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[Build Log] Straata's Midnight Guardian

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Straata's Midnight Guardian build log
Sponsored by ÆGIS PC

Parts list:

Intel i7 4770K
Asus Sabertooth z87
Corsair Dominator Platinum 4x4GB 2133 CL9
Sapphire Radeon R9-290X
Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD
1TB Seagate SSHD
1 TB Seagate HDD
320GB Western Digital Black 7200RPM 2.5"
250GB Toshiba 2.5"
Seasonic X-1050
Phanteks Enthoo Primo

Temporary Water Cooling Loop:

Swiftech H20-220 Elite Kit
Primoflex UV Blue Tubing
Assorted Swiftech Rotary Fittings
EK 290 Acetal Full Cover GPU Block w/ Backplate
Cougar Vortex PWM 120mm Fans

Future Loop:

Alphacool Nexxos Monsta 280
Alphacool UT60 or XT45 420
Swiftech MCP35X
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block
XSPC Photon 170 or 270
Primoflex Rigid Tubing - Dark Blue
Primoflex Rigid Fittings
Assorted EK Adapters
Phobya QDC
Phobya Valve
Cougar Vortex Blue LED 140mm Fans


Black, Blue, Silver, Gold


Midnight Guardian
Contrary to my forum name, my actual Tag/Nickname is Straata. I am the owner/operator of ÆGIS PC, a custom PC and Day Trading system OEM located in S Florida. This is my first build log, so bear with me.

My current system/test bench is an ASRock z77 based i5 running at 4.5Ghz in a HAF XB. Its a great system, but I have been aching to get some hands on time with Haswell and the beautiful Sabertooth z87. I have a good friend in Montreal who needs some major upgrades to be able to really get the most out of the GTX580 his father passed him down, and this seemed like the perfect time to upgrade as a result.
So out of my HAF he will be receiving my old 3570K, 16GB Ballistix 1600 CL9, ASRock z77 Extreme6, and Seasonic SSX-650. I will retain my 290X, Swiftech Loop, SSD/HDDs, ODD, Case, and Fan controller (which I am taking recommendations for a better one).

As the build progresses I will move to the Enthoo Primo, the XB is a great case for Air cooling or very simple CPU only cooling loops, but it just cannot easily accommodate the Rad space needed to cool Haswell chips and 290Xs together. That is also part of the reason for the much more extreme cooling loop, these parts really do need the extra Wattage dissipated, but also they allow for a potential future Dual-Fire on the 290X (if prices ever become normalized again).

As this is my signature build for myself and for the marketing of my company I decided early on that aesthetics have to be just as important as the performance. Anyone can jam parts and cables and tubing into a case, but it takes a dedicated builder with an artistic eye sometimes to make a PC that you are as proud to display as you are to brag about the FPS. I had always intended to go with the 4770K, its the best choice for gaming, and no slouch for just about any other workload. 2011 Chips looked good on paper, but the cost is just too high to warrant, and with the potential of 2011-3 nearing I am hesitant to go with something quite that expensive regardless. A sale on Amazon made it a quick buy

Moving on I had to choose between the Sabertooth z87 and the Maximus VI Formula. Both are very similar boards, both in features and pricing. The M6F really had only a few exclusive features I found worthwhile, the VRM cooler, the SupremeFX chipset, and the debug display.I ended up ruling it out due to the aluminum VRM Heatsink (just refuse to take that risk), and color scheme (red was a no go). All the other features the Sabertooth shared, except the Debug panel, which unfortunately is replaced by binary LEDs. I went eBay for the board, as it was $40 off for a new but opened box, and the board looked in perfect condition. I was not disappointed.

Thanks to the AMD R9-290/X Owners Club here on OCN, I was able to determine that a kW PSU would suffice for not just this build, but also be suitable if I chose to go Dual-Fire 290Xs, with enough headroom to OC both GPUs and CPU. After that it was a simple choice, Seasonic. I love my 650W, it just doesn't seem to have the legs to allow both a CPU and GPU OC. But I'll be damned if it isn't silent, and joy to work with overall. As an aside, I am not sure if its just the 2014 model, or the X1050 and above, but my X1050 forgoes the Soft PVC coating of the X650 for Heat Wrapping, and really makes it feel like they value added on every level. No sale for this, but Newegg had it relatively cheap anyway.

Finally I had to consider RAM. Ripjaws seemed to be the Brand of choice for most, however I just didn't feel drawn to any of their kits except the TridentX, which is Red. Ultimately I defaulted to the Corsair Dominator Platinum kit, the looks of it are simply the best. It really adds that simple but powerful profile that I wanted. Thankfully Newegg had the kit on sale.
I have received all the parts, save the case and new loop, and have already fit them (precariously) into the XB. I also delidded the 4770K and managed to get 4.7GHz OC on it at 1.315V. The 290X sits at 1175/1350 running AB3 Beta 18, anything higher causes complete black screen crashes, sadly as I was really hoping to get 1250/1500 at the least.


Pictures of the current state of my build, currently in a HAF XB using a semi custom Swiftech H20-220 Elite loop and EK 290X Fullcover Acetal Block with Backplate

Edited by Strata - 3/5/14 at 1:11pm
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