ASUS X99 Deluxe Build

We use Chief Architect for designing and plans. It’s really a great program. However, it does like some horsepower, especially when rendering. That was the motivation for a workstation upgrade, we build those in-house too, and here are some details about the current PC build:

  • ASUS X99 DELUXE Motherboard
  • Intel® Core™ i7-5960X CPU Extreme Edition (20M Cache, up to 3.50 GHz)
  • Corsair Hydro Series™ H100i Extreme Performance CPU Cooler
  • AeroCool Dead Silence 120mm Fans on the H100i
  • CORSAIR DOMINATOR Platinum 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR4 2800MHz
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 760 Dual FTW 4GB w/ EVGA ACX Cooler
  • Samsung WQHD 32-Inch LED Monitor S32D850T
  • Samsung 840EVO 500GB SSD HD
  • Samsung 840EVO 1TB SSD HD
  • WD 750GB SATA HD (for backup)
  • WD 1TB SATA HD (for backup)
  • Liteon DVD/CD Writer
  • Corsair Graphite Series™ 760T Full-Tower Windowed Case w/ Noctua Fans
  • ThermalTake Toughpower Grand 850W (Fully Modular) Power Supply Unit
  • Microsoft Sculpt Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard
  • Logitech G-602 Wireless Mouse
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 PRO (I highly recommend Windows 7 over Windows 8, btw)

Assembly was easy. All you enthusiasts that are under 30 have no idea how easy! I’m so impressed with the chassis, that’s the big difference between now and the days when I was building 10 computers a week. I could spend two hours or more neatening cables after a build. With these modern cases you assemble them and you’re done, there is no cable neatening that would even make a difference! All the wires go behind the motherboard tray through grommet’d holes, and the backside panel covers them all up, sweet! The liquid cooler looks complex but goes on, I would say, easier than an air cooler. Tool-less snap-in mounting of the hard drives, thumbscrews on most everything that isn’t tool-less, modular power supply so no unused cables; cake. Easy peazy, 10 minutes!

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Well, it could have been that easy. 😉 It turned into a bit of an odyssey due to my CDO (OCD alphabetized). I built this system first:

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Same system based on the ASUS X79 Deluxe motherboard with 32GB of Dominator Platinum DDR-3. I loaded up Windows 7 with all the latest drivers and updates, along with all my apps, and it was ROCK SOLID. Then went back to Fry’s Electronics to get some quieter fans for the cooler (not that it was that bad, really); and the guy that helped me find all the parts for my X79 build was there and said they just got the X99 stuff in the back. Doh! I bought the X99 motherboard, CPU, and DDR-4; went home; and started all over. :O  Fry’s is great about returns so I brought my X79, etc, back for a full refund. I thought to make more of a worthy change I would finally try Windows 8.1 PRO, as well. I don’t know if I’m glad for the hands on experience with Windows 8.1 or not? It’s pretty awful, so I guess I really didn’t need to know that first hand. I had already read it, and that was really good enough. I never tried Vista and don’t regret that. Anyway, 9 is suppose to be the best of 7 and 8 so I can either wait a year to try that; or if I’m feeling froggy I might nuke Windows 8 and install Windows 7 again. I know I’d be happier if I did. Can’t remember a buggier Windows going back to Windows 2.0. Really strange idea, as well; to call it Windows when they changed it to Window. They should call it Window 8.

One of the bugs in Windows 8.1 PRO is that the selected window you were working in would constantly de-select. So, you’d stop typing in the window you were in (Word for instance) and you’d be typing away in another window, which might not even accept text. I fixed that by disabling the windows troubleshooting service. Another bug was that the screensaver would not start and power saving would not begin. I fixed that by doing a clean boot of windows and just leaving it that way. How to perform a clean boot of Windows  I’ve gone through five BIOS updates in the last month, but I still wouldn’t call this computer rock solid. I don’t know if it’s Windows 8.1 or some of my hardware? I have run burnin programs with no trouble. If I went back to Windows 7 (which I would love to do) that would answer that question.

About the chassis, one goof up by Corsair; I was using their case, their cpu cooler, and their memory modules; and they do not fit. Let me explain. I wanted to use the Corsair H80i with the Corsair 760T and the Corsair Dominator Platinum memory; and that is not possible. It’s not possible out of the bottom, top, or front at all. But, that’s okay; I wanted it out the rear. It would fit on the rear if the 120mm fan holes were further over from the io shield. If they lined up with the 140mm fan holes furthest from the io shield. Again, this is just a goof up by Corsair. It would have cost them no more to manufacturer the case with the mounting holes where they should be. And, that would make their products compatible with, well?, their products.

BTW, that picture of me above is me lighting up the inside of the case by holding my cell phone light behind my head while another cell phone is taking my picture. What would we do without these cell phones? lol Here’s a pic of the SSDs:

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As I mentioned I thought I would see about finding some quieter fans than the stock Corsair fans (case and cpu cooler). I had heard a lot about the Noctua fans and ordered four of those to try out. They’re great, super quiet and PWM four pin. I also found some AeroCool Dead Silence fans at Fry’s Electronics and tried them. They’re great, too. Maybe a bit quieter and even a bit higher in quality. They are only three pin but technically are PWM, as well. They are controlled by my Corsair Link software perfectly, just like the stock Corsair PWM fans I removed. I also decided it was high time to check out some mouse and keyboard options. I had gotten pretty set in my ways with my MS Explorer 3 wired meeces and my MS natural wired keyboards. I had tried wireless around five years ago and had too many hangs and stalls with them. Things have changed. All of the wireless mice and keyboards I tried performed great with no hanging or delays. I made a quick review video of the mice I tried:

Of note about the Asus X99 Deluxe; the bluetooth is better than any add-in bluetooth I’ve tried, and I’ve tried many. Bluetooth is still not all that great in and of itself, although it still works much better on my cell phone with the same devices than it does on my PC. And, it did seem to work better in Windows 7, but that is anecdotal. And, the WIFI on the Asus X99 Deluxe is stellar. My internet download speed from www.speedtest.net did not change ethernet to WIFI; 358.02Mbps. Thank you Time Warner Ultimate 300! With these WIFI speeds I removed all the cables from around the house; who needs ’em?

About overclocking, I have not tried it per se. Although XMP will not run reliably at all. A couple of reboots, at the most, will garner a “failed overclock” and no boot. I figure if I can’t enable XMP at the slowest profile, why bother trying to overclock? It’s not the cooling as the machine idles around 27c and the hottest it gets with XMP enabled during a stress test is around 50c.