Meet Zero Point Module.

Meet my new gaming system, Zero Point Module (ZPM – THAT’s “ZED” PEE EM SILLY AMERICANS). Yes, I am a mad man. Not only did I build a system I certainly did not actually need, I built a, DUN DUN DUN, Intel system!

Go ahead and faint. I’ll wait.

Welcome back. The theory was always to have two systems but my other system, CAPSUPREME was re-purposed into our studio editing system and Farpoint was re-purposed into a media centre for my room. So I was left with Tantalus. Which wasn’t so bad really until lately I had been having some real problems with Windows erroring out on things and my rx480s (of which I truly love) started to really give me a hassle when installing new drivers in a crossfire configuration.

So I said to myself, “Self, if you get a good tax return you shall build a new mini-ITX system for less than $1200 and you will base it on the recently announced Ryzen 2000 series APU’s.” Naturally I agreed with myself because myself and I are reasonable people and went ahead with the plan.

Then Dan said, “Well if you’re building a system I’m going to build a system later this year to blow it outta the water. And It’s going to be AMD.”

I said, “That’s just silly. You’re the Intel guy. Are you saying I am going to have to go Intel just so our systems can fight each other to the death later this year?”

Dan said, “Yep! WAHAHAHA!”

parts

Deflated I started playing around with PC Partpicker to decide on parts. To keep this build on budget and to have money to buy parts to repair Tantalus I had to scavenge some parts from my bin. This is what I came up with:

  • CPU and Cooler
    • Intel i3-8350k
    • Corsair H115i RGB v2
  • Motherboard
    • Asus ROG Strix Z370-I Mini-ITX
  • Memory
    • G.Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4 3000MHz 2x8GB (Scavenged from Tantalus)
  • Storage
    • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB (Scavenged from bin)
    • Samsung 1TB 2.5″ 5400RPM (Scavenged from bin)
  • GPU
    • Asus Radeon RX480 8GB Reference (Scavenged from Tantalus)
  • Case
    • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX
  • Power Supply
    • Seasonic 520W M12II Bronze Fully Modular
  • Several Sanpellegrino Aranciata bubblies (no they are not a sponsor, they’re just tasty)

So all the parts I had to buy came in roughly around $850 bucks. If I had to buy all the parts for the build it would have cost somewhere around $1600 to $1800 CAD. Thankfully that other $1000 is used in the repair of Tantalus.

The hardest part of the build was installing the water cooler. I originally planned to remove the included 200mm front fan and install the cooler there but it would not fit. So I had to install it up top. This is ok but in the case of this particular 280 rad from Corsair it fits with a only millimetre to spare. This also blocked off the exhaust for a standard depth fan and I had to order a thin profile 140mm Cryorig fan later (so you won’t see it in the pictures, sorry). If I were to build this again I would go for a 240 rad but I am happy still.

completed

One thing also to note, There is only one chassis fan header on this motherboard. The other two headers are dedicated to the cpu fan and the water pump. Technically you can use all three with fans but just a note to you thats all. Any bigger a water pump and it would not have fit in place. The universal Intel bracket is not a smart design. There should be separate brackets for LGA2011 and whatever this one is, uh, LGA1151. Because of the limited space around the CPU the water piping is resting a bit on the memory. Not very happy about this but it’s working so we continue on.

birdsnest

I do not have any benchmarks yet as when I was done building this I had to tear down my office and rebuild and since I am a truck driver and on the road all the time it’s taken a few weeks to get everything done. I will update this post with benchmarks in the near future.

Overall the building of this system was an experience. Would I build this complicated of an ITX system again for myself? No. Its a lot of hassle. What I can say though with all the hassle the system booted up perfect the first time and has been solid ever since.

perchedontantalus

I was able to initially get a 4.9GHz stable overclock on the rig but when I went to overclock the memory (which ended up at 2933MHz) the stable overclock had to drop down to 4.7GHz. Still not bad.

This will be my main gaming rig from now on. I have finally ordered a streaming card for Tantalus so it will finally do duty as editing and streaming rig (and maybe some gaming too for fun sometimes cuz I got some new stuff for it as well which I will cover in another post). Once my office is all setup I’ll have a pretty decent podcasting/twitch setup.

poweredon1

Now my choice of power supply was fuel for the trolls on PC Partpicker. Would I change it? No. But what would you have done differently? Let me know in the comments.

Intel Kills the Best CPU that They Sold

Intel recently announced that they were killing off their Pentium G4560 3.5GHz CPU. This CPU was recently released with the Kaby Lake CPUs like the i7 7700k and so on. So what’s wrong with it?

Absolutely nothing.

According to Intel the only reason they moved to kill the G4560 was that it was cannibalizing i3 CPU sales. That’s it. Intel has a winner CPU but they’d rather sell you an i3 for more money.

This is another decision in a list of decisions Intel has made recently that has left me questioning who is really running Intel. Obviously it’s not enthusiasts so it must be the bean counters. And this continually seems to be the problem with Intel. They are more concerned about their bottom line than having people excited about their product.

196636.5de39c4bdb867d93217cadf32652fa56.1600

AMD has people so excited about their new products that they’ve clawed back 10% market share recently. And that is still with a processing architecture that’s not quite as efficient as Intel’s seventh generation core design. AMD is coming back because it has an enthusiastic core of people excited about their products.

Intel instead has released their most convoluted chipset and CPU combination ever with the X299 LGA2066 blah blah blah. There’s so much wrong with this platform I honestly have no interest in even outlining it here. There’s tons of places to look up information on that topic and I’ll leave you to that after finishing this story.

Back to the G4560. It did technically compete with Intel’s i3 chips though at a lower clock rate. The G4560 featured hyper-threading so it had two cores and four threads like an i3. For $85 CAD its a lot of CPU. You can even sorta game on the thing though really four-cores is the way to go nowadays. But Intel doesn’t want you buying it. The equivalent i3 is nearly twice the price.

Will we see the G4560 rebranded as an i3? It’s possible but pretty unlikely. It’s interesting to me that a generation back Intel was more than happy to sell you the Pentium G3258 that while not hyper-threaded it was overclockable. They’ve moved that privilege to the i3 as well with it’s very own i3 7350k CPU.

In a market where AMD is a very real threat especially on the value front it’s hard to believe that Intel would remove a highly competitive product like the G4560 from the market to sell you a more expensive one. If you were on the fence waiting for a Ryzen R3 CPU or APU or buying a G4560 your decision has been made for you.

I know Dan will have some comments on this as well. Bring it on, buddy!