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Rush build for a graphic artist (when the 5-year old dell cries tears


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#1 TheMumm

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:55 AM

o/ Morning fellas! I don't think I've posted here in about four years; back when the XPS 720 H2C series came out (My OEM card was giving me the screech of death at the time, I ended up replacing it)

 

Anyway, as the thread title suggests, I've just gotta share my trials and tribulations with folks who'll understand why I've been up until 4 am almost every night this week (yes, while holding down a full-time job to boot!)

 

Got home sunday night from the lady's; ready to watch an episode of DS9 before going to bed. Hit the power button, enter windows password and...crash.

 

Next time I load up, I see a new prompt line after POST: '[something something] unexpected shutdown due to a thermal event...crap.

 

Well, considering I've maxed the board out at 8 gigs of RAM, been trying to run an SSD without any AHCI support from the motherboard, and [when I opened the case I discovered] a little pile of powdered, reduced CPU block coolant, it was time to put the old bag to rest.

 

Don't get me wrong, this thing was overpriced, even in '08 (It was the first Quad-Core Extreme CPU Intel manufactured and water cooling was still a pretty niche affair) it was almost 5,000 dollars. It was a graduation present, and I am to this day thankful for it (Learned my craft on it, in fact!). Ran well, for the most part; putting aside the whole sound blaster screech of death thing (a problem easily fixed by installing a new, retail creative card), it was a fine machine and ate through it's contemporaries with the dual 8800 ultras (remember those?).

 

I cheesed a lot out of this machine. Installed a new sound card, when one of the 8800Us died, I popped the little bastard in the oven. When the other died, I did the same (I think total, I must have baked those things 6 or 7 times). Finally upgraded to an HD 6970 with last year's tax return, and it's been putzing along ever since.

 

Now, being a Dell put me into a bit of a pickle:

> Poor case design, on the inside, at least kept me from re-using it. Only enough space on the front for a single 120mm fan; the rest of the intake grate was occupied by a massive (and I mean, covers half of the motherboard, along it's width) radiator for the CPU water block. Rear end had no fans (that's right, none!)

> Dell proprietary PSU predated the 8+2 power connector, and the mobo requires not one but two 24-pin mainboard connectors. I learned that the tough way when I first got the Radeon last year. 

> DDR2 RAM meant having to buy new RAM.

 

Here's the trouble: I needed to have a machine, and a good one at that. I work full time as an Art Director, and for those of you in the CG field, you know that taking your work home with you is often a neccessity to meet those deadlines. I didn't have time to wait for shipped parts, and the fact that I just committed to a 5-year auto loan last october, I didn't have a ton of cash to spend on this.

 

So, last weekend, I took a trip to the Microcenter in Madison Heights (Detroit, for you non-mitten dwellers) and picked up the following:

 

Intel Core i7 3930K LGA 2011

Asus Sabertooth X79

Cooler Master TPC-812 CPU Heatsink

Cooler Master CM Storm Trooper

16GB (2 8gb sticks) Corsair VENGANCE DDR3 RAM

Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1200watt PSU

APC UPS Battery Backup (1300VA) with AVR

 

Mind, this all came out to about 1600 bucks (APC not included). Saved some dough on the i7 (Microcenter was selling them for a ridiculous $499), and shipping on most of it, too. It was also the first machine I've built from scratch (read: first brand-new processor I've had to install). Stressful, to say the least, especially reading about proper thermal grease application. Other components I managed to scrap:

 

AMD Radeon HD 6970

LG SuperMultiBlu BD-RE

The XPS's OEM card reader

the XPS's OEM DVD+-RW drive

 

I managed to scrounge up another cooler master fan to double-down on the CPU heatsink, to my tickles I discovered that the board seems to default to a push/pull (Assuming I've got my terms right), so there's a slight vacuum within the radiator fins on the heatsink. I know, I know, I could have (and likely should have) gone with something like an H100, but the death of my last box and the additional research would have made installing a liquid cooling loop a bit beyond the scope of what I was trying to accomplish. Put simply, for now, I just need to get my Adobe Applications running properly.

 

Spent all week putting the stuff together, 2 nights ago did a "dry-install" and confirmed that nothing was borked (huzzah!), and last night did all my cable routing, closed the back up, loaded the drivers, and did some Windows Updates (by 1 am, the lady was ready for sleep, so that's where I'm at now). The Heatsink is performing well, seems to be idling between 24C and 31C, all the cores seem to be about the same, averaged (which is a relief, considering what a pain it was to install).  I'll be looking into building a liquid cooling loop when I start looking to get another AMD Radeon card to Crossfire with the 6970.

 

Thoughts on the build, gentlemen? It's been so long since I've had a true Rig that I barely know what to do with it besides collossal Raster graphics in Photoshop while I lay out a billboard in InDesign or something. I'll probably pick up the new premium BF3 nonsense (despite my having it since beta :/)

 

Suggestions for 'pimping' my rig?


"Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"

 

HMS-STARSHIP

ASUS Sabertooth X79

Intel Core i7 3930K @ 3.2GHz

>> CoolerMaster TPC-812 heatsink

16GB Corsair Vengance DDR3-1866

AMD Radeon HD 6970

Intel 320-Series SSD

CM Storm Trooper


#2 vandreadstriker

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:00 AM

It looks to me that you've done (almost) everything right. Seeing that it's your first time doing an entirely new build, I've got to say you've picked good components for your need (Great choice of board & CPU esp. for the price, not wasting on a 3960/70X or AIO coolers) :thumbsup:

 

Some things I've observed:

- You're getting an X79 system which supports Quad-Channel RAM. Better make use of that and get a Quad-Channel Kit like these. Don't get anything faster than a DDR3 1600 since they only negligible boost in performance (waste of money). Since you're an Art Director, you'd likely benefit from more RAMs (CMIIW) so you might want to get a 32GB or 64GB kit while you're on it.

- A 1200W PSU is an overkill really. Nothing wrong with it but just keep in mind that you really don't need anything higher than 850W for your current setup, in case you need to replace them someday (IMO even an 850W has a lot of headroom for your current setup).

- You forgot an SSD! At this day and age, SSD is a must if you can get one IMO. I'd recommend getting at least 120GB to start with just for your OS but if you got enough, there's nothing wrong with a bigger one.

 

IMO there's really no point in getting an AIO cooler at this point. Yes, the H100i/H110 is the best "Mainstream Cooler" in the market, but you're spending $50 more than a NH-D14 (The King of Air coolers) for what, shave 3oC in temperatures? Heck, you'll likely not even need the kind of temperature the H100i/H110 offers unless you're doing some "extreme" overclocking. Not to mention the noise those fans generates.

Point is, it's not worth buying. Just my 2c

 

:cheers:

 

Edit: Also, unless you're planning on Gaming (and with a 120Hz monitor or multi-monitor setup), I don't think you'd need to crossfire. The 6970 is perfectly capable of playing today's game at High-Ultimate settings in 1080p. IIRC 'consumer' GPUs won't benefit much for photoshop so no point in getting an extra "oomph" from a crossfire setup.


Edited by vandreadstriker, 15 February 2013 - 08:13 AM.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein

 

-Olden Golden-

AMD Phenom II X4 20 BE | ASRock M3A790GXH/128M | 4GB DDR3 1600MHz CL8 | Palit GTX460 Sonic 2GB | FSP 600W | Xigmatek Achilles S1284W


#3 Shurman292

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:41 AM

Looks good so far.  I second what vandread said, except you could get away with purchasing a second kit of the RAM you got (for a total of 32gb in Quad-channel).  CMIIW, but there's no need to specifically purchase a quad-channel kit if you already have two sticks...just add two more.  

 

An SSD should be standard these days though, if nothing other than for your OS, programs, and a scratch disk.  Great choice of CPU/MB!


The Beast
CPU: i7 930 @ 4.01 ghz, 1.26v ||| Cooler: Corsair H100i
MB:ASUS P6X58D-E ||| RAM: G.Skill 6 x 2 GB @ 1528mhz/9-9-9-24/1.6v
Video: Nvidia GTX 480 @ 775mhz/1880mhz ||| Sound: ASUS Xonar D2X
SSD: Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB ||| HDDs: WD 1TB and 2TB Caviar Blacks
Optical: LG BD Writer ||| Case: CM Storm Trooper with Scythe side fans
Power: Corsair AX1200 Gold ||| OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64


#4 TheMumm

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:24 AM

Hah! Forgot to mention that I did install the SSD I had in the old XPS. It's one of the Intel 320 Series 120 gb. It used to lock the machine up while it ran the garbage collection (suspect that's from the lack of TRIM/AHCI support on the Dell's board). First thing I did was run through Sean's optimization guide and get it nice and clean. I still have a few hard drives to install, more old scavenged ones (I found an 82GB beastie that I think will make a marvelous dedicated cache / temp folder drive)

 

I'm very much planning to get some more RAM, but for now, my credit is about maxed out. I'll be slowly adding more RAM as time goes on, and when I get to the last 16GB I'll need to replace the heatsink (the TPC-812 is an absolute monster -- covers one of the RAM slots on the board, and I can only configure it as a front > back; Top/Down would cover even more RAM slots!)

 

PSU is definitely overkill; but I wanted something that I wouldn't worry about too much as I continue to add to and would last into the next build (The case certainly will!)

 

I've still got the Dell monitor (24 inch widescreen with the card readers on the side), along with a hand-me-down Apple monitor (has some image retention troubles, but no great shakes). Can you recommend any decently-priced 24" 120Hz monitors? I'm fairly certain that these old dinosaurs are 60Hz max.

