LC13 gaming htpc build thread....

Dharm

Member
Hi everyone,

So after receiving all the parts and getting a vague idea of the build, here is my log to document success or failure of my first ever attempt at building a PC/HTPC.

Requirements

Essentially I want a system to play games, surf the web and watch MKV's. Seen as I already have a BluRay player Im not fussed about this machine performing that function. Eventually at some point down the line I'd like to advance to using this system to playback ripped Blu-rays, DVDs and downloaded content to various other rooms around my house.


Components

Case: Silverstone LC13

CPU: Intel i5-2500k 3.3GHz, 3.7GHz Turboboost Quad Core, 6M cache. Unlocked.

MOBO: Gigabyte "Ultradurable" series GA-Z68X-UD4-B3

RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance Low Profile

GPU: Asus 1GB GeForce GTX 560TI DirectCUII PCI-E Graphics Card

PSU: OCZ 600W ModXStream PSU

HDD: Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Cache

Blu-ray Drive: Samsung SH-B123L

HSF: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 Socket 775, 1156,1155, AM2+, 1366, AM3 aluminium with copper base Processor Cooler

Case Fans: 2 x 80mm noctua fans

Operating System: Windows 7
 

Dharm

Member
Getting to work...

The case:

2eyhvdj.jpg


104gcr9.jpg


I've taken out the DVD drive cage and both HDD cages, aswell as taken away the original 2 rear case fans and fitted in the 2 80mm Noctua fans.

CPU cooler built

2ui8wlv.jpg


Just to get a better idea of how it'll fit, I added the PSU and HDD as well as as the MOBO in the case.

zmhawh.jpg


Straight away it was pretty clear that the PSU cables were going to be a pain in the backside with such limited space to manoeuvre with the HDD directly in front.

Anyway added the rest of the components (Blu-ray and GPU) and then when connecting the cables this is what I was left with.

2uzcsra.jpg


or1g6e.jpg


357gn.jpg


So not only does it look like an utter mess but the 8 pin cable from the PSU was far too short to reach on the MOBO.

Back to the drawing board....

So I dissembled everything and started from scratch. Bought a BitFenix 8-Pin EPS12V Extension Cable and then made an attempt at cable management by running as many cables as I could under the mother board.

End result...

331zu2u.jpg
 
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Dharm

Member
With everything going so smoothly I guess it was only a matter of time before I encountered a problem.

Switched on the system, put in my Windows 7 disk, restarted and got to the Windows install screen. It went through all of the installation and restarted however once it restarted it got to the ''loading operating system'' message and then went back to the Windows install again. So went through the same process again and again it landed me back to the initial Windows install screen. I had a look on google for people who may have had similar issues and followed the advice.

> Taken the CD out when it restarts.
> Gone into the BIOS when it restarts and changed boot priority to HDD.
> Pressed F12 at the start so it temporarily boots from CD and then at restart reverts to HDD.

All suggestions lead to the message ''Disk read error occurred. Press ctrl + alt + del''

I've tried just persevering with it in the hope that it might rectify itself, but with every install attempt it eats into my HDD space. I even went through the diagnostic, memory check etc options and they all report that there is no problem, so Im now lost.

Its a brand new Windows 7 disk bought from Ebuyer on Friday and it recognises the HDD so I know thats not dead. Any ideas?
 

spyder viewer

Well-known Member
Looks to me like it's something to do with where you are putting the OS. Is the partition big enough? What's the format?
 

Dharm

Member
Looks to me like it's something to do with where you are putting the OS. Is the partition big enough? What's the format?

This is my first foray in PC building or anything even remotely technical so please excuse my lack of understanding but Im not sure what you're asking me.

If this helps, when on the installation screen it gives me 2 drive options 1) 465k mb in size and 2) 9mb size. I chose the install on the 465k mb drive.

Regards to format, I have no idea but at the install screen there was a format option which I chose that wiped all the numerous previous attempts of installing Windows 7 I had (about 6 or 7). Having now looked on the Ebuyer site it says I cant use it straight out the box but that if installing Win7 from a disk then the OS will format it during installation. Does that sound right?
 

bubblegum57

Well-known Member
Neither partition is big enough.

