Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

Ahhh, can you smell that fresh OS?

Ack, Windows 8!

Incense, incense!

Dysplastic wrote:

I attribute a lot of the ease to my fantastic Corsair 700D case, which basically installs the parts itself.

I love that case.

So, Dysplastic, would the high-profile RAM have been a problem with that board/cooler combo?

I unfortunately can't answer as there was an inventory error and the store didn't have they hyper 212 in stock. Instead I picked up a zalman cnps 10x performa, which seemed equally well reviewed apart from the installation, which I can attest to was unpleasant. That being said, I can confirm that for THAT cooler, I definitely needed low profile ram, as the cooler sticks out over the ram slots.

Frankly, the ASRock board is surprisingly small and the RAM is so close to the cpu that I imagine you would need low profile ram for ANY third party cooler. Definitely a fantastic tip on your part.

Did a brand new mobo/cpu/hd upgrade yesterday and it went smoothly as hell, despite the CPU cooler installation being the hardest part (recommendation for the future - buy a cooler designed to fit specifically on your chipset, not a wide variety of chipsets - makes installation much easier). Post on first power on, all components recognized, good temps, and Windows 7 install went great. I attribute a lot of the ease to my fantastic Corsair 700D case, which basically installs the parts itself.

Dysplastic wrote:

Frankly, the ASRock board is surprisingly small and the RAM is so close to the cpu that I imagine you would need low profile ram for ANY third party cooler. Definitely a fantastic tip on your part.

My ASRock P67 had just enough room for my tall RAM. Close, but not touching. Sometimes you can move the fan slightly up the heat sink, too.

Not sure how their Z77's are in relation space wise.

The high profile RAM looks cool, but I don't think you're gaining anything from it, technically. I'm not sure why Corsair keeps pushing the stuff.

I suppose it could be a sneaky way of selling their CPU coolers, which use a liquid loop, and have only a tiny heat-transfer unit at the actual CPU.

Malor wrote:

I'm not sure why Corsair keeps pushing the stuff.

It's not just Corsair, a lot of the higher end stuff have them.

I figure it's like windows or lights in cases. Showy more than functional.

I don't like ASRock boards.. they arent really standard ATX sized... I guess to save money they made this funky non standard ATX mobo that doesnt reach the backrow of standoffs in your normal ATX mobo/case. So things are way closer to eachother than they really need to be. I've used a few Z77's to save people a few $$ recently and I'm done.. won't recommend them or use them anymore.. sticking with Asus.. new Gigabyte sounds interesting so my next custom order I will probably give that a shot if it passes my personal testing.

Yeah, those are annoying. That board size has been around a long time, where they only use six of the nine standoff screws in the ATX form factor. I think there might even be a name for it -- not Mini or Micro ITX, which are even smaller, but something else. But I don't see it in the listing, it's just officially an 'ATX' board.

That said, it IS a pretty cheap board, and it seems to have at least the headline features.... for folks who don't fiddle much with their computers, working with those cramped connectors might be worth $50. If money was tight, that could edge you into a better video card, or a bigger SSD... an SSD that's too small is a frequent irritant, where motherboard layout won't exasperate most folks nearly as often.

I dropped a full ATX ASRock board (the extreme6) into my PC today and while the RAM slots were pretty close to my enormous CPU cooler, I think I probably could have filled all 4 slots in this board. It also takes a full 10 or so standoff screws and feels pretty spacious. The mini/micro ASRock I was replacing was quite cramped though. Using more than 2 DIMMs would have pretty much required the stock CPU cooler. I think it was fine for people who don't intend to work on their PC though.

In related news, I'm hopeful that the new board has fixed my cold boot problem. It cycled a few times on the first startup, but nowhere near like the other board. I guess I'll see for sure tomorrow.

Malor wrote:

Yeah, those are annoying. That board size has been around a long time, where they only use six of the nine standoff screws in the ATX form factor. I think there might even be a name for it -- not Mini or Micro ITX, which are even smaller, but something else. But I don't see it in the listing, it's just officially an 'ATX' board.

That said, it IS a pretty cheap board, and it seems to have at least the headline features.... for folks who don't fiddle much with their computers, working with those cramped connectors might be worth $50. If money was tight, that could edge you into a better video card, or a bigger SSD... an SSD that's too small is a frequent irritant, where motherboard layout won't exasperate most folks nearly as often.

Yeah I should have been more clear.. the boards themselves were excellent boards...good build quality.. good bios.. everything stable and nice to work with. I use Corsair H60's for cooling so I never had any issues with clearance.. but the unofficial size isnt worth the extra $$ for me.. I used a mini ATX board from them and it was top notch as well...actually better than the Asus board.

complexmath wrote:

I dropped a full ATX ASRock board (the extreme6) into my PC today and while the RAM slots were pretty close to my enormous CPU cooler, I think I probably could have filled all 4 slots in this board. It also takes a full 10 or so standoff screws and feels pretty spacious. The mini/micro ASRock I was replacing was quite cramped though. Using more than 2 DIMMs would have pretty much required the stock CPU cooler. I think it was fine for people who don't intend to work on their PC though.

