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8350 Build Notes - [anarch]

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi,

This build started Fall 2013. I was hoping for my old desktop to hold out until Summer 2014, when I could take a break and construct a new rig. So (as planned) my current computer croaked halfway through the semester. This is a thread to keep track of my new build, anarch. Named after the Linux flavor currently installed: Archlinux.

Parts List:
  • Motherboard - Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7
  • CPU - AMD 8350
  • Heatsink - CoolerMaster Hyper212
  • PSU - Seasonic X-Series 850W
  • HDD - Samsung Evo 120G SSD
  • Case - Corsair C70 [green]
  • Mouse - R.A.T. 5
  • Keyboard - CODE Keyboard [cherry mx clear]
  • Grifiti Wrist Pad (Amazon)
  • Mic - Yetti Blue
  • Headphones - Walmart special :-\
  • Speakers - Thrift Store special :-\

To Do:
  • Arch Backup System (probably NAS)
  • Internal RAID (WD Red drives, maybe summer 2015?)
  • Water Loop (Also summer 2015, and I know very little about this)
  • Sleeving (Probably not going to happen, too busy)
  • Audio (Also not going to happen, I have roommates)
  • Additional Monitors (done!)
  • Side Case Mount (for portability, I'd like to be able to mount one of the monitors on the side of the case)
  • Case Base (Not needed, case has been moved to desk)
  • Kneeling Chair (Review options, make myself of buy?)

I fell in love with the C70 case pretty much as soon as I saw it. I spent a lot of time thinking about the different modifications I could make to it and how absolutely awesome it could be. Some of those adjustments are still on the drawing board, and will receive more attention later. But for now, I've discovered that I have mostly black colored components in a strictly green case. I don't really know quite how to feel about it, and I don't know what I'd do to make it better. If anyone has a thought on the look of things while reading this thread, please let me know what your suggestions would be.



All of the pictures from build phase. They can also be viewed (with context!) in respective posts. Pictures: Progress (Click to show)












































And.. then promptly crashes:




























Thanks,
-CTAG
Edited by CTAG - 6/16/14 at 5:30am
anarch
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post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm an AMD fan, can't really help it. Maybe it's because I feel like I'm rooting for the underdog. Maybe it's because I can appreciate a good space heater with a CPU attached. Whatever, I went with AMD's 8350 chip.

Pictures of the components as they arrived (Click to show)
Some quick home networking for the 'dorm':





The monitors showed up:


The rest of the parts arrived:
Samsung EVO:



AMD 8350:



CoolerMaster Hyper 212:




Mushkin RAM. Wasn't really sure how I felt about these, the heatsink was very shoddily attached:



Motherboard:



A Seasonic X-series PSU:







The R.A.T. Mouse:





A CODE keyboard:




Whew! Finally, enough parts to get something running!


Posts merged


I needed a graphics card first :-\ whoops. Went ahead and got something for pocket change on Craigslist.

Of course. The heatsink literally blocks me from installing it, I had to bend it out of the way:



It boots!

And.. then promptly crashes.


Days pass, no dice, nothing will get past a few seconds into boot. Do I RMA?

Before shipping off my motherboard, I delved into the settings offered by UEFI. If I may, this would be a pretty good spot to mention my undying, spectacular hatred of UEFI systems based on my experience with it from Gigabyte. What a load of crap.

Somehow I managed to work past the hideous early-2000's-Internet style interface and poor layout decisions to find out that the IOMMU controller is disabled by default. Enabling the controller promptly resolved the boot-time crashes.



Cool! I installed Debian and some homework was done, which lowered the stress level considerably.

Oh, and the case showed up fashionably late from NewEgg:



Posts merged

Over the past few months (I'm getting caught up to present day) I ran through Debian, Fedora, Arch, Parabola, Mint, Kubuntu, and PC-BSD. I eventually settled on Arch.

While hopping distros, I noticed that even with the USB and memory errors fixed (by the IOMMU), the mouse and keyboard would still occasionally "freeze" and I would have to re-plug them. It took a while, but I eventually found that the R.A.T. mouse has a mode button which doesn't comply to Xorg's mode states, and Xorg believes that the mouse is always holding a button down, which can block input.

So, I got a .conf thrown together from advice around the web (mostly Mint forums).

/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-rat.conf
Code:
Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "Mouse Remap"
    MatchProduct "Mad Catz Mad Catz R.A.T.5 Mouse"
    MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
    #Option "AccelerationProfile" "1"
    #Option "ConstantDeceleration" "5"
    Option "ButtonMapping" "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 0 0 0 16 17 18 19 20 21"
    Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5 6 7"
EndSection
The mouse works beautifully now, but mode and H-scroll are disabled.

A few more pictures (Click to show)






But we're not done yet! See those two extra monitor mounts? Yeah, I'm going for four monitors.

Four monitors? That craigslist graphics cards aint gonna cut it. What cards do I buy?

