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Ragusa's puzzle - reporting on my building progress

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by Ragusa, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    As I couldn't wait till thursday and wait for my buddy to assist me I already started building. As a result of that I use this thread both as an opportunity to both entertain the reader with my adventures, and as a chance to cry for help if need arises.

    First impressions:
    I just started unpacking everything and began building on my case. I found the manual on the Antec P182 case to be frugal. Yes, I eventually figured out how to put in the PSU, and how to mount the 5,25" CD drives and the HDDs, but it was by simply trying it out. I would have appreciated a little more elaboration in the manual on what thing serves which purpose. That said, the case is solid. It has a good feel to it.

    The Thermaltake Toughpower 600 PSU is a beast - large, dark black, and from what I can tell now probably with sufficient cables and plugs, also dark black. Unpacked it looks like a giant spider. Oddly, it has just one PCI-E plug, which is ok as I never really considered Crossfire as an option. But then, I ought to have checked that out before buying. You always forget something :rolleyes:

    The Sapphire ATI 4870 graphics card is the largest one I ever put into a computer and it looks like a sleeping beast, in it's red and black colours. I expect as much. We will see.

    The Samsung CD drives and the Barracudas are like what one would expect, well, good stuff, nothing obviously spectacular. The Logitech G15 keyboard is spectacular. Feels good, looks even better. Can't wait to use it.

    The Asus P5Q-E motherboard looks nice so far, can't yet tell much about it. With those DDR-2 1066 MHz GT line RAM sticks, with standard cooling fins, Apogee build a nice looking product with a very solid feel to it - much unlike what I am used to from RAM. The CPU cooler, the Noctua NH-U12P is pretty large, I always underestimated how large a 12cm fan actually is. It looks and feels impressive and the package is excellent and includes NT-H1 thermal paste. Thus far, everything appears to fit into my case.

    Now for a trickier part, fixing the specially designed mounting for the Noctua NH-U12P on the motherboard, and then apply the thermal paste and the cooler. Stay tuned.
     
  2. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I expect you'll be disappointed with the G15. I know I am - it looks far better than it behaves in use. Some keys react poorly/inadequately (requiring you to press them twice often), they're very close together (hell for large fingers/hands) and after the novelty wears off, just about the only really useful feature of the display is the clock. All in all, great visual design, but poor performance in practice for people who type a lot, unfortunately. Also, the USB ports on it are malnourished and low-speed, so the only thing I've managed to use one for is to connect the mouse.
     
  3. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Update #1:
    I finished mounting the CPU cooler. Noctua rocks. The cooler is of excellent quality. Best I've ever seen. Really solid stuff. Well thought out, with remarkable attention to detail. The mounting fits my MoBo perfectly. The mounting is far, far, far better than the standard issue variant for boxed 775 CPUs.

    Tal,
    I read the complaints about the G15. You are probably right, even though I hope you're not ;) I bought it primarily for the backlit keys, which I see as a advantage when gaming in a dark-ish room. And of course, it looks cool ;) Originally I wanted the G11, but settled for the G15 because of it's somewhat smaller 'footprint' on my desk. Also, I thought that the LCD might come in handy, one day, some game.

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 18 minutes and 49 seconds later... ----------

    Update #2:
    I overlooked that I in fact DO have two PCI-E power plugs. Nice.
     
  4. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I like the G15 LCD display for NWN2. It shows the current selected character's stats.
     
  5. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Update #3:
    I finished cabling the case to my MoBo, connected all SATA devices to the MoBo, inserted the graphics card and connected power to MoBo and SATA devices. I hope I did everything right :shake: Well, it looks that way.

    The Antec case is great, but I underestimated how little room is left inside once you build in the CPU cooler, particularly a thing as large as the Noctua. I would have appreciated a few 5cm here and there to have better access to all components. Cable management is very nice with the case.
    As for build quality - so far I didn't cut myself even once in this case (I regularly did with my old case-o-crap). I really like the HDD cage that you can remove easily to place the cable plugs - as opposed to fishing for plugs deep in the bowels of the case, well out of sight. What is a little bit annoying is an airflow separator in between the PSU/HDD zone and the mainboard zone - it is somewhat flimsy and in the way.

    I'll have a beer and a pizza now, and then I'll try power up the machine.

    BTA,
    do you have the old version with the flippable LCD (and iirc blue keys) or the new one with the fixed one (and red-ish keys)? How do you use it with NWN2 btw?
     
  6. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I have the old flippable LCD/blue keys one. It just works with NWN2. You start the game up and it displays NWN2, then when you load up a save it shows the stats of the selected character.
     
  7. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Update #4:
    To my great delight my careful preparations have ensured that my computer came to life immediately, showing no errors. To my even greater delight, setting up a RAID 0 was astonishingly easy. Having never done that before, I had feared that a little bit - even more so as I had read report of problems with that. It went fast and very smooth.

    Immediately afterwards I put in the Vista installation disk and setup started. I have now for the first time the VISTA desktop, my hardware is being recognised, I get my full 4GB RAM - promising - and now the more interesting things start, namely recognising the hardware - especially graphics card and motherboard devices.

    ---------- Added 1 hours, 25 minutes and 5 seconds later... ----------

    Update #5:
    Vista 64 installation was without major problems - I made the mistake of installing my display drivers, fom a USB stick, before the RAID drivers. The USB device was set as bootable in the BIOS which confused me. Considering my fatigue that is not really surprising. It meant I had to install Vista again. 45 minutes lost. I'll get over it.

    The RAID is fast, really fast. After setting up the computer so that the OS works I'll go to bed for tonight, and leave adjusting my comp to tomorrow morning. Then, of course, I will also see how the graphics card performs in Mass Effect and farbrausch's demos, among other programs ;)

    Oh, and if anyone gives me a hint, I might do some benchmarking.
     
  8. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    You're lucky you're not trying to install a RAID array using XP....in XP you still need a physical floppy drive...and it can't be the USB type. :bang:

    If it wasn't for the old PC in my dad's garage that's been collecting cobwebs for the past 6 years or so, I would have been SOL for a few days while I tried to find a place that still sells internal floppy drives. :bad:

    As for benchmarking, HD Tach is a great tool for testing HDDs. Give Futuremark a try too. They make 3DMark and PCMark, two widely use benchmarks. :thumb: :rolling:
     
  9. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Update #6:
    With satisfaction I can say that I cabled the case very tidily. Antec's cable management is excellent. Most of the power cables I could guide through the back side of the case, behind the motherboard, which only caused some ergonomic difficulties with one particular plug (an obstacle that was overcome with cunning and prestidigitation). That means that the airflow in the case is largely unobstructed. I can strongly recommend the case, with the caveat that large coolers make accessing the motherboard somewhat difficult, but that's probably hardly unique to this case. In any event, it would be even greater 10cm higher and 10cm deeper, with a removable MoBo tray, but that's about it.

    Because I have some minor readjustments to do, the case is still open. So, for instance I mounted the slides for the 5,25" devices wrong, so that they protrude from the front, which is avoidably ugly.

    That means after some performance checks I'll go for the long march - installing the necessary tools and programs, and some time this evening the first game.

    PS: Besides, anyone here who knows good 64bit utilities and programs?
     
  10. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    I demand to see pictures...lots of pictures! :D :rolling:
     
  11. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Oh you will see them, in due time.

    Update #7:
    I am getting my share of quirks after all. My RAID 0 just disappeared, after I first updated Vista and restarted. Apparently over that shock, my BIOS just forgot it had something like an OS and reported :borg: 'No operating system' :borg: Thankfully not, but I had to reset the BIOS to my previous settings. Not all that reassuring.

    On first view Vista offers some eye candy, but when compared to XP the latter is far more lucid. What Vista does well, is patting the back of the user - it gave my computer an overall Vista rating of 5.9 :shake:
     
  12. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Going to assemble my machine today. Have a few weeks of installing all the little things you need.
     
  13. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Have fun Joa, and I'm quite serious about this: I actually find the assembling of the hardware the really most relaxing part of setting up a new computer. Btw, which graphics card did you choose?

    Update #8:
    Hmm, it appears that not all games are stable on my machine: I had a few crashes, game crashes mind you, when starting a game in MassEffect and this already obnoxious error seeking report always blamed the graphics card. As I do have the newest driver I rather that it has something to do wit me running Vista 64 :rolleyes: Installations also don't really run flawless - I had to install MassEffect twice.

