Since its debut in 2003, the Call of Duty® series has become an industry mainstay, and a model for the kind of success most game developers strive to achieve. The series regularly tops lists for the best first-person shooters, and thanks to its action-hungry fanbase, it continues to see the regular release of new titles – the latest being Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4.
The newest Black Ops game may be the fifteenth Call of Duty title in the franchise, but the series’ age has done nothing to hold back excitement from the community, or us. We greeted the game’s launch with many goodies, starting with Aura Sync integration that links the RGB lighting on compatible ROG peripherals with specific in-game events. We also launched a host of COD-branded peripherals and components, including our ROG Strix Flare keyboard, the ROG Gladius II mouse, and the decked-out ROG Maximus XI Hero Wi-Fi motherboard. All of these parts blend our signature ROG style with the unmistakable vibe of Call of Duty, and they served as the inspiration for a truly eye-catching build from renowned builder Snef.
Snef has patrolled these parts more than once before, previously creating the beautiful Aurora Borealis: Goddess of Dawn, a PC chock-full of our RGB-infused Aura Sync components. He also crafted the striking Phoenix, a build that centered around our ROG Rampage VI Apex motherboard.
Like the Rampage VI Apex-based build, Snef drew inspiration for his Black Ops 4 build from the motherboard, in this case, the ROG Maximus XI Hero Wi-Fi Call of Duty Edition. The motherboard’s aesthetic is enough to get any Call of Duty fan excited, with its dark coat of paint, sharp lines, and instantly recognizable game logos above the I/O panel and chipset. We discovered through this project that Snef is a massive Call of Duty fan and owns all of the current games, so it turned out to be doubly appropriate that we called on him to build us a COD rig from the ground up. The chassis Snef chose to enlist for active duty is Phantek’s Evolv X, which was picked for its modern, hard-edged aesthetic, and because it suits the board quite well.
Orange and black are splashed lavishly across Black Ops 4 merchandise, and those same colors happen to look great when equipped to a PC. Snef says that he didn’t want to overuse the game’s logo in this PC, but he made sure it would be planted in prominent areas, leaving no question as to what inspired the build.
The most eye-catching element of this build is found at the front. The COD logo may appear to be simple in design, but it was labor-intensive to cut into the case. Snef notes he did not have a CNC or laser machine for this, so the large logo was hand-cut into a 3-mm-thick aluminum panel. After that was finished, a piece of orange acrylic was layered behind it. This logo could have been as bright as a light bulb, but instead, Snef made its effect subtle, with LEDs on ether side creating a darkened center. It’s a subtle design cue that lends a lot of character.
With this PC, Snef once again proved that he knows a thing or two about power cables. Carrying over techniques we’ve seen from previous builds, each individual power cable in this Black Ops 4 build has been wrapped in its own custom sleeve. These cables are decked out in a military-esque design, accented with some appropriate gunmetal gray to create a neat camo effect that matches the overall aesthetic. Like the front panel that had to be manually cut, these cables proved to be one of the most labor-intensive parts of Snef’s build.
Two other custom-cut Black Ops 4 logos are found on either side, and neither are backlit, which adds a bit of mystique to the build when the lights are off. On the component side of the chassis, a custom panel graced with the game’s logo is found up at the top. On the opposite side, a Black Ops 4 logo is hidden behind a large interpretation of the Black Ops skull that sits above the glowing T-Force Delta RGB SSD.
The graphics card Snef chose for this build is the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, our highest-end graphics card based on NVIDIA’s Turing architecture. With 4352 CUDA cores, 11GB of VRAM under the hood, a massive heatsink, and three big fans engaged in “Cool of Duty,” the card is made for high-end gaming. For Snef, the card was made to be dismantled, augmented with a full-sized water block, and then installed vertically into the Evolv X.
The water block that replaced our beefy Strix cooler was originally transparent, which, according to Snef, didn’t suit the build. His solution involved some black paint, and another soldier decal to match the one found on the other side of the build. If you look closely at this decal, you’ll be able to see the colored coolant flowing along the top of the GPU.
Along with the acrylic piece used inside the front panel, another custom-cut piece settles in behind the large liquid cooler tank in the finished product. This custom panel hides the cables behind it, aiding the goal of a clean aesthetic. It might be precision-made, but Snef said it wasn’t particularly difficult to make, and by including it, the problem of misaligned cable pass-throughs is negated.
With the motherboard a focal point of this build, Snef didn’t want to overcrowd it with liquid cooling tubes. A Snef signature, the liquid cooling is arranged with care, placed symmetrically where possible, allowing an open view of the motherboard’s most interesting elements.
After poring over this beautiful build, it’s hard to imagine it any other color than black and orange, but Snef did note that during the original planning stages, he had considered using a military green color scheme, highlighted with black and gray to match the grittiness of the characters in the game. Ultimately, he decided on the current color scheme because it is “hard to think about CoD and not see any orange.” We’d have to agree, especially for Black Ops 4.
While build looks great powered off, it becomes a stunner when powered on. Our ROG Thor 1200W power supply lurks at the bottom, utilizing Aura Sync to glow the same orange color we’ve seen laced around the rest of the rig. Snef’s Aurora Borealis: Goddess of Dawn build might be perfectly suited to shine forth with an entire rainbow of LED colors, but the dominant orange used here is undeniably eye-popping from every angle.
Many components in this build complement the others, and thanks to Aura Sync, none of the components had to forego an orange glow. Even Team’s T-Force RGB DRAM and SSD can be configured to match our own Republic of Gamers gear.
With this Black Ops 4 build wrapped in so much ROG hardware, we had to ask Snef if any of it made the build easier to configure, or visually more interesting. He said that Aura Sync and the Aura Terminal both proved extremely useful, thanks to their ease-of-use and flexibility. With a simple two or three clicks, the entire PC lights up with the desired effect. But don’t forget, this is RGB we’re dealing with, so whether you want a multi-colored theme, only a few colors, or just the one carefully chosen shade, Aura makes it easy.
To finish a stellar Black Ops 4 PC, it only makes sense that the peripherals match. For the cherry on top, Snef deployed a variety of ROGxCOD gaming peripherals. The desk is adorned with a CoD-branded version of our ROG Strix Edge mouse mat as well a as a logo projection from the ROG Swift PG258Q monitor. Both are joined by the Strix Flare keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches, the Gladius II gaming mouse, and the ROG Strix Fusion 700 gaming headset. Naturally, all of these utilize Aura Sync to synchronize chosen colors across the entire setup, and each of them is accented with subtle hints of COD to tie everything together even if you were to stray away from the Snef-appointed orange-and-black.
Having seen behind the scenes for a handful of Snef’s builds so far, we can’t help but be excited to see what he creates next. If you’d also like to keep up with Snef’s latest builds hit up his Facebook page.