 

Another thing: I'm literally swimming in HD bays; but the board has 8 SATA ports. With 2 optical drives, an SSD and a Program Files HD, that leaves 4 open ports on the Mobo. Assuming I fill these relatively quickly, is there some kind of PCIe card I can install to add more SATA (or IDE, for that matter, I've got boatloads of those) ports or is that just a pipe dream?

 

 

Appreciate the advice and the peace of mind that I didn't commit any crazy Faux Pas (Though I did opt for the 1866 vengance RAM; oh well)! I'll post pictures of the beast when I get home on Sunday (even mah uglies). I've got to say, it's a sexy machine when it's on and running.


"Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"

 

HMS-STARSHIP

ASUS Sabertooth X79

Intel Core i7 3930K @ 3.2GHz

>> CoolerMaster TPC-812 heatsink

16GB Corsair Vengance DDR3-1866

AMD Radeon HD 6970

Intel 320-Series SSD

CM Storm Trooper


#5 TheMumm

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:51 AM

Also: Is there any way to get into a RAID0 Array from the Dell without changing the board to RAID (as opposed to AHCI)? Most of my Data was on those two drives and I've no way to access them at the moment :(


"Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"

 

HMS-STARSHIP

ASUS Sabertooth X79

Intel Core i7 3930K @ 3.2GHz

>> CoolerMaster TPC-812 heatsink

16GB Corsair Vengance DDR3-1866

AMD Radeon HD 6970

Intel 320-Series SSD

CM Storm Trooper


#6 freddie

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:10 AM

 the H100i/H110 offers unless you're doing some "extreme" overclocking. Not to mention the noise those fans generates.


Slightly OT but didn't they improve the fan noise on the "i" variant of the H100 ?



#7 vandreadstriker

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:13 AM

I'm very much planning to get some more RAM, but for now, my credit is about maxed out. I'll be slowly adding more RAM as time goes on, and when I get to the last 16GB I'll need to replace the heatsink (the TPC-812 is an absolute monster -- covers one of the RAM slots on the board, and I can only configure it as a front > back; Top/Down would cover even more RAM slots!)

 

Another thing: I'm literally swimming in HD bays; but the board has 8 SATA ports. With 2 optical drives, an SSD and a Program Files HD, that leaves 4 open ports on the Mobo. Assuming I fill these relatively quickly, is there some kind of PCIe card I can install to add more SATA (or IDE, for that matter, I've got boatloads of those) ports or is that just a pipe dream?

 

What sucks for you is that, pretty much any decent air cooler out there (the kind you want for overclocking) will most likely cover at least 1 slot on the X79 Sabertooth. That's just how it is, with how tight the spacing is between the socket and the RAM slots. So.. SOL..

What you can do (and what IMO is the most sensible thing to do) is get the same pair of Vengeance RAMs for a 32GB config (4x8GB) and insert them on the light-brown slots (which aren't obstructed). Then, when you decide to go for 64GB, get a Low Profile Quad-Channel 32GB kit (like these or these) and populate the remaining slots. Those Low Profile RAMs would fit snugly under the Cooler without problems (though you'll likely need to remove the cooler first, no biggy)

 

And yes, you can get PCI/PCI-E SATA controller cards to get more SATA slots. Never used one personally though (never really had to populate all my slots)

 

 

 the H100i/H110 offers unless you're doing some "extreme" overclocking. Not to mention the noise those fans generates.


Slightly OT but didn't they improve the fan noise on the "i" variant of the H100 ?

 

 

Those fans used on the H100i are SP120 Performance Editions on steroids (spins up to 2700RPM compared to 2350RPM). The original SP120 PEs aren't quiet to begin with so the H100i still generates a lot of noise, despite being quieter than the original H100. (Of course, "Noise" is subjective)

 

:cheers:


"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein

 

-Olden Golden-

AMD Phenom II X4 20 BE | ASRock M3A790GXH/128M | 4GB DDR3 1600MHz CL8 | Palit GTX460 Sonic 2GB | FSP 600W | Xigmatek Achilles S1284W


#8 TheMumm

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 12:43 PM

Thanks for the links and advice! Sounds like my RAM plan is going to be able to go forward without a hitch! I'll grab a couple more of the Vengance sticks that I've got for the open slots, and use the smaller profile 1866s that NZRX kindly linked to sometime in the future for the sticks underneath the cooler.

 

Now, I've got another request for advice for you folks: Should I reinstall my Creative X-fi Fata1ity Pro card that I had in my dell (purchased after the OEM SB card was DOA and would screech of death me to crash)? I've heard that Mobo sound has improved quite a bit from the old days, but this will be the first motherboard that actually has onboard sound.

