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The Backup Build, Radeon VII content

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  • The Backup Build, Radeon VII content

    I wasn't sure I was going to post a build log about this, since it's really just a simple upgrade for my 'backup' PC, but what the heck. I use this rig when I'm taking the big girl down for maintenance. Prior to upgrade, specs were as follows:

    Radeon R7 1700 (non-X) on Asus Crosshair VI Hero X370
    Heatkiller IV CPU block (clear acrylic)
    16GB G.Skill 3600CL15 DDR4 - 8GB x 2 (currently running at 3200CL14)
    A pair of GTX 980s with EK GPU blocks
    Phanteks Enthoo Luxe case

    So I've been getting toy-itchy lately, and I've been very curious to see how AMDs 7nm Vega chip performs. So I picked up a Radeon VII GPU, Gigabyte variant, since that's what Canada Computers had in stock. Behold, one hefty behemoth!

    Popped her in the rig to test drive it.

    I stress tested it with the latest AMD drivers, and to my surprise, there is a lot of cool stuff in the newest driver. Auto undervolting, auto overclocking, etc. I tried auto overclocking on air just for giggles, and it became apparent that this is one of the few cards that REQUIRES water. Unless you are a headphone guy, or are stone deaf, there's no way to put up with the noise levels. This thing overlocked LITERALLY (I shit you not) rivals my Dyson canister vacuum for noise. It's awful. That's where this little puppy comes in:

    Along with a really shiny new back plate, a very pretty deluxe fingerprint magnet:

    A few moments later (actually it was a day later, since Gigabyte uses tiny Torx bits on the back plate, and I could find my tiny bit set). DOH!

    In addition to being overpriced, EK also makes you cut up your own thermal pads. I guess pre-cut pads cost too much money. I mean this block and back plate combo is only $300, how could we expect a luxury like that in this price range.

    Had to route the RGB ribbon cable through the clear part of the GPU block. Tiny strips of 3M double sided clear tape came in handy:

  • #2
    Since I got caught up in the install, I didn't take many pics during, since this wasn't a properly planned build. But I got er done eventually. It's pretty:

    The view from below, in my current favorite build color, purple:

    I also picked up another new toy, a Barrow flow meter from Daz. I stuck it in full view, for stability and practicality:

    After having much trouble getting 5v RGB LED strips working on this board, I gave up and went back to my old AquaComputer Farbwerk RGB controller. It's not as convenient as having Aura control everything, but it does have the added bonus of being an autonomous device. That means that once you program the little sucker, you can take it between systems, and it retains your color settings. Which in this case, is purple of course:

    As you can see in the pic above, there are two strips, one up top and one down bottom, seen here in this horrible washed out pic taken by an idiot who has no idea how to use his new phone (OnePlus 6T):

    My god I suck with this phone. It's not nearly this purple IRL, LOL!

    Flash shot so you can see the tube runs:

    Once it was all buttoned up, and a water temp sensor added below the GPU outlet, it came out pretty decent for a thrown-together rig:

    I forgot to mention the water cooling (DOH)! Here's the water works:

    Rads: Alphacool XT45 slim crossflow 420mm rad in the top, Darkside LP240 rad in the front.
    Fans: the case came with 4 140mm fans, and they're actually great static pressure fans, so three of those are on the 420 in the roof (exhaust, pull), the other 140mm fan is in the rear (intake). The front 240 has a pair of Darkside PWM Gentle Typhoons, 1850rpm (intake, pull). All fans run of the case's included PWM controller.
    Fittings: mostly Darkside 3/8 x 5/8, with Darkside clear soft tube and Daz Protect, with just regular clear distilled.
    The pump is a D5 strong with an EK reservoir / pump top combo.

    Speaking of water, this Vega is HOT kids, hot like sauce! But that's when you overclock the bloody snot out of it. At idle it's not that bad:

    Overclocking to almost 2100mhz with increased power limits puts out some heat, 54C in this shot, with a 94C junction temperature. Not sure what that junction temp is, but it was well over 120C on air, so I guess that's improvement:

    Does ok in benchmarks, no complaints. It's not a 2080TI in performance terms, but I'm quite satisfied, especially on a first gen Ryzen rig that isn't OCed on the CPU:

    This is the first all-AMD rig I've ever had, and I've been building PCs since the 386 days. Once the 3rd gen AMD stuff lands, I'll be upgrading to that, and this Radeon VII rig will be getting my 2700X. 3rd system in a row without Intel, and life is good. Cheers guys!
    Last edited by Bartacus; 04-20-2019, 05:56 AM.


    • #3
      That block looks sexy!
      Sponsors: Thermaltake, TTesports, Apacer


      • #4
        Block is very nice. Back plate is blindingly shiny:

        It comes with a single slot PCI bracket too, which is nice. This case needs a vertical mount GPU mod in the worst way:


        • #5
          Ok, so I ended up breaking some of the LED strips on the case (LOL), but I was also kinda bored with how plain this looked. So I went nuts and rebuilt this rig into (or should I say 'onto') a completely different case, ThermalTake Core P3, snow white edition, last one in stock at my local Canada Computers. It was fate. This was the PROPER case for this build.

          First time guts transfer. I love this little thing!

          I also made a donation to Daz yacht fund:

          That large shipment contained an item that was the final one in stock (just like the case), an Alphacool UT60 420 radiator, in white:

          Purple has become my favorite color, so I also got the last 11 of these that were in stock, EK fittings:

          And if that's not enough full-retard purple for you, how about an EK M.2 heatsink (LOL, just because it was purple):

          Fast forward a day or two, after battling pump leaks, only to realize I'm a moron and had the Singularity Computers D5 O-ring on wrong (D'OH), we end up with this:

          My first time water cooling RAM. LOL, another complete waste of cooling, and $60, but it glows purple which is all that really matters.

