So, I've been gaming on a Mac for the last 30 years. For the first 25, it was only Mac-compatible games. Then I started using Bootcamp to run Windows, and for the last 2 years, I haven't even booted into my Mac. So... I've decided not only to switch away from Mac (where they're all obviously pre-built), but to build my 1st PC!
The Build Experience
Gotta say, quite proud of myself. It was pretty much as easy as everyone said it would be. Thankfully, I didn't have to deal with any RMAs. In fact, the only bump at all was that the mobo arrived with a loose part. The LED panel that attaches under the I/O shield area had come loose and was rattling around. Was worried at first, but just unscrewed the I/O shield cover, re-sat the LED panel in its clips, no problem.
That done, I just snapped everything together and one & done. I was nervous about the D15 cooler, but I did my research & prepared myself -- glad I did, too. The screws for the cooler are spring-loaded, so you have to press really hard to get them to catch. Expecting that, I didn't have any issues installing it at all. My install order was CPU into mobo, RAM into mobo, M.2 into mobo, then mobo into case. Connect case wiring to mobo, connect power to mobo, and only then did I install D15 heat sink & power. The thing is huge and once it was in, there's pretty much no messing with anything behind or around it. Then finally the RTX 2080 & power.
Now it's time to get some games installed! Keep in mind, I'm upgrading from a late 2013 iMac with 8GB RAM and an Nvidia 780M card. I'm excited.
Only thing left to do now is get a new monitor. I'm still torn between a 16:9 4k @ 144Hz or a 21:9 100Hz. I'm leaning towards the ultrawide.
5/18/19 Update: I decided to go for the 21:9 and got the BenQ EX3501R. We'll see how it goes! I'll leave a product review for the monitor once it gets here & I give it a run-through.
Went with Intel because it seems more familiar; and should make Hackintoshing easier, if I ever need to. i5 probably would have sufficed for my needs; but figured I might get a few more years out of an i7.
Too scared to use a liquid cooler; and this thing has such great reviews! Purchased some Noctua Chromax swaps with it so that I could have black fans with blue accents, as well as to cover the heat sinks. I really like how it fills up the case and makes it look not so empty.
Debated for awhile between Gigabyte & Asus; in the end went with Asus for the BIOS mostly.
Wanted a tri-fan card, and decided to keep the manufacture in-line with the mobo maker.
Like the blue theme. NZXT has such an iconic look; I decided to go for that. Plus, reviews had mentioned how easy it was to build, and they were right. The cable runs in the back and the ease at which the panels could come off was great. Plus, the HDD and SDD trays are removable, and since I don't need those it let me free up a lot of room for a cleaner look.
Specifically went modular so I could swap cables; and picked the (2018) due to the reduced dimensions; hoping it'll help with airflow.
A great monitor. This one doesn't have fancy "gaming" things that some of the other 3440x1440s have, such as crosshairs... but c'mon, I'm not paying an extra $100 for crosshairs on my monitor.
There is noticeable corner backlighting not only on dark backgrounds, but images that have dark sections. What surprised me the most is that the blacks, to me, seem "glossy" or shiny, even (or maybe especially) with minimal room lighting. The whole screen kind of has a shiny look to it so I never push the brightness past 80, which helps to that end. I'd heard that VAs have better/darker blacks than IPS... but I didn't really consider how the monitor would change depending on whether it was glossy or matte. My iMac (IPS) with a glossy/glass front panel actually seemed to have so much better/less shiny blacks, which is funny and counter-intuitive, and maybe I'm describing it wrong... but the suffice it to say that the screen is quite different than a glass panel. It might also be the limited viewing angle of the VA panel that I wasn't use to with my iMac IPS one.
Another slight annoyance is that unlike some of the competitor monitors for the 3440x1440 market, this one doesn't have built-in or delivered software that lets you 'snap' windows/programs to section. Not a big deal, as I was able to pretty quickly find a free program that let me split my monitor into thirds for quick snapping/maximizing to that third.
But, the benefit is that I got this monitor for $200+ cheaper than those competitor models; so a pretty fair trade I think. Also, it's a bit baffling that they don't ship it with a DP-DP, only a DP-MiniDP; so I needed to cough up some more cash for a DP-DP cable to make use of the Adaptive Sync for my NVIDIA card.