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#4406896 - 02/23/18 10:24 AM OT: Computer trouble...  
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Was in the middle of playing and my computer just shut off. Never done that before.
Attempt to turn it back on and it tries for a few seconds, then “restarts”, tried again 2 or 3 more short times and shuts off.
Waited a couple moments tried again and it tried to boot up a bit longer (believe I should have seen something on my monitor but nothing) then shut down and tried again for a couple of short seconds then stopped. Keeps doing that now.

Graphics card? Has my GTX 970 packed it in after 3 years?

#4406898 - 02/23/18 10:42 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Hi Duke, I don't recall what your hardware involves...but if you suspect the GPU and your motherboard is so-equipped, you could try using on-board/CPU-integrated graphics as a test. Look at the I/O plate area where all your USB ports etc are on motherboard. Do you see anything that looks like a VGA, DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort connector? If you can tell me the model of your motherboard, I can check on what it has on it.

Did you by chance try completely unplugging it from the wall for a minute or so? Long shot but easy and won't hurt or cost anything.

May come to having to open up the case, and possibly removing/replacing some things...how comfortable are you with that?

#4406899 - 02/23/18 10:50 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Oh, and just as entertaining blather while you ponder the rest of that stuff...the on/off cycles you describe can be (not definite, just possible) the motherboard has decided your CPU settings are wrong (as in setting an overclock too high). Most BIOS these days have a feature that will try to return the BIOS to default settings if you get too crazy with the overclock settings. They do this to avoid forcing the BIOS settings to be reset (which can be a pain), or the machine being permanently inoperative (which sometimes happened back in the days before they had this feature).

Note that I have sometimes seen this failure even when the machine was not overclocked...long story, but if the BIOS tries to boot and can't finish, it can wind up 'assuming' an attempt to overclock has failed. I learned that one way to duplicate this failure is by killing power mid-boot. This might mean something's going on with your power supply ('cutting out' in the middle of booting, as the various components are initializing and load picks up).

Is there an overclock on your machine? Just some stuff to consider.

Last edited by kksnowbear; 02/23/18 10:56 AM.
#4406900 - 02/23/18 10:55 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Yes I am an “expert” hardware swapper having installed all component types, even MB’s, at one time or another. Once told which component to use of course - this forum (and PR) have got me going several times.
I’ll take a peek in the back once the sun rises.
I suspect vid card because on another system years ago I think I had the exact same issue (start for several seconds then stops) and IIRC it was the video card.

Push comes to shove I still have my older one (a 750Ti as I always save working parts) and I’ll put that in.
Thanks for your ideas and I will try them.

EDIT: No nothing fancy on my machine. It’s was the best money could buy (4 years ago IIRC) and I have added the GTX 970 and a upgraded PSU but that’s about it. Nothing overclocked or changed except double-damned W10. Has been working great (except W10 quirks) and I have changed nothing.

Last edited by DukeIronHand; 02/23/18 10:59 AM.
#4406901 - 02/23/18 11:02 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Ah well if you have an 'known good' video card to try that's a big help. TBH, I wouldn't necessarily think video card, but I've been wrong plenty...that's why having parts to swap is a big advantage. lol I'm not that smart, I just have a ton of parts biggrin biggrin biggrin

I asked about going inside the machine because sometimes it helps to remove/"re-seat" the video card, memory modules, power supply connectors, etc. Heat/time/vibration and minor variations in hardware (connectors, pins...) can cause problems with intermittent contacts sometimes.

#4406902 - 02/23/18 11:05 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Good thought. I will give all that a shot before parts swapping.
Just priced new vid cards...yikes...but we’ll save that for later. Don’t want to jinx myself in case a “reseat miracle” works!

#4406903 - 02/23/18 11:14 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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If you're OK going inside the machine/reseating parts, another thing to do is try each memory module, one at a time - if you have more than one. Machines almost universally nowadays can run with only one module, and this can help isolate it if one of your modules has gone bad.

#4406904 - 02/23/18 11:21 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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BTW, I've seen other circumstances like this where people have suggested going to a store that sells computer parts, and buying a part just to swap (like a power supply, for example, if you suspected that).

Very bad advice, IMHO - please don't do this. For one, it's dishonest. It's taking unintended advantage of a reseller's return policies. It increases prices for everyone, and lessens a reseller's inventory where someone might actually need/want that part. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

If you feel you must buy a part just for testing, then be decent enough to just keep the part. Or find a friend who has parts and will help by loaning.

#4406907 - 02/23/18 11:36 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Wish I was that “clever” but I am not

#4406911 - 02/23/18 11:57 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Good on ya then smile I don't think it's about not being so clever. Just really about being basically honest, such that it just wouldn't really occur to do that.

What gets me is, if the people who recommend doing that actually depended on the business for their own livelihood/that of their family, they'd probably consider it stealing.

Anyway, I hope you can get your situation resolved soon. Keep us posted smile

#4406918 - 02/23/18 12:41 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Sun is “up” (cloudy and heavy drizzle though) and the initial wave of morning chores are done.
Getting ready to “go in” and I should know pretty quick.

#4406927 - 02/23/18 01:17 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Good luck Duke!

#4406929 - 02/23/18 01:18 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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The plot thickens... popcorn Good luck, we're all counting on ya.

#4406932 - 02/23/18 01:31 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Thank you gentlemen!
Reseating didn’t work and it took about 4 minutes to swap the card - forgot what a brick the 970 is compared to the dainty 750. 970 barely fits in my tower.

Nothing to report though! Have spent the last 45 minutes trying to find the stupid cable adapter from the “old” vid card and my newish monitor. It’s around (and more then one IIRC) but where did I put it? That special place in your house where you put stuff so it’s never lost and you can always find it!! wink

#4406940 - 02/23/18 01:57 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Some other things to consider (just throwing stuff out at this point):

- Make sure you check/reseat both motherboard power cables (one 24-pin "main" power and one 4 or 8 pin "CPU" power)

- There will be a battery somewhere on the board, looks like the size/shape of a quarter (in fact, they're called "coin" type batteries). This being bad, though its fairly rare, can cause what you're describing (though not very likely to just shut down the machine, IMHO). Anyway, doesn't hurt to check if you are comfortable doing so - be aware that it 'holds' memory for your system configuration, time/date etc so removing it can cause these things to be erased (as well as other configuration settings, which might in turn cause the symptoms you see). If you're not sure how to put the settings back, maybe best to not fiddle with this. Believe it or not, I've actually "resurrected" one or two by removing the battery to force the CMOS to clear - you just have to be prepared to deal with having cleared the config settings if you do this. And, if you 're not familiar, that can be a challenge. I often take pictures of the BIOS settings screens and/or use the "Profile Save" feature on newer machines to save CMOS settings, against the advent of a battery failure or other CMOS corruption.

TBH I'm not highly confident about any of this, just stuff to try that's free and not too difficult. I find myself wondering if you don't have a bad power supply or motherboard, or a bad connection between them. Maybe bad CPU (but this is really awfully rare).

#4406947 - 02/23/18 02:15 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Well, to avoid the swear censor, darn it. And right at the start of the weekend of course.
Not the video card apparently and the PSU is less then 6 months old.
Maybe my previous issue, similar to this, is why I changed the MB in my old machine.
Gonna send you a PM kksnowbear.

#4406952 - 02/23/18 02:31 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Are you able to start/open BIOS and edit settings?
Also, try to remove BIOS battery cell, count to 10 seconds and put it back (computer must be OFF, of course).

Last edited by JJJ65; 02/23/18 02:32 PM.
#4406953 - 02/23/18 02:41 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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No I can’t get to anything.
Computer tries to boot for about 2 seconds then shuts off. Tries (on its own) to start a couple more times but the same thing. I’ll try the battery idea. Thanks. Got nothing to lose at this point and diagnoses is tough with nothing.

#4406954 - 02/23/18 02:45 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Originally Posted by DukeIronHand
Well, to avoid the swear censor, darn it. And right at the start of the weekend of course.
Not the video card apparently and the PSU is less then 6 months old.
Maybe my previous issue, similar to this, is why I changed the MB in my old machine.
Gonna send you a PM kksnowbear.


I had a PSU fail after barely 6 month too some time back. It was a Corsair,not a cheap one either. The symptoms where similar to yours, I went trough the whole process you are going through right now,until I found out it was the PSU.

#4406955 - 02/23/18 02:47 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Battery/removal is mentioned a few posts above. If you take it out, and have a meter, be a good idea to test it. Should read 3.0v + but be sure to read when removed, not installed.

