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Gandalf the White || mATX - custom paint - i7 - 1070 - 512GB m.2 - 32GB DDR4 ||

by Trogdyr


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

Nov. 4, 2016

Date Built

Sept. 1, 2016

CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

23.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

40.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate


GPU Temperature While Idle

50.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

70.0° C


This is my "realistic" dream build I have envisioned for a while. It is the first build I have done by myself from finish to end. Hope you enjoy! I will try to get more polished final pictures of the inside up soon.

To set the stage, my company relocated me from the US to the UK in March. I decided to leave my mid-range build (i7 4770k, Air 240, GTX 960) at home and let my brother-in-law use it. Reason for this is that I thought that I would be ok gaming and being productive on my 4k Dell XPS 15 9550. While it is certainly a capable machine, I realized just how much I enjoyed/missed my rig at home. I gave my bro-in-law a good deal to buy my rig I left at home and the decision was made; time to build a new rig.

The research/planning started. I wanted my next build to be a clean and minimalist build but still have some oomph. I decided on a lightly modded white and black build. I didn't go ALL OUT on my build and mods like I've seen some. Just enough to make my build unique, complete it, and get to using it. Bottom line... I'm very happy with the outcome and love my new RIG!

Since this is in some ways a reimagining of my previous black build, I thought Gandalf the White couldn't be a more fitting name for it.

"I am Gandalf the White. And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide"

Here is a detailed breakdown and my thoughts on each part used in this build.


  • Sanded green layer off of GPU logo to create white light
  • Spray painted case fins black
  • Spray painted motherboard heatsinks white
  • Spray painted radiator side insert white
  • Custom ASUS decal on motherboard heatsink
  • NZXT White Sleeved Cable LED
  • White Sleeved cables
  • PWM fan splitter for "Push" CPU Opt PWM Corsair fans

Corsair Air 240: 2 years ago I did a build on a black Corsair Air 240 case. I loved it so much I chose it for this build. In my opinion, this is one of the best cases for compact builds. I thoroughly researched other compact cases such as the NCase M1 and Phantek Elvolv mATX but ultimately came back to the Air 240 for its good looks, ease to build on, and cable management with dual chambers. White model with the fins painted black. The all white wasn't doing it for me and looked rather bland. The black accent gives it the appearance of its big brother, the Air 540, and gives it some character while still looking sharp.

Founders Edition GTX 1070: This was an interesting pickup. My objective in a GPU was 1) performance to price 2) works in a white build. I narrowed down my final selections to the ROG Strix 1070, Asus DUAL OC 1070, ASUS Turbo OC 1070, and the Founders Edition. I decided to get the Asus ROG Strix 1070. I installed the ASUS GPU but the white that it created using RGB was an awful purple color. Added to that it was a long card and I wasn't able to do push-pull on my liquid cooling. I was willing to tradeoff on the latter if the white was actually white. Graphics-wise it performed well. I would not recommend it if you want to use the White LED. I returned it. I considered the OC DUAL and OC Turbo but prices in the UK for third party 1070s was in the mid to high £400s. They also didn't have a backplate which I thought was tacky for spending that much. I went with the Founders Edition for £399 which was the cheapest 1070 available in September when I bought it. I had to do something about the "Nvidia Green" logo. I found a mod to sand off the green from the logo to create a very clean white light from the LED. The actual logo element is rubber so the sanding proved difficult. Since the black and green paint layer is a latex coating, it was really hard to get all the green without the black peeling up in between letters. I found a black oil-based pigment "paint" market to kind of dab in the green parts that needed to be black. I'm very happy with the end result and would recommend this mod for a white build. I really like the classid "GEFORCE GTX" logo on the build vs a third party logo.

Asus Maximus Gene VIII mATX Motherboard: I saw the Gene and it ticks a lot of boxes for me. Well reviewed mobo that supports USB 3.1, M.2 SSD, lots of fan headers, and looks great. The BIOS are easy to navigate and easy to overclock. I was also drawn to the heatsink.. they would look GREAT spray painted white . For those wondering, several tests prove that spray painting motherboard heatsinks have little to no impact on thermal performance. I spray painted the heatsinks and this took a lot of patience. I had to re-do it twice because I wasn't getting the finish I wanted. Beware: the fins are sharp! I bloodied my fingers while scrubbing a day-dried paint job off. All clear and I start again with 4-5 very very fine coats broken up by about 15 minutes. On the 5th or 6th 'finish' coat I went a bit heavier to get the wet glossy smoothness I was going for and it turned out perfectly. Special attention was made to angle the coats to ensure even coats in the crevices. I ended up taping off the main surface while I really went to town over the crevice coats. That way the main surface wouldn't get over-painted and drip. Very happy with how this turned out. I found a very small metallic Asus decal on eBay to replace the 'Gene' logo and the size/effect was just what I wanted. White, clean, minimalist.

