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Jerm1970
11-30-2011, 03:58 AM
Hello all,

It's been a while since I've posted here, but check in quite often.
I was blown away with the help I received from the Mods and other members on my first build, so I thought I'd start a thread for my new project.
Almost all of the parts have been ordered and are on the way.

Here's what I've got coming or sitting in my office:

Thermaltake Level 10 GT Snow Edition
ASUS Maximus Extreme Z
i7Core 2600k Sandy Bridge (newest one)
Swiftech H20-X20 Edge HD
16GB Corsair Vengeance (1600
(5) 120GB OCZ Agility 3 SSDs
Evga GeForce GTX 580
Ultra X4 1600W PSU
BD Burner
DVD Burner
Creative XFi Titanium Fatal1ty Champ

I'm actually building (2) of these systems almost identical, but the other will have 3 560's in 3way SLI.(Ive never done SLI before either)

First, I'm looking for guidance/suggestions for how to implement RAID 10 with (4) drives on this board.
I'm assuming since they're SSDs, I don't have to be concerned as much with using the SATA III ports...?
The extra drive will be in a removable bay and not part of the RAID setup.
Any tips you guys can throw my way before I get started would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
-Jeremy

dJabba
11-30-2011, 04:33 AM
couple of things to keep in mind with raid and ssd. The ssd trim function doesn't work in raid, and the ssd you picked uses asyncron flash. Those ssds get slower the fuller they are. If you still got a chance, I would return it and pay that little more to get some with syncron flash instead.

also, I don't entirely get the point of both a BD and a DVD burner .. the BD should be enough as it burns anything "older" as well.

Besides that, its looks like a sweet A** system .. and prolly heck of a bum on your bank account ;)

Jerm1970
11-30-2011, 08:58 PM
Thx dJabba,

I was aware of the asynchronous flash issue, but was lured in by a good price. The benchmark results I could find pertaining to this didn't indicate too much of a difference though.
Fortunately, these rigs will also have plenty of external storage and the SSDs should never get close to full. Also, I plan to use Diskkeeper with Hyperfast.
It's my understanding that while this technology is different from TRIM, it accomplishes almost the same thing with regard to free space consolidation and minimal drive fragmentation.
I've been using the Hyperfast module for about 2 years and so far have not seen any drop in performance when running ATTO.

My main questions at this stage are:
1. Exactly which ports on the mobo should I use to set up RAID 10 using the Intel controller?
2. Should I update the FW on the drives using another system before beginning the setup?

Luckily, these machines are being built as 'home office' workstations (as requested by our company President), so my investment should be $0.
However, the pressure is on to make sure they're solid and impressive. ;P

dJabba
12-01-2011, 12:36 AM
thats always the problem with benchmarks, they don't reflect real world performance and are usually done on empty drives with OS on another drive. I can recommend this thread for more info: http://forums.tweaktown.com/storage-devices-methods/45374-asynchronous-vs-synchronous-nand-flash-ssd-performance.html

Personally I don't run raid as it has fundamental flaws imo., plus I don't need more speed then my SSDs give me as they are. My NAS uses raidz2 though, which is somewhat safer in terms of compatibility.

When it comes to SSD firmwares, you should check the web there. Some are pretty flawed with the release firmware and should be upgraded before used. I'm don't have any experience with your drives personally, so can't say anything specific. There is a chance to brick the SSDs when upgrading firmwares, so either do it right away or don't do it (unless you can spare them while you wait 2-6 weeks for a replacement) - thats my oppinion. There is always the golden rule: "If it aint broke, don't try to fix it".

Jerm1970
12-12-2011, 10:42 PM
Alright... I finally got all of the parts (except the Rad boxes for the Swiftech systems) and finished putting these together on Friday.
Windows 7 install Friday evening as well as Updates, Drivers and general OS tweaking.
To my dismay, I can't begin any overclocking until the LCS is in because that stock cooler is worthless. Can't even run Prime at stock settings for more than about 8 minutes without hitting 85+. :(
I expect to be able to install the liquid cooling by next weekend, latest.
On a positive note, but rather meaningless...this thing scores 7.8 out of 7.9 in WEI. Although the 7.8 is the score for the Processor. Is this because of the new 3xxx CPUs? Or do I just need to OC it?
Also, the array seems to be performing OK with an AS SSD score of 1029. My previous build only had one SSD and I couldn't get above a 207.

