This is a largely unplanned update to my first build that I started over 5 years ago.
Why: Before this I had SLI 3-slot 1080s, and while they were absolute monsters in terms of performance, the top card got super hot and super loud. This got better when I changed the thermal paste and pads, but still, a big issue. I really should have realized before I bought them that there would be 0 space between the two cards for breathing room, but hey, I didn't. With 2-slot cards, there would have been plenty of room for the top card to breathe, solving most all of my problems. The fact of SLI was the other issue. Sure, when SLI was well supported in a game, it was great. I would get roughly 80% frames over a single card. But with the small amount of games that support SLI, and the even fewer amount that support it well, it was just a headache. When I found a 2080 ti for $950 on craigslist, I jumped on the offer and the rest unfolded from there.
CPU: After I bought the 2080 Ti (mostly out of gut instinct over how good a deal it was) I was worried that my CPU would be a bottleneck, but after doing a little OC work on both the CPU and ram, I've got no issues. I've got the CPU sitting at a stable 4.5ghz at 1.31 volts, idle temps are around 40c, and peak temps are about 75c. The fact that this thing is still relevant over 5 years after it was released really shows how little progress intel has been making. 9/10
CPU Cooler: This thing is a beast. I've been considering an upgrade to the NH-D15, but the performance just isn't that much better. 10/10
GPU: The silent fan mode is nice, and under load this thing is super quiet. Not the biggest cooler, but not having to worry about GPU sag is nice. I could definitely try for some OC, but I'm happy with the performance right now and I LOVE how quiet this new setup is. The EVGA Precision X software isn't that great, I just used it to turn the LEDs to white, and have been sticking with MSi Afterburner. 8/10
Case: This is by far my favorite piece of the build. Sure it's not perfect, with lackluster airflow and a little less back panel space than I would like, but I love it. The aesthetic is simple and perfectly reflects the anti-RGB attitude of this build. The easily removable panels (besides the top, which is irrelevant because of the fan tray design) area breeze to work with, and the cable management straps on the back are super helpful. It feels super solidly built, with it's 3mm aluminum panels. The dust filters are well placed and easily removable. 9/10.
Storage: Not much to say about this stuff, it's old, and it's next up on my list of stuff to upgrade.
Fans: These noiseblockers are pretty underrated. They are super quiet, have a great system of interchangeable cable lengths, and have a really unique fan blade design. Only issue was a weird harmonics thing that caused the whole CPU cooler to vibrate up and down. Fixed it by just remounting the fans in a different orientation. 8/10
As for the noctuas, it's pretty well known that these are about as good as it gets. They're super powerful, super quiet, and super reliable. They even look pretty good if you get some chromax bits (which are unfortunately a little overpriced for little pieces of rubber). I wish they were a little cheaper, but I really can't complain for the performance. It should be noted that if you motherboard doesn't have good fan management (like mine), controlling the speeds of these things can be a pain.10/10 (with good management)
The price of the Corsair Commander Pro was a tough pill to swallow, but the ease of control of your fans really can't be matched. Being able to control the fan curve of each fan with extreme precision, along with which component it corresponds to is absolutely amazing. The temperature sensors are kinda gimmicky, but they can actually tell you quite a bit about how air and heat flows in your case. 8/10 (would be 10/10 if it was $30).
Next Up: Storage and cable combs. Probably some sort of 2tb m.2 nvme drive and a 6tb wd black or something similar. I bought these cable extensions off amazon a few years ago and haven't been able to find a set of cable combs that don't look like garbage (this is from the product page of the official silverstone ones). Please dm me if you know a set of cable combs that will fit these.
I know this was kinda long, so thanks for reading if you got all the way through this! Feel free to dm me if you have any questions about working with these parts.
Photo Note: Looking over the photos, they all look very deep blue. In person, It's an almost pure white with just a hint of blue
tl;dr - Unplanned upgrade to my relatively old system b/c I found a $950 2080ti. - Always leave 1+ slots of space between SLI cards. - Noctua fans rock (when well controlled).
Edit: The rear fan - I literally just realized I never put it in. Will do it asap. Also, cat tax.