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In 2006, I built my very first PC. It, at the time, was a fairly impressive machine. I used a Core 2 Quad back when Core 2 Quads were new. It served me faithfully for 10 years or so. During that time, every now and then, I would play around with the idea of upgrading my rig, researching on parts and prices. After getting married in 2015, I had saved up enough funds to finally get a new rig.
I immediately set off researching once again. And this is what I eventually ended up with. Everyone, meet Kobalt.
Originally, I set out to build a Mini-ITX rig. I did my research, but I guess it wasn't thorough enough. Or at least, I believed I had the skillz to put one together. I am, by no means, a beginner, but building and picking out parts for a small build just fell right outside my skill set.
This was my original build:
Case: Cougar QBX
CPU: Intel Skylake Core i5 6600k
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-7170N Gaming 5
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 2x8GB DDR4 2400
GPU: Zotac Geforce GTX 980 Ti Reference
SSD: Crucial 250GB MX200 M.2 2280 SSD
HDD: Toshiba 2TB
PSU: Corsair CS650M 80Plus-Gold Certified Modular
Cooler: Corsair H80i GT
Fans: 4x Thermaltake Riing 12 LED 120mm Blue
Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? Yeah, well, I made a slight miscalculation with the Corsair H80i GT. I went to the store wanting to buy a Corsair H60, which would've been fine for my purposes, but I got blinded by a shiny new H80i GT. Turns out, the radiator on the H80i GT was extra thick. In the Cougar QBX, it was an extremely tight fit. I feared I might damage the hoses and have coolant leak all over my computer parts if I maneuver the cooler enough to fit.
Another issue was the CS650M had a few clearance issues with the GPU. It fits, but it'll be really tight.
A word to the wise - if you're building a Mini-ITX build, you have to make sure your parts fit. I wouldn't recommend beginners building in ITX cases. Go with what I did instead - a Micro-ATX. The case I settled for was a beauty - a Corsair Carbide Spec-M2 Micro-ATX case. It was MUCH MUCH easier to build in and it leaves me room for an optical drive and about 2 more SSD's in the future.
What sucks most about this build is that I bought the GTX 980 Ti literally a few months before the GTX 1080 was announced and a couple months before hitting the market. No matter, I have time to save up (and the space thanks to my Micro-ATX case) and upgrade to it down the line.
So far, I'm loving this build. Here are the non-OC benchmarked results.
Not bad. Not bad, at all.