In related news, I'm hopeful that the new board has fixed my cold boot problem. It cycled a few times on the first startup, but nowhere near like the other board. I guess I'll see for sure tomorrow.

That's the experience I had on space and size on my P67. Outside of occasionally having a sleep wake up issue like a lot of the P67 chipset boards, it's been a great board, especially compared to the price of the competing Asus.

I did populate all 4 DIMM slots, though. While one DIMM is extremely close to the fan, it fits. And if it did touch, I would have been able to mount the fan slightly higher on the HS.

Yeah, there's a specific clearance allocated for DIMMs, and if you get the regular kind (which, stupidly, is often called 'low profile' these days), you should always be able to fill all the slots, no matter what. As MannishBoy says, the clearance will often be tight, less than 1/8th inch, but it should always clear.

Those tall Vengeance sticks, though? Those things are a PITA. Mine have worked exceptionally well, with excellent speed/timings and (so far) perfect reliability, at least as far as I know. But they physically prevented me from using the push fan on my Noctua cooler; if I'd moved it up, it would have run into the case door. That was frustrating.

Malor wrote:

Yeah, there's a specific clearance allocated for DIMMs, and if you get the regular kind (which, stupidly, is often called 'low profile' these days), you should always be able to fill all the slots, no matter what. As MannishBoy says, the clearance will often be tight, less than 1/8th inch, but it should always clear.

Those tall Vengeance sticks, though? Those things are a PITA. Mine have worked exceptionally well, with excellent speed/timings and (so far) perfect reliability, at least as far as I know. But they physically prevented me from using the push fan on my Noctua cooler; if I'd moved it up, it would have run into the case door. That was frustrating.

I'm specifically talking about the tall heat sinks fitting on my board with a large HSF. Not the normal sized.

What application do folks use to monitor the gpu/cpu temperatures? My system doesn't seem to run too hot on the stock fans, but TF2 acts up sometimes (I blame the hattes) and I've had 1 system lock up in Borderlands 2. Just want to make sure that things are peachy from the HW side.

Queueball wrote:

What application do folks use to monitor the gpu/cpu temperatures? My system doesn't seem to run too hot on the stock fans, but TF2 acts up sometimes (I blame the hattes) and I've had 1 system lock up in Borderlands 2. Just want to make sure that things are peachy from the HW side.

I use realtemp to monitor CPU core temps. Another popular one is coretemp. I use EVGA Precision Pro to monitor GPUs. I'm pretty sure that you need to have purchased an EVGA product to use it. IIRC MSI Afterburner can be used with any Nvidia card.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
Queueball wrote:

What application do folks use to monitor the gpu/cpu temperatures? My system doesn't seem to run too hot on the stock fans, but TF2 acts up sometimes (I blame the hattes) and I've had 1 system lock up in Borderlands 2. Just want to make sure that things are peachy from the HW side.

I use realtemp to monitor CPU core temps. Another popular one is coretemp. I use EVGA Precision Pro to monitor GPUs. I'm pretty sure that you need to have purchased an EVGA product to use it. IIRC MSI Afterburner can be used with any Nvidia card.

Or GPU-Z.

Hwinfo , has nice logging

I've got a 64Gb SSD drive sitting in a drawer a 1 TB harddrive that has windows and random crap on it, a 500 GB Steam game drive and another 500GB drive... i've no idea why, oh yeah long term data storage for media (movies, and music and the like)

What if anything should i do with the SSD?

Swap drive maybe? Plus space for a few games you want to load extra fast. I think steam let's you specify an install location these days.

complexmath wrote:

Swap drive maybe? Plus space for a few games you want to load extra fast. I think steam let's you specify an install location these days.

I don't think so, but there are programs you can use to change where games are stored after theyre installed.

Is it advisable to throw the OS on the SSD or am i better served with having it be the Games directory and i recall there being a steam tool to move active games back and forth between drives with limited space.

So the plot thickens with my PC problems. A page or two ago I posted about my cooling issues, and how Core Temp was going into alarm and shutting my PC down. I pulled the H60 cooler and sent it in for an RMA. Installed the stock cooler in the meantime, and it has been doing the job.

However, I left my PC on today, and left the house briefly to run errands. I come back and it's shut down. OK. Try and turn it back on. Nothing. No response at all. I check my cables and power strip, all good. I tried a dozen times to get the thing to power on and nothing. Literally on my last attempt before giving up it comes back on. I surf the web for a while, checking my temps the whole time and all seems OK. I load GW2, and just fart around in town, alt-tabbing periodically to check my temps, all appears to be OK. Then BAM. It powers down again without warning.

