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Messages - Ari Altman

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1
General Discussion / Re: Upgrading CPU Questions
« on: June 27, 2017, 09:11:40 PM »
Just a quick FYI - I've seen no indication whatsoever that Intel has actually shipped its Skylake-X processors, despite the marketing hype surrounding the June 26th hard launch. I'm sorry about that, but at least you're in line for one. Five TBG readers pre-ordered these CPUs, and none shipped on launch day.

2
General Discussion / Re: Cryptocurrency article
« on: June 27, 2017, 09:09:11 PM »
Miners are hitting 1080s now. 1080 prices are now $100-$150 more than they were a week or so ago. I wonder how long this is going to last. If thinrgs continue, most high end GPUs will be out of stock or their prices incredibly inflated.

Yes, I know, it's wreaking havoc on the TBG PC Buyer's Guides. Unless you want to spend at least $2,000 on a PC by going with a GTX 1080 Ti, you can't build anything today. And the 1080 Ti cards will soon be sold out as well. It will be a total eclipse of the GPU market, entirely unprecedented in history.

3
The HTPC Build / Re: TBG's High-End Home Theater PC Buyer's Guide
« on: June 26, 2017, 08:38:36 PM »
Is there a particular software that you recommend to convert dvds and flu days it media files that can be watched on my pc?

The most popular software is Handbrake. You can also use MakeMKV if you'll be using Plex as a media server. But I should point out that the ripping of commercial DVDs to a hard drive is technically not legal, so do so at your own risk, and definitely don't share the files with others.

4
General Discussion / Re: Upgrading CPU Questions
« on: June 26, 2017, 08:30:44 PM »
I'll let you know if any other readers get their new Intel gear, but it's liking like this might be a paper launch. Availability was supposed to be today, but either there were more pre-orders than Intel could fulfill, or more likely the stuff isn't ready. That being said, since you have a working system that you're upgrading, there's no harm in waiting for the gear to ship.

By the way, Asus built-in Wifi is the best. I rely on it for several test systems. It's typically better than aftermarket adapters, not surprising given that Asus makes the fastest stand-alone adapters on the market.

Thanks.  I noticed you posted this on the current $3500 build:

"Note that this kit will default to DDR4-2133 until the XMP profile is selected in the UEFI. By the way, we strongly discourage you from using DDR4-2800 or DDR4-3000 with this system, as it requires an odd memory ratio that throws off CPU overclocking."

Would I have to worry about that since I have DDR4-3000?  Also, when they install the new parts, would they be aware to change the settings in the UEFI?  I mean they know what they are doing, clearly if they do these type of things for a living, but I'm just wondering if it's worth mentioning to them just in case.

The issue with DDR4-3000 RAM is that it requires an odd multiplier (or at least it did with Haswell and Broadwell). So you've already been living with it. Truth be told, I don't know if Skylake-X has the same issue, as I don't have this gear in hand, and none of the reviews I've read have touched on the issue (they are all running DDR4-3200, likely because that's what Intel told them to do). In the end, it's not a big deal, just messes with your overclocking ratios, but your builder will know what to do. And since the new motherboard has a new UEFI built in, he'll have to adjust the settings to your specifications. If you want your RAM overclocked to 3000MHz, you'll have to tell him. If you want the CPU overclocked, you'll have to tell him that as well.

5
General Discussion / Re: Upgrading CPU Questions
« on: June 26, 2017, 05:13:51 PM »
I'll let you know if any other readers get their new Intel gear, but it's liking like this might be a paper launch. Availability was supposed to be today, but either there were more pre-orders than Intel could fulfill, or more likely the stuff isn't ready. That being said, since you have a working system that you're upgrading, there's no harm in waiting for the gear to ship.

By the way, Asus built-in Wifi is the best. I rely on it for several test systems. It's typically better than aftermarket adapters, not surprising given that Asus makes the fastest stand-alone adapters on the market.

6
The HTPC Build / Re: TBG's High-End Home Theater PC Buyer's Guide
« on: June 26, 2017, 08:38:40 AM »
Would there be any issues ramping up either of those mechanical drives to 4th of greater?  My wife water and I want to go DVD less and we have a lot of them.

