So I built my "silent killer" machine, although I haven't had much time to play with it yet. Here are some photos and impressions of how things went.
First, the final part list:
- Intel "Haswell" i5-4670K CPU
- Noctua NH-U14S Heatsink
- Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H Motherboard
- 2x8GB Kingston "Black" DDR3 RAM
- Samsung 840 Pro SSD
- WD Red 2TB Hard Drive
- 2x MSI GTX 760s Graphics Cards in SLI
- Cooler Master 620W M2 Silent Pro PSU
- Fractal Design Define R4 Case
I won't repeat what has been said in numerous reviews of these parts, just google their names and you'll find plenty of photos and professional review material.
First, the Fractal Design Define R4 case is obviously a high quality case. It's heavy, it's surprisingly large as well (coming from a Cooler Master Centurion case), and all the fans seem very silent. I was impressed how the box identified the purpose of each type of screw; the lack of such indications had me confused on previous builds.
That said the unit I obtained had minor quality issues. First, the PSU is supposed to go on four little bumps in the metal topped by a sticky rubber thing. One of the sticky rubber things was missing, which leads to the PSU hanging a few mm from its support. Not a big deal at all, but still.
Also, most motherboard spacer holes seemed too small for the provided spacers, making it impossible to screw them in completely by hand. I had to use pliers and significant force to drive them through.
Hopefully this particular unit is the exception rather than the norm.
I don't know what happened there but this how I found the manual beneath the motherboard. Not too impressed either
Installing the Noctua NH-U14S was surprisingly easy compared to every other heatsink I've had to install. However, it still did require applying much force to get the second screw to align properly. It's amazing how in 2013, installing a motherboard and the heatsink is still so difficult, even when using the latest, supposedly most advanced parts. I hope in some not too distant future, these things will become tooless and fool-proof.
Some reviewers mentioned that one of the MSI Gaming GTX 760's heatpipes makes removal of the PCI-E connectors difficult. Perhaps I just have slender fingers, but I didn't find it an issue.
I didn't understand how to install my nGear 3.5" multi-card reader. The slot is way too large for it (DVD-player sized) and there doesn't seem to be any adapter included with the case.
Installation of Windows went without issue. This thing boots so fast that it doesn't have time to display the Windows loading screen. It's literally POST -> Login screen. It's not exactly as silent as I was hoping, but I haven't tweaked fan speeds at all yet, so I suppose they're all running too fast.
That's about it for now - writing this post is literally one of very first things I ever did on this computer so I haven't had time to test stability, much less overclock yet at all. Perhaps I'll update when I do get around to doing these things.
Here's a link to the full photo album including (bad) shots of the case: http://imgur.com/a/PWS11