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Thread: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

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    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    to start with sorry if this is in the wrong place, I just cannot figure out which section of our new forum layout this should be in.

    For those who didn't read my other thread, both my msi p55-gd65 motherboard and i5 750 cpu died.
    And as these are basically already EOL, so finding replacements wouldn't be easy or cheap, I couldn't afford to upgrade to a good z68 motherboard and i5 2500k, so instead I've gone for a sidewaysgrade to an AMD PhenomII x4 955 and Asus M5A99X EVO motherboard.

    This is going to be a thread to show my general findings on this new kit.

    To start with here's what I was using as a stop gap measure.


    A Zotac 9300 mini-ITX motherboard + Core2Duo e7200 + 1gb OCZ reaper 800mhz DDR2 ram
    Boy does a mitx motherboard inside my casecom 6788 look silly.
    The top fan is currently ontop of the case because I was originally planning to fit a Scythe Mine cpu cooler instead of the stock cooler and the fan was in the way, so I moved that to the outside only to then discover that the tall reaper ram wouldn't fit, it would of fit in the 2nd slot however the 2nd slot is burnt out (due to a watercooling leak which is why I've got this board, should also mention that only 3 usb ports on it work)

    First observation, only having only 1gb of ram is very noticeable on windows XP pro SP3, also not helped by having to drop the hard drives down to IDE mode from AHCI mode.

    First up we have the Asus M5A99X EVO motherboard I'm not going to bother with unboxing shots all all the bits that come with it, I'm sure you've seen all that before.

    Damn but this is a fine looking bit of kit
    It's well built, lovely VRM units, the capacitors are so shiny it looks like they are nickel plated, the PCB is a lovely solid black (many boards like my old p55-gd65 are dark brown not black because the dye used in not as opaque so the copper inside it makes it brown not black)
    The heat sinks are interesting, blue anodised aluminium, quite large and chunky (what happened to thinner but more fins for greater surface area?) but the real strange bit is that the northbridge heatsink is held in by sprung screws, it's connected to the VRM heatsink by a heat pipe and yet the VRM heatsink is only held in by plastic push pins.
    As both heatsinks are solidly connected together by the heatpipe I would of thought that screwing in both would of made more sense.
    I like the PCI-e x16 card locks, the mechanism works by pushing down on the end tab, which can be worked from ether of a card side due to the shape.
    I'm undecided about the single clip ram slots, they do seem to hold the ram in place, however there's no real indication to if the ram is locked in on the non-clip end, it would be good in situations where the ram slots are close to the pci-e slot but they are not on this board, so dual clips would of been fine.
    My only slight niggles at this point is that there's no "power on" micro switch on the board (I don't care about reset much and prefer clearCMOS as a jumper so you cannot accidently push it but a power button is useful) and that they've not used the little black plastic mounts on them
    eg
    Granted they don't add anything much, just hold the capacitors neatly in place and make it that little bit harder to snap one off, still it would of been a nice addition.

    Now while I said I'm not going to show you all the stuff that came with this board there are a couple of bit I want to show off.


    Number1 The Q-Shield, it's the top one, the one below is a standard IO Shield, as you can see the normal IO shield has lots of bits of bent metal sticking out, in a mid tower where space can be a bit tight these tabs can really get in the way at times.
    The Q-Shield uses a foam backing wrapped in foil instead, so no tab's to get the ports caught on, why Asus only supplies these on their high end boards and not the cheaper ones I just don't know.


    Number2 The Sata cables, it comes with 4 sata cables, locking connectors and one end right angled.
    Overall nothing special but the white and black colour scheme on them is just lovely

    On with mounting my Coolermaster Hyper 212+ cooler.
    Now quite a few people have complained about how hard it is to mount this, that I've always found odd because I've never had an issue with it, esp the back plate.

    I suspect it might be down to an easily overlooked thing.

    Here is one of the stand off screws, notice that there's a sort of chunk missing to the thread as if someone has sawn off the edge of the screw.
    This gives the screws a sort of D shaped cross section.


    Now look at the holes on the back plate and you'll see they are also D shaped, if you align the screws correctly they just drop through with ease, if the screw is incorrectly aligned it will just jam and not drop through.


    So in about 5min and without any issue my cooler is fitted, with two Akasa Apache fans in pushpull.
    I always fit my cooler outside the motherboard, esp on a smaller case as it's much easier to get to it.
    One thing I will note is that the AM3+ socket sits more proud from the board that the socket 1156 as it was a little more tricky to get the cross bar screwed in and it's holding the cooler more tightly in place (I actually added a washer between the cooler and crossbar on my socket 1156 to hold it that bit tighter)
    So it does look like the mounting system works better on AMD than Intel (although I've not tested it on socket 775 or 1366)

    I moved my top case fan back inside and tried to fit the motherboard, this is a bit of a tricky thing to do in the casecom 6788 as there's not much space and no cable routeing hole at the top of the motherboard, I have cut a hole in it myself but it's a bit small and I should of made it bigger.
    With the addition of a 2nd cooler fan and a Y splatter PWM cable (so both fans are PWM controlled off the cpu fan header) ontop of the small space it makes things tricky.
    What I have to do is place the motherboard inside the case but not screw it down, just rest it on the standoffs but slightly lower than where it should be to give me that little extra space to get cables through the hole and plugged in and then align up and screw down the motherboard.

