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 Post subject: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything special
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 2:20 pm 
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I've hinted & talked about it, so, I figured now is a good time to start sharing some photos of the new PC I'm putting together for Mothers Day...

Unfortunately, my idea to build a wooden case, not going to happen, not enough time to finish. So I had to go to Plan B on the case, Silverstone ML03B Micro-ATX case: Sorry about pic quality, forgot to swap to the better lens for these indoor shots.

Front of case, slick design with front mounted USB 3.0 ports.
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Rear of case:
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Currently sparse interior:
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A little RAM anyone:
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The ADATA (4GB DDR3-1600) was pulled from my gaming rig & will be used in this Mothers Day build. Replacing the ADATA from my rig is the other 4 DIMM's (4GB each) Patriot Viper Xtreme DDR3-2133.

OS & Scythe Big Shuriken low profile HSF
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I also added in the Retail Boxed Cooler from my AMD Llano A8-3870K APU for comparison sake. No way that little thing is going to keep 4 CPU cores plus one GPU core cool... The middle part only contacts part of the CPU cover.

Got the case, HSF, & OS today, would have put it all together, but the box is currently chewing on a nice big WU that should be worth about 9,000 points, didn't want to interrupt that...

More geek pR0n to follow :)


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 Post subject: Re: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything spe
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 4:55 am 
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Nice build. can't wait to see more g33k pr0n


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 Post subject: Re: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything spe
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 1:36 pm 
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Thanks to last night's Midnight showing of The Avengers, which I went & saw in RealD 3D. I didn't get much progress done on mom's new PC final build today before work. But finished up the WU's it was running & did a rough breakdown of the test setup.
Here's a size comparison of the 'huge' Antec Sonata II case Vs the SilverStone ML03B Micro-ATX case:
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AMD Llano A8-3870K APU:
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A shot of the new 120GB OCZ Agility 3 SATA III SSD & 750GB WD Caviar Black SATA II w/32MB cache hard drives installed, along with the processor freshly cleaned up & ready for installation. NOTE: removed the included rubber hard drive isolators and installed Antec Silicone isolators for mounting the HDD. A couple of reviews I've seen on the case noted that their HDD's shorted out using the stock isolators. My guess is they overtightened & drive body contacted case which wasn't properly grounded... but not taking any chances.
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A close-up of the front of the case to show detail:
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Motherboard with RAM installed:
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For those wondering, the little off-white circles to the right of the motherboard are Nylon Washers purchased from US Plastics. The big ones are for #8 screws & go on the top of the motherboard, the small ones are for #6 screws & were later super-glued to the motherboard standoffs in the ML03B case. This will ensure the motherboard is 100% electrically isolated from the case. Both sizes of washers are 0.032 inches (0.813mm) thick. Although I could get them from Lowes or Home Depot, the cost of a 100 count pack from US Plastics was about the same as the cost of a 5 count pack from Lowes or Home Depot.


Last edited by chaosdsm on Fri May 04, 2012 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything spe
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Looking good so far!


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 Post subject: Re: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything spe
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 2:06 pm 
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Final build post: (2nd try....)

Okay, it's all put together and running... Unfortunately, the drivers that seem to work best with this set of hardware are the Windows 8 Customer Preview Default drivers + Catalyst 12.3 display drivers... Under Win8 C.P. & that driver setup, FAH runs very consistently with the GPU client running 2,800 ppd, and the SMP client running work units with consistent frame times.

However, this is the 'final' build & is running Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit w/SP1. I've tried all different combinations of drivers, 100% Gigabyte supplied drivers, AMD Auto-Detect drivers, 12.3 Catalyst driver pack, 12.4 Catalyst driver pack. I guess my next step is to let Microsoft Update find & install drivers for me... FAH runs, but... GPU client refuses to fold... SMP client runs, but frame times are all over the place... from 2 1/2 min to 25 min per frame. WU's that ran flawlessly & consistently at 2 1/2 min per frame in Win8 C.P. with drivers as noted in first paragraph, but that also performed identically to my current situation when downloading & installing Catalyst 12.4 driver pack.

Anyway, it's up & running & folding away for now, I'll play with it some more this evening after I get back from my 2nd viewing of The Avengers - in IMAX-3D this time!!! I'll probably do a clean install without installing driver updates & let Microsoft Update find & install drivers that they think will work...