i7 6700k CPU: Because science. I don't need this and for what I do, the i5 6600k was over kill. But what the heck. Overclocked by 15% to 4.6GHz using the mobo's easy to use overclock settings in the BIOS. Runs like a champ.

32GB (4 x 8) Corsair Vengeance RAM @ 3200Mhz: 16 GB suits my needs but went with 32GB to fill out the slots and future proof. I have always used Kingston Hyperx Fury sticks and was hoping to get those but their DDR4 doesn't come in white. It was between Corsair and Crucial Ballistix in white and the Corsair won out due to better durability, price, and less busy looks.

Samsung 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD: Love this thing. Storage drives in the past have always been bottlenecks to builds. Even SSDs based on SATA are not allowing some builds to reach their full potential. This SSD flies. My CrystalMark results are 2.1GBps read and 1.5GBps write. This is the OEM variant the Samsung's Pro 950. The Pro 950 looks a bit better in all black but since this is sitting behind the GPU I decided to save £100 and go OEM.

Fans: Going for white, I tried out the ThermalTake RIING RGB LED fans. I wanted to test them out because I thought the build would also look great with a Red accent once in awhile if I wanted to change LED from white. But these have the same issue as the Rog Strix 1070 RGB's attempt to create a "white" light... the white that is created using RGB was blueish and created rainbows from reflections in the case. I returned the TT fans. I've always been a fan (heh) of Corsair's fans so I went for 4x SP PWM fans and 2x AF Fans. I have 2x SP exhaust on the top. There was a test that Linus did about what push/pull config to use with SP and AF fans and the best thermal performing config was SP push AF pull so I went 2x SP push on the radiator, and 2x AF pull on the radiator coming into the case. I also used one of the including OEM Corsair SP fans that came with the case as an intake fan in the PSU chamber set to turn on if the CPU gets to 70 degrees.

Windows 10 Pro: Never pay full price for Windows. Go on ebay and buy and OEM Windows code from a well rated seller for $10.

Corsair H100i v2 Liquid Cooler: Used its predecessor on my last build and it offer great cooling performance. I painted the side plastic insert of the radiator white. The white LED isn't very bright so I'm probably going to take the insert from the pump and paint it white as well. Also thinking of doing a white wrap on the tubes soon.

EVGA 750W G2 PSU: - It works. Went 750 if I wanted to SLI in the future.

NZXT Sleeved LED Cable (White): Perfect length to go around the sides and top. The switch fits into one of your expansion slots but doesn't plug into PCI or anything. Is powered using MOLEX (meh). I really like the on/off button it provides and the light really makes the build pop. Absolute steal for £7. What I don't like is the control board sets way too close to the motherboard so the board creates pressure on the mobo components.


Onto items not in inside the Rig but part of my overall setup... I didn't price these in the part list to be able to reflect my true cost of build. Prices below.

ASUS PG279Q ROG Swift IPS 165 HZ Monitor: I was torn down the middle between this and the MG279Q which is also IPS 144hz but is a freesync monitor but £200 cheaper. GSync with my NVIDIA card wasn't a necessity to me and the MG279Q was worth a shot. I bought the MG279Q on Amazon through Warehouse Deals and ended up going through 3 monitors due to dead pixels on one, bright white pressure dots on another, and backlight bleed on the third. Thank goodness for easy Amazon returns. The picture was great... just wasn't willing to deal with defects at this price point. I was getting monitor fatigue at this point. I went with a refurbed PG279Q and its a beauty. There is a fair amount of IPS glow on any any specimen on this model so knowing that goin in, I'm very happy with it. Text is sharper than the MG279Q and GSYNC is a joy to game and work on.

Creative Sound Blaster Omni external Sound CardThe on board audio of the Asus motherboard wasn't doing it for me. The input was a bit hissy even with noise suppression turned on and noise gate set to high. A requirement I have of my sound card is that I can hear myself talk in real time (no lag... like you get with the "listen to this device" in Windows settings) This card ticks every box. Sounds great. No hiss. Mic input sounds crystal. I can hear myself in real time using the playback mixer.

boldHyperX Cloud Headset*bold Had this for a couple of years and still good as new. Comfy and great sound. No complaints.

