Want to know what gear your favorite E-sports stars trust when they put their tournament lives on the line?
Look no further than Specs, a new series by Peek&Co, to see the machines behind the men - an in-depth look at player PC builds, peripherals, and more.
In this entry, we get up close and personal with Alexey 'Alex Ich' Ichetovkin, of Moscow Five fame, a professional League of Legends player and streamer currently the substitute for Team EnVyUs.
Alexey’s rig is housed inside the elegant NZXT Source 340 Black/Red CP Edition. This masterpiece from one of the world’s best-known manufacturers of computer cases and accessories takes minimalistic case design to an entirely different level. The front panel is completely void of any protrusions, slots, or connectors. Instead, two USB 3.0 connectors are located on the top of the case, along with one audio/microphone connector and power button. The all-steel chassis has been engineered from ground up to hide most cables from view, resulting in a very clean build.
Moving on to the hardware itself, Alexey went with the Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SLI motherboard and the Intel Core i7-4790K. Not much needs to be said about the CPU. According to PassMark, the i7-4790K still offers exceptional performance and fantastic value, even several years after its release. The motherboard, on the other hand, isn’t as popular as some of the other models that pro-gamers use. It runs on the Intel Z97 Express chipset and is designed with multi-graphics support in mind: an onboard M.2 slot for excellent connectivity and fast data transfer speeds, multiple PCI Express lanes and 2 SATA 3.0 6 Gb/s ports, and Intel Gigabit LAN with a special network traffic management application called cFos Speed for better responsiveness in a crowded LAN environment. The Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SLI also comes with a high-performance multi-channel Audio Codec, the ALC1150, built-in rear audio amplifier, dedicated audio hardware zone, and a convenient overclocking tool. Overall, a pretty capable motherboard, although it has gotten a lot of bad press due to certain stability issues.
Alexey's XFX Double D Radeon R9 290X graphics card is considered to be the second most powerful common graphics card (read:budget), right after the GeForce GTX 970, which in our opinion offers a slightly better bang for your buck.
The rest of the rig is fairly standard. There’s 8GB of Corsair Vengeance 2133MHz RAM, a 128GB Corsair Force LX SDD, and 2TB 7200RPM HDD for general storage and backup. Ample power is provided by the Corsair CS850M 80+ Gold semi-modular power supply. Finally, everything is kept stable and cool with the Corsair Hydro H60 high-performance liquid CPU cooler. This popular cooler uses a micro-channel cold plate and a split-flow designed manifold, resulting in excellent cooling performance for a very affordable price. It fits just about any case with a rear 120mm fan mount and works with all common sockets.
The HyperX Cloud II, a popular choice for many pro-gamers, is Alexey's headset of choice. The headset features a dedicated USB audio control box with built-in DSP sound card to provide the same level of audio fidelity even when used with a below-average onboard sound card. The pair of large 53mm drivers take care of the hardware-driven virtual 7.1 surround sound, and an accurate on-headset microphone with dedicated volume controller handles audio-input.
Alexey, however, chose to use the Blue Yeti microphone, often considered the best budget USB microphone on the market. What has helped Yeti become the best-selling dynamic microphone on Amazon is its proprietary tri-capsule technology and its no-frills nature.
To start recording crystal-clear audio all you have to do is connect the microphone and choose one out of four pattern settings. Most gamers and YouTubers use the cardioid mode, which records sound sources directly in front of the microphone.
For his mouse, Alexey went with the Logitech G400 gaming mouse, the younger brother of the beloved MX 518. Compared to the 518, the G400 includes several small tweaks and improvements. The cable has been made lighter, the logo is now much harder to rub off with regular use, the outdated metal look has been replaced with a timeless one-color design, and the stock feet feel a bit better. If you want the comfort and accuracy of the 518 without spending an obscene amount of money, the Logitech G400 is the perfect alternative.
Alexey’s choice of keyboard cements this no-frills approach to hardware. After all, the SteelSeries 6Gv2 is one of the most barebones mechanical keyboards on the market. It comes with Cherry MX Black switches, 104 key rollover, and handy media controls integrated into the F-key row. Yet just because it's missing some of the frills of the more popular mechanical keyboards doesn't mean its a bad choice for gamers. In fact, we rate it as one of our best mechanical keyboards on the market today.