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Author Topic: Building a New PC  (Read 1111 times)

Ratio

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Building a New PC
« on: Dec 29, 2013, 01:23 AM »
Restructured thread. So meh.

Current expense list:
Fractal Design Define R4$115.99
Fractal Design R2 140mm Fan$15.73
16GB (8x2) 2400MHz CL10$169.99
Asus Maximus VI Formula$294.99
Intel 4770k$289.99
Samsung 840 Pro (2)$253.90
Corsair H100i$108.98
Corsair AX860i$194.98

Current total:
$1444.54
« Last Edit: Jan 05, 2014, 04:14 PM by Ratio »


Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #1 on: Dec 29, 2013, 02:14 AM »
Upgrading to Windows 8.1 has (finally) convinced me to put my current computer out of its misery.

Failings:
  • One of the graphics cards blew up a while ago. Haven't bothered to replace it. The one that lives on is a DX10 card.
  • Pump controller blew up when I plugged a power connector into a fan header. Oops. Air cooled ever since. Stock cooler (not joking).
  • About as quiet as a two year old thirty minutes after starting in on the Halloween candy.
  • Ridiculously expensive RAID controller not supported in Windows 8.1, so redundant array of 8 velociraptors now completely irrelevant. (7 x 74GB drives in raid 5 with hot spare.)
  • Old SSDs running on old chipset. Not really fast.
  • Core 2 processor.
  • Flimsy ass case that's entirely too large. (7 x 5.25in bays, 12 x 3.25in bays, 2 power supplies (1000W each), X-ATX support.)
  • Missing case side panel. I'm sure it's around somewhere, but I don't care.
  • Giant hole in top of case for 3x120mm radiator and fans.
  • Accounts for 50% of the power usage in the entire house.


So it needs to go. In fact, it probably needed to go for a while, but it does okay for its age. The RAID controller was the last straw, though. The controller has a 64-bit PCI interface, which was a slot that was hard to find when PCI boards were common. Now it's next to impossible. Holding on to that card was holding back the possibility of an upgrade.


From top to bottom: PCI-X (64 bit PCI), PCI-E (x8), PCI, PCI-E (x16)
« Last Edit: Dec 29, 2013, 03:58 PM by Ratio »
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #2 on: Dec 29, 2013, 02:21 AM »
In order to have a "baseline" for comparison between the old and new computers, I did a quick pass of benchmarks over the old PC. I didn't bother to turn off Steam or Synapse or X-Mouse or Mouse without Borders or Ivona (since that stuff is always on), but I did kill things like Bonjour, Indexing service, Office sync services, Apple helpers, Adobe helpers, etc.

I turned everything back to base clock speed. A few significant benchmarks wouldn't run without OpenGL 4 or DirectX 11 support.

Short config:
  • Operating System: Windows 8 build 9200 (64-bit)
  • CPU Type: Intel Core2 Extreme Q6850 @ 3.00GHz
  • Number of CPUs: 1
  • Cores per CPU: 4
  • Hyperthreading: Not capable
  • Motherboard: 132-CK-NF79
  • Memory: 8GB Corsair DDR3 SDRAM
  • Videocard: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285
  • Hard Drive: ST375064 0AS SCSI Disk Device (750GB)
  • Hard Drive: INTEL SS DSA2CW080G3 SCSI Disk Device (80GB)
  • Hard Drive: ST2000DM 001-1CH164 SCSI Disk Device (2TB)
  • Hard Drive: ST310005 28AS SCSI Disk Device (1TB)
  • Hard Drive: ST340063 3AS SCSI Disk Device (400GB)


Benchmark Overview:
  • PassMark: 1379.6
  • 3DMark Vantage: 11219
  • PCMark 8 Home: 3486
  • PCMark 8 Work: 4058
  • Cinebench OpenGL: 49.07fps
  • Cinebench CPU: 263cb
  • POV-Ray: 666.87 PPS
  • LuxMark Room 146
  • LuxMark Sala 321
  • LuxMark Ball 2461
  • Furmark 1080: 1093
  • Furmark 720: 1560
  • FluidMark 1080: 305
  • FluidMark 720: 671


PassMark Details:
Spoiler (hover to show)
« Last Edit: Dec 29, 2013, 03:59 PM by Ratio »
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #3 on: Dec 29, 2013, 02:02 PM »
On to the upgradey bits.

