New Build Critique


Alright everyone, it’s time for me to build anew. My budget i3 build from a few years ago isn’t cutting it, and I am going all out. Well, a little all out.

I’m building a small-form-factor PC that will be out on display in my living room. I’ve already piked up an NCase M1 that is sitting in my living room eagerly awaiting parts. Obviously, part selection gets interesting in a case this small. My biggest concern (and the centerpiece of my build) is a brand spanking new 1080.

Recommendations in small cases are always for blower-style coolers rather than the more standard aftermarket options, and the best blower cooler is the reference design, which means a FE card, which means over-paying for lower clocks. That just doesn’t seem right. I also can’t put a hybrid card in this case. The horizontal clearance won’t work with the common design on those cards of the tubing come straight out the top of the card. What’s left is venting the card’s heat into the case with a standard cooler. Does the lower TDP on the 10-series cards make this workable now?

In general, I’m leaning towards an i5-6600k / 16GB DDR4-3200 / 500GB NVMe M.2 for the other pertinent specs, though Auth really wants me to drop an i7 in instead. I’m open to critiques, recommendations, and anything else that comes up. In return, I promise to deliver pics of the build.

Here’s the current parts list…
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($228.99 @ B&H)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9S 46.4 CFM CPU Cooler (Purchased For $60.00)
Motherboard: Asus Z170I PRO GAMING Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard ($159.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($88.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($169.99 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition Video Card ($699.99 @ B&H)
Power Supply: Corsair SF 600W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply (Purchased For $120.00)
Monitor: Acer XB271HU bmiprz 27.0" 165Hz Monitor ($799.00 @ B&H)
Other: NCase M1 (Purchased For $230.00)
Total: $2556.85
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-08-19 10:54 EDT-0400

stHeretic's NCase M1 Build

It’s two additional i’s; how could you not?! :wink:


If you dont mind, what is your budget? i5 technically should be fine though having a quad core never hurts.


Are you going to do any streaming? Do you play MMORPGs and other network-heavy multiplayer games? Then don’t skimp on the CPU! Your GPU can render the most fantastically beautiful textures and physics but people underestimate the CPU’s involvement in network-heavy games.

Plus, if you’re streaming to twitch, youtube, etc. then you need an i7.

Also, pinging @Bradum as I think his advice is gold here.


Budget is functionally unlimited, but that doesn’t mean I want to waste money. I’m not interested in amazing benchmarks or winning epeen contests. I’ll probably end up around $3k all in on this. I also plan for this system to be an ongoing project. Custom cabling is on the future stuff list.

I’m not going to be streaming. I’ve sworn off MMOs, but we all know how that works out. Browser, voicechat, gaming is typically the extent of my usage. At some point I may want to dabble in VR, but that’s probably still two years/another generation of hardware away. The new Deus Ex and Starcitizen are both on my watch list.

One thing that comes to mind with your networking questions is the future setup of my house. I’m planning to convert my current computer into a home server/NAS solution. Streaming music across the network will likely be a thing once I have all of that in place, though from a connection standpoint, I wouldn’t think that would be a significant load on the processor.



Full stop.


If this is the case, you likely don’t need a GTX 1080 video card. A 1070 should fit your needs.


get the i7-6700K then. Its about $100+/- more and if VR is a future goal, should suffice without needing a full new build. @teh_ninjaneer makes a good point about the 1070 as well, but i can understand the desire for the 1080.

I’d be curious if you can find a monitor at a little lower price. Is the 165hz a must have feature? Have you looked for a G-Sync monitor?


The monitor is a bit of a sticky situation. I have to have a 1440 IPS panel, that’s set in stone. I’d like to have G-Sync. The only other monitor that really seems to fit the bill is the Acer XB270HU, and from reading it seems like there have been quality-control issues with those. The other option is going with the tried and true Dell, probably the U2717D. That loses G-Sync and the higher refresh rate.

My ideal monitor is a 27" 1440 IPS panel running at 80-120Hz. I don’t think going above 120 is really necessary.


go for the FTW EVGA 1080


Yeah if you are going to get the best graphics card on the market you can’t get a mid range CPU.


You went all out for this build all I can suggest like others is doing the i7! Go all the way!


For the most part it seems like a pretty solid build. It makes me happy that you remembered to get an SFX power supply. :slight_smile:

The main tweak I’d suggest is to get a blower card from an AIB partner. It will be cheaper, and be hard to tell the difference in looks based on the GPU placement in that case. You can get something like the MSI Aero 1080 for ~$40 less.

Looks like @Vocino beat me to my next point.
Just a couple things to add to that:

It used to be that the i5s (for the most part) were every bit as good for gaming as the i7s. This is because they used to be clocked the same, but the i5 had hyper-threading disabled, which games didn’t really benefit from anyways. Because people were buying i5s instead of i7s, Intel decided to have the i5s clocked slower for Skylake… So now there is a slight difference between the two for gaming

While the hyper-threading itself won’t help much with gaming, it will very much help with most other processes like (as already mentioned) video encoding for streaming, extracting files, backing up steam games, running multiple applications, etc.

Basically, if you aren’t going to miss the extra $100-$150, an i7 will definitely improve your experience over an i5… With that being said, if the primary use of your computer is gaming, the difference won’t be massive.


Which then brings us to this…

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($308.67 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus Z170I PRO GAMING Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard ($159.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($169.99 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Video Card ($619.00)
Total: $1447.64

A truly beastly rig. I’ll probably have to hold off another month for the monitor, but I can live with that. I may have to adjust the video card based on what’s available. I’d prefer the EVGA version as I’ve had issues with MSI in the past. It looks like ASUS also is making a non-FE blower version. Anyone have a preference on manufacturer?


Daymmmm. Them GPU savings…

I’d go with EVGA or ASUS. Personally, I prefer EVGA because their warranty is slightly less strict.
With ASUS, if you so much as remove the cooler from the card, your warranty is void. And they put seals on the card so they can tell if you have.
However, if you’re not like me and aren’t constantly tinkering with your computer, or water cooling your GPU, it’s not a big deal…


I went with the Asus, mostly because it was on amazon prime. If I get to the point where I’m putting a custom loop in, I should be able to sell that card and get one that is better suited to over clocking. Updates later this week once parts arrive!


We better get build pictures (and I mean all of them, not just most of them; we never got to hear the final thoughts before Mohomohommad’s passing ;)).


One day… One day that will get finished…
Some time this week my water block for my new GPU arrives, so I just might do an update then…


I made the classic rookie mistake; I didn’t test before I put it in the case. This is what happens when parts arrive piecemeal. So far so good. This is a really challenging case to build in, but at the same time, extraordinarily simple. In most cases, there is only one right answer. It might take some thought to find it, but its there. So far my only real backtracking was having to pull RAM to plug in the front header cables. Tomorrow the GPU should arrive, which I can’t install no matter what. CPU and cooler should arrive Wednesday, which is when the real fun will begin. I’m taking amble (albeit crappy) pictures which I’ll compile and post at the end. For now, I get to download windows isos, and remember that I don’t have a good windows key for this build.


What will do you about your case?