Help on how to build a gaming PC

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4,074
United States
Utah
So I have a budget and a list of parts already. I have never build a PC before (myself, that is), but I do know at least what each part is and where they go. However, I do have a few doubts.

I am not sure if there are things to take in consideration, when it comes to what parts go in first, if the cables are supplied for all the stuff I need and also precautions. Also, configuring the PC for the first time.

I will be getting these parts in at least two to three months from now to give myself some time to do proper research (and also hope GPU prices go down a bit). Just want to make sure I am doing it right. I could go to my local PC shop, but they would charge me almost twice my budget with parts and labor, so that's a no-go.

Needless to say, I am excited, but also kind of terrified of what I'm getting myself into.

Part list:

- MOBO: ASUS ROG STRIX z370-E Gaming (I noticed there are at least another three different z370's. Other than the letter at the end, I am not sure what the difference is. All I know it supports 8th gen Intel coffee lake and it's what I need)

- CPU: i7 8700k

- GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080ti SC2 ("cheapest" 1080ti I could find, :lol: Hopefully the prices go down in the next couple of months, because this part is what's pretty much holding me back. Having a GTX1070 already, I can't really justify this investment on anything less than a 1080ti)

- PSU: EVGA 1000w GQ gold (is this enough, or is it overkill?)

- RAM: Corsair Vengance LPX ddr4 2400mhz 32gb kit (I know absolutely nothing about RAM. Which is better, if there is a difference in performance, compatibility and so. I was shocked at how expensive these are. Are there cheaper options of similar quality and performance? Am I just paying for a brand name here?)

- SSD: Crucial MX500 500gb (I am not sure what the best solid-state is. I'm trying to go with value and quality)

- HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1tb. (I have A LOT of files, so I need extra storage and 1-2tb SSD's are too expensive. I have mostly music and my art, which take almost one third of my current 2tb hdd. Can a HDD be combined with a solid-state? I believe it's best to have games in the SSD, and other files in the HDD. Does the OS need to be installed in the SSD? or how does this work?)

- Thermal paste: Arctic Silver5 (pretty much the first one that pops up anywhere)

- CPU Heatsink: Coolmaster V8 GTS (will this fit my CPU?)

- Case: Phanteks PHEC416 Eclipse (any other suggestion within a similar price range would be appreciated)

- Case fans: A couple of 120mm Corsair Air Series AF120

Sorry for the long post. Am I missing something? Do I need a DVD drive, or is it optional? I mean, in my current rig, I have never used it, but I'm just wondering if you need it to install Windows.

Thanks for the advice!
 

PzR Slim

Premium
6,808
England
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GTP_Slim
PzR Slim
I’ve just bought a new PC and my specs are incredibly similar. Only major difference is my RAM is 3200. Personally I’d go with a bigger storage drive. I went 4TB. Also the PSU might be overkill. I’m running two 1080Ti’s in SLi and my PSU is only 850 W.

As for the dvd drive, vast majority of PC games are bought digitally these days so it depends if you have old games on DVD you want to play or if you are going to watch movies on it.

The motherboard should come with all the cables you need to connect all of the devices to it.

My PC came pre built and over clocked from a company in the uk called overclockers. One thing you could do is find online retailers who offer prebuilt PC’s. Look at the compnents the put together in a build and use that as an order list to buy the components yourself and build it. That way you know the components have been tested and work well together.
 
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BobK

Premium
6,984
United States
Massachusetts, USA
A pretty much indispensable resource for system builds is PC Parts Picker. Among other things, they will let you know if a component is incompatible with other components in your build. They can aso point to whichever vendor currently has the best price on a given component.
 

Rallywagon

what a long strange trip
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Rallywgn81
First suggestion, get a 750w. 1000w is over kill unless you are adding a bunch of power hungry accessories like a second graphics card and a couple of different pump for liquid cooling. This will save you a couple bucks, which you can keep, or invest else where, such as getting a modular PSU.
Which leads to my second suggestion. Instead of the oversized air cooler for the cpu, for the price you can get an AIO liquid cooler that will do a better job of cooling you CPU, and be quieter for it. This also negates any worry of not being able to close the side panel of your case. A problem i had in my setup.
Speaking of cases, as long as you get one that fits you mobo, GPU and cooler, whatever you want to get is up to your tastes. At this point, unless you are getting some weird design, they all pretty work the same. Just douvke check to make sure you are getting all the case fans and stand offs that you need.
Also, get a pack of small black zip ties. They are really useful for managing and securing cables. You will also probably need to pick up a couple of sata cables for the hard drives. The mobo may come with a couple, so check that, but probably not.
Oh, one last thing. About the dvd drive. How do you plan on installing your OS? If you have one in the other PC, you can use a flash stick to create a boot drive, or prehaps borrow the one out of that system just to install the OS. But if you need it or not depends on you really.
 