I'm actually building two computers as the current home server is nearing the end of its lifespan as well. I could just upgrade the storage capacity, but considering how much time it spends running (read: always) it would benefit from something a little more power efficient than the pair of Xeons that are currently in it (read: complete overkill).

I'm currently intending to use a Fractal Design Define R4 for my computer and a BitFenix Prodigy for the server. The R4 is already on the way. I don't actually expect to be done with the server until sometime shortly after we get back from Fiji in April, so things may change.

The general plan is to take anything from my PC that I'm not happy with and use it in the server instead. I'm going to use a Corsair H100i as a CPU cooler on my PC until I finalize what I'm doing in terms of graphics and build a full custom loop at which point the H100i will go to the server. That's about the only thing set in stone for the server at this point.

So. The R4:
http://www.fractal-design.com/home/product/cases/define-series/define-r4-black-pearl

Next on the list is the guts order.
  • Haswell 4770k
  • Asus Maximus VI Forumla
  • 2x OCZ Vectors or 2x Samsung 840 Pros. One of the old Intel SSDs goes into the server as a system drive, the other becomes an SRT slave (cache) to a spindle based Windows Storage Space on my PC.
  • Corsair H100i
  • Memory. Probably 2400 cl10. 4x8 or 4x4. Haven't decided yet. I know I'll have 4x8 eventually, so I'll probably just do that from the get go.


I'm going to do the initial build with the old graphics card and the old power supply. Just cuz. Also there's some gfx stuff to still work out. (780ti + k40 + k40 or 780ti + 780ti + k6000 or 780ti + 780ti + k40 or ...)
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Fixate

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #4 on: Dec 30, 2013, 03:39 AM »
I remember when Fractal first came out with those cases and they were only selling them on NCIX, I was pissed because it was right around the time I built my current PC and I didn't want to pay for the fucking $50 extra for shipping.




I'm not jealous.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #5 on: Dec 30, 2013, 11:03 PM »
Case and extra fan arrived earlier than expected.

Mobo, proc, mem, SSDs ordered.

Ordered H100i from NCIX. Shipping was $5 more than newegg. But I like NCIX $5 more than newegg.

Mobo is an ASUS Maximus VI Formula. It has a decent onboard audio solution (about the equivalent of a $60 sound card) and a vanity cover. I might paint the vanity cover at some point in the future which gives it some theoretical value if I end up doing that. Because aesthetics. That's why. The Hero, which is in the same family is $100 cheaper, and is probably a better option for people who aren't as weird as I am.

Proc is an i7-4770k. Which is like an i5-4670k, but more expensive. The gaming performance between the two is almost identical. There 4770k has a 2% higher base clock speed, a 2MB larger cache and hyperthreading, which is the real point. If you don't do anything that takes advantage of HT, then the 4670k is the wise choice. If every diver in your family can't figure out how to white balance their photos and just gives them to you to batch through Lightroom after every trip, then the 4770k is the wise choice.

Memory is G.Skill. I got two 8GB sticks, which was an easy decision since equivalent 4x4's and 4x8's were out of stock. I could have ordered direct from Corsair, but their price was stupid. Modules are 2400MHz, CL10. Figuring out memory performance is pretty easy nowadays, despite the ridiculous number of choices. Take the bandwidth (speed in MHz), divide it by the CAS Latency (C or CL in the timing breakdown) and the resulting number gives you something that you can compare to other speed timing pairings. So 2400MHz / CL10 = 240.  2800MHz at CL12 = 233, so even though the clock speed (bandwidth) is significantly higher, it's a worse performer over all.

