New life in old body (Alienware Aurora)

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froggy368 Posted: Thu, May 19 2011 10:14 PM

Since my mobo is on its way out and upgrading has been on my mind for quite a while, here is what I came up with:

First what is staying: 1 74GB WD Raptor 10000rpm sata; 1 250GB WD 7200rpm sata; combo CD/DVD drive. The rest is where I need help. I probably should tell you that this new PC will be used mostly for flight simulation (maybe up to 3 monitors), some strategy gaming (total war series) and storing and editing pictures. No video editing.

I have an Intel and an AMD version. An intel version because I believe it will be the faster one and an AMD version because I hope to be able to plug in the new mobo one of the Bulldozer CPUs coming out soon.

Sooner than later I will have 2 graphic cards regardless of which way I go. Same with the SSD I picked for the AMD build except I don't know whether it's a good one or not.

I would like this new toy to cost me around $1500, $1600 but I could be convinced to go a little higher if necessary! I will be waiting anxiously for advice!!!!! 

INTEL

 -MSI R6970 Lightning Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card:  $386.99

-MSI P67A-GD65 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard: $179.99

-Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K: $314.99

-CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply: $229.99

-G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory:  $99.99

-Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit 1-Pack - OEM: $129.99

 SUBTOTAL:  $1341.94

AMD

-MSI 890FXA-GD70 AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard: $194.99

-AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition Thuban 3.3GHz, 3.7GHz Turbo Socket AM3 125W: $209.99

-CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory:$94.99

-COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RSC00-80GAD3-US 1200W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply: $239.99

-MSI R6970 Lightning Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card:  $386.99

-OCZ RevoDrive OCZSSDPX-1RVD0120 PCI-E x4 120GB PCI Express MLC Internal SSD: $284.99

-Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit 1-Pack – OEM: $129.99

 SUBTOTAL: $1539.93

 

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AKwyn replied on Fri, May 20 2011 10:08 PM

I'd choose the intel seeing as how it's only a few hundred dollars cheaper (if you're into that kind of thing.) I removed the SSD from the AMD side as it's not as essential and actually provides an unfair comparison but if you want an SSD than be wary that they do cost a lot (as what you have listed in the list itself has shown.)

You might want to go for an 850W power supply (one that overvolts to 1000W preferably, look up 850W power supplies with OCP (over current protection)). I find 1000W to be a bit too much (even for SLI/Crossfire, which is what you are going for right?), unless you're going for an NVIDIA card and just then, I might suggest a maybe for an 1000W power supply.

Also while you've picked G-Skill as your RAM set, I actually prefer Corsair based on the usage; so far it seems like pretty reliable high-performing RAM but again, it's all dependent on choice; you may even like G-Skill better then Corsair.\

Anyway, hope you ma

 

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froggy368 replied on Sat, May 21 2011 5:54 PM

I don't think I was very clear as far as the SSD is concerned but I would like to have one regardless which way I go. For the RAM memory I am not really stuck on any brand; actually I've had corsair all these years and don't have one bad thing to say about it.

Thanks

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realneil replied on Sat, May 21 2011 8:30 PM

froggy368:
I've had corsair all these years and don't have one bad thing to say about it.

It's a good brand, but I've found GSKill to be a great performer and it usually sells for less.  I would go with 2-four GB sticks no matter what way you go with the other parts. DDR3-1600 has been the perfect fit for me.

On the Intel build, maybe you should have a look at mainboards that use the just introduced Z68 chipset. They have some nice extra features built into them and they do perform just a little better than the P67's do. They don't cost much more either.

You keeping the Raptor in place (old technology) may not be the best way to go. Using the latest Intel Z68 chipset mainboards now available, you can buy a small 40-64GB SSD and use Intel's "Smart Response Technology" that mates the SSD together with a modern drive like the 64-megabyte cache 1TB WD Black drives on the market for dramatic speed increases. It ends up as the SSD being a hybrid cache for the WD drive. We have articles up describing the technology and how fast it really is. The i5-2500K CPU gets fantastic overclocking speeds that rival the i7 you're looking at, but costs a lot less. Enough to pay for that 1TB WD Black drive.

With the i5 and the video card you have picked out, nothing's gonna slow you down for years as far as games go.

As for the AMD build, I wouldn't do anything with them until they release Bulldozer CPU's. Right now, Intel's faster, but we don't know for how long that will be true. Bulldozer may be a game-changer, and maybe not. The latest Intel Tech is extremely solid and will be viable for a long time to come.

