh out exactly what I'm going to want it to consist of, look like, etc... I have a pretty good idea, but need to still dig into some of the more high-end offerings like EK WB (such as the GTX 1080 waterblock above) and PrimoChill. I know that FrozenCPU is also a great place to get stuff from, but this part might take me a few weeks or so to finalize. I don't plan to do some crazy, tricked out design or anything, just something sharp, clean, minimal and that fits in to the overall look and feel of the build. Does anyone have a similar system on their rig? Thoughts? Advice? Pictures? :) Don't want to put them all on here, but there's a shit-ton of cool ideas out there just in a quick Google search for the current case I have. I love the setups where there's chrome joints and the harder, acrylic tubes, but it seems to be a bit more of a pain in the ass to run. Any and all advice here would be HUGELY appreciated.
At one point, I was also on the fence about getting a new motherboard since I just really don't like the OC featureset on the ASRock boards, and will most likely be adding that in as part of this next phase. I think it may just be a little easier in having a new motherboard and CPU separate from my current build and can freely work on it with the new open loop liquid cooling system. Need to figure out something between Asus, EVGA and MSI and if I'm putting some emphasis on color scheme, etc...that just makes it all that more difficult.
You know, I'm thinking I'm going to make it even easier, too ;) I'll go with a new case as well. I am definitely going to stick with the NZXT H440 (LOVE my current case) but this caught my eye last night:
That being my favorite shade of blue and don't see it too often makes me want it all that much more :)
So, there ya have it. Phase II is now underway, but will probably go well into early Q4 or so (lots of work and travel coming up). I may even just set the completion date as December 31st, and then who knows what other upgrades may find their way into the process.
If I put together what I know to be getting, and even perhaps what I would envision this to look like come December 31st, this is what it entails:
1) Intel i7-6900K or i7-6950X
2) New Asus / MSI / EVGA motherboard (X99 chipset, 128 GB RAM max)
3) Replace current RAM kit (64 GB DDR4-2133) with higher-end kit (128 GB DDR4-3333 or higher...plan to max out RAM) <----- I use A LOT of RAM
4) New NZXT H440 case (Team EnVyUs Edition)
5) Custom open loop liquid cooling system
6) Potentially replace current, primary SSD (256 GB Samsung 950 Pro) with 512 GB model (1 or 2 TB models coming soon). May be that new motherboard actually has two on-board slots for the m.2 NVMEM PCI-Express drives :)
7) Custom cabling, other cosmetic changes, etc...
The REALLY opulent side of me sees...
- New desk with additional surface area real estate, which would allow me to...
- Get a third 27" 1440p / 144hz display
- Second GTX 1080 in SLI, depending on what the rumblings are by that time about what we can expect of the GTX 1080 Ti
Ok, yeah...so that'll end up as essentially an entirely new build. I really need to sell some of this stuff....any takers? :)
In being a LONG ways away from caring about wanting to go the 4K route, I think that will be good for a couple of years, no?
Or maybe I should just get a puppy...
Looking forward to any ensuring feedback, flaming, etc...