Crossfire two different graphic cards

I got the worst idea of crossfiring my old R7 260X with my new RX 480. And I have never done something similar before, so it will be cool to try. You should not try to crossfire cards that are so different, but let us try and see what happens.

When using crossfire, I know that you need to have a couple of things before you can make it work, so i made this list:

  1. Your motherboard needs to support crossfire.
  2. Both graphic cards need to support crossfire.
  3. Your power supply should have enough power for two graphic cards.
  4. Your power supply needs to have enough cables for powering two graphic cards.

Ready to crossfire?

Am i ready to crossfire? Yes! Well, i am unsure of one thing, the power supply. I have a 600 W power supply and i think that it should be just enough for my both graphic cards. I am not sure if this is going to work or not. Because when I had just the R7 260X, I tried to do the same with Radeon Dual Graphics. Only then with the R7 260X and the A8 APU, without success. So I ended up just overclocking the R7 260X.

Installing the R7 260X

Install of an 2nd graphics card at the second PCI-E slot was not that satisfying. There was a lot of cables that goes to the front USB, Audio and so on that I felt got squeezed against the motherboard. Not that good of a feeling. I also had problems with the 6 pin connector from the power supply. The power supply comes with one 6+2 pin connector and one 6 pin connector. But the problem was, the last 6 pin connector was to short. Then i got stuck, what to do now? And then i remember that i got a 4 pin to 6 pin adapter. And it saved my day. You can find one at Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2otQU3q.

4 pin to 6 pin adapter
4 pin to 6 pin adapter

Getting ready to Crossfire!

Everything is installed, starting up the computer and both graphic cards start up. The computer boots into Windows and i open AMD Radeon setting. And yes, both cards are listed. But the R7 260X is listed at “not active”. So now I am wondering how I can activate the card. So all the drivers are installed, and then I go to AMD’s website to check if I find any solution. AMD say: “Go to the AMD CrossFire option in the AMD Catalyst™ Control Center and make sure that the check box for “Enable AMD CrossFire” is checked.”. To do this, I went to the “Gaming” tab, clicked the “Global Settings”. Both graphic cards are listed, but there is nothing that tells me that i can enable AMD CrossFire. So it looks like it is not possible.

What now?

I tried different stuff, like check if there is possible to enable som kind of crossfire option in the BIOS. But i did not find anything. So my conclusion is that, you cannot crossfire a R7 260X with a RX 480. And even if it worked, I believe that you would not get any better performance out of it. Maybe worse.

Products used in this post

Fixing a broken Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive – Part 1

So today i got a new project. Fixing a 1 TB Western Digital Caviar Green. It does not work, i tried connecting it to my computer without any luck. I checked both disk management and the BIOS. So next was to get a donor drive to try and solve the problem. I got told that there is a lot of important stuff on the drive, so i had to be very careful with it.

Western Digital Drive
Western Digital Drive

Mechanical problem or PCB problem

So now the question is, is this a mechanical problem or is it a problem with the PCB? After a lot of research I find that this is most likly a PCB problem. So to swap a PCB i need to know two things, the model number and PCB number. In my case the model number is WD10EACS and the PCB number is 2060-701537-004. The PCB number does also have a “REV A” behind, but people on the internet say that this should not matter if this is a A, B, C and so on.

Western Digital Caviar Green donor drive

I managed to find a similar drive on ebay on $140 USD, it is definitely not worth the money. But it is worth the money saving the data on the drive. So i started with swapping the PCB boards and guess what, the drives shows up in the BIOS as a drive with 0 GB of storage. It did not show up in disk management, so what now?

I did some more research online and it looks like Western Digital drives need some more adjustment and a simple PCB swap would not work. So it looks like there is some kind of 8 pin firmware chip that needs to be swapped. But none of my drives have this chip.

What to do next?

So now I am out of ideas, and I did some more research finding out that the controller chip needs to be transferred or reprogrammed. And it is not recommended that i do this my self, someone professional needs to do it. I am leaving this post on some kind of a cliff hanger, because I am not sure what do to.

