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rjfaber91

MELANIE Revisited - The Zen Upgrade (now with disassembled G.Skill TridentZs)

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Posted · Original PosterOP

---- Note to moderators: I created this new thread since the build log has been dormant for such a long time that reviving the old thread would be tantamount to necromancy. Should you prefer that however, feel free to inform me and merge the threads. ----

 

melanie_thread_header_zpseopi5rsm.png

An Introduction

Nearly two years ago I started a build log on these forums as part of a project to visually enhance my otherwise perfectly functional, albeit partially aging, gaming rig, which I'd already previously named Melanie in accordance with my preponderance for giving girls' names to my computers. I worked on it for a bit, and then I got kind of sidetracked and forgot about the whole thing. Part of the motivation for upgrading Melanie was not necessarily related to aesthetics, but more to the fact that my AMD Phenom II X6 1055T was starting to show its age somewhat, and while the FX-series had never represented an actual upgrade, the prospect of the then-recently announced Zen microarchitecture was very enticing indeed. Here we are, more than a dozen months later, and the microarchitecture in question is finally about to get released. To that end, and with my desire to upgrade my CPU still very strong, I decided to officially revisit this build in a build log here.

 

A Small Sitrep

Given that I quite suddenly gave up on the old build log without having achieved even half of its goals, particularly when it comes to aesthetics, the current state of Melanie can really best be summed up as "something of a half-arsed effort".

Spoiler

chapter0prep_sitrep1_zpsmoio85hj.png

It looks perfectly functional, and I'm still very much in love with the way that graphics card paintjob turned out. The colour scheme is also mostly on point and consistent throughout the build, though the brown PCB of my ASRock 970 Extreme4 is still as much of an eyesore as it ever was. Equally, the Kingston HyperX Fury DIMMs, while made by the greatest RAM manufacturer on the planet and certainly not ugly, don't have quite the "punch" that I expected them to have when I bought them; they look rather docile next to the graphics card and even the CPU cooler. Fortunately, the upgrade to Zen will give me cause to replace both those components (even though at the time, I bought the Furys in the hope that Zen would have DDR3 support).

 

For those who immediately clicked on the link above to go through my old build log, I have to add a few things to bring you up to speed. Since that build log went dead, I actually went out and bought a windowed side panel, as the folly of doing a lot of internal surgery that won't be seen by anyone started to dawn on me more and more, as well as an extra dual-SSD tray from Phanteks that is officially sold for the Enthoo Primo, but I found works just as well in the Enthoo Pro. Sadly neither of those things are visible in the picture above. What is visible is that I changed my boot drive, from a Samsung 850 Evo 250GB to a Kingston HyperX Predator 240GB. Yes, I know that going from a SATA SSD to a non-NVMe M.2 SSD isn't necessarily the greatest speed upgrade you can make, but the M.2 drive actually has a very specific role to play in the new build, which I will get to later.

 

A Parts List

Since the main part of this build log will be a platform upgrade, things such as the PSU, graphics card, case and storage drives will remain unchanged. The CPU cooler will also stay, as I really love the slim yet powerful PH-TC14S. A quick rundown of the current configuration (excluding fans and non-boot drives) would come down to the following:

  • AMD Phenom II X6 1055T (stock clocks at 2.8GHz)
  • Phanteks PH-TC14S
  • ASRock 970 Extreme 4
  • Kingston HyperX Fury (2x8GB, 1866MHz, CAS9)
  • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming
  • Kingston HyperX Predator 240GB
  • Corsair RM750X
  • Phanteks Enthoo Pro

I shan't go through the entire list again for the system as it will be, but the new CPU, motherboard and RAM are as follows:

  • AMD Ryzen7 1800X
  • Gigabyte Aorus X370-Gaming 5
  • G.Skill TridentZ (2x8GB, 3200MHz, CAS16)

A minor difference that is worth being born in mind is that in the current configuration, my GTX 970 is running stock clocks, because it's already borderline bottlenecked by the CPU anyway and giving it extra voltage for no significant extra performance seems a bit silly. I might give it a bit of an overclock as part of the build log, even if the main limiting factor of the 970 at the moment is not its GPU computing power but its VRAM capacity.

