Wireless Network Adapter
Reading about CPU input voltage helped me get a stable overclock at lower core voltage!
OLD: 4.7GHz @ 1.350V, CPU Input Voltage AUTO (1.840V)
NEW: 4.7GHz @ 1.300V, CPU Input Voltage 1.990V
I really goofed on this. Before a couple days ago I had never thought of changing input voltage to increase stability. In fact I didn't even know it would. My input voltage (also called VCCin or VRIN), was auto set to 1.840V and I couldn't keep a stable 4.7GHz at under 1.350V core voltage. Manually changing my input voltage to 1.990V allowed me to drop my core voltage all the way to 1.3V! I would never have known about input voltage had I not been browsing forums, as pretty much every video guide tells you the cookie-cutter "change multiplier, change voltage, test" method of overclocking. Well, increasing the voltage to your VRM can increase stability as well, and it makes sense.
At 1.3V, my CPU doesn't break 75C under load, whereas at 1.35V it would easily break 85C. This means my fans never hit max rpm in ASUS Fan Xpert, which autosets all fans at max speed beyond 75C. I cruise around the 60% mark at load.
Well, well...what do you say after one year? The system is still running strong as the day it was built.
I appreciate all of the feedback I've gotten, whether positive or negative. I've been able to learn a lot in the past year. This build marked the first serious entry into the PCPartPicker community for me and was the beginning of me being actively helpful on the forums instead of just asking for help. I've really enjoyed being part of the community thus far. There are a lot of great members here, like RyneSmith and skemble to name just two, and of course the fantastically responsive and transparent PCPP staff.
Added some new pictures. It's been a while since I updated this!
About a week ago I purchased a new Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8. It's a killer lens and I use it pretty much every day now. I thought I'd post some new pictures as the quality and color rendition of it is amazing. Also rearranged the photos (deleted and uploaded again in a different order). The new pictures are #3-8.
I have some exciting new upgrades planned for this rig in the coming weeks (hopefully by August 12, when the rig will be a year old). I plan to overhaul the storage system to be more efficient for graphics content creation and maybe add a Kraken G10 and a Quadro K4000 or K2000.
Somewhat longer term I plan to upgrade to Haswell-E at some point later this year or next year as per my original intention of skipping SB-E/IB-E and going with "cheaper but still good" performance in Haswell as a holdover until Haswell-E.
I overclocked my monitor. From 60Hz to 85Hz. It was surprisingly easy to do...
Here are the steps (these steps are specific to Nvidia GPUs, manageable through Nvidia Control Panel, as far as I know).
Nvidia Control Panel > Display > Change Resolution > Customize > Create Custom Resolution > change the value of the number in the "Refresh Rate (Hz)" box > Test > choose the new custom resolution in Nvidia Control Panel > Apply
I'm now sitting at 85Hz, 31% up from the stock 60Hz. At 90Hz the monitor just went black and the OSD said "OUT OF RANGE" for 15 seconds before reverting to 85Hz. So I tried 86Hz, and the monitor passed the control panel test but began showing grains and other artifacts. 85Hz is my limit.
Slightly nervewracking, but easily done and took no more than 10 minutes of research and 5 minutes of actual overclocking.
The difference between 60Hz and 85Hz is absolutely surreal. Moving my mouse and windows around, even watching this cursor move as I type this message - it all looks so much smoother. It's a whole new level of clarity that I never expected.
I've seen native 144Hz 1080p panels before and they were nice but not overly impressive. The level of clarity achieved from higher resolution AND higher refresh rate is just amazing. The best way I have found to describe it is that it's similar to the first time you watch a BluRay movie.
Added some spiffy formatting to the original post so that it's easier to read :)
Borrowed a real camera from my folks and took a bunch more pictures! I've reuploaded all of them pictures so that the new ones are at the front.
This time I used an old Nikon D70 digital camera with an 18-70mm AF-S Nikkor lens. Took the pictures at night with all the lights in my room off, turned on long exposure, ISO 250, and strobed certain points with a white LED flashlight to get some cool lighting effects! I'm really happy with how these new pictures turned out.
Max CPU overclock achieved. Currently running at 4.7GHz w/ 1.350V. Average load temps at 82 C with spike temps as high as 90 C. At 4.8GHz 1.375V wouldn't keep me stable, and upping to 1.400V would give me spike temps higher than 100 C, which is the i7-4770K's throttle point. Basically my H100i ended up being the limit of my overclock, and I can see a vice-delid with some CLU liquid metal in my CPU's future. But out of the box, I'm more than satisfied with 4.7GHz under an H100i on a Haswell CPU!