neema_t

Bearded Member
Premium
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neema_t
Regarding the differences between other Asus Z370 motherboards, I recently upgraded (having built three of my own PCs and doing several as part of my job, so I'm not new to it) and that was the only thing I put any thought into. I got a Z370-F in the end but the differences are very poorly explained and defined, you get different components on the motherboard like audio codecs, combinations of USB ports of different types, SATA ports and controllers, voltage regulation modules (more expensive boards use better VRMs to support overclocking)... The list goes on, but really it doesn't make a huge difference because anything you're missing you can get a PCIe card for.

Edit: Now that I'm not at work posting from my phone:

when it comes to what parts go in first

My install order is:
CPU on motherboard
CPU cooler on CPU (if it's small enough to get the screws in around it, otherwise install the cooler after the motherboard is in)
RAM on motherboard
I/O plate in case
Motherboard in case
PSU in case (leave the cables)
PCIe cards in case (if the graphics card won't get in the way when you come to put the drives in, but even then they're easy enough to remove - don't forget the little tab at the end of the slot!)
SSDs/HDDs in case (again, leave the cables)
Connect up all the cables, taking full advantage of any cable routing holes available to keep stuff tidy - apart from keeping fans clear this is purely aesthetic and best practice (i.e. not essential to get right), no sensible amount of cables will make a significant difference to your temperatures. Also if you're not overclocking, don't worry about adding more case fans because the hot bits have sufficient cooling of their own, you're just increasing the noise and power draw to cool down stuff that isn't even hot. Some people get funny about airflow but it's really nothing to worry about.

if the cables are supplied for all the stuff I need

If you buy new, yes.

and also precautions.

No pets, no carpet, touch something earthed before touching your PC after moving around - I use my kitchen tap, you can also use radiator piping, an ESD bracelet (with an appropriate safety resistor between you and earth!), etc. as long as it's unpainted. Preferably build on a slightly humid day (but not extremely humid or extremely dry), wear cotton if that's an option... I'd say as long as you do the first three you'll be fine.

Also, configuring the PC for the first time.

That's not as scary as it might sound because you can leave the UEFI (aka BIOS, although they're not the same) alone and it'll work, but your motherboard manual will explain what each setting does or at least give you something to Google should you not understand at all.

I could go to my local PC shop, but they would charge me almost twice my budget with parts and labor, so that's a no-go.

You'd also then be dependent on them for help, you'll learn a lot by building it yourself. Just don't tell any friends or relatives you built your own PC because you'll suddenly become their go-to IT support guy.

Needless to say, I am excited, but also kind of terrified of what I'm getting myself into.

That's natural but when you've finished and it boots first time you'll question why so many people don't self-build!

Part list:

- MOBO: ASUS ROG STRIX z370-E Gaming (I noticed there are at least another three different z370's. Other than the letter at the end, I am not sure what the difference is. All I know it supports 8th gen Intel coffee lake and it's what I need)

Good choice, Asus make great stuff but they are often a bit more expensive. I've had three Asus motherboards and would never choose anything else, though, so I might be biased.

- CPU: i7 8700k

- GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080ti SC2 ("cheapest" 1080ti I could find, :lol: Hopefully the prices go down in the next couple of months, because this part is what's pretty much holding me back. Having a GTX1070 already, I can't really justify this investment on anything less than a 1080ti)

- PSU: EVGA 1000w GQ gold (is this enough, or is it overkill?)

Overkill, you could get away with 750W for sure, probably 650W (I've got the same CPU and a GTX 1080 running on 650W without issue), but 750W seems to be the average so you might as well, there's really not enough difference in price for there to be a strong case to go for 650W.

