Description

A portmanteau of Factorio and Tsuchinoko.

Tsuchinoko, a mythical Japanese reptile, is my old side computer which was previously used as a Factorio server. I named the server (and now the computer) Factorinoko.

This is an X79 rebuild for Tsuchinoko, which was previously AM3+ based. This is an experimental build with the theme of "as fast as possible for as little as possible." Without extras (sound card, wireless card, Noctua fan), you can build one of this for about $500 and you can still play all your favorite games and do productivity work reasonably well. One exception I found is Ghost Recon Wildlands, which is hard CPU bottlenecked.

My first problem was trying to boot Windows 7. Windows 7 does not have the necessary SATA drivers to boot using the new hardware. I could not source a functioning driver before my sanity ran dry, so I used a Macrium Reflect recovery USB disk to back up the boot drive to the secondary hard drive and installed Windows 10 over Windows 7 in UEFI mode and using GPT partitions, as opposed to the dated BIOS (or CSM) mode and MBR partitions. The hard drive is still using MBR, but I can change it to GPT at any time using Minitool Partition Wizard. I eventually sourced a functional SATA driver, but I already corrupted the bootloader for my Windows 7 backup and I really didn't want to go through any more trouble, so I decided to delete it once I backed all of my documents up to my new install, again, using Macrium Reflect, but the Windows program this time.

All of the software I link is free to download and use in non-commercial capacities.

The Phenom II X4 it previously had could not run Apex Legends due to missing instruction sets and had a Cinebench R15 score of 417 when overclocked to 4.1GHz at 1.45v. This is very bad, as it could not even run Rainbow Six Siege fast enough to not drop mouse input. I urge all users of the Phenom series CPUs to upgrade immediately.

(Please consult the parts list for context for the following text.)

The Xeon it currently has can do 830, which is about as good as a stock i7-4770K, which easily costs way more than the Xeon. The Xeon also supports ECC memory, but as I already have a 2x4GB kit of Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 RAM, I decided to source another matching kit on eBay to get 16GB. It runs completely stable in quad channel mode at 1866MHz (overclocked, highest allowed in BIOS) with automatic (loose) timings of 12-12-12-32, according to CPU-Z. (Interestingly, CPU-Z incorrectly lists the southbridge as an Intel X79 revision 6. More on that later.)

The motherboard's included BIOS does not give any control over BCLK, RAM timing, and has no XMP support, no S3 sleep, no temperature sensors (the CPU temperature sensor works fine but does not show up in SpeedFan), and only one PWM fan header on the very bottom. I can dump my BIOS (version 4.6.5.4) but I think it is outdated (4/28/18) and I would prefer a newer one with an S3 sleep fix and RAM and BCLK mod.

I use a Xonar DG sound card in this computer, but the onboard audio has the standard green, pink, and blue jacks on the back. It advertises 5.1 sound, but it only has one stereo output and two inputs. Testing the sound quality with a pair of USB speakers, it's practically noiseless and the line out signal strength is on par with my dedicated sound card in "2 Speakers" mode, so no issues as far as I can tell. As I'm not going to use onboard audio, the lack of surround sound support out of the box doesn't really bother me and I leave it disabled in the BIOS.

The motherboard has 4 DIMM slots, with 1 DIMM slot corresponding to each of the 4 channels, enabling quad channel memory support with interleaving and ranking if that is your thing. The DIMM slots are very close to the LOTES-made socket, so what ended up happening is the heatsink fan failed to fit with the high profile Corsair Vengeance memory installed, and the fan was entirely omitted and the heatsink is passively cooled. A high-end aftermarket exhaust fan was installed in the rear to assist in cooling the heatsink while keeping it decently quiet. I installed fan filters in the front, as the case does not have any except for the power supply.

You might not see the speaker header in official screenshots, but the motherboard does have a speaker header, so if you like to tinker around with Bleeper Music Maker, you'll be pleasantly surprised to know that it works in CSM mode and with the beepxp64 drivers. The motherboard will beep with every device it detects on boot with no way of disabling it, so if you room with someone and you gotta turn on the computer at night, you may want to reconsider installing a PC speaker when putting your computer together. At least the motherboard boots extremely fast, in a matter of seconds, in fact. That is way faster than my X99 build which takes about a minute, but that is because it does that when the CPU is overclocked, so your mileage may vary.

