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 Builidng of a Dx11 machine

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Join date : 2009-07-22
Age : 45
Location : Zwolle, Netherlands

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PostSubject: Builidng of a Dx11 machine   Builidng of a Dx11 machine Icon_minitimeWed Dec 15, 2010 1:58 pm

(on special request of Æskarth)

Slight side step from the Hard ware corner.

With DX11 support looming on the horizon (Volume 3, Book 2) It was time to upgrade my beast of burden.

Used components:
[*] SilverStone's SST-FT02B
[*] Asus Maximus Formula Motherboard
[*] Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q9450
[*] 4x OCZ Gold XTC OCZ2G8002G 2GB DDR2-800 SDRAM
[*] 1x Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 750GB
[*] 2x OCZ-Agility 60GB SSD (installed in Raid0)
[*] Creative SB X-Fi Fatal1ty Sound Card
[*] Corsair HX650W Power Suply
[*] Asus Silent Knight CPU Cooler
[*] Asus ATI Radeon HD 5870 (Version 2)
[*] Toshiba-Samsung DVD+RW
[*] assorted bits and bobs

As I wanted a new GPU (Graphic Processor Unit) wich was DX11 ready there was only one choice for me. It had to be an ATI card because I personaly dont like Gforce cards anymore because the last one I had an 8800GTX crashed most of the time due to memmory problems (yay BSOD).

I first wanted to go for the 5850 but opted for the 5870 afterall.. The 5890 is just to overpriced and the gain from the 70 to the 90 is not that worth it IMO, and I dont see me using 2 monitors in the future anyway.

My former card was a 4870 wich is still the best single dx10 single GPU out there I think in terms of value for money.. Nvidea card's may be faster in most ocasions but as mentioned before the reliablity is something I dint have with em and their price is higher to.

The 4870 just barely fitted in my old Coolermaster Centurion 5 case. It is a briliant case, not expensive, good size and clean looks.
But with the 5870 there could be a problem on its length so it had to be replaced.
Also my TAGAN 500w PSU (Power Suply Unit) would maybe just handle it but with future in mind it got replaced by the Corsair HX650W.

Also I bought a Scythe Mugen SSD adapter to mount them in a normal 3.5" HD slot. (2.5" is tiney")

~The new aditions~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00312
*Note: The case is actualy on its side now, that box is HUGE, filled my car booth nicely.*

~Corsair HX650W and its contents~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00313d
The PSU comes with a nice velcro closed bag with the modular cables.
In this version the cables are flat but not wide. The cables that go to the main board and the CPU (central Processor Unit) Have been neetly sleeved.
I think Corsair could have taken the effort to do the same with the modular cables for a nicer look.

~Asus EAH5870~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00314p
Actualy this is Asus it's second version of the 5870.

This is their previous one.
Builidng of a Dx11 machine ATrHD5870_angle5_md-420-90

The version 2 has gotten a new cooling system and fan making it possible to tweak it up to 50% of its current speed. Also the power cord insert location has changed from the side to the back, wich IMO isnt the smartest thing they could have done.

This also means you need alot of room to fit the card. It needs a 6 pole and a 8 pole power PCE cable. An adapter is included along with the CrossFire bridge and DVI and Dsub adapters, Drivers and manual. No game inserted in this version, but who likes Dirt anyway Wink .

~Silverstone SST-FT02B~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00315f
The Case comes with a easy usable installation manual, SSD 2.5" cradle, watercoolent radiator installation brackets, PSU velcro strap and bracket, cable tie's, drive cable adapter and a bag with assorted bits and bobs.

The case is made from 4.5mm brushed aluminum unibody frame and a 0.8mm steel body and looks o so clean.. What I like on cases. No windows (optinal) no weird stuff like the Acer case or Alien ware ones that are out there.

Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00317

When you take the side covers of (wich have sound dampening on em wich can be found all over the case) you can emediatly see that the Fortress Series from Silverstone are not the standard run of the mail cases that are out there.

