I haven't been on here for quite some time, and many things have changed since I initially started this thread. I have been planning on updating info here but have not had a chance. Between my birthday, wedding planning, working on this project, BTC miner, beautiful weather, side work(detailing and PC repair), NewEgg EggXpert reviews, and life in general I haven't had the time. So here goes a lengthy story of where I am at presently.
The ASUS card went back to NewEgg and I received my refund. The folks at FrozenCPU were kind enough to allow me to return the ASUS DC2 block and backplate even though I opened them. They did charge me restocking fee and then gave me in-store credit. This was wonderful considering they usually do not take watercooling items back at all, let alone opened ones.
The credit that I received I wasn't planning on using for quite some time...that was until the PCI-E on my Z77 Extreme6 decided to take a crap on me. I started the RMA process with ASRock, and started thinking about a case upgrade since my MoBo was going to be leaving for RMA. To anyone wondering how good ASRock is as far as Customer Service and Support, I will say they have MAGNIFICENT service. The entire process from initially requesting RMA to approval was only 15 hours. Here's the breakdown:
E-mailed RMA request at 10:29 PM CST on April 23rd
Initial response from ASRock at 1:11 PM CST on April 24th
I did what they asked as far as troubleshooting, and responded to them at 1:45 PM on April 24th
At 1:59 PM April 24th the case was moved from support to RMA.
At 3:30 PM April 24th the RMA was approved.
I was stoked that everything went so swiftly, but very disappointed that it decided to fail the day before my birthday.
I spent a solid 5-6 hours scouring the web for a new home for my PC components. I had $120 worth of credit @ Frozen so I was 'limited' to their case selection haha. My biggest concern was fitting all my WC hardware inside the case, since my Xigmatek Utgarde couldn't do it. I loved that case, and for $60 it served me well. After much debate I landed on the NZXT Phantom 630. It was the only case in its price range that was designed with double thick radiators in mind. It was supposed
to be able to house up to a 360mm fat radiator up on top. I say supposed to because I ran into an issue with my Extreme6 and my RX240. Technically the radiator fit in the case, however the heatsink at the top of the board protruded 2-3 millimeters too far and did not allow me to install the board! I was super angry
I started contemplating ways to mod the case to make things work...but did not want to ruin the beautiful finish on the case. So what do we do in this situation...upgrade! The RX240 has been retired and now a RS360 resides at the top of the Phantom.
After receiving the case and seeing the finish, my orange color choice to match the Utgarde was just not sitting very well. I test mounted my RS240 at the front of the case and installed the white rings on the Corsair SP120 fans. The white looked wonderful in contrast to the black/gunmetal. So I ordered 4 more SP120's to use in the case along with white anti-kink coils to replace the orange ones.
At the same time as this project was happening, I was in the midst of constructing a BTC miner. I moved my HX850 into the BTC rig. The Rosewill Capstone 650W that was in my HTPC found its way into my main rig. They are fantastic PSUs for anyone wondering. This one is a re-branded SuperFlower unit as seen in this review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5698/rosewill-capstone-450w-and-650w-80plus-gold/4
They are inaudible and take a licking. When I first received the Capstone, the 670 was in my HTPC for testing. I fired up Prime95 and Furmark to see if there would be any issues. With my 3570k @ 4.5GHz and the 670 maxed out there wasn't a hint of an issue for the near 2 hour run.
I mentioned this 'arms race' between my brother and I so I was keeping an eye out for a sweet deal on a 3rd monitor to match mine, or upgrading to something better. The NewEgg 'gods' blessed me with a smoking hot deal on these beauties: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824005406
I got 3 of them shipped for $584.97, yahoo!
Since this happened to be shortly after my bday and my fiancee hadn't purchased a gift yet, she sent $250 my way to pay for a good chunk of the monitors. I sold my 2 ASUS for $225 so the upgrade didn't cost much at all.
The monitors showed up at work on my day off, bonus! Went and picked them up, opened them up and tested them all. 1 monitor was perfect, 1 monitor had(what I thought was) one dead pixel, and the 3rd had a line of dead pixels. I fixed the 3rd monitor with a dead pixel fixer program, which could easily give someone a seizure BTW. That second monitor had the dead pixel(s) smack dab in the middle of the screen, so I decided to contact LG about the problem instead of NewEgg; I didn't contact NewEgg because I had talked to my brother recently and he mentioned NewEgg's return policy being limited to 8 dead pixels or more.
