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Building Fallout

Level 7
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Link to Building Half-Life Blue Post;

For those wishing to see the old build or just see an overclocked, watercooled, triple carded system.

The Story

Well, hello. It's been three long years since my last build, but fate has a funny way of interjecting bad moments into your life. A few months after that post I was to become unemployed, this had the major effect of me needing to let go of my internet and land line. No more surfing for me . I consoled myself with the fact that I had my machine to play with. A few months past and I settled into how my life was running, and was even able to manage the budget and save some money. After nearly a year, roughly April 2011, I was able to acquire a new graphics & water cooling upgrade which consisted of 2 x HD 6970's and 1 x GT 440 & an EK HF Supreme Full Nickel. Upon arrival the cards & block were whisked into the machine so quickly, I don't think the packaging had time to settle on the floor.

I must have been too complacent with myself, cause 'Murphy' cast his gaze upon me. I was to find out that after plugging in all 3 cards, my power supply unit was not enough to run them plus all the water stuff and drives I had. So a brand new GT 440 had to be shelved, as well as my idea of wanting to try Hybrid PhysX. After fixing the set-up in the machine and telling myself "It's okay, be happy with your two new cards.", I got to play with my new cards for two days, it was then that 'Murphy' decided to introduce me to one of his good mates. His name is 'Worse', and he was about to show me just what was in plan for my 'happiness'.

Upon waking one morning and running through my usual days start, which consisted of turning on the machine, making a coffee and then diving into whatever game I was playing. This particular morning after making my coffee, I sat down at the machine as I normally do, and placed my hand on the mouse to 'start' my day (what else ya gonna do when unemployed). When I double clicked the game to start, within seconds the machine went into a BSOD and abruptly shut down, not even finishing it's BSOD! ... within seconds I could smell that acrid burning technology smell that we all fear. In a panic I went to look into the case, ripping the side cover off and inspecting everywhere, but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary, but I could certainly smell that something had happened. The decision was made to power on the machine while my eyes were glued to the board, the moment I was to push the power button my eyes were to behold a tiny, yet still quite bright, flash of light followed by the faintest plume of white smoke rising from a chipset on the board, even a tiny bit of white powdery stuff was scattered over the chip after the event.

At a bit over a year old, Half-Life BLUe was dead !!!

Hard to see the damage, but it was the chip between the RAM slots and the IDE slot that went when I was watching, I dare say something else cooked before that, judging by the smell. The board is now part of my "Expensive Dead Parts' collection. It sits in good company.

The combined efforts of 'Murphy' & 'Worse' were to be very successful in stopping my happiness. Rummaging through my spare room full of parts for a board that was socket 775, I was to find that the only board I had, was a Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L, not the best gaming board you would agree, but in it went and all the water stuff and drives, ... but only one graphics card. This was to be 'BLUe's' fate for the next two odd years, with one virtually brand new HD 6970 (two days use) and one spanking brand new GT 440 (not even fired) sitting in the spare room cupboard. This was not sitting well with me as you could imagine. Something needed to be done, and the brain started ticking over 'possibilities'.

The thought process at the time was to acquire a new motherboard that meet my requirements, I was also contemplating replacing the now venerable Q6600, which I have had for 7 odd years. Before long I was starting to think of a build that came to me when I was nearly finished building 'BLUe' ... and I wanted this build to be special. Being unemployed I really had no immediate means to make these grandious delusions spring into action. The brain started thinking once again, and a plan was born, a long term plan.

I had been wanting to go to core i7 for some time now, but of course a decent CPU and a worthwhile board were going to cost some big dollars. So for the two odd years that 'BLUe' was in it's sickly state, I began saving, my thinking at the time was an LGA1366 i7 and an ASUS Rampage III Formula board, this was the early months of 2011. By the end of the year I had already saved a nice small amount and was going to start looking at narrowing my options down as to what I actually wanted to get, that I was to read about the socket 2011 6 core processors. This kind of changed everything, as the more I found out about it the more I wanted one, and one in particular. I wanted the 3930k. This is an expensive chip as is a good motherboard to go with it, but the heart was set on the CPU and the now updated ASUS Rampage IV Formula. This change required a considerable amount of money to be added to the 'save' amount. Starting to become an expensive upgrade.