I would say 20GB is about the minimum.

There might be an easier way, but I would download Gparted Live CD

boot to that, this will show you your hard drive size, you can then create partitions.

GParted -- Download

Burn it as an iso file.
 

Dharm

Member
Neither partition is big enough.

I would say 20GB is about the minimum.

There might be an easier way, but I would download Gparted Live CD

boot to that, this will show you your hard drive size, you can then create partitions.

GParted -- Download

Burn it as an iso file.

465gb is not big enough?

Thank you for the suggestion but Im afraid I dont have a way to burn a CD.

Is it possible to do it via USB?

Actually reading that website it says I can buy it on disk.

This one seem about right to you?
 
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bubblegum57

Well-known Member
"If this helps, when on the installation screen it gives me 2 drive options 1) 465k mb in size and 2) 9mb size. I chose the install on the 465k mb drive."

500Gb is big enough, this is what you said.

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/liveusb.php

I am only assuming there is something wrong with the drive, has a partition been created. Give it a go.
 
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Dharm

Member
"If this helps, when on the installation screen it gives me 2 drive options 1) 465k mb in size and 2) 9mb size. I chose the install on the 465k mb drive."

500Gb is big enough, this is what you said.

Follow the link for the usb version. I am only assuming there is something wrong with the drive, has a partition been created. Give it a go.

My mistake for the confusion, too lazy to write 465,000 mb so just put a K at the end.

No I dont think a partition has been created, its all brand new and I just started to install straight after connecting it all together.

I'll give your suggestion a shot and post up the results.
 

Grangey.

Distinguished Member
yes you can do it via USB fyi, google it and microsoft has a tool to do it that way I believe but you will need to have another PC to do it (as you will need to convert the CD to USB- or find a guenuine unedited or cracked Windows 7 torrent.)

I would not mess around at all though...

When going through the installation, choose the custom option, and where it shows you your list of drive/s (I would only connect your main drive for this though if you are a novice), you will see and "advanced" tab. Click this, and it will show you the list of partitions currently on the drive (so in theory the 9mb etc), delete every single partition listed. You should then be left with "Unallocated space", then, click "new" make sure the number listed is very similar to that of the "unallocated space" (in most cases its actually slightly more which is fine), click OK and you should see that new partition created (you will probably see 2 listed- one as system reserved and one as all the space left). Anyway, select the only one which isnt "system" mentioned and installed to that.

Then when it reboots, eject the disk so you know it cant read it or confuse the situation.
 

bubblegum57

Well-known Member
Follow Grangey's instructions, it will be easier.
 

Dharm

Member
yes you can do it via USB fyi, google it and microsoft has a tool to do it that way I believe but you will need to have another PC to do it (as you will need to convert the CD to USB- or find a guenuine unedited or cracked Windows 7 torrent.)

I would not mess around at all though...

When going through the installation, choose the custom option, and where it shows you your list of drive/s (I would only connect your main drive for this though if you are a novice), you will see and "advanced" tab. Click this, and it will show you the list of partitions currently on the drive (so in theory the 9mb etc), delete every single partition listed. You should then be left with "Unallocated space", then, click "new" make sure the number listed is very similar to that of the "unallocated space" (in most cases its actually slightly more which is fine), click OK and you should see that new partition created (you will probably see 2 listed- one as system reserved and one as all the space left). Anyway, select the only one which isnt "system" mentioned and installed to that.

Then when it reboots, eject the disk so you know it cant read it or confuse the situation.

Ok I dont even know what to say. :confused:

So Grangey I followed your instructions and it still came up at ''A disk read error occurred''. I figured I may have plugged the cables in the wrong connections so changed them all over and tried every setting I could think possible whilst following your instruction and each time it was the same ''A disk read error occurred''

Kept persevering with it and then my oaf of a brother walked into the room without looking at what was on the ground, booted the HTPC taking the power cable from the back with his foot whilst the system was in the process of re-booting. Thinking of the worst I plugged it back in, switched it on, it got to the ''loading operating system'' screen as usual but this time it worked.:clap:

So turns out all this frustration trying to get this damn system to work would have all been avoided if I'd just given it a swift kick. Right next problem I have, Im just going to give it a kicking in first to save time.

