9 Replies Latest reply on Dec 17, 2015 12:10 PM by tonylives

    A Build that Has Served Me Well

    tonylives Level 1

      Over a year ago I came to this forum looking for help on a PC build, like many others, and I got it.  Just wanted to share the build that has worked out for me for over a year with anyone out there that may be looking to build for themselves.  A big thanks to Harm Millaard for his help with this process.


      It has performed well and has been very stable.  I do not overclock.  There are some short comings as well.  Below is the parts list and a couple of images.  Overall, I love my PC!  Shortcomings included, from the very beginning - issues with the usage of the USB3.0 ports.  USB3.0 had connection issues for awhile where my external drives would not connect or remain connected.  I believe this issue was caused by drivers and inattention by ASUS in updating the drivers/bios.  Since then the issues have been fixed.  I've updated the drivers numerous times as well as the bios.  I hated ASUS for these needless issues in the beginning and cursed them for sure.


      Another potential issue with my build are the dual raid0 drives, they are lightning fast, but as everyone knows if you are going to use raid0 you need to backup as you work.  I use 2x 3TB USB 3.0 external drives for backup, so I don't mind this -- I just want the speed, but it may be for someone else. 


      What I'd like to do as prices keep coming down is replace my OS drive with a 500GB SSD, and also replace the 4x RAID0 drives with either 2x SSD in normal config OR 4X SSDs in RAID0.   I'd have to do some research, because I suspect with their speed - it may not be necessary to use SSD drives in RAID0.  It will also make the difference between buying 2x or 4x drives...


      Another upgrade I'm planning that I wish I just made up front is replacing the CPU with the i7 3930, as was suggested to me in the beginning.  The windows experience rates everything at a 7.9 except for the processor at 7.7, not sure how much weight that holds - but it makes sense that it's the slowest link in the chain.


      The only other issue I've had, more so in the past and much less often after my recent BIOS update is that this PC will sometimes not want to come out of standby.  It used to happen fairly regularly, but as I said, it is rarer now.  I blame ASUS for this as well and I've read several others having this issue.  I've applied all the recommended fixes and found that many just shut down instead of using standby.


      Overall, I love the machine.  Can hardly stand to work on a slower PC and now that I'm used to the speed I just want it to be faster.  Bad, and expensive habit...  Here are the details:


      PC Build Parts List:

      Motherboard: ASUS P9X79 PRO LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with USB BIOS

      CPU:  Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 2011 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73820

      Video Card: MSI N660 Ti PE 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

      OS: Windows 7

      RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL10Q-32GBZL

      RAID Drives: 4x Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

      OS Drive: SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD250BW 2.5" 250GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

      Drive Config: 1=Operating system, 2x1TB=RAID0, 2x1TB=RAID0  (Backup will be to dual 3TB External Drives)

      Power Supply: CORSAIR HX Series HX850 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

      Burner: ASUS Black 14X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 12X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner BW-14D1XT

      Case Speaker: APEVIA Model CVTCSPK 2" Case speaker

      CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler

      Case:   Fractal Design Define XL Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 ATX Full Tower Silent PC Computer Case

      Card Reader: Kingston's USB 3.0 Media Reader Computer Memory FCR-HS3

      USB 3.0 BackUp/Export Drives:  Seagate Expansion 3TB USB 3.0 Black Desktop Hard Drive STBV3000100

      Extra Case Fan:  Rosewill ROCF-11003 Hyperborea 140mm Case Fan


      Drives are being used as follows:

      SSD- C:\ - OS

      2 x 1TG in RAID 0 as E:\ for Media, Projects

      2 x 1TB in RAID 0 as F:\ for Export, Previews, Media Cache

      2 x 3TB USB3.0 External for Backup and Storage




        • 1. Re: A Build that Has Served Me Well
          cc_merchant Level 4

          Thanks for posting this build. Nice case, good cable management, room to grow.





          • 2. Re: A Build that Has Served Me Well
            tonylives Level 1

            I love this case.  I really didn't want a gamer case that sounded like an airboat.  This one is very very quiet, and things stay cool due to the fan setup and the amount of airspace inside.  I could even add a side fan, as there is a spot for one.  It is huge, and I made a custom dolly for it so it rolls easy.


            As for the airflow up front, if you look at the second photo up from here, you'll see slots in the side of the front portion of the case.  Air is designed to be sucked in through those slots when the front door is closed.  Nice engineering.  So large that the main power supply almost doesn't reach though.