Product used in this post

Will the Marvell 88SE9215 Sata 3 controller card work with FreeNAS?

So I promised that I would make an update on the Marvell 88SE9215 sata controller card for FreeNAS. Like you probably know, it have been nearly one year since I build my NAS, and the Marvell board have not failed once. I have 2 drives connected to it in Raid 1, and it seems to work just fine.

So will the Marvell 88SE9215 work with FreeNAS?

Yes it will, and you can find the correct one here: https://amzn.to/2o50458. I am currently on FreeNAS 9.10. So if you are on an older version, I cannot guarantee you that it will work on your system.

Marvell 88SE9215
Marvell 88SE9215

What about the NAS?

The NAS has been doing its ting. No problems at all. It is only one thing that keeps annoying me, is that I cannot add more RAM. And it bothers me so much, because i see the RAM gets maxed out every time i use the NAS. But i cannot see that it affects the server, it still does its job without problems.

I am thinking of adding two more drives to my NAS, because the ones i have now is maxed out on about 90%, above the recommended. Not sure of what size i am going to go for, but probably 1 TB or more. I have a really low budget on computer parts after the Noctua and RX 480 upgrade of my main computer, so the NAS is not really on top priorities right now.

Other than that, i did not know that it was possible to remove the front cover of the Fractal Design Node 304. So just imagine the amount of dust that was collected in the air filters. And yes, there are fan filters there. Bet you are as surprised as I am if you have the same Node 304 case.

My new MSI Radeon RX 480 8GB Armor OC

So i bought the new RX 480, and i am very happy with the result. I have never bought a graphics card this expensive before. So this will be a new experience for me.

My new RX 480
My new RX 480

MSI Radeon RX 480 8GB Armor OC or MSI Radeon RX 480 8GB Gaming X

I asked myself the same question when buying this video card. And by doing a lot of research, there is nearly no big difference. In one of my favorite video card benchmarks Unigine Valley, I believe you can get from 0 to 5 fps more with the Gaming X. I paid about 100 USD less for the Armor OC, so for me it was definietly worth it. But i think it really depends on the user. I think a red and black video card does not fit in my computer, and when i just installed the brown Noctua fans, it would be like a rainbow inside. So my conclution is, if you have a motherboard that will match the video card and like RGB lights, go for the Gaming X. If you just like a simple video card, go for the Armor OC.

How much did I pay?

I paid 250 USD for the card. I know it looks like a lot, but if you see it from my perspective, it is not. In my country, you would need to pay an import fee and VAT for the card. So let me do some calculations, today the card costs about 240 USD at Amazon. At import i would need to pay 60 USD VAT and a import fee at about 10 USD. So the total cost of the card would be 310 USD. And that is without shipping, Amazon does not ship for free to my country. So I was really lucky paying only 250 USD included shipping for the card, I think it was the last one in their stock or something and buying the Gaming X was not really an option for me when it was 100 USD more.

But i am interested in knowing how you pay for your hardware at Amazon, do you need to pay for some kind of VAT and how much would the total be if you had to pay 240 USD from Amazon? Let me know which country and what the total would be in the comments.

My old XFX R7 260X vs MSI Radeon RX 480 8GB Armor

What i need to mention at first is the sound! I can finally enjoy gaming without hearing the graphic card fan spinning, the R7 260X made even so much noise on about 50% fan speed. I am not sure what XFX though when they designed this fan. But the RX 480 is so quiet, even when benchmarking. And at idle, the RX 480 does not make a sound. Basically because it turns of the fans at idle. I did not even have to adjust the fan settings, because i think they are perfect from the box. It may vary from system to system, but for me it was good.