    This is where I hit a major issue with this board and this case.

    The position of the EPS connector means this board will just not fit if there's a fan on the top slot.
    So I had to take the motherboard out so I could remove the fan and screw it onto the top of the case instead.

    Which I did and got the motherboard back in, plugged in and screwed down

    And then I realised I'd put the top fan on the wrong way around (intake instead of exhaust)
    So I had to take it all apart again.

    With that issue sorted I got on and rebuilt the rest

    All done cables fairly neatly tucked away, cabling with an enermax non-modular psu in a casecom 6788 is not an easy thing to do, took me a couple of tries to get it.


    Round the back it's better than it was before, still not ideal, there's not enough space behind the motherboard tray for the fat cables of the enermax PSU, however I don't need push down on the panel to get it back on, so it's better than it was before.

    My corsair Vengence ram fit easily into ether set of ram slots, the hyper 212+ doesn't block any slots,
    I've just used the blue slots as that's the advised slots in the manual.




    Ether Theodor doesn't think much of my cabling efforts or he's disapproving of the mess of parts I made on the floor, probably both.

  2. Received thanks from:

    amjedm (29-10-2011),Behemoth (30-10-2011),CAT-THE-FIFTH (29-10-2011),jackvdbuk (31-10-2011),kalniel (29-10-2011)

  3. #2
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    Nice!!

    It will be great to see your overclocking results too!


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    to start with sorry if this is in the wrong place, I just cannot figure out which section of our new forum layout this should be in.
    We like to give you a choice! With a builder of your calibre, critique my rig is not really the one, perhaps modding? But I'm happy for it to be here if you are! (But I'm not starting a sidegrading forum! )

    Nice cat though, surely not the fifth....
    (\__/)
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    • amjedm's system
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    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    Lovely catty

    Didn't the Enermax modular you recently bought off the forums have enough power for this rig?

  6. #5
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    • Pob255's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X EVO
      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
      • Storage:
      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus GTX560ti CuII
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      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
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      • Operating System:
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    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    I'm still running through all the windows update atm, doing a repair dropped me back to sp2
    I'll run it at stock for a while before I start looking at overclocking, but the overclocking options this board give me are massive, from changing the multipliers on each core individually all the way to voltage controls on the VRM.
    I'll probably give the asus auto overclocking a go too.

    @amjedm, I wanted the low wattage modular psu for my otherhalf's pc, she's currently using my old 700w OCZ gamextreme which is massive overkill for a e6600 and a 5450 and not very efficient.

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    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    Nicely done, and I like the cat

  8. #7
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    • Pob255's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X EVO
      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
      • Storage:
      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus GTX560ti CuII
      • PSU:
      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
      • HAF 912+
      • Operating System:
      • W7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 21" ips something

    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    One thing I've noticed is that Asus's AI suite 2 is really baggy, it's made up of 11 different exe's that run at startup for a total of 101,644K of ram

    Something that's odd at first my cpu wasn't slowing down at idle, os I open up the ai suite and checked the EPU mode, changed it from high performance to Auto and now my cpu drops down to 800mhz when idle.
    I changed it back to high performance but it's still dropping the cpu to 800mhz at idle.
    Going to have to do a lot of digging in the BIOS and AI suit to figure this all out.

    Currently according to AI suite at idle Vcore is 1.02v, cpu using 55.33watts, temperature is 31c and the cpu fans are running at 522 and 654 rpms

    EDIT:Just did a quick test with Prime95, after 12min cpu was at 100% load all 4 cores, 3,210mhz (200.7 x16), Vcore was fluctuating between 1.344-1.356v, cpu wattage 58.23, temperature was 44c, fan 1 was 517rpm fan 2 was 713rpm
    The fan speed going down is very wrong there so I need to look into that, I noticed a slight change in pitch but no real noise increase so the 2nd number sounds accurate.

    Oh and the motherboard temperature reading is a solid 28c underload or idle.
    Need to look at that fan before I put this through a long test.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    • Pob255's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X EVO
      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
      • Storage:
      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus GTX560ti CuII
      • PSU:
      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
      • HAF 912+
      • Operating System:
      • W7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 21" ips something

    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    Ok I've done some messing about with my fans.