#4406956 - 02/23/18 02:49 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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In all my years of messing with pc's, it's highly unlikely the gfx card would just straight die, normally it would misbehave plenty of times before dying outright. Do your case fans/cpu fan start up when you attempt to turn on PC?

As above, pull the little coin battery off the motherboard, I personally leave it for 10 minutes, 10 seconds may be fine, but best being safe than sorry. If it's a PSU problem, this may sound stupid, but a little trick I have found that sometimes resets the PSU is to unplug the 3 pin kettle lead, make sure the power switch on your PSU is in the on position, and slowly push the lead back into the PSU while the lead is turned on at the wall, you should hear a crackling noise if you do it slowly enough. This always used to resurrect some old PSU's I have had lock up in the past after some serious overclocking testing.

What make is your PSU? Just because its only six months old, unless it's from a reputable brand, most PSU's suck and are made poorly. Its the one thing a lot of people tend to skimp on when building a PC, but it's arguably the most important part on your entire computer set up.

What make is your motherboard? Does it have a little digital display on it showing a 2 digit code? If so post it here and it will tell us what the problem may be.

Good luck mate!

Last edited by 4L0M; 02/23/18 02:52 PM.

I7 4770k@4.6ghz WC H80i
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Creative zx soundcard
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#4406957 - 02/23/18 02:58 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Thanks gentlemen. Tried the battery trick and nothing. Didn’t test the battery (just saw that now) but would that make the computer “die” mid-session?

My PSU is a Corsair CS650M. The reason it’s new (less then 6 months) is that I was having an issue with my “On” switch and, figuring my PSU was old, replaced it. Turned out it really was the simple On switch.

#4406958 - 02/23/18 03:01 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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As I said earlier, not likely the battery would cause it to shut down like you report (though not impossible, just very unlikely IMHO).

I said power supply above based just on symptoms, and to be accurate it could be two days old and still fail *lol* biggrin biggrin biggrin (But to me, still not the 'first suspect' I'm afraid)

#4406959 - 02/23/18 03:02 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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FYI, for those reading: It's a Dell. No motherboard lights/codes etc.

#4406961 - 02/23/18 03:05 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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No, if the battery was going, it would boot to your bios screen repeatedly over the space of months, before it actually died. Does the fan on your cpu cooler spin up when you turn the power on?

A very simple trick to test a PSU in the future, to test whether your power button is broken or your PSU is as you stated above, is to swap the reset button headers on your case with the power button one. Then try turning on your PC with the reset button instead!


I7 4770k@4.6ghz WC H80i
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#4406962 - 02/23/18 03:06 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Desperate now. Lemme start pulling RAM sticks. And the PSU trick.
Yes all fans work. Sounds like a normal start-up for a couple seconds then it shuts off.

#4406963 - 02/23/18 03:13 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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The battery can cause no symptoms at all for months, then suddenly cause the exact thing he's describing.

The reason is the battery isn't actually used as long as the machine is plugged in and the PSU is turned on (if there's a switch on PSU). It doesn't have to be powered on; the motherboard gets Vsb from the PSU even when it's off (hence Vsb, for "standby"). If the PC stays plugged in, then one day the lights go out for a second or three one day, boom, you lose CMOS settings and therefore machine won't boot properly. Battery's been dead for months, but wasn't an issue because AC power was on (and therefore Vsb was present). Seen it happen, more than once. Happened to my Dad, in fact (in his case, he found out when he actually unplugged the PC to move it, but assumed plugging it back in means "nothing changed").

Also seen a dying battery cause the CMOS to become corrupt, and cause intermittent boot problems.

I already said I don't think it's the battery, that it isn't likely to cause it to shut off abruptly but never say never. It doesn't hurt to check it.

Also, once you pull header connector for the power button (if you 're comfortable enough to even be at that point) it's easier to just bump the two pins together with a screwdriver than worry about swapping header wires. Often the headers are single molded connectors and can't be swapped without pulling pins (leading to breaking pins).

Last edited by kksnowbear; 02/23/18 03:29 PM.
#4406969 - 02/23/18 03:31 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Pulled 3 RAM sticks, tried with just 1, replaced with another, tried again.
Did the “slow connect” with the PSU, heard crackle but nothing.
I’m guessing the stupid MB but let me scroll back here and see if I missed anything and re-read the PSU thing again.

#4406973 - 02/23/18 03:40 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I would say your MoBo went west sigh .

#4406975 - 02/23/18 03:49 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Yes. That is my thought currently. Everyone mentions PSU though.
Dug out my stock PSU that I had to replace to power up the GTX 970.
Since I have the original 750Ti in there lemme see how much of a PITA it is to give the stock PSU a try.
Need hands like a 10 year old girl to work inside this case.

#4406979 - 02/23/18 03:56 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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<---Just suddenly realized he may actually have hands like a 10-year old girl biggrin biggrin biggrin

#4406983 - 02/23/18 04:06 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Thanks! smile
Well here we go with hooking up the stock PSU.

#4406985 - 02/23/18 04:07 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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<drum roll>

Survey says...

#4406989 - 02/23/18 04:24 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Survey says....Motherboard!
Unless the CPU died mid-stream!!! And on a rainy weekend too. No pre-dawn WOFF. Would swear up a s*** storm but this is a family forum.

Stock PSU gave me the same result. Quick two second boot then off.
Off to try and get a Dell MB ordered and shipped. Refurbished too darnit. If I was single I’d just buy a new computer.
Thanks to all, especially kksnowbear, for all the help and suggestions.
Wish it would have been something simple!

#4406992 - 02/23/18 04:31 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Sorry to hear it Duke...but hopefully you can get it back online soon enough smile Keep us updated!

#4406998 - 02/23/18 04:54 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Order placed.
Dell says “refurbished” means taken out of a unsold machine, not used, so I feel slightly better.
However it could take almost 2 weeks to get here. 2 weeks of no WOFF. Getting the shakes already.
Guess I’ll have to find some other activity to keep me out of trouble.
And what if this isn’t ultimately the issue? Can’t imagine what else it could be though at this point.

EDIT: Oh the dirty dogs. Email just received saying March 14 for delivery. 3 weeks.
Can’t imagine it’ll take that long though. Guess it’ll be a surprise.

Last edited by DukeIronHand; 02/23/18 04:58 PM.
#4407001 - 02/23/18 05:09 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Too bad about the wait, but hopefully that'll be it.

Friendly advice, FWIW (and please take this as intended, really just trying to be helpful): I'd get away from the Dells (or HPs, Compaqs, or etc...) Don't get me wrong they can be great machines, in the right environment. But for gaming PCs, I'd go with 'clone' hardware, DIY (preferred) or a local shop(mind which components they use), or even online system builder (watch prices though) before I'd go with the Dell, Compaq, HP...they just tend to use proprietary stuff that's a pain to deal with/replace. For example, if you had a 'clone' machine, and your motherboard goes bad, you can generally get replacements even as quick as overnight - or if you're near a computer store, even faster smile

If this isn't the issue (which it does seem pretty narrowed down TBH), and *if* you get ready to change out your machine, let me know. Might be able to take the 'sting' out of the cost of replacement.

But again, hopefully it's 3 days, and you're "wheels up" again smile (Can you say wheels up for these birds?? lol)

#4407004 - 02/23/18 05:23 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Oh I fully get your thinking sir.
Just always had luck with them for 20+ years. Only my 2nd issue (the other MB replacement) so...we will see for the next purchase. Hopefully not too soon though.

If I had a parts list I could build one easy. Now that I say that there must be a website.

#4407006 - 02/23/18 05:32 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Yup, dealt with them professionally in my "day job" for over 20 years myself...great workstations, and even casual personal use (browsing, email, homework, word processing etc.) and very well suited to the typical 'home' purchaser: Pre-configured setups, off-the-shelf (and some options, too), fairly easy to buy, definitely solid reputation, decent support. No doubt a god choice in many instances.

But then, we're not really whatcha call typical...are we? beercheers j/k - I am just the type that, once I learned how back in about 1990, I prefer to do it myself.

Anyway, what matters ultimately is that you're pleased with your choice, and it seems you are - so good on ya!

#4407030 - 02/23/18 07:07 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I feel sorry for your trouble, DIH. Let's hope your CPU did not suffer any colateral damage.

#4407039 - 02/23/18 08:54 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Yes indeed.

