NOTE: NZXT offered me a partnership and I was able to choose some products to demo. If the products were shit, I would be the first to say it, but I wanted to include this tidbit here in the interest of full disclosure.

Part list/rationale

All parts listed below use my referral link. It may be possible to find the parts at a better price if you look elsewhere. Ordering via my referral link helps me continue to do what I do and is appreciated.

CPU: Intel i7-5960X

I need a really beefy processor so that I can handle streaming at a high quality (1080p@48fps) while being able to play without suffering a major loss in performance. I’m so excited that Intel finally released an enthusiast processor with 8 cores instead of 6! I’m able to stream now with a much less significant impact on my gameplay, even Starcraft doesn’t feel sluggish now when I’m playing and streaming at a high quality. I’m really, really happy with this processor.

Cooler: Kraken X61

I wanted to get something beefier this time than a Thermaltake 3.0 Extreme or an h100i. The Kraken X61 has always gotten great reviews on performance, but people have said it’s rather bulky. I have a case, however, that allows me to fit the radiator with relative ease so I can take advantage of the cooling it has to offer. I’ve been running this build for about a month and there have been no cooling issues yet, and the cooler looks really nice as well.

Motherboard – ASUS X99-DELUXE

I love ASUS boards and this board is decked out with features for overclocking support and potential SLI stuff down the line, as well as a ton of SATA ports for all of my HDDs.

Memory – G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 16GB 2400

Just 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. Nothing special here.

SSD – Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB

Amazing SSD with an amazing controller using amazing NAND.

GPU – MSI GeForce GTX 780

This 780 is still getting the job done for me. I’m really tempted to bump this up to a 980…maybe in the future…

Case – NZXT H440

I’m really happy with how this case turned out. Getting some of the cords into the power supply was a little annoying, as it’s tucked underneath the case where it’s out of sight. It was a little difficult getting the radiator in as well, though I was eventually able to finagle it into the case. All in all, though, I think the case looks nice, I like that the PSU is hidden as it gives a much cleaner look to the bottom of the case.

PSU – SeaSonic 850W

What can I say? SeaSonic makes excellent power supplies and 850 watts is more than enough power for my system. It also gives me the option to SLI 780’s down the line, should I chose to do so.

Microphone – Blue Yeti

An amazing sounding microphone for a great price.

Headphones – Sennheiser HD598’s

I still have these same headphones. I think I’ve had these for over 4 years, they’re an amazing set of cans. The sound quality is great and they’re still amazingly comfortable. These are the only headphones I can wear for 14+ hours without them bothering me.

Headphone Amplifier – Fiio E10

Cheap, great quality. I don’t necessarily recommend everyone get an external DAC, but my previous motherboard didn’t have sound and I carried this over.

So I’ve run into an issue that I’ll expound on a bit here in regards to judging these composition challenges.

Since I’m not putting any strict criteria up and I’m letting people be relatively free form in how they approach these compositions, they’ve become impossible to judge. I have no merit that I can judge on, to objectively say “x composition is better than y composition”. How on earth could I compare a jazzy arrangement of a song against something that’s using samples to create a more electronic mix?

That being said, in my future challenges I’m going to be laying down some more strict criteria based on how I’ll judge things. I’ll still let people use whatever instrumentation and whatever genre they want, but I’ll put in a few guidelines for things that I’ll look for, to make things seem more like a composition challenge instead of just people arranging things in whatever manner. Judging compositions as they come in from such a huge variety of styles that are all done so well is absolutely impossible.

That means we have a 4-way tie for first place! Listed in no particular order, we have…

Tied for 1st place – cparsons –

This is literally a professional-tier jazz arrangement for a combo group. The guitar playing is so insanely tasteful and appropriate for this, and the arrangement sounds sick, every piece of the combo is playing perfectly with one another. This wouldn’t be out of place in any kind of club or any place that plays music like this, it’s just perfect.

Tied for 1st place – JayTea O_o –

This piece was so ambitious for a submission. This is easily one of the most encompassing pieces I’ve had submitted yet. The instrumentation was handled well, despite there being so many (even if the violin sample sounded meh), the transition from segment to segment was perfect, everything flowed well into one another, and the variations between the sections was really well done, too. This track could easily show up on any indie game RPG and people would be delighted to hear it.

Tied for 1st place –  Osvelit –

This electronic submission was built almost entirely from samples, save for the saxophone playing that Osvelit himself did in this. The breakdown was sick, the difference between the 1st/2nd sections were cool, and the overall arrangement meshed really well as a cohesive piece, instead of just sounding like a bunch of samples thrown together.

Tied for 1st place – UKDaza –

I absolutely love UKDaza’s guitar playing. It sounds so much like Jeff Beck it’s ridiculous. There’s so much soul in the phrasing. The guitar playing is gut-wrenching in so many different places. I love the playing in this piece so much, it’s absolutely the type of live performance/improv I was hoping to get when I started doing these.


Originally I was going to award $100 to 1st and $50 to 2nd, but since I ended up choosing 4 “winners” I have to split it up a little differently. I’ll be sending $50 to each person. Not as much as the prize for 1st, but $50 more than the overall prize pool recently.

I’ll be announcing my next composition challenge shortly!