Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Opinion: Fury X

So the Fury X just launched and benchmarks are up. I think that there is something very wrong with the card. Mostly because it has 45% more SPs and TMUs but is on 24% faster than the 390X at 4K and only15% at 1080p so there is something very wrong with the Fury X. It might be that the drivers for it right now suck however I think it has more to do with the fact that the Fury X has only 64 ROPs. That's the same amount of ROPs that the 390X has. This is not my final judgement on the card. I do not know that the ROP count is the problem. I suspect it but until the next set of drivers comes out I just don't know for sure. If the next set of drivers come out and provide a significant boost to the Fury X performance then it's a driver problem and the Fury X is a good buy however if the drivers do not deliver then it's a ROP deficiency and the card at it's current price is a no go.

Also everyone should remeber that the Fury Nano is supposed to be faster than the 390X the only way it will do that without being right next to the Fury X performance wise is if the ROP count is a non issue and AMD's drivers aren't fully taking advantage of the 4096 SPs that the Fury X has and the Fury Nano won't have.

Thank you to CoolerMaster for powering this blog with a V1000 PSU and for helping me achieve this.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stress Bounce 0.3 Alpha now up

I've finished the latest version of Stress Bounce. The text output now actually gives updates about the state of the stress test. I've also tried to make the algorithm a little heavier. It now test all logic operations I know about however it still runs about 2C cooler than Cinebench R15.

You can download it on the Stress Bounce page.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The CoolerMaster Seidon 120V version 2 on an R9 290X

If you read this blog regularly then you know that CoolerMaster recently sent be a bunch of stuff to use in my articles.
They sent me a V1000 series power supply which saved me a couple days ago when my Antec HCP died. Originally the PSU was supposed to go into my Haswell system which be used for RAM and GPU reviews. However now it literally powers this entire blog.
They sent me 6 case fans to review. These are 4 Silencio fans and 2 Jetflow fans.
They sent me a Seidon 120V version 2.

I have 2 Seidon 120Vs version 1. They are fine coolers they sit on my GTX 590 and work just fine. However the 2400RPM Thrustmaster fans on them are really really loud. The version 2 uses a high RPM version of the Silencio fan and is so very quiet. However that's not why I'm writing this post. That would be boring.
No today I'm writing because of this:

It is the most versatile and easiest to mount AIO out there as far as I'm concerned. It has an incredibly simple mounting system for both intel and AMD CPUs and the intel pump bracket also makes it incredibly simple to ziptie onto GPUs. More importantly it's also pretty good at cooling. For example it kept my R9 290X at 60C°(30C­° less than the stock Windforce cooler) even though I was running at +200mv and which is 1.4V core and 1190mhz. At that point the card uses way more than 400W. Right now as I write this article I still have the Seidon attached to my 290X. The only down side to doing this is that the VRAM on my R9 290X gets really hot and so the card crashes shortly after starting Unigine because I ran out of VRAM heatsinks to use and the VRAM overheats.

This is just a prototype of the mod once I get some better thermal pads and VRAM heatsinks I will finalize the design to the point where I can run 1200mhz core all day every day. I will also put out a video guide on how to do the mod.

Thank you to CoolerMaster for powering this blog .

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

R9 Fury X PCB analysis

Here's a pic of the R9 Fury X that /u/TaintedSquirrel posted to reddit 
The card has a total of 11 phases and sports 2 voltage controllers. One of them is most likely to be the IR 3567B that was on the R9 290X. Here it seems to be in a 6+1 configuration with 1 phase feeding the HBM and the 6 phases feeding the core. I have no idea what the other one is.
The card uses 0 polymer/electrolytic capacitors and only uses Tantalum caps due to space constraints however they will also increase the reliability and life span of the card. All the caps in the picture are input capacitors and smooth the incoming 12V the output caps are most likely all located on the back of the PCB of which there are no photos until the 24th of July.
The MOSFETs in use seem to be the same 70A beast that the 290X has so assuming you have good cooling on the VRM power and current limits are not going to be an issue because this VRM should be 420A capable.
As for cooling mods the core might not be compatible with most coolers due to the HBM stacks and may need an adapter. However if the HBM stacks are level with the core then strapping a CLC to this card should not be a problem. The bad news is that anyone using a universal water block will need a mounting adapter of some kind because the cooler mounting holes around the core are much further apart than on any past GPUs. Considering that the card comes stock with water cooling this isn't much of an issue in my opinion.

Thank you to Coolermaster for providing the V1000 that now powers this blog.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Something quickly: Stick a fan on it

One of the best ways to improve the overclocking capabilities of an AMD motherboard is to take the 70mm fan that came with your CPU. Unscrew the 4 screws attaching it to the heatsink and then attaching the fan over your VRM somehow(zipties). This may not sound like it will do much however forced airflow over a VRM heatsink can massively drop VRM temps which will eliminate throttling and will also significantly extend the life span of you motherboard. I recommend to run the fan above 3000 RPM to get a significant improvement. I recommend you also remove the IO plate to allow the air that the hot air from the VRM to get out of the case.
This also helps on Intel X79 boards and X99(not as much) boards. The LGA 1150 boards don't need to push all that much power so it's not really worth doing on those.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Asrock 970M Pro3 Review

A truly pure black motherboard, that is a rarity in and of itself.


