Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

TempestBlayze wrote:

Thanks for the info. You're almost making me second guess. Most of the stuff I already knew like the SATA ports but I thought the board would be a regular sized ATX.

Maybe it is, and the ATX board previously in was bigger? I don't know. I do know I supported the (case-wise) front of the board with my hand when connecting stuff like the video card to avoid bending it. Might not be an issue with cases that don't have an "open" cutout on the backside of the mobo for cable routing.

How was updating the BIOS? Did you do it through the network+UEFI or you needed a flash drive?

I believe she used the Windows flash utility download from the ASRock site. Download, run in windows, it does its thing, then you reboot.
If you go to the site, there are 3 options for doing the flash, 3 separate downloads - in-BIOS flash(download files and run update from BIOS), DOS (really? WTF?), and Windows. The Windows directions on-site failed to match both the filenames of the files downloaded(as well as # of files) as well as the fact that it's UEFI.

I don't know that other manufacturers are any better. Chaintech was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay worse. Just the fact that it was easier to find files to download in the Korean/Japanese language site, and that they were more recent... yeah.

Anyway, the update went off without a hitch and fixed the USB compat issue. Apparently, because ALL the USBs on the board are 3.0, they had some issues with 2.0 compat at BIOS 1.0, which was fixed in 1.50 and 1.70(I believe).

--
I'm not trying to push anyone away from this board. For the price, it's not "bad", per se. Just a few little issues that might be important to some folks - mismatched RAM issues, needing a BIOS update for USB2/3 compatibility, not hitting all the standoffs, tight quarters for some of the power headers(and, now I think of it, the case front panel light/switch headers and CPU&Sysfan1 headers, too). The tightness isn't problematic, really, but when your case is a (I think full tower. Corsair 6-somethingD) big case and you're NOT using a microATX, I'd expect to have lots of room for my hands to hit the headers.

Once it's together, though, and updated, all seems well. The stock Intel HSF is, surprisingly to me, quieter with the case side OFF than the H60 was with the case closed up.
Yay Intel!

Anyway, if you have more questions, or would like me to try to take a crappy picture(black+dark brown board in a black case, in a room with 40-ish Watt equivalent CFLs), I'll see what I can do. Maybe I could figure out how much shorter the board is than the Gigabyte. Do they publish numbers on that stuff?

Thanks. I will still stick with it. Just have to update the BIOS as soon as Windows loads up which is not a big deal. If you have 1600 RAM: did it come in at 1600 or did you need to put it there?

I think the standoff issue might be a case thing.

TempestBlayze wrote:

Thanks. I will still stick with it. Just have to update the BIOS as soon as Windows loads up which is not a big deal.

Not really. Just before you connect any USB devices other than your mouse.

If you have 1600 RAM: did it come in at 1600 or did you need to put it there?

It is 1600, IIRC. Don't think we even looked at it, so I have no idea if it's running at 1600 or not.

I think the standoff issue might be a case thing.

Possibly.

duckilama wrote:

The ASRock Extreme4 Z77

I got the micro-ATX version of this board and then traded up to an Extreme6 while diagnosing startup problems. On the Extreme6 the RAM slots are a tiny bit too close to the CPU to fit tall DIMMs next to an oversized cooler. My DIMMs don't fit in the slot closest to the CPU, for example, but I only had 2 anyway so that wasn't a concern. Other than that the board is a good size and has a clean layout. I mostly got the Extreme6 over the Extreme4 for the extra PCI ports and the digital status indicator. It's worth noting that the board does come with SATA cables that have a right-angle connector on one side (though I didn't use them), and the slightly smaller board size means that normal SATA cables won't be up against the front plate of the chassis. I like having all the connectors around the edge of the board because it simplifies routing cables elsewhere.

For updating the BIOS I used a flash drive and updated from within the CMOS setup screen, but it does support internet-based updating from the CMOS screen as well. I think it can update from within Windows as well, but that seemed like a sketchy option.

tundra wrote:

Everyone has their idea on graphics cards and the card is usually where you can focus money and it be well spent for gaming. That being said, the mid range one I'd suggest after ample research is the radeon 7850. Get the 1 gb version to save you a few bucks. That card is going to be in the $160-180 range. Good price vs. performance level for those of us not willing to drop a double that for a high end card.

coming from the GeForce 8800GTS, I would think there would be a significant difference?