Anyway now that I've got that working, the next step is getting all the drivers installed etc.
 
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spyder viewer

Well-known Member
Think you should find what's lose before you get to far down the road!
 

Grangey.

Distinguished Member
Think you should find what's lose before you get to far down the road!

This.

Never get too ahead of yourself else it could all come crashing down.

Sounds like a HDD power cable may be loose or maybe even your CD rom. Either way, go back and ensure all connections are correct as thats not the sort of error you ignore! :)
 

Dharm

Member
Duly noted. Thanks.

I've checked everything and all the cables are fitted in properly, nothing loose and from what I can gather all connections where they should be.

However one thing I have noticed is that phase led lights on the motherboard light up at the start when powering up, 2 are green, 1 is amber and the last one lights up red. After about 2-3 seconds all 4 go out just as Windows is about to load up. So Im guessing that means there definitely is a problem somewhere.

I've checked in the user manual and it offers no help.

116mds9.png


If we label the bottom led as number 1 and the top number 4. Number 1 and 2 are green, number 3 is amber and number 4 is red.

Also just to double check that I've plugged everything in correctly....

2 Rear fans > sys_fan 1 via a 3pin Fan Power Splitter Cable

CPU cooler > cpu_fan via a 3pin Fan Power Splitter Cable

PSU > Atx and ATX_12V_2x4

Ram > DDR3_1 and DDR3_2

GPU > PCIEX16

HDD > Sata 2_3

Blu Ray > Sata 2_2

Case Wires:

HD audio > F_audio

USB > F_USB1

The other case cables I followed the manual and plugged them in there relevant pins on the F_panel.
 
Last edited:

Dharm

Member
So I once again disconnected everything and decided to reconnect each component 1 at a time to see which one was causing the amber and red LEDs. Went through the entire process one by one and the phase LEDs remained the same colours all the way through. Went back to the manual and it states....

''The number of lighted LEDs indicates the CPU loading. The higher the CPU loading, the more the number of lighted LEDs for lighted LEDs.To enable the Phase LED display function, please frst enable Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2. Refer to Chapter 4, "Dynamic Energy Saver™ 2," for more details''

So I fired up google and went on the Gigabyte support forums to see if anyone else had a similar problem and it seems that the different colour of the LEDs is normal and that its meant to indicate the power usage/load the CPU is under rather than a problem. Had a look around a couple other forums and again it was in agreement that its normal and meant to be like that.

So I guess that puts an end to that.
 

poggs

Active Member
I have encountered similar problems to this a few times. It has usually been faulty memory or short circuited cables to blame.

So, Start by taking the lot out of the case and putting all the components on a towel on the floor, then try installing windows again. If it installs OK, your problems are caused by a short circuit in your in case cabling somewhere. Check all your cables for nicks or cuts etc and try fitting the lot again.

If it does not install whilst outside the case, then I would think memory (either, ram, video ram or motherboard bios cache ram in that order)

If you are OK with performing diagnostic checks using cd boot tools, run them. If not, at this stage I would take one of the RAM modules out and try installing windows again. If it still errors out, take that one out and try the other. Try them both in all four slots before you give up on suspecting the ram.

It it still doesnt work, then the DVD reader is knackered or the motherboard is broken in some way.

Good luck.
 

Dharm

Member
I have encountered similar problems to this a few times. It has usually been faulty memory or short circuited cables to blame.

So, Start by taking the lot out of the case and putting all the components on a towel on the floor, then try installing windows again. If it installs OK, your problems are caused by a short circuit in your in case cabling somewhere. Check all your cables for nicks or cuts etc and try fitting the lot again.

If it does not install whilst outside the case, then I would think memory (either, ram, video ram or motherboard bios cache ram in that order)

If you are OK with performing diagnostic checks using cd boot tools, run them. If not, at this stage I would take one of the RAM modules out and try installing windows again. If it still errors out, take that one out and try the other. Try them both in all four slots before you give up on suspecting the ram.

It it still doesnt work, then the DVD reader is knackered or the motherboard is broken in some way.

Good luck.


