It's okay, I guess. It runs Minecraft at 480p at a locked 30 fps. Normal Settings.
In all seriousness, this is a pretty damn solid build. Came about when I decided to update my just-over three year old Razer Blade Pro. It was a fine machine, and is the one technological product I have NEVER had to call customer support for. No problems. I have a lot of appreciation for something like that. However, especially in the past year, I found the system was bottlenecked by both its 8GB of DDR3 ram and its meager (though good by 2012 standards) Graphics card. It struggled to run games at 30fps on its 17 inch 1080p display. It was livable, but nothing to celebrate.
It was around August that I began to seriously doubt its abilities to maintain 2016's best games. The keyboard would get really, really hot, and the fans sounded like they were about to wheeze and die. I then decided to start a parts list half seriously, but I stalled the effort as I wanted to wait for Kaby Lake. I am someone who hates to buy anything that is going to be replaced soon, so I thought waiting for the increased future-proofing would be worthwhile. Many people ask me if I am really depressed about waiting. To many, Kaby Lake was an uninspiring update that changed little. However, I am less disappointed than most; it gave me the legendary 5.0GHz overclock, as well as some better 4k processing ability. Am I blown back by the update? No, but it is most certainly the best QUAD core to date.
Around November, things got serious. Black Friday got me around $500 off, and I found out I had a connection that could get me $300 off the monitor. Plus, a very supportive family member helped me out with a $500 gift to help fund it (he is a computer guy). For those mathematically inclined, that's $1300 off the top. I began buying parts that I wanted, and committed to the effort.
Enter Chromatic, my 2017 Kaby Lake build.
I want to address three elephants in the room. I have a feeling that I will be grilled for these decisions later on, but I ask you guys hear me out.
This PC will sit on my floor. Now before you guys get your pitchforks and torches, please hear me out. This is not an ideal situation for me. My desk is small (and possibilities of getting a bigger one are slim to none), and had much of its real estate divided into irremovable cabinets, which sit on either side of a gap large enough to fit a 28 inch monitor. Originally, I was going to place a very slim HTTPC-sized pc in a cabinet slot, which gave me very little room to work with. I would have had to go with a Thermaltake Core G3 or Node 202. Originally, this was my plan. However, it only works with single GPU setups, it is not particularly attractive, and requires this riser cable, which has a reputation for breaking and damaging parts. I had just two possible solutions. I could either put it all the way across my room using a 40-50 foot displayport-displayport cable. I didn't really like that idea, so I went with my only other option: putting it next to my desk on the floor. I can hear the jeers and boos. For the record, I agree with the crowd; I think it would be great if I could put it elsewhere. Where, however, is the issue.
As you might have noticed, I like Razer. Cue the Corsair fanboys telling me the STRAFE or the K70 is better. Cue the Audiophiles telling me I could have gotten an Audiengine A2+ instead of the Leviathan. Cue the Sennheiser bunch telling me the MANO'WAR Sound Quality in comparison to some other headset. Allow me to address this systematically. Razer, as a whole, has been the only brand I have never had to call customer service for. Never, not once. This is the only company I have dealt with where this is the case. Everything just works, seamlessly at that. Synapse means I can control everything with one panel, including Chroma, which I believe is superior to all other RGB systems out there for its ease of use and customization. Now on to individual Razer peripherals. The Blackwidow (especially V2) is better than any of the K70s. People make the case that the metallic finish is better. However, given that the plastic used is both strong and smooth. I have never really longed for anything more. This is coming from someone who has both a Dell XPS 15 and a Razer Blade. I know the difference between metal and plastic, and it doesn't really bother me. As for mice, I see little difference between Razer's and any other ones. I concede, however, that audio quality on my leviathan, as well as on the MANO'WARs are less stellar than some of the competition. For the former, I chose to buy only because I got it at $120. It is half the price of most really, really good speakers. Plus, once you turn on the subwoofer, it can hang with some of them. The headset, however, is pretty good in terms of sound quality, but is probably beaten by some of the more dedicated audiophile-focused competition. That being said, I tried on a bunch of pairs, and these were by far the most comfortable. This is my opinion, feel free to disagree.