Random question. For gaming as it is now how do you feel the i5 unlocked K chip stacks up against a locked non-K? Is the added speed really worth shouting about compared to stock clocks? The trade-off for me is experimenting with IO passthrough virtualisation, and the non-K chips are cheaper, and there's more non-Ks to choose from.

I'm not sure about virtualization... I always thought RAM was more of a constraint, but I suppose if you have multiple OS's running then everything is a constraint.

All I know is that these newest CPU's are fast. I don't think you'll have much to complain about if you don't get the K version.

Scratched wrote:

Random question. For gaming as it is now how do you feel the i5 unlocked K chip stacks up against a locked non-K? Is the added speed really worth shouting about compared to stock clocks? The trade-off for me is experimenting with IO passthrough virtualisation, and the non-K chips are cheaper, and there's more non-Ks to choose from.

My 2600K easily goes from 3.4Ghz to 4.4Ghz (probably more headroom if I wanted to tweak voltages). That's a pretty good percentage boost for a small amount of extra money relative to overall cost of the chips.

Right, I'm not going to argue that's a big boost, but is it really a big deal? I'm sure you pushed it right up, because that's what you bought a K for so it makes sense to do it, but compared to stock (a.k.a. non-K speeds) how much benefit do you see in game performance?

Regarding the IOMMU virtualisation stuff, what I'd be looking to see is better hardware virtualisation. Namely, could I switch direct access to the graphics card between two OSes running concurrently, although I think it could also be the domain of non-mainstream chipsets and GPUs, and software besides Xen, that would have me thinking "Just do a simple multiboot and get a K chip".

Scratched wrote:

Right, I'm not going to argue that's a big boost, but is it really a big deal? I'm sure you pushed it right up, because that's what you bought a K for so it makes sense to do it, but compared to stock (a.k.a. non-K speeds) how much benefit do you see in game performance?

Depends on the game. Some games use more CPU, and it helps quite a bit. Some not so much.

Between the CPU overclock and unlocking and overclocking my 6950 (to 6970 shaders and near it's speeds), I had a quite noticeable improvement in BF3 for instance.

IIRC, the extra money for the "K" was less than $20 at the time. Worth it for me.

Look at Anandtech's reviews. I'm sure they do the overclocking comparisons.

When I was looking last week for my wife(see previous in thread) the 3570K was the same price as the 3570.

Does anyone have experience with Gigabyte motherboards? Particularly in overclocking performance. For some reason I have always been under the assumption that they were the discounted (see Vizio) type of motherboards. However, like Vizio, they seem to be getting great reviews.

The standoffs and the lack of sales on the ASRock Extreme 4 has me looking somewhere else and this Gigabyte Z77 board came on sale. It looks to have some nice features and is a true size ATX board unlike the Exreme 4.

I'm happy with every Gigabyte board I've installed, and don't recall any issues aside from me not understanding why there were 2 different sets of SATA ports(one RAID, one "normal").
I've never felt cramped(by the board) when installing any ports/cables/cards.
I haven't overclocked, so I can't speak to that.

+1 to everything Duckilama said (though I don't recall my board having separate RAID SATA ports). I did have to RMA my Gigabyte mobo after about a year of great performance, only because the primary PCIe slot was dropping "connection" (I think it got bounced around too much in the cross-country move, something got dislodged and my video card would cut out occasionally). Even then, RMA was fast, easy, and took little effort. Board's been running like a champ still, and I've been using it for a good 4 years.

WipEout wrote:

... (though I don't recall my board having separate RAID SATA ports).

Most of the Gigabyte boards I have messed with have like 4 SATA ports powered by the Intel chipset and another patch powered by a different controller. The Intel are usually white I think and the others are blue.

To go back to the OP's question I have no idea about overclocking wise but other than that I have liked the Gigabyte boards I have worked with. For a long while they were the goto boards for Hackintosh's.

I have a gigabyte board that's a 'micro' board. To be able to insall anything in the old PCI style slots, I had to move my vid card from the 16x to 4x PCI-e slot. Since then, I've wanted to get a PCI-e LAN card so I can go back to using my vid card in the 16x slot. Also, the location of RAM slots gives you the standard issue most motherboards get with tall heatsinks when trying to install a massive CPU cooler like the Hyper 212+.

