Mini computer parts review (Including Radeon HD5770!)

I bought a new computer a few months ago (part list here) and thought that I would express my opinion about most of the individual parts in a small compiled blog post. If you came from Google or another search engine, just scroll down to the part you’re interested in for its own mini review.

The parts are assigned in three categories. Happy reading!

The good

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Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W
I’ve had absolutely zero issues with this power supply. It runs virtually fanless on low loads, and seems to do a great job under stress too. It even managed to power 2xHD5770 without issues.

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Corsair Hydro Series H50
I was a bit hesitant about this closed-loop water cooling system due to its steep price tag, but in the end it proved to be a great investment. I’m running my Intel i5 comfortably at 3.7GHz (Remember, the stock speed is 2.66GHz!) at about 50-55C or so at full load. Virtually 4 extra GHz for about a hundred dollars is not a bad bargain!

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Fractal Design Define R2
Quite frankly one of the best cases I’ve seen. Tons of HD slots, sleek design and very thick metal makes this a great investment both now and in the future.

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Intel Core i5 750 2,66GHz Socket 1156
It’s fast, it runs very cool with the Hydro H50 (Although I’ve heard the stock cooler is supposedly pretty bad.) and it gives mad overclocking abilities.

The bad

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Asus P7P55D
Aside from the horribly ugly crapware that Asus sends with this motherboard, it’s actually pretty decent. The only reason it’s in the “bad” category is that this motherboard does not support CrossfireX like stated. Since the second PCI-E port is of 4x (speed) you can not have a multi-GPU configuration with this board. Having bought two HD5770 cards and finding worse performance using Crossfire than without (15fps with Crossfire vs 60+fps without in Serious Sam HD) was an unpleasant surprise. Of course I only have myself to blame for being uninformed, but you’d think that having Crossfire stamped in big on the box seemed like a good indication of its support, but alas. So what kind of Crossfire does it support then? Apparently, multi-gpu on a single-card one. Thanks, Asus… Not.

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Corsair Dominator DDR3 PC12800/1600MHz CL9
They work just fine, but start to crash at >=1650MHz for me. Not much left to the imagination.

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Sapphire Radeon HD5770 Lite HDMI DisplayPort Dual-DVI 1GB
I really wish I could put this in the “good” pile, but unfortunately, not all is well. The card itself has exceptional performance for its price. A sub-200USD card that runs Crysis at very acceptable framerate is quite a feat. Unfortunately, the drivers are horrible. Remember that I wrote about my DXVA problems that solved themselves a few weeks ago? Well, they didn’t, as I’m having the same issues again in the 9.12 hotfix. Not only that, but who could forget the Saboteur fiasco? There’s also my recent Voddler issues and fullscreen video crashes. ATI do seem keen to fix their issues and they constantly release updated drivers, but they’re not anywhere near done yet, nor will they be in the foreseeable future.

Oh wait, I also forgot this ATI Overdrive bug. Now I don’t feel so guilty for putting this in the “bad” pile anymore.

PS. People in the ATI support forum are really unhelpful. Doesn’t work? Buy more hardware! DS.

The ugly
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Kingston SSDNow V Series 64GB
This disk has some serious stutter issues. Simultaneous read/writes go very slow, and the cache does a poor job of keeping up. It –is- faster than a regular hard-drive if you’re running games, but if you’re updating Windows, downloading a couple of files and browsing the web all at once, expect up to 5-10 seconds of freezing, and expect it often.

It also doesn’t support the TRIM command. (You want that, or else your speeds will diminish with time.) And no, not even the 40GB model that has a compatible Intel chipset and simply needs a firmware update. Well done, Kingston.

Next time…
I’ll definitely look more into multi-GPU configurations. If you’re looking to buy a computer, read reviews and performance tests carefully before building! Very few motherboards today support true 16x/16x Crossfire support.

In other news…
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I’m going to become a Samba God – watch me shake!

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