So, my build no longer includes the motherboard, power supply, RAM, or heatsink listed in the previous post.
As you may have gathered from the ASRock motherboard review I posted, I had some incompatibility issues. Basically, the G.Skill RAM (F3-2133C10D) I was using was not explicitly listed as compatible with the ASRock motherboard (FM2A55M-HD+ A55 MATX R) on the motherboard’s memory support list and I was unable to set the memory speed to 2133 MHz to support my sweet APU. Further, if I had paid more attention (hey, this was my first build in a decade), I would’ve noticed that the chipset on that ASRock motherboard is pretty outdated (Bolton D2), and that’s important for APU support.
So anyway, I am now using the following components:
I went with the Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H. It has proven to be a very wise choice. The A88XM chipset (Bolton D4) is the latest and greatest, FM2+ support gives it some decent future-proofing, and the physical layout of the board is quite nice; it really maximizes the space allocated to the microATX form factor. After I purchased it and began to use it, I was most pleased to see the good fellow over at Phoronix had a similarly favorable impression of the board.
So it’s a good choice. Most importantly for my purposes, it supports a wider range of 2133 MHz RAM (see its memory support list) and the UEFI interface is very pleasant and easy to use. It’s too bad that it lacks the in-BIOS online flash option which the ASRock board possessed, but that’s ok.
Again, I chose G.Skill, but this time the Ripjaws X Series, model F3-17000CL11D-8GBXL. So far, I have it operating at 2133 MHz using its XMP (eXtreme Memory Profile) and everything runs fantastically.
Once I saw it existed, I immediately decided to go with the Corsair Hydro Series H60. It’s a factory-sealed water cooling system boasting zero maintenance and years of operation. Installation was quite easy, and it fits nicely into my COUGAR Spike Black Steel MicroATX case. It supports the very-much-appreciated FM2 mounting brackets and installation doesn’t require any backplate or annoying heat sink nonsense to be installed onto the motherboard.
The construction quality really seems top-notch, with everything looking and feeling substantial and professional. Little touches, such as the magnetized FM2 bracket which snaps firmly and pleasantly into place on the CPU cooling block and the pre-placed thermal grease layer really make this as plug-and-play as heat sink installation gets. For a water-cooling solution, especially, that’s impressive.
The stock heatsink for my Richland AMD A10-6800K could barely keep things reasonable. At idle, the processor ran about 33 degrees Celsius. Under load (playing TF2 on max settings at 1920×1080 without AA or Anisotropic Filtering), it would reach about 65 degrees Celsius. This is ten degrees short of its maximum operating temperature, but still too hot for my taste. The Hydro Series H60 brings the idle temperature of the APU down to a very cool 13 degrees Celsius and at load I’ve only seen it hit 44 degrees Celsius. Pretty awesome, and given that the A10-6800K is well-suited for overclocking, I may be using its awesomeness in the near future.
Now, here, I have to admit, I was just being silly. In retrospect, I don’t know why I bought the Athena Power AP-MP4ATX30 300 W supply. I was simply taken by the idea of running a gaming rig on a paltry 300 W of power and I was just trying to be as efficient as possible. Of course, the form factor for the power supply is not standard to microATX cases. The dimensions are 5″(W) x 2.5″(H) x 4″(D) rather than the standard 5.9″ x 3.4″ (H) x 5.5″ (D).
I disregarded this and just kinda did it anyway because I was being a n00b. I don’t recommend it. The power was sufficient for my needs, but the thing obviously couldn’t be installed in my case very well. After a few days of a ghetto-rigged single-screw-installed power supply resting precariously in my case (which had to be on its side to prevent the power supply from putting too much strain on that one screw), I ordered a new one.
I now use the Antec EarthWatts EA-380D power supply, and I have no complaints. Copious cabling is present, and I simply have no problems with it.
So there you have the update. Combine this data with my previous post and you get the following build for my Fedora 20 box:
Case: COUGAR Spike Black Steel / Plastic MicroATX Mini Tower Gaming Case
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H.
APU: AMD Richland 4.1 GHz A10-6800K
Heat Sink: Corsair Hydro Series H60
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series F3-17000CL11D-8GBXL
Storage: SanDisk Ultra Plus SDSSDHP-064G-G25 (64 GB, 2.5″ SSD), formatted as ext4 and used for the entire OS except for below additional storage
Storage: Dismantled Western Digital MyBook 1 TB Green HD (7200 RPM), formatted with XFS and mounted as /opt, used to store all optional software (including Steam Game libraries, for example)
As a final note, I’d like to commend NewEgg on their glorious RMA policies that allowed me to swap out these components for reasonable restocking fees. You just can’t beat that Egg.