- RAM: Corsair Vengance LPX ddr4 2400mhz 32gb kit (I know absolutely nothing about RAM. Which is better, if there is a difference in performance, compatibility and so. I was shocked at how expensive these are. Are there cheaper options of similar quality and performance? Am I just paying for a brand name here?)

No, Corsair Vengeance RAM is actually the cheapest option here in the UK, but it's worth paying a little more to get slightly faster RAM if you have an unlocked CPU, you might wish to overclock to extend the life of it (in, like, 5 years' time or more) and faster RAM will help there - frame rate gains are nothing to write home about when going from 2400MHz to 3200MHz (which is what I have) but the latter is better for overclocking. It's expensive because there's a shortage or something, same reason SSDs are the same price they were six years ago and you probably know about the bitcoin thing inflating the price of graphics cards.

- SSD: Crucial MX500 500gb (I am not sure what the best solid-state is. I'm trying to go with value and quality)

Crucial are good, Samsung are regarded as the best but I think that's something of a legend at this point; it was true that they were far and away the best at one point but not so much any more.

- HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1tb.

I personally wouldn't recommend Seagate but that's based on my own anecdotal experience, a lot of people will say otherwise. I'd say go for a WD Blue or Black, but they're like twice the price.

Can a HDD be combined with a solid-state?

Sort of, but it's not really worth it - you can use an SSD as a cache for an HDD, meaning any regularly accessed files will be saved (automatically) onto the SSD to make them faster, but for your needs it sounds unnecessary. You can also get hybrid drives that do the same thing, but again, not worth it.

I believe it's best to have games in the SSD, and other files in the HDD. Does the OS need to be installed in the SSD? or how does this work?

The OS doesn't need to be on the SSD but you'd be wasting your SSD if you didn't have the OS on it, so do. Games that are sensitive to the storage medium should go on the SSD; GTA V for instance streams data from the drive it's on so it would have a legitimate reason to go on an SSD, other games load entirely into your RAM and sometimes are bottlenecked by something other than the data rate from the drive so you get zero benefit from them going on an SSD. As a general rule, anything big that you use a lot should be on the SSD, everything else goes on the HDD.

- Thermal paste: Arctic Silver5 (pretty much the first one that pops up anywhere)

- CPU Heatsink: Coolmaster V8 GTS (will this fit my CPU?)

Yes, to check CPU/cooler compatibility you need to look at the socket. This is the spec sheet for the i7, the socket is listed as 'FCLGA1151'. Ignore the 'FC', I don't know why that's on there (possibly to differentiate it from a soldered-on CPU instead of a removable socket) and you have LGA1151 which is the name everyone else refers to it by, then go here to the V8 GTS product page, click 'specs' then see if LGA1151 is listed there (it is)

- Case: Phanteks PHEC416 Eclipse (any other suggestion within a similar price range would be appreciated)

There are loads of good cases, anything by Fractal Design is good for the price, I myself have had a Define R3, Core 1300 and now a Meshify C TD (dark tinted tempered glass) and I've loved all three for different reasons. The best case I ever worked on was a Lian-Li because it had a ton of cable management considerations, but it must've been very expensive.

- Case fans: A couple of 120mm Corsair Air Series AF120

Don't bother if the case comes with one front and one rear fan. Less than that then sure, add some, but you won't need more than one in and one out unless you're overclocking.

Am I missing something?

WiFi card? Bluetooth? I'd recommend an Intel chipset like this one for that, or if you plan on using a Bluetooth controller at a considerable distance from your PC you could get something like an Asus BT400 and connect it via a USB extension cable to move it closer to where you're gaming.

Do you have an Xbox One controller you want to use wirelessly? You'll need an adaptor for that, unless it's a later type with Bluetooth (but you'll still need a Bluetooth card for that).

What monitor are you using? If it's 1080p at 60Hz and you're not planning on upgrading that to 4K at 60Hz/1440p at 144Hz/1080p at 144Hz+/VR, your 1080Ti will be going to waste so you'd be better off with a 1060 6GB or 1070, maybe a 1070Ti, or start saving for a new monitor. Asus and Acer have some cool stuff out, the latter is cheaper but their QA, build quality, design and UI is a bit below Asus's - the panels and all that are the same, though.

Do I need a DVD drive, or is it optional? I mean, in my current rig, I have never used it, but I'm just wondering if you need it to install Windows.

