HEDT Build Phase 1 - Lessons Learned

the system is up and running and inquiring minds wish to know how it went

so i will detail exactly that in this thread !

i will be putting finishing touches on the system later ( it is currently running in an open case for example ) but it’s finished enough that i can comment on most aspects of the design now.

first the specs as built so far:

screen - 75" Sony Z9J TV ( 8K )
chassis - Lian Li V3000 Plus ( Super Tower )
power supply - Corsair AX 1600i
motherboard - Asus Pro WS W790E-SAGE SE
CPU - Intel Xeon W7-3465X ( 28 Core Sapphire Rapids )
Cooler - Noctua NH-U14S DX-4677
Ram - 4 X 16 GB Kingston Fury Renegade Pro DDR5 RDIMM ( overclockable server memory )
System Drive - 2X 1TB Crucial T700 M.2 5th Gen SSD in Raid 0
RAID - intel VROC ( cpu / motherboard ) with VROCSTANMOD hardware key
Graphics - Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 ( Asus Rog Strix )

i will next go over each component with some general remarks

Sony Z9J - very good computer screen. it is heavier and brighter than almost any other screen out there and 8K is worth the extra $$$ once you get it to work, which i did.

Lian Li V3000 Plus - this case is large, but all my cases have been large and it isn’t even the largest one i have had. but it’s certainly the heaviest, and it’s not close. you can literally injure yourself just lifting it. build quality is exceptional. features are excellent. worth the money even though for $500 you get ZERO fans and only a single RGB strip. just make sure you have been deadlifting.

Corsair AX 1600i - rock solid so far. also completely silent. it’s the highest performing and most reliable and also most expensive power supply on the market. i did find one flaw though - the cables are shorter than what my large Chassis really needs. i made them fit but it’s not pretty. definitely consider cable length in a chassis this size where there is a sizeable gap between PSU and mobo. one standout feature of this PSU is that it comes with a cable organizer where it has a high quality bag so to speak with a separate pocket for each type of cable. i think this is the only PSU that has this and it’s very handy as i lost most cables from my older PSUs.

Asus Pro WS W790E-SAGE SE - great product overall. features, aesthetics, build quality, performance - everything is great. one knock is that packaging was very spartan - it was packaged more like a server board than a gaming board. very simple box with no padding. considering this is the most expensive motherboard sold on Newegg i expected better packaging. but on the flip side it is super heavy so it doesn’t feel cheap in any way. motherboard by itself weighs as much as an average laptop. only the packaging feels cheap but this is because it is catering to pro market which is used to such packaging. on the other hand the aesthetics are perfect - it is meant to be seen. heatsinks are finished almost like jewelry. so an odd contrast there - very fancy looking motherboard in very plain box.

Xeon W7-3465X - very expensive CPU in very tiny box with almost no protection. also very sketchy installation process. it surely caused me a few grey hairs.

Noctua NH-U14S DX-4677 - very high quality cooler. you may think $120 for a tower cooler is too much but it is very heavy and well made and packaged and dead silent. instructions are shit though and it came with some fins bent and even some pre applied thermal paste scratched but ultimately i installed it and it works great.

Kingston Fury Renegade Pro DDR5 RDIMM - i mainly got this ram because it’s black to match the motherboard, but it seems to work fine except that it runs at 4 GHZ instead of 4.8 let alone 6 GHZ which is it’s maximum overclock speed. but this can be probably changed in BIOS though i’m fine with 4 GHZ and won’t change it. got a good deal on this ram from Provantage - saved hundreds versus buying from Kingston direct and in the end it was still drop shipped directly from Kingston anyway ! love that ! DDR5 Rdimm is a major pain point of this platform - very hard to get your hands on it at a decent price. This will probably improve with time. Anyway i got lucky and got this ram at a good price.

1TB Crucial T700 M.2 - it looks well made with a copper sticker heatsink but unfortunately in my Raid config something isn’t quite right. i’m getting insane 11 GB write speeds but random 4K read is laughably slow. this is the one thing i would definitely NOT do if i was doing it again - i wouldn’t go with this RAID setup. i have no way of knowing if the problem is the SSD or the RAID itself.

VROC - again, i have no way of knowing if the problem is the VROC or the SSD but the overall performance is not what it should be. only sequential writes are what they should be ( way faster than any 4th gen drive ) but reads are slower and random 4K is total shit. definitely do NOT do this raid setup. it also feels slow to open my computer windows and so on. something is broken.

