Motherboard And CPU Cooling
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A
Asus is known for stability, for overclockability, for its good tuning software, and sometimes, for premium pricing. Its Z97-A was unable to out-overclock its competition in Intel Z97 Express: Five Enthusiast Motherboards, $120 To $160, and consequently lost the value war over a $10 price difference.
That $10 price premium is gone now though, and we’re happy to pay a lower price for a top-tier overclocking platform.
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake NiC-L32
Cooling is an extremely important part of overclocking, and I’d need an equally extreme overclock to approach the performance levels of last quarter's $2400 machine. Unfortunately, I don't have the cash for a $100 dual-fan liquid cooler or even a $80 super-sized tower this time around. The good news is that I know a little about design and the limits of Intel’s Haswell-based CPUs.
Lacking the improved thermal interface material implemented on Intel's Devil's Canyon SKUs, our Core i7-4770K realizes relatively minor temperature drops even from big changes in cooling. Compounding the issue, small voltage increases can result in large temperature spikes. Many overclockers report a 1.30 V core limit is the key to CPU longevity. My experience shows that right-sizing the cooler for this voltage level means finding something as effective as the old MUX-120 I use in motherboard comparisons.
Thermaltake’s NiC-L32 hadn’t been reviewed when I placed my order, yet none of the heat sinks I knew would work fit in my budget. Lacking any other reference point, I relied on visual analysis to find a sub-$60 cooler that looked like it might serve my purpose.
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Only 8GB RAM for a high end PC? Just plain too much money spent on graphics card. Also, too much money spent on "yuppie" power supply/caseReply
kidding me, hdd and windows 8, pls, read up on hardware toms hardware.....and software.Reply
thermaltake nic L32 doesn't seem well suited for the cpu for stock operations. at stock settings, the cpu's load temp is 57c over ambient according to the temp. chart. the q1 $1600 pc has a hyper 212 evo and it ran the stock i7 4770k under 40c over ambient. from the looks, the tt nic cooler seemed a better performer than the hyper 212 evo.Reply
was multicore enhancement enabled for both the q1 $1600(asrock z87 pro3) and this quarter's high end pc(asus z97-a)? did it affect the heat output? asus keeps m.c.e. enabled by default. i can't see any other factors atm.
all 3 builds look very well-performing this quarter. looking forward to the perf-value analysis.
Reading the reviews on newegg about that PowerColor 290x you chose was hilarious. So whoever win's this thing can look forward to many many rma's in the future. Apparently its plagued with artifacts, bad fans, bios issues, & performance degradation. I would have chosen another brand at the very least.Reply
To be fair though, look at the dates of those negative Newegg reviews. All but one of the complaints appeared after this system was ordered mid-May. Prior available feedback WAS almost all positive. And a manufacturer rep jumped in to resolve that one.Reply
A yuppie power supply...OK...13586826 said:Only 8GB RAM for a high end PC? Just plain too much money spent on graphics card. Also, too much money spent on "yuppie" power supply/case
The last time I checked the "Samsung 840 EVO MZ-7TE250BW" wasn't an HDD, and nobody wanted us to run OS/2 on a modern gaming system. Please read the charts, wabba13587011 said:kidding me, hdd and windows 8, pls, read up on hardware toms hardware.....and software.
Make this "competition" global please... :( You have "Tom's Hardware" in every major region in the world... :) Also FedEx and DHL ships everywehere in the world :) make all readers happy :) Our traffic is good for your site, but we never get something special :((Reply
If I had a specs like this, I don't want it to be encased. I'd stick it to my wall even if it means I had to figure out how to do it.Reply
If aesthetics doesn't play a role, this is a pretty damn good build...Reply
I think the author hit his mark for the intent of the build/article based on the budget limit and provides a good starting point for us. However, if I was actually building and buying for myself, I would make some changes to add headroom and compatibility.Reply
I would go with 16 GB of memory for $85 more, since that’s only $85/$1600=5% more cost. I’d also go ahead and get the Asus 780 for $520. (Side note: I disagree that most would go AMD in a 780 vs 290x, but I know better than to open that can of worms). SLI was mentioned but not used, and I also would not get SLI unless I KNEW it worked with the game I was most interested in. The posts on various forums about SLI causing problems in most games, along with SLI “issues” dating back to 3dFX Voodoo2 cards, keeps me away from SLI.
I also would stay away from “generally stable, but usually not stable in the games I want to play most” (not quoting the author here) overclocking of the system/video card. It’s nice to see it in the charts, but I read about way too many problems in games caused by overclocking for me to rely on it to get my ‘value’.
Lastly, I think the pendulum has swung too far towards “value” for the high end build. I suggest tweaking that a little for future high end builds (eg..780Ti, 16 GB memory, 500GB SSD, but continue to stay away from $1000 CPU, $1200 SLI, etc).