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Pics and Stats for New Rig Built With Help From GtG!


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#1
northernCX

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OK, so in another thread I asked for help in picking out components for a new computer build, I'd never built one from scratch before and now, I've vowed never to buy another prebuilt desktop! Special thanks to Iammykyl for all the help, and by request here's some pics from the build and some stats for those that care!

First pic shows most of the components, my parts came in multiple shipments as time went on (and budget allowed). Originally I wanted to keep it under $1000 Canadian, final price not including rebates, etc. was $1440 as I added some extra stuff as you'll see.

The second pic skips ahead and shows the last of the components before final assembly. Those with good observation skills will note through the pics that some things got moved around for better cable control, as the case I'd selected, while I'm happy with it, isn't known for good cable management (what do you expect for a $40 case?)

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#2
northernCX

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SO, next few pics will show some of the steps taken and some little notes from myself.
First Pic: The case has been opened up, the bag of screws, etc. taken out, and the front cover taken off to put in the multimedia reader/USB port (an extra; the case came with two as you'll see just above it) and the Sony DVD/CD burner.

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This pic shows that the tabs you remove to put stuff in the drive bays can be fragile, as I broke one-no real matter, as it'll be replaced with the DVD drive, but a good reminder to be more careful.

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And this third pic shows the result. Looks good so far, still got lots to do!

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#3
northernCX

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Next, installed the PSU and the fans. I added 2 more Thunderblades from Thermaltake as they matched the one that came with the case- the blue LEDs look neat. One got mounted at the front as an intake, the other on top as an exhaust along with the rear exhaust. I preferred the bottom-mount PSU location, but had a bit of trouble with a small corner bracket that had to be moved- obviously the case was meant for a smaller PSU originally.

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Note I was careful to mount the fan so the nice long power cord came out at the lower corner to tuck it between the side panel and drive bays. Also, I hoped like heck I was using the anti-static strap correctly. I put it on even for the PSU and fans because I'd soon be handling the mobo and CPU. Also, the fans came with nice rubber anti-vibe mounts for noise and vibration dampening, so I used them.
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#4
northernCX

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Next was the motherboard, and as you'll see in the photos, cables were starting to get in my way. I eventually got this solved as you'll see.

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Starting to run cables to the mobo, haven't touched the drives... cables are a pain!

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Next the GPU, and the PCI-e wireless card just below it. I've left room above the GPU for a sound card, which I plan to add later. The fact that the wireless card partly covers the one fan on the GPU doesn't worry me, as it's such a small piece that I don't think it will make a difference.

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#5
northernCX

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I should throw in here that one hitch I had was identifying the polarity for all the little frontside wiring connectors- they weren't marked well, eventually I found the little arrows on the connectors and decided those were the + sides. Must have worked, because so far everything works perfectly and all the little LEDs work...

Next went the SSD which didn't come with an adapter bracket, but I did have handy mounting holes on the floor of the case right below the intake fan. Sweet!

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Then, the CPU, CPU cooler (went with stock until I see how warm it gets) and the 8GB of 1600MHz Mushkin RAM... Used Arctic Cooling MX-4 TIM using the method described elsewhere on these forums; everything went tickety-boo!
Also, note that there wasn't much room beside the RAM for the top fan- I have the rubber mounts in place, but have to put in the RAM before mounting the fan itself- but has it in a perfect spot to draw heat off the RAM!

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Then, final cable roundup. Most of the frontside wires I was able to pass behind the mobo and found a little hole below it that let me connect those and the USB cable right where they needed to be. This helped a lot.

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I've read some criticism of the Intel stock fan and the way the wires were mounted on it... I took them out of one of the little clips, and zip-tied them to the audio cable. Problem solved, and the fan doesn't touch the wires!

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And a final look at my cable management, and ready to button up and power on! I've noticed I have no pics of the complete setup with the monitor, keyboard, etc. and all the LEDs on; I'll add those later. The pics don't really do justice to the fact that I haven't obstructed airflow any more than was absolutely necessary; this case has no real cable management system, so I tried to move as much off to the sides as I could. Must have worked, as you'll see in the next post.

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#6
northernCX

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SO, final price of $1440 Can and list of components:

CASE: Thermaltake V3 Black Edition
PSU: Thermaltake 750W Bronze Modular
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 Rev. 1.0
CPU: Intel Core i52500K, 3.3GHz
GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 Super-Overclock, 900MHz, 1GB
RAM: 8GB DDR3 Muskin Blackline 1600MHz (2X4GB sticks)
SSD: Kingston v200, 128 GB, SATA3
Cooling: Stock CPU fan/cooler, 3X Thermaltake Thunderblade Blue LED fans (1x Intake, 2 xExhaust)
DVD drive: Sony something-or-other
Multimedia reader: Generic
Network card: ASUS PCI-e Wireless adapter
Keyboard: Thermaltake eSports Challenger, red backlit
Mouse: Gigabyte M6900 Precision Gaming Mouse
Monitor: Acer 23" Ultra-slim LCD Widescreen

Powered it on, and everything hummed nicely from the start! Updated all the drivers, and eventually found out why it was running the RAM at 1300 Mhz instead of 1600, fixed that; and a couple weeks later, had a couple issues: sudden freezing with Skyrim (one of the two games I built this for)- solution: I forgot to update the BIOS! Did that, and everything's groovy now! Ran Unigine's Heaven DirectX 11.0 this morning;

Average FPS: 36.8
Min FPS: 10
Max FPS: 83.6

On 1920x1080 fullscreen, shades and textures on high, trilinear filtering, 4xAA, occlusions, refraction and volumetrics on, normal tesselation. CPU stayed at 30C, GPU rose to 64C.

