New AMD Build:


floppybootstomp

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I decided to upgrade my AMD machine which is in my bedroom, used primarily for audio and video editing, trying different OS’s and Linux Distros and some gaming.

In my living room my main machine is based around an Intel i7 processor and the media machine has at it’s heart an i3 CPU. So I figured I’d maintain the AMD ‘tradition’ for my third main machine.

The reason for the upgrade was the 5.5 year old AMD build was going a bit flaky, it had shown many anomalies including one USB bus not working and it’s refusal to load several different Linux distros. There were other faults as well, it was over five years old so the Asus M2N-Sli Deluxe board had to go. The AM2 dual core AMD 3.2Ghz will find it’s way into a spare motherboard I have, currently unused.

Didn’t want to go overboard for the new build so chose a mid-priced system made up of these parts:

Asus M5A99X Evo Motherboard

AMD FX-4 4100 Black Edition 4 Core 3.6Ghz Socket AM3+ CPU

Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600MHz XMS3 Memory

And because I am using one of these in my media machine and was quite impressed with it’s quality for a ‘budget’ sound card I also ordered one of these:

Asus Xonar DG 5.1 Surround SoundCard

So here’s the parts as they arrived:

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Here’s the motherboard showing what you get in the box: Board; Manual; CD; 4 SATA 3 cables; sli/crossfire link cable; rear case panel; a couple of loose cable board connectors for ease of connection


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A couple more views of the motherboard:

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Here’s the old setup before components removal:

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I had wondered whether my Noctua cooler and fans setup I used on the old AM2 socket machine would work with this AM3+ CPU/board combo, here’s the old mounting brackets on the M2N-Sli Deluxe board:

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And here are the old Noctua cooling brackets fitted to the new motherboard, looks like it’s going to fit:


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And it did fit, here is the Noctua cooler mounted on the new board:

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On the old motherboard one of the Noctua cooling fans overhung one of the RAM slots meaning I could only use one matched pair of memory modules but on this new board there is just enough room to use all four memory slots. I’d have to remove the fan temporarily to fit the memory module underneath but it will fit – result:

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Motherboard fitted into case:

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All leads connected, not too worried about tidiness or neatness, as long as it works as this case has a solid side panel, no window:

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The finished tower in it’s home:

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And finally this shows one of the hard disk caddies out of it’s frame. I have five of these with assorted sized hard disks. The swappable hard disks are configured as the primary drive and this makes it very easy to try different OS’s and Linux Distros:

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So how is it?

First impressions are all those annoying glitches have gone, certain slow loading apps now load super fast; the machine as a whole is whole shedload faster than the board/CPU combo it replaced; it is not as fast as my i7 setup but certainly on a par with my i3 setup. This is not surprising as this system and the i3 system cost about the same. And all four front of case USB 2 ports now work.

All in all, very pleased with my new build.

It has a BFG Nvidia 512Mb GTX 9800 graphics card but I haven’t tried any games yet. I backed up my huge (around 730Gb) Steam games folder to external hard disk and then to the new build internal storage disk and then installed Steam. Every single game transferred just fine, no need for downloads to update, I was very pleased with that.

So Far I have Win 7 Ultimate 64 Bit and Win XP installed, haven’t quite finished loading everything on both. One interesting thing – My version ofLinux Mint 13 64 Bit KDE just worked straight off, the version that was used with old setup, slotted the hard disk caddy in, booted – all systems go, as they say, including the Asus Xonar sound card. Good stuff.

The sound card has a digital optical output as well as analogue and I intend to add a DAC to the system very soon. I have got the case and all associated parts and am going to order another one of These DAC boards & TX to put in it.

All cooling consists of The Noctua heatsink with a pair of 120mm fans and one rear of case Noctua 120mm fan. It runs quiet, the graphics card fan makes more noise than all 3 Noctua fans together and the CPU temp is a steady 30C, rising to 35C under heavy load.

