System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,600 Alternative PC

Starting Over, This Time With Success

These are the good old days…

Twelve years have passed since the last time I was forced to chase down such a series of catastrophic events, where a board damaged a processor that in turn damaged every board it touched, which in turn would damage every processor it touched. Back then, I had to pay for that troubleshooting myself. This time, I only had to explain why my two-week paycheck hadn't yielded any content.

Switching to a motherboard that held-up under the load of Noctua’s NH-D14 installation kit, and a memory set that wouldn’t damage the apparently-fragile E1-stepping Core i5-3570K’s memory controller, I moved on to re-build the system.

Fractal Design’s trays support 2.5” drives by direct mounting, and 3.5” drives through grommets and included shoulder screws. The shoulder screws prevent grommet crushing, and the grommets prevent the transmission of vibration from mechanical drives to the drive cage.

We probably don’t need to re-shoot the CPU cooler installation, since the same method was used a second time on the Gigabyte motherboard. The big difference is that Gigabyte supplies only one CPU fan header, so we had to include the NH-D14’s fan power splitter in our installation.

Finally, a working system that doesn’t slowly die after a couple of days!

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  • mi1ez
    ASRock defaults DDR3-2133 memory to 1.5665 V. Add in the 1% over-voltage we’ve been seeing nearly every board vendor sneak in over the past several product cycles, and we come up to around 1.68 V.

    1.5665 + 1% = 1.582165
  • Steveymoo
    Nice, this is a well balanced build! That's a good bit of troubleshooting you did there as well - I always wondered whether the super heavy CPU coolers would cause any problems, especially when you move the case around. I always worry that the large heatsink could sheer off when I have to transport my computer to a new flat.

    Better be careful y'all!
  • spentshells

    get a normal cooler Cm212 or even a CM tx4 and spend that other 50 bucks on some better cards. 7950's should be a minimum for a build of 1600
  • Anonymous
    Could've gone for a 7970 and a 3770k instead. I think most people would prefer to stay away from crossfire in a new build unless they're going for more performance than the best single GPU card. Maybe a board with more USB 3.0 internal headers would've been nice, i'm not a fan of having to plug devices in the back unless they are there to stay(exception being USB audio devices)
  • LePhuronn
    And the moral of this story is don't bother with archaic lumps of metal to cool your CPU. H100 people, simply no other choice.