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Thread: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

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    A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    Hi all,
    I built my computer earlier this year using a guide that Cat provided (modified for parts that I could easily get hold of in France) and have been very pleased with it. However, it's coming up to my birthday and a bit of extra long term performance would be nice. I currently have:
    - unlocked Athlon II x3 450 (stock)
    - Asrock m3a79gxh/128m
    - Corsair CX600
    - 1GB HD 6850
    - 4GB of 1600 G.Skill Ripjaws ram.

    All in a modified Advance redboost case (the fan on the side didn't fit with my (un)reasonably tall cpu cooler (CM TX3) so it's now attached to the side of the case and looks like a wierd ufo landing beacon ^^)

    I initially thought to ask for a second 6850 and build a crossfire setup, however I came to the conclusion that I might be a bit cpu bound (I play civ V and Shogun 2, with a dash of Crysis 2 and COD6 from time to time). I also use this computer to do math calculations in c++ and fortran under linux (searching for the great prime number problem xD), so I thought some extra cpu might help here, however with the mobo I ended up with there is no way for me to upgrade to a more modern architecture meaning I would have to wait for bulldozer or go SB (both of which require new mobos)

    The other upgrade idea I had was an SSD, I don't have sata III so I'm unsure as thow worth it is.

    Any advice on the above points/upgrades (which'd be best etc...) would be greatly appreaciated

    ---------------------------End of upgrades section

    Problems section:
    I have 2 little niggles with my setup, both of which seem to be mobo related:
    The first is my ram, I bought 1600 ram and have ended up running it at 1333, the mobo says that it supports 1600 but as an overclock, so when I manually increase the ram speed and set the right timings, I get an unstable system under gaming load, not however under a prime95 blend load :S
    When I saw this idecided that it was probably a good idea to up the voltage, so I dug into the bios and have not been able to find a single mention of ram voltage >.> (is this something to do with ganged/unganged memory?)
    The ram is G.Skill Ripjaws.X F3-12800CL9-2GBRL, so it should be decent quality....

    My other little problem relates to noise, which I'll split into 2 categories:

    The first should be easy, excess fan noise in particular from my intake fan. Before I updated the bios I was able to adjust this speed untill it was nice and quiet using speedfan, now I can't change any fan speed, even the PWM fan on my prcessor. Do I just need to invest in some zalman fanmates?

    Second part is only minor, when the computer is off the psu constantly emits a high pitched buzzing (shouldn't be anything to do with caps, this noise never occurs under load, even furmark and prime95 at the same time). The issue seems to be, once again related to the mobo because playing with the other cable doesn't affect the noise, but as soon I remove the 24-pin it goes dead silent. (this isn't a major issue, I have just taken to switching the psu off at night, but it'd be nice to have a proper fix)

    Well that seems like more than enough words on my part. If anybody can help with any of my problems or give advice relating to the upgrades I'd be very grateful.
    Many thanks,
    Chris

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    For fan noise try mounting them with rubber washers, this reduces the noise that you mention, i got a corsair force 3 ssd, they reduce your load speed by a third, as my system specs are

    intel i7 2600k, gigabyte ud7z68, ati 6990, corsair ax850, corsair force 3 ssd 120gb, corsair xms3 8 gig ram, 1600mhz, samsung spinpoint f3 1tb, western digital caviar black 1 tb sata 3.

    Your cpu can be a limited factor, in framerates, anything over 30fps is ok, but that depends on frame rate resolution, i was waiting for bulldozer i guess i took the plunge for intel, due to the delays to bulldozer.

    i guess you can upgrade your cpu to a phenom 2 but the intel ones especially sandybridge will still be faster, have you checked your wiring, it looks to me something is touching bare metal

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    Thanks for the reply, that's quite a setup you've got there!
    One of my main queries with regards to processors is whether a phenom II would be a worthwile upgrade or if saving and waiting would be better, probably the latter, with a z68 ivy bridge compatible mobo would be a better use of funds.

    I had a few rubber washers kicking around that I fitted to the intake fan wich reduced the noise a fair amount, good idea, the fan came fitted to the case so I didn't think to do that, which is stupid really when I did it in a rig that I built for a friend. It is however still irritating that I can't change the speed in either the bios or speedfan.

    I game at 1920*1080 so that cpu will do for the moment and I expect that I'll probably upgrade to SB or bulldozer in the future (it's just a shame that I can't get it to OC in a stable manner). I'll alos probably look at moving from an atx tower on the floor to a µatx or itx desk rig at the same time (due to dust issues).

    I have heard mentions of mobos that should be mounted on rubber insulators, neither my case or mobo came with any and my local-ish computer shop said that none should be required on modern mobos because none of the tracks get too close to the screw holes. However I'd be grateful to get a second opinion here.

    If anybody has an idea about the ram I'd be very grateful to hear it.
    Thanks
    Chris

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobley View Post
    I have heard mentions of mobos that should be mounted on rubber insulators, neither my case or mobo came with any and my local-ish computer shop said that none should be required on modern mobos because none of the tracks get too close to the screw holes. However I'd be grateful to get a second opinion here.
    I've built more PC's than I care to remember and taken about as many made by other people, never seen or used rubber insulators for the motherboard. Just not needed. Maybe on something bespoke or specialist but ATX(and variants) boards are designed to just screw right to the mounts.