I played around with overclocking this APU, it goes nicely up to 3.2GHz, then not so nicely beyond that. So I figured, if it'll do 3.2GHz as is, I can drop the voltage & lower temps at stock speed. Dropped CPU voltage from 1.387V to 1.362V, FAH temps dropped 2C, and computer power usage dropped from 122W to 118W.

Oh, and I had to void the warranty on my RAM... Damned heat-spreaders were too tall to use with the Scythe, so I had to pull the spreaders off & put shorter ones on. If only there were one more payday before Mothers Day :( However, this should not present any problems. The RAM is rated to run at DDR3-1600 @ 1.65V with Latency timings of 9-9-9-24. It will be ran at DDR3-1333 @ 1.5V with Latency timings of 11-11-11-28 (Auto setting in BIOS), so it shouldn't need those huge heat spreaders anyway, plus the 140mm fan on order will be blowing air directly onto the ram to aid in cooling.

Also had to remove one of the two Steel support bars from the case. Silverstone thought it was a good idea to place one of them directly across the path of the CPU HSF. This was fine for the stock fan on the Scythe Big Shuriken, but that fan sucked big-time, temps while folding at 3GHz were a whopping 75C with the stock 10mm thick fan. In order to mount a 25mm fan, I had to remove the support bar. It's not going to be going back & forth between LAN parties, so it should be fine without it, but an extra 1/4 in case height would have fixed that problem...

So on to the pr0n:

Case opened & running:
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Very tight fit... No room or space for any decent cable management :( Really need to have a customized PSU with shortened cables. Fortunately, I have the NeoHE with modularized cables, but it still has a lot of extra length in the cables that are there. Unfortunately, with no top/bottom fan on the NeoHE, hiding the cables under the Optical drive causes the PSU to get VERY hot as they block the airflow through the PSU. so I had to stuff them beside the CPU HSF.

Could also use two 6 inch and one 8 inch SATA cables to help cut down the clutter.

And did I mention it was a tight fit....
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If either the PSU or Optical drive were just 1mm longer, it wouldn't have fit. As is, the SATA power & data cables on the optical drive are pressed into the back of the PSU, and I had to force the optical drive in by about 1/2mm to get the mounting screws in place.

It's nice that the case has a top air vent, but IMO, it could stand to be about 30% larger.
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Here it is all closed up & 'ready for delivery'
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I'll replace the Plextor with my current LG Blu-Ray burner next pay-day when I upgrade my PC with LG's new 14X Blu-Ray burner. The Plextor's more or less just a place holder right now. Although it's a "burner", it can only read CD's & DVD's, & only does that some of the time. Had to Install Windows from USB Compact Flash disk.

Final thought.... The case looks great, but IMO, it's a nightmare to work with. Everything is so cramped, and needlessly so. Case dimensions: 4.13"H x 17.32" W x 13.39" D Compare that to say a Harmon Kardon AVR3650 A/V Receiver at 6.5" H x 17.32" W x 17.125" D, and you can easily see that SilverStone could easily add more space to this case & it would still be right at home in any home entertainment center.

SilverStone also could have alleviated some of the hastle with a properly designed drive carrier. By recessing the 2.5" mount by 1/2 inch into the plastic carrier, my 3.5" full sized hard drive could have been mounted on top of the drive carrier. This would have freed up the space underneath the optical drive to tuck away the excess cable lengths and made for a much nicer looking build. But with the way it's currently designed, I would have to use custom made spacers to mounta 3.5" HDD above the 2.5" SSD, & then I wouldn't be able to put the cover on cause the HDD would stick up to high :(

Final Build Specs:
Case: SilverStone ML03B
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-A75M-D2H
Processor: AMD Llano A8-3870K APU
Graphics: Radeon 6550 integrated on APU
CPU Cooler: Scythe Big Shuriken low-profile
CPU HSF Fan: XIGMATEK XAF-F1451 140mm Case Fan
RAM: 4GB DDR3-1600 (for some reason only running single channel mode - only 2 RAM slots - working with Gigabyte on the issue)
Optical Drive: LG 10x Blu-Ray Burner
OS Drive: OCZ Agility 3 SATA III 120GB SSD (HDD is just too sluggish...)
Data Drive: Western Digital SATA II 750GB w/32MB cache
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit w/SP1 (32bit for full compatibility with current peripherals)

Final Build Cost: $559.53 Includes shipping, does not count mail-in-rebates - parts purchased over 3 month span.


