Friday, April 24, 2015

Ladies and gentlemen I bring you the GTX 590 AHOC edition

It's huge 
It's impractical
It might not even work
But now it's finally compelete and ready to occupy the top 1% of GTX 590s

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The E-power is fully attached I will be mounting the coolers and doing the final chekups tomorrow

Here are some pictures of the monster I've created.

Well it won't fit into any case I know of the the power plane leading to one of the cores seems to be shorted because I'm reading 0.6 ohms to GND. So worst case I'll have to rewire that plane. I did manage to attach pin 17 properly so if pin 16 really was GND this card will still work.
Good news there is most likely not a short on my GTX 590 because I just checked VCC to GND of my  HD 5850 and got 1.8 ohm. So assuming that the GF 110 core has around 1 to 1.1 ohms of resistance my GTX 590 where the VCC is hooked up to both cores should read 1.1/2 so 0.55ohm which would be in line with the reading I'm getting right now. So now I just have to fix one resistor which went missing and fix 2 VCC wires that I pulled when looking for shorts and the card will be fully operational tomorrow.

Sorry about the photo quality but I can't change that without getting a new phone or a camera.
Also I recently revised the support me page so please go check it out.

As always remember to checkout SiliconLottery if you are considering buying an i7 and overclocking it. They sell binned CPUs so you won't have to worry about getting a crap chip.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bad news EDIT: Now kinda good

So I've been working on attaching the E-power to the GTX 590 and due to my lack of skill and equipment it looks like the card won't make it.
1. The VCC to GND reads 0.8ohms. IDK if this is wrong or right because that's what it read even before I started soldering and GND to GND is 0.5 ohms so maybe my multimeter just really sucks or the cores of the 590s are really low resistance or I have a short.

2. I managed to spill solder on the PCI-e gold fingers and in the process of trying to clean them I managed to completely destroy 2 of them. Hopefully they were GND pins. If they weren't this card is most likely not going to work.

The fact is I'm not really equipped to do these kinds of mods I have a 50W regulated and 150W unregulated soldering iron. The problem is that the 150W is intended for connecting metals not PCB work however low wattage irons like my 50W do not have a chance when trying to work on circuit boards that contain as much copper as GPU or motherboard. Also the PCB of the GTX 590 is a cramped mess with tiny voltage plains and no where near enough GND plain on the core side to work with. Hopefully the GTX 590 will make but right now I think the card is dead so if there is no weekend post it's because I'm digging it a grave.

Go checkout silicon lottery their my sponsor. They bin i7s so if you want an i7 with which will surely run a certain clock go check them out.

EDIT: So I just checked the pin against Wikipedia and it should be a GND pin. If it is then I'm fine. I will still finish of the E-power attachment however I will need to find new ways to mount the cooler since the wires are everywhere and the card still isn't fully grounded(18/30 wires).

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hide your motherboards and GPUs buildzoid got an E-power


You have no idea how excited getting an EVGA post box made me today. I've been wanting to buy the E-power for 2 years and waiting to do put this on the GTX 590 for just as long. Now you may be thinking. Why did he only buy 1 E-power to power a GTX 590. The E-power is only rated at 400A on the EVGA spec sheet. The thing is that EVGA spec sheet is actually very conservative. The low side MOSFETs on this beast are IR 6725s these are absolute power houses rated at a continuous drain current of 170A at 25C. This derates to 60A at 125C however there are 14 of them. 14 60A MOSFETs that's a total of 840 amps at 125C. Now if you actually use the E-power properly you should be running it cooler. So in fact a single E-power can power an overclocked GTX 590 just fine. That is as long as you don't use LN2 because the E-power does come with a 900A OCP which would trip when using LN2 and 1.5V.
The GTX 590 isn't the only thing I plan to use this one of these. I also want to use it on this motherboard to build an MATX 5+Ghz FX 9590 computer. No I don't need to go see a doctor about having OC sickness. Why wouldn't you want to attach a 59 euro VRM to a 60 euro motherboard.

Also checkout that image layout Blogger's awkward interface is going to teach me how to HTML at this rate.

I would like to thank Silicon Lottery for being my sponsor. They sell pre binned i7s so if you want to avoid having to deal with the variance in CPU overclocking capabilities you can just buy a CPU from them.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A weekend of overclocking.

I didn't manage to get any full article finished for today so I'll just go over some things I've done overclocking wise.

Firstly has launched GPUPI. It basically SuperPi for the GPU. You can either do 1B or 32B to earn points. Currently the best card for the benchmark is the R9 290X. I did my own little session on 1B and 32B.
Here are my results:

The orange background makes no difference. However it runs best with the non transparent windows 7 theme and having as few windows open as possible does help. This is a 99.9% GPU centric benchmark so even those of you with slow CPUs can get competitive scores given that you're running a high end GPU(AMD is better). Just like SuperPi, GPUPI will complain if your OC is not stable and you get results that aren't correct invalidating your run. 1B finishes in about 20-24 seconds on an R9 290X so if your running air cooling it is entirely possible to start the benchmark at 35C and finish before the GPU starts experiencing heat related instability(for me that is about 70C at 1203/1634 +200mv). 32B on the other hand is a beast that takes 20 to 24 minutes on an R9 290X. Heat is a real problem and my GPU ended up running at 82C throughout the test so you can't use temperature buffering to run higher core clocks. However GPUPI does like VRAM clock more than the core clock so you can get a good scores by maxing the VRAM and running a slower core than for 1B.
Obviously this was my first session so I didn't test everything. I will take suggestions on what software tweaks I should try in the comments.