RTX 4080 ( Asus Rog Strix ) - insane build quality. the entire graphics card is entirely made of cast aluminum that is then machined and polished. it is a piece of aluminum brick jewelry. took me an hour just to get all the protective film off of it. main complaint people have with it is coil whine but mine doesn’t seem to have any. this is a lottery. overall i regret it though because i should have gotten the 4090. i haven’t played games in 25 years so i couldn’t justify the 4090 but now i play Fortnite in 8K for several hours a day and i definitely wish i got the 4090 instead. but the card has no coil whine and after spending an hour removing all the protective film i would feel like an asshole sending it back for refund to get the 4090. i will keep this 4080 as it does the job, but 4090 has 50% more ram and about 30% more performance which is a big step up and most gamers agree 4090 is the better value IF you can get it at MSRP, which in case of Rog Strix or Founders you can’t and those are the only good ones. the situation is fluid though - if you can get a good 4090 at MSRP then get it - otherwise get the 4080 which is in lower demand due to lower performance, which makes it easier to find at MSRP.

ASUS PCE-AXE59BT - this WIFI is rock solid. i get the 300 mbps that i pay for with my cable and it shows full bars signal. my older computers don’t show full bars or get the full 300 mbps. the antenna included is very large and well made. packaging was great. this was a great product for me.

next i will go over things that stood out for me or maybe i didn’t expect or think through etc …

number one thing that caught me by surprise is how hot the VRM heatsink is …

i knew this is the most power hungry CPU you can get but i was under impression most motherboards have large VRM heatsinks just for style similar to large rims on cars or quad exhaust on cars …

well, in OTHER motherboards the VRM heatsinks are for decoration but NOT ON THIS ONE. on this one actually the heatsink can’t keep the VRM cool without special attention to airflow. the motherboard includes fan bracket for three 40mm VRM fans but the three 40X10mm noctua fans i got for it can’t be installed without buying special screws, which i haven’t got yet.

as a result i’m currently running the case open with a desk fan next to it blowing directly at VRM heatsink.

this CPU pulls about 100W at idle and can pull up to 1KW when overclocked. this puts enormous stress on VRM like no other VRM has ever seen and it really does need those VRM fans. this is NOT a gimmick ! i almost burned myself touching the VRM heatsink while the computer was at idle ! ! !

after that i set up the fan and now the VRM sits at around 40C because it does have great fins on it, but they only work when something is blowing on them. which means i can’t close the case for now and must remember to turn on the external fan before turning on the PC until i install the VRM fans.

the other surprising thing about this computer is both how much power it pulls and how cool it runs.

180W at idle, 600W during game play ( measured by Kill-a-watt ) pull from the 120V socket

at the same time no component is over 40C which is just body temperature !

and even under load nothing is over 60C which is basically ideal by computer standards. anything under 70C is considered excellent. up to about 80C would still be good.

this is because the graphics has a huge cooling solution and the CPU has a huge die area which can efficiently transfer heat to the cooler. the reason 13900K cpu runs so hot isn’t because it produces a lot of heat, but because the heat is very concentrated in the small chip. the Xeon chip is very large and heat is spread out thus it always runs cool even while pulling a lot of power. this is why i got it in the first place. these Sapphire Rapids chips use twice as much power as 13900K desktop chips but at the same time they run twice as cool. because they are much larger and the heat is generated more evenly inside of them whereas 13900K has hot spots around the power cores which are overclocked into oblivion.

by running the power cores at a lower speed the Xeon chip eliminates the hot spots and can use the entire surface of the chip to comfortably sink heat. by using twice as many cores and running them at about 3/4 of the speed it can deliver more processing power while running cooler. you certainly do pay for this and you will only see benefits in heavily multi-threaded workloads which are the minority.

but there are other benefits to this platform like 8 channel memory and over 100 PCIE lanes, so in the end i think it’s a good upgrade from consumer platform though i think it is overpriced.

finally i want to remark on 8K resolution on 75" screen - it is absolutely worth it

EDIT: i am splitting this discussion to a separate thread:

the next step for this build will be to install the VRM fans and buy a new keyboard and mousepad and maybe new mouse.

right now i keep moving my good keyboard ( Epomaker Niz Plum Atom ) from one PC to the other as i can’t use a regular keyboard anymore after getting used to the Niz.

i want to get a Topre Realforce R3 keyboard ordered from Japan but i am still evaluating options …

then after i sort out the VRM cooling the keyboard, mouse and mousepad the next step after that will be to convert the system to Custom Liquid Cooling …

i already have the EKWB waterblock for the CPU on hand - it actually came shockingly fast - i was expecting to wait for months but it came in about a week even though it was on back order and shipped from European Union …

it feels very well made and based on this great experience and some research i decided i would use EKWB also for GPU waterblock as well as for pretty much all other loop parts except radiators and fans …

it will pain my heart to disassemble the beautiful Rog Strix card which is truly a work of art but the reason i got it in the first place is because it was the only 4080 card that EKWB has a BLACK waterblock for. in fact EKWB has six different waterblocks for the Strix - twice as many as for any other card, more than even for Founders Edition. also EKWB only makes white waterblock for 4090 strix. all other 4080 get only clear block - no black or white options.