 

Just to throw in an extra picture, here's the preordered CPU and motherboard (the RAM I've already got):

ryzenpurchase_zpsb0mp61ni.png

As you can plainly see from the little picture (or Gigabyte's site, if you don't want to strain your eyes), the Aorus board fits the existing aesthetic of the build very neatly, and I don't anticipate having to do any painting or other modding on the heatsinks and cosmetic shrouds of the board.

 

A Few Photos

As I mentioned, I've already got the RAM. I preordered it a while ago because of the rising RAM prices and my unwillingness to pay more money for the exact same product if I waited until now to buy the stuff. As we know, Ryzen CPUs are currently having some issues with high-speed RAM, so I'll probably clock it down from 3200MHz to 2666MHz until the rumoured fix in the shape of a BIOS update comes along.

chapter1parts_ram1_zpss3fqyqpw.png

chapter1parts_ram2_zpsbyqz5pd3.png

I will be painting the coolers on these DIMMs to make them match the theme of the build a bit better. As it stands, they already fit the colour scheme excellently, but I want to have more blue in the system, and so the black parts of the RAM coolers will be painted metallic blue (for reference, it's the same as the backplate of the graphics card in the sitrep picture)

 

Another thing that I've already got is the AM4 mounting kit for my PH-TC14S. Phanteks was kind enough to send me one free of charge, which I think is excellent, and it dropped on the mat just today.

chapter1parts_am4mountingkit1_zpscoyzc2w

I was expecting an AM4 kit, but what I actually got is a kit that fits both AM4's and the old AMD mounting holes, in the same way that many coolers already do with Intel's 115X series of sockets and their ever-so-slightly different mounting holes. Nice!

 

An Outro

That wraps it up for this first installment in my new build log. I'll be back tomorrow to show off some of the renders for the to-be-3D-printed shrouds* as well as more elaboration on what other things I plan to do. Equally, expect a lengthy update once the CPU and motherboard have been delivered.

 

Thanks very much for bearing with me, and I promise I'll actually finish the build this time. :P

 

* = There's a teaser for the PSU shroud in the header image already, if you truly cannot wait.


Main Rig "Melanie" (click!) -- AMD Ryzen7 1800X • Gigabyte Aorus X370-Gaming 5 • 3x G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 8GB • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming • Corsair RM750x • Phanteks Enthoo Pro --

HTPC "Keira" -- AMD Sempron 2650 • MSI AM1I • 2x Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 1866 8GB • ASUS ENGTX 560Ti • Corsair SF450 • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Shift --

Laptop "Abbey" -- AMD E-350 • HP 646982-001 • 1x Samsung DDR3 1333 4GB • AMD Radeon HD 6310 • HP MU06 Notebook Battery • HP 635 case --

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From my understand ryzen has now been tested with 3200mhz ram and does work with it now. So no under clocking required :) 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, 8-Bit Ninja said:

From my understand ryzen has now been tested with 3200mhz ram and does work with it now. So no under clocking required :) 

Well, I'll give it a go and see if it already works or not. To my understanding, that speed has only been attained in the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero right now, but it won't hurt trying to see if the Aorus board runs it at that speed without a BIOS update as well.


Main Rig "Melanie" (click!) -- AMD Ryzen7 1800X • Gigabyte Aorus X370-Gaming 5 • 3x G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 8GB • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming • Corsair RM750x • Phanteks Enthoo Pro --

HTPC "Keira" -- AMD Sempron 2650 • MSI AM1I • 2x Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 1866 8GB • ASUS ENGTX 560Ti • Corsair SF450 • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Shift --

Laptop "Abbey" -- AMD E-350 • HP 646982-001 • 1x Samsung DDR3 1333 4GB • AMD Radeon HD 6310 • HP MU06 Notebook Battery • HP 635 case --

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Posted · Original PosterOP

melanie_thread_header_zpseopi5rsm.png

 

A Little Rant

In my last update I said that I'd post some renders the day after, thinking that I could smoothly chain together the first couple of updates as the CPU and motherboard would drop on the doormat just a few days later. However, it is now a few days later, and not only have they not been delivered yet, but I don't even have an estimate as to when they'll arrive at Caseking in Germany, leave alone when the shipping from Germany to the Netherlands will be done. I've seen people on these forums and elsewhere talk about how they went into a store at launch day and bought a Ryzen chip and AM4 motherboard, and are now enjoying them very much, while I am still waiting with nothing whatsoever to show for the fact that I actually went out and preordered.

