Say Hello to My Little Friend

  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I decided to build a new little computer to dedicate to running a linux desktop on. I'll stick it right next to main desktop and plug it into my second display adapter on my monitor. Built the entire thing for just $279. I'm quite pleased with it myself :D

  • Motherboard: MSI 880GM-E43 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX

  • Processor: AMD Athlon II X2 210e Regor 2.6GHz Socket AM3 45W Dual-Core

  • Memory: Kingston 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066

  • Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"

  • Power Supply: Rosewill Stallion Series RD500-2DB 500W ATX12V Power Supply

  • CPU Cooler: Rosewill RCX-Z1 CPU Cooler

  • Case: GIGABYTE GZ-X7BMDX-400 Mid Tower Computer Case

For a while I've been using a virutal box in seamless mode and docking it onto my second monitor, but I decided I wanted a complete desktop. I store all my documents/music/pictures and what not on a server so I'll have no problam moving between the two desktop evironments.

This build was mostly for fun. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

I know there is no CD/DVD drive, in this day and age who needs them? I don't think I've touched my CD drive on my main desktop for months.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I don't use mine very often either. You do realize you're probably going to have to pull one out of your other computer to at least get the OS installed though, right? :D
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ya, I got an IDE dvd drive in my server. I can probably pull that as I think the DVD I used to install the OS is still in there from like 2 years ago lol
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Post 3+ Months Ago

So pretty much, you just need to put an operating system on this thing, borrow a drive for a few hours, and you've got yourself a multi-core workstation for right around $300 after shipping is all said and done ?
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

ya, pretty much lol. I'm going to play around with the over clocking features and the core unlocker to see if I can get a stable quad-core out of the chip. Should be an interesting learning experience.
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I got all the parts just a little bit ago and started putting it all together. Everything went together pretty smoothly.

The ram I got is unbelievable small. It barely stands above clips.
Attachments:
ram.jpg

2Gigs of DDR3 1033 Ram.



As soon as I booted it up I went to check the CPU specs for the CPU.
Attachments:
cpu.jpg

Specs of a AMD Athlon II X2 210e Regor 2.6GHz Socket AM3 45W Dual-Core Processor in MSI 880GM-E43 AM3 AMD 880G with Core Unlocking features.



Now all this tells me is that the CPU has the cores, to see if I could unlock them I went into the Cell Menu and enabled "Unlock CPU Cores". Set the "CPU Core Control" to manual and I only saw two of the cores. I restarted to see if that would change anything and it did. All four cores showed up.

I am now the proud new owner of a quad-core!
Attachments:
quad-core.jpg

Unlocked the two additional cores



This effectivily makes this CPU equivalent to a AMD Athlon II X4 610e Propus 2.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 45W Quad-Core but clocked to 2.6GHz.

I haven't installed an OS yet, so I don't know how stable having all four cores enabled will be. I'm going to jack my CD-ROM from my other computer and install Ubuntu 10.10 for the time being. I'm looking at Arch Linux for the long run though.
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Just got Ubuntu 10.10 installed, went into System Monitoring and saw something funny.

Attachments:
Screenshot-System Monitor.png

According to Ubuntu I'm running a Phenom! I'm not sure how Ubuntu figures out processors but my guess is it sees the Quad-Core and the 2.6 clock and just figured it was that chip.

Attachments:
Screenshot-System Monitor-1.png


The big difference between my chip and the Phenom is the L3 cache. My bios said that my chip didnt have an L3 cache so I'm not exactly sure where Ubuntu is getting the idea that this chip is a Phenom chip.

