Sunday, December 21, 2014

ASUS now has it's own external VRM!

This is the new external VRM from ASUS. It's built for up to 500A on 8 phases and a maximum voltage of 2.5V.
You can follow all updates about it in this thread.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The RAM and FAN test bench overview

 Built on an IKEA pine wood wine rack. For low weight.
 With WiFi for easy screenshot uploading and maximum portability.  (Mounted with zipties)
 Based on the Gigabyte F2A88X-D3H I reviewed ages ago.
(Also mounted with zipties)
 Insulated for use with LN2.

and with a crocodile clip for reading CPU core voltage directly

Running an Athlon II X4 750K cooled by a cooler master Seidon 120V closed loop cooler.
(The rad really is just sitting there)

With video provided by my modified R7 260X
(The cooler is mounted with zipties)
(If I get a bigger PSU and another CPU cooler I will replace it with the water cooled GTX 590)

 The RAM currently in this beast is the G.skill ECO 2x2GB 1333 7-7-7-21 1.35V kit I previewed some time ago.

 The HDD is a 350GB WD blue.
(Mounted with even more zipties)
The PSU is an EVGA 430W 80+ unit.
(Held in place by zipties)
This is built from scrap parts from other projects(GPU MB and CPU Cooler) and my friends old PC(wifi and HDD). The reason why I built this is that my 3960X is never ever going to boot with RAM above 2500mhz so I can't use it for RAM reviews. This 750K already managed to boot 2520mhz on these G.skill sticks so it can do a better job with RAM than my main system. Ideally this would be a Z97 system but good Z97 boards cost about 1.5-3X what this board cost and an i5 4690K is about 3X the price of the 750K. Yes I know there is the Pentium G3258 but IMO pairing a 3000czk MB with a 1700czk CPU is stupid. Plus AMD CPUs are funner to OC.
The idea for using the wine rack from IKEA is that. It can hold as much stuff as a full tower, cost only 199czk(10$) and weighs less than any other case you can buy.
I used the cooler master Seidon for cooling because it allows me to easily swap fans for fan reviews.
If I had to change any things I would get a better PSU(750W Seasonic/EVGA) and a better MB(Crossblade Ranger).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lenovo Z50-75 OC teaser

That's right I have the iGPU running at 1.1Ghz instead of the stock 533Mhz. Once I get one more stick of RAM it should be reasonably capable in games. Right now it does about 30-40FPS in Dirt 3 on Lowish settings.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lenovo Z50-75: The product being reviewed is the reason for their not being a review

Literally what the title says. All the USB ports on it have crapped out and can't accept any data storage. I'm working on a fix but I strongly suspect that it's related to me not having an actual legitimate Windows 7 License and the all new AMD chipset + BIOS of a Kaveri CPU makes using a crack impossible. Now this wouldn't really be an issue if I didn't need to transfer all my photos from my phone via USB. So no review quite yet but here are a few teasers.

It kinda OCs with overdrive

The iGPU can be OCed to beat the R7 M260 dedicated that this laptop comes with.

It can play games pretty well

The CPU is on par with an i5 4200U in multithreaded loads

The cooling is damn good

The batter is pretty weak

The sound is terrible. Seriously who builds a speaker that emphasizes the frequency that windows notifications ping at.

The keyboard double types

I'm really sorry that this isn't the review I promised but it is coming and it's going to be awesome.
In other news I finished building my RAM(booted 2520mhz) and fan test bench so prepare for reviews of all the 120mm fans I own and all the RAM I have as well as an article on the test bench itself.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hooray! 5K views

Today the blog reached 5,000 views so here is a quick tip as thanks.
If you have a low power laptop underclocking the monitor using Custom Resolution Utility can save a ton of battery life. I have my Lenovo's screen running at 30hz and it really boosts my battery life because the screen is one of the most power hungry parts of this laptop.

BTW I draw a really dark comic over at

Monday, December 1, 2014

R9 290/R9 290X Refrence PCB Overclocking Guide

The R9 290 and R9 290X are AMD's current flagship single core GPUs. I have 1 of each running in crossfire and have benched both of them extensively.
I expect that you know what is where in afterburner and you know how to configure custom fan profiles.