            • 3. Re: A Build that Has Served Me Well
              JEShort01 Level 4



              Surely your photos and build list will help someone out here!


              You clearly did your homework and did a nice job building a solid, balanced system a year ago.


              Regarding the USB 3.0 frustration you had, I did too and the issues were across seemingly all hardware vendors so I would not hold your grudge against Asus for this alone.


              Regarding wanting more speed, (you stated, "Overall, I love the machine.  Can hardly stand to work on a slower PC and now that I'm used to the speed I just want it to be faster.") what kind of speed? You need to be more specific, and your urge to gain more speed with SSDs here and there would very likely be wasted time and money.


              More specifically:

              - if your output renders to DVD format are slow, a much more powerful video card would help a lot and would be a very simple upgrade

              - if your output renders to blu-ray are slow, you would gain more speed with a 6-core; this sounds like a lot of expense and hassle to me though and you would probably be better served to wait a year and get a much more capable cpu with lots of cores (8 or more?) at that time

              - if your timeline is sluggish due to high-res media (task manager is showing max. cpu consistant with dropped frames), then your thought to upgrade to a 6-core right away could make sense; in my way of thinking, sluggish speed on the timeline is way more damaging than having to wait for render outputs (a step that can be kicked off and left to complete without you waiting around)

              - since you do not mention After Effects, I don't think additional SSDs would help you much at all. While SSDs report warp-speed performance, sustained write-speed of large files is often not much better, and sometimes worse, vs. 7200 rpm drives.


              If I had some money to upgrade your system I would put it towards a hardware RAID controller card and some more 7200 rpm drives. A RAID 5 (or 6, or 3) array would definitely give you increased peace of mind for data loss and the large cache size (i.e. Areca 512MB, 1, 2 or 4 GB cache) is nice for performance reasons. And like good monitors, good controller cards can be moved from one system to your next PC upgrade since the technology does not grow so fast (like cpu, gpu, and SSD performance is today).


              Regarding lots of bad press for WD Black drives with RAID controllers (TLER issues, etc.), this is not a problem at all with Areca's latest cards and firmware. So yes, you could keep your 4 drives and try to find some more that match exactly for a large RAID array.





              • 4. Re: A Build that Has Served Me Well
                tonylives Level 1

                Thanks Jim!  As far as speed, where I want more of it is say in exporting large batches of RAW photos to JPEG out of Adobe Lightroom, rendering during editing in Adobe Premiere, exports from Adobe Premiere, and the same for AE renders/exports.  I thought SSD's would make that quicker, and avoided adding a RAID controller early on just due to expense.   So maybe the RAIDS and a new processer will be the answer at a later date.

                • 5. Re: A Build that Has Served Me Well
                  Nicol Simard Level 1

                  RAID cards make a huge difference but before I'd upgrade the CPU, I would change the video card if I were you. It will make a bigger difference in your overall speed.

                  • 6. Re: A Build that Has Served Me Well
                    Dirttracker86 Level 1

                    Nice build Tony,

                         If you don't mind me asking, what port did you plug each drive into ? example : os to sata 6gb, raid0 to marvell 6gb, raid0 to sata 3gb, on and on .......,




                    • 7. Re: A Build that Has Served Me Well
                      tonylives Level 1

                      Nope wouldn't have posted this if I minded.  Was hoping to give back to say thanks for the help I got initially.  This is how I have it set up:


                      SATA PORT USAGE

                      SATA6G INTEL - 1: empty -- 2: Operating System SSD

                      SATA3G INTEL - 3: empty -- 4: BLURAY drive

                      SATA3G INTEL - 5 & 6: RAID0 - 2x 1TB WD

                      SATA6G MARVELL - 1 & 2: RAID0 - 2x 1TB WD


                      I took notes because this was my 2nd pc build ever, the first being a tiny $500 office computer.  So I wanted to remember what I did.

                      • 8. Re: A Build that Has Served Me Well
                        Dirttracker86 Level 1

                        Thanks Tony, Very, Very helpful

                        • 9. Re: A Build that Has Served Me Well
                          tonylives Level 1

                          For anyone following this build, I just upgraded it with these items:


                          Asus STRIX GTX970

                          Intel i7 4930

                          Noctua ND-14 Cooler

                          Samsung 850 PRO for the OS

                          Samsung 950 PRO to replace my 4 raid drives

                          Addonics M.2 to PCIe Adapter


                          The look of a case with only a Blu-ray optical drive: