Description

IDEA:

Late one night, somewhere between dusk and dawn I was awoken by sounds of my oldest son's frustrations of an online game gone wrong. Wrong due to his computer system just not up to the task that he was trying to give it. After many times of asking "Do you want me to make you a new one?" he finally submitted to letting me make him something that would meet his needs. He must have had a premonition of what was to come. Given that I had lots of left over parts lying around I felt this would be a simple task; boy were we ever so wrong. So Sit back boys and girls of all ages and let the tale of the HAF-Baked build be an everlasting reminder of what can and will go wrong.

PLAN:

Take 2 XFX R9 380X's Black Editions 1030MHz, an LG Free sync Ultra wide, an old beat-up 912 HAF case and purchase a cheap AM3+ mother board, an FX 8370 just because of 8 cores and cheap at the time, a new power supply and some 2133 2 x 8 Gig sticks, paint the HAF 912 Black, make a power supply shroud and wire tender, and make it happen. Simple enough, right?

HURDLE #1:

After searching online for a used 990FX mother board that could handle a higher TDP, we quickly became aware that there were no more new ones around that had 2 x PCIe 2.0 x 16 slots that would stay at x16 with two cards installed. This was vital to utilizing those R9 380X's. After much searching, any new ones were astronomically priced on the popular sites. So we switched gears for a minute and checked for a 970 AM3+ board with these specifications and low and behold we found one on the popular goose egg site. We made sure in the description that it had 2 x 2.0 PCIe slots running both at x 16. The Gigabyte 970-DS3P FX. When purchased it was 54.99 on sale, new. Hurdle 1 jumped. We purchased some Corsair Pro 2133 memory and an AX 1200i for good measure and away we went.

MODIFICATIONS:

With the mother board purchased we measured and made, out of metal, a one-off shroud for the power supply and a blank piece that would hide the wiring coming off of the right side of the mother board since the 970 was much less wide than a 990 board. After many days of pissing off the neighbors with an air compressor, grinding wheel and hammer the pieces started to come into fashion and were good enough to be painted. The HAF 912 was already modified for water cooling when it was used in a previous build, Sub Key Lime 3.14, so just some black paint was in order. After many, many coats of semi gloss black it was ready for assembly.

HURDLE #2:

After the paint had settled it was apparent that a blacksmith I am not, and all of the over worked metal really showed through with a nice coat of semi black. We thought about it some and decided to wrap anything and everything we could with some carbon fiber look tape. Solution! Once wrapped it began to look great and we realized that it should had been a thought from the beginning.

ASSEMBLY #1:

With everything ready to go we had ordered some one-off back plates for the R9 380X's from some place in Spain of all places and installed them along with some new thermal paste. Man, those R9's were ready to play the part for sure. We installed the mother board, roughly connected everything, installed Win 10 and gave it a test run. It was going great even though the 970 board only had one 4 pin CPU connector, I wasn't too worried. After many updates I began to run some video tests and noticed that the R9's weren't responding like I had remembered. After some searching and wondering WTF? it hit me and my fears had been realized. As we had searched and searched for a 970 AM3+ board we kept coming up with almost all of them having the second 2.0 slot running at an x8 or x4. Long story a little shorter the goose egg sight struck with a miss represented board description and after trying to get a refund the page had been fixed. Stuck with this board and not admitting defeat it went back in the box and in the closet for something later.

PLAN #2:

Okay, now what? Start all over or ride this derailed biotch until it straight up crashes. So my son an I not being quitters, decided to crash and burn! We scoured the internet for something that would resemble what we needed and found that people think these AM3+ boards must be made out of gold or something. It's not like there are two knuckle heads out there trying to make a PC in 2018 with one of them, is there? So 2 weeks later we found one from a reputable re seller claiming that it was in excellent condition for 130.00 US dollars. From the prices that others were selling these for this was less than half the price. We figured, "What the Hell?" What else is going to happen to us? Should have left those words inside.