And the last point I want to make is about the power supply. SeaSonic probably doesn't make a 1000watt PSU, but you probably don't need one either. Newer CPU's and Video Cards use less power than just a few years ago, and the largest SeaSonic PSU will be perfect for you. The last contest build that was given away here had TWO maxed-out video cards inside of it and the professional builders of that system used a Large SeaSonic PSU in it. If you go to MainGear's website and look at their builds, you'll see that that's the brand that they use. I think that it's the best of the best.

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froggy368 replied on Sun, May 22 2011 9:34 PM

Thanks Realneil for all the good advice! So a Seasonic PSU it will be: SeaSonic X Series X-850 (SS-850KM Active PFC F3) 850W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 for $205 (newegg website). The RAM memory doesn't seem to be a bad choice. your suggestion for the combination SSD and 1TB WD looks very good but couldn't I also keep the old dogs for storing pictures and other files like that?

Before I decide which way I am going to go, I really would like to know what the AMD Bulldozer CPU's are going to be capable of. According to this website it could be quite an eye opener! http://lensfire.blogspot.com/2011/05/heres-amds-8-core-fx-processor.html . June 11th seems to be the date and because I always liked the underdog I am willing to wait a little longer for this upgrade and do it without any regrets!

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realneil replied on Sun, May 22 2011 10:20 PM

froggy368:
couldn't I also keep the old dogs for storing pictures and other files like that?

Sure. But if you use the Z68 main-board, it's 'Rapid Response Technology' means setting up the SSD as the Hybrid Cache for the 1TB WD drive. After that's done, then add all the drives that you want to. It really sounds pretty cool.

I've decided to wait for Bulldozer too. I like AMD and if they can release something groundbreaking, I'll buy it. Otherwise, It will be the Intel based build that I suggested to you.

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froggy368 replied on Tue, May 24 2011 10:11 PM

As far as the Intel version is concerned, I would then add for motherboard the MSI Z68A-GD80 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard ; switch the 64 BG SSD for the OCZ Solid 3 SLD3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC for a little extra kick and keep the i7 for CPU. I have never tried to overclock a PC before although I understand it is becoming easier to do so; but I feel like treating myself and this set up should take care of me for a long while. The grand total would be about $1650.00!

For now I am going to sit back and wait (not very long I hope) until AMD shows up with its Bulldozer CPU's!

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AKwyn replied on Wed, May 25 2011 8:28 PM

If it's about overclocking then there's many factors relate to it but all you need to know is that four things are essential to overclocking. Core clock, timing, voltages and memory speeds. There is also some advanced stuff but I don't think that really matters much unless you're going for an extreme overclock.

There may be presets but they may have faults of their own (overclock might not be stable, voltage might be set much higher.), trial and error is the best way to go when overclocking.

 

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froggy368 replied on Thu, May 26 2011 9:34 PM

Overclocking is something I will attempt once I have my new system but believe me, I will make sure I do my homework before I start doing things I might regret!

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realneil replied on Thu, May 26 2011 10:35 PM

froggy368:
Overclocking is something I will attempt once I have my new system

Many manufacturers have included features that make it easier for you to do it safely. ASRock is one of them. On my two P55-Pro Mainboards, you can go into the BIOS and turn on one setting that automatically tweaks all of your settings 40%.

So my i7-870's run at 3.9GHz. and 3.8GHz instead of 2.93GHz. with no work at all on my part except for providing good air flow in the cases, and a self-contained CPU water cooler. One is a Corsair H-50 and the other an Asetek LCLC. (which is essentially the same thing)

Read as much as you can before you order your parts. It will pay off.

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rrplay replied on Fri, May 27 2011 3:58 PM

I have an i7-870 as well with an Antec Kuhler 620 [self-contained hydro cpu cooler] as well. & can easily run at  3.9GHz all day w/ o problems.

What you may want to consider is matching as best as you can the mobo-ram  combination.because once you get the hang of the cpu OC a bit >>you may  notice a bit more 'snap' with higher mem speeds and tighter timings...without spending much more  $$

just a thought

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froggy368 replied on Sun, May 29 2011 10:02 PM

Would these G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM be a good combination with the i7-2600k CPU? Obviously I have the option to double that capacity later on but according to Realneil it should be fine for this intel build.

Thanks.

