Upgrading my main PC

For some time now, when I use the UT4 ​​editor, my PC often restarts for no known reason 😦

I performed a battery of hardware tests to find the source of the problem. I even reformat my SSD, reinstall Windows 10 Pro 20H2 with only Epic stuff, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything. The problem persist.

With the release of the new AMD products, I planned for 2021 to buy the parts needed to build another more powerful PC. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for others, because of Covid 19, someone I know working in the aeronautic 3D modeling industry has to sell his workstation fast. He will have to move, sadly 😦 His workstation, which is roughly 2 years old has been custom ordered. Which makes this PC much more powerful than my current main PC and which costs me half the price that I had planned for my new system in 2021.

So I will replace my main PC with this workstation making small adjustments, my previous main PC will become my “new” HTPC, and my current HTPC will be sold.

I will be able to get my workstation this week end, yééééééééé 😀

10 comments

  1. The first thing I suspect would be the power supply, especially the electrolytic filtering capacitors either on the mains side or at the outputs (12V, 5V etc) of the PSU

    Sometimes you will see swelling or electrolytic fluid leaking from them and other times they could outright vent their contents (electrolytic capacitors have a dedicated pressure valve to avoid explosion).

    You could take out the power supply, leave it for a few hours disconnected from the mains (220V) supply to allow for the discharging of the input filtering caps (important to avoid a shock!) and open it up for a visual inspection. If you see any capacitors that are swollen just replace those and you’re good to go.

    If there are no signs of damage then it gets a bit more complicated because you need to monitor the voltage on the rails of the PSU under load to see if there are any dips or in voltage above a certain load level. The simples way to apply load is with some power (ceramic) resistors connected directly to the supply rails. You should measure the voltage on another cable connected to the same voltage rail so as to avoid measuring the drop on the wires to the power resistors acting as load and drawing erroneous conclusions.

    Same thing for the motherboard. You also have multi-phase step down (Buck) converters near the CPU and on the graphics card . If you see swollen capacitors those are the root cause.

    Better yet, if you have another PSU lying around, or you can borrow one from a friend for a few days you could just replace it and run stress tests (synthetic benchmarks) in a loop to see if there’s any improvement. First run the same batch of tests on your system as it is with the existing PSU in order to trigger a failure, then try it with the borrowed PSU and see if this is the root cause.

    Congrats on your new system !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well Florin, you know electronic for sure 😀

      I didn’t had any other PSU at hand and don’t know anyone who could help me out neither. I did few hardware tests and after I reinstall the OS and Epic stuff only without other drivers than the Windows ones.

      I too, suspect it’s the PSU. I never had any problem with my previous GPU (NVidia Quadro P4000). It all begin when I change my GPU for the RTX 2080 TI. It started to happen once in a while so I thought it was only a Windows update or something alike that caused the reboot. Nothing serious.

      But anyway, my main PC was around 8 years old so the upgrade is welcome. I’m a IT specialist, so PC hardware have no secret for me and I know how to obtain the maximum of my PCs so they last very long. My previous main PC is fast PC and do the job well for sure if I exclude the recent sporadic reboot using Unreal Engine. Becoming a HTPC, it’s even overkill to do the job but I don’t mind extra power lol.

      Now, I started to mess around with the workstation I just got. The seller was using 3D/CAD/CAO/DAO softwares, and damn, the thing is fast!!! It will be even faster when I’ll reinstall Windows in few minutes!!!

      Principal workstation specs :

      CPU = Intel Xeon W-2133 (6 cores, 12 threads, 3.60 Ghz, 8.25 MB cache)
      RAM = 128 GB Hynix DDR4-2666 Mhz
      SSD = 1 TB NVme PCIE Turbo cache

      And now, I’ll add my components 🙂

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  2. I’d suspect either something is overheating or like Florin said, your power supply is acting up.

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  3. Oh it started after a GPU change… It’s probably the power supply then. I had to upgrade my power supply when I upgraded from 1070 to 2070 Super. The 20 series is a lot pickier about ripple than older series were, probably due to using different caps.

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  4. Well, in the past, after all the hardware & software tests, I would had buy another PSU.

    Still, I couldn’t resist to the offer to buy the workstation, I would have been stupid not to take it because it was a great deal and it’s working like a charm 😀

    Both main PC and HTPC are around 8 years old, I build them at the same time, so it’s cool to have a new toy in the house.

    Only few apps left to install & I’ll be 100% functional. It’s a very fast PC!

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  5. Well well well, the installation of all my apps is finished.

    This is a damn sweet fast PC! It was a awesome deal 😀

    For sure, willing for waiting a year for the availability and foremost a reasonable pricing for a AMD system, I would obtain a faster system.

    But still, I would had to wait many months, it would cost me more than the double of my current purchase and I wouldn’t necessary see the difference with the apps I use, at least, not in a drastic way even if on paper the gap between my new system and the planned system is important.

    There is a noticable difference when building lighting and sharing levels now. And a very important point, my PC is stable as a rock 😀

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    1. Going by passmark CPU scores that Xeon looks comparable to an i7 6700K for mapping.

      3900X nearly triples that (12k score for 6700K vs 32k for 3900X) but considering lightmass only uses 3 of 4 cores for lighting builds on the 6700K if you use 10 of 12 cores on the 3900X it does build lighting in 1/3 the time.

      5900X is going to be even better. 🙂

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      1. Indeed.

        All those numbers are pretty on paper. Therefore, my human perception of such numbers, AMD product availability and pricing are also crucial factors.

        When I consider my new workstation cost me less than the third of the price of my planned AMD system and that I could have it the day after the deal, the choice was clear 😀

        Another important point is that investing in such a powerful system must worth it. I’m starting from a Intel Core i7 4770S. Mapping is a hobby for me, not a job. The fact that lighting build can take more time to accomplish in a reasonable way is fine with me 🙂

        Right now, I’m having at least 50% more performance using UT4 and even more using UE4 and that make me happy 😉

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        1. Yeah I get that, bang for the buck… You gotta admit cutting lighting build times further is always nice though.

          I also have a lightmass farm of 4-6 i7 4770 machines that cuts the build time by more than half again. I resell those machines at a profit, they pay for themselves and paid for upgrading the main computer to 3900X too.

          The best thing about fast lighting build times is I can iterate on full production lighting. Maps that used to take 3 hours to build now take under 10 minutes (most maps 5 minutes or less) 🙂

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          1. Yep, I admit that cutting lighting build times is always nice 😀

            In my case, when I sell my PC’s, it’s always at loss. It’s awesome for you if you can still make profits with your older machines 🙂

            It’s really impressive the time you save with your farm! All that hardware should cost you much in electricity!

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