Batch Number: L312B330
Manufactured in: Malaysia
My CPU's OC stability requires a less aggressive GPU OC. I've had to step down my GPU overclock to 1175 MHz boost clock and 6808 MHz effective memory clock... Normally this isn't worth it to do, as games are much more GPU-bound than they are CPU-bound (GPU overclocking yields much more framerate increase in games than CPU overclocking). However, seeing as this is a workstation rig first and a gaming rig second, I am choosing to sacrifice any amount of GPU or RAM speed up to stock in order to increase my CPU performance.
I don't anticipate needing to revert to stock settings, but if I have to I will. Most likely I will run into CPU Core Voltage/Temperature limits before encountering that.
The CPU is currently stable with: 4.6GHz @ 1.250V
I've found my maximum stable GPU overclock. The results are in a picture. Power target, temp target, and voltage all maxed. I raised my GPU clock offset until I got crashes running Battlefield 3 on absolute max settings at 2560x1440. After that I went through the same process with the memory clock offset. I discovered that Furmark and MSI Kombustor would actually allow me higher overclocks without crashing, but as soon as I entered a game, I would crash...so from that point on, I decided my GPU stability tests would be done with a game.
The final result is a boost clock of 1215 MHz (29% increase from 941 MHz) and an effective memory clock of 6808 MHz (15% increase from 6008 MHz). Battlefield 3 average framerate increased from 65 fps at stock to 85 fps after overclocking, a 31% increase. Frankly, that's flat out amazing. And the card never runs hotter than 77 C.
Next up: CPU overclocking.
My very first computer build. It's to be used for Autodesk Maya and 3DSMax, Adobe Premiere/After Effects/Speedgrade/Photoshop/Audition, and Blender.
And I do enjoy a little bit of gaming..
|CPU||Intel Core i7-4770K||$282.36|
|Motherboard||Asus SABERTOOTH Z87||$207.62|
I got my CPU and motherboard from Newegg on a $100 off combo; that's why they're so outrageously cheap. With my budget I could have obviously chosen the i7-3930K and an X79 motherboard. I debated and decided that I preferred the features of the Z87 chipset and the (much) higher power efficiency of Haswell over Sandy Bridge-E. With Haswell-E, X99, and DDR4 coming in two more years, I would rather skip the dated X79 chipset, buy good, less expensive performance in Haswell and Z87,and wait. The extra startup cost and operating cost of SB-E, or as of September 2013, the 5% increase of IB-E, doesn't seem justified with such a large jump waiting down the road.
I chose the Sabertooth Z87 first and foremost because I like it aesthetically. Let's be honest. Anybody who tells you their first reason was something else is lying to you. However, there are some nice aspects to the board. For instance, moving from the Sabertooth Z77 to the Z87, ASUS replaced many of the board's components with Z77 RoG parts, while their curent Z87 RoG has updated components. This means the board combines the performance of Z77 RoG with the looks of a Sabertooth Z77 and the feature-set of a Z87. Lots of win.
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance Pro 2x8GB DDR3-1866 (Silver)||$159.99|
I chose 2x8GB DDR3-1866 memory because higher frequency not only helps in render speeds, but does also increase minimum fps in games. I wanted to stay at the 1.5v operating voltage, but didn't want to gamble on my 4770K overclock since Haswell has issues with memory speeds greater than 1866MHz. The 16GB capacity is pretty standard for an editing computer, as is the 2x8GB configuration instead of 4x4GB. With 2 sticks, I can upgrade to 32GB later on since I still have 2 unpopulated DIMM slots.
|Video Card||Asus GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC||$679.99|
For the GPU I wanted GK110 at its cheapest, which lends itself to the GTX 780. I chose the ASUS DCU2 version for its low fan noise and beefy heat pipes (1x10mm (insane), 2x8mm, 2x6mm)). I also wanted a 2560x1440 monitor in order to edit 1920x1080 source footage in native resolution and still have space on the screen for the timeline and other tools. This also meant that I needed a GPU that could comfortably drive games maxed at 1440p, and since editing programs don't take advantage of SLI, I chose the most sensible single-GPU card for the task.
|Case||Cooler Master CM Storm Stryker (White)||$135.99|
I absolutely adore this PC case. It's roomy enough for everything I wanted and the build quality is top notch. Everything is made of painted white steel except for the front mesh and the angled top around the handle, which are plastic, the side window, which is acrylic, and various rubber pieces throughout the case.
|Case Fan||Corsair Air Series SP120 PWM High Performance Edition (2-Pack) 120mm Fans||$32.99|
|Case Fan||Corsair Air Series AF120 Performance Edition (2-Pack) 120mm Fans||$27.99|
|Case Fan||Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120mm Fan||$21.94|
|Case Fan||Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120mm Fan||$21.94|
|Case Fan||Noctua NF-S12A FLX 120mm Fan||$22.24|
|Case Fan||Noctua NF-S12A FLX 120mm Fan||$22.24|
|Case Fan||Noctua NF-S12A FLX 120mm Fan||$22.24|
|Case Fan||Noctua NF-A4x10 40mm Fan||$14.55|
I had a simple mentality when it came to fans. Put Corsair fans where they can be seen, put Noctua fans where they're hidden. A balance between performance and aesthetics.