For storage of media like movie files, you can easily ramp up the hard drive, but you won't want to spend a lot more on the SSD, as that's not where you'd want to store movie files. I'd suggest the Western Digital Blue 4TB for this purpose, as it offers a nice combination of speed, low noise, and GB per dollar.

7
Hello again!
I'm almost finished collecting all the components for this great build, but I have another small question.

I am not from the U.S, so i'm finding it a bit hard to get the ASRock
can you please recommend of any possible substitutions?

thanks for your help :)

My favorite board is the Asus Z270I, but it's a lot more expensive. In the same price range as the Asrock the only option would be a Gigabyte Z270N-WiFi.

8
I am considering doing this build (or similar) once some parts go on sale, but not sure if I can look at alternatives on a few parts.

1) Is the hard drive really for game load times? I don't really care about "load times" as much and am wondering if the Crucial MX300 1TB M.2 in your $2k ultimate gaming ITX, or other comparable hard drives would be ok.

2) If power usage is not an issue, could the EVGA Supernova G3 650W (or another alternative) be used instead as it is cheaper than the P2.

3) You mention that a 2 slot graphics card like Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti Gaming works better in an ITX system. Are there similar cards that would work? In case I see them go on sale and want to pull the trigger.

4) Should I just consider instead building the $2k mini itx build, as it seems smaller and just as powerful. I'm looking to be able to do high fps max settings gaming on a 1440p monitor. I've always bought or built similarly priced PCs and laptops for programming/development purposes and 'gaming as a secondary utility' but this time around I don't want to have to sacrifice resolution and graphic settings for gaming!

Thanks!

Hey there, n0chance, lots of good questions there. Here are your answers:

(1) You can absolutely use the Crucial MX300 1TB M.2 drive. The 960 Evo 1TB is going to load games a bit faster, but the benefits are more noticeable in use cases that really tax I/O.

(2) You're right on target here: the EVGA Supernova 650 Platinum is a premium model, but you can definitely use the EVGA Supernova G3 Gold. There are of equal quality and output.

(3) The Asus GTX 1080 Ti Strix is the quietest and coolest-running dual-slot card, but you can also go with the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2, which is on sale right now at a nice price. Again, the Strix is really a premium model, which is why it's in the $2,500 Ultra-Extreme build.

(4) As for which system to go with, yes, the $2,000 Ultimate Gaming ITX Build will actually perform identically to the $2,500 in games, at least at default settings. But with the liquid cooler in the larger $2,500 build, you'll have a chance at much higher CPU overclocks. I've tested the Cryorig H7 cooler on the Core i7-7700K, and I probably wouldn't push it past 4.7GHz, but with the liquid cooler, 5.0GHz to 5.1GHz is definitely possible. But the air cooler is a whole lot quieter than the liquid cooler. So it really depends what you want out of your system. Pushing it to the extreme, or more of a stealth approach to ultra-high-end gaming. Sounds like you might do some development work on this system, which says to me that you want quiet. Go with the $2,000 build and leave the 7700K at stock settings. It's plenty fast!

One quick note: the Cryorig H7 is currently sold out but should come back in stock shortly. It's very popular and sells out on a regular basis.

9
General Discussion / Re: Upgrading CPU Questions
« on: June 25, 2017, 05:20:21 PM »
Congrats on the new parts - you'll like this upgrade. ;)

I can see from your video that an error message was displayed - by watching it frame-by-frame I can see that the error said "The UE4-HHHour game engine has crashed and will.... Fatal error!"

This isn't a standard Windows error dialog box. It looks like a placeholder used by the developers, as the formatting is a bit off. It still provides a lot of information, however, in the sense that we know this isn't a video card driver crash, and it's not a Windows system crash. In other words, it's the game itself. Now, as far as getting it to run, I wouldn't recommend wiping Windows at this point, but when you get your new CPU and motherboard, that would be a very good time to reformat and reinstall. In the process, hopefully it will fix the game as well, but if it doesn't, this is just something that the game developers are going to have to fix. Could be an issue related to your high-end specs - most people aren't running this on a six (or eight) core system, so maybe the game engine is having trouble with it (although UE4 is new and should do multi-core well).