I promised pix, so here we are, in my view a very capable mid-priced upgrade. Total parts bill including next day postage was £235.00

There were a couple of things worth mentioning, my video capture device is an external device known as a 'Dazzle' and it won't work with 64 bit systems so I'm stuck with using it with XP, and the Hauppage TV tuner card fitted into a PCI slot and as the board had only one PCI slot which had been taken up by the sound card, the TV tuner became redundant. I could have used a PCI-Express sound card I suppose but I wanted a PCI card so it was interchangeable between systems.

I bought a cheapo TV Tuner USB stick from Ebay that came with software for £13 and it works perfectly, picked up and loaded 74 channels (of which around one third were radio stations) and it even had a little remote control so that was good.
 
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:D Great stuff Flops great pictures, like the CPU cooling fan, how much RAM are using?
 

crazylegs

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Oooh very nice Mr Flopp's..:D

Everything in its place and a place for everything..:nod:
 

muckshifter

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nice!

Interesting that you didn't use the designated fan headers for the CPU fans, or did I miss something?

You didn't get caught out with the NO IDE headers as I did.

:cool:




ps, you need a new camera.
 
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floppybootstomp

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The motherboard used in this build has gone faulty on me, the LAN port doesn’t work any more. It had been going on the blink for a few weeks, I had to keep taking the Ethernet cable in and out of the socket to make the port light come on and the connection work but last night it packed up altogether.

Purchased with most other build items from Ebuyer in January of this year, here’s what’s happened so far:

09:20 Friday 15th March: I apply for an rma at Ebuyer’s website and receive this message in return:

Dear Spiggy Topes,

Thank you for completing our on line return form.

The Order Numbers and Order References relating to this RMA are:
*********

Your RMA request number is *******

To process your request to the next stage please contact our technical support team on 03303 339 390 who will be able to review your request fully.

Our opening times are 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday. Please be aware that we experience a high volume of calls between 9am - 12pm throughout the week.


Kind regards
Ebuyer Technical Support Team

So I called them around 09:45, chew the fat with somebody at E-Buyer and they tell me they will send rma instructions by email.

10:00 I receive this email:

Dear Customer

Before we can accept your board back we need you to send us pictures of the motherboard. We need a clear picture of the CPU socket taken directly from above so we can verify the alignment of the pins. If your camera has a macro mode then we suggest using this for a clearer picture on a close up shot. We also need a clear picture of the whole board and one image of the serial number sticker on the board. Please email these pictures to (e-mail address removed) and put your RMA number in the subject of the email so we know who they belong to. Once we have verified the pictures we will send you all the information you need to return the item to us for inspection. To avoid any delays please try and make the pictures as clear as possible.

Please note we may cancel your request until we have received the pictures. Once we have received them we will get back to you accordingly.

Kind Regards

Ebuyer Technical Support

Two things occur to me here:

1) What if I don’t have a camera?
2) It’s an AMD board so the processor base has sockets, not pins.

I took the pics, cropped and reduced them in size and sent them by email to Ebuyer around 11:00.

It is now 13:20 and I haven’t heard from them yet.

The motherboard is out the case, all items that came with it have been located and the whole shebang has been packed, wrapped nicely in brown paper and is waiting to go.

Is this an AMD/Intel thing? An Asus thing? Just one of those things and bad luck thing?

Incidentally, the Ethernet cable I use for this machine is quite long, runs from living room to bedroom so the first thing I done was crimp a new plug on, then tried a long loose Ethernet cable as a substitute, just to be on the safe side and prove the fault was with the motherboard.
 

floppybootstomp

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And at 13:35 received this:

Dear Customer,

Your RMA will be accepted, provided all information supplied by you is correct. This will be confirmed to you via email once complete.

Unfortunately we cannot answer queries via the rma.approvals email address, if you do have any further queries, please contact our Customer Support Team via our online enote system or via telephone on 0871 521 3300, lines are open Monday to Friday 9am-6pm (excluding bank holidays).

If you wish to place an order please visit our website www.ebuyer.com or call our Quick Order Hotline on 0871 222 1111 lines are open Monday to Friday 9am-6pm (excluding bank holidays).