#4407141 - 02/24/18 02:41 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Well, since this forum isn’t exactly on fire, I will ramble a bit. Since I can’t fly I find myself doing all sorts of chores. Not a dirty dish or piece of clothing can survive more then three minutes before it’s washed. Lucky it’s winter (though pretty warm) or my property would be in for some work.
Had a stork or a crane or whatever fly low over my head first thing this morning and the first thing I thought of was “The Storks” of the French Combat Group fame. I’ll take this as a good omen!

On a more serious note how many folks here have built their own computer systems?

Glanced briefly at a couple of websites, but they were a bit dated to me in the fast moving hardware world, so how do you know which MB, for example, matches up (compatable) with your CPU, how big a PSU you will need, etc? Just brute knowledge or is there a website that holds your hand while you make a parts list?

#4407146 - 02/24/18 03:01 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Well, it is a genuinely good subject if the intent is to ramble and occupy time biggrin biggrin biggrin

If you please, I trust you realize this is - by it's very nature - a complex discussion. My response to your query will likely be lengthy, so kindly indulge me if it has to be in parts and perhaps not all at the same time...

(TBC)

#4407147 - 02/24/18 03:05 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Duke, sorry to here about your computer woes, I feel your pain as I've gone through the same thing in the past. To building computers, I have done several myself and have always had good luck with both Newegg and TigerDirect when it comes to parts. I tend to jump online and start researching all the latest and greatest when I am ready to start a new build. After a fair amount of reading and deciding which route to take I order up what I need. As I've mentioned before though I don't go with the newest technology but rather what was new 6 months to a year ago as the price savings are tremendous. I am sure kksnowbear and 4L0M and others will weigh in on this.

EDIT: Speak of the devil, kk was posting just as I was. biggrin

.

#4407148 - 02/24/18 03:11 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Ordinarily, I might say start at the motherboard, since it really is what has all the features that will determine what the build supports when it's done. But, for the purpose of this discussion, I'll say to start with the CPU, for one very simple reason: Some might prefer AMD processors and others might prefer Intel.

Since CPU drives motherboard choice, and motherboard choice drives most everything else; I say decide first on CPU.

Without the back-and-forth that usually accompanies that debate, let me summarize and say that one might choose Intel if performance without consideration for budget is your priority. And, conversely, if budget is the most important factor, then AMD has some excellent offerings more suited to your situation. Both are fine, both have pro's and con's, both can be perfectly capable of enthusiast-level gaming.

(For the purposes of this discussion, where a distinction is necessary, I'll be discussing Intel hardware.)

#4407149 - 02/24/18 03:11 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Yes that is a good lesson in hardware I learned years ago - take one step back from the “bleeding edge” of technology for your best bang for the buck.
And please kksnowbear take your time. I currently have a lot of it and will be very interested in your posts.

EDIT: Beat me to it with your post kk!

Last edited by DukeIronHand; 02/24/18 03:12 PM.
#4407150 - 02/24/18 03:19 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I would add that while you are deciding your build and looking for the best places to save money in the process, one place you do NOT want to cheap out is the power supply. Spend a bit extra and get a good quality PS that is 20% larger than your calculations show you need. I have always had good luck with Corsair.

#4407156 - 02/24/18 03:29 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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And speaking of speaking of the devil biggrin ...there's Lou when ya need him!

And I could not possibly endorse an approach more strongly. I am a huge fan of NewEgg myself, second perhaps only to MicroCenter (if you have one nearby), because MC will almost invariably have the better prices on CPU/motherboard combos, and will typically be the lowest price on the overall cost of your build components. That said, sales come and go, NewEgg has excellent Blitz Deals etc, so you have to consider that. If you don't have a MC nearby, then one less place to worry about.

The other point Lou makes - and this is a 'budget-friendly' thing - so, much like Intel vs. AMD, if money isn't a big concern for you, then maybe this bit won't apply as much to you. For me - and I imagine most others - money is always a part of the decision. Lou's spot on: the 'latest and greatest' computer parts, when they first come out, can easily be 2x what they will be if you wait even 6 months. I've probably built 10 PCs for myself over the past 20+ years, and I am sure I've saved 10-15k in that time, 500-1000 each time, by NOT buying the latest and greatest.

So, kinda like AMD v Intel - this will involve thinking about budget vs top-o-the-line regardless of cost. To each his own smile

We could probably write a separate book about this decision alone, and rightfully so, but it is probably best to know where you stand on this subject before you proceed - and hats off to Lou for keeping this at the forefront of the discussion.

#4407158 - 02/24/18 03:47 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Intel would be the way I would go and I have done business with both NewEgg and Microcenter in the past.
Guess a CPU/MB combo would be the obvious way to go. Obviously compatable and I did read you get a “bundle price” when doing so.

Are all PSU’s compatable with all MB’s? My memory is poor (and it’s only been about 6 months) but it’s seems I had to make sure my MB (ATX?) was cool with my PSU?

RAM is RAM I will guess? Good on any MB?

And certain vid cards only work with certain MB’s? Seems like I remember having to make sure of PCIe(?) compatability?

#4407161 - 02/24/18 04:04 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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A word here about "future-proofing" since that is often the reasoning behind buying stuff that is closer to 'latest and greatest':

The simple fact is, nothing that mankind does is truly future-proof. If you never plan on building another PC, then sure, you probably want something to last as long as possible. But, consider the actual interval between rebuilds....things come up (parts go bad), technology changes, etc., you want to upgrade. So, there may not be a real need to spend a lot on 'future-proofing' if you'll be replacing what you're planning now with another unit in 2-3 years. Even at 4-5 years, it's still arguably not really worth it to pay for the latest and greatest for the purpose of future proofing. A new machine built today, planned carefully, can keep you going with a minor upgrade or two along the way (GPU) and in 4 years, rebuild.

#4407162 - 02/24/18 04:04 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Duke, once you have landed on a CPU / mobo combo you can then go to the mobo specs and see what cards and peripherals it supports. To the PSU, make sure it has all the various output plug combos you will need, apart from that I don't know that there is such a thing as PSU compatibility.

.

#4407166 - 02/24/18 04:12 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Whew!
Or just buy a super-duper Alienware machine. As computing is my only bad habit I don’t feel guilty throwing a big pile of cash at it.

Thanks for the thoughts though gentlemen. Given me additional things to think about as I nose about the various sites.
When (if) it comes time to pull the trigger (and I guess I’ll know when my MB gets here) I am sure to pester you guys again. In fact, if memory serves Lou, you guided me on a hardware purchase years ago though I don’t remember what that was...

#4407168 - 02/24/18 04:16 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Duke, I do recall offering you some direction years ago on a piece of computer hardware, but for the life of me I cannot remember what it was now. My memory is good, but short.

.

#4407174 - 02/24/18 04:45 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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OK, Duke, so you're an Intel person...we'll go with that.

I love MicroCenter, and their CPU prices are hard to beat. And if you're buying a complete system, then yes a 'bundle' gives a discount ($30-40 on top of sales and rebates). And yes, the bundles come with compatible motherboards and CPUs.

On the PSU question:

Since you've asked this, I'll go over it first, but I would ordinarily say motherboard comes after CPU. No biggie, we'll get back to motherboard.

All PSUs are not compatible with all motherboards, but these days MOST are. For compatibility, you need to think about a few things (note that capacity - wattage - is in addition to this; more on that in a minute):

- Any decent power supply you're considering should include automatic Power Factor correction. Without going into detail, if it has a 'slide' switch to select 110 or 220v, don't buy it. Good PSUs do this as a standard nowadays. I also strongly prefer having a "main" on-off AC power switch switch on the outside of the PSU.

- There are two motherboard connectors, one is 24 pins that should be physically configured as 20+4 pins by having a 'split' connector, where the 4 pins at one end can be folded back out of the way if not needed. It bears saying here that most any NEW motherboard these days will use ALL 24 pins. The second motherboard connector is 4 or 8 pins, physically accomplished by splitting the connector plug as well. Not really worth considering a PSU that only has 4 pins here (they do exist). Make sure it's an 8-pin(4+4) CPU connector.

- PCI Express connectors (PCIe); you'll need a number determined by your graphics card. Most anything in our range is going to need (2) of these, at least one at first and possibly a second later on. Each of these will likely be split like the motherboard connectors above, but here into a "6+2" configuration. Some do come as (1) 6+2 and (1) 6-pin, which is OK so long as you accept that later on it might limit your GPU choices somewhat. If you intend to run multiple graphics cards at any point, obviously the PSU will need to grow accordingly, and I'd suggest doubling the number of PCIe connectors to two per card: (4) total for two cards, (6) total for three cards, etc...Note this will only be possible by buying a much larger wattage PSU - as it should be. Generally, you won't find 4 PCIe connectors on anything less than 700 watts, and that's good because if you're using 4 connectors, running two cards, you're going to need 700+ watts.

