PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by LadyGeek »

knightrider wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:47 am ...I am not sure about the workload. All I know is the researchers want to run machine learning python code like TensorFlow. Basically image training. I'll do some more research if 4 cpus is enough for the main OS to dispatch that to the GPU. I would think it is ok. Memory may be an issue though. I am not sure if machine learning uses the GPU memory or the machine memory or both?
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting too OCD about my cable management. My PC is mostly running silently, and there are no obstructions to airflow, but I just can't leave well enough alone. I'm considering buying the following angled power adapters:

1. ATX 24Pin Female to 24pin Male 90 Degree Power Adapter
2. ATX 8Pin Female to 8pin Male 180 Degree AngledPower Adapter
3. 90-Degree Motherboard 8-pin ATX/EPX 12V Adapter

None of this will actually make the PC run any better, and nobody is ever going to look at my cables except me - and rarely. All of that slack cable just bothers me, though. Worse, I can't find the connecter I really need - a right-angle 20-pin front USB connector. All I can find are up and down angled connectors, but the way it's positioned on my motherboard, I need it to turn right; it's currently bending in a U-shape at the bottom of the case.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Mudpuppy »

knightrider wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:37 am Thanks. Would this under $1000 workstation from Dell do the trick for installing a Tesla K80? It says the power supply is 950W.
Most of the Dell Precision towers I've had to poke around inside of have things like graphics card holders and other bits of plastic that reduce the workable space inside the case. Dell really loves their plastic shrouds and holders. It would make me wonder if there is enough clearance to install the accelerator.

Dell also doesn't list actual clearances in their manuals. Here's the link to the manual for the Precision 5820: https://dl.dell.com/topicspdf/precision ... _en-us.pdf

Probably the main negative: the Precision 5820 only supports external graphics cards. Note that there are no output ports for internal graphics on the back of the system in the manual diagrams. You can configure BIOS to use a specific slot as the primary graphics card though. So you'd have to power both the original graphics card and the K80 on this system. That could tax the power supply.

Dell recommends using the PowerEdge rack-mount and tower systems for such purposes. This does cost a bit more, but not too much more. For example, the PowerEdge T640 tower system with 1100W power supply starts at $1500 and supports 300W Tesla accelerators. The K80m is in the list of supported accelerators, although I can't see a configuration option to get any accelerator shipped with the system.

Pay mind to the configuration of the power supply, as Dell does have PowerEdge models with inadequate power supplies for an accelerator. Those are intended for other uses.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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Independent George wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:26 pm I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting too OCD about my cable management. My PC is mostly running silently, and there are no obstructions to airflow, but I just can't leave well enough alone. I'm considering buying the following angled power adapters:

1. ATX 24Pin Female to 24pin Male 90 Degree Power Adapter
2. ATX 8Pin Female to 8pin Male 180 Degree AngledPower Adapter
3. 90-Degree Motherboard 8-pin ATX/EPX 12V Adapter

None of this will actually make the PC run any better, and nobody is ever going to look at my cables except me - and rarely. All of that slack cable just bothers me, though. Worse, I can't find the connecter I really need - a right-angle 20-pin front USB connector. All I can find are up and down angled connectors, but the way it's positioned on my motherboard, I need it to turn right; it's currently bending in a U-shape at the bottom of the case.
If you're shopping with a vendor named ModMyToys (your third item), perhaps you have answered your own question. :wink: At least you aren't messing with the old PATA ribbon cables. Those things were big enough to impede airflow so you really had to deal with them. That's where I learned the "sweep it under the rug" cable management approach I still use today.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by LadyGeek »

You need that slack so you can install / reinstall without breaking anything. My approach is to take up the slack in areas that aren't visible, then bundle everything together with a velcro strap (or cable tie). If there's enough slack to make an extra loop, then I do so and bundle that. The result is a clean bundle of cables that looks like it belongs there.

My cable slack is taken up and bundled along the case which which is on the back side of the motherboard. They route to the motherboard via case slots, but there's no visible slack seen on this side and it's routed cleanly. (This is my way of implementing the "sweep it under the rug" approach.)

As for connectors, I'm still upset that my case cable slot was offset by a few millimeters and there's metal interfering with a motherboard SATA connector. I can't use that SATA port because there's no room to plug in the cable.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

I love how modern pc cases are all designed to make it easy to "sweep it under the rug" with loads of back panel cable slots and the tie points. Combined with modular PSUs and cases with actual airflow, a DIY pc today is about a 1,000% improvement on those old beige boxes full of IDE cables. Considering how much more efficient today's CPUs are, I'm kind of amazed that those old space heaters we used didn't catch fire.

I did end up ordering those 90 degree connectors. Once they're installed, that leaves two remaining annoyances that I'm still trying to figure out:

1. The y-splitter from my CPU cooler (which has two fans) to the motherboard (which has one CPU fan slot) results in a lot of slack that can't be hidden.
2. The front-panel USB connector does a U-loop at the bottom of the motherboard. It's flat against the PSU shroud, so it doesn't look that bad, but it still bothers me a little.

That tempered glass side panel is a blessing and a curse.

