Building a new sim machine

It’s time to get a new PC.

My old machine cannot cope with demanding DCS missions (paging Mr. @MBot). Check out what I currently
have to live with in this post:

I want to buy components and build on my own. My last PC build was 8 years ago so there might be some developments that I’m not aware of. Hence I thought it might be better to start a discussion here with my fellow simmers and gather some opinions.

I didn’t want to hijack @smokinhole 's thread, but I’ve followed it with interest:

So, here we go. After going to some hardware online dealers I came up with the following list of components (ordered by local price):

  • Graphics: ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 STRIX OC GAMING
  • CPU: Intel® Core i7-6700K
  • SSD: Samsung MZ-75E500B 500 GB, Solid State Drive
  • Mainboard: ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING, Mainboard
  • HDD: Western Digital WD30EFRX 3 TB
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home
  • Case: Fractal Design Define R5 Black
  • RAM; Crucial DIMM 16 GB DDR4-2133 Kit
  • PSU: Thermaltake Berlin 630W
  • CPU-Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 3

This build would result in a 1.8 k Euro hit on my bank account.

  • I don’t plan to overclock. I just picked the graphics card because there was no other available at the moment.
  • As you might see I’m biased to ASUS. I had some failures with MSI and Gainward and was never disappointed with ASUS in my previous PC builds.
  • No VR planned for the next 12 months. I might join in with Gen2. I’m aware that I might need to upgrade the GPU in that case.
  • Current screen: 27" @ 1920x1080
  • Main activities: DCS 2.0 & Elite Dangerous - maybe some IL-2 series stuff, Rise of Flight, ArmA III, …

Some questions I came up with:

  1. What’s your opinion on water cooling? I skipped it for now because of additional cost. I also heard that you are not really gaining regarding noise reduction compared to a good CPU cooler with appropriate fan, especially since water cooling also needs a fan (set).
  2. If I switch to water cooling, is there a nice way to include GPU into the cooling system? What brands/products can you recommend?
  3. Is the i7-6700K still the right choice for our sim needs? I understood that i7-7700K is clocked lower but might have some architecture advantages. What do you think?
  4. 16 GB RAM - Should be enough for our current sims, right?

Thank you in advance.

Looks like a nice build. I like ASUS too and that motherboard you’ve chosen looks sweet.
Couple of observations:
I overclocked my 3770k to 4.5 (solid) with a coolmaster cooler very similar to the one you’ve specked out, so you should be fine with air.
For number 3, it is my understanding that the performance improvements in the 7700 are primarily from pushing the clock (and voltage) up.
You might want to think about Windows 10 Pro rather than home. As I understand it, you will have more control over your machine. I read somewhere that Pro allows you to defer updates where as Home does not.

Oh, and I’m running a Vive on a GTX980, so if you decide you want to go VR, the 1070 you’ve chosen will be great.

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Granted its been a little while since I built my comp, but i can comment on the cpu watercooling thing.

My current rig has a humongous cpu cooler looking very similar in design to the one on your list. It works exceptionally well. No noise from it. My graphics card is where the noise comes from especially when i work it or manually crank the fan speeds.

Some downsides i noticed from such a cooler is that its shear size means some extra care is required in fitting cooler to mobo before installing mobo into case. Though not really heavy, the bulkiness of it + the weight can make it easier to flex your mobo if you are too heavy handed, so take care with that.

With the fans installed on the cooler, its actually a very big airfow changer and space hogger. So that in mind here a couple of things to consider.

  1. Make sure the mobo + cpu cooler actually can fit in your case.
  2. coupled with a big graphics card with poweful fans of its own with the cpu cooler, have a good look or visualise how the air will flow. You may want to reverse a fan or two to ensure circulation and you don’t create a pocket of hot air trapped between the two devices’ air flow.
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And the liquid cooling hoses look cool. I can’t believe I’m saying that because I had always put tricked out PCs in the same category as boy-racer hatchbacks with NOX, LED underbody and a big subwoofer in the back. But it’s pretty freakin’ neat!

What I advise is, if going air cooled, put a fan in every fan slot in your case - that made the difference in temperatures.

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hmmm :thinking:

yes, you can always upgrade to 32 later

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I use Hardware Monitor. I have never used over 9GB of RAM. I have 32 and plan to remove 16GB to build another machine. Nice system you are building.


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Ohhh one VERY important thing I forgot to mention with the large air cooler is also check your rams physical size. A lot of ram has heat sinks or groovy looking bits / lights on top and you may not get clearance under the CPU cooler. Make sure if you go for that massive cooler that your ram has no gumpf on top of it.

My cooler’s fins covers ram slot 1 in its entirety and partially covers slot 2

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  1. I run a Noctua air cooling system that while bulky makes me run almost as cool as water, basically noiseless and can’t leak.

  2. Hardly any game uses more than 8GB, but I can imagine by the time DCS 2.0 finally is launched it would be one of those. Go for it IF you have coi s to spare. I run 8 GB and never had a problem.

Guilty as charged here.
I simply shrugged*, removed the fancy “racing” bits from my RAM and it fits.

*I prayed the sim gods while I was pooping my pants trying to→

You named it. I am also not overclocking so with Intels I grabbed always boxed CPU without ‘K’. Never had a problem with that.

But in case you want to save some db of noise then maybe some ‘custom’ cooler is good idea.

Boxing Day.

I modified components slightly. Case is looking nice.

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The heart:

Cable Management is really neat.

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wow, nice job. I have a sweet setup for cable management too and for some reason my cables are still all over the bloody place

The finished product:

I removed a rack for 3.5" devices to improve airflow:

I might add another front fan later.

Front ports are nice too:

The case is really quite. I like it a lot.

Man…that’s pretty. My cabling is not so…uh…tidy…

It’s all due to the case. Really makes it easy to hide those cables.

Here’s the benchmark:

UserBenchmarks: Game 115%, Desk 105%, Work 71%
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K - 108.1%
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1070 - 130.3%
SSD: Samsung 850 Evo 500GB - 109.8%
HDD: WD Blue 3TB (2015) - 74.5%
RAM: Crucial CT8G4DFD8213.C16FBD1 2x8GB - 79%

No OC and some low budget RAM but doing alright :slight_smile:

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