 

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realneil replied on Sun, May 29 2011 11:55 PM

froggy368:
Would these G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM be a good combination with the i7-2600k CPU?

Yes, when I upgrade to an i7-2600K Sandy Bridge system later on this year, I'll re-use these four 4GB memory sticks in that system.

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froggy368 replied on Sun, Jun 5 2011 11:16 PM

There it is! I decided not to wait any longer for AMD to wake up and this would be my next computer. I can't wait for comments and I would like to know if I could have done better for the amount of money I am going to spend.

I went for a GTX 580 that had pretty good specs and that one in particular will fit in my case. I swith the RAM to Corsair because I couldn't find the G Skill X series on the newegg site anymore but I don't think it's a big deal. I also picked an 120GB SSD; I found out that I could use some of it in relation with intel srt and the rest as a regular drive which would be a swift kick in the old rear end compared to the drives I have been using until now.

I appreciate all the comments in advance!

 

- ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard. Model #:Z68 Extreme4:  $189.99

- EVGA Super Clocked 015-P3-1582-AR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card: $499.99

- CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B. Only  qualified 1.5V XMP RAM on Intel Core : $89.99

- SeaSonic X Series X-850 (SS-850KM Active PFC F3) 850W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready, CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD.:  $205.99

- Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor: $314.99

- OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)   Model #:VTX3-25SAT3-120G:  $269.99

 -Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0 GB/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive:: $89.99

 -Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit 1-Pack – OEM: $139.99

- COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm  CPU Cooler Compatible Intel...  $39.99

Subtotal:  $1840.91

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Jun 6 2011 6:29 AM

Everything sounds good; you've got yourself a premo system there... Well you could beef up the CPU cooler a bit if you have a big budget but other then that; premo system.

 

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I like this build, and all of your parts will work well together. Sandy Bridge CPU's don't develop the same amount of heat that previous generation Intel CPU's did, so your CPU Cooler will work well for stock speeds and a mild over-clock too. (this is one of the things that I like about SB 's design) If you aggressively overclock this PC in the future, you'll have to do as Taylor says and go for an extra-capable cooler.

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I would have to agree with Taylor and realneil on this one. It sounds like a beautiful combination to me :)

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LBowen replied on Mon, Jun 6 2011 8:56 PM

The system reads like it is going to be a complete beast.  I remember reading the Fermi graphics cards allow for great overclocking.  The Vertex 3 and Caviar Black are killer storage for sure coupled with some sweet memory sticks.

Make sure to get some pics up as you're building that bad boy.  Benchmarks afterwards of course :)

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froggy368 replied on Mon, Jun 6 2011 10:48 PM

Thanks so much for all the good tips. Here is my next question: what's the difference between a mild and an aggressive overclocking! I haven't done enough reading on the subject to stay within the mild range because this is what I will do. In other words I won't buy an after market CPU cooler but the reason I picked one is because the guy on neweggTV in his "how to choose  components for your computer" says that if we overclock we need an after market fan and heatsink and that was the one he had chosen.

The ASRock Z68 extreme4 motherboard must be pretty good because it is out of stock again at newegg! I am on auto-notify!

This is starting to get exciting and again, I appreciate all the help you all gave me.

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Jun 6 2011 11:30 PM

A mild overclock is one that doesn't adjust any of the timings and/or voltage.

A agressive overclock is one where you'd adjust every setting just to get as high of an overclock as possible; aggressive being that the CPU is being feed additional voltage and being put through additional wear and tear.

Also, there are other companies such as Prolimatech, Thermaltake, Noctua, Gelid that also offer aftermarket cooling solutions; the one you'll go for is based on preference and research.

 

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froggy368:
what's the difference between a mild and an aggressive overclocking

I haven't done enough reading on the subject to stay within the mild range because this is what I will do

You'll find that the ASRock Mainboard will have an automatic setting in BIOS that will do the OC for you. (it's usually a choice between a 40%-50% boost) I use the 40% boost and it works pretty sweet for me. 50% does not. You don't have to do a thing except turn it on and it sets everything up for you. In fact, if you get in there and tweak individual settings, it disables the automatic OC. Having manufacturers so proactively involved in this area is a good thing. ASRock knows the limits of the gear they're making and it shows. Your choice of that brand will make it easy to increase the performance.

