Roguey's blog

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Order of 10: Origins Sweepstakes winner?

Posted by Roguey on Saturday 1st October, 2016 · Comment 0 comments

A month ago nvidia ran a competition where you had to solve a series of daily puzzles. In-return you were to be entered into a free-prize draw to win a range of things, including a pc, graphics cards (1070/1080's) and a couple of games. I solved each puzzle but didnt expect to hear anything again - the chances of winning these things is astronomically small but might as well give it ago eh? someone has to win, right?

I was contacted on Friday 2nd September 2016 to say I had won fourth prize;

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However to this day (1st October) I havnt been contacted about the prize (a month later). I know its not that big of deal in the grand-scheme of things, but still it would of been nice. Ill update this post should anything change in the future.

[Update - 14th Oct] I have now posted onto nvidia UK Facebook page to see if I get any response Cry

[Update - 20th Oct] I have finally received my code 7 weeks after being told I had won a code. Thanks nvidia.

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Going 7 meters with 4:4:4 / 4k@60hz

Posted by Roguey on Sunday 14th August, 2016 · Comment 0 comments

Over the past week or so, I have been looking into a HDMI cable for 4:4:4 / 4k@60hz with a length of around 6+ meters. I know that over 5 meters is pushing it somewhat; but in my situation I required a longer cable. The first cable I tried was with a standard HDMI cable from ebay (which I found out later was 30AWG). This cable had problems with anything higher than 4:2:0 - every 5-10 seconds the picture would cut-out and it would have corruption (a series of green dots). I also had the 5 meter version of the same cable, which did work without a problem oddly (at 4:4:4, 4:2:2 or RGB). I did try and add a picture here but its hard to show you random flashing pixels on a screen.

So I had a look around the net, there seem to be two popular choices; IBRA High Speed PRO or a Kabeldirekt. At a push I could get my cable length down to 6 meters, but would mean things were a bit tight. So I had a good look through the reviews on Amazon for both cables. There were few people who said both cables struggled doing 4:4:4 at 4k@60fps even with a 5 meter cable. I was willing to try a 6m Kabeldirekt cable because I thought if 5 meters could work correctly, surely one extra meter should work correctly? So an little time ago an order was placed with Amazon. However 3+ days later, and it wasn't dispatched (since we aren't Amazon Prime customers). So it was cancelled, even if Amazon dispatch there would be at-least another 2+days for second class post. Waiting 7-10 days for one cable was getting ridiculous.

I did some more research; looking at cables costing any-where between £5-100's. However even the most expensive cables did not say if they could handle 4:4:4 / 4k@60hz. This is when I came across a (Cablesson) Ivuna Advanced High Speed 7m cable. On the listing it said that over 5 meters they use thicker cables (26AWG). With my poor knowledge of cables under such distances, I figured the thicker the internal cables, the better chance of getting the signal to the other end. I know that shielding is important too (to stop external interference). So being around £10-14 I figured it was worth ago. Ideally I wanted the 6 meter version of the cable (for a better chance of it working), but those were only Fulfilled by Amazon (which didn't seem to dispatch for 3+ days). So I ordered the 7 meter version (avoiding being fulfilled by Amazon).

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So a day or two later it turned up and plugged it in without much hope. Straight away it worked without a problem - 4:4:4 or RGB on a 7 meter HDMI cable. So it is possible to do without spending lots of money. If you are in a similar situation maybe you might want to look into this Ivuna cable! Maybe the Kabeldirekt or IBRA might of worked too, however I dont have either to test. If I do hear of any other 4:4:4/RGB cables I will update the blog, and you're always welcomed to post your comments.

New architecture or not..

Posted by Roguey on Friday 1st July, 2016 · Comment 7 comments

During the past couple of months ive been following both nvidia and AMD new GPU architecture (Pascal/Polaris). Ive been running a 4k setup since Christmas and my single 980ti was struggling (often seeing 30-40fps). So I wanted to improve on that.

The first of the two - Pascal came out just over a month ago. I was excited at first - as I thought the new architecture should be a huge leap forward. We been stuck on a 28nm manufacturing process for long time - which has made some gpu's get pretty big (and costly to make). So with nvidia new 16nm manufacturing process; the chip could be much smaller, faster and maybe even a lower price. So after nvidia press event, I saw an MRRP of $699. Id hope this would translate into around £400 (UK pound). Sadly this wasnt the case, and the dollar sign was pretty much swapped for the pound sign. I did check a lot of benchmarks - the 1080 did offer more performance but at an higher price (£650). Basically rather than drop the old-line of gpus, nvidia priced them above. For me this made them too expensive, seeing that one card wouldnt be able to deal with 4k@60fps (so 1080 in SLI - which would set me back over £1,300!). I did hear about the 1080 thermal throttling back to its base-clock after 10mins (not sure how true that is).