 

Don't get me wrong; I don't regret preordering, nor am I regretting the parts choice I made, but I am slightly upset that preordering, which is supposed to mean you get your products on launch day, or at most a few days later due to shipping times, apparently means you actually get your hardware later than people who didn't preorder, which is just plain wrong.

 

At this point, I just don't know anything about when I can actually continue building something in this build log, and I'm assuming Caseking doesn't know either. In fact, AMD and Gigabyte might not even know. Saying the Ryzen7 launch has been troubled might be a bit of an understatement... Still, it ought to be good when it finally gets here, hopefully still within this decade. :P

 

A Few Renders

There's nothing much I can do about the situation with the CPU and motherboard, really, but the least I can do is show you those renders I promised, so here they are:

 

chapter0prep_fanshroudrender1_zpsgicrnff

First of all, there's the fan shroud. Like most of the 3D printed parts of this build, it's purely aesthetic in purpose, and will probably actually negatively affect airflow somewhat, but I don't really care about that; its primary goal is to look pretty, and I think it does. The design is something that probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to many of you, since the whole idea of this build is to replicate the design language of Gigabyte's fantastic-looking Windforce coolers throughout the system, and this fan shroud is basically a 1:1 copy of the GPU shrouds on Windforce cards, albeit with different proportions, for obvious reasons.

 

chapter0prep_coolershroud_pumpmountshrou

Secondly, and before we get to the elephant in the room, we've got the CPU cooler shroud and a little reservoir mount shroud. "Reservoir mount shroud?", I hear you think. Yes. Of course this isn't a watercooled build, so there won't be a reservoir either, but the Phanteks Enthoo Pro comes with a rather obvious reservoir mount next to the expansion card covers, and I don't particularly like the look of this reservoir mount. It's great to have it there if you are going to watercool, but a bit of an eyesore otherwise, hence why I'm covering it up. This shroud, again, has no practical purpose, although it does help put some extra blue into the system to balance things out, where otherwise only the graphics card backplate and the CPU cooler shroud would be blue, and everything else white or black.

 

Speaking of the CPU cooler shroud, it's a fairly simple affair. The Phanteks PH-TC14S I use is a very pretty cooler, and quite unique as well; it's the only dual-tower cooler on the market that isn't a massive block of a thing, but is actually rather sleek. The heatpipe caps give it a very muscular look as well, and as you can see from the render, I'm very much retaining that. The idea is actually that the heatpipe caps stick out slightly through the holes in the shroud, like the suspension components on a BAC Mono, or one of those oversized air intakes on an old muscle car. I've actually done a couple of mockup renders of this shroud to experiment with different colours, and I think the one shown above, with the little mounting bracked painted white and the actual shroud blue, looks best.

 

chapter0prep_psushroudrender1_zpstk1utk8

chapter0prep_psushroudrender2_zpsz74ys4a

And so we get to the elephant in the room, the custom power supply shroud. Yes, this is a big one (both literally and figuratively). The previous shrouds have been aesthetic only, but this one actually has some functionality to it. Well, admittedly the shroud itself doesn't, but the frame on which it sits does. On the right there's a mount for a 120mm fan, and I'll put one of my Noctua NF-F12 LTT Editions in there, while on the left is something you might not have immediately guessed the purpose of, but is actually a mount for the PCIe-to-M.2 adapter that came with my HyperX Predator 240GB. I'll connect it to the motherboard through some riser cables, obviously, and it means that the M.2 drive will be permanently on display here, which I think is rather nice. It's certainly nicer than having it hanging upside down out of a PCIe slot.

 

You do not want to know how long it took to actually work out which screw holes in the Enthoo Pro I wanted to use to mount this thing, but I'm happy I took the time, because I think it looks pretty damn good in renders, and I hope it'll look just as good in real life.

 

chapter0prep_shroudplacement1_zpsshzxiz8

Not much to say here, but I thought having a picture giving a rough idea where everything goes might help you visualise how the build is going to turn out, bearing in mind that the motherboard, CPU, RAM and power cables will also still change. I won't insult your intelligence by assuming you couldn't figure out where the power supply shroud goes, but hey, it gives an idea for the others...