Code: [ Select ]
travis@kjerski:~$ sudo lshw -sanitize
computer         
  description: Desktop Computer
  product: MS-7596
  vendor: MICRO-STAR INTERNATIONAL CO.,LTD
  version: 1.3
  serial: [REMOVED]
  width: 64 bits
  capabilities: smbios-2.5 dmi-2.5 vsyscall64 vsyscall32
  configuration: boot=normal chassis=desktop uuid=00000000-0000-0000-0000-6C626D8AB7CD
 *-core
    description: Motherboard
    product: 880GM-E43 (MS-7596)
    vendor: MICRO-STAR INTERNATIONAL CO.,LTD
    physical id: 0
    version: 1.3
    serial: [REMOVED]
    slot: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
   *-firmware
     description: BIOS
     vendor: American Megatrends Inc.
     physical id: 0
     version: V2.10 (09/03/2010)
     size: 64KiB
     capacity: 960KiB
     capabilities: isa pci pnp apm upgrade shadowing escd cdboot bootselect socketedrom edd int13floppy1200 int13floppy720 int13floppy2880 int5printscreen int9keyboard int14serial int17printer int10video acpi usb ls120boot zipboot biosbootspecification
   *-cpu
     description: CPU
     product: AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 910e Processor
     vendor: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]
     physical id: 4
     bus info: cpu@0
     version: AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 910e Processor
     serial: [REMOVED]
     slot: CPU1
     size: 800MHz
     capacity: 2600MHz
     width: 64 bits
     clock: 200MHz
     capabilities: fpu fpu_exception wp vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 ht syscall nx mmxext fxsr_opt pdpe1gb rdtscp x86-64 3dnowext 3dnow constant_tsc rep_good nonstop_tsc extd_apicid pni monitor cx16 popcnt lahf_lm cmp_legacy svm extapic cr8_legacy abm sse4a misalignsse 3dnowprefetch osvw ibs skinit wdt npt lbrv svm_lock nrip_save cpufreq
    *-cache:0
       description: L1 cache
       physical id: 5
       slot: L1-Cache
       size: 512KiB
       capacity: 512KiB
       capabilities: pipeline-burst internal varies
    *-cache:1
       description: L2 cache
       physical id: 6
       slot: L2-Cache
       size: 2MiB
       capacity: 2MiB
       capabilities: pipeline-burst internal varies
  1. travis@kjerski:~$ sudo lshw -sanitize
  2. computer         
  3.   description: Desktop Computer
  4.   product: MS-7596
  5.   vendor: MICRO-STAR INTERNATIONAL CO.,LTD
  6.   version: 1.3
  7.   serial: [REMOVED]
  8.   width: 64 bits
  9.   capabilities: smbios-2.5 dmi-2.5 vsyscall64 vsyscall32
  10.   configuration: boot=normal chassis=desktop uuid=00000000-0000-0000-0000-6C626D8AB7CD
  11.  *-core
  12.     description: Motherboard
  13.     product: 880GM-E43 (MS-7596)
  14.     vendor: MICRO-STAR INTERNATIONAL CO.,LTD
  15.     physical id: 0
  16.     version: 1.3
  17.     serial: [REMOVED]
  18.     slot: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
  19.    *-firmware
  20.      description: BIOS
  21.      vendor: American Megatrends Inc.
  22.      physical id: 0
  23.      version: V2.10 (09/03/2010)
  24.      size: 64KiB
  25.      capacity: 960KiB
  26.      capabilities: isa pci pnp apm upgrade shadowing escd cdboot bootselect socketedrom edd int13floppy1200 int13floppy720 int13floppy2880 int5printscreen int9keyboard int14serial int17printer int10video acpi usb ls120boot zipboot biosbootspecification
  27.    *-cpu
  28.      description: CPU
  29.      product: AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 910e Processor
  30.      vendor: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]
  31.      physical id: 4
  32.      bus info: cpu@0
  33.      version: AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 910e Processor
  34.      serial: [REMOVED]
  35.      slot: CPU1
  36.      size: 800MHz
  37.      capacity: 2600MHz
  38.      width: 64 bits
  39.      clock: 200MHz
  40.      capabilities: fpu fpu_exception wp vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 ht syscall nx mmxext fxsr_opt pdpe1gb rdtscp x86-64 3dnowext 3dnow constant_tsc rep_good nonstop_tsc extd_apicid pni monitor cx16 popcnt lahf_lm cmp_legacy svm extapic cr8_legacy abm sse4a misalignsse 3dnowprefetch osvw ibs skinit wdt npt lbrv svm_lock nrip_save cpufreq
  41.     *-cache:0
  42.        description: L1 cache
  43.        physical id: 5
  44.        slot: L1-Cache
  45.        size: 512KiB
  46.        capacity: 512KiB
  47.        capabilities: pipeline-burst internal varies
  48.     *-cache:1
  49.        description: L2 cache
  50.        physical id: 6
  51.        slot: L2-Cache
  52.        size: 2MiB
  53.        capacity: 2MiB
  54.        capabilities: pipeline-burst internal varies
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I seem to remember a few years ago Intel ended up producing way too many high end processors, and in order to get rid of the inventory and maintain the perceived value of their high end processors, they ended up placing some sort of governor on the extra processors to clock them back and selling them as lower end processors.