This entire conversation kind of reiterates the point that I probably got as much enjoyment out of researching and building my PC as I will in using it.
LadyGeek wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:08 am As for connectors, I'm still upset that my case cable slot was offset by a few millimeters and there's metal interfering with a motherboard SATA connector. I can't use that SATA port because there's no room to plug in the cable.
Dremel time? :sharebeer
Last edited by Independent George on Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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LadyGeek wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:08 am The result is a clean bundle of cables that looks like it belongs there.
Yes, but that's you. I stand in awe of people who can "neaten" stuff that I tend to just wad up and stuff somewhere. Wrapping presents is torture! :shock:
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by LadyGeek »

^^^ I have the same approach wrapping presents. Fold the excess in the corners and use enough tape so it doesn't look bad. :)
Independent George wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:32 pm Dremel time? :sharebeer
I have a Dremel, but never thought about it at that time. The slot opening is covered by a rubber grommet. Opening the slot would (1) void my warranty and (2) I'd need a new grommet with a larger sizer. Not so simple.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

What's sad is that while I go out of my way to keep the internal cables are neat and pristine, everything coming out of the back of the PC is a tangled bird's net of wires. Four USB cables, two monitor cables, ethernet, plus analog speaker really isn't even that many cables, either.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by rockstar »

I've decided to upgrade my NAS to a newer Synology with more bays. One of things that I learned today was that WD Red is now SMR. If you want CMR, you need WD Red Plus or Pro. I almost ordered a WD Red by accident.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by tortoise84 »

Independent George wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:32 pm 1. The y-splitter from my CPU cooler (which has two fans) to the motherboard (which has one CPU fan slot) results in a lot of slack that can't be hidden.
I rotate the orientation of my fans to wrap the cable around the fan's frame, leaving just enough cable length to plug it in.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by tortoise84 »

LadyGeek wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:08 am As for connectors, I'm still upset that my case cable slot was offset by a few millimeters and there's metal interfering with a motherboard SATA connector. I can't use that SATA port because there's no room to plug in the cable.
You could just get a different SATA cable. They are available with straight plugs, right angle plugs and even 'left angle' plugs or 270 degrees that bend in the opposite direction.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by LadyGeek »

^^^ Thanks. I still have 3 connectors available in that area. If I need the connector, I look at an adapter.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by othermike27 »

Independent George wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:47 pm What's sad is that while I go out of my way to keep the internal cables are neat and pristine, everything coming out of the back of the PC is a tangled bird's net of wires. Four USB cables, two monitor cables, ethernet, plus analog speaker really isn't even that many cables, either.
So many cables - so little room.

For cables inside the chassis, I had the idea to minimize the number by using a motherboard with 2 or even 3 NVMe slots and populating all of them. Then I found out about shared PCIe lanes. I wanted the option to use available drive slots too, but some are not available if you use certain NVMe slots - the details depend on exactly which motherboard and manufacturer you select. Rats! :annoyed I built using a HAF XB case which has space for four 2.5" drives and two 3.5" front access hot-swap drives, and I wanted to have most/all of these ready for TBD use in future. For now, I settled on one NVMe drive and cabled up two of the 2.5" slots and both of the front bays. I like this case because the motherboard mounts horizontally on a removable mother board tray that effectively separates the interior into upstairs and downstairs, with the populated motherboard upstairs and all the drives downstairs. The upstairs is neatly tied off (and well ventilated), but the basement has a tangle of drive cables with no place to go and little motivation to deal with them just now. Huh, sounds familiar.

For the external connections, I prefer to use ethernet cables instead of Wi-fi when possible, so there's lots of wires to deal with. Plus, there is the added constraint of dealing with a cat who likes to chew on things. The little @$*# has cost me $50 in ruined iPhone cables - his favorite. So I repurposed an old audio cabinet with casters and enclosed sides that is just wide enough for 19" rack-mount items. Bought a Star-Tech 4U enclosure to hold a switched power distribution panel, a TP-Link switch and a patch panel for front-side neatness. So the cabinet holds the computer, cable modem, the Star-Tech unit with its contents, a Synology 4-bay NAS, Wifi access point and house phone stuff all with ready access to the rear if needed. But there is still the problem of all those wires, I have tied off everything into bundles and sub-bundles and any exposed runs are covered with protective heavy plastic cable wrap against Mr. Cat. This works ok, but the casters can still trip on cable bundles when moving the cabinet back to the wall. Need to add some kind of pilot to push cables out of the way.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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I personally use wire looms and spiral wrap to protect my cables from my cats. They're typically used for things like wire management in cars, and Amazon will annoy you to no end with ads for car parts if you buy it from Amazon. I use a 3/4" or 1" split wire loom for most of my computer systems, since I can run multiple cables through that. For individual cables, 3/8" or 1/2" spiral wrap works great. Avoid 1/4" though; it is a bit too small and gets to be frustrating to put on the wire.

All of their cat fountains are similarly wrapped, as the replacement pumps are overpriced for the cat fountain market compared to the aquarium market. I've had cats chew on the wire loom and spiral wrap before, but not actual make their way to the actual wire. You can also rub the cover with a cat-safe bittering agent to discourage chewing. I haven't personally had to do that lately, as my cats have gotten older and have finally stopped chewing on cables.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by ginmqi »

I've been reading that semiconductor prices are going to go up in 2021 due to huge demand out pacing supply. Many foundries are at close to 100% capacity.
A shortage in production capacity compared to demand in semiconductors is expected to increase their prices in 2021. Some companies have already notified their customers of the price hike.

