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Reinforcements have arrived

Posted by Roguey on Tuesday 27th October, 2015 · Comment 0 comments

Awhile back you may of read that I upgraded my PC from an 2600k to an 5820k. I looked seriously at the 6700k, but for me having 2 real extra cores was better (4x 4.2 vs 6x 3.6ghz). I dont know how things will go with gaming etc. but from past experience the extra cores tend to get used later on (and I do some encoding work from time to time). I also thought my 5820k will overclock (if need be), and ive reached 3.8ghz with 1.0v - I know thats not much of an overclock but I tend to want to keep the noise level low (1.0v is stock voltage). Higher voltages produce more heat and harder my AIO has to work to keep it cool, without louder fan noise. The H110i can get rid of it but ideally I want it to be very quiet. Im a bit of a silence freak to be honest, especially after my last build.

So for a long time ive been deciding what to do about the GPU - stick with a 680GTX (hold out for the Pascal) or get a card now. I thought long and hard and came to the conclusion that an 980Ti wont be bad next year just because of Pascal surely. I saw some posts by nvidia saying it was 10x faster, but I really cant see that. That would mean what we have now is been done badly. Like others I personally think Pascal will be around 30-40% at most. Some have said it be even longer until we see the big pascals. How long do you wait? there's always something better coming soon..

So in the end I went for a 980Ti. One of the big factors was the 6gb of ram - 2gb isnt enough any more. The 970 has that odd thing with 3.5gb VRAM, and the 980 was more money for only a little more.

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You may of noticed that ive also added some extra ram, bringing the system to 64gb. I know this is seriously over-kill now, but later on I dont want to be searching for another set of memory. In the past I had a system where I only put half the amount of memory in to start with, but couldnt find the other half when it needed it. I cant see me changing the CPU/motherboard any time soon. 64Gb is the maximum of the 5820k.

In the end I went with a Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP. This was pushed my budget but was into the 980Ti territory. I know there are more expensive 980Ti's out there, but this one was a little cheaper than the rest and this one had a 5 year warranty (should anything happen - like my old 670GTX);

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After installing everything I noticed the 980Ti get a bit hot when gaming. So what I did was to install a fan directly under the 980Ti to keep it cool. This means the card is always cooled by a fan, helps the psu and pushes the air upwards to the exhaust fans. Being a 140mm fan, its very low pitched and barely audible - I rather this fan span than the GPU fans work harder (as they can get a little noisy).

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I guess I could of spent more money on a AIO 9800Ti but for me the 9800Ti was already pushing 'it'. So far this systems ran very quiet and can run the latest games on high/ultra when needed.

For those inrested, I have added my 3Dmark scores below;

- Firestrike
- Firestrike (Ultra)

The 980Ti is around a x2.4 increase in 1080p and around x5-6 times in 4k. I dont have a 4k TV at the moment, but it could happen later on. At-least im open to the possibility later on, should a 4k TV turn up. Another option is that the 980Ti drops in price, allowing SLi - although im not sure a 760w PSU will be enough?

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One thing im finding funny is that the PSU still isnt getting enough load to even spin-up the fan. Its like saying - is that all you got? Its a very quiet and efficient PSU.


Upgrading to an 5820k

Posted by Roguey on Wednesday 30th September, 2015 · Comment 0 comments

A little bit ago, a family member made a decision that they wanted to use a PC for next gen games instead of going down the console path (I think it was the right decision). This was influenced because their copy of Windows 7 couldnt be upgraded on their current pc (AMD X2 3800+), as the cpu didnt support CMPXCHG16B. So I did some research and found out that the cheapest I could put something together was around £400 mark (motherboard, cpu and ram). When comparing the stats to my 2600k (which is 4 years old), I saw only a 7% difference in performance (so pretty much getting something similar). So I started to wonder how much it would take to upgrade mine, so would also get an upgrade. Of-course I was more keen on this path (obvious reasons), and I knew my 2600k had premium motherboard (albeit a old but still good). Premium boards do give you a lot more future expansion if required.

So I started to look into, for around 50% more I could either get a 5820k or the new skylake processor (6700k). Both of these chips had advantages and disadvantages, higher core count vs higher stock speeds. I kept coming back to the decision that a higher clock speed cant replace 2 extra cores (even although modern games arent fully utilizing high core count yet). So told them about my findings and it was agreed this was the biggest gain for both of us (a 2600k for one, and a 40-50% increase for me). I figured also the six core cpu could simply be overclocked (if needed) to the skylake single-core performance (seeing as its got soldiered TIM, allowing it to be cooler than a 6700k - like the 2600k).

So the next day a few goodies turned up;

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I went with a Gigabyte X99-SLI with the Intel Core i7 5820K because had a deal on, saving around £50. This helped bring down the price, as X99 motherboards are expensive! They did have another deal on with an Asus board, but I did hear about a few problems with the Asus boards. So instead I went for the Gigabyte board, as couldnt find much bad about it and it was a solid board.