    Downloads under Vista don't work reliable either. I started a 1,7GB texture pack for Drakensang yesterday, and it simply disappeared from my computer. I'm using Firefox 3 and DownThemAll now and it works.

    Except for that, I installed Drakensang and NWN 2, and I will install KotoR 2 (to check out how my new card handles the fog down in the mines on that asteroid).

    My buddy will come along today and we'll test and tweak a little. Oh, and we'll take some photos.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  14. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

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    Same thing with 2k.
     
  15. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I went with an ATI 4850 card as I heard some really really good things about it. It is assembled an everything now but I am still downloading patches to WoW so haven't really tested the system yet.
     
  16. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Yes, the sata HDD drivers for xp still have to be loaded whit a floppy or usb stick. How stupid can it get you wonder, but vista does not have that problem and recognizes the sata drives.
     
  17. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Update #9:
    Managed to play a little MassEffect yesterday. Nice game and veeeery sweet graphics, good story, too. A great game, wouldn't it be for those crashes. Luckily, sort of, the CrashEffect appears to be a general game problem and not unique to either Vista 64 or ATI cards - it appears on XP and NVIDIA cards as well. So it's the game itself that's bugged. The ATI 4870 performs excellent on Drakensang on maximised settings. It also performs excellent on MassEffect, when it runs, on ultra high textures and all that. It's really a powerhouse.

    I like the energy saving function of the Asus P5Q-E that puts the comp to sleep when you don't use it, and that wakes him up at a keystroke. Nice. As for noise, I am running my case's TriCool fans on low speed, and my Noctua on auto (for some average CPU temperatures of 25 - 30°C); I don't hear the PSU at all - and about the only thing I hear is my graphics card - the system is very quiet :) The case has a discrete chic.

    In hindsight I have to say that I misunderstood my PSU's cabling - I do only have sufficient power for one large graphics card. I now understand it to be a disadvantage that my PSU only has fixed cables and not plugs to use cables as needed (as with those Enermax or so PSUs). If you want to run two largish GPU in crossfire, or SLI, it is the wrong choice. That said, my PSU is good, and sufficient for my purposes, and with it's 140mm fan it is exceedingly quiet. It's, despite the drawback, a good buy.

    PS: I'm going to post some pics later today.
     
  18. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    Nuh-uh! :nono: When I was installing XP on my rig, I still had to use an internal floppy drive. First, I tried everything to get a USB flash drive to work - no dice. Then I tried a USB floppy drive - still didn't work. I *had* to use an internal floppy...and I don't have some 'value' mobo... :bad: :rolling:
     
  19. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I am going to butt in on Ragusa's topic as I am experiencing some severe problems with my new rig. The basic problem is that it does not work. It is unable to even stream video online reliable without freezing up or crashing. I have tried to play M2: Total War and World of warcraft and the computer just freezes up very shortly after starting. At first I thought it was a lack of or just old drivers so I updated everything I could think of but the same thing happens. I got the newest direct x the computer generally feels sluggish and it could not even handle streaming the daily show from the site in full screen and the sound crashed soon enough. I have been thinking that the sound is the major problem but I wonder, the sound sure does not work properly but I am finding it quite hard to even figure out what sound hardware I have as it is an onboard thing and the sounddrivers I got from the cd did nothing nor did the ones I downloaded. When I try to update from windows it tells me I have the best and newest drivers to everything. I am a bit at a loss here and starting to wonder if it is somekind of hardware problem as I can't figure out anything else I could do software wise. I even updated my windows, I got a good deal on a Vista license so I thought to try it out and as I said I updated it.

    For example, I can start up WoW, I cranked up all the settings to max and it looks gorgeous but then it just freezes. Another example is to just stream something from youtube or anywhere else a short time into it the sound just goes berserk. There is some issue with the sound but that can't be it all. Getting quite pissed off here. :( I mean I can't even browse SP or any other site properly, it is slow and sluggish with long loading times which was one of the main reasons I wanted a new computer. Tired of sitting around waiting for my computer to be ready to do what I wanted it to do. I doubt it is my ISP as I have a 2mb line and the sluggishness was the same whether I am using up bandwidth downloading or not.
     
  20. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Joa,
    could it be that your GPU has a sound chip and your MoBo as well?
     
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