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Feedback on my new build (and a little troubleshooting!)

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October 1, 2012 5:44:01 AM

Hello everyone,

So today was a pretty big day for me. My beloved Dell XPS 710 desktop finally died (permanently). It had been constantly restarting and was painfully fading away. Dell support told me the motherboard had died (although I still think it may be the power supply - and they are trying to con me into buying a new motherboard).

On the flip side, I also built my first computer today as well! Yes, I had predicted that the computer was going to die and bought all the parts to build a new one. Some background: My XPS lasted me a solid 5 years, which is honestly more than I thought it would. It was running on a now very outdated Core 2 Duo E6600, Nvidia 8800 GTX, and 4GB of OCZ Memory. I figured I would spend a bit of money and build a solid computer that I could use for a while, instead of having to upgrade constantly. Here are the specs (all prices are CAD):

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K LGA 1155 CPU - $319.99
CPU Heatsink Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 Heatpipe Cooler - $74.99
Motherboard: ASUS Maximus V FORMULA LGA 1155 - $279.99
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (CL 9-9-9-24) - $78.99
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 OC 1071MHZ 2GB 6.0GHZ - $459.99
Primary Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB SSD - $189.99
Secondary Storage: TBD (probably a 2TB Seagate Barracuda, or WD Caviar Green) - approx $99.99
DVD Drive: ASUS DVD/CD Burner 24x X 2 - ~$30.00
Power Supply: Corsair Professional HX850 (80 Plus Gold Certified) Power Supply - $149.99
Case: Corsair 600t White Case - $139.99

Now, I intend to use the computer for a variety of tasks - I do some pretty exhausting CAD design and circuit simulations - so having a good CPU was important. Video rendering and transcoding is also another use. And of course, I will be gaming pretty hard on 2 monitors (currently 1680x1050, but that will be upgraded soon). I will also overclock the CPU/GPU and tinker around in the BIOS after researching it a bit.

Here's my concern at the moment. I put everything together and POSTed fine - but I tried to be sneaky and stick my OS drive from my old computer into my new build and boot from it. (Unfortunately, my SSD is still in transit and hasn't arrived yet :S). As I thought, it didn't like the new hardware very much and blue screened quickly after the Windows logo. Startup repair also couldn't help. I'm just wondering if there is anything else I can do to get the drive up and running at the moment while I wait. I have some important files I need to access and would like to be able to use my build while I wait for the SSD. Alternatively, will I still be able to use the drive as a secondary drive once my SSD arrives and I load an OS onto it? I was thinking I'd just copy over my files and reformat the old disk.

In the mean time, I'm looking for some good peripherals (monitor X 2, sound system (5.1 preferable), keyboard/mouse). I don't really have a price range at the moment, and I'd like to get input on what you all think. I'll decide once I have a better idea of what I really need vs. what I want. FYI, the monitors should be at least 1080P and can't be larger than 24 inches (as I have limited room on my desk). Input on the secondary storage drive would also be nice.

Sorry for the mammoth post, any feedback/thoughts on the build would be appreciated!

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October 1, 2012 6:33:43 AM

evilqueens said:
I'm just wondering if there is anything else I can do to get the drive up and running at the moment while I wait. I have some important files I need to access and would like to be able to use my build while I wait for the SSD.


AFAIK there isn't a lot you can do if you can't get your Dell running again. You mentioned that you thought it might be the PSU. Did you try switching out the Dell's old PSU with your new PSU? If you do get the Dell running again there's something you can try that might work. (I've never done this myself but I've heard it working in cases where motherboards are swapped out.)

You go into device manager and uninstall all devices including motherboard/system devices. Ignore any prompts to restart. When you've deleted every device you can you power down and transfer the hard drive to your new system. Hopefully when you start up you'll get a whole lot of new device found messages and Windows will be able to install drivers for all of them.