so basically i got the Strix because it is the best, but not so much because i wanted the best but rather because EKWB only offers full range of options for the Strix, because Strix is the best …

so yeah it sucks that the cast, machined and polished aluminum skeleton and cooler of the Strix will need to be removed but i had no other option. my only other option was to go for 4090 in which case you also get black options for other cards with EKWB but at the time i didn’t think i would game and couldn’t justify a 4090.

so what would i definitely do differently if i was doing this build again ? and what would i not change ? and what would i maybe re-think ?

things i would keep exactly the same:

motherboard, CPU, cooler, chassis, WIFI card - happy with these

things i would definitely do differently:

RAID - would certainly not do the RAID again.

graphics - would get 4090 instead of 4080. with 4090 you get 50% more ram, 30% more performance and you can now get other brands than just Asus and still have the black waterblock option from EKWB while with 4080 you can only get black waterblock for Asus. i tried to save money by going with 4080 instead of 4090 because i figured i don’t game anyway but that has changed so in retrospect it was a mistake.

would i get the 4090 Strix or some other card ? well the 4090 Strix has a HUGE price premium and if you’re going to waterblock it anyway it’s not worth it. i would probably get 4090 Gigabyte because even though it has trash RGB that doesn’t work and loud fans and so on - you would remove all of that shit anyway to install the waterblock, and you would save about $200 versus the Strix.

things i might re-think:

the Corsair AX 1600i. it is a great power supply but the cables are short for the size of the Lian Li PC V3000 chassis. my suggestion is get the case first and measure how long you will need the cables to be then make sure the power supply you get has such cables.

one benefit of Corsair is you can get extra cables for it. in fact i did order extra 12VHPWR cable for it that i’m using ( the PSU itself doesn’t include it, unlike Seasonic which does ).

basically what i’m saying is consider the cables when getting the PSU. the Corsair AX1600i is basicaly flawless EXCEPT the cable length. i had to stretch them pretty tight and there is no hope of cable management as they pretty much have to run diagonally just to reach. the large case and large mobo is why the cables need to be longer while the Corsair cables are really meant for a more standard size case and mobo.

Corsair should have realized that if you’re buying the best PSU on the market maybe you’re not building a standard system but they haven’t. It seems a great PSU otherwise though.

I might also consider going with Samsung for the 8K screen. i actually had the Samsung first but it had issues so i exchanged it for Sony. but Sony has issues too. in the end neither Sony nor Samsung are perfect but both are a big upgrade from a 4K screen as well as upgrade from the competitors like LG. So this, like the Corsair PSU, is something i would re-consider. The Sony is amore high-end screen than Samsung but it is also more expensive and equally as problematic as Samsung if not more so. I really can’t say which one is the smarter choice - flip a coin.

Likewise between Corsair AX 1600i and Seasonic TX 1600 it is also a tough choice. Seasonic is cheaper and includes a 12VHPWR cable and there is a new version that should be coming out that is ATX 3.0 compliant with 3.2 KW peak output.

It’s basically between Sony and Samsung 8K as well as between Corsair and Seasonic 1600W PSU. i can neither say that i was right or wrong with the choices i made in this case. it is up to you what you want to go with.

PS: I am running Windows 11 Pro that i purchased from Microsoft via digital download for $199 and installed using USB stick. the download was generic ( same file you can download from Microsoft for free ) and all the $199 got me is a product key. which really made me feel like i should have just stolen the product key but the system was getting so expensive at that point that i felt like i may as well get genuine windows for it.

PS2: i was unable to get WINSAT ( Windows Experience Index ) to save results.

I do expect that most scores would have been close to 9.9 except the Disk score where as i explained there seem to be some issues and it might look pretty bad …

the irony is that i specifically went for Raid 0 because i wanted to hit WINSAT score of 9.9 on disk but it actually works slower than regular SSD and WINSAT isn’t working at all


moral of the story: best is the enemy of good.

don’t worry about what is best - just get something that works as it should.

PS3: oh yeah i forgot that in addition to keyboard and mouse and VRM fans i also want to add a storage drive or drives before moving to the liquid cooling phase.

although the 2TB raid 0 array has plenty of space i don’t want to use it for storage in case the raid array is corrupted etc.

i have again come up with some fancy ideas for how to go about the storage thing but no point in discussing them now. i will document what i did after it is done and works.

