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First Build ever, Tier 6 Gaming
09-09-2011, 02:44 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-09-2011, 03:01 PM by Klem.)
#1
First Build ever, Tier 6 Gaming
I started off wanting to do Tier 3, but things quickly ballooned from there (helped by the discovery of NewEgg's interest-free financing). This is pretty much a strict Tier 6 from the August 11 update, but I did go with 16 Gigs of RAM. I completed this build about two weeks ago (Aug 27th).

It should be mentioned that the Crossfire cables do NOT come with the Sapphire packaging of the 6870, so I had to get that off of eBay for ten bucks.

Well, here it is, though I should probably have taken more intermediary pictures while putting it together:

Components:
[Image: IMG_0935.jpg]

Building: Spot the mistake!
[Image: IMG_0936.jpg]

Memory:
[Image: IMG_0942.jpg]

Almost done:
[Image: IMG_0949.jpg]

Done...or is it:
[Image: IMG_0938.jpg]

Oops, maybe I should fix that:
[Image: IMG_0939.jpg]

Much better:
[Image: IMG_0945.jpg]

And we're running!
[Image: Capture.png]

Okay, so obviously I made some mistakes on my first build, but there were a few others behind the scenes as well so I'll share those for anyone else in doing their first build.

First, as you can see I originally had the 212+ facing down instead of to the right, which would have blown hot air onto the top 6870. I had posted that picture on a non-computer related forum that I'm active on and someone pointed that out. I fixed that issue when the second 6870 and extra 8 Gigs of RAM arrived (told you that things ballooned on me!).

Second, you can see that I forgot that the case included one removable 5.25 Inch bay cover that was convertible to 3.5 Inch. Fixed that while installing the second 6870 as well.

Next, when I first turned on the computer I had only plugged in the 24 pin power connector to the motherboard. That's a pretty common mistake and consulting a checklist solved it quickly, so I plugged in the 8 pin 12 volt to the motherboard to take care of it. The computer would then turn on and spin all the fans, but nothing was showing up on the screen. I consulted a checklist again and finally hitting the 'Clear CMOS' button on the back fixed it up and the Bios finally showed up on the monitor.

Probably my biggest error was forgetting to fix the Bios the first time to have the SATA use AHCI. I ended up having to reinstall Windows a week later after I figured that out.

Finally, I was really confused why my SSD was showing a lot less free space than I thought it should have. Turns out this was related to Virtual Memory settings. After reading a lot on the subject I decided to move my Paging file from the SSD boot drive to the Samsung HDD. I'm sure there are pros and cons to this, but I don't think it will ever be an issue with how I use the machine. I have installed all applications so far to the SSD except for Steam, which I set up on the Samsung.

Edit: Also wanted to say thanks to Mathieu, your guide was easy to follow and made a lot of sense when it came down to comparing and picking components.
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09-09-2011, 07:40 PM,
#2
RE: First Build ever, Tier 6 Gaming
Hi Klem,

Thanks for posting your pics. I'm building one very soon and it seems quite similar to yours.
Any chance you could list all your pc specs?

(09-09-2011, 02:44 PM)Klem Wrote: It should be mentioned that the Crossfire cables do NOT come with the Sapphire packaging of the 6870, so I had to get that off of eBay for ten bucks.

Wow, is this normal?
Or does it depend on the branding (Asus, Gigabyte, Sapphire etc)?
I'm about to order 2 x 6870's for xfire, and all the specs I've seen on this card show the cable is included.

Cheers
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09-09-2011, 10:43 PM,
#3
RE: First Build ever, Tier 6 Gaming
Well, I was kind of surprised as well there was no Crossfire bridge when I got the first 6870, as I had seen it included in reviews for the Sapphire packaging too. Apparently not including one is exclusive to the NewEgg SKU version of the 6870 (or that's my theory anyways). If you check out the Sapphire 6870 that is 174.99 on NewEgg with no shipping costs, in the included product pictures there is one of everything that it contains in the box, which is what I received: two power cables, driver disc and DVI-VGA converter.

You can verify my theory because the old deactivated SKU is still on their site, the 100314-2SR ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814102913 ). The picture on that one shows a Crossfire bridge. But it's not present in the pictures of the currently sold SKU, 100314-3L ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814102948 ).

As far as specs, I really did go with an exact tier 6 build, with just the extra RAM:
i5-2500 Sandy Bridge. In retrospect I would have ponied up 10 more bucks for the 2500K for overclocking.
16 GB Kingston DDR3 1333 MHz
2 x Sapphire Radeon 6870 in Crossfire
Crucial M4 Sata III 64 GB SSD
Samsung F3 1 TB HDD
I have two WD MyBooks from before building this for movies/television files, an 1110 500 GB and 1130 2 TB, the latter which makes use of the USB 3.0 ports, very nice. They're both formatted in Fat32 (lol) for former use with my Xbox 360 (which I will not be buying any more games for!).

I had a single 6870 in for a little over a week so I was able to compare some non-Crossfire benchmarks in Dirt 3 to what I have now. My minimum FPS with single was around 40 and averaged at 90. With Crossfire those went to 90 and 130. I've played Dirt 3, Fallout NV, Dawn of War II and Deus Ex HR all at highest settings in 1920x1080 on a 23 Inch LED 1080P monitor, and nothing has seemed to have taxed the system seriously yet. Granted those aren't the most graphically intensive games out there, but I think this set up will do quite nicely for some time to come. My current bottleneck is the non-overclocked i5 at the moment, I believe.

Good luck with your build!

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09-10-2011, 12:04 AM,
#4
RE: First Build ever, Tier 6 Gaming
What motherboard (I'm thinking it's the Asus P8P67 Deluxe!!) & case you have?
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09-10-2011, 03:29 PM,
#5
RE: First Build ever, Tier 6 Gaming
Man that is terrible cable management (behind your desk) Wink All joking aside I love the pictures. I also love seeing the pictures of all the boxes stacked up, just makes me si giddy inside lol.

On a side note, I am glad that you were able to figure out all the things that went wrong and were able to fix them. I am a little jealous Wink
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