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Am I about to build a senseless, egg-frying Conroe system?

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October 25, 2006 8:39:19 PM

Hello friends,

I got a nice bonus at work so I decided to treat myself to a new rig. And I want to make it go fast. Just to let you know where I'm at -- the last time I put a machine together was an AthlonXP which I OCed with an SLK-947. (I wasn't, and still am not, 100% on board with the liquid cooling thing.) That machine recently died a violent death involving liquid nitrogen -- I won't go into the details -- but I had just purchased an HP dual core laptop so I really had no need for it anyway.

Anyway, I digress. I've already purchased the components and they are currently in transit (so it'll make me feel extra stupid if any of you point out a bad choice I made, but feel free to do so anyway) and they are as follows:

- Antec 900 Steel ATX Mid-tower
- Thermaltake toughpower W0117RU ATX12 750W PSU
- ASUS P5W DH Deluxe i975X mobo
- Intel C2D e6700 Conroe (Retail)
- Corsair TWIN2x XMS2-6400X Xtreme Performance DDR2-800 4-4-4-4-12(4 GB)
- XFX GeForce 7950 GX2 1GB DDR3 PCIe Xtreme 16x

Right off the bat, it's pretty obvious I missed the SLI boat. Hopefully that won't bite me in the @$$ too hard later on. As far as graphics are concerned, I am an actual pilot and will be using Flight Simulator X to help maintain instrument proficiency (I live in San Diego, no need to simulate instrument conditions in an actual plane at a couple hundred bucks an hour if I can do it at home), so I will be using that application at high resolutions. I also do some AutoCAD, video rendering, backing up DVDs, and things of that nature.

Anyway, I have three questions:

1) I could have bought the e6600 for $320, but I found the e6700 for $410 and got that instead because it seemed substantially undermarket (and it is a retail box). How much extra performance, and thus OC potential, did that extra $90 get me? How fast could I get on the stock HSF?

2) I have not yet purchased a cooler. I'd rather stay away from water cooling (unless someone can recommend a rock-solid, cost-effective system that someone new to water cooling can deal with). Assuming air cooling and knowing the case I purchased, what is the best cooler?

3) Did I screw myself over on the graphics card? My instinct was to go the ATI route and leave the Crossfire option open, but I got an insane deal on the GeForce I couldn't refuse. Having one card (especially the 7950) should really be enough for FSX, rendering, selling bootleg DVDs to Korea, and other wastes of time for at least a couple years to come, right?

I'm looking forward to hearing about what I can look forward to -- and what I can kick myself in the ass for.

Thanks so much guys!

PS - Kidding about the Korea thing.
October 25, 2006 9:28:28 PM

Don't worry, I think you've made some pretty good choices there.

The video card is top-notch, a great choice, and if you say you got a good price on it then there is absolutely no cause for concern. It'll probably last you quite a while. Its performance will become a little outdated with the newest video cards, but I wouldn't worry too much at all because all new video cards will probably have severe heat and cooling issues - so personally, I'm not too excited about them...

Also, great choice for mobo, CPU and memory. I think they're all pretty good! Personally, I'd have chosen something more Gigabytey, but hell, that's just me and that ASUS board is pretty good. As for the E6700, that seems a reasonable price increase over the E6600, and it will give you some more freedom when OCing, but it won't matter as much as going from, say, the E6300 to the E6400.

The PSU is also good. You're still missing hard and optical drives though, but I think you know that already.

As for cooling, here are two good options:

1) The Thermalright Ultra-120, a great and massive cooler from thermalright which is undoubtedly one of the few best coolers in existence:



2) The Thermaltake Big Typhoon, a recognized super cooler from thermaltake which is also among the very best. This one will also cool your voltage regulators area on your motherboard!



Both are extremely quiet (well, the Ultra-120 actually depends on your choice of fan, but slow rpms already do the job with this cooler). Personally, I'm using a TT Big Typhoon, but then again, I didn't have to make the choice between those two because the Ultra-120 wasn't available back when I bought my Big Typhoon.

Hope this helps.
October 25, 2006 9:29:52 PM

Don't worry, I think you've made some pretty good choices there.

The video card is top-notch, a great choice, and if you say you got a good price on it then there is absolutely no cause for concern. It'll probably last you quite a while. Its performance will become a little outdated with the newest video cards, but I wouldn't worry too much at all because all new video cards will probably have severe heat and cooling issues - so personally, I'm not too excited about them...

Also, great choice for mobo, CPU and memory. I think they're all pretty good! Personally, I'd have chosen something more Gigabytey, but hell, that's just me and that ASUS board is pretty good. As for the E6700, that seems a reasonable price increase over the E6600, and it will give you some more freedom when OCing, but it won't matter as much as going from, say, the E6300 to the E6400.

The PSU is also good. You're still missing hard and optical drives though, but I think you know that already.

