AMD

Baby Gaming Rig gets Liquid Cooling and an 8-core brain

I did a couple of updates over the weekend and more than just video cards. The baby gaming rig I bought off a co-worker also went under the knife and came out with some new parts. A buddy helped me make some pretty hefty changes.

If you recall, that was a Phenom X4 965 Black Edition which had excellent speed and I stuffed it chock full of 32GB of ram. Well, everything was right with the world and I was having a fine time playing Call of Juarez … Until …

The AMD FX 8350 8 core processor went on sale. I’d already bought the liquid cooler for it and since we were going to be in there anyway, why not turn up the processor speed to 11? And so we did.

The old fan and processor came out and the 8-core and liquid cooling went in. We had far less trouble this time around. Everything made a lot more sense. We also managed to find a place for the fan we removed off the back of the case. It’s now on the side pulling in even more air. It wasn’t spinning very fast, but then again, it wasn’t under load.

My friend bought the Antec liquid cooling system which was a little easier to install and very quiet. However, now that we’ve messed around with both he would go for the Corsair H80i next time. The Corsair has thicker tubing, has dual fans instead of the single and comes with the Corsair link so you can monitor the temperature of devices. The price difference was only about $10. I would have to agree.

This is a relatively bare bones systems. It’s main goal in life is to play some games and *maybe* load some virtual machines if I need them. The board doesn’t support SLI and only USB 2 and SATA 2. But that’s fine with me. Even with that, it’s insanely fast. With 8-cores and 32GB it plows through calculations.

It was a budget rig, but it’s not really one anymore. It should have plenty of years of longevity.

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AMD FD8350FRHKBOX FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition
Corsair Hydro Series Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler H80i
Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10)

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8 Cores, Liquid Cooling and now NVIDIA SLI

I’m still making some final adjustments to the 8-core machine I put together a few months ago. I recently added the liquid cooling to the AMD FX 8350 CPU that I put in and I also got my hands on another EVGA GeForce GTX 600 video card. Now, these aren’t the most powerful cards in the world, but they do support two-way SLI and are very affordable. They’re good gaming cards, at least for the stuff I play, they’ve got the CUDA cores which makes them good for encoding video and like I said, they’re a good price. So, I put two of them together on my Gigabyte motherboard.

Now, if you look at this picture closely, you can see my festive 32GB of ram, the Corsair liquid CPU cooler and that I committed one of the classic blunders when putting the cards in. The second card is in the wrong PCI Express slot. There are 4 – 2 PCIx16 and 2 PCIx4. That second card is in the x4 slow which means it works, Windows sees it, but it’s not enabled for SLI.

This of course is fixed by simply moving the card down one slot. And it gives much better airflow between the two cards. It’s a small thing, but considering the size of the cards, it’s easy to cover up the labeling for that slot.

So anyway, there it is. I now have an AMD FX 8350 8-core with liquid cooling and SLI, plus 6TB of hard drive space and 120GB SSD drive for my applications. I’m going to say that this rig is now complete.

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The first is a better picture of the cards, but they’re in the wrong slots. The second picture is a little blurry, but they’re in the right place now.
As an aside, some say the SLI bridge comes with the card, some say it comes with the motherboard. For me, it was part of the motherboard set up, but you can get the bridge from the manufacturer and from Amazon. A simple two-way bridge is about $9 from Amazon. It’s just a flexible ribbon like you can see at the top. If you want something more sturdy, you’ll need to get it from NVIDIA and it’s about $30+.

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And then I brought home a mini gaming rig

When you work in the IT field it’s inevitable to come across that "one guy" who lives on the bleeding edge of technology and buy all manner of gizmos just to toy with them for a short time before tossing them aside for the next "shiny" object. I work with such a guy. He likes the thrill of the hunt. The excitement of building or using something. Long term relationships do not apply. This explains how I have a new gaming rig. While it may not be the most powerful thing in the gaming realm, it’s actually pretty decent and is working like a charm.