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip maker, recently scrapped its price cut policy (up to 3%) for major customers. This is likely due to overdemand.

This is the same for other foundry companies. GlobalFounderies reportedly is operating its fabs at near 100% capacity. Samsung Electronics is in a similar position.
http://www.thelec.net/news/articleView.html?idxno=2113

Seems like I'll need to wait 1-3 years before I build/upgrade my current desktop. I was hoping to snatch the next gen AMD chip and get a GPU at the MSRP prices when demand cools...but this has delayed my plans more...oh well, more practice for delayed gratification I guess, lol.

Also, FYI, this has across the board, cross-industry effects as well. I am a car enthusiast and I am reading news from the auto industry that car production is also hampered due to a shortage in semiconductor supply and hence car prices will also spike.

Looks like 2021 is the year to practice more frugality and delayed gratification.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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In addition to demand being way above normal, but manufacturers are also being bottlenecked by a substrate shortage:

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-c ... ing-issues

So, yeah, I'm glad I snagged my 5600X when I could instead of continuing to wait until a 5900X becomes available. If/when supply stabilizes, I'll decide if it's worth selling & replacing, but I don't expect it to happen until Q3 at the earliest. The consoles are going to get first priority on TSMC 7 nm through Q1 at least, and once that tapers off, I expect AMD to prioritize their mobile chips ahead of desktop.

You know demand is completely crazy when last-gen components are selling above their MSRPs. Scanning eBay, I saw a used RX 580 sold for $300. That was released in 2017 at an MSRP of $250; I bought mine open-box for $145 (with an additional $20 off bundled) from Micro Center last January.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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Independent George wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:50 pm In addition to demand being way above normal, but manufacturers are also being bottlenecked by a substrate shortage:

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-c ... ing-issues

So, yeah, I'm glad I snagged my 5600X when I could instead of continuing to wait until a 5900X becomes available. If/when supply stabilizes, I'll decide if it's worth selling & replacing, but I don't expect it to happen until Q3 at the earliest. The consoles are going to get first priority on TSMC 7 nm through Q1 at least, and once that tapers off, I expect AMD to prioritize their mobile chips ahead of desktop.

You know demand is completely crazy when last-gen components are selling above their MSRPs. Scanning eBay, I saw a used RX 580 sold for $300. That was released in 2017 at an MSRP of $250; I bought mine open-box for $145 (with an additional $20 off bundled) from Micro Center last January.
Interesting, thanks for that info.

Yeah prices are crazy. And not to mention there are tariffs now in effect for certain products coming from east Asia so GPU prices also higher as I've seen on microcenter. Well, looks like gonna be a while before I upgrade from my current rig (i7 2600k, GTX 660Ti)...I was hoping to snag a Ryzen 7 5000 chip and a RTX 3000 GPU but I'll just wait another year or two at this rate.

Not to mention ALL the other consumer electronics and products that are dependent on semiconductor use....phones, TVs, smart devices, cars, etc. etc.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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ginmqi wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:55 pm Interesting, thanks for that info.

Yeah prices are crazy. And not to mention there are tariffs now in effect for certain products coming from east Asia so GPU prices also higher as I've seen on microcenter. Well, looks like gonna be a while before I upgrade from my current rig (i7 2600k, GTX 660Ti)...I was hoping to snag a Ryzen 7 5000 chip and a RTX 3000 GPU but I'll just wait another year or two at this rate.

Not to mention ALL the other consumer electronics and products that are dependent on semiconductor use....phones, TVs, smart devices, cars, etc. etc.
The Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 have been coming into stock pretty regularly - try keeping this livestream on in the background and jump on it when the alert sounds.

The downside to upgrading from a ten year-old PC is that it turns out, even my paltry RX 580 GPU had been bottlenecked by my i7-920 the entire time; pairing it with a modern CPU has meant that the GPU fans have been spinning up right along with the frame rates. Even non-graphics intensive games like Stellaris or Cities: Skylines are pushing the fans up to 2,000 RPM. I had previously planned to wait until the next gen of GPUs before upgrading, but now I'm reconsidering it. I don't care about frame rates, but the fan noise is starting to drive me crazy. Of course, the complete lack of inventory also makes it a moot point.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by kleiner »

Whats the current wisdom on a good build for playing MS Flight Simulator? Can anyone give me a pointer? Given the shortages worldwide, I probably won't be able to start the build for a few months yet but I'd like to start collecting the easier parts at least.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by tortoise84 »

Games don't utilize multiple threads that well, so the CPU isn't that important. An AMD Ryzen 5 3600, 5600X, Ryzen 7 3700X, or Intel i5-10400, i5-10600K should be fine. You'll want at least 32GB of RAM. Focus on getting the best graphics card you can get. Hopefully something from the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 series, or Radeon RX 6000 series. Flight Simulator is very demanding on the GPU, but the visuals are stunning.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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Well, tonight was a comedy of errors. My m.2 standoffs and custom connectors arrived, and I got to work on finally completing my build.

