Description

A little over two years ago I built a computer with my six month old son strapped to my chest or back as a means to cope with the changes of becoming a first time father. At the time I was working well over 60h a week and didn't get to spend a lot of time at home and was missing a great deal of time with my beautiful baby boy. My amazing wife saw the strain and stress this was causing and came to me with an idea. She sanctioned a new top end build with no budget limit with the only requirement being I build it with my son. Over the course of time I spent many hours with my son on the table, strapped to my chest or back, or in his high chair helping me build my computer. In the end it became such an engulfing project that it competed with what little time I had with my wife. She never took offense and seeing her husband and son together at every waking moment brought her a great amount of joy. We wound up calling the build THE WIFE CONTENDER as an inside joke and wound up using it here. As personsl builds go, this one has meant more to me than any other. And it was a very sad day when it went down.

Last December I fried one of my two R9 290s during an overclock test. I suspect the second card was damaged as well but it only ever showed issues in crossfire. As a stand alone card it worked great. Sapphire Tech was gracious enough to take both cards in under warranty and replaced both with brand new cards. I sent them in for warranty in January and got them back in March, by that time I had already sold the majority of my computer for family expenses and decided to sell off the cards with the water cooling components for them.

In Jaunuary my side business acquired two used R9 Fury X cards, a PowerColor and a Sapphire Tech, for relatively cheap. The build they were supposed to go into fell through and all parts were redistributed to other purposes leaving the two Fury X cards collecting dust on a shelf. Money started to flow back in our direction in late April and my wife once again suggested I build another system, but this time with my second son! In May I ordered parts for a new build with the Fury X cards at the heart of the build and my second son at the helm. You will notice quite a few 0 dollar amounts. These parts were purchased from an account that originally held the dollar amount earned from selling my old components that I was able to replenish.

I went into this build with a few goals in mind. First I wanted no traditional sata hard drives. We have a beefy FreeNAS system connected to our gigabyte network. Space and access speed is overkill. I was only going to use one m.2 drive but I was able to pick up a 950 pro 512gb stick new for fairly cheap which brought my m.2 drive count to two. I started looking at boards with duel m.2 slots. I ruled out using the x99 chipset and went with a z170 build. I originally purchased an MSI Z170 board with duel m.2 slots but wound up not really liking it. I sold it and purchased the ASUS z170 Sabertooth Mark 1 board. To my surprise the board came with a pcie m.2 card adapfer! Worked out great.

Second I wanted to keep my corsair 600T which had already been heavily modified to accept several radiators. I did some more work to mount the pump/rez to the case itself, completely removed all drive cages, and installed a temperature display that would display temps of the water in two places (this was intentional as I had planned a specific type of water cooling method that needed specific temp readings, but I wound up not going with this solution in this build.). The case came out at a point were hybrid cards were non existent which really made mounting the radiators for the Fury X cards difficult. This was strike one against the Fury cards. To get a good surface for the radiators I had to remove my custom painted imperial logo acrylic cover with a mesh that has 4 areas to mount fans. Strike two against the Fury X cards. This worked out and the radiators fit, but the tubing is not very flexible which made closing the cover very difficult. In the end, Strike three for the Fury x cards.

Other than the video card challenge everything else went smooth. The 950 pro 256gb drive is being used as my os drive and the 950 pro 512gb drive is being used as my steam/GOG drive. System fired up and booted right into Windows 8 install off a USB stick. The install application recognized both M.2 drives without any tweaks to Bios or additional drivers being needed. Windows 8 install and windows 10 update took about 30 to 45 minutes and both drives are operating exactly as advertised. Everything is lightning fast, and game load times are considerably faster than my old HDDs. Boot time from fire up to windows login is about 12 to 15 seconds, which is a few seconds slower than my old system booting off a 256gb SSD.

My other goals related to water cooling the video cards, and using an external system working with both radiators are capable of doing. But my disappointment in the video cards put all that on hold.

I wasn't able to use the fan system that came with the corsair memory due to the temporary tubing path for the water cooling , but eventually I will. I'm not very happy with the duel Fury X cards. They are fast, and they play anything I throw at them in 4k @ ultra settings, but the sudden, brief frame dips I experince in almost every game I play is beyond annoying. Turn crossfire off and the problem goes away along with high frame rates. This was a huge disappointment as I didnt have this issue with my duel R9 290s. The cards stay pretty cool, but the amount of heat put out through the radiator easily raises room temp by 10c and because of the way they are mounted that heat is being directed in my general direction. I also had problems setting up my three 4k displays in eyefinity. I don't know if it was a driver issue, cable issue, or user error but I could not set it up and went back to a single 4k display. Which was mind boggling since I was able to set it up with my duel r9 290s. This has been the first time I've been disappointed with an AMD card since I switched over back in the 7870 GHz edition cards. Individually the cards are quit good, specially at the price I paid. But the crossfire performance just isn't what I was expecting, not like the performance boost I saw going from one R9 290 to crossfire 290s.