          Big brother and little brother. Little brother wins IMO!

          The only negative is that I can't put the tempered glass panel on little bro due to the pump / res being mounted on the fat rad with fat fans. But that might be a blessing in disguise, since the darkened glass would mute the nice purple (which looks sexerific in person, assuming you like purple). I may actually wall mount this little thing, not sure.

          Revised specs:
          AMD R7 1700 on Asus Crosshair 6 Hero
          2 x 8GB G.Skill TridentZ 3600CL15 ram (currently running 3466@CL14)
          Gigabyte Radeon VII
          Watercool Heatkiller IV CPU block
          EK Vector GPU block
          Barrow RGB RAM block
          Alphacool UT60 420 radiator, EK Vardar 140mm PWM fans
          Singularity Computers D5 pump top / reservoir combo / 140mm res mounts
          Barrow D5 pump top dress kit, because purple
          EK M.2 heatsink, because purple

          Any thoughts, constructive criticism, lay it on me!


          • #6
            Nice job! I especially liked reading your comments on your pics. thanks for sharing.

            Edit: I'm officially working on 2 purple builds myself haha


            • #7
              You must have good impulse control, as I had to put the glass panel on mine to stop me from touching the fingerprint-magnet backplate when it heats up. What's your stock GPU voltage? You should check whether your VRAM is Samsung or Hynix, because if it's Hynix you can clock it to 1200MHz. There's a community spreadsheet for Radeon VIIs you can post results to.
              Data Just enter numeric values. Units will be appended automagically. Download GPU-Z 2.17 to check power consumption and Memory:,HERE Username,Core Clock,Current Voltage,Stock Voltage,HBM2 Clock,HBM2 Timing,Power Limit,Driver Version,Max Fan Speed,Max Core Temp,Max Junction Temp,Max Power Consum...


              • #8
                Dknourek: thanks, you have good taste in colors. :-)

                Sir Meowric: thanks! I'll look into that. So far I just enabled the full power draw, and set the core to 2100mhz. It seems stable and happy there. I tried to push it to 2150, but no go. I did manage to get some benchmarks done at 2125, but that clock would only run Time Spy once. A Time Spy 'stress test' would break it, so I settled on 2100.

                As for the fingerprints, yeah those shiny nickel plated back plates are AWFUL for prints. I have two pairs of winter rubber-fingered gloves I use to handle it now.

                I'll check that stuff when I get home from work, cheers man!


                • #9
                  Sir Meowric, you are the man. I do indeed have Hynix ram, and it runs at 1200mhz just fine, as you said. It survived a Time Spy stress test (20 runs) with 2100 core 1200 mem, but not sure how stable it is exactly. According to the Crimson driver thingy, the memory hit 1293mhz at one point. Thanks again for the info!


                  • #10
                    Finishing touches...

                    I decided Daz needed more money, and that the CPU area was now looking dim in comparison to the GPU and RAM blocks. After buying some other toys from Barrow, and seeing the quality of some of their stuff, I decided to splurge on a Barrow CPU block with a sweet little coolant temp sensor (it has 3 different displays you can pick from):

                    I also changed the tube from the CPU to the GPU. I started out using an extension fitting, rising into a 90 degree, but this was really unnecessary, and cluttered up the CPU block:

                    So I got rid of that, going to a bare fitting on the CPU block instead:

                    I also realized I had the RAM block on backwards, with the light shining toward the 24 pin extension instead of the CPU area (D'OH!). Fixed:

                    I also relocated the flow meter, since I didn't like the original placement:

                    So after the minor changes, it now looks like this:

                    My only complaints are that I can't sync all these RGB things! That is getting annoying. The GPU LEDs are connected to the motherboard, so GPU and mobo are controlled via Asus Aura. The RAM block has it's own little controller, and it displays a very nice purple. For the CPU block, I bought a Barrow multi-RGB controller, hoping I could run the RAM and CPU block off it, but the RAM block has a 3 pin LED, and the CPU block has a 4 pin connector. So I can only run the CPU block off that controller, and it's purple is WAY too pink. Purple is turning out to be seriously tricky!

                    EDIT: last pic, Darkside plug(s):
                    Last edited by Bartacus; 05-12-2019, 01:19 AM. Reason: Added Darkside pic


                    • #11
                      Very nice Bart. Those open cases look good.


                      • #12
                        Lookin good Bart
                        How do you like the Barrow blocks ?
                        the nvme heatsink looks great


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Father Fuzzy View Post
                          Lookin good Bart
                          How do you like the Barrow blocks ?
                          the nvme heatsink looks great
                          Thanks FF, long time no see, hope you're doing well! I'm *really* liking this Barrow stuff, well *some* of it (their Boxfish reservoir is nice, but useless for dual pump setups). Quite surprised at the quality actually, they're making some good stuff. The RAM blocks needed an extra 1.5mm thermal pad, otherwise they wouldn't fit, but Daz tells me this is very common among RAM blocks (this was my first time using those).

                          Originally posted by MemBusX
                          Very nice Bart. Those open cases look good.
                          Thanks! I love these open frame things. I have a P5, a P3, and I'm considering the P7 for my big upgrade when X570 / Ryzen 3xxx drops.


                          • #14
                            I think purple liquid needs to be tad darker.

                            Congatulations to wrestle LED thing...
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DazMode View Post
                              I think purple liquid needs to be tad darker.

                              Congatulations to wrestle LED thing...
                              Oh that RGB hasn't been wrestled yet, LOL! The CPU block's 'purple' is too pink. And you're right about the liquid, but the problem is the soft tube. The liquid looks decently purple in the res, but not in the tubes. This build might need to be hard tubed, even though I HATE doing hard tube. There's no such thing as ultra clear soft tube, sadly.