Build: Arcology A² AMD/ATI Super Build
Hello everyone! I'm currently in the process of waiting for my components to arrive from Amazon, but I wanted to post up my build, and as I start the build I will update The Verge accordingly. As of now, Build A PC does not have some components listed, so I'm going to write them out.
Sapphire Radeon R9 290x 4gb GDDR5
Asus Crosshair V Formula-Z AM3+ AMD 990FX Sata 6Gb/s
AMD FX-9590 8-Core Black Edition
Corsair RM Series 850 Watt ATX/EPS 80PLUS Gold-Certified Power Supply
Western Digital 2 TB 3.5-Inch WD Se SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Enterprise Hard Drive
Crucial M500 240GB SATA SSD
Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB (4X4 GB) PC3-12800 1600mHz DDR3 240-Pin SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit
NZXT Phantom 820
NZXT Kraken X60 280mm CPU Cooler
NZXT Kraken X40 140mm CPU Cooler
Sigma Cool MKII GPU Cooler Mount for Water Cooling AIO's
Enzotech MOS-C1 Heatsinks (20)
Arctic Silver CMQ2-25G Ceramique 2 Tri-Linear Thermal Compound
Corsair Air Series SP120 High Performance Edition Twin Pack
This machine will be used for mainly editing photos and videos, but also for mining altcoins while browsing the internet. However, I will also be selling the completed build, if it meets my specifications for stability and power. Mind you, I am an Intel/NVidia aficionado, but I grew up with AMD and Radeon cards, so this is more of a return to my roots. The first and primary focus of this rig will be stability. I want this machine to run solid and maintenance free in the event that I sell it, as my name will thereby be attached to its quality from that point on. However, I also wanted a level of performance that will leave me satisfied.
My choice in selecting the FX-9590 was mainly because of it being superior to most Intel i7's in its price bracket, and also because of the capabilities of this processor in terms of clock speed and rarity. Many people do i7 builds which I find great, but not too satisfying. However, tuning an AMD processor is more fun for me. I guess that I want to make a build that is extremely uncommon.
I chose the Asus motherboard for obvious reasons; you will not find a better motherboard anywhere else.
The Radeon R9 290X was chosen because of it being the current GPU king. However, thermal problems with these cards has left a dark shadow over ATI, something which I find disheartening. However, it now means that there is a current challenge of extracting the best results possible from these cards through altering the cooling, and I will explain my theory and blueprint for the upgrade later in this thread.
The PSU was selected simply because of it being a Corsair PSU that was rated with the 80Plus Gold badge, and also because of the flat cables and modular nature of the wiring.
This part here gave me a lot of grief in choice, but I decided on the Western Digital 2TB SE hard drive because of it being an Enterprise hard drive. It has 5 platters with a 7200RPM hard drive speed, dual processors for data thoroughput maintenance (stable file transfer rates), and most of all, the StableTrac technology that WD has. I have plenty of experience with Hard Drives, as I am a DJ who burns through them at alarming rates due to things like head crashing, and vibration. But most of all, the data that I will be storing on this drive is extremely sensitive, and I need a drive that will function at peak ability for years to come.
As for my selection with my SSD, the Corsair M500 was a no brainer. First off, I don't care about what the fastest SSD is. Many builders and newbie computer guys want to be the "fastest" and then wonder why they have stability issues. The Corsair M500 is probably the best SSD on the market when you look at the sum of its parts. First off, the drive has capacitors that allow the drive to finish writing data from the cache to the drive in case you have a power failure, or a sudden shutdown. Secondly, it is the only drive with the kind of NAND maintenance that ensures that a dirty SSD doesn't lose speed. That alone puts it miles ahead of other drives. It also supports Bitlocker Encryption/Decryption on a hardware level, to prevent encryption from slowing down file transfer rates.
I chose the Corsair Vengeance Blue 16gb, but in 4 stick flavor simply because in my old workstation, 4 sticks of RAM gave me the absolute best stability in Premiere Pro for video rendering when the sticks were not EEC. I suspect that it's because the sticks don't have as much data per stick flowing to each of them, and the load is spread across all four, reducing the likelyhood of errors. Also, there are some problems with faster RAM that are not EEC, so I'm playing it conservative. But this is the only aspect of the system that I left open to expansion in a short term period.
The NZXT Phantom is the only case I found that can accommodate all of the things I want to do, while looking relatively attractive. I was originally slated to use the CM Storm Stryker but I decided on the NZXT due to looks.
I chose the NZXT Kraken X60 simply because it offered better cooling than the Corsair alternatives, at an attractive price point. As for the X40, I chose that one for the GPU, but more on that later.
GPU Modification Game Plan- R9 290X
I'm going to combat cooling the 290X in a simple way. I was one of those guys who was about to get the Accelero III or the MK-26 or some other obnoxiously large cooling solution. Water cooling was an option for me, except that the maintenance on a water cooling system would mean that my potential market of buyers was now axed, as most people don't even know how to clean a normal computer, let alone maintain a water cooling PC. Also, the cost of assembling a watercooled PC was quite frightening, as I would go the quality route, and that alone would hurt the wallet.
I stumbled across the Sigma Cool MK2, which recently announced that it supports the R9 290x. This mount allows you to mount an AIO water cooled system onto the card, and makes the most sense. I can now keep the card from occupying more than 2 slots (The MK-26 solution can take up as many as 5 slots!), and hit way cooler temperatures than air cooled solutions. All for a few dollars more.
The action plan will be to mount the X40 to the 290x, and then use Enzotech MOS-C1 heatsinks mounted to all of the VRM's to keep those cool. Their smaller profile means that each VRM will have it's own heatsink, which will result in cooler performance, but the height of the copper rods that make up the heatsink will aid in pulling heat out of the VRM. I'll use the Corsair SP120 fans in place of some of the case fans that have filters in the way, and use the case supplied fans to blow air directly onto the GPU to keep the RAM and VRM's cool. The RAM modules on the card will have Kootek copper sinks on them, mainly because they are low profile, copper, and designed for the Pi, but fit RAM modules.
I will be updating this thread with pictures throughout the build, so make sure to subscribe to the thread.
For those of you with R9 290/290x cards, you should definitely subscribe, as I will be providing before and after thermal measurements/comparisons.