In short, I wouldn't blame your system for this, and I wouldn't reinstall Windows for it unless you have another reason to, which you will very soon!

Let me know when the gear arrives - I really hope Intel keeps its promise regarding pre-orders!

Thanks I'm super pumped.  I can't wait to read some final reviews on what I purchased.  I sort of wish bluetooth and wifi were included with the motherboard but if not, oh well but I'm still really excited.

As far as wiping and re-installing windows, it might be a timing issue thing.  If the patch comes out before I get the new CPU and Motherboard and I'm not getting booted anymore, there won't be any reason to start fresh with the new components right?  I won't be wiping or re-installing before getting my new stuff either way, for the record.  Just figured I'd ask.

Also as yet another side question, I have audio engine A+ speakers for my desktop and I've had them since I built the PC and love them.  I also have an Audio Engine DAC.  My question is that I bought a new headset, the Sennheiser Game Zero Gaming Headset for right at $200.  A buddy of mine has this headset and said it's the perfect headset with the exception of not a ton of bass, but if you have a DAC that'll take care of it.  Seeing as how I've had a DAC it made me wonder.... I've been using a Hyper X Cloud 2 headset (I only use all these headsets for gaming, btw) since I built the PC and it connects via USB.  Well you connect the 3.5 audio cable to a sort of USB dongle that then connects via USB dongle which then connects to a USB port.  I've taken the 3.5 cord on my Hyper X headset and plugged it into my DAC before (which doesn't have a USB slot as I'm sure most DAC's don't) and the audio was fine but I couldn't chat or have the surround sound because those controls were on the dongle the headset cord plugs into.  I hope I'm making sense.  I'm wondering with this new headset how I'll be able to chat/while playing if I'm only plugged into this Audio Engine DAC?

I'll talk to my buddy about it tonight because I think I'm missing something.

Oh, I didn't know you wanted WiFi and Bluetooth. If that's important to you, then it will be worth cancelling the X299-A and ordering the X299-E ROG Strix at $350. I didn't want to push you too far over budget, but $40 extra for Wifi and Bluetooth is a good deal if you'll use them.

As for your headset question, as it turns out, you got lucky going with an ultra-high-end Sennheiser Game Zero Headset. While I haven't used them myself, I took a close look at the specs, and it appears to separate audio in and audio out via dual 3.5mm jacks. That's extremely unusual, and not something you'd find in typical gaming gear. Thus, you'll plug the audio in (headphone) jack into the Audio Engine D1 DAC, then plug the audio out (microphone) into your PC. Note that to connect your DAC to your PC, you'll probably want to use optical digital, as your DAC has that input.

10
Software (OS, Productivity, Games, etc.) / Re: Windows 10 product key
« on: June 25, 2017, 08:23:39 AM »
Thanks, I called Newegg and they told me to look for a scratch-off. It's been 17 years since I've built a system and information wasn't hidden then!

Glad you got it sorted out. If you bought it direct from Newegg, it was clearly a valid copy. I've seen the scratch-offs on the USB versions of Windows 10, but not on the DVD versions.

11
Interesting about the possibility of a bad batch --  ironically, I'm banging this out on a Win7 machine with two 500GB MX300's (SATA II) that I'd bought about seven years ago and never had any trouble with.

Bought the PM961 about a week ago for a different machine I'm building for myself (Asrock Z270 Gaming i7, i7-7700K, Fractal R5 case).   Am hoping that the current generation of SSDs fail either very early (as in the case of the Crucial, whose apparent death fortunately falls within the 30-day return period) or very late.  Do you have any opinions about this?  Am setting up a Synology NAS-based backup regime as insurance against data loss in any case.

The Z270-M is actually for my wife, who loves the idea of such a powerful machine in such a diminutive case -- she helped with the build  ;)

Incidentally, I think the Amazon listing you mentioned for the PM961 may be the one I was referring to, sold by MyDigitalDiscount.com.