The NF-A4x10 is a 40mm fan that I put in the rear I/O fan slot on the Sabertooth Z87.
I have 2 airflow-optimized NF-S12A FLX on the top and middle bays of the front of the case, intaking air into the main side, with a single static-pressure optimized NF-F12 on the lower third of the front of the case, meant to shoot a focused column of air to feed the GPU fans. That flow combines with the airflow optimized NF-S12A FLX and AF120 PE on the bottom of the case and results in a strong, diagonally vectored stream of fresh air to the GPU.
The rear fan is an AF120 PE. For the radiator I mounted 2 SP120 PWM PE's on the inside of the case and one NF-F12 on the top of the case. The one bad thing about the Stryker chassis is the carrying handle has a metal brace that prevents the installation of a fourth pull fan. So I'm running push|half-pull...
|Power Supply||Corsair AX760||$144.49|
I chose the AX760 for energy efficiency during high-load render times several hours in length. The 80+ Platinum efficiency also results in a bit lower heat output from wasted energy, which results in lower fan speed. The 760watt potential is there for if I want to add a RAID card and several hard drives in the future or a Quadro GPU.
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)||$89.95|
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit for now. I'm sure I'll upgrade to a full 32GB of RAM at some point in the future, and with my university discount the upgrade to Pro or Ultimate is only $9.75. For those who don't know, Home Premium limits usable RAM to 16GB. You can have 32GB of RAM or even 64GB if you're on X79, but Home Premium will only work with 16GB of it.
|Monitor||Asus PB278Q 2560x1440 27.0" PLS Monitor||$549.99|
I had a few requirements in a monitor for my needs: IPS/PLS technology for better color reproduction in order to do accurate color correction, large screen size, a resolution large enough for me to size my footage preview window on actual 1920x1080 pixels with screen real estate left over to edit on.
This ASUS monitor fit the bill perfectly, and is the cheapest non-Korean QHD monitor available. I didn't go the Korean-import route because of time constraints - I would not have been able to wait the time required for shipping back-and-forth if I needed to RMA the panel.
I wanted a Cherry MX Brown keyboard for the tactile response of Blues, the responsiveness of mechanical switches, and typing-noise the quietest possible for Cherry switches. I also wanted controllable-backlit keys and media controls. It was between the Logitech G710+ and the Gigabyte AIVIA Osmium Brown, and I chose the G710+ because its placement of macro keys made more sense. I didn't leave Gigabyte completely out of the picture though...
Gigabyte GM-M8000X Wired Laser. It's a Logitech G500 with improved features. Instead of DPI switches on the side, it has a DPI rocker behind the scroll wheel, which is much easier to use for on-the-fly changes. It has a nice textured rubberized finish that doesn't let your hand slip while not causing your palms to become sweaty. And it's at the same price point as the G500. I highly recommend it, obviously.
|Sound Card||Asus Xonar DX||$89.99|
|Speakers||Logitech Z623 2.1ch Speaker System||$117.99|
Logitech Z623 2.1 channel system. I needed something for real-world bassy audio playback. I have Audio-Technica ATH-M50's for neutral sound signature audio monitoring/editing, but I wanted an actual real-world system to know what my final results will be.
ASUS Xonar DX sound card: marketed as a gaming AND media sound card. Take a neutered Xonar STX and a neutered Xonar Phoebus, fuse them together, and you have the Xonar DX. Neutered is relative here, because it's still very good quality.
|Total||Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.||$3279.52|
That's the build! The cost is higher than what you typically see for builds on this site with similar big-ticket components. But keep in mind a lot of those builds leave off the OS, monitor, whatever audio system, and sometimes peripherals. If I subtracted the cost of all the human-interface items, the meaty internals add up to $2591.55, which I think sounds about right for the internals chosen.
All-in-all things went pretty smoothly considering it was my first time. I had an Aha-moment when I decided to velcro-tape the SSD to the top of the PSU in order to cover the silly spec-sheet visible with the fan facing down. The one problem I had was dropping a screw onto the Sabertooth armor. It rolled under the plastic shroud and got stuck somewhere...I had to shake the now 40 pound case (the mobo was installed already) for 5 minutes until it dislodged itself. 1st world problems >_<
Anyways, enjoy the pictures! I tried to be as mindful of the main-bay cable management as I could.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks to Phillip and the crew for an incredibly useful resource for this noob's first build!