Entirely optional and not recommended (unless you plan on buying a load of dead games to install off a disc, Richard Burns Rally is probably the only thing that makes a compelling argument for that though now that SWAT 4 is on GOG and GT Legends and GTR2 are on Steam), if you think you might need a DVD drive at some point you could always buy an external one instead.

Also, you can make a USB stick Windows 10 installer if you have a product key (and possibly without, but it'll ask for the key when you use it, I forget) using the Media Creation Tool.

It's a wall of text but hopefully it's all you need to know that I can think of off the top of my head, but a lot of PC building is subjective so you'll easily find people who will disagree with me. They'll be wrong, though.
 
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155
Greece
Athens
Go for another PSU with lower wattage( look at Corsair's RM750 or EVGA SuperNova 750 G3 ) and look for different RAM sticks with atleast 3200MHz(G-Skill,Corsair or HyperX).
The rest is okay in my opionion. I have no idea about that cooler tho :lol:
 
4,074
United States
Utah
Regarding the differences between other Asus Z370 motherboards, I recently upgraded (having built three of my own PCs and doing several as part of my job, so I'm not new to it) and that was the only thing I put any thought into. I got a Z370-F in the end but the differences are very poorly explained and defined, you get different components on the motherboard like audio codecs, combinations of USB ports of different types, SATA ports and controllers, voltage regulation modules (more expensive boards use better VRMs to support overclocking)... The list goes on, but really it doesn't make a huge difference because anything you're missing you can get a PCIe card for.

Edit: Now that I'm not at work posting from my phone:



My install order is:
CPU on motherboard
CPU cooler on CPU (if it's small enough to get the screws in around it, otherwise install the cooler after the motherboard is in)
RAM on motherboard
I/O plate in case
Motherboard in case
PSU in case (leave the cables)
PCIe cards in case (if the graphics card won't get in the way when you come to put the drives in, but even then they're easy enough to remove - don't forget the little tab at the end of the slot!)
SSDs/HDDs in case (again, leave the cables)
Connect up all the cables, taking full advantage of any cable routing holes available to keep stuff tidy - apart from keeping fans clear this is purely aesthetic and best practice (i.e. not essential to get right), no sensible amount of cables will make a significant difference to your temperatures. Also if you're not overclocking, don't worry about adding more case fans because the hot bits have sufficient cooling of their own, you're just increasing the noise and power draw to cool down stuff that isn't even hot. Some people get funny about airflow but it's really nothing to worry about.



If you buy new, yes.



No pets, no carpet, touch something earthed before touching your PC after moving around - I use my kitchen tap, you can also use radiator piping, an ESD bracelet (with an appropriate safety resistor between you and earth!), etc. as long as it's unpainted. Preferably build on a slightly humid day (but not extremely humid or extremely dry), wear cotton if that's an option... I'd say as long as you do the first three you'll be fine.



That's not as scary as it might sound because you can leave the UEFI (aka BIOS, although they're not the same) alone and it'll work, but your motherboard manual will explain what each setting does or at least give you something to Google should you not understand at all.



You'd also then be dependent on them for help, you'll learn a lot by building it yourself. Just don't tell any friends or relatives you built your own PC because you'll suddenly become their go-to IT support guy.



That's natural but when you've finished and it boots first time you'll question why so many people don't self-build!



Good choice, Asus make great stuff but they are often a bit more expensive. I've had three Asus motherboards and would never choose anything else, though, so I might be biased.



Overkill, you could get away with 750W for sure, probably 650W (I've got the same CPU and a GTX 1080 running on 650W without issue), but 750W seems to be the average so you might as well, there's really not enough difference in price for there to be a strong case to go for 650W.



No, Corsair Vengeance RAM is actually the cheapest option here in the UK, but it's worth paying a little more to get slightly faster RAM if you have an unlocked CPU, you might wish to overclock to extend the life of it (in, like, 5 years' time or more) and faster RAM will help there - frame rate gains are nothing to write home about when going from 2400MHz to 3200MHz (which is what I have) but the latter is better for overclocking. It's expensive because there's a shortage or something, same reason SSDs are the same price they were six years ago and you probably know about the bitcoin thing inflating the price of graphics cards.