The main board direction has been turned 90degrees counter clock wise.
This has been done use natures way of removing hot air from the case.. Yes hot air rises up.
the back of the main board therefore is located at the top wich comes with a grilled cover plate wich is easely removed.
Cables run to the back through the hole.
If you use long cables or dongles or adapters for GPU's the top wont fit.

The case has 3 MASSIVE 180mm!!! cooler fans on the bottom, the back duo have been coverd with a screen to protect the blades from cables or other debrie that might come crashing down. They are all fitted withdust filter on the bottom that are easely removable for cleaning. Controll wires go up to the place where the top 120mm fan is located. The 3 bottom fans speed can be controlled there. (because of the price of the case you would have thinked that they would sleeve these little duo wire cables, somthing I will do myself in the future i gues).

The back of the case has a grill with removable dust cover for the PSU outlet.

There are 5 removable 3.5" HD bay's 1 is fitted with a ATA hot swap device (more are sold seperatly).And 5 5.25" bay's (4 with toolless device).
The top 5.25" is a bit of a problem as i tried to fit my DVD drive I couldnt fit the SATA and power cables because of the expansion slot bay. So I used the one below that with the toolless device.

On the top youll find your Power/reset button and blue led lights along with a closable slide underneath wich can be found the USB 2.0 (not 3.0 yet oh well) and a audio and mic jack.

Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00316

The bottom is part of the 1 piece aluminum (when the covers are in there only is a slit where the air is sucked in by the 3 bottom fans).
2 long rubber slabs are stuck to the bottom wich makes it that it will NEVER move anywhere (not tested in earthquakes). Because it will be on the floor underneath my desk and I have a laminated floor I attached 4 felt feet wich come from the local IKEA.. thats my bit of DIY done Very Happy . Now I can easely move it from underneath my desk to do maintenance and cleaning.

~comparing shot of my new and my old pc case.~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00318w
*note their backs are flushed so I won some length and height*

~The Old 4870 and the new 5870 from ASUS~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00319
*note the 4870 has been cleaned from most of the dust that it had collected, Always wise to open up your case and clean some of the dust at regular intervals. It will help dramaticly on cooling. But do it at your own risk, ask poeple how they do it when you dont know how. it's very easy to damage parts*

The new 5870's length would have wreaked havoc in my old case as can be seen in this shot.
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00268*note old pic before I had SSD's*

~All parts layed out~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00324c
All the old parts have been cleaned from dust and grime, The CPU has had it's old cooling paste removed and new added. Cleaning the PSU cooler from the dust was hell as I couldnt find my airgun and the spray cans I used only work for a minute until they freeze up. So I used the Big monkey head key (aka cotton swab) to finish the job.
*note the size of the SSD's compared to the RAM modules*

Because the SSD's are my main boot device in RAID0 I left their marked SATA cables inserted in the MB (main board) and marked the drives with a I and II so not to mix em up. I didnt know if it's needed to put em back in the same port but just in case.

~Instaling the PSU~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00325l
Installation of the PSU was very straightforward. The case lets you choose from 2 orientations. I installed mine so the fan would blow its hot air outside through the back side.
As can be seen in the picture the case can hold even longer PSU's in the future. The PSU is fastend by 4 screws at the top, a velcro strap that runs through the back plate and a little plastic support ledge screwed to the back plate (you can see by the screw holes how long the PSU may be).

~Optical drive~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00326
As mentioned before the Top slot didnt work. The toolless device has 2 metal pins that fall into the screw holes of the inserted device to fasten it.

~HD and SSD Installation~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00327

All five cages come with 4 rubber screw grommits to reduce vibrations of the HD's installed. This is my normal storage HD. I put in the hot swappable bay for ease of removing later when its filled with screenshots and movies.

Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00328
The SATA hot swap device, back view. Only one comes with the case but more can be bought if needed. Also the rubber screw grommits can be seen on the other tray's and also the sound reduction material on the inside front plate.

Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00329k

The 2 2.5" SSD drives fitted in the tray with help of the Scythe Mugen adapter. A hot swap device wouldnt work here as there are 2 drives in one bay.