Of course it may be easier to just wait for the SSD to arrive.

evilqueens said:
Alternatively, will I still be able to use the drive as a secondary drive once my SSD arrives and I load an OS onto it? I was thinking I'd just copy over my files and reformat the old disk.


This will work. I did it when I upgraded last time. What you'll want to do is have just the SSD connected when you install the OS. Then power down, connect the HD and then when you start up the system go into the BIOS and make sure the SSD is ahead of the HD in the boot sequence. That will allow it to boot into your new Windows installation and the HD will just appear as another drive (probably the E: drive).
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October 1, 2012 8:14:52 PM

lighter17 said:
AFAIK there isn't a lot you can do if you can't get your Dell running again. You mentioned that you thought it might be the PSU. Did you try switching out the Dell's old PSU with your new PSU? If you do get the Dell running again there's something you can try that might work. (I've never done this myself but I've heard it working in cases where motherboards are swapped out.)

You go into device manager and uninstall all devices including motherboard/system devices. Ignore any prompts to restart. When you've deleted every device you can you power down and transfer the hard drive to your new system. Hopefully when you start up you'll get a whole lot of new device found messages and Windows will be able to install drivers for all of them.

Of course it may be easier to just wait for the SSD to arrive.



This will work. I did it when I upgraded last time. What you'll want to do is have just the SSD connected when you install the OS. Then power down, connect the HD and then when you start up the system go into the BIOS and make sure the SSD is ahead of the HD in the boot sequence. That will allow it to boot into your new Windows installation and the HD will just appear as another drive (probably the E: drive).


Thanks for the reply! Yeah.. Dell makes their own custom motherboards with weird pin specs and headers to connect the power supply, so I don't think a regular one would work anyhow. I'm trying to do a startup repair from a disc to see if that will help - I'm doubtful though.

And lastly, when you say it will recognize it as another drive (i.e E:\) that won't mess up any of the file paths, right? I want to be able to transfer the old files onto the new SSD, and then reformat it eventually.

I'm thinking I'll just go ahead and buy my secondary disk and do a clean install for now to get myself up and running. Quite crippling to be in the situation I'm in :p 
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October 1, 2012 8:50:47 PM

you just wasted a ton of money by overspending on your parts (70% of your parts you could have saved money on and get the same result)

and i would also wonder how you can stuff a 2011 specific cooler on a 1155 board. did ncix (or whoever) give you a extra set of mounting kits?
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October 1, 2012 9:00:15 PM

TheBigTroll said:
you just wasted a ton of money by overspending on your parts (70% of your parts you could have saved money on and get the same result)

and i would also wonder how you can stuff a 2011 specific cooler on a 1155 board. did ncix (or whoever) give you a extra set of mounting kits?


Could you be a little more specific when you say that? I'm aware that it isn't the most value-oriented build, but I also indulged and spent money when I saw something cool or I thought the features would come in handy at some point. Yes, I could have saved money on the motherboard and video card, but I'm not really seeing where else... All of my parts were chosen when there were good sales - I doubt you can get the same prices for very long (where I'm located).

The SE2011 cooler is the same cooler as the regular NH-D14 cooler, but only comes with the LGA2011 mounting kit. I bought it because I got it at a great price and it comes with dual PWM fans. Noctua was kind enough to send me the NM-I3 mounting kit free of charge.
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October 1, 2012 9:12:17 PM

wow. should have bought my d14 that way lol


now to what you could have done to save money and get equal performance
-the maximus v is not needed. the z77-v pro has the same feature set for around 80-100 dollars cheaper
-should have bought a set of 2x8gb of ram instead of 4x4. its cheaper and puts less stress on the CPU
-the gtx 670 performs the same as the 680. i saw one at ncix for 344.99 after MIR but that was a few weeks ago
-the hx850w is not needed. a xfx xxx 750w would be just as good and would be 50-60 dollars cheaper
-the 500R would offer better airflow for 40 bucks cheaper. heck the fractal arc midi would be 80 bucks and be just as good

the main things id harp on is the motherboard and the psu
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October 1, 2012 9:53:37 PM

evilqueens said:
And lastly, when you say it will recognize it as another drive (i.e E:\) that won't mess up any of the file paths, right? I want to be able to transfer the old files onto the new SSD, and then reformat it eventually.


