Description

Video: https://youtu.be/4RNwYyHITco

This is following a build I completed in 2015. That machine was built for gaming/VR. Though very capable through the preceding 4 years, it was time for new blood.

This new build had to game at 1440p or 4K @60 FPS minimum. It also had to handle VR duties with both the current gen HTC Vive, as well as next gen headsets. From the outset, this was going to be expensive and complex.

My partner also wanted to go full water cooled and RGB. Something I wasn’t too crazy about at first, but warmed to the idea over the course of planning the build.

With a full hard line water cooled solution, the build was going to go over budget by $500 - $600, so we scaled back to an AIO solution for the cpu for the time being. At some point in the future, we will upgrade the build to full water cooling, with both cpu and gpu water blocks.

The most difficult part of this build was the wiring and cable management. A task that the Lian-Li case made easier with it’s split configuration for PSU, drives section. The 9 RGB Thermaltake fans further complicated things, but it was well worth it for the final result.

For storage, I used an M.2 nvME SSD & 2 drives from my previous build, A samsung 850 pro (SATA) SSD as an intermediate drive and a Hitachi 2tb physical drive for backups, etc.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Well built, all in one water cooler. This was pretty easy to setup. Cooling is excellent, even on an i9 9900k, which tends to run hot at the highest clock speeds. The aesthetic of the RGB ring in the cpu block is classy and the CAM software is pretty comprehensive. There is an option to disable the rgb NZXT logo on the cpu water block as well. I noticed when setting an RGB pattern in the software, that it coordinated my motherboard and RAM RGB colors to match. Nice touch.

Motherboard

This board is state of the art. The build & individual component quality is outstanding. The setup was fairly straightforward for a board of this complexity. Layout of the various connectors is arranged in such a way as to aid the PC builder with cable management as you avoid cables crossing over the board unnecessarily. This helps when the board will be featured in a transparent case with tons of RGB. Pay attention to those extra cables and parts included in the box. Some of them really help with management of cables and connectors.

Memory

Fast performing and sharp looking without going overboard. The RGB Fusion compatibility is great as I don't need additional software aside from what is included with my Gigabyte motherboard. One thing to note is that out of the box, these will not run at full speed. You will have to enable the XMP memory profile in the bios.

Video Card

What can I say? I mean, aside from - this is currently the absolute pinnacle of gaming graphics, period. Yes, it's expensive, but this (and other RTX 2080ti cards) will give you top notch performance in all the latest games at full graphics settings for years to come. Triple digit framerates with all settings maxed out. Superb!

Case

Excellent case for a water cooling setup. Ample room for 3 radiators, 9 fans, 2 PSUs (yes two!) & 5 or more drives. The split cavity design made for more organized cable management. I was able to separate motherboard specific cabling from drive/RGB/front panel cables. This resulted in a build with a clean, well organized aesthetic.

Case Fan

I was a little worried when the plan was to include 9 of these fans in my new build. I was prepared for the possibility that the machine would sound like a jet taking off. It didn't. In fact it's very quiet at normal speeds. Even when gaming and the temps start to rise, the fan noise never rises to such a db level as to become annoying. Part of this is due to the bearing design, as well as the noise dampening rubber surrounding the mounting holes on all corners. The semi opaque white plastic surrounding the fan blades serves to diffuse some of the light from the LEDs, softening the appearance and creating the effect of the LEDs appearing as one continuous ring of light. Very impressive! I think the accompanying software to control the RGB effects could use a bit of user experience polish, but there are some great lighting profiles and probably more control over these fans than one would ever need...

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Comments

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

For a sec when I saw the box for the i9 I though you were powering it with a Jedi holocron and then remembered that is just intel’s fancy box for their new cpu line. Jokes aside that is a pretty sweet build and glad to see it working out well. Curious as to what VR games you run on it and if you run 4K or 1440p on the monitor side of things. I would like to see when you upgrade from AIO to full water blocks and the cable management for that case I could imagine being hell to deal with consider how much of the internals are exposed. Overall awesome build.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Where is your storage?