So far, the computer has only blue-screened on me once while playing Sonic Adventure DX with BetterSADX with Dreamcast mod and the error was that the UNi Xonar Drivers tried to read an illegal part of memory, and my theory was it was something related to GX mode, which I practically have enabled at all times except when playing Rabi-Ribi, which on my other X99 computer with a Xonar STX II causes horrible screeching and was overall an unpleasant experience. I turned off onboard audio, since I was testing it at the time, rebooted, left GX mode enabled, and I have yet to have another BSOD while playing SADX. There were no changes to RAM speed, which stayed at 1866MHz.

As this is actually a C602 chipset motherboard and not an X79 chipset, typical SATA drivers will not work with this board, but Microsoft's generic drivers available with Windows 10 will work at the expense of write speed. I used a very specific Intel RST driver to enable full SATA speed. (This took forever to find; you're welcome.)

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Reasonably priced. It can get pretty loud when the fan maxes out, but nothing like stock heatsink from the AMD FX-era. A classic heatsink, I wholly recommend.

Memory

These were the most common performance kit of RAM back when DDR3 was still new. Now they can be had for as little as $40 for a kit. I wholly recommend.

Storage

This SSD, despite feeling very cheap in the hands, will give life to any old PC and boost the performance of any computer still rocking a mechanical boot drive while still costing practically nothing for the capacity and performance it offers. I strongly recommend this to everyone.

Storage

It isn't very fast, but it does store a lot of files reliably. I wouldn't really consider anything that isn't Seagate or Western Digital, as I've had very negative experiences with refurbished Hitachi drives. This, I recommend.

Video Card

It sags a lot. Uncomfortably so. But it gets the job done. It's reasonably quiet and has a zero RPM mode. I recommend.

Case

The headphone and microphone jacks have a bit of crosstalk and the USB ports are upside down, which might be nice if you need to look at a flash drive from the front to see if it is doing anything but it is a minor annoyance at best. The power button has a satisfying actuation and the reset button is small enough not to accidentally trigger. There is no front dust filter and no top fan mounts but does support 360mm rads in the front. There are no front drive bays. It includes two front fans and one rear blue LED fan, all powered by Molex or 3-pin. The window is acrylic and the power supply shroud has a honeycomb-patterned perforation on top. Within the PSU shroud, there are two toolless hard drive trays and behind the motherboard panel is one SSD mounting panel. The front lights up blue and the LEDs are held in via hot glue and are powered by Molex. For a mid-sized ATX case this cheap, this is a real bargain and I can recommend this.

Power Supply

EVGA refurbishes these units and sells them on eBay. I got one for $20 shipped but there are two problems: they are frequently sold out and they raised the prices. Just get an EVGA bronze power supply and you should do just fine.

Sound Card

The PCI-e version, the Xonar DGX, has become somewhat of a rare and expensive card these days. ASUS probably discontinued them. But you can grab one of these PCI versions from Micro Center for only $20 new. I use this to enable low latency osu! hit sounds using GX mode, but for typical DirectSound, the average latency is about 80ms. I recommend this if you play osu!. Warning: sometimes hitsounds break. Use Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S to reload sounds (and skin).

Wireless Network Adapter

For the desktops and motherboards without integrated wireless, this card will give you both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth at the expense of one USB header (and one PCI-e slot). You will need a free USB header in order to use Bluetooth. The version I have uses an M.2 slot for the actual wireless card, so you can upgrade this board with just about any wireless card meant for laptops you like. I doubt desktop boards will whitelist laptop wireless cards, but who knows. I recommend.

Case Fan

These fans are cheap. They are of the generic design, but the bulk price of roughly $4/piece is just too hard to beat. They are pretty quiet.

Case Fan

It ain't cheap, but it does its job and looks nice as well. You can't go wrong with Noctua.

Comments

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Upvoted for xeon build but I'm not quiet sure what motherboard or xeon it has inside.

Either way, good job on the clean build.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. It is a Xeon E5-2667, which is six-core hyperthreaded and Sandy Bridge clocked at 3.2 GHz turbo. The motherboard is a Chinese variant, which they are not very well documented but can be easily acquired by means of eBay and AliExpress if you search "X79". My particular board is the X79 2.4F. They are listed as custom parts at the bottom of the parts list.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

https://www.amazon.com/Monllack-X79-2-4F-Motherboard/dp/B07KQTZS4D

These chinese x79 motherboards tend to have some limited overclocking (usually caps itself to 3.9 ghz with e5-1650), limited or no ram adjust options and some longevity issues with it.

However, since you aren't using a power hungry chip, the board should be ok.

There's a russian website that informs people about these x79 chinese boards a bit better, recommends what cpu and ram to pair the boards will and even has some diy modding to get further overclocks on these boards.

http://x79.apphb.com/

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