    Tip for the day and note to self, don't play around with fan connectors (ie plugging and unpluging) while the pc is on, I semi-melted the insulation and parts of the cable sleeving on one end of the pwm splitter cable.
    What happened is that the cable is a Z shape, so the two PWM sockets go into one PWM plug, but only one of the PWM socket has a fan speed monitor wire, the other PWM socket has a 2nd 3pin wire leading off it which carries it's speed monitor wire to the 3pin head, but it also has a power wire, I unplugged this cable to see if the power was effecting the speed (wondering if the motherboard was also dropping the voltages) it didn't effect the speed, so I tried to plug it back in.
    However I didn't do it very smoothly and caused a brief short, the 12v wire overheated and a load of smoke came off it. I cut open the damaged sleeving to find the insulation on the 12v wire was bubbled and lumpy
    Luckily it hadn't burnt through and the header and fan are fine, so for safety I've cut the wire at both ends so there's now only the earth and rpm monitor cable to the 3pin.

    Now the reason I was doing some testing was that I'm getting odd numbers from my two apache fans, (I was getting them before I started messing about so it's not that)
    When run at default 12v both run at just over 1300rpm, however if I run them at 50% via the PWM (I tested both by directly plugging the fan into the motherboard cpu header., not via the splitter)
    One of the fans runs at 1132rpm and the other runs at 615rpm.
    Drop them down to 30% PWM and one runs at 932rpm the other runs at 525rpm
    Drop them down to 20% PWM 795rpm and 517rpm
    Drop them down to 10% PWM 614rpm and 517rpm

    Very odd. I've moved them about so now the faster fan is the push fan and the slower is the pull fan.

    So here's some updated numbers, using a custom PWM profile, min 20%@28c, 50%@43c, max 100%@60c

    Idel, cpu 31c, Motherboard 28c, fan1 865rpm, fan2 517rpm, PWM 26%
    Load, (I need to run the test, check back in an hour )
    EDIT: 30min of Prime95 Blend stress test later
    Load, cpu 43c, motherboard 29c, fan1 1142rpm, fan2 671rpm, PWM 50%

    And still very quiet

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    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    With that issue sorted I got on and rebuilt the rest

    All done cables fairly neatly tucked away, cabling with an enermax non-modular psu in a casecom 6788 is not an easy thing to do, took me a couple of tries to get it.
    Looking good

    I've read online that coolers with heatpipes perform better with the pipes horizontal (maybe due to the fans blowing hot air up and out of the case, maybe due to the liquid in the heatpipes not being wicked up against gravity) - I've also got a 212+ and did notice a 2-3 degree difference after rotating it, but that could just be down to human error (paste applied better etc).

    Still, it might be worth rotating your heatsink 90 degrees to see if there's any difference?

  11. #10
    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    The Q-Shield uses a foam backing wrapped in foil instead, so no tab's to get the ports caught on, why Asus only supplies these on their high end boards and not the cheaper ones I just don't know.
    I've had Q-Shields with every ASUS mobo I've bought recently - does that mean I only buy high end boards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    Ether Theodor doesn't think much of my cabling efforts or he's disapproving of the mess of parts I made on the floor, probably both.
    He's a cat - he dissaproves of anything you do that doesn't involve scritching him or feeding him. Silly human

  12. #11
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    • Pob255's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X EVO
      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
      • Storage:
      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus GTX560ti CuII
      • PSU:
      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
      • HAF 912+
      • Operating System:
      • W7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 21" ips something

    Re: Pob's sidewaysgrade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bagnaj97 View Post
    Looking good

    I've read online that coolers with heatpipes perform better with the pipes horizontal (maybe due to the fans blowing hot air up and out of the case, maybe due to the liquid in the heatpipes not being wicked up against gravity) - I've also got a 212+ and did notice a 2-3 degree difference after rotating it, but that could just be down to human error (paste applied better etc).

    Still, it might be worth rotating your heatsink 90 degrees to see if there's any difference?
    Well it shouldn't do, a heat pipe shouldn't have enough liquid in it for gravity to have any noticeable effect, the liquid is drawn back to the hot end purely by capillary action ether by wick or grooves or copper powder bonded into the side of the pipe.
    it was the older vapor chamber heatsinks like the Asetek vapochill http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Cases-a...e-Heatsink-Fan that where dependent on gravity so had to be mounted in the correction direction.
    Although I'd not rule out heatpipes having too much liquid in them which would make them effected by gravity.

    Must say the Apache fans are much better than the coolermaster blade master fan that came with it, although I've changed too many variables to say 100%, I still think the Apache is the best PWM fan I've looked at/used.

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    He's a cat - he dissaproves of anything you do that doesn't involve scritching him or feeding him. Silly human
    lol, he gives disapproving looks but stoically puts up with almost everything including fuss even on the rare occasions he come to sit on your lap for fuss.
    The only time he doesn't act disapproving is when you're cooking or eating and then he just stares at the food.
    I've discovered that by slowly moving a fork over the top of him I can make him fall over backwards. funny thing is he was brought up with puppies so has picked up many dog traits.

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