 

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rrplay replied on Tue, Jun 7 2011 8:53 AM

froggy368:

Thanks so much for all the good tips. Here is my next question: what's the difference between a mild and an aggressive overclocking! I haven't done enough reading on the subject to stay within the mild range because this is what I will do.

This is starting to get exciting and again, I appreciate all the help you all gave me.

That sure looks like it s is going to be a very nice rig. The ASRock mobe and Corsir mem sticks are certainly going to perform very very well together.

Always a very good thing to get some type of 3rd party cooler.anything better than a stock cooler wheter you OC the rig or not.

what's really great about the mainboards as previously mentioned is that you can simply use it's auto feature to give your system a modest OC like the 40% boost neil mentioned.which is user noticeable and likely to be proven stable for day to day 24/7 use with the CM cooler hyper 212.

Here's another way of looking at the difference of an modest OC and aggressive OC

if you are manually tweaking the bios settings and increasing the voltage to the point that warrant you to carefully monitor the temps and question the possibility of H20 on the chip ==aggressive > if your blood pressure increases and anxiety levels increase regarding the extended system life ==aggressive

if you use the ASRock auto bios boost @ 40% as previously mentioned run something like IntelBurn at max settings and PASS while monitoring with CoreTemps with decent temps .It is a pretty safe bet you have a  modest OC to run 24/7 that's noticeable and stable.and most likely you would be very comfortable with very easy to have more than 1 bios profile anyhow.

plenty of places to share and post in HH regarding some of this

http://hothardware.com/cs/forums/t/53962.aspx

If you think your having fun now wait till you get your parts and the rig built ! Smile

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froggy368 replied on Wed, Jun 8 2011 10:26 PM

Well, the order has been placed and I picked a cheapo fan (Xigmatek Loki SD963 92mm) because the room I am in is always a little warm (better safe than sorry) and the CM cooler 212 was not available.

This is going to be a first for me as far as putting a PC together; I am sure I will need more help from you guys. In any case I'll keep you posted!

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Jun 9 2011 2:47 AM

froggy368:
I am sure I will need more help from you guys. In any case I'll keep you posted!

Yeah, keep us posted. The HH community is very pleased to help you with this build and we'll be here if you need any more help from us.

 

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Good luck froggy, it is exciting. I remember putting my first build together. Be sure to post some pictures for us. As others have said the HH community is great and always willing to help.

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froggy368 replied on Sun, Jun 19 2011 10:46 PM

Gentlemen, it's ALIVE!Big Smile

 It took me the weekend to put this thing together. I first did an out of the case test: then I assembled it in my alienware case and everything seems to work properly. Of course I had a couple of hiccups but I am down to one big task to do; which is to partition my SSD to use 20GB for the OS and the rest to use as cache with my new 1TB drive. If anyone as any idea on how to accomplish this in a way not to complicated, I would greatly appreciate it.

My hiccups were #1: my DVD drive had an EIDE ribbon cable and my new ASRock Z68 extreme4 mobo has no plug for it. Or more exactly it has one one for a floppy drive! Why one for a floppy drive and not for a DVD drive is way beyond me but it sure doesn't make sense to me! So I went to a local computer store with the idea of buying some kind of converter but I bought instead a newer DVD drive for $50 with SATA cables.

  #2 I didn't know if I should plug the biggest fan the case has located in the back into the power fan or chassis fan plug on the motherboard? I picked the power fan plug.

An other comment I would make to whomever is into upgrading like me: make sure you know the graphic card your are buying is going to fit in your case. I got less than 1/2 "  to spare!

On the software side it's all running on the default or auto mode for now; I still have some updating to do but according to Windows7 system performance, my computer reached 7.8 on a scale of 1.0 to 7.9! Please don't laugh to hard but I take it as a good result so far! I have taken some pictures to post later; I still have to tie all the cables together.

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Jun 20 2011 9:48 PM

Well alright, you managed to bring frankenstien to life! Can't wait to see pics!

And remember; if you need anything else, we're here for you.

 

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froggy368 replied on Mon, Jun 27 2011 7:36 PM

Iam still having one heck of a time to get the rapid storage technology to work right. I have partionned my SSD so I could still use part of it as storage but the intel software is hanging on the whole 120GB. By the way how do I upload photos to post?

Thanks

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Jun 27 2011 8:35 PM

You can press that button that looks like a film strip and a smaller circle button with a plus inside on the top grey bar above where you type your post, that'll allow for uploading images to either here or from an external source (ImageShack).