1. The USB and GPU connectors worked exactly as I hoped they did, and really cleaned up their respective cable arrangements. The 24-pin motherboard connector actually looked worse with the 90-degree interface; I ended up uninstalling that one, but I can live with two out of three.
2. It turns out, I ordered the wrong standoffs; Gigabyte uses a different screw, so the ones that arrived don't fit. I put in an order for the correct ones, but they're out of stock and won't arrive for another two weeks.
3. For all the time I spent getting the cables just right, I ended up installing the heatsink upside-down on the m.2 drive (the manufacturer's logo is on the face of the heatsink, and is plainly visible through the glass panel of my case). Worse, by the time I realized it, the glue on the thermal pads had apparently set, and I couldn't get it off the drive.

On the plus side, the heatsink works great, lowering the controller temp from 70 degrees Celsius down to 50-55, depending on workload. And since I didn't put any RGB in my PC, I can't actually see the upside-down text on it when it's dark. It just annoys me. I assume the glue will eventually weaken over multiple heating/cooling cycles (thus the silicone bands actually used to secure the heatsink, in addition to the adhesive), so maybe I'll be able to reverse it by the time the new standoffs arrive.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by LadyGeek »

I wouldn't mess with it. If you can't see it anyway, why not just use a permanent marker to black-out the logo?
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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LadyGeek wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:55 pm I wouldn't mess with it. If you can't see it anyway, why not just use a permanent marker to black-out the logo?
Because I'm OCD. Duh. If I could be satisfied with a black sharpie, I would also be able to ignore tiny text I have to squint through a dark-tinted case panel to see in the first place.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

So, somewhere in this thread, there is a post by me expressing interest in completing an ITX build with the NZXT H1 case and custom wooden panels. Except it turns out, that case was recalled in December due to, well...

Unsafe Computer Catches Fire: NZXT H1 Case & BLD Serious Problems

Yeah, perhaps wooden panels are not the wisest choice for this case. I mean, the case itself is evidently not the wisest choice, but literally throwing wood on the fire is even worse.

Note: NZXT has released a fix (as noted in the video) and is releasing an updated version of it; I'm very curious to see what additional changes they made besides just the nylon screws.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

So, for those of you waiting patiently for new CPU, GPU, or game console, the semiconductor shortage is now causing factory shutdowns at car manufacturers.
A computer chip shortage has shut down the Louisville, Kentucky, Ford plant this week, the latest shutdown because of an industry-wide problem that is expected to spread to many other auto plants in the coming months.

..."The global semiconductor shortage is presenting challenges and production disruptions -- for the global auto industry, including Ford (F), which could have a significant knock-on effect on jobs and the economy given the importance of auto manufacturing," said Ford (F) in a statement.

...When car sales bounced back sooner than expected, it left the industry struggling with a chip shortage. That was exacerbated by increased demand for laptops during the stay-at-home era -- and the electronic and computer industries snapping up the excess supply of chips, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of research at the Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan think tank.

"It's temporary but it's not going to be short-term," she said. The problems are likely to last throughout the first three months or so of the year. Supplies should hopefully be back to normal in the second quarter.

...The problem is not just affecting US auto plants -- plants in Europe and Asia are also dealing with chip shortages.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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Independent George wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:41 am So, for those of you waiting patiently for new CPU, GPU, or game console, the semiconductor shortage is now causing factory shutdowns at car manufacturers.
A computer chip shortage has shut down the Louisville, Kentucky, Ford plant this week, the latest shutdown because of an industry-wide problem that is expected to spread to many other auto plants in the coming months.

..."The global semiconductor shortage is presenting challenges and production disruptions -- for the global auto industry, including Ford (F), which could have a significant knock-on effect on jobs and the economy given the importance of auto manufacturing," said Ford (F) in a statement.

...When car sales bounced back sooner than expected, it left the industry struggling with a chip shortage. That was exacerbated by increased demand for laptops during the stay-at-home era -- and the electronic and computer industries snapping up the excess supply of chips, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of research at the Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan think tank.

"It's temporary but it's not going to be short-term," she said. The problems are likely to last throughout the first three months or so of the year. Supplies should hopefully be back to normal in the second quarter.

...The problem is not just affecting US auto plants -- plants in Europe and Asia are also dealing with chip shortages.
Dang...better start my Ryzen/Nvidia build sooner rather than later, eh?
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

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queso wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:43 am Dang...better start my Ryzen/Nvidia build sooner rather than later, eh?
You might not have a choice but to wait for later. Ryzen 5 and 7 get restocked fairly regularly (I got the 5600x without that much effort), but the Ryzen 9's or any GPU are pretty much nonexistant (at a reasonable price, anyway). My RX 580 is going to be carrying me for another year.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by queso »

Independent George wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 9:59 am
queso wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:43 am Dang...better start my Ryzen/Nvidia build sooner rather than later, eh?
You might not have a choice but to wait for later. Ryzen 5 and 7 get restocked fairly regularly (I got the 5600x without that much effort), but the Ryzen 9's or any GPU are pretty much nonexistant (at a reasonable price, anyway). My RX 580 is going to be carrying me for another year.
Hmm...so my dreams of a 5950X and 3080 are a fantasy? :(
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

queso wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:02 am Hmm...so my dreams of a 5950X and 3080 are a fantasy? :(
At least until Q2, likely until Q3.

https://wccftech.com/amd-ryzen-cpu-avai ... n-q1-2021/

Supply chains are really constrained right now. It might get better as the vaccines make their way through the population, but I think it's going to be a while before things normalize.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by queso »