Amazon was (is?) having a sale on SSDs. The Samsungs were on sale, the OCZ's were not. Since the Samsungs are faster (by 2%) and now cost basically the same, I now have two nice looking charcoal drives instead of two gaudy blue ones. That I'm going to stick on the back of the mother board tray. Where no one will see them. Ever.

The storage configuration in my computer is relatively simple. 4SSD's, 2 spindles. 2 of the SSDs are in a RAID0 for the system drive. That drive gets under allocated on purpose so that it can absorb a little bit of dead flash as time passes. It's also intended to never grow above 75% of that under-allocated capacity so that it keeps performing well. To keep it under that threshold, one of the spindle drives holds programs, and another holds user data. The one with the user data is behind an SSD cache that is managed by Smart Response Technology. The spindle drive for programs (programs are what we used to call apps, Acorns) uses junction points to its SSD cache that I manually manage. The cache SSDs are older (back in the days when you had to flash their firmware to enable trim support and hope you didn't brick the drive) and slower than the new SSDs, but they're still faster than spindles. Easy peasy. Photos, videos, et cetera are all on the server which will be changed over to the new Windows Storage Spaces for redundancy. The server will need at least three SSDs functioning as a writeback cache on a double parity storage space to keep things speedy, but that's a future purchase. If I was doing it today, I'd grab three Samsung Evos.

I got sidetracked. What I was getting at is that for a pure gaming rig, I'm at least $100 over on the motherboard, $70 over on the processor, arguably $70 over on memory, and I bought two SSDs where one would do, so that's another $125. I could easily do $365 less than where I currently am if all I needed was equivalent gaming performance. (And much cheaper if I wasn't worried about equivalence, but rather focused on playability of modern games.)

Anywho. Maybe there will be shitty cellphone pictures after I open this big cardboard box tomorrow.
« Last Edit: Dec 31, 2013, 05:54 AM by Ratio »
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #6 on: Dec 31, 2013, 07:18 PM »
Boxes
1067-01069-1

Case
1071-21073-31075-4

Front (top) panel. Damn blue USB3.
1077-5

Front panel mirror finish. Dusty power button. Already.
1079-6
« Last Edit: Dec 31, 2013, 07:21 PM by Ratio »
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #7 on: Dec 31, 2013, 09:45 PM »
The Fractal Design fans are not fully sleeved, but where they are sleeved is fairly well done. -1 point for black sleeving with white connectors, though.

1081-0

The front fan mount is completely tool-less including chassis mount and fan mount. In other words, snap out, snap new fan in, snap back. No screws. The plastic is hard and there are no dampening washers on the plastic fan mount points, but this doesn't seem to have any impact on fan noise levels.

The fan filters on the bottom and the front of the case are slide in style, which annoys me, so I'll be cutting off the tabs that hold them in place and changing them to mount with magnets. Because magnets are cool.

I hooked up a 4-pin molex power supply to the built-in fan controller and turned the three fans on. At 12V, I can hear the fans from outside the case, but I have to pay attention. At 5V, I can't hear them with my head inside of the case. At 7V, strange things happen. The extra fan I purchased wouldn't spin on the 7V setting. Thinking it might be bad wiring, I switched the fan headers and then both front fans refused to spin-up at 7V, though the one that came with the case would remain spinning if I started it at 12V or 5V first.

1083-1

So. Time to go find a multimeter. I suspect that the switch is mis-wired and that the 7V and 5V are switched, since fans behaving like they are at 5V would make sense, since most modern fans are only rated to work down to 6V.

/edit

So, at the 12V setting, the fans are getting 12V, at the 5V setting, the fans are getting 5V. At the 7V setting, the fans are getting 3V.

I pulled the front of the case off (very easy), unscrewed the fan switch and found nothing user serviceable. The switch has its guts on the inside, not on the PCB, so I'd have to desolder the switch and break it open to figure out what's up and I just don't care that much. I'm not planning on using the switch anywho, but it's still kind of lame.