Hi

I followed your instruction of taking everything out of the case. I connected everything back up except for the fans and the CPU cooler, connected the power pins with a screwdriver and reinstalled windows again following Grangeys advice above. Windows installed straight away without any problems whatsoever.

However the phase LEDs are still the same colour as before for the 2 seconds or so at boot up before disappearing. All the cables are connected correctly, nothing loose so if the phase LEDs are coloured in that manner to suggest a problem somewhere then Im at a complete loss as to what it could be as to my untrained eye everything is working as it should be and the system is recognising all of the components etc.
 
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Grangey.

Distinguished Member
Hi

I followed your instruction of taking everything out of the case. I connected everything back up except for the fans and the CPU cooler, connected the power pins with a screwdriver and reinstalled windows again following Grangeys advice above. Windows installed straight away without any problems whatsoever.

However the phase LEDs are still the same colour as before for the 2 seconds or so at boot up before disappearing. All the cables are connected correctly, nothing loose so if the phase LEDs are coloured in that manner to suggest a problem somewhere then Im at a complete loss as to what it could be as to my untrained eye everything is working as it should be and the system is recognising all of the components etc.


I thought you said you had done research and the LEDs look like that normally?!

The simplest answer would be read your owners handbook and read exactly what those LEDs mean? It could be completely normal for that board to do that and doesnt indicate a fault?
 

Dharm

Member
I thought you said you had done research and the LEDs look like that normally?!

The simplest answer would be read your owners handbook and read exactly what those LEDs mean? It could be completely normal for that board to do that and doesnt indicate a fault?

I did but I cant get this nagging feeling out my mind that it's a fault. Totally irrational I know after reading up about similar concerns from other board owners but like you said I don't want to get too far ahead of myself so as its my first ever build I've somehow managed to have got myself on the opposite end and now become overly cautious. :facepalm:
 
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Grangey.

Distinguished Member
mate honestly that took me all of about 4 minutes including actually finding your motherboard manual online. If you are not that experienced you should be reading all manuals riggorously back to front

18) PHASE LED
The number of lighted LEDs indicates the CPU loading. The higher the CPU loading, the more the
number of lighted LEDs. To enable the Phase LED display function, please first enable Dynamic Energy
Saver™
2. Refer to Chapter 4, "Dynamic Energy Saver™
2," for more details.
 
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Dharm

Member
mate honestly that took me all of about 4 minutes including actually finding your motherboard manual online. If you are not that experienced you should be reading all manuals riggorously back to front

If you look further up mate at post 16, I posted the exact same extract from the manual a few days ago. I am reading all manuals rigorously as I've noticed that point being stressed in other build logs.

Like I said I know its irrational but Im just being overly cautious by checking, rechecking and checking everything again. (I think its just the red light thats throwing me)

Anyway moving on from the phase LEDs, Im going to start installing all the relevant drivers, programs etc and then perform a few tests I've read other people perform in their build logs from the advice of members on here.
 

Grangey.

Distinguished Member
Sorry mate I did miss post 16 yes....


And yes you are being completely irrational as clearly the phase LEDs would not tell you of any faults of there were any anyway! Lol

Yeah install all the crucial drivers you can first- ie gpu, bios, mobo, etc. I don't think many of them would explain the issue you're having but it's a start.

Exactly what tests are you thinking of running?
 

Dharm

Member
Sorry mate I did miss post 16 yes....


And yes you are being completely irrational as clearly the phase LEDs would not tell you of any faults of there were any anyway! Lol

Yeah install all the crucial drivers you can first- ie gpu, bios, mobo, etc. I don't think many of them would explain the issue you're having but it's a start.

Exactly what tests are you thinking of running?

Apologies for the late reply, been real busy with Christmas and everything else that all I've managed to do was download the drivers and that was basically just letting Windows do it for me via the update.

The stress tests that I had in mind were:

> Prime95

> IntelBurnTest

> FurMark

> Rthdrbil

Then finally benchmark the system using either 3DMark or the free benchmarking tool on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R game website.

Would anyone suggest over clocking or bottlenecking just yet, is it particularly necessary or can I leave doing that for another time later down the road?
 

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