I need to put in a word here about the adapters that you often see to allow connecting a 4 pin "Molex" (actually called LP4) to the 6 or 8-pin PCIe graphics card connector. I do not recommend these as a rule, and except in cases where there's no other option, I'd avoid them. Yes, I know they can/do work, but there's a lot more to it. Electrically, it's the last way you'd ever want to do that, and the only real reason they come with graphics cards is because NOT including them would mean lost sales - and the manufacturers don't want that. But the truth is, if your PSU was intended to run a card with those connectors, it would have the actual connectors - and you won't need adapters.

Power supplies could warrant a book by themselves, and I'll discuss capacity next, but the only other real consideration is length of the cables - make sure the PSU you settle on has ample cable length for the chassis you intend to use it in. Most higher-end units are fine, but if you happen to have one of those "super tower" cases, you'll need extra long cables. Electrically, you want to avoid any extension connectors/cables.

TBC

#4407178 - 02/24/18 04:49 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Thanks kksnowbear.
I will be bookmarking this thread in addition to learning along the way!

#4407179 - 02/24/18 04:50 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Originally Posted by DukeIronHand
Whew!
Or just buy a super-duper Alienware machine. As computing is my only bad habit I don’t feel guilty throwing a big pile of cash at it.

Thanks for the thoughts though gentlemen. Given me additional things to think about as I nose about the various sites.
When (if) it comes time to pull the trigger (and I guess I’ll know when my MB gets here) I am sure to pester you guys again. In fact, if memory serves Lou, you guided me on a hardware purchase years ago though I don’t remember what that was...



LOL, man - We're just getting started...we haven't even finished CPUs yet!!!

If you really don't wish to study all this - and if your station in life is such that you can afford it, then you might consider a pre-built system. I feel compelled to caution, however: IMHO, they are sometimes overpriced for what you get, and the bigger the name the worse it seems to get. There is no guarantee that spend that kind of money means no problems, or even top performance. Basically (and I'm sure this will not sit well with some, but it is my opinion nonetheless) you pay for a name.

#4407180 - 02/24/18 05:07 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I totally agree kk, you can spend a lot of money for a name. The "you get what you pay for" axiom may well show itself in this discussion in respect to name brands, which is fine, as long as you honestly do get what you pay for.

.

#4407182 - 02/24/18 05:19 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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On PSU wattage, (then we need to circle back to CPUs):

As a down-n-dirty method, I usually opt for GPU required wattage + 300W. How do you know the wattage of the GPU, you ask? Well, go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nvidia_graphics_processing_units or, if you prefer AMD cards, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_graphics_processing_units

Find your series of cards (Nvidia, current gen is 10-series, previous 9, etc) and go to that section. Look at the column headers, find TDP - this is the wattage your card requires, per Nvidia specifications. You can also go to the Nvidia (or AMD) website and hunt this info down.

Now, take whatever the GPU requires and add 300. This allows for your motherboard, CPU, memory, drives, etc. NOTE this is the absolute minimum I'd suggest, and it's not a bad idea to bump the total up even by 25% or more, because a. PSUs operate most efficiently when partially loaded, so it's better if it's not always running at max load, and b. Because of the way electronics work, PSUs do what's called "de-rating" over time. Components - mostly the capacitors - can handle less and less power over time, so the overall power supply gets weaker as time goes on. How much? Well, I've read estimates of as much as 10% per year - but I think that's mitigated by better designs which use higher-quality guts. This is among the reasons you often hear "Don't get cheap on the power supply," and it's good advice.

That said, the other side of the argument is don't waste money on too much power supply...it really is just wasted money. There is really no such thing in practice as a single-GPU PC that will use 1,000 watts; that's a waste of money. A single GPU machine, even with some of the older current-sucking 400-, 500-, and 700-series GPUs would still only require about 650~675 watts, and that's allowing a bit for de-rating, efficiency, etc (The actual power used might be between 450-550 watts, depending on what exactly you're doing at the moment). So, do yourself a favor, find out how much you really need, and don't overspend.

If you want to calculate the entire system (a good check/balance against my 300w rule of thumb) then go use the excellent online tool at https://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator. Often, manufacturers and resellers have these (NewEgg does and Corsair, too) - just keep in mind these folks are selling stuff, so don't be surprised if they recommend higher wattage, more expensive stuff that you calculate smile

Far as brands (let the flaming begin *lol*) Corsair has a good reputation (but has had some bumps in the road), Seasonic is often touted as King of the Hill, Antec, maybe ThermalTake (but some specific models are MUCH better than others)...I personally find many Rosewill units (NewEgg 'house' brand) are good values. One good idea is to READ REVIEWS.

#4407183 - 02/24/18 05:28 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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No, just joking sir.
Taking notes here and I will be building my next system. What better way to know your system then by building it yourself?

#4407185 - 02/24/18 05:31 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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A quick word about efficiency in power supplies: A lot has changed in the industry over the past decade or so with respect to protecting the environment; PSU efficiency is one of these things. It is not generally a made-up marketing ploy to get you to spend more money (although there are plenty of those, for sure)...

Here's the down and dirty: Pay for the most efficient PSU you can afford to budget for. The more efficient, the less power it uses - which affects your electric bill over time. Not a lot, but it can/does "pay for itself" in the right circumstances. Plus, you're wasting less energy and generating less heat (which can also save on electricity in the warmer months if you run AC). Not saying everyone should have a platinum-efficiency unit, because naturally the cost increases as the efficiency does. So, look at the ratings and buy what you can reasonably afford. The ratings are called "80 Plus" meaning the PSU must be at least 80% efficient (entry level, so-called "White" or just "80-plus"), and the efficiency ratings increase in efficiency through Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium I think...read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_Plus

and look for the logo on whatever you're considering. For most folks, something between Bronze and Gold is probably reasonable.

#4407186 - 02/24/18 05:33 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Originally Posted by DukeIronHand
No, just joking sir.
Taking notes here and I will be building my next system. What better way to know your system then by building it yourself?



Indeed. Glad you aren't serious - but I do actually know people who opt for the pre-built route, and it is a reasonable choice for some. Just like anything else, though - pro's and con's. My feeling is like you said, I know my systems very well, since I built them all. But I also see where not everyone wants to do that. To each his own smile

#4407189 - 02/24/18 05:55 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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CPUs (Just Intel stuff, my fingers are falling off lol):

Currently, Intel has four basic 'models' of CPU, teh Core series -i3, i5, i7, and i9. To be quick about it, I'd say the i3 isn't really up to gaming a lot, and the i9 is going to be expensive since it's top of the heap. So, that leaves the i5 and the i7. i5s are great value for the cost, and while not the top performers, they are notoriously feisty for what they cost compared to i7s. The i7, meanwhile, is just a genuine workhorse, and a monster in many instances. Both can be excellent overclockers, if you're into that. So, if money's at issue and you want to leave some room for an upgrade later, go with an i5. If you prefer to go for more brute performance and can afford it, no doubt the i7 is worth it.

Which exact model (and therefore, what speed) is a function of your budget. Buy what you can afford. If you're not going to overclock, don't waste money on "K" CPUs (like 6700k, etc). Those chips have unlocked frequency multipliers and sometimes other features that make them suitable to overclocking. Be aware that even non-K CPUs can often be bumped a little bit.

Right now, Intel is into the 8th series (8xxx part numbers, like 8700) of it's "Core" processors. They're fairly new, so as has been discussed, you might save a bit by looking at the prior (7th) generation (7xxx part numbers). TBH, even though you're not likely to find them new, I'm firmly of a mind that even some of the 3rd and 4th gen stuff is just fine...many people are playing today's games just fine on 3xxx- and 4xxx-series CPUs. I have a 6700k, it's a couple years old and still seems very new and plenty capable to me. But, unless you're willing to consider used stuff, it's sometimes hard to find older CPUs like the 4000 series. If you do consider used stuff, there are fantastic bargains to be had, saving perhaps several hundred or 1,000+ (disclaimer: I sell used computers, so...I'm biased lol)

Something to consider: Anything newer than the 6000 series will only (officially) run on Windows 10. Yup, it grates my soul, but somehow Microsoft finally got to the people over at Intel, and compelled them to officially support their newest CPUs on W10. You can make a ton of arguments about business decisions, efficiency in support, blah, blah...to me, it's nothing more than a really cheap shot; the low blow to end all low blows. It is a ploy to progressively force more and more PC users to Windows 10 - and I'm not by far the only one who understands this, so keep yer tinfoil hats for yourselves, thank you very much *lol*

(Okay, rant off...)