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    Many years ago motherboards used washers to isolate them (not rubber, they are red and made from cotton if I remember correctly.)
    They are not really needed and aren't used any more
    They where right pains to use too as you had to have one on each side of the board, trying to get them to stay in place was a

    Personally in terms of fan controller I'd get a 3.5" bay fan controller eg http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000OGZ92...A3P5ROKL5A1OLE
    I never use speedfan as that has a habit of messing other fan speed controls and you'll need to uninstall it to clear it and stop it interfering

    just had a quick look at the manual
    in the Chipset Configuration you should have the DRAM voltage setting
    in the memory configuration you should have the speed option of 800mhz (ddr3 is doubled so it is 1600mhz)

    for anti-vibration washers are not great you really want gromits and enlarged holes, with washers the fan is still in contact with the case via the screws.
    The one thing washers do is lift the fan slightly away from the grill/vent, as it's often added noise from the air moving through the vent that's causing the issue.
    moving the fan away from the vent slightly helps even out the air flow so you don't get such a volume going through only a few holes.

    However I much prefer rubber fan plugs
    eg

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    In speedfan you'll probably need to double check your settings. Either you've missed a checkbox somewhere or you'll need to play around with your pwm settings in the advanced tab for the motherboard. I've had various issues with a few motherboards and speedfan and its almost always been a missed or weird setting somewhere.

    For your upgrade, I would either wait for bulldozer to be released and prices to drop or buy second hand, I wouldn't waste too much buying new just now.

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    Thanks very much everyone. I have a few things to try now, I should be able to test them tuis afternoon and will get back to you, the last question before I stop bothering you kind people is the one about the power supply.

    When the computer's off it makes a high pitched hum/whistle which lasts all night. This noise hoes away however when the computer is on. It's not a major problem but it'd be nice to have something to try.

    Once again, many thanks for all your respnoses
    Chris

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    Got my RAM runing at 1600 at 1.6V now. It all seems to be stable, and I shall report back in the case of any issues.
    I'll also look at getting a fan speed controller online or at my local computer shop when I next have chance to go. I think I prefer the idea to speed fan which after a good 2 hours playing with settings won't change speeds, whereas before I updated my bios it changed them with no fiddling in the settings.

    If i wanted to change the fans that where fitted on my case when I got it, what makes would you reccomend. WHen I built a high-end computer for a friend recently I put in CM Excaliburs but at 15€ a pop they seem quite dear, also with regards to fans would it be worth changing the CM fan (92mm) that came with my CM TX3 with a better quality one?

    My one last question is about crossfire vs single card. Will I be better getting a second 6850 or a single 6950/560ti/570?

    Thanks all

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobley View Post
    My one last question is about crossfire vs single card. Will I be better getting a second 6850 or a single 6950/560ti/570?

    Thanks all
    If this months report from a rival publication is anything to go by it's single gpu all the way! Better driver support and should work in all games, not to mention much simpler to power
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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    What resolution do you play games at??

    Have you tried core unlocking and/or overclocking the CPU? A fair number of Athlon II X3 CPUs unlock to Athlon II X4 or Phenom II X4 CPUs.

    Bulldozer is being released in September and I suspect over the next month or two the Phenom II X4 and Phenom II X6 will drop even further in price.

    Regarding the PSU,AFAIK someone else on this forum had the same issue with one of the new CX series PSUs. They do use sleeve bearing fans and cheaper capacitors so perhaps it might be worth checking if your unit has a fault.


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    I game at 1920*1080 and find this card to be quite capable, but it's also an integral part of my maths processing (lots and lots of simple vector calculations).

    The cpu is unlocked but I can't get it to overclock, even at 3.3GHz with increased voltage it becomes unstable.

    Im almost 100% sure that the psu problem isn't cap related because with a friend we put 650W of load without an issu and the humming only occurs when the computer is completely off. I happened to notice last night that this may be realted to the USB ports on the mobo as when I left my bluetooth adaptor plugged in the light kept flashing and the psu hum/whistle change tone in sync with the light turning on and off (light on - F/G6, light off - A6).

    With regards to bulldozer , it would probably be a good idea to upgrade then and, I might even (hopefully) be able to pick up a second hand X6 from somebody who's gone to bulldozer. However since I might go µatx or ITX it might be a good time to change platforms, ill give this one a bit of thought, but would welcome any comments on the various mobo formats

    I'd just like to make a point of thanking you CAT-THE-FIFTH for your 500 pound build that you created and discussed earlier this year, it helped a lot.

    Thanks to everyone who's been helping me in this thread, it's the sort of info I'd struggle to obtain otherwise (the french just aren't as computer minded as we are and I've never heard of anyone else building their own, but that may just be due to living in very much a peasant farming region xD)

    Chris

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    Re: A few upgrade options and a few issues...

    I just did a search on that CX600 problem and it sounds like it could be similar however I do know that the earth it's connected to isn't great, more investigation will insue...

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