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post #1 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 02:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello OCN. This isn't my first build, but it is the first that will be documented. I waited for bulldozer but we all know how that story goes... This is my first Intel build and it was put together on a tight budget using a couple components from my old rig. The main goal of this build is decent gaming performance and to be more stealth than the old rig which was bright enough to annoy me while gaming/working. After being blinded by it for the last 3 years it was time for it to find a new home.

On with the build!

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NEW
Intel i5 2500K
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
8gb Patriot Gamer 2 Series DDR3-1600
NZXT Gamma
Corsair H100
500gb WD 7200rpm

Carried over from last rig:
ASUS ENGTX460 1gb 900/1800/2000
Seasonic 620 modular
2tb WD green
200gb 2.5" seagate 7200 for fraps and page file

Since this is the only intel hardware I have, I had to mockup and test while waiting for the rest of the goodies to show up (Mr UPS man: please don't leave my packages in the rain again!). Please ignore cable management as everything was just thrown in and case will be stripped bare soon for mods.

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I knew I would run into trouble mounting the H100 internally and sure enough it didn't fit...at first. A little wiggling and some strategy and it's in! The radiator had to be pushed to the full extent on the window side and mounted crooked. It isn't optimal and I believe I will get lower temps once the radiator is liberated. This will hopefully be remedied tomorrow provided we have a rain-free day down here in South Louisiana.

I must say that I feel silly for not buying an i5 sooner. Thanks to the great guides here on OCN it didn't take long to reach a relatively stable OC with decent voltages and temps. I believe this chip has a higher VID and I most likely will not exceed the clock I am at now: manual 4.6ghz, 1.360v fixed, LLC1, power savings enabled, 34C idle 73C MAX IBT for 20 minutes (@ 27C ambient with very high humidity). Canardpc validator

I pushed up to 4.7ghz but didn't feel comfortable raising vcore to the required +1.415v (didn't stability test any higher) and am unable to utilize anything except LLC1. Seems the LLC issue on this mobo is hit or miss after searching for a while. Any tips on the LLC issue and methods of lowering the vcore would be much appreciated.

Anyway, that's all for today.
Braaapp
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post #2 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-10-2011, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Yesterday I received a few more goodies. I know I said this build would be more stealth, but it was hard to pass up 68CFM SickleFlow 120mm fans for $0.99 after rebate. One will be mounted in the rear of the case and the other will quiet down my PSU, so the LED's really won't be visible or distracting.
I also received a ridiculously cheap open box WD RE4.

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I wasn't pleased with the way the radiator was mounted. The 8-pin motherboard power wire as well as the ram was completely blocked, and the top of the case was bowed in from the radiator not sitting flush due to the raised screw holes on the inside. Although I think it looks better mounted internally it wasn't performing up to my expectations (36-40C idle). The tubing on the H100 is fixed and removal would void Corsairs wonderful 5 year warranty so i needed another way to get the block/pump into the case.

"You're not about to cut up that computer case, are you?!?" asked my neighbor as I drug out extension cords and power tools.
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It fits!
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With the holidays rapidly approaching funds will be a little short so the mods will slow until January.

Braaapp


EDIT: Almost forgot. I used AS5 when reinstalling the H100 block/pump which could have attributed to the lower temps. Also, I was unsure if i had seated the block well the first time and this suspicion was warranted. Judging by the old TIM that came on the H100 it seems the ultra stiff hoses prevented me from evenly clamping the block.
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post #3 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-11-2011, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Back to tinkering again. The front blue power LED bar on the case was pretty bright and the HDD LED was really dim and green. The brightness didn't suit the case or my end goal. Also the back of the LED bar was unshielded so light could be seen from the side through the lower vent cutouts.

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There isn't much quality in the power/reset switch and hdd activity light area but it is fine with me. NZXT had cut costs SOMEWHERE and I'd rather it be in a hidden area than somewhere that would affect the build as a whole. It's a $35 case and I still think it was worth every penny. Hey, if the buttons ever fail I'll just have a reason to mod. biggrin.gif Since the wires and LEDs were hot glued on it was simple to remove and solder new LEDs in place.