After that got two lots of Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB (I felt this would fill the motherboard with half the maximum memory and allow for further 32gb for the future. The 5820k prefers either 4 or 8 sticks, so it can run at quad channel. These sticks were low profile, which can be useful. I only went with 2400Mhz memory, as I didnt see much benefit from higher frequency memory.

The cooler (as you need to supply your own with the X99 chips) I went for a Corsair H110i. I know its a bit over-kill but my aim for this system is to be quiet - I got fed-up of hearing fan noise. After much reading, it appeared this cooler could be very silent. However being an i variant, meant you could change the settings if required. Later on I did create a custom curve, to lower the fan speed.

And lastly the power-supply, I decided to go for a Seasonic Platinum 760watt. Whilst this may also be a bit over-kill, I felt this allows me plenty of room for future upgrades. Seasonic do have a good name, and ive used them in the past. After getting the PSU I noticed it had a hybrid mode or normal fan mode. Looking around, it seems if the PSU is running under 40% (I think) it doesnt need to switch on the fan. I didnt plan on getting the 760w, as the 660w was out-of-stock by the seller. I am glad to say my Seasonic is silent! no coil whine what-so-ever!

So after a bit of time, this is how it looked;

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The eagle-eyed ones out there may notice that my old graphic card is still there - a 680GTX. MSi replaced my failed 670GTX (more info here). I do plan on moving the 680GTX to the 2600k (as is a better fit for it), but im extremely confused what to get next. Pascal is nvidia's next big deal which is start of next year (2016). Do I invest heavily in a 980Ti now? or go for something like the 980GTX (save some money for an upgrade, that maybe I could move to the other system)? I know I didnt say about the 970 - which is a good card but the 3.5Gb VRAM put me off (one of the main reasons for upgrading). I been watching around a lot to see if a seller will do a deal on the 980, overclockers had it for £350 one day (which I missed sadly). I know AMD have also released cards too but I felt they were a bit lack lusting to be honest. Id hope they would of been better, pushing down the prices. I hear the 390 runs fairly hot (something im trying to avoid in a quiet pc), whilst the fury seem a bit expensive (and even read some can have coil whine). I have been entering competitions like mad, but I havnt won anything (the trouble with free-prize draws). So im at a complete loss with the gpu at the moment. Any advice would be welcomed. I plan on running on 1080p for the moment, but maybe in the future 4k might be nice (depending on price of-course).

After getting everything installed, I found the Gigabyte very easy to use. The bios seems a little messy but in windows its very easy to overclock the chip by the looks of it;

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You can even change all the clock settings within windows (which is something new to me);

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Its mad seeing windows task manager showing all the logical cores working;

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I did create a video showing the upgrade below;

At the moment its a bit funny with the PSU, even during heavy usage, I cant even get the fan to spin-up. Its like the PSU is saying... meh. Ive never had a PSU where it didnt even need to spin the fan.

If youre intrested in my current 3D mark scores, then here they are;

- Fire-strike,
- Sky Diver,
- Fire-strike (Extreme),

Anyway, your suggestions/comments are welcomed - what shall I do about the graphic card? - help!

ps. I also need to get another sound card sorted, as my old one doesnt plug in anymore - PCI. I used DTS connect/DD live to my av system Cry

ELITED » An Elite Roguey

Posted by Roguey on Tuesday 1st September, 2015 · Comment 0 comments

Its been nearly 2 months since my promotion to Deadly in Elite: Dangerous. When I got Deadly, I moved my focus onto trading - as it felt like it would be a long journey and I was only at the start of it. Every so often I did a bit combat - pushing up my progress by a couple of percentage every now and then.

However in the past week or so, my turned my focus back onto fighting. I knew there be a bank holiday, so I would have some more time to push on with the rank.

Progress was slow at first, getting around 5% progress a day until I started to refine things. I learnt the best place to farm the kills was at high resource extraction sites (H-RES), but there were 3 different spawns;

- One with small ships (Eagles, Cobras, Diamondback's),
- Another with big ships (Imperial Clippers, Vultures, Dropships),
- Or a mixture of both,

I thought fastest way of pushing up my rank was to search for an instance with big ships, with high rank. However after a bit of time learnt both big/small spawns have various advantages;

To push up your combat rank, the most important thing is the rank of the other ship. It is better to face 3x Deadly Eagles, than it is to fight 3x Master Dropships. However the larger ship spawn is better for money, as you can earn up-to 230,000cr per kill.

If youre looking to push up your combat rank (like I was), it is better to kill the pirates at start of an instance then make another game. This way you dont need to wait for them to come to you.

However, it still took me awhile, but I have finally reached the combat rank of Elite;

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I also wanted to captured this moment, so I also posted it on youtube - showing my promotion. I did think it might give others some ideas.