Kind regards,

Ebuyer Returns Team


So do I send it back now? Or await further instructions?

I've sent them one of their 'e-notes' asking just that. I refuse to use 08 numbers unless it's a matter of life and death, and even then I'll think about it first (and yes, I know about 'Say no to 080').
 

floppybootstomp

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They came back around 14:10 and confirmed the rma and have arranged to collect the parcel on Monday 18th. But they finished with this:

Your RMA collection request has been completed. Collection details can be found below, please check they match your request.

RMA No: ********
Consignment No : ************
Date/Time :Monday 18th Mar between 8am and 8pm

(Please Note: Business collections should be attempted within office hours)

If when our courier attempts to collect the parcel no one is available or the parcel is not ready, they are within their rights to leave. In this instance, we are able to rearrange another collection but this will be at a £10 cost to you. Please contact out Customer Support Team on 0871 521 3300, or alternatively return your item to Ebuyer at your own cost.

Be sure not to write directly onto the packaging but clearly label any reference number on the packaging. If an item is found not to be faulty when tested by Ebuyer staff, a collection fee will be charged to your debit/credit card.

Kind regards,

Ebuyer Customer Support

I notice winds of change here, Ebuyer used to be very good on rma's, now it seems they're heading the way of most of those creeps out there.

So basically I have to stay at home 12 hours because a product they sold me has gone faulty. Lovely. And I'm still wondering what the procedure would have been had I not had a camera.

Still, at least I don't have to pay for the return, gotta try and look on the bright side :)
 
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crazylegs

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And you wonder why I don't do builds anymore..:rolleyes:

Online etailers are now becoming a joke because they now have no competition, they have killed it all!
 
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floppybootstomp

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I have just had a suggestion from a member at another computer forum I frequent.

He said onboard LAN devices are notorious for failing (though must admit it's never happened to me thus far) and he always fits a seperate NIC card with each new build.

Brilliant, for about nine quid I can get a card and not have to put up with Ebuyer more or less accusing me of being a liar (they say if there is no fault found with the board then I will be hung from the neck over London Bridge until I am dead....er, no, they say I will have to pay, and pay again).

So, the single PCI slot is already taken up with sound card but I do have 2 PCI-e slots free and a PCI-e NIC card on Amazon costs nine quid. Which to my mind is a better option than doing without board for at least two weeks and having to put up with Ebuyer's draconian rules and regs for a faulty product they sold me.

I do actually have 2 old PCI NIC cards and one wireless NIC card so will try something tomorrow. Will also head for PC World to see if they stock PCI-e NIC card for a decent price.

Which means if I cancel rma, then Ebuyer's courier may not get my instruction in time to cancel collection visit. Oh dear.
 

muckshifter

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well, just for information, a failing Ethernet port is not uncommon, my sister had the same happen ... took me weeks to get BT to fix their connection to her house. :lol: ;)

I often wondered why we had two, different chipped, Ethernet ports on some better MBs, guess they know to. :)
 

floppybootstomp

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Aye, 2 LAN ports, my posh Asus Intel board has 2 ports but this Asus AMD board was a mid-priced model, cost about £75, so maybe that's why. Oddly enough I've never had a LAN port fail on me before, oh well.

PC World didn't have the card I wanted, not stocked at all, but Maplins did, so I got on the train to Charlton and purchased one. It cost a tenner.

PC now reassembled, used up some more Arctic Silver but did give everything a good clean whilst it was in pieces. Card fitted, back online again. This is the PC that has swappable hard drives so I tried my Win XP install first, it needed the driver to be up and working but no probs, all went well.

I was lucky in a way as although there are 2 PCI-e slots, my huge GTX9800 video card covered one of them. Phew.

Now to contact Ebuyer and tell them to cancel the Monday collection. And also write them a letter telling them their services are no longer required ;)
 
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Glad all ok now Tony.:thumb:
Pity as i was looking forward to a public lynching at London Bridge.:lol:
And a good heads up on Ebuyer, another company to tick off the list!
 

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