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My PC Building Nightmare, And Why My Next Motherboard Will Not Be ASUS Or ASRock
#1
I’ve had a change of heart. Building a PC is too hard. Here’s my real-life nightmare as I set out to build my first computer earlier this year.

I set out to build a Mini-ITX rig. Roadblock #1 came when the Seasonic X-650 PSU wouldn’t fit with the Fractal Design Core 500 case due to its plug placement, and the case itself turned out to be a cramped nightmare. Roadblock #2 came when the ASUS Z170I Pro Gaming motherboard’s foam-padded I/O shield resisted almost all attempts to force the motherboard in. Case returned, motherboard kept. Big mistake. Got a Corsair Carbide 200R. Struggled with the I/O shield again, and discovered that the Cryorig H7 HSF blocked the 8-pin EPS connector. Roadblock #3.

Returned the motherboard and CPU cooler, got an ASRock Z170 Extreme 4 and a Thermaltake Frio Silent 14. Then came Roadblock #4, as the X-650 PSU was coil whining. Returned it, got an EVGA SuperNOVA 550 G2, which coil whines far, far less. The graphics card was coil whining too, even in idle, but I assumed the X-650 PSU was causing it. Big mistake. Roadblock #5. Newegg wouldn’t accept a return of the graphics card, but agreed to let us RMA it for store credit. Terrible.

While waiting for the graphics card RMA, realized that the 200R had ticking fans and let out too much noise. Returned it and got a Fractal Design Define R5. Migrated hardware to it, only to discover that the professional reviewer’s darling was defective and prevented the PSU from aligning with 3 of the 4 PSU screw holes, no matter which way I oriented the PSU. This was the exact same PSU that went into the 200R without a hitch. Roadblock #6. Talking with Fractal Design revealed that the PSU would be fine with only 1 screw securing it to the case. This was acceptable to me. My Define R5 has been fantastic.

New graphics card was ordered overnight, but got delayed 1 day due to a mechanical problem at the airport. New graphics card arrived, and coil whined as well. Was unable to figure out a way to reduce it for a while. Roadblock #7. Coil whine was massively reduced when I hooked it up to the PSU with 2 cables instead of 1 (the SuperNOVA 550 G2 does give you the option of using only 1 cable). What little coil whine is left is muffled by my Define R5. Problem resolved.

Then the optical drive ran loud when playing back Blu-rays, and was RMAed. Roadblock #8. The replacement was only a little less loud, but it actually whirred properly on wakeup and boot, like it was supposed to do, so the original optical drive was defective after all. The issue proved to be the Leawo Blu-ray player software not recognizing my brand-new model of optical drive and not reducing speed. Leawo’s great technical support listened to me, and the next version of their software fixed the problem.

After this, I discovered that the RAM was only running at 2133 MHz, as I had forgotten to use XMP in the UEFI. I went into the Z170 Extreme4’s UEFI, confident that it could run the RAM at its stock speed of 3200 MHz if I just used the XMP profile. Big mistake. Computer wouldn’t POST. Roadblock #9. Checking Tom’s Hardware’s review revealed that my motherboard is bad at RAM OCing using XMP. ASRock technical support was unhelpful. First they told me to do steps that would get me close to but not at the stock RAM speed, and would not POST. Then they passed the buck to the RAM manufacturer. I managed to successfully overclock the RAM to its stock speed and timings by following a Newegg reviewer’s advice and slightly increasing the VCCIO and VCCSA voltages, turning off XMP, and manually OCing the RAM. All the while, the UEFI would freeze up at random, despite the fact that I was running the latest version.

Though it finally worked, I had to replace everything but the CPU, RAM, and SSD. What was supposed to be over with in a matter of hours dragged on for more than a month, not counting the optical drive and RAM issues. An unacceptably long time was spent without a finished computer. I will never buy from ASUS or ASRock ever again. Motherboard is 100% right: building a PC is too hard. And I don’t know if next time I should build my own or go for a prebuilt.
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#2
I've posted about this on BTR too, and I want to thank poppin for encouraging me to build my own PC again one day: http://babeltechreviews.com/community/sh...hp?tid=757
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#3
I don't think this would happen would regular size.

Any particular reason you had to go to the mini format?
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#4
I didn't have to go for a Mini-ITX build, I just wanted to.
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