Justin's Feedback:

This system plays games in 4k and that's what I wanted. This summer I'll get another 1080. I left myself room to improve by buying 2×16 ram if I feel I need too. Love TBG, I'm always checking this site and it motivated me to make the choices I did.

Built: March 2017

Inside Look

Justin decided to use components from a few of TBG's PC Buyer's Guides and then customize his PC with a number of choice upgrades. Here's his build list:

  1. CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K
  2. Motherboard: Asus Maximus IX Code
  3. Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Sea Hawk
  4. RAM: G.Skill 2x16GB Trident Z DDR4-3200
  5. Solid-State Drive: Samsung 960 Evo M.2 250GB
  6. Case: Cougar Panzer Max
  7. Power Supply: Raidmax Vampire Power 800W
  8. CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i Liquid Cooler
  9. Optical Drive: 24x DVD Burner
  10. Operating System: Windows 10 Flash Drive

You can see most of his gear prior to unboxing right here:

Boxes

Interesting note about that GTX 1080 Sea Hawk - it's actually a result of an unusual collaboration between two major powerhouses in the PC component industry: MSI and Corsair. While MSI is a huge name in motherboard and video cards, it has very little experience in cooling. Corsair, on the other hand, doesn't market either motherboards or video cards, but has the best-selling liquid coolers in the industry, bar none. So this was a perfect match, given that it's rare to find leading manufacturers that don't in some way compete. What you're getting with the MSI/Corsair Sea Hawk is an MSI-developed GeForce video card with a Corsair 120mm radiator and SP120 LED fan.

Panzer

Justin used a case that we haven't had any exposure to, but which is likely going to become a very popular model: the Cougar Panzer. Cougar made its name on well-priced mid-range gear, including some innovative compact cases, as well as fans and power supplies. With the Panzer, it enters the big time, offering aggressive styling and lots of functionality. Panzer is the German word for tank, and the Cougar Panzer certainly looks like it's ready for battle!

One marketing decision that we do find a bit curious is the name Raidmax chose for its Vampire Power PSU. The term "vampire power" actually refers to the unintended and generally unwanted power use that occurs when a product is in a standby state. Some common electronics with high vampire power ratings would be cable TV boxes and older game consoles. We're guessing Raidmax has actually designed its Vampire Power PSU to limit vampire power usage, given its Gold-rated certification, so they may want to come up with another name for this line of PSUs in the long run... maybe Vampire Slayer!

Aura

Another thing to note about this build: the high-end Asus Maximus IX Code motherboard includes Aura RGB lighting. You can choose from nearly unlimited color schemes to dress up the interior of your system beyond what you'll get from LED fans and coolers. We think it's a great new feature for enthusiasts who care about aesthetics.

As Justin noted in his comments, he's looking to upgrade to GTX 1080 SLI in the future. His choice of the liquid-cooled GTX 1080 was a wise one, as it will keep his top GPU cool regardless of how much heat the lower card generates. Just one note: to use an after-market High-Bandwidth SLI bridge, both cards must be the same height, so we'd recommend the Founders Edition, the EVGA GTX 1080 ACX, or another Sea Hawk.

Overall, this is a seriously high-end machine, with performance to spare as well as room to grow. That's one of the many benefits of building your own PC - you can spec it out not just to meet your needs today, but also to give you the flexibility to create something even better in the future!