Build Log: Hot Chocolate - Test Bench/[email protected]

CPU: AMD Ryzen 2700X 3.7 GHz 8-Core Processor
Cooler: Noctua - NH-D15 SE-AM4

CPU Fan: 2x Noctua -NF-A15 140mm
Motherboard: Asus - ROG Crosshair VII Hero (Wi-Fi) ATX
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200
Storage: Samsung - 960 Pro 512 GB M.2-2280
Video Card: 2x Asus - GeForce RTX 2080 8 GB Turbo
Case: Cooler Master - HAF XB (Black) ATX Desktop
Power Supply: Corsair - RMx 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX
Case Fan: 2x Noctua - NF-A14 PWM 82.5 CFM 140mm, 1x Noctua - NF-F12 PWM 54.97
CableMod PRO ModMesh Black Extensions
Etc: Asus ROG Front Base Dual 2.5 Bay LCD Controller

This was originally setup on a cardboard box to add to my [email protected] power for LTT’s Folding Month. I decided to keep it around as a test bench and have tested a TON of RTX cards for use w/ [email protected] and other compute heavy tasks. It will stay in the config through the winter, but I will use it as a traditional test bench when I have new parts arriving/departing that need to be put through their paces. There have also been 4 motherboards, 3 PSUs as I was testing boards with different PCIe layouts. While it’s not a gaming system, I did order a bridge to see what the #s are like against my 2080 Ti in 3D Mark. It will get here after Christmas though and I won’t have time to run benchmarks til then anyway.

Why RTX cards? They are far better than the 1080 Ti @ folding and were only $699. Pascal cards are becoming scare with the 1080 Tis out of production and I was able to sell my 1080 Tis for a good price.

Things I loved about the build:

  1. I became intensely curious about the HAF XB Evo for seemingly no reason, but I’m certain glad I bought it! The first thing of note is the build quality. I was afraid that this case would ding and scratch easily, but man… it’s solid and painted really well. I’ve rebuilt this system w /various mobos, PSU, GPUs, and CPUs and it looks like it did on day 1. There is also something to be said for cable management. This is an older case, but everything was very well thought out. There are soooo many tie down points that it was really easy to give cables a permanent home while allowing them to route in a way that keeps them in place while making a board swap easy.
  2. There’s something to be said about the Noctua traditional aesthetic. I am glad they welcomed change and now have more current colors available, but their brand identity lies in the brown colors. It was the inspiration behind the name "**Hot Chocolate." **That and the 2080s keeping the house warm while folding.
  3. Once again I went for a look that did not rely on RGBs to gain its identity. I wanted a simple and clean look given the fact that the parts in here will rotate.


  1. So, the ROG Front Base goes under “Challenges” simply because I bought it for looks. I wanted something to break up the monotony the 2.5 bay covers brought to the front of the case. I knew going in that it was just going to be an information display given the lack of support for modern ROG_EXT equipped boards. Just adding this note here so that someone doesn’t buy it thinking it will work with the C7H. It merely shows rounded clock speed #s, temps, and fan speeds.

In closing, still can’t believe it took me this long to get around to building a test bench. I guess I really don’t mind running things on a cardboard box. Just looks a whole lot better now. I opted not to use the vast storage options in the HAF, but I have over 100 TB of NAS based storage in the house, so an OS drive is really all I need. The hot swap option in this case is awesome though. I might throw a drive in and keep test software on it, but… I really don’t need to.



mmm… pretty. :slight_smile:

Well done and very well shot images indeed. :+1:

Take another look, did you forget to peel of the protective stuff from the Asus logo?

Thanks! The sticker is pealed, I just leave that for last since it’s impossible to get fingerprints off of that brushed plastic texture and it hurts my soul lol.

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Nice job! Both the build and the photos are top quality.

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Thank you!

Yes. I have a D14 and intend to keep it for some time to come, especially as I bought it for a much hotter CPU than I intend to use it on in the future, (bulldozer oc’d to ryzen 2). I know everyone is on a big downer about their colours but honestly if they just did black with some crap logo like everyone else does then they would not be where they are now. It may not be classically pretty, but it has a definite good look to it.


Bought an NVLink bridge while waiting for 2080Ti FTW 3s for my main rig.