Anyhow, once you decide what CPU, this will generally determine the motherboards you can pick from...that's next smile

Last edited by kksnowbear; 02/24/18 06:00 PM.
#4407194 - 02/24/18 06:32 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Kksnowbear, don't forget to mention what is also important for the WOFF crowd is the single core performance. What may work well in 1915 may be inadequate in 1918. If you can afford it, get the CPU with the highest frequency. That's the real future-proofing: plan for 1918. My 3.6Ghz is starting to sweat at the end of 1917. Probably should be aiming for 4Ghz or better.


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."
#4407196 - 02/24/18 06:41 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Hi Fullofit...thank you smile

Yup, it's been mentioned many times that WOFF runs on a single core, and therefore won't benefit (much) from the multi-core CPUs that are so common today. The reason I say "much" is because there is some benefit to having additional cores available to run your PCs other tasks (AV, and the multitude of 'services', updaters, blah-blah in Windws these days). WOFF generally runs best on the fastest single core, so a high core frequency would be suitable. Note that most multi-core PCs will run single cores at a higher frequency when needed, but the limit is lower if all teh cores are loaded. This is actually a form of overclocking which can be adjusted somewhat in your BIOS and in Windows settings - telling which core to run, how hard, and what to run on which core. (Not necessarily for the faint of heart, perhaps!)

I think this is mentioned over on the official WOFF website, too.

#4407205 - 02/24/18 07:05 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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OK, so CPU to motherboard:

CPUs come in various form factors, generally referred to as "socket"; for example, Duke's i7-4790 is a "socket 1150" CPU. Sometimes, sellers use the more technical spec term for the socket, like LGA-1150. (If you really want to know what that means, post a question here *lol*) There are a lot of these, but the main ones you're likely to encounter new are 2066, 1151, and then the somewhat older 1150, 2011, 1155... This describes the physical layout of the chip, so you can see the motherboard would have to work with that physical layout. Most often, when you go to a website to look at boards, there will be a way to sort by this socket designation, so that you know you're looking at boards your CPU will fit in. But that's not all it takes, so be careful...

The motherboard also has to support the particular CPU in electrical terms, in software terms, and in configuration terms. For example, motherboards designed to be economical aren't likely to include the necessary electronic components for overclocking. You want more, you pay more. And that can range into several hundred dollars for all the various high end features. Also, not every board will support every CPU that will fit in the socket that it uses. Sometimes, this is done to keep users from getting advanced features from a cheap board. Sometimes, it's because Intel will release variants of CPU designs that (for different reasons) a certain motherboard cannot support. For instance, CPUs are always rated according to the power they use, and if the board only has guts to run a 95-watt CPU, then it won't support a 120-watt CPU even though they come in the same socket.

The way to make sure the CPU you've decided on will work on a given motherboard, is to go to the motherboard's manufacture's website (Like Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, AsRock...) and then go to the support page(s) for the specific board. Somewhere there - varies, based on the company - but, somewhere, you'll find a lost of all teh CPUs that the baord will support. If your CPU appears on the list, you're good to go. Now, there are sometimes rare exceptions, but generally the manufacturers will give special instructions along with this chart, saying if you need to do anything special, or if it takes a certain board revision level to support your CPU (the boards change over time too, wouldn't you know it). But it's usually pretty straightforward.

This is actually one good thing about buying pre-built machines, or even a 'bundled' CPU and motherboard: You won't generally have to worry about all this. If they come as a package, it's almost absolute they'll work together (never say always lol). At least, if there's a problem, you've paid for the right to take it up with the seller.

Up next, other motherboard features to consider beyond which CPU is supported...

#4407213 - 02/24/18 07:34 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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At this point, I'm going to go ahead and admit that I lack the material resources (read: money) to constantly buy new hardware just to study it. So, my most recent build being a Skylake 6700k, I'm clealry a little behind the times (besides, I'm still having fun with old first-generation i7s). So, keep this in mind. I'm also not terribly motivated to upgrade, either, since (as mentioned above) newer generations of hardware will only run on Windows 10 (*bleccch*)

Still, that said, although features do continue to evolve, most of the features are fairly stable lately:

PCIexpress 3.0 allows GPUs to exchange data at 2x the rate of the prior revision, for better graphics performance. 3.0 is standard, but it should be noted that very few situations exist where the PCIe 2.0 (at 16 lanes) would be a problem, with current hardware. Thing is, monitors evolve too and we're constantly pushing more and more data to displays; this will obviously require the GPU to move more data over the slot it sits in. So, we have PCIe 3.0 to speed things up.

On the subject of PCIe lanes: different CPUs and "chipsets" support different numbers of PCIe lanes; this in turn limits the various things like USB and other devices you can use/how fast they work. Most boards will support a single graphics card at 16 lanes, and have between 4 and 26 other lanes to manage other components. The number of lanes in a slot is expressed as xNN, where NN = a two-digit integer up to 16, for example, "PCIe 3.0 x16" or "PCIe 2.0 x4"

GPUs will almost always require 16 PCIe lanes. Motherboards made for multi-GPU ("SLI" or "Crossfire") will inherently support more PCIe lanes, since more are require to run additional GPUs. Rule of thumb: Single card setup? Make sure the motherboard has all the features you want (like USB etc), plus16 lanes for the GPU, and others as needed for other slots (just like having more than one GPU, you can have other PCIe cards that require a number of lanes - my machine boots to an Intel SSD that's actually an add-in card, and it requires a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot, in addition to the PCIe 3.0 x16 slot for my GPU.

I keep mentioning "other features" because one (sorta sneaky) way that manufacturers offer more devices than the number of PCIe lanes a chipset supports, is by more or less 'sharing' the available PCIe lanes. My motherboard has a few SATA drives controller ports that are disabled if I choose to run the on-board storage slot for an M.2 SSD. Isn't that special?? Well, it's not too bad, since they're usually pretty good at doing it in ways that makes sense; in my case, if you're using the M.2 slot, you're far less likely to need the SATA express connectors. For the manufacturers it's a way to offer more features, so long as you don't need to use them all at the same time. For you, just remember this, and pick a setup that will allow you to use the features that you want. Easy...right? biggrin biggrin biggrin

So, that's PCIe. There's also USB 3, which now has three different variants. 3.0, 3.1 Gen1/5MB/s, and 3.1Gen 2/10Mb/s. The numbers are different speeds. If you use a lot of external storage devices or have to move big files onto your machine often, this could matter, but for most people it will suffice to have USB 3 of some flavor. Ask if you want to know more.

SATA 6G/s - I cannot image a motherboard built anytime recently that doesn't have this. However, so cheap/older ones will have SATA 3G/s which as the name implies is only about half as fast. Half-fast? *lol* This is where your hard drives and SSDs connect, and for SSDs it will matter. Make sure you get SATA 6G/s for any SSDs you will be connecting.

Other less standard features, though becoming more common, up next...

(I am going to have to shove off a bit here, got some chores to do...I'll finish later on) Thanks for reading smile

Last edited by kksnowbear; 02/24/18 07:41 PM.
#4407223 - 02/24/18 08:04 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Cutting and pasting away kksnowbear.
Soaking up the info.

#4407303 - 02/25/18 11:44 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Browsing about at Intel CPU’s and MB’s clearly this is something for a massive bit of study.
I get the million variables that determine “speed” but CPU’s with a lower clock speed are more expensive (faster?) then a CPU from the previous series with a higher clock speed. Coffee Lake? Kaby Lake? Skylake? WTH?

This is assuming “more expensive is better & faster” (a dangerous assumption!) but, when you have a dozen chips spread out before you how to figure which one is best? And does the term “Made for gaming” really mean anything?

Same for MB’s except there are even more of them. Clearly for my level of (non) expertise in evaluating hardware by name a CPU/MB combo is definitely called for.

#4407304 - 02/25/18 12:00 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Two examples though admittedly it’s tough to compare products on a smartphone. Guess I probably should break out the work-issued laptop.

http://www.microcenter.com/product/5000025/Intel_Core_i7-7700,_ASUS_ROG_STRIX_Z270E_GAMING_CPU-Motherboard_Bundle

http://www.microcenter.com/product/5000044/Intel_Core_i7-7820X,_ASUS_PRIME_X299-A_CPU-Motherboard_Bundle

The more expensive package “seems” to have slightly better numbers in areas but enough to justify an almost 100% price increase? Or would either be overkill on WOFF? Though I do occasionally dabble in newer games.

