Okay, so the new-to-me case I picked up last week has sat empty long enough, and I didn’t like the teething problems I’d heard about with Ryzen (which I was super pumped for, until I found out how unavailable they were) so I decided to go with the “safe” option and picked up an i7 7700K. I want this desktop to last me a while, maybe chucking an updated GPU in a couple years as finances allow, so I picked up something that was pretty snotty and had room to overclock.
To bring the budget back into line, I went with a GTX 1060. It’s good enough for everything I’m playing now, but I’m not sure how the next couple of years will go. A power supply, a cooler, and a couple of other things rounded it out, and I re-used an optical drive and a hard drive to finish it off. After ensuring it was gonna work, I did the hard drive shuffle in our laptops: ghost my 500GB SSD onto 750GB spinning rust. Put my SSD in Sabriena’s laptop so she’s got double the space, then once I was sure the reinstall went flawlessly I took her 250GB SSD and put it in the desktop. Reinstall Windows 7, then take the upgrade to 10.
I wasn’t happy with the temps I was getting with the cooler I bought (a Cryorig M9i, the 7700k is a very hot CPU), even stock, so I bumped it up to a Noctua D15, which was a little outside the budget, but I wanted to keep the bloody thing cool. I’m very impressed with the D15 - though it’s a giant, it does exactly what it says on the box. The second cooling fan is very tight in my case, as they’re 140mm fans, and I reckon there’s maybe 145mm clearance on the outside from the RAM (which the second fan covers) to the edge of the case. I thought for sure I wouldn’t get the side on, but it worked.
We only went so big with the desktop because Sabriena didn’t want one - I probably could have swung building two modest ones (though I doubt we’d have been happy for more than a year or two), but she was adamant that she didn’t need anything other than her laptop. Well, she bought Dark Souls III after we had the machine running, and has played on it almost every day since!
We’ve now been considering bumping up Duncan’s, but given the age and form factor of his machine we’re looking at several hundred dollars just to bring it into 2017. Probably not going to happen for a while. :(
I dabbled a bit in overclocking. Because the CPU is grossly oversized for the GPU we’re running, I can’t see the sense in leaving it clocked, but I wanted to have some idea what the unit is capable of. I can’t make head or tail of Asus’ ROG BIOS stuff! The auto settings apply way more voltage (presumably to guarantee it’s stable, at the expense of temperatures), but no matter what I try I can’t set anything manually. I can set clocks and voltages manually via the AI suite in Windows, but I can’t set things like the LLC and such which I’m sure is holding it back.
I had it stable at 4.8gHz at 1.30v in AI suite, which HWMonitor64 reckons gives it 1.35v VID at each core. It ran an x264 video encode benchmark for about an hour. 4.9 crashes it after about 20 minutes, no matter the voltage, so 5gHz is out of the question. Temperatures are good though, staying firmly below 80C regardless of clock - it just won’t stay stable. I’m assuming it’s something LLC related.