- Richtek RT8871A 4+1 phase controller
- 4 true phases
- Unlabeled MOSFETs, probably rated for 30A.
- Unlabeled inductors
- Miniscule heatsink
- Unkown minimum to 500KHz max
- 1 true phase
- Same MOSFETs as CPU core - Has a heatsink
- Unknown minimum to 500KHz
- 2 true phases
- Same MOSFETs as CPU core - No heatsink
- Unknown minimum to unknown maximum KHz

Verdict: 6/10
This board doesn’t officially support the 9000 series of FX CPUs. The fact that none of the components making up the VRM phases are from name brands is concerning. However, the BIOS does limit you to only using safe voltages from which I calculated that the VRM is most likely built for 120A on the core and 30A on the NB. Honestly this board annoys me because building a small high current VRM is not hard. The only obstacle is the expense, and considering how many AM3+ boards cost more than this one I don't think that putting a 160A, 200A, or 240A VRM on this board would make it less desirable. However cheap the VRM may be, it holds voltage very well. The board doesn't support LLC, but at any core voltage while running IBT, I wasn’t getting more than 15mv of VDroop. This is better than what any other board I've used has ever managed.

- Max VCC: 1.55V
- Max VNB: 1.75V
- Max VDDR: 2.05V
- NB clock from 400 to 6300
- Full active core control (you can run 1 core per CU)
- XMP Support
- Missing sub timings
- No support for asymmetrical timings

Verdict: 5/10
Why Asrock why? Why do I have to scroll through a mile long voltage table to set a voltage when I have a perfectly functional keyboard. The voltage limits are low, as expected, but I’m not taking points for this. This is because higher voltages would most likely kill the VRM. The board also lacks LLC settings. This is not a bad thing because there is only a very slight VDroop of 15mv on all the VRMs. However the NB voltage is a mess, similarly to the A85X Extreme 6. The board defaults the NB voltage to 1.4V for whatever reason. This is way too high when stock NB voltage is 1.15V and AMD recommends not going over 1.35V on 32nm CPUs.

Testing Results:
The following hardware ran stable, using Intel Burn Test (IBT) for stress testing.
- RipjawsX 2x2GB 1600 7-8-7-24 1.6V/max clock: 1866mhz 8-9-8-25-1T 1.75V
- Max CPU clock 1.55V 4core: 4770mhz
CPU-Z validation stable.
-Max CPU clock 1.55V 8 core: 4500mhz
-Max FSB clock: 230mhz

Verdict: 5/10
The error recovery ability of this board is superb. It handles failed RAM settings with the utmost ease, and I only had to wipe the BIOS once throughout my testing. Unfortunately this board is awful at RAM overclocking. The kit of RAM I used on it today was my best RAM kit that usually sits inside my FX 6350 system, which runs at 2133 9-12-9-28-1T on 1.7V. Now I don't think this a problem with the board's capabilities. However, due to the missing settings you can't do anything when going outside of the XMP spec of your RAM. I'm pretty sure that a kit with a 2400mhz XMP profile would run 2400mhz without problems, but don’t expect to overclock RAM 200mhz above it’s advertised spec, The FSB was similarly painful. On my Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 and the ASUS A88X-PRO, I overclocked by turning down all the multipliers, then tried to boot with a higher FSB in increments of 10mhz. The 970m Pro3 however, refuses to work above 230mhz, no matter what I do.

Conclusion: 16/30 Points, 0.246pts/$
This board is the best MATX AM3+ board you can buy. Physically, this board is solid for basic overclocking. Except for some easily fixable BIOS quirks, I see no reason why you would pick any other board when building an MATX AM3+ system. The VRM can handle up to 120A, so it won't handle the FX 9000 series. This board will however, handle ALL FX CPUs overclocked up to 4.75Ghz on 1.525V. This means that if cooling on the VRM is sufficient, you can overclock on this board above 1.45v. Otherwise, you will need to stay under 1.45v or it will overheat and thermal throttle or even burn out. This board is very poor for RAM and FSB overclocking, so it's no good for benchmarking. Regardless, this board meets the needs of a daily gaming PC based on FX CPUs.

If you want to support what I do here please hammer the various share buttons down below.