I have yet to try overclocking, but have contemplated it recently. The only thing holding me back is a my one and only attempt previously. It was a poor experience with my 2004 ASUS system's built in "easy OC" which made the system pretty unstable.

Thanks all. I can't believe how much I am bouncing back and forth on a motherboard and I am starting to drive myself nuts. It's the last piece I need to buy and I can start building.

Flip a coin and go.

duckilama wrote:

Flip a coin and go.

+1

Go for the cheapest OTD from your two, wipe hands on pants, and build.

Ok, my decision was just made for me this morning. The ASRock Extreme 4 just went on sale at Newegg for $119, no tax and free shipping.

This is also my first time using Shoprunner. Just got a year of that for free and it's good if I have to RMA the mobo. Gives free return shipping. Here is the link on Slickdeals if anyone is interested.

How good is the thermal paste that comes with the H60? Will it be adequate or should I buy some different paste?

WizKid wrote:

How good is the thermal paste that comes with the H60? Will it be adequate or should I buy some different paste?

It'll work, but it won't be ideal. It's always better to clean off the gunk they cake it with (they put way too much on) and then apply something like arctic silver. It probably won't improve your temps by more than 5 degrees C, though, so in reality it doesn't matter all that much for the current and last generation of CPUs.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
WizKid wrote:

How good is the thermal paste that comes with the H60? Will it be adequate or should I buy some different paste?

It'll work, but it won't be ideal. It's always better to clean off the gunk they cake it with (they put way too much on) and then apply something like arctic silver. It probably won't improve your temps by more than 5 degrees C, though, so in reality it doesn't matter all that much for the current and last generation of CPUs.

So I'd be looking at a 5 degree improvement by using something like arctic silver 5? How significant will that 5 degrees make if I plan on a slight/modest overclock on a i5 2500k?

WizKid wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:
WizKid wrote:

How good is the thermal paste that comes with the H60? Will it be adequate or should I buy some different paste?

It'll work, but it won't be ideal. It's always better to clean off the gunk they cake it with (they put way too much on) and then apply something like arctic silver. It probably won't improve your temps by more than 5 degrees C, though, so in reality it doesn't matter all that much for the current and last generation of CPUs.

So I'd be looking at a 5 degree improvement by using something like arctic silver 5? How significant will that 5 degrees make if I plan on a slight/modest overclock on a i5 2500k?

Well, I don't think it would make a difference at all. The only thing it might possibly affect is how long the CPU lasts. Unless you use the CPU for 10 or 15 years, though, it's not going to matter. Even then, you are probably going to be have other parts failing before the CPU does.

The issue is more like "Well, I spent a chunk of change on this cooler, I'd like it to perform as best as it can possibly perform." It's a question of how much you like to tinker. It will take a tad more money, but it will also take you time to do the reapplication.

I'm mostly trying to stay out of this thread now, but fair warning: it looks like my Corsair H80 is starting to fail. I was having framerate issues in a game, and in doing troubleshooting, I'm finding that the H80 is no longer able to keep my CPU under 90C. It takes about two minutes of full load on Intel Burn Test, but eventually the temps creep up to 90, and the chip starts throttling. When I first installed it, the peak temps were about, um, I think they were like 82 or 83, and I haven't changed anything at all.

I haven't yet taken a can of air to the heat exchanger, but I don't think dust buildup is likely to be the issue, this soon. I suspect that either the liquid is evaporating, or the pump is failing.

Also, as an interesting sidenote, having hyperthreading enabled slows down the Intel Burn Test by about 20% on the 2600K.

Bummer. My H70 is still going strong. I am thankful.

Kinda glad I decided to stick with air cooling. I'm excited to start building soon.

Re-goo, Malor?

Well my H60 came today. In was more of a pain to install then I thought it would be, but I finally got it in there.

How long should you run prime 95 to get a good benchmark?

After about 22 minutes at 100% temps are hovering around 51C.

WizKid wrote:

Well my H60 came today. In was more of a pain to install then I thought it would be, but I finally got it in there.

How long should you run prime 95 to get a good benchmark?

After about 22 minutes at 100% temps are hovering around 51C.

Ha. You're totally golden. If you are overclocking, though, I would run it for an hour at least. If you want complete peace of mind, run it overnight.

Edit: You probably are using real temp or core temp to check core CPU temperatures. Be sure to make sure you are measuring the core temp. If your CPU core temp is 51 C at full load, you are good to go.