While all this planning and saving is going on, I am still using 'BLUe', and I must admit, that even with a lowly G31M chipset, I was able to game quite decently on a single HD 6970, and I did for some two years, all the while wondering what it will be like when I eventually kick in the other one. It was this thought process that started a new dilemma. Staring into the DX Soprano case one day, it dawned on me that when the HD 3870's were in the case, it was quite difficult to arrange the hard drives within their bays, as the cards were long enough to interfere with the drives space requirements. The HD 6970 not only interferes with the hard drives space requirements, it takes them completely away! With the end of the card only just missing the metal cage for the hard drives by a few millimeters. Put two cards in the case, and now you really constrict the amount of hard drives you can use.

It was clear that once again, I was to have an issue just like I did when building 'BLUe' in the first place. The issue of a case. The requirement of space seems to be a never ending battle, but there was a case I had wanted every since I lay my eyes on it. It was BIG, it was expensive and it was awesome ... it was also no longer available. Thankfully, it was replaced by a slightly smaller version, but still BIG and still awesome, but now not stratospherically expensive. With funding being the equivalent of a bowl of rice a week, my 'needs' were outweighing what I could provide. The case was tentatively added to the 'save' list, starting to think that by the time I finally get the finances to build this thing, the core i7 will be equivalent to a commodore vic-20.

During this time, still gaming on little 'BLUe' (named so now cause of it's smaller internals count), I would start thinking about the off chance I further saved money and got the case. As I mentioned earlier I have had an idea now in my head for a new gaming rig for some time and although the i7 and board's intention is to upgrade sickly 'BLUe', a new case, is well, the start of a new rig. This also means all that a new rig entails, new HDD's, new DVD's, new PSU ... you get the idea, it is all just more and more expense. That 'bowl of rice' is getting smaller and smaller as to how far it's suppose to go around. I started thinking that a new gaming rig, means a left over one.

This option of multiple machines sounded appealing and started a new line of thought that side tracked off, but was still reliant on, the building of a new gaming rig. So the train of thought went back to the case with some affirmation, and was now starting to think more along the lines of what I wanted this case to look like. Having done the 'stickers' route with 'BLUe', I very much wanted to do a paint job on a case this time, and by that I mean getting some one else to do it, cause the best I could do would be some stick figures, and not really worthy of showing off. This of course meant extra money for a paint job and as such was a 'maybe one of these days' kind of idea, but would be nice. The idea of multiple machines lead me to go and check what was in this cupboard full of parts I had. Emptying them out onto the spare room floor, I was to discover that I had enough parts to build 3 machines, and a plan on how I would utilize the machines was starting to formulate.

April 2013 arrives and marks the day of the arrival of my chip and board. Gleefully starring at the parts that I have saved so diligently for, I start to think, well I will be able to get some RAM fairly easily considering their cost, won't take me long to save for them. Case with RAM will take slightly longer, but still not like saving up a grand. So the new parts got put aside. Another few (6 or more) months and it will be here I told myself. The end of April was to show me just how funny life can be sometimes, two weeks after the motherboard and CPU arriving at my door, I was to get a phone call that changed everything. The phone call was regarding a job, a nice new, 'nice' paying government job.

As you can Imagine, this has now meant that the reigns holding back my vision of my new gaming rig have been thrown asunder. Now after having finished building everything, I thought I would once again share what I have created.

Level 7
So now, without further ado ...

The Specs

Pic of the parts. Some scabbed from Half-Life Blue, some not used till certain upgrades are in place.

