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Our PC build is complete: Here are the gory details

by Mark Burstiner | December 23, 2015December 23, 2015 6:20 pm PST

We’re back with the second episode of our PC build, and we did it. Are you super proud of us? We specced it out, bought the parts, sat down on a Thursday night and built this monster machine until the early morning.

Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to our friends at Origin PC. They sent us two components: a liquid cooling system, and an enormous incredibly svelte case. This case doesn’t exist on the market, you can only get it by buying a build from Origin. It’s super versatile, offers a crazy amount of space, and has room for all the guts you’ll need to build yourself the PC of your dreams. There’s little portholes for cable management, and some drop dead gorgeous LEDs with a remote to customize them to your heart’s content.

Here’s what the build looks like on paper:

One small snag we hit was with the liquid cooling. See, we had to mount two fans to the back because we didn’t have the appropriate screws to mount the radiator to the fan. The liquid cooling system is hooked up to an unlocked i7 Skylake processor clocked at 4.0 Ghz. We can overclock it, but haven’t yet because of the cooling setup. Once we get one more fans for the radiator, I think we’ll be in good shape.

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The motherboard on this beast has been amazing. Asus really brought its A-game here. The Z170 Deluxe just comes with so much packed into it, from a full 7.1 surround sound supported sound card, to a bevy of USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports, to three channel ac Wi-Fi. There are lots and lots of bells and whistles on this thing. Asus even includes software to turn the external antenna into a Wi-Fi repeater of sorts.

There’s not much to say about the RAM or power supply here. We had the RAM already, and the power supply is just a nice high performance option from Corsair. They both do the job quite nicely, and the RAM even comes with its own fans. From what I’ve read, I don’t think they offer too much help, but we threw them in anyway because we switched the color plate to Technobuffalo blue. The power supply also still has plenty of room for other expansion.

Finally, let’s get to the real meat and potatoes. The graphics card is not a Titan X. Why is that? From my research, the Titan X has become a bit obsolete. The GTX 980 ti is the NVIDIA chipset that is taking over from the 680 from a few years back as the workhorse for the editing industry. The 680 lasted a good three years or so, but the advent of 4K video has put it in the ground.

The Titan X is easily the best card money can buy for this purpose right now, but the 980 ti only marginally misses the high water mark and offers better performance when it comes to two-way SLI. The 980 ti comes in at $650 versus the Titan X’s $1000. To account for that it has half the VRAM and about 200 fewer CUDA cores. The difference in power here is relatively negligible. I hardly find myself using more than 4GB of VRAM, and the difference in cores would get us only a few seconds per video back. The kicker here is that the 980 ti supports double precision processing much more effectively than the Titan X can. So, while one Titan X will beat a 980 ti by a small margin, when it comes to two-way SLI, two 980 ti’s will outperform two Titan Xs. So far, we’re really happy with the choice. Big shoutout to Dave Dugdale for his video on the subject. It really helped inform our decision.

TechnoBuffalo PC Build-4

Finally, we went with an LG ultrawide monitor that we picked up over the Black Friday weekend. It’s a curved 34-inch UHD monitor that supports up to 3440 x 1440, and it looks fantastic. It’s so big that I don’t feel claustrophobic editing in Premiere without a second display. The curve is little more than a gimmick here, though. For a TV, I can understand a curve to help viewing angles, but here you hardly notice it.

Building a PC is one of the most rewarding experiences a nerd can have—something we noted during our first PC build a few years back. If you follow one simple rule, you should be a-ok whether you’re building a powerhouse like ours, or just starting out: read the manual. Seriously. Make sure you know what you’re doing before you break something expensive. Measure twice, cut once, and you’re golden. I can’t urge you enough to try your own build.

Next time we update you on the build we’ll be talking about the software. Everything from the BIOS to the drivers. Let us know what you think of the build in the comments and make sure you check out the video, too. We’re really proud of it.


Mark Burstiner

Mark is a former entrepreneur from New York by way of Chicago. He's a tech enthusiast and heavy gamer. If it's bleeding edge, he wants it. If it's...

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