#4407318 - 02/25/18 01:03 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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smile Not for nothing, but what you're observing is why people often pay to have machines built for them (and why people like me charge for doing it *lol*).

The slower/faster/newer observation: Each generation of CPU will introduce new features (though some better'n others...) But it's often the only way to get a certain feature you want, by buying the next generation of CPU (which, of course, means a new motherboard, and often new RAM, etc...it's a real racket, it seems). Anyway, yes: You can (often) get a faster CPU from the prior generation for less than a slower one of the new generation. This is what Lou and I keep babbling about: The previous gen stuff is usually just fine for what you need, and you'll pay a premium for the latest and greatest. That said, if *need* the latest features, well, you pay for the newer CPU gen. Kinda like buying new cars, if you think about it *lol*

On the two MC bundles you posted: I'd clearly go for the less expensive one, but as I said, money for me is always at issue. The "X" is an Extreme Edition "octo-core" (yes, that means it has eight cores...) and is undoubtedly a genuine monster; the 7700 is a quad core like other 'normal' i7 CPUs (and i5's). The first setup is plenty capable for anything you could throw at it, be assured - it's fairly high end, even if it is a 'standard' (non-K and non-X) model. I do firmly believe both of these, in a way, are overkill for WOFF - but if you do other things/play other games, you're more likely to benefit from what you're buying in those than with WOFF. No doubt that second combo is a certified screamer, but man-o-man what a price tag. I just can't see it being worth it, unless you have the money and just want the top-o-the-line.

Last edited by kksnowbear; 02/25/18 01:08 PM.
#4407319 - 02/25/18 01:13 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Oh, and I doubt the term "made for gaming" means anything that your own judgment (and some support here and there) won't tell you. Mostly marketing I imagine.

Coffee Lake, Kaby Lake, and Skylake are just the Intel 'codenames' for the various generations of CPUs. Skylake = 6th gen (6700, etc) Kaby Lake = 7th gen (7700 etc); Coffee Lake = newest 8th gen (8700 etc). I generally just use the model numbers and socket numbers as above - seems less confusing than 'secret codenames' biggrin biggrin biggrin

#4407321 - 02/25/18 01:34 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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On an interesting side note, about what's overkill for WOFF, and higher core speeds vs more cores being preferred for WOFF: I think it was Dutch who observed recently that he really felt that, where WOFF was concerned there was little improvement in the last two upgrades he did, compared to the old 2nd-gen i5 he had (2500k...Sandy Bridge, for those with Intel secret codename decoder rings lol) - and I think he's right. Although there's been a lot done with the older 'engine' since CFS3, the deep-down guts of this sim are still dated. And I think we're long since past what is required in terms of CPU for this game to run well. Probably, as Dutch indicated, several generations ago. And I'm pretty sure others have indicated something similar; running WOFF perfectly well on second-gen i5/i7 (2500/2700) hardware.

The newer CPUs basically introduce a lot of newer features - and often use less power, another sort of goal from the CPU manufacturers. These newer features aren't all related to gaming, and definitely are not all going to be recognized/taken advantage of by WOFF. For example: WOFF couldn't care less what revision of USB you have, and it's not going to benefit from PCIe 3.0 interface versus the older 2.0. Some newer features can help - for example, storage speeds keep getting faster due to newer interfaces like NVMe SSDs instead of an old spinner hard disk on a SATA III port, which generally means quicker loading and thus smoother frame rates/less 'stutter'.

But how much benefit/whether this is necessary, well...let's say there is a point of diminishing returns. Spending even 3 times as much for a newer/faster system will absolutely NOT make WOFF run 3 times faster/better; you'd be lucky if it's a few (single-digit) percentage points better. Inversely non-linear when compared to cost, I suppose you could say....exponentially decreasing.

Last edited by kksnowbear; 02/25/18 01:39 PM.
#4407322 - 02/25/18 01:36 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Thanks kksnowbear.
At the current time (assuming I was doing this right now) money is not an issue normally and especially in this case where the bulk of my older components (2 HD’s, GTX 970, PSU, and 4x 4GB RAM sticks) are PRESUMABLY compatable with the aforementioned mentioned CPU/MB set-up but I didn’t look too close.

And assuming they are, though I noticed you mentioned RAM compatability, my old stuff could be thrown on the new set-up and then be upgraded one at a time spreading out the costs of new high-end components nicely.

But yea. I certainly see why people buy pre-made systems or employ others to do the hard figuring for them. Too bad you don’t have a shop in this town!

#4407326 - 02/25/18 01:49 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I think the drives, GPU and PSU will be fine. However, teh memory in your Dell appears to be DDR3; if you go to anything newer than (roughly) 4th gen hardware, you're going to need DDR4 memory. Like I said, kind of a racket...

#4407329 - 02/25/18 01:57 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Well cool. Thanks for the heads up.
Yessir. If push comes to shove you’ll be hearing from me.
Hopefully the MB is the problem (think it has to be) and that will give me time to study up on this - even on which case/tower to use! Figured, except for size, a case was a case but I see even that’s tricky.
smile

#4407337 - 02/25/18 02:20 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I appreciate the kind words smile I wish I did have a shop there; I think I could hook you up biggrin biggrin biggrin

We didn't talk about cases yet, but it can be another area for distinction. You want to match your motherboard size (both will be ATX, most likely). You want bottom-mount PSU. Multiple mount points/openings for fans, generally 120mm is the way to go in fan sizes. At least 1 in front and 1 in the back, and if it comes with fans that's generally OK. Front panel audio, 2x USB 2 and 2x USB 3. Consider how many drive bays you need (doesn't sound like a lot in your case). Many people like cases that have holes inside for routing cables behind the motherboard tray - nice and clean looking, but optional. Cosmetics are, well...cosmetic *lol* Things like fans that have LEDs, plexiglas or even tempered glass side panels. I've seen many cases that have built-in, removable fan intake filters - this is a feature that increases cost a bit, but I like a lot and is generally well worth it IMHO (I added my own after the fact).

(Credit to Duke for reminding me): Make sure the case will accommodate whatever GPU(s) you intend to use. These days, they can be very big; cases will often specify the max GPU length they support.

Also, on the subject of fit, you should consider whatever cooling solution you use. Stock fan/heatsinks fit almost anywhere. Bigger heatsinks, especially some of the huge aftermarket tower types, require a lot of clearance.

I'm cheap, I get offended if I have to pay more than $40 for a case, and I'll use it till it rusts through *lol* But if you have the funds, plenty nice cases can be had for well below $100. I find some great deals in the $30-50 range. Antec, Corsair, NZXT all make fairly high-quality cases, there are many other excellent brands out there I'm sure. MicroCenter has a ThermalTake V3 that I have bought about 100 of (j/k) but they are decent and super-budget friendly even if at the low end of the feature spectrum. I can always get a USB 3 front panel insert on Amazon for cheap wink

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#4407345 - 02/25/18 02:37 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Hi Duke,

Speaking of cases, I built systems for myself and a friend using this case.
http://us.coolermaster.com/product/Detail/case/lan-box/haf-xb-evo.html

Main reason for purchasing - I did not want a tall case.
I have been very happy with it.

$83 at amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Computer-Radiator-RC-902XB-KKN2/dp/B00FFJ0H3Q


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. A. Einstein

(System Specs:)

I7-6700k OC 4.4GHZ, 16GB DDR4 3200Mhz; Gigabyte Gaming 7 MB, G1 OC'ed GTX980ti; Three-Acer XB271HU WQHD Gsync 144Mhz; Samsung 950-512GB NVMe SSD; WD 2TB-7200rpm; Cooler Master HAF XB EVO, Nepton 240M cooler, V1000 PS; Windows 10 PRO; VKB GunfighterPro Stick; Thrustmaster TPR Pedals; Saitek Throttle; Dual TM MFD panels; TrackIR 5
#4407346 - 02/25/18 02:41 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Anyway, back to the discussion about motherboards, and features that distinguish one from another:

Beginning around the 6th gen Intel CPUs (that is, 6000 series or Skylake), most motherboards began to introduce improved storage options. When I say storage, I'm talking about drives - be it SSDs or conventional spinning hard disks, though these days it's rapidly heading toward all solid-state, and there are a number of developments in the interfaces. To summaraize: YOu'll probably still want to have a conventional, platter-spinning hard disk in even a new system, because the cost-per-unit of storage can't be beat and many games don't really require the speed of an SSD, so save the space on the fast SSD for what really needs the speed. The older SATA interface is more than adequate for hard disks - it will be SATA 6Gb/s (six gigabits per second or "SATA III") . For SSDs, it gets interesting...