~Main board installation~
Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00331

For the main board installation I only need to add 3 more stand off screws to the back plate. The back plate has a big hole in the back so that you do not need to remove the entire MB again if you want to replace the CPU cooler. Also there are big holes through wich you can route the cables. They could have given more room between the back plate and the side panel IMO as I had a hard job making the cables fit in. Wich is an extra handicap for the case being so long that some PSU cables are stretched to their limits.

Builidng of a Dx11 machine Snc00333
When everything is isntalled and the back cover reinstalled you can see the cramped space for the cable routing behind the back plate and also how long the 5870 realy is with its power cables. Also not ethat the fan covers are not their for the jus looking good part.

But all in all I'm very pleased with it all. Although packs a high price tag I think it was completly worth every €169,- of it. The case is probely the thing you use for a long time as you upgrade the inside and also because it sits in my living room it has to look good to while not grabbing to much attention. And it's very very silent. Only a more silent CPU cooler can make it more silent in the future or even liquid cooling.
*The 3 bottom fan's can be removed to fit the radiator for a liquid cooling device.*

Done.. geek
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PostSubject: Re: Builidng of a Dx11 machine   Builidng of a Dx11 machine Icon_minitimeWed Dec 15, 2010 2:30 pm

Mmm... Hardware...

I think I'll skip DX 11 and go for Windows 8 and DX 12. I bought my rig in January 2009. I got the HD 4870 at the moment and it is indeed awesome. Got the exact same PSU as you Marc. Your case looks nice and cool. I'm using the Antec P182 myself.

Minstrel Extraordinare and Connoisseur of Fine Foods!
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PostSubject: Re: Builidng of a Dx11 machine   Builidng of a Dx11 machine Icon_minitimeWed Dec 15, 2010 3:23 pm

Æskarth was asking about SSD's

Typicly what you want to do is look at your budget and split that in 2 and see what size SSD's you can get, 2 of the same size.

I looked at the 120GB one to but it was way more expensive and just as fast as a 60GB of the same brand. So I bought 2 60GB and put them in RAID0 so that doubles the size to 120GB and fastens read and write times.

You are looking for fast Read times on SSD's as you use em for your OS and maybe 2 to 3 games.

Boot up time to desktop idle state is 30-40secs with mine.

Remember to put your SSD's as first boot device, if you setup your optical drive to first position with it will drasticly slow down your boot up speed.

There is no need to defrag your SSD's but after you install them be sure to check the firmware installed is the latest from the factory.

When you see you drive space is filling up just go ahead and go to your windows directory and to your TEMP directory and delete its contents. (dont delete teh directory).
After that empty your trash bin.

All your music/pictures/movies and Pr0n you keep stored on a normal HDD in my case a 500GB. When thats full ill just buy a new one tehy are very cheap anyway.

When I download a movie I download it to the SSD and after watching it moves to the HDD. Same go's for all other stuff.

on my SSD's is now Windows 7 Premium eng, Lotro, Starcraft II, DirtII and Silent Hunter 5 (+ mods) and some bits and bobs and have about 28gb free wich is enough.

Load times in Lotro are halved wich is most apparent in load time from zone to zone and overall performance.

*this info might be bit dated with SataIII MB out there Maybe SSD's with SATAII ports have no or they might have advantage of this.
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PostSubject: Re: Builidng of a Dx11 machine   Builidng of a Dx11 machine Icon_minitimeThu Dec 16, 2010 10:59 am

Hey Marc,

Thank you very muych for your tips, very helpful indeed. I decided to go with on 60GB SSD for now, as I'm not ready to reinstall Windows to put it on an SSD yet (this will be next phase of my PC upgrade - switiching to Win7 and DX11 GPU). For now I got a new CPU - Intel i5 760, Asus P7P55D EVO motherboard and 8GB RAM. Together with my current GTX260 it should still be quite a nice setup. I'll put just LOTRO on the SSD for now, play with it a bit and test it.

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Is but a dream within a dream

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PostSubject: Re: Builidng of a Dx11 machine   Builidng of a Dx11 machine Icon_minitime

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