As for cooling, here are two good options:

1) The Thermalright Ultra-120, a great and massive cooler from thermalright which is undoubtedly one of the few best coolers in existence:



2) The Thermaltake Big Typhoon, a recognized super cooler from thermaltake which is also among the very best. This one will also cool your voltage regulators area on your motherboard!



Both are extremely quiet (well, the Ultra-120 actually depends on your choice of fan, but slow rpms already do the job with this cooler). Personally, I'm using a TT Big Typhoon, but then again, I didn't have to make the choice between those two because the Ultra-120 wasn't available back when I bought my Big Typhoon.

Hope this helps.
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October 25, 2006 9:30:15 PM

Your choices were stupid, you might as well call your computer the SnailPC.

Just joking. In responce to your questions:

1) The E6700 is a great performer, and very much worth it. You can go see for yourself on THG's CPU charts.

2) Unless you plan to overclock, the stock HSF should be good enough.

3) The 7950GX2 is the fastest card on the market today, and you can still have Quad SLI. No need to worry.
October 25, 2006 9:32:15 PM

Yaaargh double post!!

And... I... Can't... seem... to... delete... any... of... the... two!!!!!!!!!

Oh sh*t! Sorry!
October 25, 2006 10:04:25 PM

You're still missing hard and optical drives though, but I think you know that already

Ah crap, I was just planning on using a DOS boot disk. These new-fangled harddrives are expensive.

But since you did bring it up, I got a Barracude 7200.10 SATA 320 gig 16MB cache 3.0 Gb/sec drive. That's a decent product, no? Is it worth getting another one and setting up a RAID array? That would be new territory to me, but I'm sure it's probably straightforward. As for the optical drive, I didn't pay attention to that component and really don't know what the hell I got -- it was 30 bucks, and says LITE-ON DVDR ATAP/E-IDE. I got it mainly because it was black, and I like black :) 

Maybe I got screwed there, what do you think?
October 25, 2006 10:08:51 PM

Unless you plan to overclock, the stock HSF should be good enough.

The 7950GX2 is the fastest card on the market today, and you can still have Quad SLI. No need to worry.


Oh.. I sure do plan to overclock! I'm hoping for 4Ghz aircooled. Do you think a run-of-the mill e6700 die should be able to do that? I'd like be able to Prime95 it at at least 3.5G.
__
I was under the impression that I won't be able to set up SLI with the 975X chipset due to some compatibility/stability issues and that I would need an nVidia chipset to do so. If, once again, I am mistaken, then -- kick ass! So I haven't missed the SLI boat after all?
October 25, 2006 10:13:23 PM

You should. I got my X6800 up to 4.5Ghz on air. You processor is only a step down from mine. As for drives, get the Seagate Barracuda and a Western Digital Raptor.
October 25, 2006 10:29:39 PM

You should. I got my X6800 up to 4.5Ghz on air. You processor is only a step down from mine. As for drives, get the Seagate Barracuda and a Western Digital Raptor.

Interesting. How come? And since you seem like you're a storage guru, what's the deal with 10K rpm drives? Wouldn't you say 7200 RPM generally enough? Anyway, I'm intrigued by doing a RAID array with different brands...
Anonymous
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October 25, 2006 10:35:25 PM

Other Cooler would be scythe Infinity, scythe Ninja and maybe the upcoming OCZ V12, sounds sweet with 12 Heat pipes.

This tec cooler is super nice, thx ?ninja?

For cooler geared toward OCing, this thread is nice!
xtreme sys Aircooler roundup

The Raptor does add responsivnes, you should install os apps and games.
But they are small so the 7200.10 is a nice storage. You might et slightly better perf with 2 7200 in raid0, but remeber that if one drive fail, you loose everything, so you double your failure rate...

Funny that you bought anything and then ask if it was ok, at least you did a great job at ordering!!!
October 25, 2006 11:13:12 PM

You're a bit of a smart-a$s, and I admire that. 10K drives are definately worth it, look at the performance charts, the raptors are the truth. Hefty price premium, but it's worth it IMO. I got a 74G for ~$100 that I use for my OS and one or two games that load times matter for. You should consider it.
October 26, 2006 12:02:04 AM

Just remember, don't let that density altitude get to you when you're flying!
October 26, 2006 1:01:22 AM

hey ninja what ever happend to that new xeon computer you got?
October 26, 2006 1:04:24 AM

I'm typing on it right now.

The benches are the exact same as my E6600 test system. Go figure
October 26, 2006 2:37:06 AM

Quote:
Just remember, don't let that density altitude get to you when you're flying!