On the upside, the fans are very stable at 5V, and a couple are stable down to 3.2V. Which means nothing, since they're all already silent at 5V.

The other good bit is that pulling the front panel off to get at the front panel headers is simple and the headers just unscrew. So recoloring the USB 3 ports will be a cakewalk when I get around to it. F'n blue.
« Last Edit: Jan 01, 2014, 03:14 AM by Ratio »
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #8 on: Jan 03, 2014, 09:48 PM »
1091-0
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #9 on: Jan 05, 2014, 03:38 PM »
Naked mother
1097-0

Test bench v1
1099-1

1101-2

Test bench v2 (snake pit)
1103-3

Samsung SSDs mounted on the back of the motherboard tray
1105-4

Waiting on parts...
1107-5

New Baseline (No OC)

Short config:
  • Operating System: Windows 8 build 9200 (64-bit)
  • CPU Type: Intel Core i7-4770K @ 3.50GHz
  • Number of CPUs: 1
  • Cores per CPU: 4
  • Hyperthreading: Enabled
  • Motherboard: MAXIMUS VI FORMULA
  • Memory: 16GB G Skill Intl DDR3 SDRAM
  • Videocard: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285
  • Hard Drive:  SSDSA2CW080G3 (11GB)
  • Hard Drive: ST31000528AS (1TB)
  • Hard Drive: INTEL SSDSA2CW080G3 (80GB)
  • Hard Drive:  ST2000DM001-1CH (2TB)
  • Hard Drive: Intel Raid 0 Volume (214GB)


Bench:
  • PassMark: 4037
  • 3DMark Vantage: 13718
  • PCMark 8 Home: 4934
  • PCMark 8 Work: 4910
  • Cinebench OpenGL: 61.53fps
  • Cinebench CPU: 729b
  • POV-Ray: 1525.79 PPS
  • LuxMark Sala: 144
  • LuxMark Room: 307
  • LuxMark Ball: 2311
  • Furmark 1080: 1039
  • Furmark 720: 1470
  • FluidMark 1080: 305
  • FluidMark 720: 681


CrystalDiskMark Details:
Spoiler (hover to show)

PassMark Details:
Spoiler (hover to show)
« Last Edit: Jan 05, 2014, 04:09 PM by Ratio »
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #10 on: Jan 08, 2014, 03:35 PM »
4.6GHz at 1.3V running Prime95 for 15 hours now. Running between 55 and 70 degrees Celsius with the H100i.

3DMark Vantage: 18613 (Still on the old GTX 285) Link
« Last Edit: Jan 08, 2014, 04:00 PM by Ratio »
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #11 on: Jan 10, 2014, 02:58 PM »
The processor speed isn't reporting right. Not sure who's fault that is. Probably a BIOS issue. At 4.2GHz and under it reports correctly on everything. Above that it shows correctly on Intel's Extreme Tuning Utility, the ASUS ROG TPU, and CPU-Z, but that's about it. Task Manager and pretty much everything else report the speed as 0.8GHz.

Anywho. I secretly replaced my wife's GTX 760 with my GTX 295 and became this asshole:



Her: "I think one of the fans in my computer is dying. It's really fucking loud today."

Me: "Really? I'll take a look at it later."

3DMark Vantage: 39120 (Link)

So now I'm kind of arguing with myself. I really want a 780ti because, you know... Epeen. But something like a 760 (which is a 104 instead of a 110) is a third of the price of a 780ti which gives maybe a 20% increase in performance which will be barely noticeable in games.
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Deatch

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #12 on: Jan 10, 2014, 07:14 PM »

Ratio

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Re: Building a New PC
« Reply #13 on: Jan 10, 2014, 07:18 PM »
Me: "Should I buy a 760 or a 780ti?"
8-Ball: "Yes."

Thanks a lot, Deatch.
Happiness is when you play a game so well that people call you a hacker.

There are two types of people in the world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Cates

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