My old R7 260X
My old R7 260X

So lets talk about fps. I do play games like GTA V, Raise of the tomb raider, Cities: Skylines, Spintires and that kind of games. And going from medium settings at around 30 fps (overclocked), to max settings around 40 to 60 fps in GTA V was a dream for me. It made everything about buying a new graphic card worth it. But i have some scores from Unigine Valley (max settings at DX 11) for you guys to compare the diffrence of the graphic cards:

R7 260X 2GB (not overclocked)

  • FPS: 17.5
  • Score: 732
  • Min FPS: 9.8
  • Max FPS:32.3

RX 480 8GB

  • FPS: 48.7
  • Score: 2040
  • Min FPS: 21.3
  • Max FPS: 89.8

And as you can see, you do probably now understand why i bought a new RX 480.

Would i still recommend the R7 260X?

It really depends on the user. If you can afford paying 90 USD more for the RX 480, I would defiently go for the RX 480. But if you can survive a noisy fan and playing games at medium settings. It is okay to buy the R7 260X. I do not know if the Sapphire Radeon R7 260X 2GB makes the same noise as my XFX RADEON R7 260X 2GB. If you know, tell me and i will write it in this post.

 

Products used in this post

Going from water cooling to air cooling, leaking GPU block

So i decided to go from water cooling to air cooling. Mostly because it was a lot to do with the water cooling, like my GPU block started leaking and i had to replace the water pump because my old one broke. I think that my system was some quiet, but after i got the new pump everything changed, it made som much noise. Even though the pump looks like my old one, it is not from the same company, so you should be careful on which pump you buy.

My GPU block was leaking

In my last post i recommended a great GPU block, this is the one i bought after my last one started leaking. The first one i bought was a fully black very thin block, and after i opened it i understand how bad quality this was. And this is also one of my reasons i decided going from water cooling to air cooling. I do not want any more leaks. I was lucky that i had my PSU facing the fan downwards, if not the water would leak directly to the PSU and that could have gone wrong.

But i do recommend the last GPU block that i bought, the 43-61mm GPU Water Cooling Block Waterblock. I believe that you can find it for about $15 USD in my last post on ebay, they also look the same. It is definitely worth the price if you have a card similar to me that makes so much noise with the stock cooler.

Noctua fan

I decided to go for the best this time, no more going for the 2nd best. Noctua! I bought three Noctua fans, two for the front and one for the back of my computer. They have a really good reputation if you follow this link to one of the one i bought at Amazon Noctua 120mm NF-S12A FLX, you can see that it got 4.8 of 5 stars which is amazing.

So when i got the fans i was really impressed of the packaging, it felt like i really bought a high premium fan. So i went for one of the Noctua 120mm NF-S12A FLX and two of the Noctua NF-P12 120mm x 25mm.

High static pressure or not?

The Noctua NF-P12 is a high static pressure fan, so this would fit great in the front of your PC. What is basically does is if you have harddrives or air filters in front of the fan, it is recommended to have high static pressure. If you have nothing in front or back of the fan, i would recommend the NF-S12A. Also the NF-S12A is some quieter than the NF-P12, but you still cannot hear any of them.

If you have water cooling, and a radiator. I would recommend buying a extreme high pressure fan for the radiator. It have even more static pressure than the NF-P12. A great example on this is the Noctua NF-F12 PWM. But this one make a bit more noise than the NF-P12.

So this basically sums it to three different fans:

Noctua CPU cooler

I also got a CPU cooler from Noctua. It looked so big when i got it, but when it was intalled, it did not look that big any more. The CPU cooler is a Noctua NH-D9L, and it is as quiet as the rest of the fans. Under load you may hear it. But i am also very glad i bought this with the other Noctua fans.

Something i did not realise, is that the CPU cooler did include package of Noctua thermal paste, but i bought an additional Noctua thermal paste. It is not the same amount inside, but i do not think that i would need the additional one, but it is great to have.

My Noctua S12A (fan) and Noctua NH-D9L (CPU cooler)

The noise – Water cooling vs air cooling

As i said earlier, the new water pump did make a lot of noise. So going to this Noctua setup was a dream. As long as i do not game. Because the graphics card i have now makes a lot of noise when i am gaming. When i am not gaming i did actually set the fan in SpeedFan to idle, so the fan does not spin when the graphics card is not used. When i am gaming, it is a pain. A fair statement from me, is that if you get a good pump for your water cooling, it will be silent. But if you do as me, install only Noctua fans, and get a graphics card with silent fans you will have the quietest computer in your neighbourhood.

