X99 Desktop

It’s been a couple of years since the last time I built a computer, a hexacare at that. Back in 2013 I built one off the X79 platform. I didn’t want to build off the X99 platform until price on DDR4 has gotten better. But after the holidays, I came upon a few extra bucks so I decided to build one. You can check out my X79 build here. Here are the parts I used for the 2015 X99 build. You can visit my PC Part Picker page. Below I break down the parts I used.

CPU

I was torn between the Z97 and the X99 platform. More particularly, it was between the Intel i7-4790K and the Intel i7-5820K. It was a tough decision since Microcenter is selling the 4790K for $250 while for $50 more, you can get the 5820K. Sounds like a great deal but where the price difference gets offset is the price between DDR3 and DDR4. DDR4 ram is outrageously priced at the moment. Fortunately, there were a few deals going on during this build. So what are the differences between the two processors? Well, below are the differences I considered.

Intel i7-4790K
(1150 Devil’s Canyon)
Intel i7-5820K
(2011-3 Haswell-E)
Base Speed 4GHz 3.3GHz
# of cores 4 6
Cache 8MB 15
TDP 88W 140W
PCIE Lanes 16 28
Memory Channel 2 4

What I listed above are not all the differences, but the ones I considered. You can view the comparison chart from Intel at http://ark.intel.com/compare/80807,82932.

The price difference, number of cores, number of PCIE lanes pretty much solidified my decision to go with the 5820K.

Motherboard

The next part is the motherboard. I originally wanted my next build to be a smaller form factor so I looked into MATX (Micro ATX). Out off all the available motherboards in MATX, ASROCK was the only one (as of January 2015) that has the most features. Asrock has 2 boards – X99M Extreme4 and the Fatal1ty X99M Killer. Compared to the motherboards from other manufacturers, these two from Asrock come with dual gigabit ethernet ports, 10 SATA3 6Gbps ports, and M.2 port.

I chose to go with the Fatal1ty X99M Killer motherboard for two reasons:

  • The Killer NIC is suppose to reduce network latency when gaming. I haven’t experience much lag when gaming so this should improve what I’m already getting from good to better, in theory.
  • I like the color scheme of the motherboard.
Asrock X99M Fatal1ty

Asrock X99M Fatal1ty

Power Supply

Next was the power supply. I wanted to get a larger power supply than what I’ve used in the past. I wanted to get around 1000W just in case I wanted overclock and add more hardware. I had my eye on Corsair. I’ve used many in the past. Not only have they been realible, but they are quiet. I almost settled for the Corsair RM1000 with Gold certification and fully modular. What made me go with the EVGA SuperNOVA 1000W G2 instead is it uses Japanese caps. Surprisingly, the Corsair didn’t. The length of the power supply is longer than the average, so be aware of this when using it in a smaller case.

Memory

I would have loved to go with 32GB quad-channel for the ram but it’s so expensive. I settled with 16GB. I also looked for 2400MHz that can be overclocked a little bit if I wanted to. Originally, I went with the Node 804 case so I had to consider the space between ram with heatsink and the CPU heatsink. I ended up looking for ram without a heatsink. So the ram I went with is the G.Skill F4-2400C15Q-16GNT (4x4GB). I’ve used G.Skill ram often in the past and it works flawlessly.

Heatsink

Ever since I started using closed loop water cooling, I’ve always used Corsair. This time was no exception. I went with the H100i. My previous X79 build I used the H80i. It’s a bit louder for my taste but I’m thinking it may have something to do with the stock fans. This time I swapped out the stock fans with the Noctua NF-S12B. It is an improvement from the stock fans and runs at 1200RPM.

Video Card

I didn’t buy a new video card since my last one still works great. I have an EVGA 03G-P4-3788-KR GTX780 Classified. I took it from my X79 computer and replaced it with a MSI GTX 660 Ti Twin Frozr. This was the upgrade from my old EVGA 470SC. Then I upgrade from the 660 to the 780. Great card overall. Handles all the games I play at ultra settings without any issues. I may skip the 900 series from nVidia and see what AMD will come out for their 300 series cards. I’m also curious about FreeSync. G-Sync is a bit expensive right now. Either way, I’m due for a monitor upgrade soon.