Crucial are good, Samsung are regarded as the best but I think that's something of a legend at this point; it was true that they were far and away the best at one point but not so much any more.



I personally wouldn't recommend Seagate but that's based on my own anecdotal experience, a lot of people will say otherwise. I'd say go for a WD Blue or Black, but they're like twice the price.



Sort of, but it's not really worth it - you can use an SSD as a cache for an HDD, meaning any regularly accessed files will be saved (automatically) onto the SSD to make them faster, but for your needs it sounds unnecessary. You can also get hybrid drives that do the same thing, but again, not worth it.



The OS doesn't need to be on the SSD but you'd be wasting your SSD if you didn't have the OS on it, so do. Games that are sensitive to the storage medium should go on the SSD; GTA V for instance streams data from the drive it's on so it would have a legitimate reason to go on an SSD, other games load entirely into your RAM and sometimes are bottlenecked by something other than the data rate from the drive so you get zero benefit from them going on an SSD. As a general rule, anything big that you use a lot should be on the SSD, everything else goes on the HDD.



Yes, to check CPU/cooler compatibility you need to look at the socket. This is the spec sheet for the i7, the socket is listed as 'FCLGA1151'. Ignore the 'FC', I don't know why that's on there (possibly to differentiate it from a soldered-on CPU instead of a removable socket) and you have LGA1151 which is the name everyone else refers to it by, then go here to the V8 GTS product page, click 'specs' then see if LGA1151 is listed there (it is)



There are loads of good cases, anything by Fractal Design is good for the price, I myself have had a Define R3, Core 1300 and now a Meshify C TD (dark tinted tempered glass) and I've loved all three for different reasons. The best case I ever worked on was a Lian-Li because it had a ton of cable management considerations, but it must've been very expensive.



Don't bother if the case comes with one front and one rear fan. Less than that then sure, add some, but you won't need more than one in and one out unless you're overclocking.



WiFi card? Bluetooth? I'd recommend an Intel chipset like this one for that, or if you plan on using a Bluetooth controller at a considerable distance from your PC you could get something like an Asus BT400 and connect it via a USB extension cable to move it closer to where you're gaming.

Do you have an Xbox One controller you want to use wirelessly? You'll need an adaptor for that, unless it's a later type with Bluetooth (but you'll still need a Bluetooth card for that).

What monitor are you using? If it's 1080p at 60Hz and you're not planning on upgrading that to 4K at 60Hz/1440p at 144Hz/1080p at 144Hz+/VR, your 1080Ti will be going to waste so you'd be better off with a 1060 6GB or 1070, maybe a 1070Ti, or start saving for a new monitor. Asus and Acer have some cool stuff out, the latter is cheaper but their QA, build quality, design and UI is a bit below Asus's - the panels and all that are the same, though.



Entirely optional and not recommended (unless you plan on buying a load of dead games to install off a disc, Richard Burns Rally is probably the only thing that makes a compelling argument for that though now that SWAT 4 is on GOG and GT Legends and GTR2 are on Steam), if you think you might need a DVD drive at some point you could always buy an external one instead.

Also, you can make a USB stick Windows 10 installer if you have a product key (and possibly without, but it'll ask for the key when you use it, I forget) using the Media Creation Tool.

It's a wall of text but hopefully it's all you need to know that I can think of off the top of my head, but a lot of PC building is subjective so you'll easily find people who will disagree with me. They'll be wrong, though.


Man, thank you so much for the help! I already changed my parts list a bit taking this advice in consideration. About the monitor, I currently own an ASUS vg248qe 24inch. It's been really good. It's a 144hz monitor, but it's only good for 1080p. As you say , it is a waste of card for only 1080p, so I'm going for a Dell G-Sync 1440p 165hz monitor. 4K unfortunately it is out of my current reach.
 