But there was still some noise, and that was the PSU fan. And i know I should not open an PSU (disclaimer: Your should not either!). But i did it anyway, and changed the fan to be a more silent one. I can still hear that it makes some noise, but I will survive until i can afford a new fan for the power supply.

Having water cooling vs having air cooling

Am i missing water cooling? Absolutely not, I just wanted to try it. And having an air cooled computer is so much easier. You do not need to think that your computer some day get wet because of an leakage, you do not need to think that your pump suddenly break and this kind of stuff. So if you are not thinking of doing some serious overclocking, I will recommend you to go for air cooling. And like i said, your computer will be more silent with just fans.

I did some benchmarking before and after, and the temperature on the CPU was actually lower after I installed air cooling. The GPU did not have any mayor diffrence. And i feel like the other components on the graphics card and mother board is more cooler now when i have more fans.

Replacing the GPU?

I am actually thinking of replacing the GPU, not only because of the noise. But getting 30 fps on medium settings on GTA V, is not that fun anymore. My R7 260X have done its job, and i am thinking of replacing it with something like an RX 480 or similar.

Products used in this post

See my YouTube video

How to create a cheap water cooling system for your computer

In this post i will show how to make an affordable water cooling for your computer including water blocks for the CPU and the GPU, water pump with reservoir and radiator.

Why should i install water cooling on my pc?

If you are like me, you would do it because it is fun… And maybe some overclocking. My main reason to water cool my pc was because of my annoying GPU fan, it made so much noise. So this is my way to make everything more quiet. Some would probably recommend to buy an 3 fan GPU and quiet fans, but i also wanted to try water cooling. So this is an affordable way to do it yourself.

My setup: CPU Cooling (24.98 USD)

I will be making a water cooling system for my setup. So this is for a AMD A8 6600K FM2 socket. But the ebay listing says that it will fit other sockets to like AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+ and FM1. Also it will fit Intel LGA 775, 1155, 115 and 1366 (this is from the item description on ebay, i do not know for sure that it will fit anything else that FM2). ebay: 

GPU Cooling (11.9 USD)

For the GPU i just had to risk and buy one because it is difficult to find one ebay listing that says this will fit my XFX R7 260X. In the item description it says that it will fit 270X, 280X, 290 and 290X. But no 260X, so i guess you need to check if it will fit your GPU by the 43-61mm range (check the ebay listing for more information: ). But this one will definitely fit the XFX AMD 260X.

Water pump with reservoir (15.99 USD)

This is a water pump that includes a reservoir, make sure you have a 3 pin cable ready for this one. If you don’t have a 3 pin available, then you can get a 3 pin splitter, they do not work as they should do always so make sure you get a quality one. They have the splitter on ebay and amazon. This water pump does make a bit noise, even if it says ultra quiet. But i bought this 3 pin noise reducer from ebay (link: ) and i can’t hear the pump anymore. Here is a ebay link to the pump:

Radiator (13.69 USD)

This is a very simple but okay to use radiator. I installed mine on the back exhaust fan. I got some long screws from ebay, they made me fasten both the fan and the radiator at the same time. If you take the screw from the inside of your case, and through the fan hole. You can fasten the screw inside the small holes that you see at the radiator. Make sure you have a 120mm fan. ebay radiator link:

Tubing (11.6 USD)

For tubing i bought 2 meters of 8*12mm. 2 meters is probably more than enough, i bought 2 to be sure. But 1 meter will probably be enough. I also bought a couple of hose connectors (ebay link: ), in case i cut to little. But the best thing about it is when you are going to drain your system, this one at the back of your computer is brilliant because you dont need to disconnect any tubing from either a radiator or a water block. You have 80% control when disconnecting tubes with this in between. Nothing much to say about the tubes. Link for ebay: .

Result

The total cost is about 78 USD. Which is good when you think about that this is for both the GPU and CPU. I have a very hot system, but manage to get around 40-50 degrees celsius on idle.

