E6600, E6700, Please Help! Building My Dream Computer :)

I'm a step away from paying someone to help me :(

I've been reading through these forums and countless other articles for the past month trying to come up with the best computer I can afford, and I am still wary to buy a computer that may disappoint me in the end. So if anyone can please spare a minute to explain a few things, I would truly appreciate it.

I am trying to come up with the "sweet spot". I want to buy either the E6600 or possibly the E6700, and I want to OC it, but I want it stable with no problems. I will probably air cool the cpu using Thermaltake CL-P0310 120mm CPU Cooling Fan, unless someone can tell me a better fan that I should be using. I do not want to water cool it though.

I will also probably be using the EVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard since I will be using a EVGA 768-P2-N837-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO HDCP Video Card. Unless you think another motherboard is better than that, and why please.

My main question is what kind of RAM should I be purchasing for either the overclocked E6600 or E6700? I was thinking about the CORSAIR Dominator 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory, 3-4-3-9, CAS 3 if I get the E6600, but I really have no clue what I should get. I guess the motherboard I was thinking about getting will let me overclock a locked processor without overclocking my memory. There is a feature/setting that you can put which allows you to UNLINK the Bus speed of your memory and the bus speed of your processor. You can then oc the processor with no affect to your memory.

So please tell me what the "sweet spot" is concerning which memory is best to buy for either E6600 or E6700 if I want the CPU's overclocked.

Thanks for any help. I'm doubtful I will get a response, but if I have to pay someone just to tell me what to buy, so be it.

Thank you! :o
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  1. Quote:
    I'm a step away from paying someone to help me :(

    I've been reading through these forums and countless other articles for the past month trying to come up with the best computer I can afford, and I am still wary to buy a computer that may disappoint me in the end. So if anyone can please spare a minute to explain a few things, I would truly appreciate it.

    I am trying to come up with the "sweet spot". I want to buy either the E6600 or possibly the E6700, and I want to OC it, but I want it stable with no problems. I will probably air cool the cpu using Thermaltake CL-P0310 120mm CPU Cooling Fan, unless someone can tell me a better fan that I should be using. I do not want to water cool it though.

    I will also probably be using the EVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard since I will be using a EVGA 768-P2-N837-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO HDCP Video Card. Unless you think another motherboard is better than that, and why please.

    My main question is what kind of RAM should I be purchasing for either the overclocked E6600 or E6700? I was thinking about the CORSAIR Dominator 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory, 3-4-3-9, CAS 3 if I get the E6600, but I really have no clue what I should get. I guess the motherboard I was thinking about getting will let me overclock a locked processor without overclocking my memory. There is a feature/setting that you can put which allows you to UNLINK the Bus speed of your memory and the bus speed of your processor. You can then oc the processor with no affect to your memory.

    So please tell me what the "sweet spot" is concerning which memory is best to buy for either E6600 or E6700 if I want the CPU's overclocked.

    Thanks for any help. I'm doubtful I will get a response, but if I will have to pay someone just to tell me what to buy, so be it.

    Thank you!

    it really depends on how far are you going to take the processor. if you're going to be satisfied with 400FSB (E6600 = 400*9 = 3.6Ghz, E6700 = 400*10 = 4.0Ghz.) then any decent brand DDR 2 800 PC-6400 will be fine. i don't think the difference in CAS# will be significant enough to fork out an extra 50~100 USD.
  2. Thank you for the quick reply! :)

    Some questions I have if you don't mind:

    The FSB is rated 1066MHz for the E6600 and the E6700 correct?

    So 266 * 4 = 1064
    If I jack it up to 400, that'll be
    400 * 4 = 1600MHz for the FSB. Is that too much for the motherboard? I don't understand how far I can go with this before its too much for my motherboard to handle.

    Another thing I have a question about is the final MHz you are giving.
    (E6600 = 400*9 = 3.6Ghz, E6700 = 400*10 = 4.0Ghz.)
    Isn't 3.6GHz too much for the E6600? 4GHz too much for the E6700?
    Using Air Cooling that is.

    Because I thought the E6700 was rated for 2.66GHz and the E6600 for 2.4GHz. What I mean by this is that I was reading that for the E6600, 3.2GHz is pretty extreme for air cooling and anything higher may be too much for the CPU. The voltage might be too high?