SSDs have gotten to the point where the drive itself is now faster than the SATA III connection can keep up with. So, most boards support other types of connections for 'fast' storage. Some have what's called SATAexpress, some have what is called an M.2 slot; some have both (even if you can only use one or the other at one time). Many full-size ATX boards have extra PCIe slots (beyond the 1 or 2 for GPUs) so there are also PCIe "add-in card" SSDs (I use one from Intel; a 700-series).

Most newer stuff now supports a communication protocol known as NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory express) which was developed specifically for solid-state storage and it is fast. I mean, by comparison, stupid fast. Older SSDs (those which are 2.5" form factor drives, like a laptop drive) that used the SATA III interface could exchange data up to about 550Mb/s tops in practice. Now, the NVMe solid state devices are going in excess of 3,000 Mb/s (which is, again, just plain stupid fast).

(TBC)

#4407347 - 02/25/18 02:47 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Stache, that's a very nice case indeed...and a decent price, too smile Kind of a larger footprint than the typical tower, but definitely a nice looking alternative to the taller tower cases (I also prefer the shorter, cube-type look). I have heard the "desktop" type cases like this (horizontal rather than vertical) are making a comeback. And it appears to have outstanding airflow.

I just bought one very similar for my youngest son, but it's only for micro-ATX boards (we're building him a machine that's more portable, for LAN party type arrangements). Best of all, on a "flash" promo and after rebate it was only $40 biggrin biggrin biggrin https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...corsair_matx_case-_-11-139-044-_-Product

Last edited by kksnowbear; 02/25/18 02:54 PM.
#4407350 - 02/25/18 03:18 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Motherboard features, continued:

Duke, both the combos you listed above have M.2 slots - this is where you place a tiny card; about 1" wide (22mm). This little slot is rapidly becoming the de-facto standard for SSDs and their connection to PC boards (including laptops and other small devices). It's tiny smile And, since the newer motherboards support this NVMe protocol I referred to, it's FAST. Way faster than even the fastest 'standalone' SATA III SSD (by up to 6x). If you want to use this new type storage - right away or as an upgrade later - then you should consider a board with an M.2 slot (sometimes called an M-key). Less expensive, entry-level boards will often lack an M.2 slot.

However, even if you don't buy a new motherboard or have an M.2 slot, there is another way to achieve NVMe "stupid-speed": Using PCIe add-in card adapters. Like the slot your GPU sits in, most motherboards have additional PCIexpress (PCIe) slots for adding other cards. Earlier, I talked about PCIe lanes, and now we are coming to one area where the number of slots - and how many lanes each slot supports - will matter, depending on your needs. Note, though, that NVMe generally only exists on 6th-gen and more recent motherboards...if you have a board before that, you can still get PCIe add-in cards for SSDs - and, depending on your board, it can be faster than a regular SATA SSD. But, this is one of the arguments for newer stuff: It supports newer features.

More in a bit, gotta grab a bite...

(Don't worry...when/if I ever get done, I'll do a summary *lol*)

#4407361 - 02/25/18 04:44 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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One last aspect of motherboards and distinction between them: (This is where the secret codenames are, unfortunately, appropriate)

For a long time now, Intel has assigned codenames to it's CPUs and (more specifically) to the "chipset" which supports a given CPU. If you look at a motherboard you'll see a flat, square-ish plate (usually) under the end of your GPU that hangs out opposite the bracket in the back. That plate is actually there to help pull heat off a chip that lives under it. That chip is, essentially, the "chipset". Why's it called a 'set'? Because, back in the day, there were actually two - if you see an older board, there's another one, generally over between the GPU and the CPU itself. These were called the "north bridge" (nearest CPU) and "south bridge" (nearest end of GPU slot). Each one had it's functions, and together they were the set of chips needed to support a CPU - hence, chipset.

Early on, there was usually only one chipset for each socket that came out. And usually, the socket changed with each CPU generation, as did the motherboard.

Nowadays, it's not that way any more. First, Intel started putting a lot of the guts of the north bridge - most notably, the memory controller - into the CPU itself. So, chipset now basically is what's left, mostly the south bridge chip.

Then, they started to span several generations of CPUs across (what seems like) the same socket. After all, nothing says you have to have a different socket just because you have a different chip. Well, sort of.

The last three generations - that is, 6000, 7000, and 8000 CPUs have all been considered socket 1151 boards. Technically, the sockets are not exactly the same, and therefore the CPUs are not interchangeable. The feature of a motherboard that determines what exact series CPUs it can work with is the chipset, and (even though they're not the actual part numbers or names), Intel uses the "codenames" to identify chipsets.

So, then, as above: Skylake = 6000-series CPU/100-series chipset; Kaby Lake = 7000 series CPU/200-series chipset; Coffee Lake = 8000-series CPU/300 series chipset.

Beyond that, there are usually variants of the chipset series for business, consumers, etc. For example, the 100-series includes three business variants (Q170, Q150, B150); and three consumer variants (Z170, H170, and H110). Business variants focus on features that matter in business environments, like security and long-term availability, where the consumer variants focus on more performance and flexibility features, overclocking ability and the total number of PCIe lanes. Q and B variants are for business platforms, H and Z for consumers. Don't worry about the business variants, just consider the Z and H types - Z for high-performance, H for basic features. Same goes for the 200-series (Z270, H270, Q270, Q250, B250). It happens there are no variants (yet, anyway) for the 300-series, just Z370. Your guess is good as mine as to why.

If you're watching, those last two bits - number of PCI lanes and overclocking - are generally what make all the difference to us as "enthusiasts", and also (like the other features I've described above) what determines cost of a given motherboard. Fewer PCIe slots/lanes, no overclocking support = least cost. Maximum number of PCIe slots/lanes, full overclocking support = highest cost. So make sure you get the features you want, but don't pay for those you won't use. If you don't overclock and never intend to use more than one graphics card, you might be better off not spending a ton on a top-end Z370 motherboard.

For all this chipset nonsense, there are two very good references - and very brief, too: https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Z270-H270-Q270-Q250-B250---What-is-the-Difference-876/ (for the 200-series)

and

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/a...-Q150-Q170---What-is-the-Difference-635/ (for the 100-series)

(TBC)

Last edited by kksnowbear; 02/25/18 04:54 PM.
#4407362 - 02/25/18 04:45 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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No, no...liking all the details. Kind of a class in hardware that I desperately needed. I can swap hardware like a pro - once I know what hardware to use.

And speaking of swapping thanks for the case idea Stache. Hard to tell from pictures but is it easy for us with “hands of ham” to reach in there and hook/unhook cables, etc? My current case is what I think is called a “mini-tower” or “mid-tower” or something. It’s a step down in size from my last CP. Didn’t really think about it when I bought it but a lesson learned. Kind of hard to reach in there and work plus my 970 barely fits and that’s no exaggeration. Thought I was gonna have to do some case cutting/bending when I first got it.

#4407363 - 02/25/18 04:46 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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You are quick kksnowbear - posted at the same time as I.
Thanks!

#4407375 - 02/25/18 05:52 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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So, lemme try to summarize all this:

- Start with CPU brand (and therefore, entire build): AMD or Intel? AMD cheaper, Intel generally higher performing. Both have great offerings, to be sure.

- Then look at performance level of CPU: For Intel, i5 is cheaper, i7 is more powerful. (i3 really not up to snuff for gaming, i9 costs crazy starting ~$1000) Clock speed within each type will drive cost. Variants available at additional cost (like unlocked K versions for overclocking, or extreme X versions for those with money trees *lol*)

- Features needed, determined by motherboard chipset, model and (of course) cost: In our Intel example, stick with "H" (basic) or "Z" (performance) chipsets. Consider overclocking ability, multi-GPU support, USB 3.0, 3.1 (and how many at front/rear panel), number of PCIe slots and number of lanes each slot, plus total number PCIe lanes; storage options (NVMe; M.2 slot). Standard features these days should include at least a couple USB 3 ports, one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot for a GPU, gigabit speed ethernet, and 7.1 audio on-board.

- Power supply: Determine wattage based on load of GPU(s)+motherboard, etc; ensure proper number/type connectors. Pay for quality, and allow some 'overhead' in capacity. Consider efficiency levels to use less power/generate less heat. Make sure cable lengths are appropriate to your chassis.

Now, I do hope everyone realizes this was written 'on the fly' and without any real references being used. This is a metric ton to cover in a few pages and there's very little way to provide the level of information one absorbs by having studied something for 30 years in a few paragraphs.