 

chapter0prep_psushroudrender3_zpsr09t8go

Just wanted to throw this in there because I love how the stock SolidWorks renderer works. It's not some fancy and expensive third-party affair, but it still creates some truly wonderful pictures.

 

More to come next time, but as I said earlier, next time might still be some while away, depending on when I finally get my new CPU and motherboard.


Main Rig "Melanie" (click!) -- AMD Ryzen7 1800X • Gigabyte Aorus X370-Gaming 5 • 3x G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 8GB • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming • Corsair RM750x • Phanteks Enthoo Pro --

HTPC "Keira" -- AMD Sempron 2650 • MSI AM1I • 2x Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 1866 8GB • ASUS ENGTX 560Ti • Corsair SF450 • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Shift --

Laptop "Abbey" -- AMD E-350 • HP 646982-001 • 1x Samsung DDR3 1333 4GB • AMD Radeon HD 6310 • HP MU06 Notebook Battery • HP 635 case --

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Ohh you went with the 1800X? Mind if I ask why? I was going to buy the 1700X but when I found out that the 1700 can achieve the same clocks as the 1700X and 1800X, it was a no-brainer for myself.


*Insert Name* R̶y̶z̶e̶n̶ Intel Build!  https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/748542-insert-name-r̶y̶z̶e̶n̶-intel-build/

Case: NZXT S340 Elite Matte White Motherboard: Gigabyte AORUS Z270X Gaming 5 CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K GPU: ASUS STRIX OC GTX 1080 RAM: Corsair Ballistix Sport LT 2400mhz Cooler: Enermax ETS-T40F-BK PSU: Corsair CX750M SSD: PNY CS1311 120GB HDD: Seagate Momentum 2.5" 7200RPM 500GB

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, Brehohn said:

Ohh you went with the 1800X? Mind if I ask why? I was going to buy the 1700X but when I found out that the 1700 can achieve the same clocks as the 1700X and 1800X, it was a no-brainer for myself.

Well, I'm not a massive fan of Intel, to put it mildly, and for fairly obvious reasons I never bought into Bulldozer either, so at the moment I'm still running a Phenom II X6 1055T, which is seven years old at this point. Because of that I decided quite early on (before the individual Ryzen SKUs were even announced, actually) that I would treat myself and get the best CPU Zen had to offer.

 

You're absolutely right though, from a price-to-performance perspective, the 1700 far outshines the others.


Main Rig "Melanie" (click!) -- AMD Ryzen7 1800X • Gigabyte Aorus X370-Gaming 5 • 3x G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 8GB • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming • Corsair RM750x • Phanteks Enthoo Pro --

HTPC "Keira" -- AMD Sempron 2650 • MSI AM1I • 2x Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 1866 8GB • ASUS ENGTX 560Ti • Corsair SF450 • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Shift --

Laptop "Abbey" -- AMD E-350 • HP 646982-001 • 1x Samsung DDR3 1333 4GB • AMD Radeon HD 6310 • HP MU06 Notebook Battery • HP 635 case --

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4 hours ago, rjfaber91 said:

Well, I'm not a massive fan of Intel, to put it mildly, and for fairly obvious reasons I never bought into Bulldozer either, so at the moment I'm still running a Phenom II X6 1055T, which is seven years old at this point. Because of that I decided quite early on (before the individual Ryzen SKUs were even announced, actually) that I would treat myself and get the best CPU Zen had to offer.

 

You're absolutely right though, from a price-to-performance perspective, the 1700 far outshines the others.

Dude, you couldn't of said it better yourself. You're completely right. After 7 years, definitely treat yourself with the best!


*Insert Name* R̶y̶z̶e̶n̶ Intel Build!  https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/748542-insert-name-r̶y̶z̶e̶n̶-intel-build/

Case: NZXT S340 Elite Matte White Motherboard: Gigabyte AORUS Z270X Gaming 5 CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K GPU: ASUS STRIX OC GTX 1080 RAM: Corsair Ballistix Sport LT 2400mhz Cooler: Enermax ETS-T40F-BK PSU: Corsair CX750M SSD: PNY CS1311 120GB HDD: Seagate Momentum 2.5" 7200RPM 500GB

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

melanie_thread_header_zpseopi5rsm.png

 

A quick update: I've finally received my motherboard and CPU!