"BUT RYFI! 1440p Widescreen is so much better than 4k." It doesn't fit where I need it to. "BUT RYFI! 1440p 144Hz is strictly better than 4k in games." Better Objection, but still not a good one. I got a Dell XPS 15 Laptop with the 4k touchscreen, and since then I cannot look at any other resolution the same way. I notice it, and it is obvious. Maybe I just have good eyes? I don't know, but I will disagree with anyone who thinks 4k is not the best.
I also want to point out that I bought my processor from siliconlottery. It was a 5.1GHz bin, which I bought to guarantee comfortable performance at 5.0 GHz. They held up their end, and I think it was worth the $80 premium.
I want to mention a couple things that went wrong during the build. First, the Motherboard has a very odd way by which one gets to the better positioned M.2 slot. You literally need to pry off the armor, use an amount of force that seems unnatural, and then pop it back in. As far as I can tell, I did it correctly, and it works. I then put the armor back on. Another motherboard issue required us to Flash the BIOS. My friend helped me with that part. As it turns out, there's a button on the motherboard that does just that. He helped me install the right drivers, however.
Second, I now HATE NZXT, and will no longer recommend their products to anyone. The X62 water cooler they gave me is off center, and the logo is about 5 degrees off perfect. In other words, it is kinda crooked, which bothers me to all hell. I was able to turn off the logo illumination in CAM and leave the ring illumination, but it was annoying nonetheless. The case they gave me has a massive crack along the glass panel. Again, way to fricking go NZXT. I reached out to them (put in a ticket) 4 weeks ago, and I have not yet gotten anything resembling a response.
My other big issue was that the graphics card, when paired with such a fat motherboard and a thin case, do not fit. Length isn't the issue, it was the with of the included chrome bracket. I used a hacksaw to remove a large part of that for each GPU, and that fixed the problem.
Annoyingly, I was supposed to get a 960 PRO for storage, but had my orders rejected after-the-fact on three occassions. Samsung then said it would be a month before they could get me one, then I withdrew my final order. Two days later, they had them everywhere. Thanks, Samsung... At least the 960 EVO is fast, too.
The case itself is a point of contention for me. On one hand, the Razer fanboy in me had to have a case with their sticker on it. This led me to either the Antec Cube (does not support SLI), the NZXT S340, and the NZXT H440. I had the money for the latter, but I like the minimalist rectangle design of the S340 more.
The power supply has worked well.
The monitor is a bit modded. Until I am able to mount it directly to the wall, it is actually on spray painted legs. They are green, to match my build, but the red Predator Logo on my bottom bezel still annoys me to all hell. I have found no solution, but would love to hear one!
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not yet Overclocked the CPU nor have I done any stress testing. I will at some point, but have not yet felt the need to. Everything says it will get to 5Ghz, especially since Silicon Lottery certified it at 5.1GHz. Also, I may double my RAM. I find myself using close to 16GB at times with Chrome and a game open. Thinking about it.
So that is the build, everyone! I thought it was pretty good on paper, and it has shown me that it is more than capable of running games at whatever I want. I look forward to hearing some feedback. Let me know what boneheaded mistakes I've made, and please tell me how to correct them. It is my first build, so please go easy on me!
Great processor, does what it is supposed to do.
On one hand, performance is excellent. Quality Control is taking a nap, however. Get this if you love your NZXT lighting to only be able to support a crooked logo.
Best paste on the market.
She's a fat one, but if you shoehorn her in just right, you can fit your graphics cards anyway. Some early BIOS issues lead me to take away a star, however.
It's RAM. Too bad its not RGB.
It's Fast. It's Storage. It's... that's about it...
Tremendous card with great lighting. Overclocking is easy and successful.
It's a solid budget case, but does not strike me as using space efficiently. Also, a little help from cable management would be nice, as would some decent QC. My glass panel was damaged upon arrival.
It's consistent. Nice Warranty.
I wish this monitor was available without red like the X34.
Go Razer Master Race!
Go Razer Master Race!
Go Razer Master Race!
Go Razer Master Race!