Prefer Amazon instead of ebay?

All of my links goes to ebay, but all of the parts is available at amazon.com. Check it out here:

Drop It – Game for Android and iOS

Some weeks ago i released a game in Google Play store called “Drop it”. Drop it is a very simple game that i made in Unity. The game itself is about dropping the ball in one of the cups that passes by, if you hit a cup, you get a point. If the ball goes outside of the cup, you loose 1 of 3 chances.

Unity 3D

The game is made in 3D, but the camera angle make it look like it is in 2D, this design makes the game unique to its competitors.

In game printscreen

This game is based on a real arcade game where you should drop multiple balls in one cup. That game is very similar to this, only here you would need to drop one ball.

You will get to maximum speed of the cups when you reach 190 points, and the speed will change at 10, 30, 50, 70, 90, 110 and so on. The number of cups are unlimited and the number of balls. The game is endless, so you can reach any score you want, as long as you do not miss the cup more than three times.

Android, and maybe iOS?

The game is currently available for Android, but i do not like the 1 year fee at Apple, so the game is currently not available for iOS. But if the game goes popular on Google Play, i will probably uploaded it to iOS too.

So if you think this game looks fun, get it at Google Play today! You do not got an Android phone? Well, then recommend the game to your Android friend.

How much does it cost to build a NAS server? – NAS Project – Update #6

So, how much did the NAS project really cost? I want to discuss this topic because i have seen they sell NAS servers at a start price around 99 USD. So what is the best? Building your own or buy a 99 USD one.

Are you a simple guy or a tech guy?

I think most of the time this matters. Are you a simple guy who just want to store your files somewhere? Then the 99 USD NAS is probably something for you. If you are like me, and like to build PC stuff, you would probably do the same as me and buy the parts to build your own NAS. Access to old computers for power supply and cables would probably be a advantage.

A cheaper alternative

Raspberry pie – Raspberry pie is a small motherboard that includes a CPU, RAM and a place to store your SD Card. And here you can get a lot of stuff very cheap. But something that your should think of, is that you also need to power the drives, so you would still need a power supply. One time saw a picture of a card that you could connect to the raspberry pi, something like a SAS card. Tell me in the comments if you know anything about this.

Not making a Mini-ITX NAS – I chose to use a Mini-ITX motherboard, because i wanted to use the Fractal Design Node 304 case. But you can choose whatever motherboard you want. I have seen some motherboards that already have up to 6 sata slots, so here you save money on a lot of stuff. You would not need a sata card, the case could be some old free junk with a power supply. Look for an old motherboard that supports LGA775 processors and you would be good to go. Also, buying an old motherboard that supports Intel Xeon CPU’s is also not a bad idea, but the motherboards do not always fit with modern cases, so you should get one with a case.

Buying the 99 USD one from Amazon – The easiest choice is to buy one, but that is no fun. But if you are a simple guy, it is probably the best. But some disadvantages is that you probably cannot install FreeNAS and install stuff like Plex Media Server, Transmission and so on.

Product list with final price for a NAS server

So i want to show you how much i used on the NAS. Let us take a look! Tell me in the comments of what you think of the total cost of the NAS server. Remember that i already had the disks, i did get a free power supply, sata cables and some RAM and i did also get the Fractal Design Node 304 cheap from a local store.

Total cost: 256 USD

Finally the Node 304 arrived – NAS Project – Update #5

I got the Fractal Design Node 304, and i am now ready to build! Fractal Design Node 304

Fractal Design Node 304 WhiteI chose to buy the white Node 304 because everything i have is black, and well if my server was going to be black it would be boring. But this case have a white finish with some black details that i think is very nice. Also, the case comes space for six drives. I have been thinking about if i am going to have 6 drives or not, and i think i will go with just 4 HDD’s and two SSD’s. One SSD for FreeNAS and one for the jails and plugins. But buying SSD’s and new drives will be later, because i can’t afford that right now.

Building the server!