 

chapter1parts_platform1_zpse8oqelpm.png

 

I like how Caseking always includes a sachet of Haribo Goldbären with their international shipments... "We will send you ze hartware, but we also wish you to experience ze superiority of ze German culture". :D:D 

 

So yes, in case you didn't bother reading my previous posts and are just here for the pictures, I've gone for a Ryzen7 1800X and a Gigabyte Aorus X370 Gaming 5.

 

chapter1parts_platform2_zpsnepnrvmm.png

 

Bearing in mind, of course, that there's still some painting to be done on the RAM, and the overall visual appeal of the build will be rather affected by the CPU cooler and graphics card as well, I did throw together the parts of the base platform just to have a rough idea of how it looks, and I'm not displeased.

 

I didn't have much time to throw this update together as I got the parts only an hour and a bit before I've got to leave for work, but expect a larger, more comprehensive update on very short notice.


Main Rig "Melanie" (click!) -- AMD Ryzen7 1800X • Gigabyte Aorus X370-Gaming 5 • 3x G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 8GB • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming • Corsair RM750x • Phanteks Enthoo Pro --

HTPC "Keira" -- AMD Sempron 2650 • MSI AM1I • 2x Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 1866 8GB • ASUS ENGTX 560Ti • Corsair SF450 • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Shift --

Laptop "Abbey" -- AMD E-350 • HP 646982-001 • 1x Samsung DDR3 1333 4GB • AMD Radeon HD 6310 • HP MU06 Notebook Battery • HP 635 case --

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Posted · Original PosterOP

melanie_thread_header_zpseopi5rsm.png

 

Well, when I was posting that quick update earlier this week, I wanted to say I'd write a more complete followup the following day, but it's a good thing I said "on very short notice" instead, because once I got the new parts installed, I just went off and had fun seeing the performance improvements in all sorts of applications, thus losing me a few hours. Anyway, I did document the process, so here it is, a few days delayed but all the better for it...

 

A Brief Test-Run

chapter2platform_testing1_zpsyxwgles0.pn

After taking the parts out of the box, I did feel it might be wise to observe best practice and actually give them a little test-run before installing them in the system, so I put everything together again, added an old GT 520 I still had laying around to get some video output, took the 24-pin and 8-pin EPS connectors out of the old motherboard and plugged them in here, and gave it a little go. The hard drives that still had their SATA power cables plugged in were going a bit mad, because they were getting power but the motherboard they were attached to didn't, but hey, that's hard drives for you...

 

chapter2platform_testing2_zps06epfufi.pn

And we've got a succesfull boot! Well, for about twenty seconds we did. I was already very enthusiastically going through all the BIOS options, completely forgetting I didn't bother to attach a cooler to the CPU since it was only supposed to be a test to see if the system would POST. As a result, my 1800X went into thermal shutdown less than a minute after being first switched on. What a great way for it to be initiated into my life. xD

 

chapter2platform_testing3_zpssnd9v1cl.pn

Oh, by the way, if any of you just cringed that I just put the motherboard on the desk and switched it on; don't worry, I'm not quite that stupid, and did actually put it on some leftover standoffs.

 

chapter2platform_testing4_zpslc2j5si6.pn

I looked through my box of old cooling equipment, and found an old AMD stock cooler that I'd owned for donkey's years and never used (I believe this actually came with the Athlon X2 5200+ that I bought about a decade ago; the dried-up pre-applied thermal paste certainly seemed ten years old), and stuck that on to get some more time in the BIOS rather than having thermal shutdown take it away from me again, making use of the opportunity to change the colour of the RGB lights to something slightly more appropriate.

 

A Few Hours of Dis- and Re-assembly

chapter2platform_disassembly1_zpsibippen

Well, there it is; the last look at the old ASRock board and its Phenom II. Well, the last look at it while installed in this system anyway, as I do intend to reuse it in another system, for which I might write a build log as well. It's certainly rather visible from this picture that dust accumulation had been something of a thing in Melanie, unsurprisingly so since I hadn't cleaned it out for more than a year.