You won't be able to run any programs that were installed on the hard drive, but the files will still be there. You won't have any trouble copying your data files over to your SSD.
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October 1, 2012 11:52:06 PM

lighter17 said:
You won't be able to run any programs that were installed on the hard drive, but the files will still be there. You won't have any trouble copying your data files over to your SSD.


Sweet, that's the main concern! I just went out and bought a HDD so I'll get on installing the OS and see how it goes. I guess there's no way to repair the drive once its in a new rig? I suppose it won't really matter as I'll be getting the SSD in a couple of days anyway. Just wondering whether its possible...
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October 2, 2012 10:55:35 AM

evilqueens said:
I guess there's no way to repair the drive once its in a new rig? I suppose it won't really matter as I'll be getting the SSD in a couple of days anyway. Just wondering whether its possible...


I'm not sure what you're talking about here. Was the hard drive failing when it was in your old computer? What type of repair are you looking for?

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October 2, 2012 2:35:21 PM

Oh, no I just meant there's no way to boot from the OS on that drive directly. Sorry I should have said repair installation.

EDIT: The motherboard is pretty much dead on my old system... I'm don't really want to try and force it on/off until I can boot into my OS just to risk damaging the disk or something else. So, I was wondering if I could repair the installation on the original OS drive once I have booted from a different drive so that I could go in and use certain programs while I wait for my SSD. Either way, its not really much of an issue - just wondering if it could be done. Also, my SSD is coming in today anyway.
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October 2, 2012 2:56:51 PM

TheBigTroll said:
wow. should have bought my d14 that way lol


now to what you could have done to save money and get equal performance
-the maximus v is not needed. the z77-v pro has the same feature set for around 80-100 dollars cheaper
-should have bought a set of 2x8gb of ram instead of 4x4. its cheaper and puts less stress on the CPU
-the gtx 670 performs the same as the 680. i saw one at ncix for 344.99 after MIR but that was a few weeks ago
-the hx850w is not needed. a xfx xxx 750w would be just as good and would be 50-60 dollars cheaper
-the 500R would offer better airflow for 40 bucks cheaper. heck the fractal arc midi would be 80 bucks and be just as good

the main things id harp on is the motherboard and the psu


I agree that I could have saved money on the motherboard for sure. I decided to spend a little more because I like tiny things like optical IN, nice colour scheme and a great set of options in the UEFI.

I thought that populating all 4 DIMMs gave better performance for this chipset - I may be wrong. Although for the price, I don't really think I went wrong. Also, the 4x4 set has tighter CAS latency timings. Once again, a minor point, but if they are priced similarly, why not go for the better one?

The GTX680 version that I have will outperform a regular 670, even one that's overclocked. I bought it because I want to have the latest so that I can hang on to this build for a while. I can probably get some more longevity by using it in SLI mode later on to avoid building another system altogether.

For the power supply - again, if I plan to use it in SLI mode, then 750W is cutting it real tight. Even 850 is on the low end, but I've researched it and it can be done provided you don't have an insane amount of peripherals connected. Also, the HX850 has some solid reviews and I got it for a great deal. I haven't heard too much of XFX as a brand, but if their power supplies are manufactured by Seasonic (which I've heard), then I guess its pretty reliable too.

Cooling isn't much of an issue, I have some additional fans and good ambients to help. The 500R just doesn't look as good as the 600t in my opinion. Same with the Fractal.

Do you have any recommendations about peripherals, such as speaker systems, mice/keyboards, monitors?