I was also keeping an eye-out for Polaris - it didnt bode well hearing that it was aimed at the main-stream (not the high-end). In my case I was looking for an 4k solution. Polaris is based on a smaller 14nm process, so I was expecting to see Polaris around the same performance level (seeing as both gpus are based on a new manufacturing process). I felt that AMD has been the under-dog for far too long, so it would be good to see some healthy competition once again. However after seeing benchmarks of Polaris, it didnt look good. It suggests that the new RX 480 is around the same (if not slightly better) than nvidia 970. Not that is a bad thing at all, but made me feel disappointed. I knew price was key for AMD and to be fair I think they priced the cards at the right (its a 1080/1440 card). Hopefully AMD can claw back some of the market.

My last idea was to look at SLI with my existing 980ti. I normally dont do SLI, as when I need more gpu power, there is something on the market. 4k is an up and coming thing, and at this stage there is no single card solution for it. I am sure nvidia has a 1080ti ready but wont launch it until AMD release their Vegas chip at the start of next year (2017). Nvidia also cut the price of 980ti - I guess to clear stock? or make it fairer priced? I did look at the 1070 (which offered an extra 2gb of vram - useful) but two of them would be still more expensive. So Thursday I placed an order of another 980ti and a bigger PSU (Seasonic was a bit too close to the margin);

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Replacing a PSU isnt a quick job (as some of you may know). The PSU is kind-of the heart of the PC, supplying power to everything inside the pc. This time I went for an EVGA T2 1200w - which I know is a bit of over-kill, but after my Seasonic was short of 100w, I didnt want to have to replace it in-the future again. Anyway, after a couple of hours (I took my time and space is limited atm - I am still in my bedroom), everything went okay;

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Changing the PSU and adding a second 980ti was cheaper for me than a single 1080. I am sure the 1080 will become cheaper in the future, but I figured that will be when the 1080ti comes out. Hopefully ive done the right decision - I guess time will tell. I figured if the 1080ti/vega chips do come out in the new year, I could look at one of those to replace my SLI (if I have that bad of experience with it).

... yea, I know - I probably need to sort those GPU power-cables out some-how (although GPU power-cables do get in the way, especially with four of them!).

I can Bailey believe it – update on Overclockers

Posted by Roguey on Friday 22nd April, 2016 · Comment 0 comments

During the past week or two, you may I read about the troubles I had with my Zotac 980Ti AMP, if not seen it, look here – no need to repost. At the end of the situation I felt I had to take matters into my own hands, which I knew might void the warranty - something I didn’t want to do (but felt I had little choice). So I left a pretty bad review for, thinking that was that.

After doing so, James Bailey (the Returns Manager) contacted me and wanted to sort the problem out – he wasn't happy seeing my low review. It's not something I wanted to do either - I would much prefer to post when a company does sometimes good. I don't normally post reviews, as feel you only get to know what a company is like after something has gone wrong.

We spoke on the phone – the guy was very understanding and helpful. I understand problems do creep up no matter what you do, so I am kind-of understanding person myself. After a couple of days, the old card had gone back and a new replacement was being sent. He allowed me to swap from Zotac, to an EVGA card. I had lost my confidence with Zotac due to the poorly written emails, and bad thermal paste application I saw.

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So now I have a new card; GeForce GTX 980Ti Superclocked Reference Design. You may be wondering why I went for a reference design? Well, I like the idea of it getting rid of the heat out the back, prefer the look personally, EVGA has a better warranty cover, and it allows me the option to SLI at a later date. Running 4k on a single 980ti is some-what trouble-some at best; as a lot of settings have to be scaled back to try. So I am looking to increase my gpu-power in the future, although I don’t know if it will be another 980ti or next gen card (Polaris/Pascal). Obviously this depends on price and performance, but its not a long wait to see – we should know more around to June – I think.

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Hopefully this was just one of them odd cases which fell on me. I am glad in the end things got sorted, and I thank you guys for your support. After all this, I still continue to use overclockers. I was sad to think I had to find another shop; I felt I had a good thing going (buying things, join in their forums, enter comps etc.). Big thanks to James Bailey for spending your time helping with my situation, and being all-round great guy... enough man-love eh? Smile

Stay away from Zotac cards

Posted by Roguey on Saturday 9th April, 2016 · Comment 2 comments

Awhile back, you may have seen that I brought a new Zotac 980 Ti Amp. Before purchasing the card I did a lot of research to work out which one I should buy. In the end it came down to price and 5 year warranty. I wish I would of picked another brand now.

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Before Christmas, I had the card running at 1080p. 1080p doesnt put much stress on the card, as 60fps isnt hard for a card of this power. For a Christmas present I got a 4k screen, which meant increasing the resolution to 4k. This is when I noticed some big problems.

Immediately the card got a lot louder, from barely audible to the loudest part in the PC. If you ever got 3 high speed fans and turned them up to their maximum you may get the idea; I could hear the PC from downstairs! With what I read about 4k - I thought this was normal operation, but clearly it wasnt. I should of picked up on this faster.