Oh it gets to me. You'd be surprised how high you can get, in more ways than one, in a Cessna with about 25% fuel on board. Once I got to about 18,000 feet (FAA limit for visual flight rules) in such a configuration, and was rambling so incoherently on the UNICOM frequency that more than one fellow pilot advised me to make a rapid decent.. Won't be doing that one again without supplemental oxygen. For you non-pilot types, I guess that's analogous to OCing a processor under no loads without increasing any voltage and suddenly loading Doom 3 or something (ok, bad analogy)

ANYWAY, that was INCREDIBLY off topic so I'd like to address two things: 1) As flattered as I am for being called a smartass, the truth is I'm more of a dumbass and, indeed, it was quite stupid to ask for advice AFTER my purchase, but due to my company's bizarre fiscal calendar, I had 24 hours to exhaust my recently expanded personal technology budget (aka my "bonus")

and 2) If I do indeed get a 10,000RPM RAPTOR and set it in 0 along with the Barracuda, wouldn't the Raptor's performance be limited to that of the slower drive? Probably a question better suited to another forum, given my RAID ignorance, but since we're already on the subject..

Thanks for the help comrades!
October 26, 2006 2:41:55 AM

Unless you are counting nanoseconds, the amount is negligible. IMO the giant cache on the Barracuda makes up for the speed difference. Personally I haven't really seen that much of a performance drop.
In any case, I use the Raptors for my games, OS's, and other programs that need fast access and my 750GB's for general storage, like movies and music.
October 26, 2006 3:00:37 AM

Running 2 different MODELS of hard drives in any form of RAID is highly NOT recommended, let alone brands.

Always but the same exact model HDD and, if your data is important buy a spare for when you lose one.
October 26, 2006 3:24:09 AM

Only 10K rpm? Naw, that's slow!

15K RPM SCSI / SAS will dominate them all... and your wallet too
October 26, 2006 3:37:22 AM

Did I say RAID? No, I didn't. I don't even run RAID.
October 26, 2006 3:41:24 AM

On the topic of air coolers, where can I find lga771 heatsinks? are the retention holes in the same place as 775 or 604? or is it a completely new layout.

srry for "highjacking" this thread... but it seems a bit pointless to make a new thread, unless no one answeres this post
October 26, 2006 3:43:12 AM

the 7950GX2 will keep you going for a while

as for 4G aircooled.. you better rethink that

6600 already runs hot clocked to 3G aircooled, so 6700...

I'd stick to under 3.5G since thats already too much raw power for WinXP to handle. If 3-3.5G is still not fast enough for your applications then the bottleneck is not the cpu
October 26, 2006 3:55:31 AM

Quote:
the 7950GX2 will keep you going for a while

as for 4G aircooled.. you better rethink that

6600 already runs hot clocked to 3G aircooled, so 6700...

I'd stick to under 3.5G since thats already too much raw power for WinXP to handle. If 3-3.5G is still not fast enough for your applications then the bottleneck is not the cpu


Obviously you don't know what you're talking about -- Microsoft operating systems are solid, sound, reasonably priced products.

Heh. I have been worried about that, bazza, and I'm counting on Vista to take advantage of my new C2D. Maybe I should just ditch it all and run Linux.

But on a serious note, you don't think any of the coolers that our peers discussed in this thread will get us to 4G? Do you think any of them will cool the 6700 enough at 3.5G to pass Prime95?

...and another thing: Nitro, while you may have hijacked this already jacked-up thread, you touched on a point upon which I'd like to expand. As I said in my initial post, the last OC system I built was based on a Socket A platform and that hunk of copper just snapped right on. If I get one of these crazy new aircoolers (my eyes are looking at that Thermaltake), have mounting issues gotten more complicated since my last build? AS3 interface is still the standard, right?
October 26, 2006 3:56:34 AM

They will, they have and they can do it again.
October 26, 2006 5:29:01 AM

Ah. Gonna make me wait to find out how much you could overclock it eh? sigh...well if you get bored with it feel free to send it my way, i am always happy to accept anything, especially computers.
October 26, 2006 5:31:40 AM

Not that, but I have to dismantle all my test rigs, so doing any kind of experimental OCing would be a waste of my time. I said the results would be delayed....
October 27, 2006 2:53:26 AM

My old man is has been an FS fan since the mid 80's, he asked me to brief him about how fit the computer I gave him (my old 'rig, mobile Barton @ 2.1GHz, 9700 Pro, 1GB PC2700 and an Abit NF7-S) will be for FSX, I looked into it and told him "Yes, it should be enough, you'll be able to run FSX just fine as long as you're not too greedy on the eye candy, AI traffic and dynamic scenery".

He then asked me if a major upgrade to SLI would help and I pointed him to This very eloquent thread.

From what I've read so far, a 7950GX2 would be a bad choice for FSX as SLI is not supported, only a single GPU out of the two will be used for rendering, the other will just sit idle, a pure waste of money IMHO.

Since money doesn't seem to be an issue for you, you might as well just wait for the next generation of video cards to hit the market instead of buying a multi-GPU solution that'll perform just like one underclocked 7900GTX.
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