Independent George wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:28 pm
queso wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:02 am Hmm...so my dreams of a 5950X and 3080 are a fantasy? :(
At least until Q2, likely until Q3.

https://wccftech.com/amd-ryzen-cpu-avai ... n-q1-2021/

Supply chains are really constrained right now. It might get better as the vaccines make their way through the population, but I think it's going to be a while before things normalize.
I'll report back if I make any headway.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

I'm starting to go down the rabbit hole of custom loop water cooling. I've been watching builds on Youtube and doing research on components, and have got most of it planned out. A year ago, I'd have said that spending $500+ on a custom loop for a $150 RX 580 was ridiculous - and I'd have been right. The difference in 2021, though, is that the RX 580 is now apparently a $450 component, so a custom loop is a lot less ridiculous.

This loop would largely be a practice run until the next gen of cards comes out in 2022ish (with hopefully less demand and fewer supply chain issues). With soft tubing, in theory I'd only have to add a $150 water block to the cost of a new GPU while re-using the rest of the loop. My CPU will remain air-cooled, as that doesn't get nearly as hot or noisy as the GPU. It's a shame we don't have AIO coolers for GPUs, as it's always really made more sense to water cool them rather than CPUs.

Best of all, planning a custom loop gives me a perfect excuse to procrastinate on securing the cables with zipties.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

So, it looks like PC building is rapidly going from something I do every 4ish years to stay current on gaming, to a hobby I do every 1-2 years purely for the fun of building it. If I get good enough at it, maybe it'll become a side hustle where I build a system and then sell it either at cost or for a slight markup, but that's getting a little ahead of myself.

I haven't even started my first custom loop for my ATX tower, and I'm already thinking about small form factor ITX builds - specifically, a dual-radiator custom loop within the Ncase M1 chassis. Honestly, I don't even game that much right now, and the games I do play don't need anywhere near that much horsepower; I just love the idea of fitting a silent, water-cooled powerhouse into that tiny package. At that point, I'd probably go 100% wireless for peripherals, too.

One step at a time, though. I need to actually build a loop first to first determine whether I actually enjoy it as much as I hope, and then figure out if I have the actual skills needed to pull it off in an ITX case.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by LadyGeek »

All I'll say is that my (not so new) build hasn't had a glitch since I replaced the motherboard - fingers crossed. I'm maxing out its resources with open-source computing.

If you want a reason to build a new PC, just dedicate what you have now to a cause. In my case, it's Folding@home. BTW - I'm getting way more points for GPU processing than the CPU.

You can find other worthy causes here: BOINC (Univ. of California, Berkely)
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by lazydavid »

LadyGeek wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:03 pm All I'll say is that my (not so new) build hasn't had a glitch since I replaced the motherboard - fingers crossed.
Mine is much better since the board replacement, but it still goes permanently blank every 4-6 weeks (used to be 3-5 times/day), requiring removal of power and the CMOS battery to correct. Dealing with it for now, but will probably scrap this board and buy a different one at some point.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Mudpuppy »

Independent George wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 11:55 am One step at a time, though. I need to actually build a loop first to first determine whether I actually enjoy it as much as I hope, and then figure out if I have the actual skills needed to pull it off in an ITX case.
There are a lot of resources for an ITX build, so you should be able to find plenty of information. I prefer the mATX form factor, and that's a real challenge because there's just not a lot of motherboards available in that form factor. I don't need all the slots of an ATX board, but I do need at least one more peripheral slot than just the GPU slot.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

Mudpuppy wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:17 pm There are a lot of resources for an ITX build, so you should be able to find plenty of information. I prefer the mATX form factor, and that's a real challenge because there's just not a lot of motherboards available in that form factor. I don't need all the slots of an ATX board, but I do need at least one more peripheral slot than just the GPU slot.
I quite like the mATX form factor, but as you said, there just aren't as many options as full ATX. That applies to cases, too - the best ones are either ATX (in which case you may as well buy an ATX board for the extra slots) or ITX; very few are specifically tailored to mATX.

The problem I'm running into with planning my loop is that it's difficult for me to predict where I'll be able to set up the tubing without physically handling the different radiators, etc. I can take measurements and make educated guesses, but since I don't have any practical experience with it, I can't be sure everything will fit the way I think it will. And since I want to build flexibility for future GPU upgrades, I probably don't know what I don't know.

I just realized that my current GPU is abnormally short (230mm) by modern standards, and new ones can reach up to 330mm. My first planned loop would be fine right now, if I ever upgraded GPUs, I'd have to move the reservoir. This flat pump/reservoir combo fits into the bottom fan mount and should have clearance to the PSU shroud, but I'm not sure if I'll have any issues mounting a 240mm radiator right above it. I wish I could just sit down with a bunch of parts and tinker with it and see what fits where.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by tortoise84 »

I finally got my hands on a Ryzen 5 5600X to upgrade from my Ryzen 7 3700X. It made a noticeable improvement. In Flight Sim 2020 on my Radeon RX 5700 XT at 1440p High detail, frame rates around airports and inside the 787 cockpit improved from 20-25 fps to 30-40 fps, but there was still some slowdowns to ~10 fps on final approach. [Edit]: I put PBO back to the default limits and the slowdowns have mostly gone away.