A few days ago I noticed the card was especially loud; so loud it felt that something was wrong. After checking GPU-Z I saw a temperature of 90c, with a fan speed of 99%. 90c is only 10c away from boiling water - clearly something was wrong. I have never seen a GPU hit that temperature ever before. I started doing some more tests to see if that was a one off, however in quite a few games I could reach 85c, sometimes 88c. When looking at the card, the cooler is massive and shouldnt of been struggling;

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Thinking now this was a real problem, I contacted Zotac to see what was going to happen. Where I got some strange and poorly worded replies. They passed the buck to the reseller (; who suggested this was normal operation - 85%+ fan speed, 83c+ with constant thermal throttling. I am disappointed in the reseller also.

At this point I had 2 choices;

  • Put up with it (live with the very loud card, reaching stupid temps - maybe even try and break it so it would be RMA'ed - which is kind-of stupid),
  • Or try and fix it (thinking it was something simple like too much thermal paste),

Ive built PC's for many years, so I know how to put them together and take them apart. Graphic cards however... not much; normally I buy them already overclocked with good coolers on them. So all I need to do is plug them in. I was pretty sure the problem was something simple, like too much thermal paste between the cooler and the GPU. Its not something you would expect on a £500 graphic card! However it wouldnt be the first time a company have cocked-up things like this...

So hesitantly I removed the cooler, undoing the screws - which felt a little lose to be honest. At this point I think my warranty may be void, but im a believer if you can fix something yourself, you should! Why try and break it, so you can RMA it? The cooler came off pretty easy to be honest, where I saw what was wrong;

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The thermal paste between the cooler and the GPU was extremely poorly applied. It looked like a big blob had been squirted onto the top left (and way too much of it), and then when the cooler was screwed on, it had been tighten up in the bottom right corner first - forcing the paste to pushed out of the top left (meaning there was little/no paste what-so-ever on the bottom right part of the gpu). This is one the worse applications ive seen from a company.

So now I cleaned up the GPU and removed all the cheap gunk. With the GPU cleaned, I replied a small blob of MX-4 (in the centre, like how it should of been done). So next it was the matter of screwing it back together, being careful not to over tighten any of the screws (this could potentially crack the gpu). This didnt take long, so it was a matter of sticking it back in the PC and trying it.

Straight away I saw a drop, my idle temp when down from 40-50c to 33c! The lowest I ever seen - good sign! So the next thing was to check its gaming performance, this is when things really matter. In low-loads the fans remain off, so doesnt really give you a true idea on its performance. So now I tried FurMark and started the test. After 5-10 minutes the highest temp I saw was 70-71c, with a fan speed of 57%;

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This felt very strange - the card was being taxed at 100% usage, but was more or less silent. This is the card I should of had at the start! This was eerie - the lack of noise. So I checked a few more games... still nothing, even in 4k! I couldnt get this card pass 71c, or make much noise. It looks my repair has knocked off up-to 18-19c!

So my advice; stay away from Zotac cards; the paste was extremely poorly applied on this card, and it should of been RMA. I was told by reseller this was normal operations. Both Zotac and reseller would not help, so I had to take matters into my own hands - which may mean the warranty is void. I would be extremely interested if Zotac would comment on this post. This repair shouldnt make the warranty void!

Social media link: The Facebook post on this story

[update 1] the reseller was Zotac had told me (On the Friday);

If the GPU temperature is still nearer 90 degree, you may contact the card seller for RMA service.
- Zotac

to which they replied;

I understand it may seem high, but those temperatures are completely within tolerance and is expected for a card of that power.

[Update 2] For anyone interested, you can download and view my GPU-Z logs for here. Red is before, Green is after.

Fallout 4, Before and after; (avg. 12c drop, although games vary alot)

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FurMark, Before and after; (18c drop! with a massive fan speed drop)

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[Update 3] Ive been told by Zotac thats the reseller responsibility to RMA the card (on the Monday);

We do see the card fault, but the GPU-Z temperature is higher than expected.
Please contact the card seller for RMA service.
- Zotac

Which is all too late, as card was already repaired (Friday night).

[Update 4] So I wrote on Twitter how I was disappointed in both Zotac and Overclockers. Overclockers responded and said to contact their customer services. After so, I got the following reply;

Under full load the card will happily sit at around 90 degrees as per Nvidias specifications listed here:

Unless it is hitting above nvidias recommended specs or the card is underclocking we are unable to offer a resolution as the card is operating within designed parameters.

So according to them, hitting 90c isnt a problem (its happy to sit at those temps, even although NVidia state 92c is its maximum). Zotac have stated it should of been RMA by the reseller. I have to contact Zotac to see if they will atleast honor my repair, so I can keep my warranty.

[Update 5] Zotac arent understanding at all;

Follow current Zotac policy, remove the fansink will void the graphic card warranty.
If you did not remove the fainsink, that will not affect the warranty.

So basically I should have tapped up the fans and tried to burn out the card, so I could RMA. Pretty poor English too.

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