Corsair K70 Keyboard I really like Cherry MX Brown Switches for the slight tactical bump while still have quick and smooth actuation. I also outfitted all keys with O-rings to shorten/dampen key travel. Highly recommended mech switch mod.

MSI W8 Mouse Noone knows about this mouse but I have used it for years and I love it. I bought 5 of them in case they get discontinued.

Comments Sorted by:

ShriyansM 2 points 23 months ago

Love the name!

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Thanks! I've always named my drive partitions LotR characters so this worked out well :)

jsoutherland89 5 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

Awesome build! Love to see this type of dedication to detail. +1

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Thank you!

SilverWolf149 1 point 23 months ago


A Gandalf PC. Very nice. You should hide a picture of an eagle somewhere because Gandalf totally forgot about that part. +1!!!!

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Love my Middle Earth.... but that eagle plot hole by Tolkien... just fly the ring to mount doom... comone! "Fly you fools!" :)

Mason54 23 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

That is ooneee Fiinee looking marker...

Oh and the modding on the Case looks good too. Nice build and I like how you described why you didn't like the original stuff like the STRIX and the RIING fans

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Thanks Mason - I wanted this to be more than just a trophy case. A lot of lesson learned for me that other "white builders" could learn from

DonWD3 1 point 23 months ago

Excellent build and beautifully executed. I feel like a slacker now. +1

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

You can do it! A can of spray paint and some patience can work wonders

Gooberdad 10 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

You shall not pass!

Great looking build.

Thumbs up.

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago


philphaser 12 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

VERY nice!

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 2 points 23 months ago

Thank you!

Luciferian 2 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

Really dig it. It's a very clean build, and the extra effort you put in to painting it really adds a nice touch.

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Appreciate it!

opgYTgmr 1 point 23 months ago

How did you change the led colour of your gpu? It's a FE

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

600 grit sand paper on a cork sand block and lots of patience! You lighty sand the green layer off to expose a transparent clear layer below. I got the idea from this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyDxXhkh7EY

opgYTgmr 1 point 23 months ago

I don't have an FE anyway !

Jbock 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Super clean, like it

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago


julayyy 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

+1 for the awesome paint job!

mpirezl 1 point 22 months ago

Nice build, very clean and cool, love it. how is it handling heat, and noise? I'm trying to convince myself to buy a mATX but ATX always get me.

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 20 months ago

Hey there! Sorry for the late reply. Haven't been I here for a while. To answer your question I overclock to 4.6ghz and my temps are fine. Stable 30 and they never get above 40. Benchmarking and stress tests max it out at 55-60 and it never throttles. The AIO water cooler is very good I would recommend the push pull config I did.

It took me a bit to tune the fans because CPU turbo boost would spike the temperature for a fraction of a second but I keep my fans on a more or less custom silent setting. I don't hear them at all and only have them crank up if my CPU gets above 50 which it rarely if ever does

IamJavas 1 point 21 months ago

This looks amazing, and I am looking at the same motherboard. Namely because it checks all the boxes, but I very much dislike the black/red (as you did I wish to do black and white). I found ekwb has a mobo/CPU block for this particular mobo. This would get rid of the heat sinks around the processor, but I still have to contend with the smaller one down by the corner (as I don't think this is replaced with the block).

I guess my question is, do you do any overclocking, if you do or do not, how are the temps on things with the heat sinks painted? It holding up well (the paint)? What paint did you use?

Thanks in advance.

Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 20 months ago

Hey there! Sorry for the late reply. Haven't been I here for a while. To answer your question I do overclock to 4.6ghz and my temps are fine. Stable 30 and they never get above 40. Benchmarking and stress tests max it out at 55-60 and it never throttles. The AIO water cooler is very good I would recommend the push pull config I did.

I used rustoleum painters choice white white.

Good luck!

kingjaylee 1 point 18 months ago

Asus ROG Strix 1070 is suitable for this case?

ClarkTheCoder 1 Build 1 point 14 months ago

Love this build.

mattyisbae 1 point 11 months ago

love the case

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Trogdyr submitter 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

No - my work. We have an modern open layout. I built it at the open desk next to mine in my down time. Something therapeutic about not doing a build with my kids climbing all over me!

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