My next line of questions would be how to achieve the best OC for this setup?
I'll send BIOS info according to the template once I have the Swiftwech installed in the hope that the fine folks here can help me break a minimum 5Ghz with this rig. :)

wazza300
12-12-2011, 11:24 PM
sorry didnt look at this post earlier,just want to say the ocz vertex3 would be better choice for ssd,agility uses non or asynchronous nand(cant remember) but when drive is quarter or half full performance drops off in huge numbers,i do know that the vertex3 uses the memory where if full no performance is lost

Jerm1970
12-13-2011, 03:19 AM
sorry didnt look at this post earlier,just want to say the ocz vertex3 would be better choice for ssd,agility uses non or asynchronous nand(cant remember) but when drive is quarter or half full performance drops off in huge numbers,i do know that the vertex3 uses the memory where if full no performance is lost

Unfortunately, they were already installed. I still can't complain considering I have nothing invested though. :)
I'm just anxious to get to the OC stage now.

Jerm1970
12-19-2011, 12:40 AM
Please take a moment and read the description of my situation. I'm pretty bummed out and at wits end with a $3800 paperweight atm.

I got this machine running last weekend and was patiently awaiting the rad box in order to install the liquid cooling before proceeding with any major overclocking attempts.
Once I had things pretty well tuned in and all my apps, etc set up...I decided it would be wise to create a System Image and Backup and save it to a disc that wasn't part of the array.
When I tried to save the image to the removable drive, I realized I created it as a Dynamic disc and not Basic.
So, since the removable had never been used I thought simply changing it and reformatting in Disk Management would be simple enough.
I applied the changes and was prompted to Reboot. The PC would not boot to Windows at all after POST...?

After troubleshooting anything and everything I thought might be the problem, it still will not start Windows.
It does POST. The Intel RAID Config (Ctrl - I) still showed a healthy and bootable array, but immediately after POST, the screen flickers really fast and it loops to another reboot.

I've tried...removing the RAM except one stick and have tried different modules one at a time. I also tried removing all peripherals and external drives, disabling all controllers other than the Intel RAID controller.
Cleared the CMOS, confirmed BIOS settings...still no boot following POST.
I cant even boot to a CD or DVD which makes no sense to me...?

As a last ditch effort I went into the RAID utility and removed the array thinking I would simply format all of the drives with OCZ toolbox, recreate an array and start over.
Even then it will not boot to either optical drive, or to a single drive attached to a different controller.

At this point I have no idea what the problem could be. I've tried to verify the LEDs on the motherboard and have watched the Debug codes as well, but at the moment after POST it flickers and reboots so fast, I've been unable to verify a particular code or problem. I'm not quite advanced enough, nor do I have the tools to attempt using a multimeter or anything to diagnose the problem.

If anyone can assist me or point me in a direction, I'd be so very appreciative. This build has been a long time in the making and so far it's not shaping up to be a very Merry Christmas. :(
I'm pretty sure something has failed, but cannot determine what it might be.


...calling Obi-Wan Kenobi!

Jerm1970
12-27-2011, 09:56 PM
wOw...no replies at all. :( Quite a different experience from when I posted about my Gigabyte build.
I took the SSDs to work with me last week, plugged each one in to a SATA port and used OCZ toolbox to Secure Erase them all and verify the FW.
Put them back in, went into the BIOS, loaded Optimized defaults and re-did all installs from scratch. I was happy until yesterday.
I decided to move a few things around on my desk and inadvertently bumped the eSATA cable for an external Icy Dock enclosure.
I heard the sound from Windows like a USB cable had been disconnected so I checked what I might have bumped and couldn't see the external drives.
These are just for storage and have no boot sector or anything on them.
Since the drives weren't showing up in 'Computer' I reseated the cable, heard the sound and then restarted.
Once again, the PC powers on, POSTS, I can go into the BIOS, etc. Immediately after POST (set for 2 seconds), it loops back to restart.