I did a chat with a member, who was clearly someone who spoke English BTW, and he said they would replace it no problem. I had the option to send them my monitor and they would send me another one, or they could send me a replacement along with a return label for the defective one so I wouldn't be without a monitor. The only stipulation was that they needed a credit card number in case I didn't return defective item. I thought, sweet, lets do this! In order to finalize the RMA I needed to call LG. I called LG, and spoke to an American, who wasn't so sure about getting my monitor replaced in a hurry. I told him that it looked like a pixel, but I wasn't sure and it could possibly be a cluster of four. He said he needed to speak to the LCD Monitor/TV rep to make sure of the return policy, so I waited on hold for 2-3 minutes. That rep was unavailable so they said they would call me the next day. They did call the next day and said that the limit for replacement is 4 dead pixels, and since I was unsure of the total number of dead pixels the monitor wasn't covered. I was bummed, but figured I would deal with it...maybe stick that monitor on one of the sides so it wasn't always in view.
I needed a way to mount em so I started looking at the wall in my computer cubby to see how I could manage it. I looked at some tri-monitor mounts and wasn't really looking to spend $225+ for one. I remembered I had purchased 2 wall mounts a ways back for my ASUS monitors, and never put them up. I took some measurements, did some math, and figured I could make it work. Went on the egg and ordered a mount for 3rd monitor. My idea was to attach the mounts to a 1x6 and screw the 1x6 to the wall via the studs. Got everything laid out, attached the mounts to the 1x6, VESA brackets to the monitors, and did a test fit with everything on the floor of my living room. It was no good unfortunately. I managed to get the monitors pretty darn close as far as being level horizontally, which I was proud of. However, I did not take into consideration how far the center monitor was going to protrude after the mount was on it. Since it was sticking out a solid 4 inches, it threw everything off. I couldn't put the side monitors at a good angle to make them fit within the 5' span of my computer cubby.
Back to the drawing board
I started looking for a more economical tri-monitor mount. I ended up on eBay and purchased this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Deluxe-Triple-Monitor-Stand-Desktop-Clamp-up-to-28-/181060455021?pt=US_Monitor_Mounts_Stands&hash=item2a280b4a6d
Let me tell you this thing is solid and awesome! At less than 1/2 the price of everything else I was looking at it blew me away. I don't see how any of the other ones for $200+ could be made of higher quality materials. If you're looking for a fantastic mount for a fantastic price, this is the place to go!
By now I had received all the goodies to get everything in my case. New radiator, fans, and kink coils were done. I got the waterblock on the 670. Spent a few hours making sure everything was cable managed like a pro. Leak tested for a few hours and all was well. Grabbed a monitor, mouse, and keyboard to do some stress testing on the kitchen counter
The 670 was icy cold under load, it barely breaks 40C even under furmark...the 3770k was another story. It was idling 10-15C higher than it had been previously and as soon as Prime95 started it was jumping 40C, and shortly after CoreTemp was warning me of overheating(95C) and was shutting me down.
I was lazy and hadn't re-applied TIM...didn't think it would make that big of a difference but I changed it anyway. The fresh TIM dropped it about 8C idle and only prolonged the overheating by about a minute.
Maybe I should check the orientation for the Apogee XT...
Not only did I have it rotated 90 degrees incorrectly, but I had the in/out reversed! I rotated the block, cut a new piece of hose, and what do you know...the temps are back to normal.
With the PC functioning properly it was time to setup my monitors
Putting the mount together was a breeze. Got everything hooked up and ooh-wee, is 3-wide breathtaking at first. I was looking at my 1920x1080 background duplicated on all 3 and thought...this is no good, we need some proper backgrounds. Found my way to triplemonitorbackgrounds.com and downloaded about 30 of them. I went through a few of them and then noticed on my right monitor two large horizontal groups of dead pixels! ***?! This is WAY more than I saw initially, and I know it was working fine after the dead pixel fix...what happened?! I then turned my attention to the center monitor, and found what was in fact a single dead pixel...it was vertically in line with the other, but nearly at the very bottom of the screen. I'm not sure how I missed it initially, but I now knew the one(s) above was in fact a cluster of 4. I was going to contact LG again, but I decided to look into NewEgg's return policy for myself. I went to the page for my monitor and scoped it out...no such 8 pixel policy was mentioned. I did a chat with a NewEgg member for RMA, and they even sent me shipping labels for both of them.