If you want something that has extreme longevity, you have to go with MLC NAND flash. And very few drives have that anymore, due to what's essentially been a race to the bottom on prices (not that you'd know it from current prices, which are caused by a supply shortage). So the reason your Crucial/Micron M300 drives (not MX300, which was just released last year, and what failed on you) worked so well was that it had a robust NAND design.

Here are the options I'd recommend for you:
(1) while it's expensive, the Samsung 960 Pro 512GB is actually the ultimate drive in terms of performance and longevity, which is a nice combination. And it's actually on sale right now, down to $300 (its lowest price ever - it's usually at $330).

(2) Stepping down a notch in price, the older Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SATA drive also uses MLC NAND, but it's a total waste of money right now given its absurd price of $245, far more than it's been in years. If you want something in that price range, you'd go for the far superior $230 Plextor M8Pe 512GB M.2 PCIe, which uses MLC NAND. You could also go with the Toshiba OCZ RD400 512GB at $240, which is a lot less than it debuted at ($400), but it's not the best client drive (more of a server-based design). By the way, Intel's 750 400GB drive also uses MLC NAND, but isn't available in a standard M.2 format, and the price is terrible.

(3) One step below that is the MLC-based MyDigitalSSD BPX 480GB M.2 PCIe drive at $200.

(4) Going down in price again, you must turn to older SATA-based drives to get MLC NAND. The best drive that you can still actually buy is the Mushkin Reactor 500GB 2.5". It was never released in the M.2 format.

That's pretty much it. There are no other MLC-based drives available at this point at reasonable prices. I actually haven't gone through the exercise of listing those out before, and it's sad that's all that's left!

One thing I should make clear here, though, is that if your Crucial MX300 has indeed failed, it's not because TLC NAND is so bad it fails out of the box. It would still last many years. Something else must be wrong with it.

12
The HTPC Build / Re: TBG's High-End Home Theater PC Buyer's Guide
« on: June 25, 2017, 06:38:20 AM »
Hi Ari,

thanks for the help so far. I could not see any unknown device in "create and format hard disk partitions" this time...so i think its gone completely. The device manager is not showing the unknown device like last time. I removed the drive one last time and installed it again but nothing changed.

So i will send it back but im not sure if i want a replacement or if i buy from a different company. I really hope it is the ssd and not the MB. If this does not work i have to get a new MB. But lets try this first.

Do you have a good alternativ to the crucial 1TB? If i have to spend a bit more it would not be a problem but 150 more for the samsung evo is maybe a bit much.

Read the other and really hope crucial has no bad batch... dont want to figure it out.
 
Is there a way to check if the m.2 slot on the MB is working or not in the BIOS or with a tool?

Thanks for your advice!

While I really like the M.2 form factor, in this situation, I suggest reverting back to a 2.5" drive, just in case there is something wrong with the motherboard's M.2 slot. I don't know of any way to test it other than using an M.2 drive. And the truth is that this system does indeed have space for the larger form factor.

I believe you're in Germany, or at least can order from there, so I'm going to provide Amazon.de links here. Compared to the Crucial MX300 1TB M.2, the Samsung 850 Evo 1TB 2.5" is a fantastic deal. Just a bit more expensive, but slightly faster too. You mentioned the Samsung Evo being 150 more, but that must have been for the 960 Evo 1TB M.2, which is ultra-high performance, but more than you need for an HTPC.

13
General Discussion / Re: Upgrading CPU Questions
« on: June 24, 2017, 10:30:37 PM »
Congrats on the new parts - you'll like this upgrade. ;)

I can see from your video that an error message was displayed - by watching it frame-by-frame I can see that the error said "The UE4-HHHour game engine has crashed and will.... Fatal error!"

This isn't a standard Windows error dialog box. It looks like a placeholder used by the developers, as the formatting is a bit off. It still provides a lot of information, however, in the sense that we know this isn't a video card driver crash, and it's not a Windows system crash. In other words, it's the game itself. Now, as far as getting it to run, I wouldn't recommend wiping Windows at this point, but when you get your new CPU and motherboard, that would be a very good time to reformat and reinstall. In the process, hopefully it will fix the game as well, but if it doesn't, this is just something that the game developers are going to have to fix. Could be an issue related to your high-end specs - most people aren't running this on a six (or eight) core system, so maybe the game engine is having trouble with it (although UE4 is new and should do multi-core well).

