This was my first computer build. I wanted a computer that would rock when playing BF4. My wife and kids all though that I was crazy for taking this on as I had no existing knowledge of how to build a computer. I was frustrated because my existing system did not have the capabilities for BF4 and I was looking at close to $2,000 to get a system that would work well. So I pressed on.
I had a blast researching all the parts that I needed, reading reviews, and shopping for the best prices. This would never have been possible without PCPartPicker. Your website is awesome. It took about a month to purchase all the components, and ended with my 21-year-old triplets giving me the speakers for a X-mass present.
The build went very well. Had a little trouble getting connectors lined up with my old eyes. Eventually I got it done. The build is described below through descriptions of the uploaded pictures. I had three problems that needed to be resolved with the completed computer build. I am very happy to say that I have been able to resolve all of these problems. These problems and the resolutions are described in the troubleshooting section following the picture descriptions.
BF4 works great on this computer. I am able to set all graphic settings to ultra with no issues. The sound is also awesome. I have not tried any over clocking or anything like that yet. Not really sure where to go with that, or even if I even need to.
Picture 1: The obligatory shot of all the components arrayed in the boxes. Picture 2: Case - came with one fan on the front blowing in and one on the backing blowing out. Pictures 3 though 6: Power Supply - in hindsight I wish I would have went with a modular unit. Picture 7: 4 Extra Case Fans. Picture 8: Case fan installed on the bottom blowing in. Picture 9: Filter over the power supply intake fan and the extra case fan shown in Picture 8. I used two silver screws to install the filter to remind me that I only have to remove these two screws to take the filter off for cleaning. There are two black screws below the filter holding the fan on. So the fan will be secure even when I take the silver screws off to clean the filter. Picture 10: Front of case with cover removed showing the intake fan that came already mounted. Picture 11: Additional intake fan on the front of case. No need for a filter on the fan as the front of the case has filters on the vent holes. Picture 12 through 14: Optical drive. Pictures 15 through 17: Solid State Drive. This is a cool way to go. Wish I would have purchased a bigger one. Pictures 18 through 20: Hard Drive. Picture 21: All drives installed. Picture 22: Motherboard back plate installed. Picture 23: Motherboard with CPU installed. Notice the heat sink and radiator on the north bridge controller. Will discuss this more under issues with the sound card installation. Pictures 24 and 25: Thermal grease on the CPU. Picture 26: Installed CPU fan with the one cooling fan that came with the heat sink blowing in. Picture 27: Additional CPU fan mounted on the heat sink sucking out. Picture 28: RAM installed in A2 and B2. Pictures 29 through 33: Motherboard installed in case with video card installed in PCIE2 Express 2.0x16 slot. The sound card needed a PCI Express 2.0x1 slot. This motherboard has two of those slots. PCIE1 and PCIE3. PCIE3 is blocked by the video card. Installing the sound card in PCIE1 resulted in the back portion of the card sliding between the heat sink and radiator on the north bridge controller (Picture 23). I did not think that this was a good idea so initially I installed the sound card in the PCIE5 Express 2.0x16 slot, even though it only needed a 2.0x1 slot. I had an extra filter so I installed it on the CPU heat sink fan that blows into the radiator (Picture 30). I thought that it would be good to keep dust out of the radiator. I installed the filter with just two screws on the outside to make removal for cleaning easy. I also installed two case fans in the top blowing out (Picture 33). Picture 34: Back of completed computer. Picture 35: Side of competed computer. Picture 36: The moment of truth! Picture 37: Let down! Motherboard hangs up with error code 36. Picture 38: What to do? I know. Power it down and try again. This time - success!!!! This would be an ongoing problem that is addressed under troubleshooting. Picture 39: I had problems with the sound card. This is addressed fully in the troubleshooting section. I ended up installing the sound card in the PCIE1 Express 2.0x1 slot even though this resulted in the back portion of the card sliding between the heat sink and radiator on the north bridge controller.
Poor Text Quality
Problem: The text quality on my monitor was very poor in all applications (explorer, word, excel, etc.) Resolution: I was using a ViewSonic monitor that is about 5 years old, and had it hooked up with an HDMI cord to my new computer build. I always had my older computer hooked up to this monitor with an DVI cord. I hooked up my older computer to the monitor with an HDMI cord and got the same poor text quality as the new computer build was giving me. I then tried an DVI cord with the monitor and my new computer build. The text now looks great. This is an acceptable solution for me as I do not need the sound capability that the HDMI cord provides, and I do not believe that there is a difference in video quality between an HDMI and DVI cord.
Cold Boot Failure
Problem: Every time I would cold boot my new computer build it would hang up on error code 36 and not boot. I would have to hard shut it down from there and then when I turned the power on it would boot up fine. I would have this problem every time I would try and power on after the computer was off for more than about ten minutes. Resolution: The mother board in my new computer build game with BIOS version 2.0. I researched ASROCK's website and saw that the latest BIOS version was 2.5. I flashed the new BIOS using the instructions ASROCK provided on their website. Since updating the BIOS my computer has cold booted up fine every time.
No Sound After Computer Sleeps
Problem: Every time I would wake the computer up from sleep mode the sound would not work. I would have to do a restart to get the sound to work again. Resolution: I took the following actions based on recommendations from ASROCK and Creative. The sound not works great, even when I wake the computer up from sleep mode. • Reinstalled the sound card in the PCIE1 Express 2.0x1 slot. • Installed driver version 22 for the sound card. • Installed RealTek audio driver version 2.73. • Disabled the RealTek audio driver in the startup menu. • Disabled the onboard sound in the motherboard BIOS.