Well, I gathered from reading around that Nvidia's proprietary drivers were better than ATI's, while ATI's open source drivers apparently beat the pants off Nouveau (nvidia open source drivers). My previous desktop had two ATI cards, and they weren't much fun the few times I tried setting them up in Linux. And to top it off, Nvidia has a somewhat extensive documentation for their cards under Linux.
Woah, they even step through setting up things like SLI Mosaic! Nice!

So I bought two GTX650 Ti Boost cards. GTX Cards (Click to show)






Teach me how to cable manage?

Thanks,
-CTAG
Edited by CTAG - 12/19/13 at 10:45am
anarch
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
*Unused*

Previous text, merged above already (Click to show)
Schweet, time to toss this sucker together!

Wait..

Where do I plug in the monitors? My ancient hand-me-down of a computer had a VGA port on its motherboard... This Gigabyte board has nothing.

Hrm. To Craigslist!

This'll do, but the heatsink literally blocks me from installing it:



Sigh, I had to bend it out of the way. Let's just plug it in:

It boots!

And.. then promptly crashes:


Days pass. Do I return it RMA?

Before I was willing to ship off my motherboard, I delved into the settings offered by UEFI. If I may, this would be a pretty good spot to mention my undying, spectacular hatred of UEFI systems based on my experience with it from Gigabyte. What a load of crap.

Somehow I managed to work past the hideous early-2000's-Internet style interface and poor layout decisions to find out that the IOMMU controller is disabled by default. Enabling the controller promptly resolved the boot-time crashes.




Cool! I installed Debian and some homework was done, which lowered the stress level considerably.

Oh, and the case showed up fashionably late from NewEgg:

Thanks,
-CTAG
Edited by CTAG - 12/17/13 at 11:08pm
anarch
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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
*Unused #2*

Previous text, merged above already (Click to show)
I didn't want to keep Debian. While it's an amazing distro for servers, it lagged just a tad to far behind to make it the go-to choice for an SSD system. I wanted some of the more bleeding edge features, whether it was justified or not. Over the past few months (I'm getting caught up to present day) I ran through Debian, Fedora, Arch, Parabola, Mint, Kubuntu, and PC-BSD. I eventually settled on Arch.

While hopping distros, I noticed that even with the USB and memory errors fixed (by the IOMMU), the mouse and keyboard would still occasionally "freeze" and I would have to re-plug them. It took a while, but I eventually found that the R.A.T. mouse has a mode button which doesn't comply to Xorg's mode states, and Xorg believes that the mouse is always holding a button down, which can block input.

So, I got a .conf thrown together from advice around the web (mostly Mint forums).

/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-rat.conf
Code:
Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "Mouse Remap"
    MatchProduct "Mad Catz Mad Catz R.A.T.5 Mouse"
    MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
    #Option "AccelerationProfile" "1"
    #Option "ConstantDeceleration" "5"
    Option "ButtonMapping" "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 0 0 0 16 17 18 19 20 21"
    Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5 6 7"
EndSection
The mouse works now, but mode and H-scroll are disabled.

At this point, the computer was finally stable for everyday driving!
A few more pictures (Click to show)






But we're not done yet! See those two extra monitor mounts? Yeah, I'm going for four monitors.

What cards do I buy? Well, I gathered from reading around that Nvidia's proprietary drivers were better than ATI's, while ATI's open source drivers apparently beat the pants off Nouveau. My previous desktop had two ATI cards, and they weren't much fun the few times I tried setting them up in Linux. And to top it off, Nvidia has a somewhat extensive documentation for their cards under Linux.
Woah, they even step through setting up things like SLI Mosaic! Nice!

So I bought two GTX650Ti cards. GTX Cards (Click to show)







Huge mistake. Absolu-u-u-tely huge mistake. Had I known then what I know now about how bad Nvidia's drivers and Linux graphics software in general is, I would have stopped then and there and become an Art Histories student.

Thanks,
-CTAG
Edited by CTAG - 12/17/13 at 11:08pm
anarch
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Phew, it's been a pretty crazy semester, and I'm working part time + taking classes over the summer, so most of the work for my desktop is going to have to be put off.

Luckily, the rig has been solid throughout the semester. While I'm still tweaking things between Arch, i3wm, and Nvidia, it's been really nice on the software side too, I've even gotten BOINC set up and running biggrin.gif

I'm going to take a moment here to post images of the current setup; everything's at a pretty steady state to wait until the next batch of improvements come along.

Pictures of full desktop (Click to show)
The previous setup (for most of the last semester).


Case on desk now. It's a lot less space-efficient, but I like the layout better anyway. The screensaver is running on all four Xsessions.
xscreensaver

Before any windows are opened. Backgrounds are randomized from a folder on login.
Clean desktop.

With my most common windows up.
With windows pulled up.

A regular screenshot (with the gaudy cmatrix thrown in):
A screenshot with the monitors stitched incorrectly.

I'm going to prioritize on schoolwork and try to finish Arch backup system. Then maybe we'll get to some more fun stuff.

Thanks,
-CTAG
Edited by CTAG - 6/16/14 at 5:28am
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