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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Meet Tantalus P400S TG – My New Rig

Ryzen is here and so is my new computer. Meet Tantalus, named after the FTL drive from the Normany SR2 of Mass Effect fame. I have talked about the new system briefly on our Technobabble podcast but I thought I would go more in depth here with a look at some benchmarks and so on in comparison with Farpoint, my previous main system.

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First we should talk specs. At the launch of AMD’s new Ryzen chip there were only three eight core and sixteen thread available: the R7 1700, R7 1700X and R7 1800X.

CPU

R7 1700

R7 1700X

R7 1800X

CORE COUNTS

8C/16T

8C/16T

8C/16T

CLOCK

3.0 GHz – 3.7 GHz

3.4 GHz – 3.8 GHz

3.6 GHz – 4.0 GHz

TDP

65W

95W

95W

PRICE (current as of writing)

$407.98 CAD

$479.98 CAD

$619.98 CAD

On April 11th the new R5 chips are releasing and for your reference I’ll put the information here so you can at least see what they are compared to the initial chips.

CPU

R5 1400

R5 1500X

R5 1600

R5 1600X

CORE COUNTS

4C/8T

4C/8T

6C/12T

6C/12T

CLOCK

3.2 GHz – 3.4 GHz

3.5 GHz – 3.7 GHz

3.2 GHz – 3.6 GHz

3.6 GHz – 4.0 GHz

TDP

65W

65W

65W

95W

PRICE (MSRP USD)

$169.00

($226.67 CAD)

$189.00

($253.50 CAD)

$219.00

($293.73 CAD)

$249.00

($333.97 CAD)

Anyways, after checking the reviews I decided to go with the R7 1700. Reviewers were coming to the conclusion that all three chips were basically the same but clocked differently and so most have been able to achieve stable overclocks on their 1700s up to 4GHz with a decent air or water cooler.

That was the toughest choice. There wasn’t really a budget for this build. I had promised myself that I would build something that would be nearly top of the line. So the specs. OK. Fine. Prices are in CAD.

CPU

Ryzen R7 1700

$407.98

CPU COOLER

Corsair H110i

$138.99

MOTHERBOARD

MSI X370 Xpower Gaming Titanium

$399.99

MEMORY

G.Skill TridentZ RGB 32GB (4X8GB) DDR4-3000

$389.99

STORAGE

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB

WD Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5”

Pulled from CapSupreme

VIDEO CARD

Asus RX480 8GB Reference x2

Pulled from Farpoint

CASE

Phanteks Eclipse P400s Tempered Glass

$119.99

POWER SUPPLY

EVGA SuperNOVA G3 750 Modular 80+ Gold

$149.99

TOTAL

$1,606.92

WITH NEW ZOWIE MONITORS

BenQ Zowie 24″ RL2455

$2,126.90

Like I said, I wasn’t too concerned about the cost this time around. I wanted a system that could blow away Farpoint and CapSupreme. But did it deliver? Well shall we compare Farpoint and Tantalus directly then?

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First I want to tell you I was able to get at fully stable overclock of my 1700 at 3.9GHz at 1.375V. Where it comes to voltage I wouldn’t want to be running this chip on anything less than my H110i to cool it. I left my RX 480s at their stock 1266MHz.

Alright, benchmarks. I will show you my in game benches but keep in mind I ran all those at 1440p previously. All my new benchmarks are at 1080p. Synthetic benchmarks are run at their defaults. Also I only included the graphics scores on the previous runs so I will include those only this time as well.

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Data, data everywhere! There are your numbers. Tantalus stomps all over Farpoint in almost every test. In fact the only one that is remotely close is Time Spy in DX12 mode. As you can see here DX12 utilizes all the available power pretty well already. The bump in score for Tantalus is merely the extra 8 SMT cores.

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As for building the system overall it was a lot of fun. I mean the best part is always opening the boxes but man getting the final system all worked out has been a treat. The hardest part of the build was actually getting the RGB effects set up and working on the G.Skill memory. Also apparently Ryzen cpus prefer even CAS numbers like CAS 14 and 16. If you can get a kit of CAS 14 or 16 in 3200MHz you’ll be set.

The H110i took a bit to wrestle in to plase as well but it turned out great. In fact so well that I ordered a second P400S TG and moved Farpoint over in to it. Sorry In Win 303, I loved you but I love the P400S more. Here’s what Farpoint looks like now:

IMG_20170409_114717

The MSI motherboard is more expensive than it needs to be really. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great and I actually really like how the UEFI interface is laid out. It is also nice to have a temperature readout right on the motherboard itself instead of having to open up AMD’s Ryzen Master software to get an accurate reading.

Other than that I would not change a thing in this build. I love it. Let me know what you guys think.

PERSONAL RIG UPDATE – CAPSUPREME V1.6X

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I promised that I would keep everyone up to date on the changes made to my machines CAPSUPREME and FARPOINT. Well here’s a big update to one of those systems.

CAPSUPREME has it’s history dating back to early 2014 and has gone through many revisions. In fact it is now at it’s 1.6X revision. Yes. For everything today one must include either an X or an i (lower case of course) or a Z in the name. In this case there is sort of a reason for it as I have moved the system to an ITX form factor. Continue reading “PERSONAL RIG UPDATE – CAPSUPREME V1.6X”

On A Mission for the Perfect Gaming Mouse

26-104-321-32For quite some time I have been using a Logitech Performance MX mouse on my main system Farpoint. A fantastic wireless mouse that if it wasn’t for it’s insatiable appetite for batteries I would carry on with it. But alas, replacing the single double A battery every week is really starting to get old.

I also have the mobile version of the Performance MX called the Anywhere MX that I used with CapSupreme. While the size is nearly perfect for my small hands the switches on the main left and right mouse buttons activate only when pressing in a really specific spot on the button.

So earlier this year I started looking for a replacement. It took me nearly six months to decide on the mouse I wanted to go with. Continue reading “On A Mission for the Perfect Gaming Mouse”

Personal Rig Introduction & History – Dan Style

Greetings, RBG browsers! I am the one called Dan.

I am the resident IT Unprofessional here on RedBlueGreen and the Technobabble Podcast, as well as the Team Blue/Green voice of reason to Jeff’s dinstinctly Red-coloured outlook on life.

My story starts in the early-to-mid 90s, as a young, bright eyed, blond-haired kid wasted away his childhood on his family’s PCs playing video games, rather of doing what normal kids would do – go outside…..and then walk to their friends’ houses and play NES and SNES instead. The moral of our sad story is that outside sucks, and I don’t recommend going there.

I was never really a big hardware guy in my earlier years, but my father certainly was (and still is). We had all sorts of electronic equipment laying around the basement in various states of disrepair. I learned a lot from him, but most of my interest lay in the software side.

 

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Continue reading “Personal Rig Introduction & History – Dan Style”

Personal Rig Introduction and Some Brief Personal PC History

computerhistory.jpgAs part of this website I want to keep my personal rig sort of up to date for you all to know what I am running at any point in time. You may know if you were curious enough to look throughout the blog here that the blog’s name (redbluegreen.ca) is sort of a play on the colours of the main pc chip makers and the three main game consoles. I am firmly on the red team to what is most likely to some of your dismay. Continue reading “Personal Rig Introduction and Some Brief Personal PC History”