Exterior view when flying went from ~45 fps to ~50 fps. I'm still hoping to upgrade to a GeForce 3000 series or Radeon 6000 series in the future.

Cinebench R23
3700X 8 core PBO: Multi Core 4.08 GHz 12669, Single Core 4.4 GHz 1291 (AutoOC didn't make any difference)
5600X 6 core PBO: Multi Core 4.55 GHz 11727, Single Core AutoOC 4.85 GHz 1592

So the 5600X is within 8% in multi core despite have 2 fewer cores than the 3700X, and 23% faster in single core.

The 5600X really needs raised PBO limits because the default limits were PPT 76W, EDC 60A, TDC 90A, but I hit PPT 133W, EDC 78A, TDC 131A in Cinebench Multi Core. [Edit]: see above peculiarity in FS2020 when raising PBO limits.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

LadyGeek wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:03 pm All I'll say is that my (not so new) build hasn't had a glitch since I replaced the motherboard - fingers crossed. I'm maxing out its resources with open-source computing.

If you want a reason to build a new PC, just dedicate what you have now to a cause. In my case, it's Folding@home. BTW - I'm getting way more points for GPU processing than the CPU.

You can find other worthy causes here: BOINC (Univ. of California, Berkely)
Where is the points breakdown between CPU and GPU? I don't see it in the interface.

I decided to let FAH run overnight, more to test my Noctua than anything else. I don't have a decibel meter, but with my CPU at 100%, the U12A reached thermal saturation at 61°C and around 1700 RPM. Noise was noticeable, but not loud, and was not the high-pitched whine that my old Dell i7 emitted; I had no trouble sleeping with the fans whirring in the background ten feet away. I fully expect the temperature & fan noise to increase once the weather/ambient temperature gets warmer, but it's not like I'm leaving my computer outside in the Chicago winter. 61°C under full load is pretty impressive regardless.
tortoise84 wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 1:29 pm I finally got my hands on a Ryzen 5 5600X to upgrade from my Ryzen 7 3700X. It made a noticeable improvement. In Flight Sim 2020 on my Radeon RX 5700 XT at 1440p High detail, frame rates around airports and inside the 787 cockpit improved from 20-25 fps to 30-40 fps, but there was still some slowdowns to ~10 fps on final approach. [Edit]: I put PBO back to the default limits and the slowdowns have mostly gone away.

Exterior view when flying went from ~45 fps to ~50 fps. I'm still hoping to upgrade to a GeForce 3000 series or Radeon 6000 series in the future.

Cinebench R23
3700X 8 core PBO: Multi Core 4.08 GHz 12669, Single Core 4.4 GHz 1291 (AutoOC didn't make any difference)
5600X 6 core PBO: Multi Core 4.55 GHz 11727, Single Core AutoOC 4.85 GHz 1592

So the 5600X is within 8% in multi core despite have 2 fewer cores than the 3700X, and 23% faster in single core.

The 5600X really needs raised PBO limits because the default limits were PPT 76W, EDC 60A, TDC 90A, but I hit PPT 133W, EDC 78A, TDC 131A in Cinebench Multi Core. [Edit]: see above peculiarity in FS2020 when raising PBO limits.
Your slowdowns are actually kind of what I'd expect going from 8 cores to 6 faster cores - you're getting higher average FPS due to better single-core performance, but your 1% lows are slower & more noticeable due to having fewer threads to run processes on.

I should pull my old computer out of mothballs so that I could compare its cinebench score - I'm sure it will be impressively awful (i7-920 with 8GB of DDR3 memory). As it is, I have no context for my results:

Single Core: 1,558
Multi Core: 11,087
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by LadyGeek »

Independent George wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 5:50 pm Where is the points breakdown between CPU and GPU? I don't see it in the interface.

I decided to let FAH run overnight, more to test my Noctua than anything else. I don't have a decibel meter, but with my CPU at 100%, the U12A reached thermal saturation at 61°C and around 1700 RPM. Noise was noticeable, but not loud, and was not the high-pitched whine that my old Dell i7 emitted; I had no trouble sleeping with the fans whirring in the background ten feet away. I fully expect the temperature & fan noise to increase once the weather/ambient temperature gets warmer, but it's not like I'm leaving my computer outside in the Chicago winter. 61°C under full load is pretty impressive regardless.
Open the "Advanced" interface which is the dedicated app. Configure --> Slots be sure that you have at least 1 CPU and 1 GPU slot enabled.

Start folding and the status should show a work unit for the CPU and a work unit for the GPU. Clicking on the ID in each slot brings up its Selected Work Unit window. The Estimated Credit entry is the points for the work unit. You'll see that the GPU credit is an order of magnitude higher than the CPU credit.

61 °C is indeed impressive. I'm running at 76 °C.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by tortoise84 »

Independent George wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 5:50 pm Your slowdowns are actually kind of what I'd expect going from 8 cores to 6 faster cores - you're getting higher average FPS due to better single-core performance, but your 1% lows are slower & more noticeable due to having fewer threads to run processes on.
Actually like I said in my edit, I believe the slowdowns were caused by me raising the PBO (Precision Boost Overdrive) limits, because after I put them back to default the slowdowns went away. I've heard about this happening before, and I theorize that it may have something to do with hitting other limits like temperature or voltage that causes the CPU to throttle back and slow down the game. It goes to show that AMD has already tuned the default PBO limits for best performance out of the box and you shouldn't mess with them.