Lian Li V3000 Plus chassis has options for 3.5" and 2.5" drives and the Asus SAGE mobo has one more unused M.2 slot plus any of the PCIE slots can take an Asus Hyper M.2 card that supports 4X M.2 drives because every single slot on this Asus mobo is basically PCIE 5.0 X 16 supporting bifurcation in other words every single one of the 7 PCIE slots can be used to add 4 X M.2 SSDs at full 5th gen speed.

BUT ! i won’t be going that way because everybody uses M.2 and i am too good to do what everybody else does ! i must do something different …

and now my rating of the brands used in this build:

Asus: 10/10 based on 3 products used ( Mobo, GPU, WIFI ). absolutely top notch. creme de la creme. nothing even comes close.

Lian Li: 10/10 best of the best. nothing comes close.

Kingston Ram: seems OK

Nvidia: great, but not perfect. breathtaking graphics in Fortnite Unreal Engine 5 ( AMD can’t compete on ray tracing ) but driver compatibility with Sony is an annoying issue that should have been fixed.

Intel: so so. though currently ( narrowly ) holding performance crown this isn’t for long. VROC is sketch / SUS. power efficiency is far behind AMD Threadripper. new Threadripper will rip Intel a new asshole in a matter of months. intel troubles are well documented of course - they botched their lithography process allowing AMD to take the crown in workstation market. Sapphire Rapids only beats Threadripper by a hair by using several hundreds of watts more power under liquid cooling. for Sapphire rapids to beat Threadripper you really need liquid cooling and a beast VRM with its own dedicated fans. most Sapphire Rapids systems will LOSE to a 2 year old Threadripper system. this is an L for intel, but with my mobo and chassis and with EKWB cooling i might be able to squeeze enough performance out of Sapphire Rapids to eek past threadripper since everything on my system is overclockable - both CPU and RAM. will i actually overclock ? probably not. i don’t need the extra power.

Noctua: best tower coolers, but tower coolers have limitations. quality is excellent but Sapphire Rapids will require more powerful cooling to reach full potential in overclocking.

EKWB: only serious choice in waterblocks IMO. people think EKWB is overpriced - i disagree. the competitors screw right into brittle acrylic. EKWB Quantum screws into copper. and EK “classic” line ( which seems to be on the way out ) that is comparable in quality to the competition is actually CHEAPER than the competition, though probably won’t exist for very long.

now i think Corsair may have better radiators than EKWB ( which are made for them by Hardware Labs ) and Noctua may make better fans but for waterblocks and most other watercooling stuff EKWB is the best and worth the premium.

Corsair: this is a hit and miss company because they rely on different OEMs, for example the AX 1600i PSU is made by flextronics and is the best in the world. their Radiators are made by Hardware Labs and are also the best. But a lot of other corsair stuff is mediocre at best and may be even considered lousy.

so with Corsair you really have to ask who is the OEM for the particular corsair product you’re looking at. some Corsair products are world class while others are pretty sad due to different OEMs used. luckily the price will typically reflect quality with Corsair. so for example the shitty power supplies from Corsair will be FAR cheaper than AX 1600i which is their good PSU. like THREE TIMES cheaper.

so you will get what you pay for with Corsair. you will get quality or you will get value. Corsair thus isn’t really a hardware brand as much as something like Amazon. You do get a benefit with Corsair that their products are standardized ( same plugs etc ) even when they come from different OEMs. I also got quick shipping while ordering direct from Corsair including for rare items like V12HPWR cable. so overall yes i would use Corsair again and i would buy direct from them again, but do the research and make sure you are getting their GOOD products, which not all of their products are.

Corsair waterblocks for example are TRASH compared to EKWB quantum, while Corsair Radiators are exellent. This is why i don’t blame people who just buy Apple or Dell because it really takes a lot of knowledge to DIY and unless you enjoy researching it isn’t going to be worth it for most people.

Sony ( TVs ) : overall best build quality and best picture but serious issues with software and my unit also has panel uniformity issues which is rare for Sony but i do have it on mine. panels on TVs are a lottery same as how coil whine on GPUs is a lottery. plan to test and return if necessary. in my case i didn’t notice the panel uniformity issue because i wasn’t expecting it based on Sony’s good reputation, so now i have to live with it.

Samsung ( TVs ) : every corner cut on build quality yet somehow in the end still best product for the money. my Samsung TV was so flimsy it literally got bent just from getting unboxed and installed … there was also a small flicker issue … and Samsungs don’t have Dolby Vision because they push their own system - these are all the reasons i exchanged mine for Sony … yet the more expensive Sony had arguably even more issues, but at that point i simply accepted that i won’t have a perfect TV and kept the Sony.