|Our Build Recipe
||Altex Item #
||NZXT Source S340
||Antec 620W HCG PSU
||2 x 4GB DDR3 1600
||$59.95 x 2
||Altex 128GB SSD
||WD 1TB Blue 3.5" HDD
||Windows 8.1 x64
||ASUS Strix GTX 970
|Custom Water Cooling Loop
||Altex Item #
||CPU block, pump/reservoir combo unit, 240mm radiator, 2 x 120mm fans, black tubing, 6 x fittings
||2 x nickel fittings (for adding video card to the loop)
||$6.99 x 2
||EK-Thermosphere nickel plexi GPU block
||PrimoChill PrimoFlex Advanced LRT clear tubing
||EK Pastel White Coolant
PC gamers have the greatest degree of flexibility since games generally scale up or down to accommodate the capabilities of a particular system’s hardware. Today we’d like to explore another possible gaming solution, designed from the ground up to let you hit the ground running with Intel’s high-performance Z97 chipset and the latest NVIDIA Maxwell-based GPU’s. If you’re interested in going the extra mile, we’ve also compiled a list of components for a custom water-cooling loop that’d truly stand out with clear tubing and pastel white coolant.
The first component we’ll start with for our build recipe is a Source S340 case by NZXT, we opted for the white version of the case for this particular recipe. It features all the essentials for a great looking gaming machine, while also providing options for water cooling which will be a must for a quiet (or overclocked) build. We’ve gone with an Antec HCG-620m modular power supply which will supply enough power for the components while also giving the flexibility needed for easy cable management to make a clean build.
For the motherboard and processor of the machine, we’re going to pair an i5-4690k with an ASUS Z97-K/CSM motherboard. With this combo, we’ve seen clock speeds up to 4.5 GHz which should be easily obtainable when water cooled. Adding two 4GB sticks of RAM for a total of 8GB of RAM should be enough for some heavy multitasking during matches.
For the OS drive, we’d load a copy of Windows 8.1 (64-bit) onto an Altex-branded 120GB 2.5" solid-state drive which should provide plenty of speed for lightning-fast bootups and increased system responsiveness. These new solid state drives feature wonderful performance at an entry-level price, making them a great option for system builders on a budget. Mass storage for massive game libraries and other large files will be provided by a Western Digital 1TB Blue 3.5" hard drive.
The graphics muscle is provided by an ASUS STRIX GTX 970 video card, providing all the oomph needed to easily play games at standard 1080p on completely maxed out settings while also providing outstanding performance at 1440p and acceptable performance at 4k with a few bells and whistles taken down a couple notches. The GTX 970 is a highly efficient video card that performs extremely well with just stock cooling, making it a great candidate for water cooling.
If you decide to build your own custom loop for this machine, we recommend starting with an EK L240 kit. From our experience with the S340, the beefy CoolStream PE 240mm radiator included in the kit will require the removal of the S340’s central cable management bar in order to give enough clearance for the radiator plus fans inside of the case (though you could possibly have the radiator inside the case and the fans inside the front panel without the filter).You can then supplement the L240 kit with 2 extra EK-ACF nickel fittings and an EK-Thermosphere nickel + plexi block to add your video card to the loop (for the STRIX 970, we strongly recommend keeping the stock heat sink that are attached to the VRM’s.) For additional aesthetics, swapping the black tubing included with the kit for clear PrimoFlex tubing and EK’s pastel white coolant will surely make this build stand out.
Feel free to use this build recipe as a guide for your own custom gaming workhorse. However, please be careful as to follow all instructions provided by the hardware manufacturers to ensure a smooth experience especially if you decide to go with the custom loop we described. If you purchase all the components at an Altex location, our experienced build team will put together the system for you (with a minimal charge for piecing together the custom loop and leak testing) and warranty their work for 1 year! For any questions regarding building a custom PC or if you’re interested to find out what water cooling is all about, contact us or stop by any of our 9 retail locations across Texas.