So building the server went nearly without problems. Some stuff that i had problems with:

  • The cables were too long, from the case and the power supply. But i managed to do some cable management.
  • Screws were to hard, or maybe i had a bad screwdriver. And even the “hand tight” screws, could not be tightened or opened hand tight without the screwdriver.
  • This has nothing to do with the case, but the power for the harddrives were a bit short. So i had to choose to either power the SSD or my old Samsung drive. And i had to use the SSD for the OS, so my old drive will be without power for some time. In the future when i need the extra disk i am going to buy this 4X SATA power splitter cable.

 

And som positive stuff:

  • They included three fans! And they are really quiet, even on high speed.
  • Fan controller with a fan speed of slow, medium and fast. It had connectors to all three fans that came with the case.
  • Making everything fit was no problem, i can say that the designers did some good job with that.
  • It includes the cap that you can fit on top of the motherboard mounts, so you can use your screwdriver to tighten them.
  • Cable management was a bit hard with all the cables. But a pluss is that the designers tried to make it more easy with cable management slots.

Here are some pictures of the final build, please do not get a heart attack when you see the cable management.

Inside Fractal Design Node 304 White

Inside Fractal Design Node 304 White 2

Fractal Design Node 304 White

Fractal Design Node 304 White Complete

Something that you should think of before buying the case, is that you do need an Mini ITX motherboard. I can believe that some guy bought this with a normal motherboard an was like, “Why doesn’t this fit!?”.

If you are interested in buying the White Fractal Design Node 304, you can get it here from Amazon. 

For some reason, the black Fractal Design Node 304 i much cheaper than the white one. If you want the black one instead, you can get it here from Amazon.

What do you guys think? Please leave a comment to tell me, i will be replying! Also, if anyone want the cardboard case (see my last post), tell me, i would be happy to ship it to you.

 

Cardboard Server? – NAS Project – Update #4

It have been some time since i posted about the FreeNAS server. And a lot have been done since then. I got the $22 USD 30GB SSD and the Marvell 88SE9215 Sata card. And i can confirm that the Sata card works perfectly without any issues. I did also get 2 free cables which is nice. The card also came with a normal- and a small bracket for probably mounting in smaller PC cases. I can also confirm that i have bought the Fractal Design Node 304 case, but it is still on the way. A friend had an old Lenovo desktop computer, and he gave me the power supply for free. Also the PC had computer memory that did fit in my motherboard, that i also got for free, so i am on 4 GB total of computer memory.

I wanted to build this server that much that i could not wait no more, so i took the cardboard the motherboard came with and, well, made a server out of it.

FreeNAS_1
Cardboard server

FreeNAS_2

FreeNAS_3

What do you guys think? Pretty neat huh?

And yeah it works! But it will be great to get the Node 304 so i can start building the server for real.

Marvell 88SE9215 Sata card

Like i said, the card works with my seagate drives and can handle raid. Here is what is looks like inside the cardboard server:

IO Crest 4 Port SATA III PCI-e 2.0 x1 Controller Card Marvell Non-Raid with Low Profile Bracket SI-PEX40064

New quad core CPU

I installed Plex Media Server inside FreeNAS and everything worked fine until i tried to stream the highest quality of my tv shows. The show started, but then begin to stop and start all the time, that was very annoying. I checked where the bottle neck was, and it looks like it could be my dual core 3.0 Ghz E5700.  So i decided to buy a new one, and the best and cheapest alternative was the Intel Q8400 that is a quad core 2.66 Ghz CPU. And yes, i did already buy it, but installing it will happen when the Node 304 arrive.

Intel Q8400

Only 100 Mbit/s transfer speed 🙁

Something i noticed when i transferred files to the server, is that i only had a 100 Mbit/s transfer speed. And that was way to slow. Especially with my new CAT6 internet cables. After searching the whole web and i could not get any answer, i asked on a forum. They told me to change the port my internet cable was connected to in my Dlink router and voila, it works! I do finally get 1000 Mbit/s transfer speed, much faster than 100 Mbit/s.

 

Products used in this post: