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KSP Unofficial Official Computer Building/Buying Megathread. (All Questions Acceptable.)


Leonov
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Do you have a website or other source for that? I have been dealing with hardware for quite a while now and never heard of stories about MSI reliability, but I do not consider it impossible. One notable case I remember a while ago was the Gigabyte coldboot problem and even Intel got caught out with their SATA issues, so weird things do happen.

http://www.overclock.net/a/database-of-motherboard-vrm-failure-incidents

Note just how many are MSI boards. Yes, they were overclocked, but the fact of the matter is that MSI does not have any sort of VRM protection, and if they do its tuned so high that its useless. Any other board would have auto shut-down long before the burn.

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While I've not had that much hardware meet an untimely demise, A disproportionate number of those have been MSI motherboards and GPUs. Just my experience, and not statistically significant, but I'd buy something I trust a bit more for a nice CPU like that ;)

Interesting :)

This also partly stems from a time a while back when I noticed that certain manufacturers used capacitors with names I recognised, and some from little known plants in china... though MSI was not by any means the only offender in this case.

I thought that most brands went Japanese with those after the issues a couple of years ago. People got scared, so used high quality capacitors seems to be a selling point now. I do not know about VRMs though.

- - - Updated - - -

http://www.overclock.net/a/database-of-motherboard-vrm-failure-incidents

Note just how many are MSI boards. Yes, they were overclocked, but the fact of the matter is that MSI does not have any sort of VRM protection, and if they do its tuned so high that its useless. Any other board would have auto shut-down long before the burn.

Some Googling shows that most incidents appear to be from around that time - 2012-ish, though I understand how something like that can shake trust

Edited by Camacha
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True, that problem has been largely solved... with the typical violent swing in the other direction, to "super duper capacitors" on the box. :rolleyes:

But it's telling that they did it in the first place: Genuinely unaware that the suppliers were screwing them, or just trying to save a buck?

IME, outfits that make engineering blunders in the name of cutting cost or inflating performance tend to make more engineering blunders in the future...

Edited by steve_v
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I thought that most brands went Japanese with those after the issues a couple of years ago. People got scared, so used high quality capacitors seems to be a selling point now. I do not know about VRMs though.

The gist of it is that there was some corporate espionage, and one person stole the designs for more efficient electrolytic capacitors from Rubycon after leaving them and sold them to basically every chinese electronics manufacturer who was willing to pay, which was quite a lot. However, he failed to get the name of a critical additive that would prevent the electrolysis of the water in the capacitor, which in turn would prevent hydrogen generation and oxidation of the aluminium components inside. Once the pressure inside built up too much, the capacitor would explode. This ended up plaguing every electronic device using electrolytic capacitors, but was most notable on computer motherboards.

Solid polymer capacitors came around, and not only did they not have the flaw of being explodey, they had superior performance compared to a equivalent electrolytic, and didnt wear out over the years. So, everyone's high end stuff switched to solid capacitors.

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IME, outfits that make engineering blunders in the name of cutting cost or inflating performance tend to make more engineering blunders in the future...

Agreed, though you should also keep in mind that many of the bigger players right now have grown at nauseating rates in the past few years. There are bound to be problems when coming from nowhere that fast. Asian electronics (even if that is a bit of a broad categorisation) are developing and evolving at breakneck speeds.

Of course, big names get complacent too. I mentioned the Intel SATA problems earlier as an example of how even one of the biggest giants can get caught out.

The gist of it is that there was some corporate espionage, and one person stole the designs for more efficient electrolytic capacitors from Rubycon after leaving them and sold them to basically every chinese electronics manufacturer who was willing to pay, which was quite a lot. However, he failed to get the name of a critical additive that would prevent the electrolysis of the water in the capacitor, which in turn would prevent hydrogen generation and oxidation of the aluminium components inside. Once the pressure inside built up too much, the capacitor would explode. This ended up plaguing every electronic device using electrolytic capacitors, but was most notable on computer motherboards.

That has been one of the more interesting stories in the past few years :) It has all the makings of a spy thriller with a little bit of divine justice on top.

I must say I enjoy talking to you chaps. People with questions are welcome, but people with knowledge and stories makes for good conversation :)

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Agreed, though you should also keep in mind that many of the bigger players right now have grown at nauseating rates in the past few years. There are bound to be problems when coming from nowhere that fast. Asian electronics (even if that is a bit of a broad categorisation) are developing and evolving at breakneck speeds.

Of course, big names get complacent too. I mentioned the Intel SATA problems earlier as an example of how even one of the biggest giants can get caught out.

Intel's Sata blunder didn't stem from cost cutting, but from a tiny mistake that snuck its way past all of the verification processes and made it to production. It's happened quite a few times from just about every major silicon manufacturer, and they're referred to as errata. In some cases, like with the TSX bug in all Haswell based chips, it doesnt detract from overall chip performance or isnt that severe. In other cases, like the Pentium FDIV bug and AMD's TLB bug, it can be quite damaging to the company's reputation.

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Once the pressure inside built up too much, the capacitor would explode.
Big (1000V+) DC bus filter caps in industrial VFDs can get a mite dodgy when they age... even without espionage. I've seen a big sucker go through a wall before, like an aluminum bottle rocket. The smell is indescribable, and one you can identify at 50 paces forever after. Edited by steve_v
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Intel's Sata blunder didn't stem from cost cutting

Do you know for sure the VRM issues stemmed from cost cutting or malicious reasons? Making consumer products always is a matter of balancing performance, reliability and cost. You can easily build much more reliable hardware, but almost no-one would be prepared to pay for it. Better rated products tend to come with big price tags.

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Do you know for sure the VRM issues stemmed from cost cutting or malicious reasons? Making consumer products always is a matter of balancing performance, reliability and cost. You can easily build much more reliable hardware, but almost no-one would be prepared to pay for it. Better rated products tend to come with big price tags.

No, but MSI could have had the damn decency to add VRM protection like every other manufacturer out there. Hell, my cheapo Asus AM2+ board has VRM protection, and I've managed to trip it on at least one occasion before I almost melted the CPU power plug through OCing the Phenom II too hard.

If a $50 motherboard can have VRM protection, MSI's $200 AMD boards can have it too.

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Making consumer products always is a matter of balancing performance, reliability and cost. You can easily build much more reliable hardware, but almost no-one would be prepared to pay for it. Better rated products tend to come with big price tags.
True, I get to see both ends of the reliability spectrum - Industrial automation equipment, PCs and PLCs both, is often expected to do ~20years. The growing overlap with consumer and commercial IT equipment is... interesting at times.

I'm playing with an IBM PC from '94 and a PLC from '89 at the moment - extracting/documenting programing, in DOS. All the hardware (except the FDD, of course) still works perfectly, and I'm tempted to say: "they don't make 'em like they used to" applies here ;)

Edited by steve_v
Big Blue
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I am a bit bummed out by this whole MSI story, as I was eyeing a MSI X99S SLI PLUS for a potential upgrade to 2011-3, but I guess I would rather find out now than when I have it. Plus, that upgrade is going to take a while.

True, I get to see both ends of the reliability spectrum - Industrial automation equipment, PCs and PLCs both, is often expected to do ~20years. The growing overlap with consumer and commercial IT equipment is... interesting at times.

Do you need to maintain the machines across those time spans, like replace certain parts (like in aircraft), or is it pretty much the same system that does the work all that time?

I'm playing with an IBM PC from '94 and a PLC from '89 at the moment - extracting/documenting programing, in DOS. All the hardware (except the FDD, of course) still works perfectly, and I'm tempted to say: "they don't make 'em like they used to" applies here ;)

I think the latter can be called a fact, partly due to people buying new ones long before the technical life span has passed, and partly because those old big fat transistors (and accompanying parts) are so very robust.

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Personally, I'm glad they don't make them like they used to. Adjusted for inflation a decent PC costs about 1/10th of what it did in the '80s, and building PCs so that they last for 20 years seems like a fool's errand.

That said, I have an old PDP-11 in my basement and the case on that thing could hold up a car while you change the tires. :)

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On graphics cards, it's worth keeping in mind power consumption. By way of example, I think these two options would give similar performance:

[table=width: 500, class: grid]

[tr]

[td][/td]

[td]GTX 750 Ti (new)[/td]

[td]GTX 470 (used)[/td]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]Price[/td]

[td]£110[/td]

[td]£45[/td]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]Gaming power draw[/td]

[td]60 W[/td]

[td]200 W[/td]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]Hours/day gaming[/td]

[td]3[/td]

[td]3[/td]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]Power consumption kWh in 2 years[/td]

[td]131.4[/td]

[td]438[/td]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]Cost per kWh[/td]

[td]£0.18[/td]

[td]£0.18[/td]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]Electricity cost in 2 years[/td]

[td]£23.65[/td]

[td]£78.84[/td]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]Total cost over 2 years[/td]

[td]£133[/td]

[td]£123[/td]

[/tr]

[/table]

Suddenly that big up-front saving is all but eaten up.

Now I'll admit this is an extreme example in terms of the power difference and you still need to play graphically-intensive games - which KSP isn't! - quite a bit to lose out, but it's still worth bearing in mind. Similar things apply when comparing new power-efficient nVidia cards with their power-hungry AMD counterparts.

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Do you need to maintain the machines across those time spans, like replace certain parts (like in aircraft), or is it pretty much the same system that does the work all that time?
Typically some parts will indeed fail over that timespan, but it's not uncommon to find 20yo backplanes where perhaps only one I/O module of, say 20, has been replaced or repaired.

PCs have mostly been superseded by consumer-grade stuff in a fancy box now, with a corresponding increase in turnover.

Older industrial PCs, you only really replace wearing or moving parts, (drives, fans, peripherals etc.). Board failures are pretty rare. PSU failures are more common, but are usually redundant and considered replaceable modules due to, primarily, electrolytic cap deterioration.

Some very expensive (current gen.) industrial instrumentation I worked with recently has, at it's heart, an industrial 386 with a bunch of custom ISA cards. It'll probably never die.

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Now I'll admit this is an extreme example in terms of the power difference and you still need to play graphically-intensive games - which KSP isn't! - quite a bit to lose out, but it's still worth bearing in mind. Similar things apply when comparing new power-efficient nVidia cards with their power-hungry AMD counterparts.

To be fair, GPU's typically do not consume maximum power all the time, even when pushed. Power consumption certainly is a factor you should not ignore, but sometimes people get a bit giddy with it.

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Idle power consumption and the effect it will ultimately have on the house cooling system also needs to be taken into account, as cards with high idle wattage will ultimately cost the user more in the long run even if they can be bought cheaper immediately.

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Idle power consumption and the effect it will ultimately have on the house cooling system also needs to be taken into account, as cards with high idle wattage will ultimately cost the user more in the long run even if they can be bought cheaper immediately.

Do you mean case, or actually house? If it is the latter, I assume you live in a hotter part of the world :)

But yes, you are right. I would even argue that idle consumption is more important than that of load, as most computers will spend most of their lives at or near idle. Only a fraction is spent at half load or more. The heat CPU and GPU dissipate is an issue too, as it means more heat in the case, and thus more wear and tear and certainly more noise.

Noise is the main reason I tend to choose cards that do just a little over a 100 watt. Fast cards are nice, but produce too much heat and thus noise to my liking, especially since I do a lot of production work and even a slight noise will cause fatigue over a work day. I love to slap a big cooler on a card and have it dead silent at both idle and full load.

Ideally I would like to separate out work and games on two dedicated computers, but currently budget and desk space prohibit that.

Edited by Camacha
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Do you mean case, or actually house? If it is the latter, I assume you live in a hotter part of the world :)

But yes, you are right. I would even argue that idle consumption is more important than that of load, as most computers will spend most of their lives at or near idle. Only a fraction is spent at half load or more. The heat CPU and GPU dissipate is an issue too, as it means more heat in the case, and thus more wear and tear and certainly more noise.

Noise is the main reason I tend to choose cards that do just a little over a 100 watt. Fast cards are nice, but produce too much heat and thus noise to my liking, especially since I do a lot of production work and even a slight noise will cause fatigue over a work day. I love to slap a big cooler on a card and have it dead silent at both idle and full load.

Ideally I would like to separate out work and games on two dedicated computers, but currently budget and desk space prohibit that.

A person on the youtubes called DIY Perks made about three videos about designing, building and testing a silent PC. In testing the PC under load is quiter than a desk lamp with a inbuilt transformer. Anyways here is the links to the videos in no particular order;

,
,
.
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A person on the youtubes called DIY Perks made about three videos about designing, building and testing a silent PC. In testing the PC under load is quiter than a desk lamp with a inbuilt transformer. Anyways here is the links to the videos in no particular order;
,
,
.

Silent PC Review is my go to source when it comes to (lack of) noise. I even have a case that has been designed in conjunction with those guys. It all worked good enough for me to seriously think for a moment I messed up installation and that things did not work when I started the PC the first time, until I found out everything was happily chugging away - but without the actual chugging :D My monitor is noisier than my computer.

Sadly, their updates seem somewhat intermittent, so other sources are more than welcome!

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Do you mean case, or actually house? If it is the latter, I assume you live in a hotter part of the world :)

House, and I live in Coastal Virginia, USA. Even though it doesnt get too terribly hot here, my home has no shade to help block the solar thermal load, so my AC runs fairly regularly to help keep the house below 80F. Add in the additional heat load from my computers and the fact the thermostat is right outside my room and every watt my computers release have a multiplicative effect on my power bill

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I'm keeping a case and a hard drive from my old computer to make it ready for gaming.

I'm (almost) a complete n00b when it comes to this, so heres the question- Intel or AMD.

Then, what motherboard to get?

Also, what brand, and amount of RAM to get?

What kind of SSD to get?

What kind of graphics card for gaming to get?

Also, this is aimed at a small budget. Below 600 with OS please.

Thanks!

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Intel or AMD: Whichever is good value in your budget. Intel has a strong edge in KSP though.

Motherboard: Get something decent but there's no need to pay the Earth.

RAM: 8 GB. Brand doesn't matter much but I don't like RAM with big fins, they get in the way.

SSD: If gaming performance is your only concern then none. If general system responsiveness then I'd go for a Crucial SSD. 128 GB would hold the OS but not many games, 256 would be better.

Graphics: *The* most important thing for gaming performance in the majority of games. (KSP is an exception actually!). If gaming is the primary focus then I feel the graphics card should be maybe twice the cost of the processor for good balance.

On a $500 hardware budget (reckoning $100 for the OS) I think a good build would be Pentium G3258, GTX 960, 8 GB of RAM, and Crucial MX100 256 GB. Add in a decent value motherboard that supports overclocking, and a 400-500 Watt power supply by a major brand. And if there's the money left over get a nice CPU cooler to get a better overclock and quieter PC. The system will be great for KSP and virtually all games, except for a few that misbehave on dual-core processors.

People worry a lot about "bottlenecking" - that the framerate from the 960 with the Pentium might be less than the framerate from the 960 with a better processor. But that misses the point that if you bought a better processor you then couldn't afford the 960. Stepping down to a lower graphics card in order to buy a better processor would give worse framerates in the majority of games.

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People worry a lot about "bottlenecking" - that the framerate from the 960 with the Pentium might be less than the framerate from the 960 with a better processor. But that misses the point that if you bought a better processor you then couldn't afford the 960. Stepping down to a lower graphics card in order to buy a better processor would give worse framerates in the majority of games.

Point is, video cards are a lot easier to swap out later. Get a good processor, it will last you a long time. Video card technology is still developing quickly and will also get outdated faster. Buying a fast card and an anaemic processor just does not make sense.

Not to mention a lot of tripe A games today require quite a beefy processor to keep performing.

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Myself I always get a good motherboard. It moves all your data from your RAM to your CPU to your 3D card. It decides what expansion you have in the future. It often puts a hard limit on overclocking.

I always get a better motherboard than I need at the moment so that when I need to upgrade, my motherboard can handle it. I make sure I have spare RAM slots, spare drive ports and spare slots for expansion cards. Then if I need to add a RAID card I can, if I find a cheap duplicate of my GFX card I can SLI them up or whatever.

The worst thing to do in my mind is to get a motherboard that is full as soon as you build your system. That would mean that`s it, no more room for upgrading.

I always build with a plan to replace every part except the motherboard as that usually ends up being the situation.

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