Other than that I also got started prepping my GTX 590 for the E-power that should arrive this week. So here are photos of the card after I gave it a bath to get rid of the mess that soldering AWG 12 wires with a 150W iron leaves:

Hey if you like reading this blog you should go check out my sponsor Silicon Lottery. They sell pre binned i7s so you don't have to worry about a chip that clocks badly.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A tour of my room

 So I just realized that I've never put up images of where I work from and my main computer on here. So here are some pictures of both.
A shot form the door
A shot from my chair
The keyboard is a Blackwidow Ultimate Stealth 2014 and the mouse is a 2012 Razer Naga Epic
This is what I like to call the CPU cannon since it's running a 5Ghz capable 3960X. However ever since the 5960X came out that name isn't as justified as it used to be.
Another shot to get a better view of the board GPU and cooling loop. Yes that PCI-e slot is missing the tab and I did that on purpose because when I install cards like my GTX 590 it only gets in the way.
This is the RAM and FAN test bench R3.0. It's currently prepped for doing another round of thermal paste testing. However the H100 is a pain to mount on AMD systems so until I grow a 3rd arm that's on hold.
And this is my water chiller. I haven't used it for any benching yet because I don't have a block compatible with the R7 260X(I do have a bunch of new zipties...) and I don't want to abuse my R9 290X until I get a different GPU for the CPU cannon.
And here is the before mentioned GTX 590 at my soldering work space. I've pulled of the controller ICs and inductors now I just need to get my hands on a pair of E-power 2.0 boards. The Lego is a magnifying glass holder.
And this is where I do all my photo shoots for reviews. I should probably get larger and whiter sheets of paper.
And here is the obligatory collection of boxes... I need more boxes.

You must've noticed but I've redone the blog's layout and color scheme. If you have any suggestions on how I should improve it you can just leave a comment saying so below.

As always I'd like to thank Silicon Lottery for supporting me. They sort intel i7 CPUs so that you can avoid the silicon lottery and buy a CPU that gets the clocks you want. They also sell the bad chips with a discount so if you're looking either well clocking i7s go check them out.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thermal paste application methods

(YOU CAN SKIP THIS!)Well I got into an argument. I do that a lot. This one was about thermal paste application methods. I was given a video from Tek Syndicate as proof that I'm wrong. As you can see this video is not scientific in the slightest. The plexi glass and pressure is applied by hand. Plexi glass is flexible. And there is 0 real world testing. So just like I decided to test fans by measuring temps on a real CPU because that's actually useful. I decided to do the same for thermal  paste.

I'm using the stock 125W AMD heatsink because it has a simple and very pressure consistent mounting system minimizing the amount of systematic and human error in the testing. As always I'm also monitoring room temps with my crappy thermometer and using the default IBT for my load. The 750K is at 4Ghz using 1.35V(medium LLC) and the RAM is the G.skill ECO on XMP. My margin of error is 1C° because I couldn't keep the room at a steady 24C° it was swinging between 23C° and 25C°. The thermal paste I'm using is Arctic MX-2.
The test system                                                          The AMD stock 125W heatsink


1) Pea

Temp margin: 29.38 (higher is better)
Notes: temp basically even swings between 24 and 25C°

2) X

Temp margin: 29.12 (higher is better)
Notes: This was tested mostly at 24C° with a few deviations up to 25C°

3) 5 pointer

Temp margin: 29.00 (higher is better)
Notes: For this one my ambient temps drifted heavily into the 25C area so while this looks like a bad score it's actually about on par with everything else I tested.

4) manual flat

Temp margin: 30.25 (higher is better)
Notes: This one did have a short spell of 25C° at the start but spent most of it's time between 23 and 24C°. So no this method is not terrible but it doesn't have any benefit that I can see and it takes for ever to do it right.

5) Line
Temp margin: 29.75 (higher is better)
Notes:This method went through a full range of temps from 23 to 25C°

6) Smaller pea
Temp margin: 29.38 (higher is better)
Notes: Spent most of it's time at 23C and still scores like methods that were tested at 25C. This method is the worst.

7) No paste

Temp margin: 7.62  (higher is better)
Notes: This test is just to check that the paste actually works. However I must say I'm surprised I thought this would totally overheat but it actually managed to finish IBT at 25C ambient even with the overclock.

The testing revealed exactly what I thought I would see. Given that you use enough paste you will not see much variation between application methods. I would however like to note that the AMD 125W stock cooler doesn't not have a very high mounting pressure and the AMD CPUs have massive dies compared to intel CPUs. This means that if there was an air bubble right in the middle of the IHS and heatsinks contact it would have very little impact on performance. I currently do not have a cooler with a spring loaded mounting system to test with and I don't have a haswell system but once I get those I will do this testing again because I believe there will be much more variance there. I also believe that large IHS like LGA 2011 will see a difference. One last thing to note is that the viscosity of the paste you use will change the results. IF you have a paste with high viscosity like MX2 it will easily yield to pressure and spread out very thinly on it's own. However if you have a less viscus paste even very high pressure will not spread it out fully. In those situations methods like the flats spread, 5 pointer and X should work better. Also I think 4Ghz was a little tame for the cooler I was using. If enough people complain I'll do a retest at a higher thermal load. You can also leave suggestions for more application methods in the ANONYMOUS and PUBLIC comments bellow.

The results of this testing mean that I'm still undecided about what method is the best but at least I know that none of the methods I use on my builds is bad.

Please go check out my sponsor Sillicon Lottery. They are the #1 reason that I am putting out more and better content and more consistently. They sort CPUs by their overclocking capability so that you can get around the silicon lottery and get a CPU that won't dash your hopes by need 1.35V at 4.5Ghz.