After all the benchmarks and the many games I put the system through my son's and I removed the Fury X cards and the business now has them up for sale. Now I'm left in a predicament. I'm not really a fan of either the 1080 or 1070. I've never really been a follower of first gen cards. They are good cards, but it's only going to be a few months until the Ti version hits or its equiv. I have a couple of spare cards lying around I can use for 1440p gaming until HBM2 cards start rolling out. What I do know is I won't be buying a new card until AMD has its RX 4x0 cards and nvidia has its 10x0 cards are fully stocked and all partner cards are available. By Thanksgivng card prices should be showing discounts across the board and more news on HBM2 cards Should be available.

The 6700k is an ok chip. Compared to my old 3770k it's not that much better. My VM's do seem to load a bit faster and run a bit smoother and the chip over clocks just as well as the ivy bridge i7. I did a very quick overclock and achieved a 4.9ghz speed with only a multiplier adjustment. System booted fine, primed for 8h, and ran benchmarks without issue. Max temps hit about 65c. As with the Fury x cards vs the 290s, I didnt see the performance boost with the 6700k I saw with the 3770k with similar OCs. My max Oc with the 3770k was 5ghz @ 82c and I do aim to achieve the same with the 6700k, which at this point doesn't seem very hard. I Think I can go higher. Temps will increase once I have video cards added to the loop.

Overall I had a great time building this system with my family, but in the end the only parts that truly surprised me were the Asus board, the two M.2 drives, and how efficient the water cooling system is. The rest of the hardware is just plain meh. Meh to the point where I'm starting to think it might have been a mistake to completely rule out the x99 system. An 8 or 10 core system would have been fun to play with. Maybe Zen.

I really debated putting this build up, it is an incomplete build that wont see a final polish until I decide on video cards, additional water cooling components, and custom cables. But in the end I decided to share the experiences and the fun I had with my kids!

EDIT: I was asked to include some benchmarks. Uploaded pics of firestrike and firestrike ultra.

Comments

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Great background story and pc. Most people dont just spend a few k usually there is a reason. +1

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you!

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Die You hear noctua is gonna finally make 200mm fans? Those might give you a performance boost for that 200mm radiator. Also nice build, somethin different

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

I thought about replacing the two I have shortly after I built the case. The one problem I have with them is they are 3pin. Both originally came with the case and I repurposed them. A trick I learned from a prominent builder online and they really do a nice job. Even under full speed (2500rpm) they are about as loud as the pump and do a great job on that radiator. So I decided to wait until they stopped working.

Thanks for the info and thanks for commenting.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

i always like to help. and good to see that you are happy with the fans, i´m always sceptic about the quality of 200mm fans

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Correct me if im wrong but doesnt the 6700k only have 16 pcie lanes, when u have the m.2 ssd it takes up PCIe lanes and your cards cant operate on the 8x by 8x, which may cause stutters and etc.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Nah, this is not the issue. Fury cards have had a stutter problem in practically all crossfire reviews. There have been quit a few driver updates since most of those reviews and I'd hoped that they might have made a difference. They did not... Oh well not a big deal.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 great work!

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

crazy machine !)

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Impressive, most impressive.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.carthrottle.com/workspace/uploads/comments/so-beauty-much-551a3631cb1b7.jpg

sorry had to use a pic to express myself

how are the SSD setup?

because, i know the PCH of the Z170 has extra PCI-E x4 lanes and the CPU has 16 lanes for the GPU itself

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Since this type of storage system is new to me I'm not 100% sure. And I've only had a few days to play with it before I went out of town.

But

At the moment I have it set to pcie x4, but I can change settings in bios to move it off the pcie to sata. Doing this disables the sata express and two sata ports. But I'm not sure why I would do this as I only have 3 pcie slots. If I move to a 3 way sli/crossfire I would lose the ability to use the m.2 pcie adapter.

With that said... They are amazing. They were recognized without any need for divers or bios adjustments during Windows installation. Once everything was up and running I ran Crystal disk on both drives and they are operating exactly where they should be. I did a couple of large file transfers to and from our nas and it was lightning fast. I absolutely love them.

Wish I could say the same for the cpu/gpu's but oh well.

Thanks for the awesome!