Cheers, thanks for the advice/feedback!
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October 2, 2012 3:07:14 PM

1: the z77-v pro has the exact same bios lol. just not red
2:higher performing ram does nothing to increase performance. maybe 0.5%. not to mention running more dimms stresses the CPU more
3:cool but my 670 uses the same cooler as your OC 680. i have waaay more overclocking headroom since the 670 wont kick out as much heat. not to mention cards such as the msi power edition can overvolt, which will increase overclocking headroom some more
4:750w is no where cutting close. the 680s.670s in SLI will probably draw around 300w or so. add a ivy bridge at 4.5ghz would be around 400. no where close. that is assuming you will be running at 100% load which you never will

5: seasonic makes corsair power supplies. what do you think?

peripheral wise, id suggest this keyboard
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=71928

monitors, id suggest this
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=69432&vpn=PA238QR&man...
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October 2, 2012 3:45:30 PM

TheBigTroll said:
1: the z77-v pro has the exact same bios lol. just not red
2:higher performing ram does nothing to increase performance. maybe 0.5%. not to mention running more dimms stresses the CPU more
3:cool but my 670 uses the same cooler as your OC 680. i have waaay more overclocking headroom since the 670 wont kick out as much heat. not to mention cards such as the msi power edition can overvolt, which will increase overclocking headroom some more
4:750w is no where cutting close. the 680s.670s in SLI will probably draw around 300w or so. add a ivy bridge at 4.5ghz would be around 400. no where close. that is assuming you will be running at 100% load which you never will

5: seasonic makes corsair power supplies. what do you think?

peripheral wise, id suggest this keyboard
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=71928

monitors, id suggest this
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=69432&vpn=PA238QR&man...


1. Well, I already agreed with you here! C'mon - I bought it for the looks :p 
2. This 'stress,' you refer to, I doubt it's going to cause any real problems for my use of the system, right?
3. Sure, but overclocking your card will generate more heat than mine at the speeds that I have. To be honest, I was flipping between doing what you have, and getting the 680 - I ultimately just decided to get the 680 (but yes, I agree that saving an extra $70-100 could have been done here).
4. Under maximum load (for CPU and everything), and populating more than enough devices, I calculate around 820W. I'm not sure where you get 400W for a CPU overclock at 4.5Ghz. What voltage are you using to get that number? Yes, I guess if I was going to SLI I should have bought a 1kW supply just to be safe - but it can be done at 850 relatively safely. Not so much at 750W. Either way, I highly doubt I'll be maxing everything in any situation.

And I wasn't aware that Seasonic made the Corsair supples - good on them I guess :p 

Cheers
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October 2, 2012 4:17:01 PM

since when did you get 820w. wtf

2 680s will a max overclock @100% would only run you 400w. and im assuming you can get 1300mhz on that 680.

on my i7 3770k, im running it at 1.15v with 60c no problem on my d14 cooler. i have a 670 and my rig barely draws 240w under a gaming load
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October 2, 2012 5:20:10 PM

TheBigTroll said:
since when did you get 820w. wtf

2 680s will a max overclock @100% would only run you 400w. and im assuming you can get 1300mhz on that 680.

on my i7 3770k, im running it at 1.15v with 60c no problem on my d14 cooler. i have a 670 and my rig barely draws 240w under a gaming load


Oh, all right - I guess those power supply calculators aren't that reliable... I also have quite a few disk drives connected to my machine. Are you sure about those 680 numbers? They seem quite low for an overclock :p 

Those are some great numbers for your CPU. When my mounting kit arrives, I'll definitely try it out. You can get 4.5 GHz with only 1.15V? Have you tried pushing it to 4.8Ghz? If so, what voltage/temps were you seeing?
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October 2, 2012 5:28:32 PM

disk drives power consumption is negligible nowadays.

it takes 1.185v for me to reach 4.6ghz and then 1.25 to reach 4.7ghz. it takes like 1.4v for 4.8 which is not worth it at all. temps are still managable but i would have to risk damage for a little more performance

psu calculators are pretty useless. never give good estimates.
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October 5, 2012 7:33:14 AM

Best answer selected by evilqueens.
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