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

The lian li case has two chambers. The right side is where the psu is mounted as well as two drives, a 360 radiator & the rgb controller boxes, along with much of the wiring...

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

i was talking about your storage.i do not see any drives posted.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah right. I had those for the previous build. Will add them to the parts list anyways.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

super clean man

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice! Are you overclocking this build? If so what are your thermals like with the 9900k being pushed to its limit? I'm in the process of getting parts to build a nearly identical rig except I'm using a non-ti 2080 FTW3 Ultra, Trident Z Royal dimms & M.2s for my storage. My only concern is whether the Riing Trio fans and the Floe Ring 360 will be able to dissipate enough heat to keep the 9900k @ ~5.0GHz below 80c.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

The system overall is amazingly fast and stable. However, overclocking has been problematic so far. Yeah that 9900k gets hot! So far I cannot get it to go beyond 5ghz without hitting 92℃!!! Of course then the machine BSODs. That being said I haven't gone beyond the auto overclock feature of the board yet. I think by tweaking voltage and other settings manually, i'll have better luck. The Riing Trio fans are great! Nice and quiet (and look damn pretty too). Though that's another point of contention with the overclocking. I will need to ramp up the rpms on those fans into the performance range to cool with any effectiveness for overclocking. This will of course result in more noise. I may leave the cpu at it's defaults for now until I can sort out all the issues. I'm more concerned with keeping the build rock stable for gaming/VR then a few extra mhz. I have overclocked the GPU a bit and that has made about a 5 FPS difference in benchmarks. I know, not much, but I can probably go a bit further with it if I spent more time...

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

I've never built an open loop water cooled system, but the potential for thermal throttling on the 9900k has definitely made me consider it. The only thing I can think of that would help the thermals on a CLC would be better exhaust and intake fans. However I don't know of anyone who has spent $2,000+ on a system that would be content with non-RGB brown Noctua fans. At this point I'm seriously considering one of EK's all-in-one water cooling kits.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

Don't get me wrong, those Riing Trio fans can definitely push plenty of air. It's just that to overcome the heat that the 9900k puts out, the fans need to be pushed into performance mode (41.13 CFM @ 1500rpm, 25.2dba), rather than in silent mode (500~900RPM, 19.8dba). Multiply that by 3 corresponding to the 3 fans mounted in front of that radiator and they will get a bit loud. I'm thinking about mounting the nzxt radiator inside the left side chamber and mounting 3 additional fans (the Aer P120 that were included with the X72) on the other side, creating a push/pull configuration. While this would most definitely increase the noise level, i've read that some have had really good results with cooling an overclocked 9900k.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

I'll definitely be mounting my cooler to the side bracket, but now that you mention it a push pull config on the radiator would probably drop the temps by at least a few degrees celcius.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

How did you get all the RGB’s to sync up?

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Well the RAM is compatible with Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion RGB standard. Apparently the Thermaltake fans are supposed to be RGB Fusion ready as well. The NZXT Kraken has it’s own RGB standard. So far i’ve had to run 3 bits of software and create effects profiles that coordinate manually (Gigabyte RGB Fusion utility, NZXT CAM app, Thermaltake’s RGB Plus app). Not ideal, as I really wish they could all play nice with RGB Fusion under 1 control app. However, my research into this has not been overly exhaustive, so a solution could be out there somewhere. I just haven’t found it yet.

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

What are your idle CPU temps? Nice build!

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

28℃ idle, approx 45℃ load. This is with the NZXT Kraken X72 in push/pull configuration.

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome! Looks amazing! Thanks!

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi,

How is the motherboard performance/stability so far ? and does it make a difference to the 'Ultra' model significantly ?