CoolerMaster have saved my PC and this blog

These last few days I've been experiencing various BSODs and suffering instability. I thought that it was just my RIVE acting up like it has a tendency to do. However in the last 4 hours I've had ASUS anti surge trip on me 3 times. There was nothing for it my Antec HCP 1200 was probably failing. This is where CoolerMaster comes in. I wanted to build a Haswell system to use for my GTX 590 overclocking run. So I asked CoolerMaster if they would be kind enough to provide me with some parts for the project in return for posts like this one as well as crediting them for cooling(Seidon 120Vs) and powering the GTX 590. They sent me a V1000 another Seidon 120V so I don't have to keep mounting and dismounting the ones on the GTX 590 and 6 fans to review.
Now the V1000 is sitting in my main system. This is a huge deal because due to a combination of recent events I can now just throw the GTX 590 onto my main system so no more delays on the GTX 590. As soon as I fix it's PCI-e fingers I will be going on a benchmark rampage with it. More importantly my main system is now not crashing thanks to the generosity of CoolerMaster providing me with components for free.
Now since I have the V1000 I may as well write my thoughts about it. I like it. It may not have all the protections that the HCP did but I now have surge protector which I didn't have when I got the HCP. The V1000 is really small for a 1000W PSU and the cables are excellent. Unlike some PSUs I've used all the connectors fit easily and non of the cables are unbending rods not even the 24pin which is usually a massive pain to route due to it's thickness.

So yeah HUGE THANKS to CoolerMaster for supporting a small and iffy blog like mine. The plan for the next couple weeks is:

- 970M Pro3 Cooling upgrade guide
- CoolerMaster Silencio and JetFlow fan reviews
- GTX 590 E-power benching sessions
- THE BIG AHOC ********!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Something quickly: Review point counts

For my motherboard and GPU reviews I decided to employ a point system. The idea behind this was that I would give realistic scores which would allow you to quickly decided if the product is even worth reading up on. The problem with this is that I have to give pretty low marks to things that are good. I realized this while working on the final points of my 970M review. The board is good for what it is however I can't give it a 8/10 for the VRM when the VRM can't handle a 5Ghz 8 core FX CPU. So in this post I would like to set some basis for what different point counts mean.

I give a 10/10  when I can't see a way that it could be improved or when any further improvement is unnecessary. 5/10 is good, the product works and has all the features neccessary for it to complete it's purpose. I give a 0/10 when even stock settings are a problem.

Another way to think about this for everything would be like this:
10/10:  LN2
8/10: High end watercooling
5/10: High end air cooling
3/10: Basic aircooling
1/10: It works at stock
0/10: It doesn't work
I'm using the cooling types here to denote what kind of cooler would be able to push the board to it's limits.

So then if I give  a board like the Asrock 970M Pro3 a 5/10 I'm not saying it's a bad board. In fact it is now my go to board for MATX AM3+ builds because of how freaking good it is. Just don't expect to have it run an 8 core FX at max voltage or clock your RAM for you like some boards these days do.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Good news everyone!

My Phenom II X4 965 BE didn't die! This means that I will be using it for all my fan testing because it's easier to setup than an FM2+ CPU and puts out more heat which should lead to bigger temp differences in my testing.

I've also got a new fan controller to use for fan reviews so now I will do noise and temp testing at varying fan RPMs.

My main system is also back up and running so I now have more space to work in. I also bought an Asrock 970M Pro3 motherboard to review and here's a terrible video overview of it that I made. You'll be happy to know that my actual review of the board will be held to the same standards as all of my other blog content.
I've already played with the board a little. So far it's been OK. However the VRM is making me have second thoughts. Luckily the retailer I bought it from offers an extended no questions asked return policy so if I do burn the board(I hope I don't) I can just return it.

In other news I've redone watercooling loop on my main system.

The tubing is now Tygon 15.8mm by 12.7mm. It's really soft and flexible so it doesn't kink. It's meant for used in laboratories and so it won't get damaged by most liquids. The only down side to it is it costs 2x what other tubing does. The fluid is just a mix of car cooler anti freeze and distilled water. The fittings are 16/12mm EK Black Nickle fittings. Everything else stayed the same as before.

I ended up getting rid of the 2400 RPM Noise blocker because while it's not all that loud it has an incredibly annoying pitch.
The best thing about this loop upgrade is that I've
rebuilt it in such a way that I can swap CPUs without having to drain the loop.
Even though I swapped over to using Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra between the CPU block and CPU my temps haven't gone down so I guess I've hit the dissipation limit of my radiator and the 2000RPM Sickle Flow fans.

Just by the way:
 TekSyndicate is giving away a GTX 980 Ti AMP EXTREME!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Introducing my latest partner

You Name It is a business that sell discount AMD CPUs. The great thing is that they sell some really old chips and rarities like the 3 core Athlons. They also sell more modern chips like the FX 8300 8350 and 6350. They offer worldwide free shipping and great prices(at least for me since I'm in Europe). I'm buying a CPU from them soon so if you have any doubts about their legitimacy just wait for mine to arrive as confirmation that they are in fact a trust worthy business.