ASSEMBLY #2:

New, used Asus M5a99FX Pro R2.0 arrives and low and behold it still has the plastic, "Don't scratch me tape" on the VRM heat sink. No abnormal smells, swelled caps, burned traces, etc. Maybe we did alright? We quickly realized due to excitement that since this is a full size 990 FX ATX board that our nice wire tender piece would be useless. No problem, a small sacrifice for getting those R9's running sweet again. We also realized that the slots that were cut for wire routing in the one-off power supply shroud were a little off, but no worries, no one will notice. Again we assembled loose, re installed Win 10 again and after several updates settled into testing the video cards once again. Loaded Steam, GTAV and let cross fire shine. Man was it going great. Actually too great in hindsight because after about an hour of testing we started to notice some weird artifacts coming through. Thinking it was due to us not having the latest driver we loaded the latest and then the unthinkable happened. We lost a beloved family member. One of the R9's gave up the ghost. Just froze, locked up the system, no re boot, etc. totally dead when drivers post. We re-flashed it's bios in another working machine but it was gone. We tried to find a replacement but with the video card prices through the roof a new unused one was in the high 500's and a used one was around 300 if it could be found. Mind you these were the black 1030MHz ones. Rare of the rare. We are now at this point beginning to think that this build may be cursed.

PLAN #3:

Okay, running one card was just not going to happen, we wanted to run two and we needed to for pushing that monitor at 75hz with some eye candy turned up. We decided that we were going to buy two new cards. We opted for the RX 580 4GB versions and I was willing to bite the 1000 dollar bullet for him but just had such a hard time swallowing that. After some more searching we found some RX 560 4GB Cross Fire ready and Free Sync ready. Our prayers were answered. We finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel not knowing it was another derailed freight train heading straight for us.

MODIFICATION #2:

Being now more than 2 months into this nightmare we decided that we were really going to go all out. We took the new XFX RX 560's and completely wrapped them with the carbon tape. We took the back plates form the R9 380X's and modified them to fit and wrapped them too. We went all out. We spruced up the case with carbon fiber tape everywhere. Man, we were on a roll. We wanted to really do right this time and we were really happy with the outcome.

ASSEMBLY #3:

Freshly wrapped and with a new outlook we installed the two RX 560's, a new driver and began to re test. To our surprise, they weren't up to the task that the R9 380X's were, it was quite noticeable. To the tune of 40 FPS in synthetics and about the same in certain games. We were puzzled to say the least. We had figured that they would at least be as good as the R9 380X, crap, they had a higher clock speed and the same RAM. How could they not? I don't know why or what prompted me to run GPU-Z but the answer became painfully clear. Little did I know that the RX 550's and 560's run at x8 speeds combined with a 128 bus they are just garbage at best. Thankfully we saved a little face and purchased two which sort of made up for it, sort of.

FINAL ASSEMBLY:

We were beaten down. And I mean beaten. My wife is asking "Will this ever end?" and I replied, "I know, right?" So we gave up. We decided to just build it as was and let it go. My son being tired, me as well. We put it all together, tended the wires, made it look nice, mounted it to his new desk, hooked everything up and just downloaded all of his games. We set up most of games and to our surprise it actually does quite well at medium to high settings on most games while averaging at least 60 FPS. Then we plugged in the headphones. Yes, I said plugged in because he used to have some nice wired ones. We were also not able to get the 2133 memory stable with the motherboard at specified timings. We would have had to loosen them basically worse than some G.Skill 1866 sticks that I had. So we put the 1866 sticks in and ran them at the XMP timings. (I run 2133 sticks XMP settings on all of my other AM3+ Gigabyte builds.) Random crashing and blue screens gone, still no audio out of any jack. To make a long story even longer the onboard Realtek Audio chip is fried. So much for an in excellent condition used board. Should have seen that one coming with everything else. So being beaten and really feeling bad for my son I bought him some wireless Corsair Voids and a stand to go with it; problem solved. I contacted the seller and he gave use an option of a full refund for a return with not other replacement or he would knock off 30 dollars. We took the 30.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

As enthusiasts we all go through some sort of hurdle when it comes to building our PC's be it from a fitment issue, a wire routing issue, and on and on and on. But let this be a lesson to all of you out there. Even a tried an true idea can go completely FUBAR if you don't plan for it, hence HAF-Baked being the name. Plus it gets hot as ****!

OneFlyGtiGuy

Part Reviews

CPU

Great processor. Not too hot and can OC up to an FX9590 if wanted. Much better options at this price but if on sale for under a hundo you should pick one up.

