System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,600 Alternative PC

The Initial Installation: My First Attempt

We never know about the days to come...

My plan started off simply: starting with the $1,000 PC, I’d add a storage drive, a second graphics card, and the higher-quality case I knew our readers would demand for an extra $600. And, knowing that the graphics cards would vent heat into my case of choice, I even upsized the CPU cooler.

The Noctua NH-D14’s under-socket support plate has a removable foam section that should only be left in place when it's attached to boards that don’t have a plate there already, namely LGA 775. It must be removed before attaching to our LGA 1155 board, or else the excess pressure could warp the socket.

Two notches in the support plate provide clearance for the LGA 1155 mounting bracket's support screws. These must be aligned to the screws, or else the cooler will sit crooked, applying uneven pressure against the CPU socket.

Two cross braces sit above the board, secured to the support plate’s screws via Philips-headed cap nuts. Included plastic spacers must be installed first over each screw to prevent cross-brace contact with motherboard components and/or over-tightening.

The heat sink includes two factory-installed, spring-loaded screws. These must be tightened a little at a time, side-to-side, to assure even contact pressure.

The memory also has to be installed before the fans are clipped into place, since a fan covers the slots. But isn't the memory and motherboard in the picture above wrong? Didn't my parts list include different components?

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  • mi1ez
    ASRock defaults DDR3-2133 memory to 1.5665 V. Add in the 1% over-voltage we’ve been seeing nearly every board vendor sneak in over the past several product cycles, and we come up to around 1.68 V.

    1.5665 + 1% = 1.582165
  • Steveymoo
    Nice, this is a well balanced build! That's a good bit of troubleshooting you did there as well - I always wondered whether the super heavy CPU coolers would cause any problems, especially when you move the case around. I always worry that the large heatsink could sheer off when I have to transport my computer to a new flat.

    Better be careful y'all!
  • spentshells

    get a normal cooler Cm212 or even a CM tx4 and spend that other 50 bucks on some better cards. 7950's should be a minimum for a build of 1600
  • Anonymous
    Could've gone for a 7970 and a 3770k instead. I think most people would prefer to stay away from crossfire in a new build unless they're going for more performance than the best single GPU card. Maybe a board with more USB 3.0 internal headers would've been nice, i'm not a fan of having to plug devices in the back unless they are there to stay(exception being USB audio devices)
  • LePhuronn
    And the moral of this story is don't bother with archaic lumps of metal to cool your CPU. H100 people, simply no other choice.