Aurora R7 - Could Use Some Purchase Advice

Aug 16, 2018
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Hi all, first post here - let's see if I can work this thing.

I've been running a ROG G75VW for a number of years, and it's slowly giving out. I'm ready to upgrade, and I'm going back to desktops. I was thinking Corsair ONE for awhile, but availability, upgradability, and the many horror stories about QC and customer service have turned me off. So that brings me to the Aurora. I'm thinking the following specs:
-850W PSU with the CPU liquid cooler
-i7-8700K
-16GB RAM @ 2666MHz (will likely upgrade soonish)
-Single GTX 1080 Ti
-256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (I have some SATA SSDs lying around I can install for more storage)
-Killer 1535 802.11ac WiFi
-DVD-RW
-Windows 10 Pro
-3-year premium support
Price: $2533.99

Sounds great, and fits well within my $3K budget. One hitch though. In addition to gaming, I do a lot of grid computing with BOINC. Folding proteins, analyzing climate models, etc. Temperature and longevity are huge considerations for me. I was attracted to the Corsair because of independent liquid cooling for CPU and GPU, but even that had gotchas due to poor internal airflow in some areas. A liquid-cooled GPU is a huge plus for me, and I don't want to build my own PC or custom cooling system. So a wild though came to mind:

1. Get the Aurora, but configure it with the entry-level GTX 1050 Ti.
2. Buy either a Corsair/MSI Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti or EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid, for ~$800-850. These have a built-in 120mm AIO cooling loop and theoretically are quite easy to install.
3. Swap out the 1050 for one of the 1080's.
4. Sell the 1050 (admittedly not for very much).
5. Miller Time.

This should still work with my budget just fine, and incidentally matches the price of the top-end Corsair ONE Elite Ti (when one can be found). Not sure if I'm missing something fundamental from an install perspective. I'm looking for thoughts on feasibility, technical gotchas, etc. Compatibility with the motherboard and ease of fitting the radiator are my prime concerns. Also, any experience with either of these GPU's would be awesome.

Thoughts?
Thanks!
 
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