CPU Cooler

Quite, cool and still going after 3 years of abuse from and FX9590

Motherboard

Not a fan. Too much of everything from the bios to the amount of tweaks that can be made. Good if you like to really go deep on a bios that's for sure

Memory

Good low latency with XMP enabled. Nice and cool.

Storage

Fast, Fast, Fast and really durable.

Storage

Fastest reliable platter drives I have ever used

Video Card

Pretty lame offering from AMD considering the previous gen R9 380X blows its doors off! Only PCIe x8. Steer clear if that bothers you.

Case

Love this thing. Abused, used and looking better than ever. Such a great case. Should have always came with a shroud.

Power Supply

Best PSU I have ever used. All I buy now.

Optical Drive

It reads, it writes, its cheap, it works.

Wireless Network Adapter

Surprisingly fast and small. Best PCE card I have owned.

Case Fan

It blows! Good quality, has lasted for some time now, No noise.

Case Fan

It blows too! Good quality, has lasted for some time now, No noise

Case Fan

It blows and sucks! It's Corsair. A little noisy under full RPM, but moves some air for sure.

Case Fan

It blows and sucks too! The LED white is very nice even in a build with color. It really gives an added layer with any color.

Monitor

Surprisingly great picture with excellent color reproduction. Free Sync is great.

Keyboard

Mouse, Keyboard, Blue LED backlit for under 30 bucks and it feels semi mechanical. Cant lose.

Headphones

Excellent sound reproduction, great battery life and RGB. New mic is awesome with a spit tip on it. Really good quality headphones.

Comments

  • 16 months ago
  • 8 points

Kudos for the effort, but I think you got a bit stuck on the initial idea and might've made a couple of not optimal decisions.

First off, the difference in performance between a card running at x8 and x16 is negligible, you can look up some tests on the internet and you'll find a difference of around 1% between the two. The reason why the two 560 don't perform as well as the two 380X is just because the 560s are entry level cards, and if you check on userbenchmark you'll see a difference of about 60% in favour of a single 380X with respect to a single 560. They're just quite different tiers, and the architecture / age difference is not enough to make up for that.

Now, I also think that, after the first 380X breaking, you should've avoided X-fire, and just gotten a single 580. Again, userbenchmark rates a single 580 around 40% more than a single 380X and, since X-fire doesn't scale linearly, I'd say a single 580 would've had just slightly less performance than the original couple of 380Xs, just my guess.

Mad props on the modding part though, the shroud looks amazing, and all the carbon fiber wrapping is stunning aswell.

I don't know what kind of pc was your son coming from, but I'm sure he'll enjoy this one, at least until prices for new hardware go back to a reasonable level.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

well said

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Agreed, agreed, agreed. All I really have to say in reply is HAF-Baked! Would have been great if we didn't lose one card and keep making poor decisions. He does really enjoy it now and to be honest it performs quite well given what it is. Oh and the PC he was coming from was a previous build of ours- Visions of AMD's Future Past.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

why two 560s in crossfire?

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

We had no idea they were x8. We were aware that they were 128 bit buses for Memory but felt that would be okay. Two for pushing 75hz as close as possible. It worked out okay at best.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I hope your son enjoys his new PC. It's always cool/fun to see a family collaboration when building PCs! +1

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. I agree. I find myself searching for these type of builds here. I will admit that even though this build had many hurdles it was by far the most fun one yet. I got to teach my youngest how to work with metal and paint, my oldest how to be patient with wrap and finally what not to do in the end LOL! Great bonding experience.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

very nice! :)

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

blacksmith I am not

Yoda I am

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

You saw the Vader cup did you? Yeah. I can make just about anything but as the saying goes "A little putty and paint makes the carpenter what he ain't"

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

The amount of time and effort that went into this case mod is instantly apparent. +1

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Much appreciated. We at least felt that we could make it look good if anything. We certainly made some bad decisions but felt the only good ones were the mods.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey I'm not judging, no need to justify, we all make mistakes. I personally don't like AMD but if I did have those cards I may have made the same mistake.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

The best part is I am still trying to recover the dead one. Got a few tricks left.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

good luck!

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I must say if you have the patience for it your time will be spent well.