It took over a week to get my replacements...shipping for RMA process takes way too long, but at least they process it quickly. I hooked them up individually and twisted, tilted, and turned them in every direction possible. One monitor is perfect, the other had a single dead pixel way, way down in the bottom left corner.
After much debate within the confines of my cranium I decided to put that monitor on the left. With the angle the monitor is at, and the position of the dead pixel I haven't noticed it yet...so it's fine for now. Aside from the issues I had, the monitors are fantastic. Super slim, lightweight, bright, with a glorious picture. My only complaint is the touch-sensitive buttons, they are a PITA, really wish they had physical buttons to press.
Computer is running great and the monitors are looking sweet...but what wasn't looking sweet was the my orange G.Skill Ares RAM. Great stuff, but the orange was now entirely out of place. After browsing through NewEgg's extensive RAM selection, there was only one choice...Dominator Platinum
I only had 2 decisions to make now...capacity and speed. I had been contemplating an upgrade from 8 to 16, so I figured I may as well make that jump now, so 16GB it is. I was left with the decision for RAM clock speed ~VS~ timings, and I was ignorant to the benefits of either in regards to performance so I set out to find some info. Xbitlabs answered my question with this: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/display/ivy-bridge-ddr3_3.html
When it comes to Intel Ivy Bridge, clock speed is vastly more important than timings. This left me with the 2400 MHz 2x8 GB kit. It is sexy and matches the motif very well. Now I just wish I had bought the upgraded light bars...those will be on their way soon.
You would think with all of the problems I had been having, that everything would finally be cool...nope not the case. A couple days ago I finally got the chance to sit down and play some Borderlands 2. I was super pumped for 2 reasons: 5760x1080, and the fact that I hadn't been on steam for anything since 4/6/13. I fired up Borderlands 2 and I start running around blasting away enjoying the glorious span of 3 monitors and it locks up. I had the volume up much too high and the screeching noise from it freezing was horrible, so I turned my speakers off. Rebooted and loaded BL2 again. This time I noticed this odd, slightly faint screech/whining noise. WTH is that?
ALT-TAB out of BL2 and it goes away...back into BL2 and there it is again. Alright, this card better not be F'd up or I'm going to be in a seriously bad mood. I am desperately hoping that this noise is coming from the GT640 that I'm using for PhysX...so I shut the computer down and remove the 640. Reboot and fire up FurMark...there's the noise, but it's not as loud this time. Could it be the PSU? Hmm, let's try FluidMark instead of FurMark. What do ya know, once it's doing heavy PhysX work the louder whine is there...
Are you kidding me, I didn't hear this when I stress tested it? ANOTHER bad PC component? One thing I hadn't mentioned in the rest of this rant was the back-to-back defective Gigabyte boards I received for the BTC miner. The first with a bad RAM slot. The second with the SAME bad RAM slot, a faulty PWM fan header, and a bad front panel USB3 header.
This 670 is definitely no good. It's very finicky, I was able to squeeze a couple hours of issue free BL2 the other night, but yesterday and today it will work for 5 minutes, or 50 minutes or some time frame in between. It locks the computer up entirely, or freezes the game for about a minute before recovering to a horribly laggy video experience. It won't wake from sleep properly either, I have to reset the system entirely to fix it. The only good thing is that I purchased the 2 year walk-in replacement warranty from MicroCenter. If I read the terms properly, essentially they will give me a gift card for the purchase price of the item to spend on whatever I choose.
Now the question is do I get another 670, or go for a 770? The 770 is essentially a 680 pushed to it's limits....7GHz RAM clock? Yes please!
And that is the end of the story for now...if I hadn't dropped my phone in a toilet yesterday
(very drunk) I would have pictures posted.