In short, I wouldn't blame your system for this, and I wouldn't reinstall Windows for it unless you have another reason to, which you will very soon!

Let me know when the gear arrives - I really hope Intel keeps its promise regarding pre-orders!

14
Well, the Windows installer couldn't see the Crucial SSD either, so I removed it and replaced it with a Samsung PM961 M.2 1TB NVMe.   This latter was detected without problem, and the Windows install went through without a hitch.   

Given your comment that all 2280 M.2 SSD's should work, it seems likely that the Crucial is simply defective.  That doesn't surprise me too much because these M.2 boards are extremely thin, and so susceptible to hairline cracks in their traces if bent (mine was clearly warped in its packaging when I received it).

Incidentally, the Samsung PM961 M.2 1TB is an extremely good value now at $386.00 (www.mydigitaldiscount.com).  Also available on Amazon Prime from the same vendor for slightly more.   It is known to be an OEM near-equivalent to the Samsung 960 EVO, which has a street price of about $450.

I wonder if Crucial is having a bad batch of these, because another TBG reader was posting on the forum today about his Crucial M.2 SSD not working. If a third reader mentions this, it might be three strikes and you're out, and I'll need to switch the buyer's guides.

The PM961 is a great drive. Did you just buy that as a replacement in the last day or so, or did you have it previously? I see Amazon has the PM961 1TB for $400, which is a bit more than you paid but still a good deal versus the Samsung 960 Evo 1TB, which is strangely totally sold out at the moment, but was going for $450 recently. The big difference between OEM and retail is that you don't get a warranty, and you don't have Samsung Magician support. I personally use a number of Samsung drives, including an SM951, which is the equivalent of the 950 Pro. Runs great, benches great, just isn't recognized by Magician. So you lose some customization options. And a warranty, if that's important to you.

15
General Discussion / Re: Upgrading CPU Questions
« on: June 24, 2017, 04:03:29 PM »
OK, OK, I'll let you have your brand-new CPU and motherboard! In fact, this time, I'm going to try to talk you into aiming higher, for two reasons. First, to get a motherboard that's the equivalent of your X99-A, you'll probably want the Asus X299-A. While you do have the option of the Asus X299 TUF Mark 2, which is closer to the original price of the X99-A, it doesn't have some of the features you might take for granted, like LED display codes, external BIOS flashback, and updated USB ports (in this case, USB 3.1 Type C). The price is a bit inflated right now, but I'd hate to see you get a downgrade in motherboard features just to get an upgrade in the CPU.

In terms of the CPU, sure, you can go with the Core i7-7800X, but I'd rather see you go with the Core i7-7820X. Yes, it's an extra $200, but it has two big advantages for you: (1) you get eight cores, a true upgrade from your six core processor, and (2) it has more advanced Turbo modes than the 7800X, so it can clock up to 4.5GHz on two cores under certain circumstances. The 7800X does not have the same "Turbo Boost Max" feature, and will only clock to 4GHz. You didn't list your cooler, but I think you have a Corsair liquid cooler, which should work well. And even at stock speeds, the 7820X will be substantially faster than your 5820K, on the order of 20% in single-threaded tasks and 60% in multi-threaded tasks, assuming a CPU limitation (i.e., not necessarily in games).

Again, this is specifically in your circumstance, as you already have a great six-core processor. For people building from scratch, the 7800X is a perfect choice, but I don't think it's worth the trouble in your situation.

So, to summarize, here's all you'll need:
(1) The Intel Core i7-7820X - $599
(2) The Asus X299-A - $310

These are currently available for pre-order, launching on Monday, and if you have Amazon Prime, you should have them by Wednesday.

One thing to note - you'll need your Windows 10 license key handy for the upgrade, as a new motherboard will trigger an activation warning, requiring you to input your key number.

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