I try and turn it back on. This time it powers on for about half a second, just long enough for the fans to start spinning, then down again.

Now I notice that with all my attempts to turn the PC on, the power button is sticking in the down position ever so slightly. This is a Corsair 600T case with the flush power button on the top. After a few attempts, it won't power on. So I am sitting on the floor next to the case, cursing for a few minutes. Then the PC boots up by itself. I did not touch it in any way but it powered on. At this point I am thinking there is an intermittent short on my power switch circuit, either from the sticking button or the wire itself. Checked the connection on the mobo but found no issue.

It may be worth mentioning that the fan controller knob on the top of the case went south on me about a month ago. I was playing a game and decided to turn the fans up (had both case 200mm fans running through it). As soon as I turned the fans up I smelled burning plastic and both fans lost power. Troubleshooting pointed to the controller knob. I connected both case fans directly to the power supply and they have worked fine ever since.

Went into Windows power management control panel and disabled the power button from being able to do anything. If my issue does not return I guess I can be reasonably sure yet another item on this case has gone bad. I am still confident that the cooler was a problem as well, Core Temp and BIOS monitor weren't lying about that.

Not feeling the Corsair love at this moment in time.

Ick. I think your diagnosis of sticky switch might be exactly right. You can probably get them to replace just that part, to send you a new switch. Depending on how your case is built, though, it could be a real PITA to get it installed.

I think your H60 is the third we've seen fail out of our small group, so it appears that they may have a reliability problem. I haven't heard about any of the larger ones breaking, but three H60s is enough to bring one eyebrow up quite a way.

Oh, note that Windows being set to ignore the power switch is not necessarily enough. I believe, if the motherboard detects the switch being pressed for more than four continuous seconds, it will just do a hard poweroff, whether Windows likes it or not.

Malor wrote:

Ick. I think your diagnosis of sticky switch might be exactly right. You can probably get them to replace just that part, to send you a new switch. Depending on how your case is built, though, it could be a real PITA to get it installed.

I think your H60 is the third we've seen fail out of our small group, so it appears that they may have a reliability problem. I haven't heard about any of the larger ones breaking, but three H60s is enough to bring one eyebrow up quite a way.

Oh, note that Windows being set to ignore the power switch is not necessarily enough. I believe, if the motherboard detects the switch being pressed for more than four continuous seconds, it will just do a hard poweroff, whether Windows likes it or not.

Well, I hope that won't rear its ugly head. I can't see how replacing the switch will be anything but a PITA. It's right above the CD drive bays, and I don't think those pull out like the hard drive cages do. I bought the case on sale for $99 from Tigerdirect.com. Well below what other vendors were selling it for at the time. Now I am wondering if I got a bad return that somehow found its way back into stock. For the fan knob and the power switch to have issues ... lemon city.

On a side note, the stock cooler does almost as good a job of cooling as the H60 did when it worked, and is quieter. Makes me wonder why I bothered in the first place.

Queueball wrote:

What application do folks use to monitor the gpu/cpu temperatures? My system doesn't seem to run too hot on the stock fans, but TF2 acts up sometimes (I blame the hattes) and I've had 1 system lock up in Borderlands 2. Just want to make sure that things are peachy from the HW side.

Coretemp and CPU-Z myself.

So I'm still having the power cycling on cold boot issue with the new mainboard. I'm less upset about it than before though because I know it's not the hardest thing to replace, since I already replaced that. At this point I'm thinking it's the PSU, and the explanation of capacitor could still hold in that case. I noticed something interesting though, which was that my motherboard stayed powered the whole time--it was just the rest of the system that was cycling. So that narrows it down to just one power connection. I'm not looking forward to more RMA games, so we'll see what some fiddling can accomplish. I have some time before the 30 day return policy expires anyway.

complexmath wrote:

So I'm still having the power cycling on cold boot issue with the new mainboard. I'm less upset about it than before though because I know it's not the hardest thing to replace, since I already replaced that. At this point I'm thinking it's the PSU, and the explanation of capacitor could still hold in that case. I noticed something interesting though, which was that my motherboard stayed powered the whole time--it was just the rest of the system that was cycling. So that narrows it down to just one power connection. I'm not looking forward to more RMA games, so we'll see what some fiddling can accomplish. I have some time before the 30 day return policy expires anyway.

Some motherboards do a self diagnostic before booting up. Mine does that. I think you can turn it off in the bios as well. Just make sure that's not what's happening there. Do you have power supply you know works that you can test this new system up with? If that resolves the problem then you can safely RMA the new power supply.

Thanks for the recommendations.