I'm thinking there's something wrong with the motherboard, though it ran stable since reinstallation until now.
No OCing because i still haven't gotten far enough to install the liquid.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I've cleared the CMOS, tried the other BIOS, unplugged everything except the video card.
The RAID BIOS (Intel) shows the array as Bootable and all Member Disks are present.
I don't understand why I cant even boot to a CD by choosing it as an override...it sees the optical drives in the BIOS.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated since I now have a $3500 paperweight. :(
Of course, no one on the ASUS board has shown any interest or offered any help...

wazza300
12-27-2011, 10:09 PM
try leaving cmos battery out for longer,30mins to overnight then try,check all your connections too,sata/esata/usb/power cables connected to the mb,sometimes it can hang/reboot if your sata cable isnt fully seated

Jerm1970
12-27-2011, 10:21 PM
On it...thanks wazza300!

Jerm1970
12-28-2011, 11:21 PM
That worked like a charm, man..thanks again. :clap:
Seems to be all good. Next stop...Swiftech install and some attempts at OC.

Thx again wazza!

Jerm1970
12-29-2011, 12:38 AM
Spoke too soon...restarted after an update and it did the same thing again.
I'm thinking this mobo is a POS.

wazza300
12-29-2011, 01:39 AM
Are you using latest BIOS? And what dram bus voltage,imc and CPU voltage are you using?

Jerm1970
01-09-2012, 01:38 AM
Well, I still can't quite put my finger on what the issue was.But, I re-seated every connection, removed the CMOS battery again to clear everything, replaced the battery with a new one the next day, installed the Swiftech liquid kit and did an overnight leak test, rechecked all cables and connections, configured the BIOS to optimized defaults then changed to X.M.P. Profile for 1600 RAM and adjusted RAID settings. At this point everything seems solid. I ran Prime95 for about an hour just to see what difference the liquid made. wOw! It went from about 45-46C at idle down to about 27C. During the Prime run (mixed) temps didn't break 56 under 100% load.

So, now that this thing seems to be ready, would anyone be willing to help or point me toward a base/template for a setup similar to this?
From what I've read, it's not cool to use AI Suite for a serious or stable OC and all should be done at the BIOS level. Is this correct or will the Auto Tuning work well?
Also, is it possible to achieve a 5Ghz or higher stable OC with this hardware configuration?
If anyone would like to help try, I'd appreciate any and all advice! :smilies13

Thanks in advance for your time.

Jerm1970
01-12-2012, 09:23 PM
Alright...it appears as though I'm at 4.8Ghz stable with RAM running at 1600Mhz.
I tried 5.0, but got BSOD every time with CPU voltage at 1.415 or 1.425...?
I ran Aida64 System Stability Test overnight with peak temp at 67 and no errors at 4.8.
Is Aida64 a decent suite for Stability/Burn In/Benchmarks?
I have Prime also if there's a major difference.

Also, can anyone suggest a good fan control solution? Preferably software as I have no open bays remaining.
I installed Speedfan, but to be honest, couldn;t make much sense out of that GUI.
I removed AI Suite entirely from the system, because the Fan Controls seemed incomplete.
It only detects CPU and Chassis Fan...no OPT fans (which is where I have the radiator fans attached)

If anyone would like to chime in with any suggestions on how to push this thing to 5.0Ghz (if possible) that'd be awesome.
Thanks!

PS...Is lsdmeasap still around? He was instrumental in helping me with my first build and quite a pleasure to talk to.

dJabba
01-13-2012, 12:41 AM
don't know if you still got your boot problem, but it might be due to usb sticks/drives plugged in - have had that problem myself on my current ROG Crosshair V Formula. Sometimes the bios pushes the usb device in front in boot option on its own and thereby creating errors. So I've started unplugging usb storage when they aint needed.

Jerm1970
01-13-2012, 01:19 AM
That might have very well been the issue, dJabba. I had an IcyDock 4bay plugged in via eSATA and a Drobo on one of the USBs.
When I took it all apart to reseat all of the connections and install the liquid, I disabled the eSATA drivers and switched over to USB for the Icy Dock.
I also replaced the CMOS battery since everything was out again. Since then I've not had a hiccup (other than BSODs when trying to hit 5.0Ghz).
Like you, I've been keeping USB devices unplugged unless needed and also 'Ejecting' them before a Shut Down/Restart.
Once I'm done trying to achieve the best OC I can get, it'll be on 24/7 and only restarted on occasion or install of software so I'll let things plugged in then.