So for this Christmas I decided to give myself a nice pressie and finally ditch the old AM2+ CPU/Motherboard combo and move onto something fairly current.
The old components were:
- Motherboard: Asus M3N78 SE
- CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 (Black Edition)
- RAM: 16GB – 2x8GB Kingston DDR2 666MHZ
- GPU: Gigabyte GTX 960 Windforce OC
- [PC Part Picker]
The new components are:
- Motherboard: Asus Maximus Hero VIII Alpha
- CPU: Intel i7 6700k
- RAM: 32GB – 2x16GB G.Skill Raptor V DDR4 3200MHZ/CL14
- GPU: Gigabyte GTX 1080 Gaming G1
- [PC Part Picker]
All other components (case, PSU, CPU cooler, etc) are being carried over.
I didn’t actually plan it but it turns out I went with the same manufacturers for the motherboard and graphics card respectively…
I plugged the new graphics card into my old setup while I was waiting for the new motherboard, and discovered that I probably didn’t need to upgrade the rest of the system as I got 60fps on Ultra setting in Elite Dangerous – with only marginal drops on planet surfaces.
(pics to come)
This took somewhat longer than expected, but then again, I did strip everything out of the case and cleaned it before re-assembling.
I had a brief moment of panic when I thought the Coolermaster 103 CPU cooler wasn’t suitable for the socket 1151 motherboard, but this turned out to not be true (the docs didn’t mention socket 1151, but online resources did).
The only other issue with the physical build was that the reset switch of my case is only 2-pin, whereas the motherboard requires a 3-pin reset-switch. So I just left it off.
Apart from that it was just plug-and-play. The motherboard has more than enough headers for my case-fans, and my PSU (a Corsair RM850) is modular enough to supply all the right power to all the right places.
Plug everything in, turn PSU on, look at pretty colours on the motherboard. Press the powerbutton, a brief surge of activity, and then nothing, nada, zip, zilch.
At least no smoke.
A bit of poking about showed error code 55 (yayy for a high-spec motherboard with proper diagnostics!). A bit of searching showed this to be a memory issue. Incompatible memory, damaged memory, damaged CPU, damaged motherboard. None of this was very encouraging as I’d ensured I’d bought compatible components.
Eventually I followed a suggestion that instead of plugging both memory modules in at once to try just one of them, as they are well above the standard spec. Still, with XMP they were supposed to auto-configure.
Turn system on again, and we get a POST screen and a BIOS. Yes!
Poked about in the BIOS a bit, but as I was late for an online DnD session I didn’t want to spend too much time resolving the RAM issue so just saved and rebooted.
Uhoh, “CPU Fan issue detected, please resolve!” – and nothing I could do would entice the system to continue, despite the CPU fan spinning quite merrily.
Eventually worked out that I had plugged the CPU fan into the wrong fan header (the motherboard manual was a bit fiddly in this one instance).
Replugged the fan and…:
POST and BIOS checks complete, onwards into Windows (as I already knew I’d need to spend some time getting Linux to play with the GTX 1080).
I’d done some research before this upgrade, and supposedly my Windows 10 Pro install, which was an upgrade from Windows 7 Pro, should “just work” despite the large-scale hardware changes. Surprisingly, it actually did.
Unsurprisingly a few things didn’t work immediately, such as my audio setup, but since I was coming from a rather complicated dual-soundcard with virtual cables and devices setup to just the onboard audio of the new motherboard that was expected. This only took a few clicks in various configuration panels to sort out, although I’ll need a microphone/headphone front-panel breakout to get the headset working properly.
What didn’t work which I was expecting to was automatically changing the Windows 10 activation over to the new hardware, which was supposed to be just a few clicks in the Activation Centre. Instead I got an error code (0xC004C003) which meant I had to contact Microsoft Customer Services.
After over an hour chatting to “Richa J” via an online messaging system, him (?) taking remote control of my PC and checking various things (receipts for new hardware, system and software configuration, etc), he issued me with a brand new Product Key for Windows 10 Pro. Absolutely gobsmacked, yes, it took a while, but excellent support from Microsoft!
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