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Build

The Feral Angel: Live video streaming DAW

by kylebronsdon

14
20 Comments

Details

Date Published

Dec. 3, 2015

Date Built

Nov. 21, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

4.0GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

38.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

69.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.11GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7.01GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

40.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

68.0° C

Description

Because I have too much respect for the word "beast"

Aiming for half the price (under $1500) and significant performance increases over my Sager NP8170, which has been stupid heavy, noisy, and hot since I took it out of the box four years ago. The lappy has always done everything I've asked it to - simultaneously streaming multiple camera live video and a separate live audio stream, running one fairly intensive game and a couple browser windows for chat and to monitor the stream on YouTube - I just want to do it cooler and quieter (below 30dB under load) while keeping the portability of the laptop. This is my first build, which I hope will give me some control dealing with DPC and IRQ issues. The Sager BIOS is useless. USB traffic appears to be one of my most problematic bottlenecks since adding a couple HD cams, and is also a critical issue for music recording, my other primary use with a RME UFX interface.

Sager NP8170 specs:

  • HM67 chipset

  • i7-2720QM @ 2.2GHz

  • 8G RAM

  • GTX 485M

Everything from Amazon except the case and Mushkin drive from Newegg (a couple rebates in there), Split some Amazon Chase reward points between the PSU and Samsung drive, which made me like those prices better lol - and kept me right on budget considering I spent twice as much on the GPU as I was planning to.

Fanless? Almost! I'm weird enough to try the CR-95C (plus I don't see how I could resist that sexy mofo) but I'm not insane. I love a great deal, but I love value even more, so keeping a balance between efficiency and power is important to me. That applies to everything from the hardware to the electricity bill to the OS - Not only is this my first build, I'm throwing Windows out the window. Maybe I am crazy!

Bioshock Infinite HIGH

Before BIOS update (Speedstep, Turbo off/CPU frequency scaling monitor Powersave)
CPU 72 GPU 68
After BIOS 2801 update (F5 optimized default/CPU frequency scaling monitor Performance)
CPU 64 GPU 67 - 39% GPU fan max

Idle

After BIOS update (F5 optimized default/CPU frequency scaling monitor Performance)
CPU 35 GPU 39

Shadow of Mordor LOW

(Replace CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor with CPU Frequency scaling indicator, sets all cores, but kept it on Powersave anyway because the game was running smooth as silk after some initial issues)

CPU 69 GPU 68

Steam was having a crazy Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal, so I couldn't resist picking up 3 or 4 games for less than SoM alone was going for the week before. Tell you what: I don't miss that portable idea ONE BIT. I knew Bioshock Infinite would be a breeze for the system, and I loved the original on PS3, so I got that first to just kinda burn in the GPU. Holy crap. That was the most intense gaming experience I've ever had. Mordor is a BLAST, too, I just don't yet see why it has to be so much more of a hog - but then, I haven't even bothered to push it past the default low settings it puts me at (which I found startling) - Could it look THAT MUCH MORE bitchin'?

I think I'm gonna be getting really into gaming.

...oh yeah, streaming! Well, I am loving Ubuntu MATE 15.10, my first Linux experience ever, but it's a good thing I like tweakin' around because it's gonna take some before I can get pro av happening - I did about a half dozen reinstalls before I realized a basic sensors app (lm-sensors) was resetting my sound preferences lol

Part Reviews

CPU

Clearly very popular. Chosen, like most of the parts for futureproofing: When the system starts feeling lackluster, I can overclock - Maybe I'll be over the bitchin' fanless cooler by then lol

CPU Cooler

Seriously. Love at first sight. Never understood windowed cases before. And BY GOD it WORKS!

Motherboard

USB 3.1/m.2 capable (futureproofing again) version of a popular Z97 board. Much sexier in person. Returned because I blamed it for the issues of a faulty power supply, and got back one that looked like the same thing happened to somebody else! The chipset looked like it took a little abuse. Working like a champ though, nice UEFI/BIOS.

Memory

Last time I bought memory, the only choice was between different capacities of green PCBs. When they say "low profile" they mean it! Very, very cool and simultaneously cute. 16G? Yeah, I guess I just like headroom (and I believe I've mentioned futureproofing).

Incidentally, ASUS means it when they insist you get memory on their fancy-schmancy list - The Z97-A/USB 3.1 sees these as 1333 out of the box. But their nice UEFI/BIOS makes that no problem at all.

Video Card

WOW. That thing is HEAVY. I mean, emotionally heavy more than by weight, but the last time I bought one it was essentially a green PCB. Like memory was. I'm getting old, huh? Anyway, considering I was looking at the 750 Ti STRIX (the whole series appeals to my love of efficiency),this was an equally popular and probably smarter choice I ended up spending twice as much for in the interest of futureproofing. I suddenly see myself getting into gaming.

Case

A forerunner if not the undisputed champ of cool and quiet. Every little bit helps. Very popular among first-time builders. The CR-95C monster fanless cooler seduced me out of the portable idea. Good price for the windowed version. If it's as easy a case to work with for the first-time builder, as they say, as I am, I don't think I'll try a challenging one anytime soon. Clearly high quality though, I was happy with the nice chunky door panel, the insulating material, and the modularity. Fractal had to cut corners somewhere, and it kinda shows on the window and fan wires, though the fans themselves are very, very nice for stock chassis fans. Awfully thoughtful of them to put them in there.