Case

Because I went with a MATX form factor, I also wanted to use a MATX case. I went with the Fractal Design Node 804. This is a cube design case that uses two compartments to separate components. One compartment is where the motherboard sits. You can also mount up to two hard drives on the bottom of the case, below the motherboard. The other side is where the power supply, two drive bays (up to eight 3.5” hard drives), and the cable management. After building inside this case, I ran into some quality control issues. A few screw holes got stripped and the wiring for the power button didn’t work in a consistent matter. I also felt cramped while doing my build so rather than RMA and get the same case, I just returned it for a refund.

Fractal Design Node 804 - Motherboard Side

Fractal Design Node 804 – Motherboard Side

All my components fit. The video card I used is an EVGA GTX780 Classified. As you can see from the picture above that it fits. The Corsair H100i also fits.

I still went with Fractal Design but this time I went with the Define R5. My X79 uses the Define R4 and I loved it. Why not build another one with the newer version of the case. I will post more once I get the R5 and move in.

Seagate RMA Experience 2015

I’ve been using a Seagate STCA4000100 USB3.0 4TB external drive for a few years now. I noticed the transfer speed slowed down to about USB2.0 speed. I plugged it in to different computers, ports, and even bought another cable. It didn’t solve the issue. I ended up contacting Seagate support via email. After a few exchanges in messages, they want me to RMA it and get it replaced. They informed me that the model no longer exist so they’ll be replacing it with the newer version. So I wanted to document my experience with Seagate’s RMA so I can share with others.

2015-02-04

I created a new RMA request found at http://www.seagate.com/support/warranty-and-replacements/. You will need to provide the serial number. This will be checked against their system to see if the product is still under warranty. My warranty doesn’t expire until May 2015.

You will have to chose from three different shipping method.

  1. Standard RMA: You will need to ship the item first and pay shipping to them. They will ship back a replacement at their cost.
  2. Ground Advanced Replacement (US & Canada only): They will ship you the replacement first at their cost. Once you receive it, place the broken drive and ship it back using the same box – so don’t tear it open. Shipping cost will be your responsibility. You will need to provide a valid credit card. A $1 temporary authorization will be placed to ensure the return of the broken hard drive. If not returned in a timely manner, they will charge $200 fee for an asset recovery fee. It’s recommended that you include tracking with your shipping.
  3. Premium Advanced Replacement (US & Canada only): For $9.95, it’s the same as option 2 but faster. The cost to ship back is also included.

You can find more information at http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/202271en?language=en_US#8. I chose to go with option 2.

2015-02-05

I received an email notification that the label has been created.

I tried to use Seagate Seatools to format the contents of the hard drive, but it only has diagnostic tools. I believe the DOS version has the formatting tools but I didn’t want to go through the hassle. I ended up using my Macbook Pro’s Disk Utility to format the drive. I used the Zero Out Data option – only 1 pass. That format took close to 48 hours. I much prefer to do the 3 pass but I’m sure that would’ve taken several days, probably close to a week. I’m not sure if it’s because it was done on a laptop (late 2011 model with Sandy Bridge i7) or it was on USB2.0 speeds. Although it is 4TB and to write out bit by bit will take a long time.

zero out data

It took close to 48 hours to complete.

2015-02-06

The replacement drive arrived. It came from East Rancho Dominguez, CA. I guess that’s why it arrived so quickly since it’s headed in the same state, so your time of delivery may vary.

safe shipping

Seagate’s packaging with lots of foam.

The drive is packaged well. The inside is fully foamed, even the cables. It came with the AC adapter and USB3.0 cables. The drive is recertified and the model is SRD00F2. It looks like a newer version of what I have – but it’s recertified. I’m assuming this Amazon product is what I got http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Expansion-Desktop-External-STBV4000100/dp/B00BFFQN3M.

I plugged it in to a USB3.0 and transferred some files to check the speed. This is what transferring in USB3.0 should be like.

usb3 speed

USB3.0 transfer speed

I will be sending off the old drive and updating this post once the next steps happen. So far the experience has been good and no surprises.