I hope you get pass your RST problem. I don't have RST so I can't help you in that regard, but I can assume that the Intel software requires the usage of the entire hard drive for the technology to work. Hey, it's just the first generation right, I'm sure they'll improve it further...

 

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froggy368 replied on Mon, Jun 27 2011 10:40 PM

I can't find that button! my brain must be fried and I'll try again tomorrow.

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LBowen replied on Tue, Jun 28 2011 2:19 PM

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realneil replied on Tue, Jun 28 2011 6:04 PM

froggy368:
Iam still having one heck of a time to get the rapid storage technology to work right.

I have a solution for your problems with the Intel Rapid Response Technology. I just dealt with the same thing recently and here is the fix:

Go to this page: http://www.asrock.com/mb/download.asp?Model=Z68%20Extreme4&o=Win764

These are all of the latest downloads for your mainboard.

Notice the download entitled: Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver ver: 10.5.0.1027 'Optimize Intel SRT performance'. download this and save it for later on. You can see that there is a red link within this area to get the latest BIOS for your board. Go there and get the BIOS and install that first. Then install the other download that you saved and reboot.

Now it will work. If not,...post again and I'll walk you through a few other optimizations.

froggy368:
I have partionned my SSD so I could still use part of it as storage but the intel software is hanging on the whole 120GB.

It uses either 20GB or the whole disk. the program does the partitioning, not you.

 

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froggy368 replied on Tue, Jun 28 2011 9:58 PM

Thanks Realneil for the info but my BIOS has been updated and I also have the RST driver version10.5.0.1027 installed. I did it this past weekend. You are right, it's either 20GB or 64GB and I believe that it is now working on my computer but for someone like me with not much background in installing this kind of software, it is quite a challenge! Actually I realized last night that the RST software was working by seeing a new icon in the task bar with a green check mark on it! It would have been nice to be able to click on a start software button or something of that sort.

Another thing worth mentionning and correct me if I am wrong but you have to swith the SATA mode to RAID in the BIOS before installing the OS as far as the new Z68 motherboards are concerned. I have other questions on this RST software but for now I'm going to read more about it.

About pictures; this is what I get when I try to upload them:

Sorry, there was a problem with your last request!

Either the site is offline or an unhandled error occurred. We apologize and have logged the error. Please try your request again or if you know who your site administrator is let them know too.

In other words, I'll try again tomorrow!

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realneil replied on Tue, Jun 28 2011 10:52 PM

There was a new BIOS released just this morning. The weekend BIOS didn't work for me at all. The green check-mark on the status bar isn't what you need to see. Open that up and look at the setup there.

It should look like this:     (click the pic to see it full sized)

If it looks like that, then your golden.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

(Mark Twain)

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froggy368 replied on Wed, Jun 29 2011 10:35 PM

I just was on the ASRock website to check out this new BIOS but all I could find is the red link to the update I have already installed: Z68EXT41.30.

And yes, my RST status page does look like the one you sent me. In other words, I'm good to go! Because I partitioned my SSD, the upper right side shows the two sections of the drive that I renamed cache volume and data volume for obvious reasons; I also have accelerated the 1TB drive.

It looks like I'm going to have to install my photos program (and everything else for that matter) because I cannot upload my PC pictures. They must be too large the way they are now. Hopefully it won't take me too long. 

 

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realneil replied on Thu, Jun 30 2011 9:18 AM

froggy368:
I'm good to go!

It looks that way, congrats!

froggy368:
I cannot upload my PC pictures.

You can't upload to the HH site? Make them less than 1MB in size to begin with. Then, in your profile, there is a way to upload pics to your folder.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Jun 30 2011 7:59 PM

froggy368:
It looks like I'm going to have to install my photos program (and everything else for that matter) because I cannot upload my PC pictures. They must be too large the way they are now. Hopefully it won't take me too long. 

I hope it doesn't. I want to see tons of pics of the PC that you built inside the case!

 

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OK I have my pictures uploaded to my files but everytime I try to insert them in the post this is the answer I get: There are no items at this level in the list.
What am I doing wrong now?
Thanks
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AKwyn replied on Thu, Jul 7 2011 1:23 AM

I don't know seeing as how I haven't inserted a ton of pictures into a post myself but I have seen the images and I have to say that your build is looking pretty good, stylish even. I have to say that you did a good job with what you've bought.

Can't wait to see something else depending if you can get it up and running. Best of luck to ya!

 

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