Then there were the stories about Celeron chips being Pentium chips that wouldn't run stable at their originally intended speeds due to defects.

I wonder if the outcome of this experiment of yours is the result of something similar going on. :scratchhead:
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The Athlon II series is based on the Phenom II.

Originally the Athlon II Propus (Propus-Quad Core, Rana-Triple Core, Regor-Dual Core) was a Phenom II that had failed the L3 cache test so they just disabled it and released it as a Althon II. Now they supposedly just completely removed the L3 cache from the processor. So earlier models you could unlock the L3 cache, now there is probably a good reason the disabled it so unlocking it could cause a lot of unwanted problems.

Who knows though :)
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

SpooF wrote:
Who knows though :)


The sentence works well with your current avatar.

I love computer builds, it's something i've wanted to do for such a long time but never have done. I've only ever really upgraded my RAM on my desktop since buying it (for more than you paid for this) nearly 2 years ago.
  • jflynn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I havn't built a machine from scratch in probably 6 years. It is a fun project to do.

Whenever my desktop at home finally decides to crap out I plan on building a monster!!!!
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Am I the only one here who disassembles their systems to clean them periodically ? :scratchhead:
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert wrote:
Am I the only one here who disassembles their systems to clean them periodically ? :scratchhead:


Does having the side panel of the desktop tower off for the first year and a half of ownership count?
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I clean mine out once a year usually, sometimes twice. I use to format my machines once a year too.
  • jflynn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm about to start the annual cleaning off over 70 computers at once...... so no you are not.
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert wrote:
Am I the only one here who disassembles their systems to clean them periodically ? :scratchhead:

Nope, I do the same thing :iconthumbleft:
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Post 3+ Months Ago

whew. For some reason, it seems like last time I asked that question I was all alone and people thought I was crazy for doing it. :D

SB wrote:
Does having the side panel of the desktop tower off for the first year and a half of ownership count?


No. Though, I do keep the side off of my main system now so I don't forget to clean it.

--

So, Spoof, how has it been holding up? Any strange freezes or crashes?
Have you tried disabling the cores again and benchmarking performance both ways? :D
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Haven't done any benchmarks yet, probably will get to that this weekend. I clocked it up to 3.12GHz and its running steady at 22c. For fun I went down to the hardware store and bout some vent piping and rigged up a pipe out side to run air directly to the CPU heat sink, now its running at 10-13c (Outside temp ~9c).
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I guess Richland is about 300 miles from the coast, but if there are days you can smell the ocean when you go outside, bringing the outside air directly into the computer is a really bad idea. Salty sea air is extremely corrosive. :)
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

No ocean salt air around here haha, the Cascades pretty much take care of that.
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Alright so I would post some benchmarks but I can't get the computer to even display anything right now. No signal is going out to the monitor :scratchhead: Havn't messed with it to much, I think I'll just have to pull out a jump and reset the bios and see if something I did is causing it to get hung up someplace.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hopefully it was a software update that miffed it. :)

Is this a system you leave running constantly, or do you shut it off when you go to bed/etc ?
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Its run constant more or less. I cleared the CMOS and it started back up with out a hitch.

I'll get to those benchmarks now.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm curious, have you still been running the system with the extra cores enabled since the CMOS reset ?
  • SpooF
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I haven't found the benchmark tools I want to use yet. I want a few different kinds. One that mainly hammers the cpu and another that hammers the ram. I have fairly cheap ram so I want to be able to test the cpu without the ram crippling the test.

I think for my CPU I may just compile a kernal.

This is what I've been looking at:

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/show ... p?t=486495
  • Merlyn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I like it =)

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