 

The thing with the X-fi: installing it is a right pain in the ass. I ended up having to manually translate some kid's forum post about how to get the Dolby Surround working properly into something readable and digestable. Trouble is... the support files, instructions, and other information are all on the RAID0 drives that are, at present, uninstalled (the X79 chipset doesn't support RAID0 on board and AHCI simultaneously due to what the manual calls 'a chipset limitation'. I suppose the question would be better phrased as:

 

Would the work be worth whatever audio quality improvement I'd see from the onboard motherboard sound to the X-fi?


"Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"

 

HMS-STARSHIP

ASUS Sabertooth X79

Intel Core i7 3930K @ 3.2GHz

>> CoolerMaster TPC-812 heatsink

16GB Corsair Vengance DDR3-1866

AMD Radeon HD 6970

Intel 320-Series SSD

CM Storm Trooper


#9 TheMumm

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:23 AM

Quick update: Forgot to take photos; after spending 3 hours hunched under the desk like Gollum playing 'get...in...there...you...piece...of...shit...' with my cables and Cable/CornerMates (fantastic product, if a little expensive) and finally finishing up the cable routing for the desk, the only thing I wanted to do was to sit, watch an episode or two of DS9 and get my adobe stuff back onto the damn thing.

 

I did, however, have a chance to run some brief Cinebench benchmarks, and here are the scores (as well as I can remember:)

10.8pts for the CPU

79.XX FPS for the GPU

 

Not sure how good these scores are, and having come from using 3DMark back in the day, these tests seemed a little...wimpy.

 

Ran maybe 20 minutes of BF3, as well, just to see what that'd look like (great, by the way)... GPU got up to almost 83C! Should I be getting worried about this? I have heard that GPU TJmax tends to be much higher than a typical CPU's. The i7 got up to 55C (which made me smile great big smiles that I didn't bork up the installation of the processor or heatsink :D )

 

Windows Experience is rating me at 7.8.

 

Currently, the rough upgrade schedule is as follows:

+ 16gb Corsair Vengance DDR3-1866 dual-channel kit (to augment the two sticks already in there)

+ PCI or PCIe SATA raid controller card (to get that array back again)

+ X-rite i1Display Pro -- Some of you might poo-poo me for this one, but let me tell you as someone who works mostly in print design, accurate color is of the utmost importance. The difference between Primary Additive and Secondary Subtractive is a big deal, and when you print those photos out from an RGB 72DPI jpeg, designers everywhere die a little inside. I actually meant to pick one of these up with my tax return, but, as the thread has shown, the Dell had other plans for me.

 

After that, in no particular order:

Liquid-coolant CPU block, radiators, pumps, GPU block, resovoir, etc.


Edited by TheMumm, 18 February 2013 - 08:26 AM.

"Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"

 

HMS-STARSHIP

ASUS Sabertooth X79

Intel Core i7 3930K @ 3.2GHz

>> CoolerMaster TPC-812 heatsink

16GB Corsair Vengance DDR3-1866

AMD Radeon HD 6970

Intel 320-Series SSD

CM Storm Trooper


#10 vandreadstriker

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:19 AM

83oFahrenheit? Are you 100% sure? Cause that equates to 23oCentigrade which is practically impossible IMO at load.

If it's 83oC instead of oF then it makes much more sense. It really depends on how comfortable you are with those temperatures. For me, anything higher than 80oC for a GPU is a big no-no and I wouldn't recommend anyone to run at those temps from day-to-day. Personally I try to maintain them below 75-78oC when gaming. (Bare in mind that Stress testing with Burn-in software such as FurMark will yield higher temperatures than normal gaming loads)

 

:cheers:


"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein

 

-Olden Golden-

AMD Phenom II X4 20 BE | ASRock M3A790GXH/128M | 4GB DDR3 1600MHz CL8 | Palit GTX460 Sonic 2GB | FSP 600W | Xigmatek Achilles S1284W


#11 TheMumm

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:26 AM

83oFahrenheit? Are you 100% sure? Cause that equates to 23oCentigrade which is practically impossible IMO at load.

If it's 83oC instead of oF then it makes much more sense. It really depends on how comfortable you are with those temperatures. For me, anything higher than 80oC for a GPU is a big no-no and I wouldn't recommend anyone to run at those temps from day-to-day. Personally I try to maintain them below 75-78oC when gaming. (Bare in mind that Stress testing with Burn-in software such as FurMark will yield higher temperatures than normal gaming loads)

 

:cheers:

I'm a bloody dingus. Yes, Centigrade; not Fahrenheit. Haven't had enough coffee this morning, yet.


"Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"

 

HMS-STARSHIP

ASUS Sabertooth X79

Intel Core i7 3930K @ 3.2GHz

>> CoolerMaster TPC-812 heatsink

16GB Corsair Vengance DDR3-1866

AMD Radeon HD 6970

Intel 320-Series SSD

CM Storm Trooper