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Welcome to Fractal! Named so because I'm pretty unimaginative and the AIO's CPU block says Fractal on it.

This build wasn't brought in one go, the base of this build goes back to the first PC that I built on Christmas day of 2013. I'd like to thank 15 years old for not upgrading to Xbox One that year. Sadly due to a storage upgrade/sort out in November 2020, my PC no longer has any components from that original build.

That original build was i5 4670, 8GB DDR3 with 750ti which handled 1080@60 quite well at the time. The price to performance was terrific on this initial build, which can't be said for my current build, especially after the release of the 3070... 2080ti.

Brought my first 4k monitor in December 2016 after getting a 980ti in the previous month and ever since I've been hooked on high fidelity gaming.

My build is geared towards 4K gaming, I play some competitive games with friends but not seriously enough to buy an Acer Predator X27 or switch to 1440p@120. I would like to change to high refresh rate 4K gaming at some point, but the cost of high refresh rate 4K IPS monitors needs to come down quite a bit first.

My main parts were brought in September of 2019, in the year of 2020, most of the upgrades were aesthetic than anything and around finishing off the build, making it something I can put on my desk rather than under it.

The result is a build, and all in all is a good 4K gaming machine that handles anything else I throw at from photo and 4K video editing to day to day web browsing and 4K content consumption.

Why I chose specific components:

As previously mentioned, in September 2019, this was the best gaming CPU due it's high single-threaded performance. The 9700K boosts really well even without overclocking it. I didn't end up going with i9 due to price difference between the i7 and i9 being so big compared to the performance increase, and I don't really need the higher core count of which an AMD CPU would offer me.

The MSI MPG Gaming Edge AC is really reasonability priced Z390 motherboard that offers all the I/O that I need, including USB type-c headers for the front I/O and a type-c port in the rear. The Wi-fi on this motherboard is shocking lucky I don't have to use it, but when I have, it's been nothing but pain. I've been quite a stable 5.2Ghz overclock with this board as well, which is a nice bonus.

The HyperX RAM - I choose was mainly down to the stick's clean design, which is the same design as my 8GB of DDR3 which was in my first build, which is a nice throwback. 16GB of 3200Mhz you can't really go wrong.

For storage, my boot drive is a Sabrent 1TB Rocket Nvme PCIe 4.0 M.2, with a 4TB Toshiba hard drive for games and 3TB for my document drive. The 1TB Seagate SSD is used for games that I'd like to load a little bit faster and the 256GB WD Black Nvme is my previous boot drive that just now has Call of Duty Black Ops Cold war on it. My Sabrent Nvme I got an outstanding Black Friday deal on, and it's a bit of future-proofing.

I spent ages looking for a case that meets a couple of conditions it had to be a full-sized tower, not from NZXT (I love their cases, but everyone has them), from a brand I liked, type-c front header and is aesthetically pleasing.

Dark Base Pro 900 REV. 2 was a no brainer after I stumbled across it, I've always liked to be quiet! due to their fanatic fans and the case managed to hit all the other points perfectly. The sound padding isn't why I brought this case but its bonus that I don't think I'll ever go without.

This case was a dream to build in. There's plenty of room behind the motherboard tray for running cables. There's a massive hidden power supply basement, fan filtres are all easily accessible, really thick tempered glass side panel, and can invert the motherboard.

My love of full tower cases comes from when I upgraded my Corsair Carbide to BitFenix Shinobi XL. The Shinobi XL was a beast of a case with so much room that I never used, but it was nice to have.

Nothing special here just brought the cheapest 750w modular power supply after getting my 980ti. This will probably be next upgrade.

When the RTX 2080ti was the best gaming GPU that money can buy, I went for the PSY GeForce XLR8 OC because it was only a little bit more than founders card and it very nice looking card. I love that it says GeForce RTX on the side rather than a brand name. Fun fact PSY is the company Nvidia uses to make the founder edition cards.

"Best gaming GPU that money can buy" now it's the best way to burn money. I'll be looking to upgrade to 3090 when it comes back in stock. *update* I got 3090...

CPU Cooler
I've always wanted an AIO due to the low sound and less intrusive look but have always disliked the CPU blocks on them. They are ether questionable looking or have a crap logo on them... *cough* Corsair *cough* and be quiet! AIOs have questionable tubbing.