4,074
United States
Utah
Alright. I finally took the dive. I did have to change some parts due to budget, the major one being the CPU. Here's my new build:

Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E

CPU: i5 8600k (now I hope this own't be too much of a downgrade, but honestly, I can't afford the extra $100 at this point. I plan on overclocking though)

GPU: EVGA GTX 1080ti SC Black (it's $100 bucks less than the FTW 3. The only 1080ti below $1000 at the moment)

CPU Cooler: corsair H100i (water cooling seems the better option, since I am overclocking)

RAM: G Skill Trident Z 3000mhz 16GB (this was the hardest choice, since it's half of what I wanted, and 4gb lower than my current rig. But after a lot of research, 16gb seems more than enough for gaming... hopefully. And it cuts almost $150 from the budget)

SSD: Crutial MX500 500gb

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1tb

Case: Corsair Carbide Spec-02 (Yes!!! Just like the one I already have :lol: But I got the one with the blue LED instead of red. It helps that it is a simple, functional, well-ventilated case, and that I know what I'll be working with)

PSU: Thanks to you guy's advice, I went with a Gold, fully-modular 750w EVGA supernova. After some research, it confirms that it is more than enough for this build.

By the way, I got the monitor too. A Dell gaming monitor with G-Sync, 1440p and 165hz refresh rate. I'm getting that first, so I'll give it a spin on my old rig. I'm excited to see what's the whole G-Sync hype about. Hopefully my GTX 1070 doesn't get crushed by the 1440p res :lol:
 
6,145
Germany
Germany
Don't worry about the 8600k, it'll be more than plenty for gaming. You'd see a real benefit and gain in performance if you'd do stuff like rendering (photos, videos and 3D modelling), but for gaming purposes (especially when overclocked) the difference should be rather slim to a point, where you'd certainly wouldn't consider the extra performance worth 100$.

How much of an overclock do you plan? Obviously a AIO is offering you more cooling capacity and potentially lower temperatures, but if you're just planing on a mild overclock, say 4.3GHz, you'd probably would've gotten away easily with a decent air cooler from Cryorig, Noctua or beQuiet!
But obviously looks are also a factor when it comes to it, so no worries.

Certainly some drool-worthy specs, and I'm sure it'll serve you well for years to come! :)
 

Rallywagon

what a long strange trip
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Michigan
Rallywgn81
If you look at original post, the air cooler he was going to get was going to cost him as much at the AIO cooler he got. As is the way with somethings, when it comes to cooling, the more the better.
 
4,074
United States
Utah
Don't worry about the 8600k, it'll be more than plenty for gaming. You'd see a real benefit and gain in performance if you'd do stuff like rendering (photos, videos and 3D modelling), but for gaming purposes (especially when overclocked) the difference should be rather slim to a point, where you'd certainly wouldn't consider the extra performance worth 100$.

How much of an overclock do you plan? Obviously a AIO is offering you more cooling capacity and potentially lower temperatures, but if you're just planing on a mild overclock, say 4.3GHz, you'd probably would've gotten away easily with a decent air cooler from Cryorig, Noctua or beQuiet!
But obviously looks are also a factor when it comes to it, so no worries.

Certainly some drool-worthy specs, and I'm sure it'll serve you well for years to come! :)
I'm going for a mild OC. My plan is to lock it into the Turbo clock speed at least. So yeah, 4.3. If I can squeeze a bit more, say 4.5 without much heat, I'll consider it.

But 4.3 seems reasonable. My old 6600k has been running at 4.2 for almost two years now, with no problems and amazing performance. And that's with air cooling (then again, Skylake runs cooler). At that same speed, the 8600k should perform slightly better, and enough to justify not buying the i7.

We'll see how it goes. Parts will start arriving tomorrow.
 
4,074
United States
Utah
Well... Now I understand why some people think building a PC and making it look nice is an art. I gave up on the cable managing part... Also, the hard drive cage does not fit if the AIO is installed. Had to get a different case. Swallowed my pride and took it to my local computer shop. I've been their costumer for years, so I know it's in good hands.
 

Rallywagon

what a long strange trip
Premium
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Rallywgn81
You couldn't get the rad attached on the back panel vent? For that case it would attach right at the top of the back panel.
 
4,074
United States
Utah
You couldn't get the rad attached on the back panel vent? For that case it would attach right at the top of the back panel.

It won't fit on top. The mobo has heatsinks that prevent it. Also, setting the AIO as exhaust wouldn't help with CPU temps. I managed to mount it in the front as intake just fine, but then I ran into that problem with the hard drive cage not fitting.

But it's fine. Got a new case. The main reason I decided to give up was because I spent too much money on this thing for it to end up looking like trash.
 
4,074
United States
Utah
20180525_195927.jpg


Success!! Completely went over my budget, but it was worth it!