Power Supply

Well, it's what they had down the street to replace the Seasonic SS-520FL2 520W Fanless 80 PLUS Platinum I originally bought. Which had a bad CPU rail. Which I didn't know until I got a replacement mobo. Thanks a lot, RackGo, I think you owe Asus an Apology. Still waiting for my refund - Got the mobo replacement the DAY AFTER Amazon SENT UPS WITH A SHIPPING LABEL to pick up the return. Which was the DAY AFTER I clicked the return button. Amazon Prime FTW. Always Prime. Always. Note to self. In any case, the Corsair is fine so far. I can hear the deathly silent Noctua on the back if I get my ear right up there, but not that PSU.

Case Fan

I first got a couple of these for a totally unrelated project, to cool pro audio gear in a closed cabinet. They've been running 24/7 for three months and I have to look all the time to see if they're running. Never heard 'em. And they work flawlessly with the PWM I send them via a thermistor stuck in an Arduino up there in the cabinet. There may be equally great quality out there, but you won't find better.

Comments Sorted by:

dragoon20005 3 Builds 2 points 22 months ago

welp i almost misread it as Linus Live Video Streaming DAW

+1 for the name

fn230 14 Builds 2 points 22 months ago

+1 for Linux and NoFan cooler. Also love the name.

texasmayne 4 Builds 2 points 22 months ago

Fanless heatsink is awesome!

dragoon20005 3 Builds 1 point 22 months ago

also if you put blue LEDs to the cooler

you just made the Arc Reactor from Ironman

kylebronsdon submitter 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

I totally wanna do that!

SpecificAlduin 2 Builds 1 point 22 months ago

Get your cables under control and you're grand. Good wire management is great for making sure you have optimal airflow into your case. Fanless coolers are cool too. +1

kylebronsdon submitter 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

I was actually really lazy with the cable management when I first put it together because I was pretty sure I'd be getting the Noctua fans, which I just added yesterday. I redid all the cabling then, you shoulda seen it before lol - but I took out all the drive cages, so the case is half empty!

SpecificAlduin 2 Builds 1 point 22 months ago

Pics or it didn't happen

detechtive 1 point 22 months ago

That heatsink looks crazy, you don't see many assemblies without fans these days.

kylebronsdon submitter 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

It IS crazy, I freakin' love it lol - and it works!

biggles5107 2 Builds 1 point 22 months ago

+1 for Linux! I suggest you check out Arch Linux at some point, at least just for the experience. I learned quite a bit about Linux from the install process. Yeah, it's definitely not the easiest thing to set up, but it's got great documentation.

Not a huge fan of the Corsair CX series PSU but it'll probably be fine. Sorry to hear about that Seasonic.

kylebronsdon submitter 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

I keep seeing Arch and liking what I see - It's great that Ubuntu is so ubiquitous, but Dancing with the Stars is really popular too heh - I don't see nearly so many outdated references and broken links with Arch. I'm really glad I run Ubuntu on my web/streaming server, I was at least a little familiar with Linux file structure and terminal commands. I think you've given me the little push I need to at least try out a live USB of Arch.

If I ever get that refund for the Seasonic, I might try another - from a different seller!

biggles5107 2 Builds 1 point 22 months ago

I really like Arch. Just warning you, the community is a bit elitist - they tell you to RTFM before asking any stupid questions on the forums. But the AUR and the documentation are second to none and keep me coming back.

kylebronsdon submitter 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

OMFG no way lol - I gave it a try, a couple times from scratch and once with Architect, Arch is so not gonna happen for me anytime soon! I can't even get my hardware behaving properly on the hand-holding Ubuntu MATE 15.10 yet. I came so close to pulling the plug and installing Windows 7 yesterday. The most frustrating element is that 90% of the applications I want are either tragically outdated or simply just disappeared from the web.

But I slept on it and my goal today is what should be (and has proven not to be) a modest one of getting either OBS, which I'm used to, or the very exciting and totally undocumented WebcamStudio to use the camera preferences I set up in guvcview.

biggles5107 2 Builds 2 points 22 months ago

It's definitely not for everyone. I've done quite a bit of distro hopping before finally landing on Arch...and I've gotten very intimate with Linux along the way. I've had a few of those Windows moments myself.

One tip with OBS: If you're trying to do screen capture, make sure to keep compositing enabled. If you don't, you'll get weird flickering. How do I know? I tried to stream Minecraft using my 860K :P

Never again.

biggles5107 2 Builds 1 point 22 months ago

By the by, what piece of hardware is causing you problems? I might be able to help you out.

kylebronsdon submitter 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

I sure appreciate it, biggles - I worked with the latest Ubuntu MATE for a couple weeks and became quite fond of it but when I broke down yesterday and put Windows 10 on the machine, I got the rig I paid for. Simply no contest. Shadow of Mordor loaded up at ULTRA settings which was more surprising to me than the low defaults I got with Linux. Every cam got the resolution and frame rate I expected soon as I plugged em in. My $2k audio interface had full functionality. Even my notoriously unreliable ISP behaved!

I'll keep my MATE partition on the old lappy (because I expect Windows 7 to kick it, since I used the serial number to get the 10 iso file) but I'm not ready for Linux yet :)

[comment deleted]
cpenland 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

100$ for that cooler? What's the performance like? Very interesting.

kylebronsdon submitter 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

I think the temps I've noted say it all! 95% of the time the only chassis fan going is the one on the back just behind the cooler, lazily (and silently) venting out what doesn't convect out the top, at around 300 RPM.

cpenland 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

Oh wow, i really need to stop speed browsing descriptions my apologizes. Hmm, well on my rig im overclocking my i5-6600k with a h110i gt corsair AIO which i picked up for 100$ and i stay around 40c cpu temp on a 4.2ghz 1.25v OC on fallout4 (max setting) and gpu stays around 65c. You can see my build on my profile. Not sure if your cooler is worth, but it does cut down on noise thats for sure! =P