I started this build to replace Intel Prescott 3200 on a Gigabyte 8KNXP Ultra-64 motherboard. It was and is a nice machine cooled by a Gigabyte Rocket Cooler Pro with 2-gigs of Corsair DDR RAM with programmed timings of 2-2-2-5, an ATI X800XT-PE video card, an ATI TV Wonder Pro PCI tuner card, a Plextor 712 DVD burner, a Raptor 74-gig SATA hard drive, 2x250-gig 7200rpm Maxtor drives, a PCMCIA PCI card reader, 4x80mm case fans, all this powered by an Antec TruePower 430watt PSU.
Granted this is a nice machine and I will re-format it and prepare it more for internet browsing and gaming, but it had its shortcomings; i.e. Performance has a sluggish feel and is just not on par with what I believe it should be for its class. It lagged on some tasks, and on others seemed pretty quick, and it runs hotter than I like. Also, lately the hard drives have needed to run checkdisk every other month, and I decided it was time for a change. So I took to studying the latest from AMD and Intel, and found what I thought a product that would have stellar and stable performance with good overclocking potential, so I got ready for the challenge.
Following is what I decided on…
Components: Lian Li PC-60plus Black Aluminum Case (w/TR-3B Black Thermometer/Fan Controller 3.5” bay) Opteron 175 (2x 2.2 GHz, 2MB cache, Socket 939, .09 micron, E6 stepping, OSA175DAA6CD) ThermalTake BigWaterSE 12cm liquid cooling system complete kit Asus A8R-MVP Motherboard (ATI Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire, socket 939, SATA2) HiS X1800XT Graphics Card (625 MHz/700 MHz OC core/1500 Mhz/1600 MHz OC mem, Dual DL-DVI VIVO 512 MB PCIe) ATI TV Theater 550 PRO Tuner (PCI TV and FM Tuner) 2x 512MB Corsair Micro Xpert DDR RAM (2-3-2-7-2T (spd 2-2-2-5-1T) TwinXP 1024-3200XL) 2x 74gig Western Digital Raptor Hard Drives RAID-0 (WD740GD RAID0 150gig Boot Drive) 2x 250gig Western Digital Caviar SE16 Hard Drives (WD2500KS storage and data) Plextor 716AL Black 16x DVD/CD Burner (IDE slot loading type) Antec TP-II 550 Power Supply (550 Watt ATX12V v2.0 PSU) Dell 2405FPW 24-inch LCD Monitor (UltraSharp Wide Aspect Flat Panel Display) Logitech G-15 Gaming Keyboard Logitech Cordless Optical TrackMan Case Fans (SilenX 120mm intake, Adda 120mm exhaust blower, SilenX 92mm exhaust and SilenX 80mm Fan)
Total Build cost was just under $3,700 complete including shipping, December 2005.
Computer is running great. Never figured out what went wrong with RAID 1 running on non-boot drive though.
Here are problems I had with RAID 1.
I created the RAID0 and RAID1 arrays within Asus’s BIOS before install xp-sp2. Then installed using F6 RAID drivers and formatted only C drive. After installing XP, I had to format the RAID1 drive assign a letter. Used it couple days, reinstalled XP same way, but made no changes to the RAID-1 array. After installation, I went to disk manager, and I could not assign a drive letter to the RAID-1 partition even though it showed up healthy and active in disk manager and also in Asus’s BIOS? Oh well, I even tried one drive in another XP PC, and it acted the same, I could not assign drive letter, even though single drive (in the other PC) showed up active and healthy, the only option was reformat! I posted this on Asus’s newsgroup and emailed Asus support yet got no reply from Asus... So I ditched RAID 1 since it wasn’t helping security in this scenario, and now I am using the two drives as just two disks, one for data, other for backup and swap file, while XP is on the RAID-0 boot drive.
Anyway, the fastest stable overclock I can reach is 2680; I seem to hit a brick wall at around 2700 MHz.
Whether I use 11x250 or 10x270 or even 10.5x260 it fails to boot, but if I back down 5MHz and works pretty good, and it makes no difference at CAS 2.5 or 3, using 3, 3, 8, 3, or with just 2 stick or RAM; either way, around 2680 is my overclock limit. But this system is quick and stable; I keep it normally at 2420 MHz (11x220 at 2, 2, 7, 3) for now. I am pretty sure the overclock limit is the processor, and would have liked to have seen better than a 20% stable overclock with this system, considering the components. It gets 4,578 marks in 3DMark06 and 9,652 marks in 3DMark05.
Overall, I recommend this system to anyone wanting a solid system for gaming, video, or design work.
I have had it up to 3.95 volts, no change...
I have run the memory at 270 MHz x9 using 2.8 volts, and others have got same memory up to 325MHz, so I do not think it is the memory holding me back.
Heck, with 4 chips installed, it runs stable at 225x11 at 2-2-2-6 timings which indicates pretty good memory quality.
I think the processor is what's stopping me, since I tried it with several configurations and all I was aiming for was 250MHz which I can exceed with a lower multiplier.