Page 1:ITX And DTX: When Less (Space) Costs More (Money)
Page 2:Motherboard, Graphics, And CPU
Page 3:Case And Its Accessories
Page 4:CPU Cooling, Optical Drive, And Power
Page 5:DRAM, SSD, And Mass Storage
Page 6:Assembly Part 1: Finding The Right...Saw?
Page 7:Assembly Part 2: Now, For All Of The Parts That Fit...
Page 8:Assembly Part 3: The Finishing Touches
Page 10:Test Systems And Benchmarks
Page 11:Results: 3DMark And PCMark
Page 12:Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Page 13:Results: Battlefield 3 And F1 2012
Page 14:Results: Skyrim And Far Cry 3
Page 15:Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Page 16:Results: Adobe Creative Suite
Page 17:Results: Productivity
Page 18:Results: File Compression
Page 19:Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Page 20:I Fought The Law!
CPU Cooling, Optical Drive, And Power
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X40
The BitFenix chassis housing this build’s hot and heavy graphics card has more than enough room for a big tower CPU cooler, and it could have even hosted a top-panel double-120 mm radiator if I was willing to sacrifice the optical drive bay. But I'm not ready to give up on optical media just yet, and I didn’t want the CPU cooler to be contaminated by hot air inside the case. NZXT’s Kraken X40 solves both of those problems by installing on the rear-panel, reversed.
Mounted in place of the case’s original 120 mm exhaust fan, the Kraken X40’s larger blower properly fills the case’s entire fan mount, minimizing the amount of air leaking around its sides. Using the fan as an intake assures that only the coolest air travels through its radiator. And combining the reversed airflow with front exhaust reduces the amount of graphics card heat retained by the case.
Optical Drive: Asus BW-14D1XT Blu-ray Writer
Many folks claim they never use optical media. But I don't like that word. It's much more likely that most of us rarely use it. And I'm not ready to accept compromises that require external drives or secondary PCs to make up for the loss of a disc drive in this do-it-all-and-do-it-well build.
Doing it well should come easy to Asus’ latest drive, with an astounding 14x maximum write speed. Hard drive backups to BD-R? Media backups from Blu-ray? Both should be easily accomplished by this high-speed drive, in addition to the mundane DVD and CD tasks that, apparently, nobody needs any more.
Power: Seasonic SS-660XP2 Platinum
Seasonic’s 80 PLUS Platinum-rated 660 W power supply is an extravagance in this build for several reasons. First is its price, since this Platinum model costs $20 more than one of my favorite 750 W Gold-rated versions. I doubt that many people would be able to recover its added cost in power savings over the life of their PC, but it’s still an added feature.
The unit’s rated capacity is also around 200 W beyond the expected peak power consumption of this build. On the other hand, excess capacity is never a bad thing, and I couldn’t find a top-quality unit below 600 W with dual eight-pin auxiliary power connectors.
- ITX And DTX: When Less (Space) Costs More (Money)
- Motherboard, Graphics, And CPU
- Case And Its Accessories
- CPU Cooling, Optical Drive, And Power
- DRAM, SSD, And Mass Storage
- Assembly Part 1: Finding The Right...Saw?
- Assembly Part 2: Now, For All Of The Parts That Fit...
- Assembly Part 3: The Finishing Touches
- Test Systems And Benchmarks
- Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Results: Battlefield 3 And F1 2012
- Results: Skyrim And Far Cry 3
- Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Productivity
- Results: File Compression
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- I Fought The Law!