Best thing to do is to study and start looking around, writing down any questions that come up. Post them, and I am sure there will be answers.

I have to get ready for church, we go in the evening because my son works nights, but I do welcome any questions. BTW, if there are any AMD folks - don't be put out if we used Intel examples. I have built AMD stuff too, so if there's interest I can do that. But a lot of this stuff is the same between both Intel and AMD.

Thanks smile

#4407376 - 02/25/18 05:53 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Duke, you just reminded me...I gotta circle back and edit the chassis blurb to mention about GPU fit smile

Thanks!

#4407389 - 02/25/18 06:18 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Glad I could contribute something semi-intelligent to the conversation!

#4407395 - 02/25/18 06:38 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Originally Posted by DukeIronHand
No, no...liking all the details. Kind of a class in hardware that I desperately needed. I can swap hardware like a pro - once I know what hardware to use.

And speaking of swapping thanks for the case idea Stache. Hard to tell from pictures but is it easy for us with “hands of ham” to reach in there and hook/unhook cables, etc? My current case is what I think is called a “mini-tower” or “mid-tower” or something. It’s a step down in size from my last CP. Didn’t really think about it when I bought it but a lesson learned. Kind of hard to reach in there and work plus my 970 barely fits and that’s no exaggeration. Thought I was gonna have to do some case cutting/bending when I first got it.


Well all cases are tight once they get loaded.
I have a 980TI

Some pictures to let you gauge.

Out of the Box
[Linked Image]

With Mother Board Tray removed.
[Linked Image]

Some wiring in place
[Linked Image]

Some components installed
[Linked Image]

Attached Files DSCF8028 (Medium).JPGDSCF8038 (Medium).JPGDSCF8044 (Medium).JPGDSCF8045 (Medium).JPG
Last edited by Stache; 02/25/18 06:42 PM.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. A. Einstein

(System Specs:)

I7-6700k OC 4.4GHZ, 16GB DDR4 3200Mhz; Gigabyte Gaming 7 MB, G1 OC'ed GTX980ti; Three-Acer XB271HU WQHD Gsync 144Mhz; Samsung 950-512GB NVMe SSD; WD 2TB-7200rpm; Cooler Master HAF XB EVO, Nepton 240M cooler, V1000 PS; Windows 10 PRO; VKB GunfighterPro Stick; Thrustmaster TPR Pedals; Saitek Throttle; Dual TM MFD panels; TrackIR 5
#4407397 - 02/25/18 06:47 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Pictures are always tricky (but thanks!) but it does appear to be easy to work with.

#4407465 - 02/26/18 12:36 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Hey... in last pic I spy a Pinch Scotch bottle with a ship inside! Any close-ups? Sorry for hijack.

#4407684 - 02/26/18 11:55 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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If I may have a little “whine” with my cheese if this really takes any more then a week - let alone 3 weeks - this will definitely be my last bit of business with the Dell company. In this day and age I have never ordered anything, and I mean anything, that has taken more then 2 or 3 days to arrive.

Okay. Feel slightly better. FWIW it still shows as “Not having shipped” though even their website admits tracking info is sometimes never updated. Why that is with all the package tracking tech in place is another story I suppose.

#4407699 - 02/27/18 12:58 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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DIH, my solution to avoid the problem such as you're facing is to have 2 systems at all times. Even if my main rig fails, I always have another one to fall back on. Just dust it off and away you go. It will not run as well as the main one - because it's my previous comp, but I will not miss a second of WOFFing. Lesson learned. Good luck and hope the order gets there soon.


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."
#4407757 - 02/27/18 10:35 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Ironically I just threw my old (but working) system away a couple of months ago but time flies.
If my “new” system is 3-4 years old the other must have been 7 or 8 and computers age in dog years.
Ah well. Just have to learn some patience it’s just that now, because of the weather and other factors, it would be prime WOFF time.

EDIT: Looks like Dell Is in the 21st century. Just got a text, and email, that the board has shipped. Unless it’s coming by mule train it should be here in a couple days. Hopefully it will be a rainy weekend.

#4408393 - 03/02/18 02:10 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Hopefully, you must be a really patient person. I could never wait so long............................

#4408443 - 03/02/18 11:47 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Hoping we hear from Duke today that he's gotten his board and is back up & running...good luck mate smile

#4408501 - 03/02/18 03:37 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Board arrived yesterday (per UPS website) but, of course, I am out of town.
Should be back tonight for install today or certainly tomorrow.
Took a week to get here from time of order.

#4408532 - 03/02/18 05:23 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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popcorn

We'll be waiting, with bated breath...and crossed fingers & toes smile

I almost really want to say that your motherboard just failed, and nothing has happened to your CPU. Reason is that, a motherboard is loaded with all sorts of components & therefore has lots to go wrong - they are especially given to bad capacitors and voltage regulators (VRMs) causing this kind of issue. These are a few of the electronic components that, in a manner of speaking, can sit and destroy themselves over time just doing what they do, because of heat. Doesn't even have to be excessive heat. This is one reason the industry started using "solid" caps, which has helped a lot, but there's still failure.

CPUs on the other hand, are essentially one component (laying aside that there are factually millions of junction devices inside a CPU, for the sake of this discussion, that is).

So, that's my officially unofficial prognostication biggrin

In any event, hopefully you swap that board and it's "pull chocks" for you!

#4408585 - 03/02/18 08:08 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Just arrived home. Probably won’t be able to install till early tomorrow morning but, on a high note, I’ll be able to work without interruptions. Unless the family plans on going somewhere tonight without me - probably not though.

EDIT: Nope. Looks like they can’t live without me. Definitely tomoroow morning.

Last edited by DukeIronHand; 03/02/18 09:00 PM.
#4408647 - 03/03/18 12:36 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Success!!
After catching up (only gone a day and a half) and family dinner I forgot it was Friday and movie night.
So, while all were engrossed with some movie I would have fallen asleep to anyway, I snuck out and installed the brand new motherboard. Fired her up on a quick test of everything and all is working.
Part swapping expert I am. Thanks to everyone for the help.

#4408660 - 03/03/18 03:03 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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WoooHooo! dancinfools

Glad to hear you got it done. Apparently you're not so ham-fisted after all, huh?

Now, off to the sky with ya (and get to figurin' about your upgrade!) biggrin

#4408693 - 03/03/18 01:32 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Congrats Duke, woohoo!

#4408694 - 03/03/18 01:58 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Wahoo indeed. Seemed like a long week.
Just have to get the RealTek onboard sound going again and I’ll be cooking with gas.
Must be clicking in the wrong area.
That’s the problem with fixing issues every 3 or 4 years - you have to relearn everything all over again.

EDIT: Well got sound by plugging in directly at the MB not on the top of the case like I used too. Oh well.

Last edited by DukeIronHand; 03/03/18 02:42 PM.
#4408718 - 03/03/18 04:39 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Hi Duke

The issue is that your "front panel" sound (what you used before, on the top) is not configured properly. The RealTek interface changes from version to version, so it may look different but will essentially be the same. First, make sure you have the speakers configured properly. Then use the configuration/option settings (usually looks like a gear icon) to set the Playback the way you want it. (If this isn't set up as it was, the behavior might not be like it was before - although I'm not sure why changing the board would cause this, since your drive technically didn't change. Maybe the RealTek software recognizes individual chips/boards???).

I'm attaching a picture, but I don't know how it will look since posting pics has become problematic...we'll see. If I'm following you, you want the rear panel muted when a front panel device is plugged in - and you *do not* want the front and rear output devices to play two different streams simultaneously. The reason there's a choice here is so that you could have two different audio sources (think in-game comms like Discord or TeamSpeak); this allows for voice chat through a headset, while still having the game sound come from your speakers.

I hope this helps.


Attached Files audio.jpg
Last edited by kksnowbear; 03/03/18 05:07 PM.
#4408724 - 03/03/18 05:20 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Cool. Thanks kksnowbear.
You are becoming quite valuable to my CP world.

#4408725 - 03/03/18 05:28 PM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Originally Posted by DukeIronHand
Cool. Thanks kksnowbear.
You are becoming quite valuable to my CP world.


LOL That's what my kids say...years of feeding/roof over heads, etc, but they value the PC stuff biggrin biggrin biggrin

Most welcome, and I do sincerely hope it's helpful.

#4408811 - 03/04/18 11:54 AM Re: OT: Computer trouble... [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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.

Duke, very glad to learn that you've gotten your computer woes sorted out and are back in the virtual skies. And I agree that kk is a valuable asset indeed when it comes to all this tech stuff.

.

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