 

chapter2platform_disassembly2_zpsd2l0ufp

While cleaning the dust out of the heatsink of my graphics card, I noticed some damage to the paintjob on the backplate. It took me a while to realise what had happened, but I suspect what happened is that after painting the thing originally, I put it back in the system before allowing the paint to dry through-and-through, and the USB 3.0 cable that had been resting on it had pressed some of the paint out of the way. :( Damn it, I hate USB 3.0 cables...

 

Anyway, it's good to know that when I next break out the spray cans to paint the RAM, I'll have to do a bit of touching up on the graphics card as well. Fortunately this was the only damage, and the rest of the paintjob on both the backplate and the fan shroud has held out extraordinarily well.

 

chapter2platform_disassembly3_zps8pmb1lt

Having taken out the graphics card, I decided to just place it on top of the motherboard to see how well the whites in the system match, and they match remarkably well. There's always a risk when buying "white" components that some are more creamy white than others, but in this case it matches perfectly. Just so you know, the white paint on the graphics card's fan shroud is the same one I'll be using on the PSU shroud and other parts. Oh, and the metallic blue of the backplate is also the same I'll use on the RAM, so that ought to give you a pretty good idea of how that'll turn out.

 

chapter2platform_disassembly4_zps3qm2ahb

I never really got a chance to show you this, but I've been using this Kingston HyperX Predator 240GB SSD as my boot drive for the last months. It currently resides in the bottom PCIe slot on the motherboard, but I'm actually going to use riser cables to incorporate this into the PSU shroud, and have it be very prominently visible. I'm not 100% sure I'll keep using it as a boot drive for the foreseeable future, since while it is an M.2 SSD, it is still SATA protocol-wise, and I wouldn't mind using the NVMe M.2 slot on the motherboard at some point in the future. Anyway, I haven't made any decisions on that yet, and even if it should turn out I won't be using as a boot drive anymore, I'll still keep it, and probably use it as a Steam library for some loading-heavy games.

 

chapter2platform_complete1_zps35od8czw.p

Having put everything back together again, the system currently looks like this. It's good to be rid of the brown PCB and exposed rear I/O stuff, but obviously you're not here to see a man replace a motherboard, CPU and some RAM, so the serious custom work is still very much coming soon. I didn't really bother doing as much dust cleaning as I intended, but I'll get around to that next time.

 

I'm also as convinced as I ever was that I want to be using sleeved extensions for the power cables, but looking at this I'm thinking I'd also like to use a sleeved extension for that atrocious USB 3.0 cable. Does any of you know of any company that makes those? Just black sleeving will do really...

 

ryzentaskmgr_zpszydiip6e.png

Bonus picture: Lovely sixteen threads... :):):) 


Main Rig "Melanie" (click!) -- AMD Ryzen7 1800X • Gigabyte Aorus X370-Gaming 5 • 3x G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 8GB • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming • Corsair RM750x • Phanteks Enthoo Pro --

HTPC "Keira" -- AMD Sempron 2650 • MSI AM1I • 2x Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 1866 8GB • ASUS ENGTX 560Ti • Corsair SF450 • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Shift --

Laptop "Abbey" -- AMD E-350 • HP 646982-001 • 1x Samsung DDR3 1333 4GB • AMD Radeon HD 6310 • HP MU06 Notebook Battery • HP 635 case --

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Posted · Original PosterOP

melanie_thread_header_zpseopi5rsm.png

 

Those who have followed this build log since the start may have noticed that I've done a lot of talking about painting the heatsinks on the RAM, but that while I've owned the sticks for more than a month now, I haven't acted on that yet? Why not? Well, taking the heatsinks off of RAM sticks requires a heat gun, and I didn't have one. Yesterday however, it arrived in the post, so this afternoon I had a go at getting started with the RAM paintjob. How far did I get? Well, not very, for reasons that'll soon become obvious.

 

A Heated Disassembly and Paintjob (pun absolutely intended)

chapter3ram_disassembly1_zpssnzfqdia.png

Taking a heat gun to a stick of RAM is easy, of course. It is a bit disconcerting if you've never done it before, but given that the heat gun I bought is adjustable with steps of 10°C, there was at least some semblance of me being sensible, and not just some idiot who was burning up his own RAM. I tried various temperatures, but 50°C and 60°C didn't feel remotely warm enough, and knowing that most electronics are only rated to withstand 125°C, I didn't want to go too high either. In the end I settled on 90°C, which seemed to do the job and (spoiler alert) didn't end up killing the memory chips.