The Ryzen 7 3700X actually had a lot more slowdowns in FS2020 but this is probably due to having 2 x 4 core complexes with the L3 cache split between them, while Zen 3 now has up to 8 cores per die with access to the whole L3 cache. Games are usually lightly threaded so the workload often gets transferred from core to core, but if it jumps to a different CCX there will be additional latency which can cause slowdowns in the game.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

LadyGeek wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:59 pm Open the "Advanced" interface which is the dedicated app. Configure --> Slots be sure that you have at least 1 CPU and 1 GPU slot enabled.

Start folding and the status should show a work unit for the CPU and a work unit for the GPU. Clicking on the ID in each slot brings up its Selected Work Unit window. The Estimated Credit entry is the points for the work unit. You'll see that the GPU credit is an order of magnitude higher than the CPU credit.

61 °C is indeed impressive. I'm running at 76 °C.
Thanks; I was staring right at it, and somehow missed it. It looks like I'm getting way more CPU credits on my projects.

It's interesting that you're getting 76°C with your U-12S; I believe it's the same heatsink as my U-12A, except with a single NF-F12 fan instead of two NF-A12's. Since we've got the same 65W TDP, I wouldn't have expected that much difference in temperature. I'm running FAH on the 'medium' power setting, but it's till taking my CPU up to 100%.
tortoise84 wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:50 pm Actually like I said in my edit, I believe the slowdowns were caused by me raising the PBO (Precision Boost Overdrive) limits, because after I put them back to default the slowdowns went away. I've heard about this happening before, and I theorize that it may have something to do with hitting other limits like temperature or voltage that causes the CPU to throttle back and slow down the game. It goes to show that AMD has already tuned the default PBO limits for best performance out of the box and you shouldn't mess with them.

The Ryzen 7 3700X actually had a lot more slowdowns in FS2020 but this is probably due to having 2 x 4 core complexes with the L3 cache split between them, while Zen 3 now has up to 8 cores per die with access to the whole L3 cache. Games are usually lightly threaded so the workload often gets transferred from core to core, but if it jumps to a different CCX there will be additional latency which can cause slowdowns in the game.
I didn't see your update until after I hit 'submit', but yeah, that makes sense. I'm absolutely loving my 5600x; it's a genuinely absurd upgrade over my previous machine.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by tortoise84 »

Independent George wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:52 pm It's interesting that you're getting 76°C with your U-12S; I believe it's the same heatsink as my U-12A, except with a single NF-F12 fan instead of two NF-A12's. Since we've got the same 65W TDP, I wouldn't have expected that much difference in temperature. I'm running FAH on the 'medium' power setting, but it's till taking my CPU up to 100%.

I didn't see your update until after I hit 'submit', but yeah, that makes sense. I'm absolutely loving my 5600x; it's a genuinely absurd upgrade over my previous machine.
Yeah the 5600X is a great little chip. I was a little bit apprehensive about the $300 price tag and going down to 6 cores but the IPC improvements easily make up for it.

AMD calculates TDP differently from Intel, so I look at Package Power Tracking. The 5600X has a PPT of 76W and 3700X PPT is 88W. I saw similar temps too with my Arctic Freezer 34 cooler: 5600X 62C, 3700X 75C. With PBO limits removed, they would both reach around 82C.

I think you guys should look into getting the Ryzen 9 5900X if you're doing lots of Folding at Home :happy
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by valleyrock »

Long thread, I didn't check but in case not mentioned, for the novice who wants to build a PC, the Linus Builds videos on YouTube are great.

My teenage son built a couple of desktops using these videos and partspicker. We have a Microcenter nearby, so that's a good spot to check out, in person or online. Their tech folks were very helpful when we had trouble with the build...we jtook it in and waited our turn. Once a tech there missed the fact that our mother board was shorting to the case, but we googled the issue and did the troubleshooting and figured it out.

I wasn't sure how to go about building a PC, but a Microcenter sales guy who was experienced put it very succinctly: you start with the power supply, and connect all the wires from that. A few other connections pretty easily found in the instructions for the motherboard, and you're done, except you have to put an OS in there. But now the motherboards boot up even without an OS, with drivers already present for a keyboard, mouse, etc.

Fun stuff, but once he found out how to build a PC, he sold a couple and went back to his gaming laptop. The gaming s a scourge, but I suppose I'd be doing it too. After all, I mispent a lot of time as a youth watching TV, and sometimes in pool halls.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

Man, I started this thread back in September 2020... looking back at page 1, there was so much optimism that we'd actually be able to buy hardware!
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Mudpuppy »

Independent George wrote: Sun Feb 07, 2021 11:14 pm Man, I started this thread back in September 2020... looking back at page 1, there was so much optimism that we'd actually be able to buy hardware!
Global logistics are still struggling to keep up with the many effects of the pandemic. The chip shortage is affecting many different sectors too. I recall reading that vehicle production lines have had to slow down or shut down production because they can't get enough control chips. And we're not even talking infotainment systems. They're having difficulty getting enough chips for fundamental control of basic vehicular functions. Here's hoping my car doesn't glitch out on me any time soon.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Mudpuppy »

Well, one advantage of being a techie presented itself tonight. My flatscreen TV decided that it just wants to be a radio, with only sounds and no video, not even its built-in menu. However, the panel still appears to work, because it is still briefly flashing its logo when it powers on. So for tonight, since I need to sleep soon, I have it unplugged and I'm using a spare HDMI monitor for a tiny TV. Tomorrow after work I'll break out the techie screwdriver kit and see if this is a bad board or just a loose connection.