So it was down to NZXT's and Fractal Design's AIO, Fractal came out on top due to it's better-designed CPU block with understated branding.

Performance-wise the tripe radiator is no better than I be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 but to be fair that is a massive air cooler.

Initially, I only had one Dell UltraSharp U2718Q, which I mainly brought due to my love for the Dell UltraSharp series. They are really well built, fantastic colour accuracy and they do seem a little bit sharper. U2718Q also promised HDR but that it did not deliver on.

In 2020, they released a new version of the U2718Q called the U2720Q which has a lot better at HDR and has type-c display port input that also outputs 90w of charging and passes through the monitors USB ports which are perfect for my work MacBook Pro.

I managed to get a second U2720Q because my original U2718Q needed to be RMAed and Dell didn't have any U2718Q, so they just sent me a U2720Q instead. As much as Dell support is slow, they are right.

HDR on the U2720Q is a lot better than the U2718Q, but when it comes to Windows and HDR; it's really hit an miss anyway. I do drive both the U2720Q at 4K 60hz with 10-bit colour. The colour accuracy of these monitors really helps with my photo editing.

Sound Card
I'm a bit of audiophile, and when Creative released the AE-9, I couldn't stop myself from buying it. I love that it's PCIe based and has a desk unit and the price to performance of the AE-9 is really good for audiophile gear. The high bit rate paired with the built-in Dolby Atmos is perfect for gaming and my FLAC collection.

The AE-9 ticked two big boxes for me, it has an excellent headphone amplifier and has an XLR interface. I've been looking at XLR interface for a condenser microphone for a while but never bit the bullet. The AE-9 gives me the option in the future to buy a condenser microphone if I so wish.

That's it for Fractal and my build history.

What are your thoughts on this build? What would you do different or the same? Thanks, and as always, your support is much appreciated.
Color(s): Black White
RGB Lighting? No
Theme: none
Cooling: AIO Cooling
Size: ATX
Type: General Build

Build Updates

New Desk


$ 214.99
Intel - Core i7-12700K
Socket: LGA 1700
Cores: 12
Integrated Graphics: Yes
$ 300.00
Gigabyte - UD AX
Chipset: Z690
CPU Socket: LGA 1700
Size: ATX
$ 95.98
Kingston - Fury Beast (56000Mhz) (Black)
Type: DDR5
Capacity: 32 GB
$ 1,700.00
Gigabyte - GeForce Turbo
Chip Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Chip: RTX 3090
Interface: PCIe x16
$ 149.99
Sabrent - Rocket (TLC)
Form Factor: M.2
Interface: M.2 (M)
Capacity: 1 TB
$ 98.70
Seagate - SSD230
Form Factor: 2.5 Inch
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
Capacity: 1 TB
$ 81.71
Toshiba - DT01ACA300
Form Factor: 3.5 Inch
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
Capacity: 3 TB
$ 146.00
Toshiba - X300
Form Factor: 3.5 Inch
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
Capacity: 4 TB
$ 128.88
Western Digital - Black HX424C15FBK2/8
Form Factor: M.2
Interface: M.2 (M)
Capacity: 256 GB
$ 102.53
Wattage: 850
Form Factor: ATX
Efficiency: 80+ Gold
$ 330.79
be quiet! - Dark Base Pro 900 REV. 2
Type: Full-Tower
Side Panel: Tempered Glass
Case Fan
$ 149.40
be quiet! - Light Wings (6x)
Size: 120 mm
$ 120.00
Fractal Design - Celsius+ S36 Dynamic
Type: AIO
Size (WxHxD): 360 mm (3 x 120 mm)
$ 90.88
$ 129.99
$ 529.00
$ 94.99
$ 59.99
$ 599.00
Dough - Spectrum 4K
Size: 27 Inch
Panel: IPS
Refresh Rate: 144 Hz
Gigabyte - Aorus FO32U2P
Size: 31.5 Inch
Panel: OLED
Refresh Rate: 240 Hz
$ 120.00
Ducky - Shine 7 Blackout
Interface: Wired
Key Switch Type: Cherry MX Red
Type: Full Size
$ 89.99
SteelSeries - Aerox 3
Interface: Wireless
$ 1,000.00
Herman Miller - Mirra TriFlex
Material: Mesh
Color: Black
Estimated total value of this build:
$ 3,638.27
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