Obligatory tempered glass peel HERE
Hey PCPP, lifelong Mac user here - I have now joined your ranks. I realized that I was easily hitting the graphical ceiling in Boot Camp while gaming, and realized that I would have to sell my 2015 Retina iMac in order to upgrade the speed since Apple works on the computer as appliance model. Apple’s model of ignoring the tower category is what left me behind a long time ago, my build cost less money than a loaded Mac Mini which has been ignored since 2014 and was a downgrade from the 2012.
I will say that the iMac is a good product for a lot of a certain kind of user, but I’m not one of those and their way of doing things is too restrictive for me. I had been looking at my software and realized that all of the important stuff is available on the Windows side, and that I don’t want to have to sell my whole computer to realize upgrades, so here I am. I’ve made the switch.
Big thanks to Gamer’s Nexus, BitWit, Paul’s Hardware LinusTech, and PcPartPicker for making this so smooth. My scariest part in this build was putting the CPU into the socket and trying to figure out how to properly use the plastic aligner with the socket arm, figuring out how tight to torque the Dark Rock 3 cooler (thought i might break it), and at the end of the build I didn't completely seat my displayport cable into my graphics card (it is pretty tight) so I thought something had gone wrong. Otherwise it just took me quite a few focused hours. I have no idea how to do cable management better than I got it. Performance is excellent on this computer, and it's pretty quiet! My temps at the top end are with fans between 60-70% I think, I bumped them up on the case and card until I could run Witcher 3 maxed out with high fps and maintain the 75c mark. CPU hasn't been an issue with temps. The most annoying fan noise comes from the graphics card, the case fans are all much nicer - the gpu fans have a slightly metallic hum to them compared to the woosh of the others but its a minor complaint and offers no issues with headphones on. Definitely pick up the GPU support brace for this card or similar ones, as it is so long and heavy that it sags if you don't have it.
I leave the 144Hz refresh rate turned on at all times because I quickly grew to love the smoothness even on the Windows desktop. You can check that you properly turned it on by going into the display's menus and enabling on screen display refresh rate, and you need to change it in your settings: https://m.windowscentral.com/how-change-monitor-refresh-rate-windows-10 [windowscentral.com] Also, I'd recommend playing with your settings in games. In the Witcher 3, for instance, you need to disable the frames per second cap by setting it to Maximum, and turn off V-Sync. You might also like the look of the game with motion blur and those sorts of settings turned off as they will obscure some of the smoothness that your monitor is capable of. It's really nice. Make sure you all try the settings created by Zerocool23 over here (it's post #1563): https://www.overclock.net/forum/44-monitors-displays/1581181-acer-xb271hu-share-your-experience-show-pics-157.html#/topics/1581181?page=157 as it will help you get solid performance. You use the on screen settings and then download and apply the color profile that he has attached to his post. Nearly everything runs at high or maximum and still hits or gets near the 144fps/hz mark and it is extremely useful for fast paced action games like shooters.
I added everything into my build for completeness sake, as I noticed that most people leave out useful items like velcro ties, fan splitters, led lights, keyboards, mice, and even Windows itself (though I realized later that I didn't need Pro). The only items zeroed out in cost are things that I carried over from previous computers.