I haven't run any other benchmarks; PCMark seems pointless as I don't see this having any issues with that, but I may set it for a night and see what happens. So far it runs Star Wars: The Old Republic at max and Skyrim at Ultra settings, with no glitches whatsoever, and since updating the BIOS absolutely NO stability issues, and as you can see, temps are excellent! The GPU gets no warmer than 65 after running a game for hours. Windows boots in about 30 seconds from powerup, including the GIGABYTE TouchBIOS screen that comes up first on startup. SSD for the main drive was definitely the way to go; the external 1.5TB drive from my old computer can handle the data, backups and unimportant programs. Skyrim and TOR are on the SSD as well.

If anyone wants to suggest other benchmarks to run, feel free as I'd like to start slowly overclocking the CPU and GPU (it does allow for a little more) just to see what it's capable of; but all in all for a first build, I'm ecstatic that this went so well! The 23" montior is gorgeous; I'll not ever go smaller! Thanks again to those that gave advice, and to Geeks To Go for all the great info on site! Next add-ons will be a soundcard and Corsair Vengeance 1500 headset; maybe an internal HDD.

Edited by northernCX, 26 January 2012 - 11:08 AM.

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#7
iammykyl

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Well done northernCX. Posted ImagePosted Image

Really good pics and just the right amount of information. Thank you very much for posting. You could put that up on YouTube. Temps are very good.

Benchmarking. You should limit the amount that you do as benchmarking involves heaps of unnecessary writes, not so good for a SSD, also you should not defrag an SSD. tturn of indexing. You can Google for other optimization for windows and SSD but be careful how you use them. The other benchmark tool I would use is the windows experience. it will give you a base score for your build, can indicate where you might improve a particular part, can be run again if you make alterations to your hardware and then will give you an indication of improvements, or not. http://www.7tutorial...terpret-results

A reminder about over-clocking. If you over-clock and/or use an after-market cooler, you will void the CPU warranty from both AMD and Intel. You do so at your own risk.

Now that your system is running stable, it should be a priority task to create an image of the Boot drive. Should disaster strike it is an easy fix and save hours or even a day of your time,

Thanks again to those that gave advice, and to Geeks To Go for all the great info on site!


You are welcome. I have enjoyed helping and pleased you are happy with the build.
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#8
northernCX

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UPDATE:

Since I started this thread, I've learned that there is a known issue with the SSD I purchased and used. There is something wrong with the firmware that Kingston is aware of, but so far has no fix for- this particular SSD was first released in November so is very new. The issue is with read/write speeds. I ran CrystalDiskMark on mine, and read speeds were fine at 294 MB/s, but write speeds were dismal, at 32 MB/s... disappointing. Since the issue is with write speeds and it's not a 'large' drive, I won't bother with warranty; I'll wait for a firmware upgrade. Just goes to show that even when you try and do your homework, sometimes things can go wrong!
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#9
iammykyl

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Sorry to hear of the problem, I will keep that in mind for the future. Even if you are not going to claim under the warranty, I would complain to Kingston, write s stinging review on Newegg as you may get a positive response from them.
When you get a firmware update, Please let us know what difference it makes.
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#10
iammykyl

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Just enquiring about the SSD issue, has it been resolved with a Firmware update?
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#11
Troy

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Only just found all this now. It's awesome to build your own rig and I'm glad you had a go!

I have worked with that exact case before and it's not too bad, definitely a bargain for the price. Here's a tip if you are interested in getting better cabling:

Looking at the bottom picture in post #5, the CPU power cable. You can run this directly down, behind the heatsink and under the rear case fan. When you get to the graphics card you'll see there is a notch which the cable will fit through. Remove the graphics card, run the cable down, then install the graphics card back over the top - keeping the cable lined up with the notch.

Not only graphics cards have this notch, every expansion card I've seen have it and I've always used it for this very purpose (depending on the case of course).

Also for the ATX 24-pin motherboard power connector, you can reroute that to run behind the hard drive/DVD drives cage. That way only a very little bit will be showing.

Cheers
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#12
iammykyl

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Great tips Troy, Thanks. Never noticed that notch before.
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#13
northernCX

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Thanks for the tips Troy, I'll take a look at that. I've since also added an ASUS Xonar DG soundcard to take advantage of what a dedicated soundcard will do, and DID notice a marked difference in sound quality, especially with a new Corsair Vengeance 1500 headset (IT'S SOOOOO SWEEET)!

Unfortunately, no firmware update, Kingston did release a beta version to some people that got leaked, and it didn't help much from what I hear, but they are still working on it, and as I said for it's size, it doesn't need much writing to it, and it reads at rated speeds, which was the main point of installing it, so it will stay.
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#14
iammykyl

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Thanks for the update.

Just been reading some articles on SSDs,

Best practice is to check now and again for updates but wait, read feedback on the relevant Forum to see if there and any bugs.
Check that a firmware update for your SSD, will not wipe DATA.

I hope, you being a good little Vegemite, created a backup drive image of C and a recovery disk? Posted Image
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