Motherboard, Case And Cooling
Motherboard: MSI Z97 Gaming 5
The Asus motherboard in last quarter’s $1600 PC was a good value back then, but MSI’s Z97 Gaming 5 is a slightly better value today. Prices don’t always fluctuate synchronously.
Originally recognized with an award for its good value at $160, the same Z97 Gaming 5 sells for less than $150 today (or at least at the time of writing).
Case: Enermax Ostrog GT
Last quarter’s build received a sleek-looking, somewhat quiet case with good cooling performance to match its looks. One of our readers even complained that the case looked a little too upscale to be a good value, even though it was only $90. That won’t be a problem this time.
Though somewhat stylish, Enermax’s Ostrog GT looks like a nicely designed, inexpensive gaming case. Assets include its great cooling performance and modest noise isolation. Deficits include a top panel with room for a radiator without fans, or fans without a radiator. I was hoping to use alternative mounting methods to put a radiator and fans up there anyway before I figured out that I wouldn’t be able to afford a closed-loop liquid cooler.
CPU Cooling: Phanteks PH-TC14PE
The war between Noctua and Phanteks has been raging for a long time, with fans of the latter brand often making wild claims about superior performance and a lower price as almost everyone else shrugs. Indeed, our own tests have shown little to no performance difference between the NH-D14 and PH-TC14PE, and every attempt to purchase the more colorful brand for a lower price has been fruitless, until now.
Phantek’s temporary discounts finally aligned with a purchase day, and that discount applied only to the black version. The discount will probably apply to a different color by the time you buy one, but value is colorblind.