 

chapter3ram_disassembly2_zpsbffmmhyt.png

And sure enough, the heatsinks came off easily. Or rather, half of them did. G.Skill, in their infinite wisdom and skill (pun again intended) decided to create an 8GB memory stick by putting four 1GB modules on a single side of the PCB, where I really with they'd used eight 512MB modules, with four on each side. Why, you ask? Well, because while the thermal adhesive sticking the heatsink to the memory modules came off really easily, the adhesive foamy tape used on the bare side of the PCB was an utter arse to remove. It took way too much force to get that to separate from the heatsink, and I ended up burning most of my fingertips (from the hot heatsink after giving it a blast with the heat gun) and bending one of my DIMMs. Yes, I bent a DIMM. I did not at first notice, but once I did, I was affraid I'd killed it.

 

chapter3ram_disassembly3_zpswehcrlb8.png

As such, I immediately put the sticks back in the system, and found out to my great pleasure that they both work absolutely splendidly, and I haven't damaged them at all. The bent one is the one on the left by the way, and while it looks straight when plugged in, that's because the memory slot is actually pulling it straight again; I did have to move it around a bit to plug it into the slot in the first place, because it no longer goes in naturally, as any straight DIMM can be expected to do.

 

By the way, the annoying foam is visible on the DIMMs here as well. I decided to leave it on, so I could reuse it later as a spacer between the PCB and the heatsink. It's lost its adhesion, but I'll use some very thin double-sided tape to stick it together with the heatsink again. That tape isn't heat-resistant, but then again, this foam is literally a thermal insulator (as all foams are), so there's not much to go wrong there.

 

chapter3ram_disassembly4_zpszh03a5hx.png

Having taken all the cooler components apart, I layed them out in a way that clearly shows the difference between the extremely neat separation job on the memory module side of the PCB and the extremely non-neat separation on the bare side. That foam really is atrocious.

 

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Because I wanted a clean surface on the heatsinks, I spent about fifteen minutes rubbing away every last bit of the foam residu with a microfibre cloth and some ethanol. I then added some painters' tape on all the heatsinks to cover up the bit where they'll be reattached to the DIMMs, and of course to protect the thermal adhesive still present on two of them.

 

chapter3ram_painting2_zpsupluivwi.png

I then created a little frame out of some steel wire to hold up the heatsinks so the paint can penetrate the inside of the little fin array on top, and dug up my paint cans.

 

chapter3ram_painting3_zpsmeftti58.png

I then proceeded to add a highly succesful first coat of primer on one of the heatsinks, and that was that... I thought I'd still have more than enough primer left to do at least two coats on all four heatsinks, but it turns out I didn't, and I ran out of primer halfway through the second heatsink. Bugger!

 

chapter3ram_painting4_zpsejidyecs.png

In the last second-or-so that there was still some primer coming out of the spray can, and not just air, it created this horrible splatter pattern, which I'm probably going to have to clear up before continuing to apply primer. Bugger again! Speaking of continuing this paintjob, by the way, the retailer I buy my paints from is currently having maintenance done on their webshop, and it won't be online again until the 27th, so it'll be a few more days before I have another can of primer, and can continue this job.

 

I know, it's a bit disappointing to see a paintjob begin and then be interrupted so suddenly, and I feel the exact same way, but c'est la vie. I certainly will be back with another painting log when the extra primer arrives.

 

In other, non-paint-related news: I've ordered some sleeved power cable extensions for the motherboard and graphics card off @modguru, which should add a much more professional look to Melanie in a single stroke. I'm really looking forward to seeing how they'll fit into the system, and of course I'll keep you up to date with that part of the build as well.


Main Rig "Melanie" (click!) -- AMD Ryzen7 1800X • Gigabyte Aorus X370-Gaming 5 • 3x G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 8GB • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming • Corsair RM750x • Phanteks Enthoo Pro --

HTPC "Keira" -- AMD Sempron 2650 • MSI AM1I • 2x Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 1866 8GB • ASUS ENGTX 560Ti • Corsair SF450 • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Shift --

Laptop "Abbey" -- AMD E-350 • HP 646982-001 • 1x Samsung DDR3 1333 4GB • AMD Radeon HD 6310 • HP MU06 Notebook Battery • HP 635 case --

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