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Unfortunately my propane torch was almost empty and in a rush to finish before the gas was finished, I forgot to take a picture of the improved setup from the inside. Basically I changed both the power ON LED and the HDD activity LED to some 5mm 'high brightness' (what a joke) ultraviolet units. The color is easier on the eye than blue and a good bit dimmer while still being bright enough to see.

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For some reason the motherboard is only outputting 3 volts to the HDD activity pins. This warrants further investigation but not today... The LEDs are 3.3v 20mA fordward voltage units and are relatively dim at full power to begin with so my HDD light is pretty much invisible. I'll have to pick up a couple 555s & a project board to build a driver circuit for the HDD light so I can get full power. Lets face it, who likes to be underpowered? This is OCN after all...

To solve the light leaking from behind the front panel I affixed some good ole electrical tape to the backside of the clear bar as well as both of the LEDs. Nothing like a ghetto mod for street cred. tongue.gif I really like the stealth effect and the case looks a bit more polished. Now that the front end is darker the fan controller LED looks way too white and bright. I'm fresh out of desoldering wick so changing that LED will be another days project.

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My favorite retailer had an Antec ELITE multimedia station (Veris) VFD with IR receiver and remote discounted with a rebate as well this morning and the price was right. I'm not sure I need the remote or the knob but I surely would love to see my system stats without running an overlay while gaming or having to ALT+Tab to the desktop.

Oh, and I ran 3dmark11 this morning. With the same GPU from my last box in this new rig I scored 1,381 higher for a total of 4,562 3dmarks. Not that impressive compared to the majority of you OCN'ers but for me that is a noticeable increase in framerate as well as smoothing out the stutter that was occuring before. I can now run the majority of my games at maximum or near maximum settings with 40fps bare minimum. Good enough for me! Metro 2033 on 'High' with DOF and advanced physics is beautiful and I'm glad I don't have to miss out on it anymore.

3dMark11 score

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post #4 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-13-2011, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I had a pair of left over 120mm fans from my last rig that were begging to be put to use. AGA12025F12L, 80cfm @ 2000 rpm. These fans were used in pull configuration on top of the H100 which further reduced my idle temps to 33C and load temps to 53C, with a spike up to 65C (IBT maximum, 20 minutes @ 28C ambient 70% humidity). That is a 1C reduction at idle and 20C reduction at load from my initial tests. The Corsair pump module never seemed to give them full throttle so I again reused a PCI fan controller left over from the last rig. This gave me the option to completely turn them off for near silence as well as easily crank them up for heavy loads, and since they are PWM I can control with speedfan.

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post #5 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-14-2011, 01:59 AM
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Very cool smile.gif how much total>

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post #6 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-14-2011, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RagingAzn628 View Post

Very cool smile.gif how much total>

Too much tongue.gif
Actually I'm still under the budget so more will be coming...I just need to wait for the holidays to be over before I splurge on mod supplies.
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post #7 of 89 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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w00t! The Antec Veris VFD showed up today and I love it. The included iMON software didn't really have the functions I needed, but a plugin called SiMON filled in the gaps. SiMON allows you to display temperatures and load of most devices (CPU temp and load, GPU temp, memory usage, HDD temp) as well as mailbox status and the functions built into the iMON software. This is exactly what I needed as I like to know what's going on with the system mid-game.
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And a short video showing the various functions of SiMon:

The included remote control is a nice addition to the package and can be used as a mouse while lounging around. I'll be lazier than ever now that I can adjust volume and navigate the screen without even sitting forward to grab the mouse tongue.gif
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post #8 of 89 (permalink) Old 12-26-2011, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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A little teaser of what is coming. More details in early January when the rest of the mod supplies get here. coolsmiley03.png

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post #9 of 89 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Update time! The hdd cage wasn't cooling the drives too well so they are free standing now, directly in the airflow of the front case fan. Used a flexible PCI-E riser to mount the GTX 460 vertically, and sleeved most of the cables with MDPC. I'm still not completely happy with it...so more sleeving and mods will be coming.

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