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

nice

enjoy your rig mate.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

The way skylake works is that the CPU has 16 3.0 lanes for the gpus and the pch has 20 lanes for storage and I/O that goes through a dmi 3.0 x4 link. So, with skylake, you can have two video cards running at x8/x8 and they have absolutely no effect on the 20 lanes provided by the pch for storage and I/O...so m.2 drives, etc will never affect the lanes for the gpus and vice versa

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

good point here

while x8 and x16 on PCI-E 3.0 dont affect the gpus performance.

so far none has confirmed the issues when doing CF PCI-E 2.0 x4 and PCI-E 2.0 x16

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

it's not the Fury X card's fault you didn't choose a case that could accept them...remember, it's not the screwdriver's fault it doesn't work when you're trying to use it to hammer nails

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

You are quit right. But, I didn't choose the case for the Fury X cards. I've owned the case since release and since then heavily modified it to support a hefty custom water cooling system. Without that system the cards would have worked fine. The radiators fit, just not in a way I would have prefered. I stated this in my description.

The radiators were a small factor in why I got rid of them. I think I only wrote a sentence or two about it, yet that's what you decided to comment about. I find that kinda funny actually.

I had no real concerns about the radiators as I was planning on removing the original cooling system and adding water blocks, then incorporating into my loop. But after a long series of testing and gaming, performance just wasn't up to what I wanted (along with a myriad of other issues). I pulled them and sold them.

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

That is a monster build. Very cool.

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you, it was a fun build.

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

I have the same motherboard and it will not post it only gives me this little orange PWR light can you please help??

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

give me your specs.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks but I got it working I just a made a really dumb mistake LOL..

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

How is the monitor treating you?Im planning to buy one but im not sure if its good or not. It is the cheapest 4k monitor available so i want to know the drawbacks.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

I loved them. They have been great monitors at a ridiculously great price. I've been recommending them to those looking to enter into the 4K market. It has its flaws. It does take a few seconds for the monitor to turn on. never bugged me but some reviews had issues with it. I personally never experienced ghosting while playing fps, but that's a complaint against the monitor as well. The three I got all came pro calibrated and passed all my standard calibration tests . I didn't need to make any adjustments to any of the screens. The monitor doe have some special settings for certain types of games, I tryed them out and really liked the FPS setting. But non of them had any negative effects. The other big complaint about the TN AOC monitors was poor view angle. I used them in a three way setup, angled down a little. I did notice that the side screens seemed to be a little brighter when I wasn't looking at them straight on, but other than that I didn't notice much of poor viewing angles. So all in all I loved them. If and when the time comes I'll probably buy another threesome of 4K screens by AOC. I will probably look at the TN Monitors first.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the insight. Im gonna be getting 1 monitor only so viewing angle wont be an issue. Also i dont mind a longer booting time since im used to that and lets hope my model does not have any ghosting.

  • 36 months ago
  • 0 points

+1 for crossfire fury x

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Hehe thanks, I had hoped they were better than what they really are.

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  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! Building Computers runs in the family. My dad was a huge early adopter. By the early 80's we had more computer electronics than anyone else within miles of us. So much was my dad into computers he opened a computer store centered around Commodore and Amiga. Eventually it turned into a custom PC/software shop and stayed open well into the 90s. I spent more summers than I can remember working in the shop helping my dad work on computers, monitors, printers, and a vast array of peripherals. He still tinkers with PC equipment but I've taken over as the family builder. Though I've only ever kept it as a small side business, it constantly skirts the edges as an expensive hobby. Some how I seem to balance the books. Like my dad, I Involve my kids in every piece of hardware I touch and involve them in almost every build I do. There are very little restrictions but a lot of guidance (and safety!!) They both are free to come and go from my office and participate as long as they like. Both boys have surprised the hell out of me with the amount of time they are happy to give to be apart of whatever project I'm working On. I've come to deeply understand exactly how my dad felt all those summers ago, and have become ever so greatful I had the opportunity to be there with him. When working on a build like this with my boys I feel like my father, and when I look down and see my son's head deep in components I remember the days I was their age looking back.

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  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you, but gotta admit this has been one of the most disappointing builds I've done in a long time. Other than the M.2 PCIe drivers the whole system as a whole has been a huge let down. It's showing good numbers, and is on par (or slightly ahead) with overclocking. But the performance gains and overall system performance as a whole are just... meh. Going from my E6850 to the 3770k made me say WOW a number of times, and the ivy bridge system kept giving me happy surprises all the way to the day I dismantled it. The skylake platform has just been... meh... and I'm kicking myself for not waiting for Broadwell-E system.

Anyways, thanks for the compliments!! And thanks for looken at my builds!

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  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Hehe I actually looked up all the crossfire Fury X builds before moving forward with this build. There are very very few.

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  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh wow there really aren't any duel fury systems on this site.

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