Fallout Rig

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
Case: Thermaltake Level 10 GT
CPU: Intel 3930k 3.2Ghz 6 Core
Motherboard: ASUS Rampage IV Formula
RAM: GSkill RipjawsX 2133Mhz DDR3 x 16GB
Thermal Compund: DeepCool Z3
Water Block: Koolance CPU380i (90 degree mount)
Radiator: XSPC RX360
Pump: EK DCP 4.0
Reservoir: 1 x Thermaltake M1 2U Level Flow Indicator (Front)
1 x Thermaltake Pump Reservoir (Rear)
Graphics Cards: 2 x HIS HD6970's 2GB DDR5 (each)
1 x EVGA GT640 2GB DDR3
PSU: Coolermaster Silent Pro M2 1000W
HDD: 1 x Samsung 840 Pro 128GB SSD
1 x Seagate Barracuda 2TB
1 x Seagate Barracuda 500GB
Optical: 2 x Samsung SH224BB/BEBS DVD Drives
Water Hose: Primochill Primoflex 3/4od 1/2 id
Fittings: 8 x Monsoon Free Center Compression Fittings Black Chrome
4 x Koolance 90 degree swiveling elbow black
Fans: 1 x Lian Li CF1412A 140mm Blue LED
3 x Silverstone AP121 Air Penetrator 120mm Blue LED
1 x Bitspower Plastic Fan Adapter 140mm to 120 mm
1 x Bitspower 140mm Anti Vibration silicon fan gasket
3 x Silverstone FF123 120mm Fan Filters
Card Reader: Thermaltake Extreme Speed 3
WiFi Card: Asus PCE-AC66 Dual Band Wireless PCI-e Adapter
Lighting: Bitspower Dual 30cm Cold Cathode UV Blue (resleeved blue)
Cabling: 1 x Bitfenix 8pin EPS 12v (Blue)
1 x Bitfenix 24pin ATX (Blue)
2 x Bitfenix 8pin PCI-e (Blue)
2 x Bitfenix 6pin PCI-e (Blue)
1 x Bitfenix 3pin Fan Ext (Blue)
1 x XSPC Quad 120mm Fan cable (Black)
7 x ASUS SATA cables (Black)(supplied with board)
1 x Molex to Double Molex (resleeved blue)
Monitor: 1 x Samsung LED S22B300B 21.5 inch monitor 1920x1080
Keyboard: Razer Lycosa Mirror Edition Improved Keystroke version
Mouse: Razer Diamondback 2600dpi 7 button gaming mouse
Mouse Mat: Razer Xtreme Pad Aluminium double sided (Speed/Exact)
Speakers: XMS 5.1 Surround System (35w sub, 15w satellites RMS)
Steering Wheel: Logitech GT Steering Wheel
Joystick: Logitech Attack 3
Gamepad: Powerwave Crimson Skull Edition 12 button PS style

Case Work;
The case was sent to a spray painter to get my 'idea' applied to it, which was to make the case look like it's been through hell and back, this is a homage to a post apocalyptic game afterall. This was quite expensive and not something everybody would do, but I think you'll agree, the end result is very nice 😄
Artists website:

I had Indigo Extreme for this thing, but both attempts at applying it went wrong. So I will get some more and have another go. They're not wrong when they said this stuff was tricky to use in the forum posts I read.

One application didn't even flow, that was my fault. The second application flowed ... right off the CPU onto the socket assembly, fairly easy stuff to remove thankfully.

Upgrades already coming;
2 extra Samsung Monitors for Eyefinity, 1 x G27 Logitech Wheel, 1 x Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick & a pair of Razer Megalodon 7.1 Headphones.

Planned Upgrades;
I was going to buy a couple of HD7970's and use the HD6970's in 'BLUe', but after picking out ones that I wanted, I was to find out about the upcoming HD9970's coming October'ish, so figuring spending money on cards at the moment wasn't wise, I decided to use the HD6970's till the new stuff comes out.

The Pics

Front of the machine.

Side of the machine.

Portrait side of the machine.

Top of the machine.

love the fallout picture. that was one of my favorite games ever (fallout 3).. cool build dude
Rampage IV Extreme
55" Samsung 3D LED 1080p
19" NEC side monitor
4930k @ 3.9ghz (h100i)
Dominator GT 2133mhz 16gb
2xDomiatorGT RAM cooling fans
OCZ Vertex 4 RAID0 2x256gb
Silent Pro GOLD 1200
3xGTX 770's 4GB Windforce TRI-SLI
Sound Blaster Zx
Logitech Z5500 digital 5.1
2xLG 3D Blu ray burners
Silverstone Multi USB3 card reader
2x4terabyte WD backup sata6.0 drives
1x1terabyte WD backup sata6.0 drive
10 Antec tri cool 120mm fans
Razor Deathadder mouse
Corsair 600t

ended up in several treads, ill tell a admin to merge them.

That would be awesome. Cheers 🙂

kkn wrote:
ended up in several treads, ill tell a admin to merge them.

Merged all of them. Saw them as I was making my evening rounds of the forums. 🙂 No worries, OP, it's about a 30-second task to fix. 😄
I am disturbed because I cannot break my system...found out there were others trying to cope! We have a support group on here, if your system will not break, please join!
We now have 178 people whose systems will not break! Yippee! 🙂
LINUX Users, we have a group!

Level 7

Rear of machine showing chrome blue led fans with fan filters.

Pump assembly.

Internals of machine.

Internals with lights on. As you can see this is in an already lit room and is as bright as hell. 🙂

Side of the machine with the door closed.