If it's a bad board, which I suspect it is since it's showing the logo briefly, I might have to live with the HDMI monitor as a tiny TV for a while, because I'm sure the parts shortage is affecting TV boards just as much as everything else. Or I suppose I can spring for a new TV, although I hate the waste of throwing something away when all it needs is a part.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by Independent George »

I had lots of boring conference calls today, so I opened up Ryzen Master to to try my hand at undervolting my CPU. That's when I noticed a little button at the top labeled 'Eco Mode'. A few google searches later, and I learned it dramatically reduces power & thermals at the cost of reducing multicore performance by around 10%. I decided to give this a try:

Cinebench R23 - 3-trial average:
Single: 1,524 (default) vs 1,536 (Eco)
Multi: 10,998 (default) vs 9898 (Eco)

That's almost exactly a 10% drop in multicore performance, and statistically even for single core. I assume Eco mode reduces the total power draw limits; one core is still able to boost higher, but they can no longer all boost to the max simultaneously. With that in mind, I loaded up Folding at Home to see how things did in terms of noise/thermals.

Folding At Home - 1 hour each at Medium folding power, 30 minute cooldown in between:
Temperature: 64°C (default) vs 54°C (Eco)
Fans: 1,850 RPM (default) vs 1,400 (Eco)
Noise: I don't have a decibel meter, but the Noctua U-12A is noticeably quieter in eco mode. It's audible at the desk, but not distracting. It's certainly quieter than my laptop under load (and at a lower pitch, too).

Reviewing the HWInfo logs, it looks like the CPU has 5c/10t at 90-100% utilization, and 1c/2t at 30-50% utilization under eco mode, compared to all twelve threads at 90-100% under default. My temps at default settings are 3°C warmer than I got in my previous trial. I assume that's due to warmer ambient temperatures (it's 73°C inside today; I didn't record temperature on my previous run, but that was at night and cool enough inside to merit a sweater).

I probably could spend a few hours tinkering with manual undervolting to see if there's a setting I like in between, but I really don't see the point. I'm just going to leave it locked on Eco mode from now on. It's quiet enough that I can leave the desktop folding in the background while I work at my laptop.
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by LadyGeek »

Independent George wrote: Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:52 pm It's interesting that you're getting 76°C with your U-12S; I believe it's the same heatsink as my U-12A, except with a single NF-F12 fan instead of two NF-A12's. Since we've got the same 65W TDP, I wouldn't have expected that much difference in temperature. I'm running FAH on the 'medium' power setting, but it's till taking my CPU up to 100%.
Independent George wrote: Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:55 pm Reviewing the HWInfo logs, it looks like the CPU has 5c/10t at 90-100% utilization, and 1c/2t at 30-50% utilization under eco mode, compared to all twelve threads at 90-100% under default. My temps at default settings are 3°C warmer than I got in my previous trial. I assume that's due to warmer ambient temperatures (it's 73°C inside today; I didn't record temperature on my previous run, but that was at night and cool enough inside to merit a sweater).
I don't understand the temperature difference, either. I'm hoping that my CPU thermal paste is applied correctly - it was reapplied when I replaced the motherboard.

I'm also running the GPU full-load, which is sitting under the CPU heat sink / single Noctua fan assembly. It's got good separation, but I'm wondering if some of the air flow is going through the CPU heat sink and causing the raised temperature. I'd doubt it, but I wanted to mention it. When Folding@home is stopped, the CPU temperature drops to 38 °C, the GPU to 33 °C.

Have you compared the impact of your Eco mode on the Folding@home performance? Your metric could be credited points / day.

Detail - I think you meant that it's "73°F inside today;" instead of "73°C inside today;".
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Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Post by LadyGeek »

I just discovered a mouse failure mode that I've never seen before.

For the past several months, my Logitech MX510 wired mouse had been "glitchy" - it would intermittently stop and restart at random locations for no good reason. Every time I tried to select an area of the screen (to take a screen shot, for example), I was unable to do so because the "glitch" interrupted the selection region and I got the wrong capture.

Finally, I turned the mouse upside down. This is an optical mouse which cuts off the laser for safety reasons when someone attempts to turn it upside down. I pulled on the USB cable at the entrance and the laser turned on intermittently.

I took the mouse apart and discovered that the USB cable was broken right where it makes a 90 deg bend inside the case. :shock: Not the connector, but the cable itself had a broken wire that intermittently lost the connection when it was flexed. I didn't take apart the cable to see exactly where the break was located, but that's what was happening.

It's worth it to spend the money and get something that fits comfortably in your hand. The Microsoft Intellimouse is my weapon of choice. It's been around a very long time for a reason. Recent reviews give it favorable reviews. This will be my 3rd Intellimouse and will replace the Logitech. I currently have two very old Intellimice and they're working just fine.

Newegg has the best price. Microsoft Classic Intellimouse
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