The heart is an AMD Phenom X4 965 Black Edition. It rides on a lower end, but decent Gigabyte GA-78LMT motherboard that sports plenty of USB ports and SATA ports. It also allows for 32GB of Ram and can run two video cards in SLI. It also has a Cooler Master 500 watt power supply. For the video card he went with the EVGA GeForce GTX 660 with 2GB of GDDR5 ram. Some corners were cut with the hard drives, only a 1TB main drive and he got it with 4GB of ram. Not sure what the hell he was thinking there.

Since I have the 8-core machine I didn’t need to step down back to another 4-core. But he’s been trying to get rid of it for the past couple of months and the story of it wasting away in the corner collecting dust was more than I could bear.

I got the rig for around the cost of the video card and proceeded to beef it up with a full 32GB of ram. I won’t mess with the drives since it will only handle games. I added some simple Logitech speakers and added a 27 inch Samsung display. The video card pushes 1920×1280 in Call of Juarez without a problem. The display is the same one I got for my main machine. In fact, it was the last one on the shelf. And the price went up right after I got that last one.

While the motherboard may not raise eyebrows it has everything it needs and will support the same 8-core FX-8350 processor that my main machine has. And since news has come out of the new AMD chipset and the possible end of the line for the FX series and they jump to the nextgen, I might be able to double the processing power of this machine for well under $200. It’s right at the threshold now, so when it tips I’m snatching one up. This machine should have several years of longevity in it. Hell, I might even get another GTX 660 just to have the SLI.

So, who’s the guy in your office always buying machines and then turning around to sell them for dirt cheap prices? Get any good deals?

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AMD 8-Core 5Ghz

AMD has belted out a new series of chips, the 9000 series (FX-9590 to be specific), which will clock in at the 5Ghz mark. That is insanely quick, especially since this is an 8-Core processor.

I’ve got the FX 8350 4Ghz Black Edition and that’s a blazingly fast chipset on it’s own. This will best me handily. It’s hard to think of what you can do with all that speed and power. This certainly goes beyond a couple of games or encoding a couple of DVDs. That is some big league gear right there.

The chip is scheduled for a "late summer" release and who knows how much the damn thing will cost. No matter what, it’ll be thousands cheaper than the Intel equivalent.

I have no plans to upgrade, but I do have a buddy who’s looking to build a new machine. I wonder if I can talk him into making a build with this new chipset at the heart of the build.

AMD Wins Race to 5GHz with FX-9000 Series Processor

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The AMD FX-8350 4Ghz Black Edition

Today I’ve put the finishing touches on the fastest machine I’ve built to date. I’ve put together a brand new AMD FX 8350 Black Edition running at 4 Ghz with 32GB of ram. I’ve outfitted this new rig with 6TB of hard drive space, a DVD Burner and Blu-Ray writer as well as 256GB SSD. I also included an NVidia GTX 630 video card with 4GB of ram. It’s all wrapped up in massive case by Silverstone and I installed Windows 7 Professional as my OS. And let’s not forget there’s a 1000 watt power supply giving life to my new creation.

And what do I plan to do with this? Well besides the obvious answer of any damn thing I want, it was indeed built to hand Virtual Machines. It will easily handle the task of running a couple of server systems simultaneously. Plus, it has enough juice to do some decent gaming in the off season.

I also have a Dell XPS 8300 running it’s own Virtual Machines and I plan to get the two machines talking to each other in their own little environment.

I went with Windows 7 for two simple reasons. One, I don’t like Windows 8. Not at all. Not in the least. To say it’s hideous would be kind. Second, I don’t have Windows Server 2008 at my disposal. If I did, I would have gone that route and used Hyper-V to get better performance and memory management. Server 2008 might be a possibility by the end of the year, but it’s not here now so I have to go with what I have.VirtualBox will serve my needs and let me run multiple machines at the same time. These aren’t production boxes. They are meant to be beaten senselessly and undergo rather bizarre experiments all in the name of science.

But so far this build has gone exceptionally well. The case has plenty of room and includes 10 drive bays. There are plenty of fans to keep things running smoothly and the 8 Cores of the FX-8350 are shockingly fast. I haven’t done any benchmarking or even loaded up enough software to tax the system. That time will come. For now, only the essentials have been installed. I plan to keep this system stripped down and running as fast as possible. My 4-core Dell Inspiron will continue to be my workhorse and handle a great deal of the mundane tasks.

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