The Golden Hour

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DJAnyReason
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The Golden Hour

I came up with the idea for the design of this build when I first got my hands on a 3090 FE. I was lucky enough to snag one from BestBuy about a month after launch. To be perfectly honest, I absolutely do not have an appropriate use case for a 3090. But the 3090 FE is sexy AF.

I had the Taichi B550 on hand when the 3090 arrived - I still wasn't sure what MoBo I wanted, but Amazon had the Taichi at a good price with extended holiday returns, so I ordered it with the plan to return it if I wanted to go in a different direction. However, immediately upon opening the 3090 FE I was struck by how well the color matched the Taichi. For whatever reason, in product images the two don't look the same at all, but in person it's basically a perfect match. At that point I was pretty much determined this was going to be the basis of the aesthetic of the build.

A few days later both the name and concept came to me: "The Golden Hour" - components in black and gold and the pewter-like hue of the 3090 FE and Taichi, with a sunrise RGB gradient going up the case. Asrock polychrome is kind of crap, unfortunately, but the relatively new Razer ARGB Controller perfectly solves that limitation. I really love the look of the RGB on the case, especially how the lighting on the RAM reflects on the top fan of the 3090.

I stumbled upon the EK-AIO Aurum kind of by chance, but it's perfect for the aesthetic I'm going for. It comes with 6 Vardar S fans (it's marketed as a push-pull setup and... well, more on that below), 5 of which I've used as case fans. They have 9 LEDs each, which gives a nice and full look to the RGB. They also have a good heft and sturdy construction, which I think helps their look.

The AIO CPU block is mounted "upside down" in this build - in the past I've had to do this because the tubes would conflict with the ram, but in this case there was no issue, it was entirely an aesthetic preference. I really like the look of the tubes coming out the left side, the black portion of the pump shroud being on the left side, and I even prefer the look of the EKWB logo upside-down! I'm also quite pleased with how the tubes were so easily routed behind the fans - there's no kinks, pinches, or unnatural bends, they just slipped right in there and fit comfortably, with the fans blocking the unsightly tubing.

The CableMod thumbscrews slot covers provide a much cleaner look than the stock Lancool screws or the CM ELV8 screws. I'm not in love with the color on the PCIE slot covers (not sure what I'd have preferred though), but I really like the look of the gold screws on the back side - it's really a striking contrast, and while I don't often see that side, I am always really pleased when I do look at it.

This build also includes my very first case mod! I wanted to make the gold trim on the connection between the AIO tubes and radiator visible from the side of the case, but having the rad mounted that far in conflicted with the removable plate on the shroud for the Lancool II Mesh. Unfortunately, removing the plate made a bit of cable mess visible in a way I wasn't happy with. To solve this, I dremmeled a chunk out of the removable plate sufficient to accommodate the AIO rad and fans. It's not very ambitious or complicated, and honestly the cut is a little uneven, but for a first step into the world of case mods I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

Technical notes/thoughts on components:
  • I really can't say enough good things about building in the Lancool II. It's an absolute dream to work it - amazingly modular, and flexible to accommodate all sorts of builds, and the cable routing and covers are fantastic! I kind of wish the housing was aluminum instead of steel, but that's nitpicking - it's by leaps and bounds the best case I've ever built in.
  • Instead of the EK fans on the radiatior, I am using 3 Arctic P12's in pull configuration. The EK-AIO Elite is marketed as a push-pull setup, but that radiator is way too thin to justify that. Honestly, I am blown away by how quiet and effective the Arctic P12's are. I knew they were good from reviews, but they've totally exceeded my expectations.
  • I read a review of the EK-AIO elite which said the pump was loud at 100%, and, yeah, it's not great at idle - especially if you're sensitive to high pitch (which I am a little bit). I've dialed it down to 80%, which is occasionally just barely audible at idle but is fine.
  • I know that I "should" have the tubes at the bottom of the rad instead of the top. Honestly, with the beast of a GPU in there, the only way I could get them to run to the bottom involved going in front of the RAM, and I didn't like the look of it. Since the pump is not the high point of the loop, there is no risk of damage, just the potential for noise long-term, and I decided to prioritize visual aesthetics over auditory aesthetics.
  • I have a 3D-printed "plug" in the hole at the bottom of the front panel on the Lancool II Mesh - GN retweeted it a few months back, and it's available for download on thingverse. Fits great, seems to serve it's purpose of stopping dust from flying in that gap.
Color(s): Black Carbon Gold Orange Red Silver Yellow
RGB Lighting? Yes
Theme: Color
Cooling: AIO Cooling
Size: ATX
Type: General Build

Contests

This build participated in 2 contests.

Hardware

CPU
$ 277.97
AMD - Ryzen 9 (5900x)
Socket: AM4
Cores: 12
Motherboard
$ 176.68
ASRock - Taichi
Chipset: B550
CPU Socket: AM4
Size: ATX
Memory
$ 569.32
G.Skill - Trident Z Royal (3600MHz) (Gold) (4x)
Type: DDR4
Capacity: 16 GB
Graphics
$ 1,269.99
NVIDIA - GeForce Founders
Chip Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Chip: RTX 3090
Interface: PCIe x16
Storage
$ 59.99
Sabrent - Rocket (Nvme PCIe 4.0)
Form Factor: M.2
Interface: M.2 (M)
Capacity: 2 TB
PSU
$ 299.99
Seasonic - Prime PX
Wattage: 850
Form Factor: ATX
Efficiency: 80+ Platinum
Case
$ 119.03
Lian Li - Lancool II Mesh (RGB)
Type: Mid-Tower
Side Panel: Tempered Glass
Case Fan
$ 31.32
ARCTIC - F12 PWM PST (3x)
Size: 120 mm
Cooling
$ 229.99
CableMod
$ 9.90
CableMod
$ 205.50
CableMod
$ 19.95
CableMod - Internal USB 3.0 50cm
Mode: Stock
Sleeve: ModMesh
Color: Carbon
Accessories
$ 39.98
Estimated total value of this build:
$ 3,447.75
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