ASUS Gaming Desktop

In November of 2021 I purchased an ASUS Gaming Desktop computer. I bought it at Best Buy and had it delivered to my front door.

The model is a ASUS ROG STRIX C15-B11. It comes with an Intel 11700KF CPU, an ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia RTX 3080 NON LHR GPU, 16GB of rather generic RAM, an ASUS B560 Motherboard that has been modified somewhat, a 500GB NVMe, a 2TB Toshiba hard drive and a 750W power supply.

Positives include, a great price for what you get. Extremely well organized and cable managed inside the slightly small case. Parts that work mostly. I’ll cover this in the cons.

The particular unit that I obtained factory new in the original unopened box had a mouse, a keyboard, the computer itself and some of the usual suspects in the way of stickers and spare parts, etc.

The cons of the unit I have is that out of the box the CPU Heatsink was not performing it’s job in any fashion. First indicator of the issue was when the exhaust fan sounded like a jet engine on take off. I then installed CPUID’s HWMonitor tools and began trouble shooting.

CPU core 1 on the Intel processor was spiking into the 100C thermal throttle zone. Other cores were at approximately 95 C. One core was at 80 C.

I opened the case. I reached in moving my hand NEAR the heat sink/CPU cooler without actually touching it initially. No heat what so ever. Then I touched it gently and it was room temperature cold to the touch. Next I removed the cooler from the CPU and checked the application of thermal compound. It was woefully inadequate. I cleaned the cold plate of the CPU cooler, and the Intel CPU, using rubbing alcohol and microfiber towels. I reapplied Artic MX 4 thermal compound correctly to the TMI of the CPU and then re-installed the CPU cooler provided. Minimal change in results. CPU Core 1 was still approaching 100 C and throttling, the CPU cooler was room temperature to the touch.

I purchased a Noctua NH-U12S Redux CPU cooler and installed per the Noctua instructions.

HWMonitor now reports 75C or lower temperatures for all of the Intel i7 11700KF cores and package under extended load using AIDA64 in Stress test mode for 4 hours. I also removed the somewhat lackluster RAM and installed 32 GB of G.Skill DDR4 3600Mhz in a 4×8 configuration. In addition I put a WD 850 TB NVMe into the PCIe 4.0 4×4 m.2 slot, moving the 500GB WD 750 to the secondary M.2 slot which can only do PCIe 3.0 3×4.

Hardware issues solved, system performs like a demon in games, light work loads, heavy work loads, benchmarks, etc.

On February 10th, I attempt to log into Second life using firestorm’s latest viewer and get a series of dots in an array of colors.

This was immediately proceeded by an Armory Crate update.

I performed a clean install of firestorm to reveal the same symptom. I remove Firestorm viewer and the app data folders, reboot and then install Kokua viewer. Same result.

I uninstall the nvidia driver and do a clean install of the lastest nvidia driver, then reboot and attempt the login again. Same failed results.

My next step was to run an sfc /scannow from an elevated Admin mode command prompt. SFC reported no errors found.

At a total loss and having spent a few hours into the trouble shooting at this juncture I install Windows 10 cleanly. This in turn had deterimental impacts on my Mint 20.3 linux install on a different partition of the system and I chased that back and forth for a while.

Ultimately I reformatted the TB NVMe and installed windows cleanly then rebooted and installed Mint 20.3 cleanly. Things are performing smoothly once again.

I strongly advise my readers avoid ASUS Armory Crate software whenever possible.

Userbench fails Sphere graphics test. Possible solution.

If you are experiencing an error running the userbench suite of tests, and the error indicates “ERROR: Sphere GPU benchmark failed, aborting further tests on this GPU” then this MAY solve your issue.

I isolated this error on my system to the Nahimic service that is a part of the Realtek Audio driver package. To verify this as the cause on your system:

  1. Open the control panel.
  2. Administrative Tools applet. *You may need to change the view in your control panel to large icons to see this as an icon. Check the drop down menu at the top right area of your control panel.*
  3. Click on Services.
  4. Disable the Nahimic service by right clicking on it in the list, properties, then disable. Reboot for that change to take effect.
  5. Test userbench.

IF userbench now runs successfully, then Nahimic service IS the cause. The real solution is to update the Nahimic service to the latest version. In my case I have an ASUS Z370-E Motherboard and there is an update package on the ASUS Support page. IF you have a Z370-E here is the link for the audio driver update. You probably will need to find the update that corresponds to your motherboard at the manufacturer’s web site of YOUR motherboard.

Steps:

  1. Download the update.
  2. Extract or unzip or unpack the update.
  3. Run the Setup.exe file.
  4. Say yes to the prompt to uninstall your existing driver and install the new one.
  5. Reboot when it suggests.
  6. Wait for the installer to resume after the reboot.
  7. Reboot again after the install completes.
  8. Run the AsusSetup.exe to update the Nahimic service, this won’t work correctly if the service is disabled. Enable it and reboot if necessary. Reboot again AFTER the AsusSetup.exe completes it’s install.
  9. Test userbench with the new version of the Nahimic service running.

Your mileage MAY vary. Good Luck!

Another AMD RADEON Driver Update that mostly fails

AMD released 20.1.2 Version of the AMD RADEON drivers on January 15th of 2020. This new driver is supposed to enhance the features of online streaming. I still have to revert to the 19.11.3 version to get basic functionality for all of the games I play on a regular basis. HELLO AMD are you listening to any of those of us who purchased your 5000 series cards to play games with? We would appreciate a Video driver update that works to solve problems like black screens during a game, animations of fires that are blue with no hint of red or yellow, sudden optimizations that drag the FPS into the snail zone and so on. Without basic functionality, the frills you add won’t matter in the least. I’d really like to see RADEON topple Nvidia from it’s lofty perch but at this point, I’m leaning towards Nvidia for my next video card. Overpriced? Absolutely! Nvidia drivers function out of the box with each rendition of the driver nearly every time.

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ASUS P7H55M-Pro BIOS update

ASUS recently released a new BIOS update (1303) for the P7H55M-Pro motherboard. The new BIOS addresses memory errors with the 0802 BIOS.
Memory tests revealed no issues but on rare occasions I was experiencing a couple of memory related errors. IRQ_NOT_Less_THAN_OR_EQUAL and PFN List corrupt errors indicate your BIOS and memory are not communicating correctly. This version of the BIOS may resolve those errors for you. These errors were exhibited under Microsoft Windows 7 Pro 64 bit edition and did not exhibit under Fedora 13 (KDE) or Kubuntu 10.04. Some have solved this issue by increasing RAM voltage to 1.7v for this as well. This BIOS update is a more appropriate solution.

ASUS P7H55M-Pro Downloads