Software you will need
Air/Water 24/7 ____________________________________________________________________
MSI afterburner
Air Benching _____________________________________________________________________
- Sapphire Trixx
Water/LN2 _______________________________________________________________________
- PT1/PT3 BIOS (link in useful links page)
- GPU Tweak 2V (link in useful links page)
- AtiWinFlash (link in useful links page)

Air/Water 24/7
The Hawaii GPUs are pretty tanky so they can be overvolted for years without any negative effects. For 24/7 overclocking you will only need MSI Afterburner because going above +100mv on the core voltage generally doesn't help your frequency margin much and is about as high as you want to go for 24/7 overclock.

The Core
Most Hawaii GPUs do about 1100mhz without raising the core voltage. Once your card can't go any higher on stock volts start raising the voltage by 12mV. While voltage does increase frequency ranges AMD cards are really sensitive to temperatures and so the increased operating temperatures can counter act the increase in voltage. This is not an issue for people on water cooling but for people on air coolers I recommend tweaking the fan curve too avoid going above 85C° however if you can tolerate the noise of your cooler at 90% just set it to hit 90% at 70C° and you should be all good temp wise.
Afterburner has an AUX voltage setting for the Hawaii cards. Unfortunately no one really knows what the best setting for it is and I haven't fully test it yet so you will just have to test it at settings between -50mV and +100mV going by 50mV increments. I have mine at +100mv to get 1140/1550mhz on my Windforce R9 290X. I do suspect however that the AUX voltage somehow impacts the core voltage either in stability or how high it is.

The VRAM on Hawaii cards is very different from previous cards. ALL Hawaii cards have a golden ratio of
VRAM clock/core clock. This ratio varies from card to card but is generally between 1.25 and 1.4. Once you find this ratio it will generally allow you to run a much higher memory clock than try to incrementally raise VRAM frequency. For example my R9 290X has a ratio of 1.36 and 1140/1500 is not stable on it but 1140/1550 is even though they are at the same voltage.
While the Hawaii cards do not have memory voltage controls available in any software the memory clock does scale with core voltage so if you are trying to push a high memory clock you wil need to raise the core voltage regardless of your core frequency.

For some reason Hawaii cards don't always downclock  the memory when idling so when you are going above 1350mhz VRAM with an OCed monitor or on a multi monitor setup you will need to set Afterburner to constant voltage. This will not negatively impact the life span of you card because the idle core voltage will still be under 1V. I also recommend trying this if you crash when pressing apply because that happens for the same reason. Your VRAM OC kicks in but the voltage stay at idle levels and you get a crash.

Air Benching
Do what you did for the Air/Water 24/7 but use Afterburner to set your AUX voltage then use Sapphire Trixx to get +200mv core. Set fan speed to a constant 100% and set voltage to constant too.

Water/LN2 Benching

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cooling multi GPU configs [THEORETICAL]

Many Crossfire R9 290X and R9 290 owners bought the refrence blower cooler because "it gets better temps in crossfire". This is completely wrong. The refrence R9 290X hits 93C on the uber fan profile when on it's own. So if you put a another heat source bellow it it will hit 95C and have serious issues staying cool regardless of the fact that said heatsource is not dumping the majority of it's heat in the case because the R9 290X above it only has a 2C margin for warmer intake air.
The back of an R9 290/R9 290X gets stupid hot especially the VRM section which is also closest to the intake fan of the card above it. This results in the following happening:
With non reference coolers that dump the used air back into the case this is not an issue because the cards is operating around the 75C range when alone. This gives the non reference card a +20C allowance on intake air before it hits the same temp as the reference design.
Non refrence coolers also have about 2 to 4 times more air passing through their finstacks making the output air of a custom cooler rather cool typically in the 30-40C range depending on load and clocks. Now assuming your case has fresh air going to all areas at all times the 40C exhaust will be mixed with the cool outside air meaning that the top card will at worst be getting air in the 35C range meaning it will hit the 90s. This would look something like the image bellow:
Now I would like to remind you that this is purely theoretical and based on information from around the internet and my experience with my windforce cards. However if anyone is willing to ship me a pair of R9 290X reference coolers I have all the equipment to do full testing of this. If you can ship me a pair of R9 290/R9 290 reference coolers just leave a comment.

Another thing to note is that this only truly applies to really high power draw cards because the blower coolers do in fact keep in case temps lower than radial fan designs just this difference is not big enough to keep 93C cards from hitting 95+C.