Thanks,

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

It has been rock stable ever since the day I built it. The main reason I went with the master over the ultra is that the heatsinks over the VRMs have slightly better cooling ability, which makes a difference in this particular case. I think it has contributed to the stability to some extent, especially with this memory and cpu. The other reason I chose the Master version of the board was because it has a ESS Sabre 9118 DAC w/WIMA audio capacitors. I have a pretty demanding and varied audio setup and equally demanding ears. Everything from competitive gaming to content creation (streaming, video/sound editing) is done on this machine. Being able to hear the subtle nuances between certain items in the sound source is pretty important for me and this board really delivers in that area. The s/n ratio and clarity, especially with higher end headphones & speakers is on par with some pretty expensive external audiophile grade gear.

If the audio quality and the slight edge in cooling doesn't matter for your particular build, just go with the Ultra. It's still an awesome board.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

So I'm planning on doing a build very similar with regard to using 9 Riing Trio fans with a Kraken AIO. I have a question how you set everything up to get RGB synced and all that.

I see you mentioned you are using push/pull for the X72. Is that rad mounted on the top for exhaustd with the Trios in push for the interior look and the stock fans for the X72 on the top in pull? Did you then keep the the Kraken wiring to the "default" and then have the Trios controlled by the TT software? How do you coordinate the fan speeds and everything properly?

Did you consider getting one/two of the TT Pro Sync Controllers or would they not be needed for your scenario? Did you just keep using all 3 lightning controllers that came with the fans?

I'm trying to think if I should just replace the X72 fans and use the Trio fans in a pull config for the side front vent but I'm worried that I won't be able to hook them up to be properly controlled. Any thoughts? Thanks and great looking build.

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

The X72 is mounted on the right front side, with the Riing Trio fans pushing airflow through. I have the stock fans that came with the Kraken pulling air through on the right side of the case. Believe me when I say that for the 9900k, the push/pull configuration is really necessary if you want to run the cpu anywhere near 5 to 5.1 Ghz.

Yes, Trios are using their own stock controllers and TT RGB Plus app. The motherboard has plenty of fan headers, as well as very fine control over fan speeds (probably more than necessary).

Sadly I still need 3 apps to control all the RGB despite checking compatibility on everything: Gigabyte's RGB Fusion, TT RGB Plus & NZXT CAM app. There is probably more work I can do to streamline operation of it all, but i'm allowing for some time with this build to see what issues arise.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice. Did you try other fan configurations and compare temperatures? Was it mostly an esthetic decision to go with exhaust rather than intake for the front/side fans? The only decent comparison I can find for 9 fan configurations was a Hardware Canuck Youtube video but he used a blower style GPU so I'm second guessing if his findings of bottom/side intake and top AIO exhaust being the most thermal efficient will be the same.

Thanks.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello, i'm not sure if you'll see this because its a few months old, but i thought i'd ask anyway and hopefully get lucky.

I have a very similar set up... Only difference is i got the z390 ultra and 6 riing trios.

My question is simple,

What headers on the MB are you plugging the fan controllers into?

I've been racking my brain on this, and so far, from what i found online... These fans aren't supported out the box with gigabyte MBs, and you need a 3 pin connector that comes bundled with the TT sync controller.

I've tried connecting the controllers to some fan headers on the MB, the RGB on the fans comes on, and the fans spin, but no software (TT rgb plus, rgb fusion ect.) couldn't find the fans/fan controllers, so i've been unable to play with the lighting.

Apparently you got them working, you also can address the rgb...and with the original fan controllers, and 9 to boot?

How? =(

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

My apologies for the late response. Your question is not as simple as you say, LOL! This build was over 7 months ago and I have forgotten which headers I used. It's a fairly complex wiring setup to get everything working right. Let me know if you still need help on this and i'll go back and open the case and trace the wiring. I can snap some pics to help you along.

Again, sorry for not replying to this sooner. I have been busy moving to a new city and started a new job.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

He spent around $420 for case fans...

Nice

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