Front of machine lit up showing water flowing in front bay.

Top of the machine lit up.

Radiator fan assembly all lit up.

Level 7
Detailed Paint Pics

Front optical drive & water bays.

Front fan grill/ hard drive bay.

Top fan grill.

Removable hard drive bays.

Side fan cover.

Top of side fan cover.

Window panel.

Side Logo.

Level 7

Radiator Logo.

Neat pump and fan wiring plus ASUS wireless card.

I/O sheild, just cause I thought that was cool.

Close up of portrait. Sorry for dark pic, but flash was always shining of the clear coat.

What To Do With A Room Full Of Spare Parts

Or as I like to call it, 'The upgrade cascade effect'. Now this section of my article was to show you guys what the culmination of my multiple machine thought path, but I must have been out of 'Murphy's' gaze for too long and he once again decided to turn his attention my way. For this one though, he once again teamed up with his mate 'Worse', and they were to deliver some handy news to me. This news was that the landlord has decided to sell the place and would like to renovate it before putting it on the market. Meaning I had to move. Given 90 days to do so, I wasn't about to sit on my laurels, I cannot live in instability. I have since found a place and will be moving in the next two weeks. I never got to finish this room and take pictures, but I will be doing so once I have moved into the new place, but this will take around a month by the time I pack, shift, unpack and set everything up.

So for now, at least I can post some pics of what was built with these parts.

pics showing the room I was going to turn into my LAN'ing room and all the parts.

'Half-Life Blue' had to be disassembled for it's water cooling adapter which I was going to use on 'Fallout', so it got a rebuild a few months ago, so I could still use it while awaiting all the bits for 'Fallout' to arrive. Not having everything to watercool 'BLUe' again (I am needing two reservoirs), I decided to use the cooler I had put aside for the server. I found this cooler displayed in a PC shop front window with a sign saying that the packaging had been lost, but was brand new and only $20. Steal. Didn't even need it back then, bought it cause it was a bargain. So, with a building a whole new gaming rig, pretty much meant that 'Half-Life Blue' was left intact, and being able to air cool it, meant that I could get it up and running, but the board I had was only a single graphic card one, and still having one of my HD3870's and that never used GT 440, I wanted a dual graphics card board. Dad came to the rescue with an MSI 975X Platinum board, not the best I know, having had a few issues in the past with MSI stuff. For now it would do though, and I could track down a better one later. So in went the MSI board and all the other gear. When 'Fallout' gets it's new set of wheels and controllers, the old set will be 'handed down' to 'BLUe', making it quite the good little spare gaming rig for my mate to use on the LAN.

Here are some pics of the rejuvenated 'Half-Life Blue'.

MSI board with ASUS cooler on it, don't even know what cooler it is. note the waterblock ready to use once the reservoirs arrive.

Front door closed.

Level 7

Front door open.

Top of machine.

Side view and internals.

Portrait side of machine.

Rear of machine.

Seeing as my main gamer had X-Fi, I had one of these in the cupboard, and now both rigs have X-Fi. 🙂 (don't know what model it is either)

HF Extreme block, RX240 Radiator, P500 pump, Danger Den hose, Bitspower fittings. All awaiting two resiviors.

Half-Life Blue Specs
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
CPU: Q6600 Quad Core 2.4Ghz
Motherboard: MSI 975X Platinum
RAM: OCZ 1066 Reaper DDR2 4GB
Cooler: Asus unknown model
Graphics Cards: 1 x Radeon HD3870 512MB
1 x Nvidia GT440 1GB
PSU: Kamariki 4 750W
Sound Card: X-Fi unknown model
HDD: 1 x Hitachi 320GB
1 x Samsung 500GB
Optical Drives: 1 x Samsung DVD
1 x Lite-On DVD
Card Reader: Shintaro card reader with USB port
Fans: 1 x Zalman 92mm Silent Blue LED
1 x Antec Tri-Cool 120mm Blue LED
1 x Coolermaster 140mm Blue LED
Monitor: AOC 19" (1440 x 900)
Speakers: Creative Inspire T6160 5.1 Surround system
Keyboard: Razer Lycosa Piano Black
Mouse: AULA 'The Killing Soul' 5 button gaming mouse
Gamepad: Powerwave 12 button game controller

Seeing as I scabbed the server's cooler, I had to use a stock replacement one I had lying around. Once assembled tho I was to find out that this cooler does quite a good job of keeping the dual core cool, thusly I was able to build the server.

The well used board now in the server.