So now I dont have to farm RES sites ever again - yay!

Swapping cases

Posted by Roguey on Tuesday 18th August, 2015 · Comment 0 comments

A week or so ago I was looking through my pictures of my PC - sometimes I find it nice to see how its changed over the years. However, I noticed that I had the same case for well over 12 years now. The Thermaltake Xaser III V2000A had been a good case, housing 3 or 4 different PC's including my current one - a 2600k. Below is a picture from 2003, however I dont know how long I had it before.

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Inside the case was a AMD 3000+, 2x256Mb DDR1 and Winfast A250 Ultra TD GeForce4 Ti 4600. This was the first time I looked at overclocking a system, so I installed 7 high performance fans;

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This was great for awhile and lasting me a couple of years. Computer tech used to change a lot faster then, every few months there was something new. So around in 2005 I switched from a single core cpu, to an AMD X2 3800+. I had the choice between a faster single core cpu, or a slower dual core. I opted for the dual core hoping to overlock it to the single core speed. So I installed a larger than normal heatsink and cooler (in the same case);

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I was fortunate and found that my CPU and found that my cpu easily overclocked to the single-core performance with less voltage than stock. So for long while I stuck with a AMD X2. This lasted 5 years, and now my PC was starting to struggle with modern games. So I got some money together and built a new system (in 2011). This is my current PC - my Intel I7 2600k, 16GB DDR3, MSi 670/680 (swapped later on, as my 670 died), and built in within the same case again;

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A few months ago, Sinxar posted about his new PC build (shown here) on the forums. I like how the cables were hidden, the better air-flow and the overall look. So I started to look for another case - seeing ive been with my current one for over 12 years! I know that changing the case isnt going to mean my system is any faster, but when you been with the same one for so long, I wanted something different. After a lot of looking around I decided on a Corsair Obsidian 450D. It took me a few hours to moving the system however I wasnt totally happy with the PSU. The non-modular PSU made a bit of a mess with cables. So the following day I got another PSU;

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To me this is lot neater, and allows for much better airflow. I have also managed to switch from the smaller 80mm fans, to 120/140mm - which are a lot more quieter. My PC used to be quite noisy at times. Overall im happy with the new case, I feel its made things a lot better. I did create a youtube video showing the moving process;

Thanks guys for reading;

Upgrading the memory of a Acer E15

Posted by Roguey on Sunday 26th July, 2015 · Comment 0 comments

A week or so ago, I got a Acer E15. Everything seemed good apart from one thing for me - 4Gb of ram. I know 4Gb of ram isnt exactly low but for a system that uses the main memory for GPU memory too I thought it needed more (Windows/GPU probably want around a gigabyte each, not leaving much afterwards). I also noticed that the memory was running in single-channel, so just one 4Gb module (so there was speed bonuses too).

Usually the process of increasing an laptop's memory is a fairly easy process - simply remove the underside flaps and install the extra memory. However on this laptop Acer decided not to install flaps, meaning to get to the memory you had to dissemble the whole laptop. As you can imagine I was some what hesitant, however installing the extra ram would see around a 15% increase in CPU power, 25% in GPU and double the amount of ram.

Before starting I had a good look on the net and found a video showing how to take the laptop apart (shown here). This helped a lot, so started to remove all 18 screws and take out the DVD drive.

With the screws removed, it was time open up the PC by removing the keyboard section. I wasnt liking this part because it was all snappy-plastic clips (that usually break when opening). I had to be careful because around the mouse-pad, the bevel is very thin (meaning it could snap there). After much prizing, the keyboard section gave. So now I had to remove three ribbon cables - keyboard, mouse and power switch. With the keyboard section removed, I saw the following;

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The next thing to do is to remove the motherboard. So to do this you have disconnect the WLAN card, cpu cooler, HDD, USB/Power cables and the display cable. Most of this was fairly easy, as there were only a few screws in the whole thing. You have to remove the CPU fan, because its very tight to get the motherboard out (plus you dont want to damage the heat-pipe). So now flipping the board over we can see the two memory modules slots:

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Now it was time to install the memory modules. Installing memory is easy - put in at an angle, then push down. With the memory installed it was time to put the motherboard back, and start plugging the cables in. The motherboard was only held by one screw - the other screw holes are for the 18 underside screws. There were just a couple more screws; two in the HDD, 2 in the CPU cooler, and one in the WLAN. After a little bit of time, it was coming back together. So the last thing to do was to put the keyboard back - the bit I wasnt looking forward too (because of the thin ribbon cables). However these seem to go in easier than I thought.

So with that done, it was time to check if the system recognized the extra ram. I tried to match the memory as closely as I could. I didnt want to buy a memory kit - as the 4Gb memory already in the laptop would of gone to waste. However it started first time and had no problem with the memory.

So with a successful memory upgrade all I had to do was to clip it together, then put the screws back in. Job done.

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