Final Update: Alright, well I think this "re-build" has come to an end. I believe that I've pushed the current hardware as far as it will go without upgrading or spending a lot of time perfecting the overclocking for a couple hundred MHz higher clock speed. With that said, I ordered a new motherboard, new RAM, a new GPU, and a few more SSDs.
I've planned on upgrading the GPU all along and I've been questioning the motherboard all along. I believe that a newer motherboard along with the new GPU will allow this build to stay relevant for at least a couple years and will still cost me less than buying all new components and starting from the ground up.
I must say it has been fun to replace only a couple components and see just how much benchmark scores have improved and how much better/faster the system runs overall. The experiment with liquid cooling has done nothing but amaze me. I'm currently ~2 hours into a final stability run of Prime95 blend tests and my max CPU temperature is 40°C. I knew liquid cooling worked, but I never realized it worked THIS well and it has inspired me to push my hardware further as heat is most definitely not the issue at the moment.
I will be posting some final pictures and some more info about the build soon. I will start a new build for the upgraded version of this system soon.
Original Benchmark scores (100% stock w/ OEM AMD CPU Cooler):
Fire Strike 1.1 - 3,780 - http://www.3dmark.com/fs/7588844
Sky Diver 1.0 - 13,433 - http://www.3dmark.com/sd/3839050
Cinebench R15: OpenGL - 76.09 FPS - CPU(Multi-thread) - 467 cb - CPU (Single-thread) - 88 cb - 5.29x MP Ratio
CPU-Z - Single Thread - 872 - Multi Thread - 4105
Final Benchmark Scores (4.0GHz w/ NZXT X41):
Fire Strike 1.1 - 4703 - http://www.3dmark.com/fs/7610651
Sky Diver 1.0 - 13899 - http://www.3dmark.com/sd/3839612
CPU VCORE - 1.375v - ~1.39-1.4v w/ LLC
CPU Idle Temp - 13.0°C
CPU Max Load Temp - 40.0°C
Max CPU Socket Temp. (TMPIN2) - 52.0°
I built this computer for my brother back in 2012 when the FX processors first came out. Unfortunately, I never had time to get everything set up properly. Front USB never worked, no cable management whatsoever, etc. After ~2 years he started having a lot of issues with random shut downs, freezing, BSOD, etc. Fast forward to today. He's been using a new Dell PC for a while and I finally decided to dig into this build and see whether it was an issue with hardware, software, etc.
So first things first, I decided to disconnect everything that was attached to the MOBO, except for the RAM and the CPU/CPU cooler. The system had been running on the stock CPU cooler from AMD and the heat sink had a ton of dust built up in between the fins and in the fan itself. So, I'd found issue number one. The CPU was most likely overheating and going into a fail-safe mode. I started by cleaning CPU heat sink and fan, then moved on to the rest of the system/case. My other theory was a failed motherboard as I read quite a few reviews about these boards dying after ~2 years.
After cleaning everything up, it was time to reassemble the system and get it up and running again. It turned out to be relatively easy to route all of the cables via the cases cable management, even having to stop and re-do cable runs a few times. It started out pretty bad as I had not even tried to use the cable management when I first built the PC. I learned a big lesson there, it is DEFINITELY worth the time and effort to properly route all of the cables. The difference in how the system looks inside is HUGE. It went from a rat's nest with a 2 pin connector jamming a GPU fan to a respectable looking build in a few hours.
Next I needed to make sure the computer still ran, so plugged in the 250GB seagate that had the OS installed on it and fired it up. It booted the first try, so I was pretty excited about that. However, that was the end of things being simple. I grabbed an updated MOBO bios from gigabyte's website and downloaded new drivers for everything that was available as well. Flashed the new bios, installed all of the drivers and got ready to run windows updates when I found out that the ethernet port was not working. After trying multiple different bios flashes, uninstalling/reinstalling drivers, etc. to no avail, I had pretty much run out of ideas.
I decided to try booting a fresh copy of windows 7 on the 64GB SSD that had originally been intended to run the OS on. After installing a fresh copy of windows 7, everything started working as it should. I also realized that there must have been a ton of stuff running in the background when booting from the 250GB seagate. The CPU would sit around 40°C all the time and the fan would be blaring at full speed, even with no active windows open. Coretemp reported 20-40% load on a few random cores all the time as well. I kind of just assumed it ran hot because it was an 8 core and I had only dealt with quad cores in depth.
It now idles around 12°C-17°C and it actually brings the core down to 1.4GHz when idle at 0-2% load, which I assume it should have always been doing. I'm not really sure why core temp is reporting 12°C-17°C as the core temp at idle though. The NZXT cooler won't arrive until tomorrow, so this is currently on the stock CPU fan/heatsink with no side panel on. That puts it below ambient temperature in my room, so I'm not sure it's exactly accurate.
So, without bothering to dig into what is going on with that old 250GB seagate, I plan to get any documents/files my brother wants and condemn the drive.
Currently, the system is running great. I'll be installing the NZXT CPU cooler once it arrives and I will be uploading some pictures and getting some parts reviews done. The components in the build list will change as I think I may actually rebuild this rather than building an entirely new PC for myself.
Max CPU temps on the stock cooler so far: 52°C after running prime 95 blend tests for ~2 hours. Average temp was closer to 48°C. I'm honestly pretty surprised that it is not running hotter considering it is running at 3.4GHz (Turbo) most of the time during the test. EDIT: Apparently, single cores can run all the way up to 4.0GHz.
TL;DR: I "rebuilt" an old PC for less than $200 and now it runs much better.
Update 1: I've started running benchmarks and so far the results are as expected. I'm going to play with CPU overclocking, because I want to see what it will do on air before I install the new CPU cooler. I'm not expecting much, but this CPU has surprised me so far. Also, cell phone pictures incoming, better pictures to come.
Update 2: I received and installed the NZXT Kraken X41 today. This cooler is AMAZING. So far, I have not even gotten the CPU to touch 40°. I ran blend tests for 7 hours while I slept last night and HW monitor reported max CPU temp as 35°C @ 3.8GHz! Not to mention that this setup is nearly silent. I was quickly growing tired of the OEM CPU cooler sounding like a plane taking off anytime load was applied to the CPU.
I'm currently running custom blend tests using ~70% of my ram to test for stability after stepping the overclock up to 3.9GHz and temps have still maxed out at 35°C. CAM reports the coolant temp is 38°C. I'm loving this as my first foray into liquid cooling.
I received and installed the NZXT Kraken X41 today. This cooler is AMAZING. So far, I have not even gotten the CPU to touch 40°. I ran blend tests for 7 hours while I slept last night and HW monitor reported max CPU temp as 35°C @ 3.8GHz! Not to mention that this setup is nearly silent. I was quickly growing tired of the OEM CPU cooler sounding like a plane taking off anytime load was applied to the CPU.
Will update with more info later and update IF a failure ever arises.