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 Post subject: Re: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything spe
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 8:27 pm 
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Mission accomplished!

Mom was completely surprised & shocked & happy, even though things didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped for...

First off, her monitor would only work on DVI connection with DVI Dual Link enabled in BIOS. Unfortunately, with DVI Dual Link enabled, Windows could only run the monitor at 640x480 & would not properly find & identify the monitor so it only offers up 640x480. With DVI Dual Link disabled, I can only use the D-Sub connector, but at least with the D-Sub, Windows properly finds & identifies the monitor & lists all available modes.

Then her internet connection sucks... she uses Dish Network satellite internet & it maxes at 68KB per sec downloads, so trying to download different drivers (trying to fix the Dual-Link res issue) was painfully slow. Fortunately, everything else was already updated.

File transfer & every thing else was a breeze. All total, took about 3 hours including the trip back home to grab a D-Sub cable.

Old Vs New...
Idle: 110 Watts -Vs- 56 Watts (Old PC = stock, new PC has CPU voltage cut from 1.387V to 1.337V)
Load: 228 Watts -Vs- 150 Watts (Old PC = stock, new PC has CPU voltage cut from 1.387V to 1.337V - Load wattage measured running Furmark 720p benchmark on GPU + Super Pi 32M calculation on CPU)
CPU: Athlon 64 3200+ Single Core 2GHz -Vs- A8-3870K Quad-Core 3GHz
GPU: Radeon HD4850 -Vs- Radeon 6550 (integrated on APU)
PSU: Antec Neo HE 550 Watt -Vs- Antec Neo HE 550 Watt (yes I have 2 of these PSU's)
OS drive: WD Caviar SATA I 80GB HDD -Vs- OCZ Agility 3 SATA III 120GB SSD
Storage Drive: WD Caviar SATA I 160GB HDD -Vs- WD Caviar Black SATA II 750GB HDD
OS: Windows XP Home w/SP3 -Vs- Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit w/SP1
Start-up Time (averaged over 5 cold starts): 76sec -Vs- 42sec
SATA controller: SATA 1.5G -Vs- SATA 6.0G

I thought I had a Maxtor Maxline III 1st generation SATA II drive as the OS drive, & a WD Black 750GB SATA II drive as the storage drive in her old PC. Guess I never got around to that planned upgrade for her. Of course that means the overall increase in speed should be a little easier to notice. It also means that I have 2 more HDD's laying around somewhere that I need to find.


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 Post subject: Re: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything spe
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 5:59 am 
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Nice! Your mom is lucky!
My son had a case like that but Cooler master; it got really hot.


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 Post subject: Re: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything spe
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Very cool! 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything spe
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:28 am 
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I noticed that her old system had a 4850 gfx card, which is what I have. I'm considering a similar proc/mobo combo to this build, and I'm curious how much of an improvement the on-die gfx are vs. the discrete 4850? Great build btw!


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 Post subject: Re: Mothers Day Comming up... anyone else doing anything spe
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:03 pm 
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kensb2 wrote:
I noticed that her old system had a 4850 gfx card, which is what I have. I'm considering a similar proc/mobo combo to this build, and I'm curious how much of an improvement the on-die gfx are vs. the discrete 4850? Great build btw!


I didn't really test the graphics beyond giving the Diablo III Beta a whirl so I really couldn't say for sure, but checking 3D Mark Vantage Performance: http://3dmark.com/compare/3dmv/3847082/3dmv/3782756 it looks like the 4850 is still a better card for gaming, getting up to about 25% better performance, but the IGP uses way less power, and overclocked on an ASUS F1 motherboard could close that gap to within a couple percent.

BTW, the upcomming A10-5800K APU with its integrated 7660D graphics will be at least on par with if not slightly faster than the 4850, while using the same amount of power as the A8-3870K :shock: If ASUS or anyone else adds the same GPU overclocking ability to their FM2 boards, that ASUS added to their F1 series FM1 boards, then we could be looking at the first real high res gaming capable IGP. Toms Hardware just did a review of the upcomming Trinity platform last Thursday including some limited gaming benchmarks at 1920x1080.


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