    Will the fan I was thinking about getting be sufficient in cooling the CPU if I OC the E6700 to 4.0GHz? Can I keep these computers Overclocked like this for long periods of time with no problems?

    If this is all true, I might buy the computer tomorrow. Thank you so much for your help! Please respond though, I'm curious of the dangers if there are any. And if I am worried for no reason.

  3. your mobo should do fsb1600 easy, the only mobo that has an unlinked cpu and memory is the dfi rd600, the 6600 and 6700 will probably *just* get to 3.6ghz on a nice air cooler, so probably no with that thermaltake one, get a thermalright ultra 120 or something, they are great and will almost guarantee you 3.6ghz, the e6600 and e6700 are good quality and won't require much/any vcore increase to get to 3.0ghz but might need a +0.1 or + 0.2 to get 3.6+, if you have good cooling that shouldn't be a problem. might want to consider some nice case fansto keep the airflow over the chipset good though.
  4. Firstly, it's difficult to recommend something that 'won't disappoint you in the end' as it's not clear from your post what you intend to use the PC for, nor what your expectations are. I'm guessing your a gamer though :D

    The components you've listed will give you a top-end system that will perform extremely fast.

    I do have some comments/recommendations:

    E6600/E6700: I just had to make the same choice, and chose the E6600 as I couldn't justify the extra cost of the E6700 (even though the cost was not prohibitive). I read many reviews, and the overclocking potential of the E6600 appeared better than the E6700 to me.

    Heatsink: I would tend to agree with the other posters - there are better heatsinks out there. Check the Overclocking Guide on these forums for some recommended heatsinks. I went for the Scythe Infinity after checking a number of reviews, and this seemed to outperform most of the others. However, it is big, so make sure you have a case capabale of supporting it.

    Motherboard: I believe that will be a good choice. It's a fairly new chipset, and I don't know much about the overclocking potential of that particular board (although I would expect it to fair well, especially after a few BIOS revisions).

    Graphics: I don't believe there is a better card available than the one you have chosen

    Memory: Mainly depends on your intended overclock target, but as has already been stated, PC2-6400 (800MHz) will support FSB up to 400MHz with 1:1 FSB:Memory ratio (which would give an OC of 3.6GHz with the E6600 - 1:1 is generally accepted as being best for performance). I wouldn't expect a better OC than that on air (although it is possible, as every CPU is different, but I personally would be targetting an OC between 3.2 - 3.6GHz). There really is not much difference in performance between memory timings 4-4-4-12 and 5-5-5-15, so I personally wouldn't recommend spending big money on memory with aggressive timings, as it's difficult to justify the additional cost for such a minimal increase in performance.

    I went for some PC2-6400 OCZ Platinum, and am very happy with it.

    My current OC is in my sig, and this system flies compared to my previous Opteron 170 OCd at 2.65GHz (the difference is really noticeable even in day-to-day tasks).

    Hope this helps.
  5. Thanks for your help :)

    Yeah, I'm a gamer. I wanted to get an awesome computer and I wouldn't mind saving a few bucks rather than paying an extra thousand dollars if I didn't have to.

    Should I consider 2 identical harddrives for RAID-0 configuration? I hear the performance increase isn't really that much and I would probably save another $100 if I only bought 1 harddrive.

    You talked me into the E6600. I'll probably OC to 3.4GHz like you did because for some reason 3.6GHz seems a bit much. And I'll save like $200 or so.

    The memory I will probably get now will be CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop. Its about half the price of the previous memory I was thinking and according to you, the performance should be similar. The timing for this is 4-4-4-12. Is that similar in performance to 3-4-3-9? Both are DDR2 800.

    Isn't the Thermaltake CL-P0310 120mm CPU Cooling Fan also known as the Thermaltake Big Typhoon as listed on the Overclocking Guide? I like that it has a lot of copper in it compared to the fan a previous poster recommended which had none.

    I just hope this system can handle the EVGA 768-P2-N837-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO HDCP Video Card coming in at $650. I'm almost considering buying a cheaper video card so everything is balanced out, lol.

    Again, thanks for your help! Please reply with any more comments if you can. Anyone :) If all goes well, I will order this computer tomorrow. Thanks so much! :D
  6. Quote:
    I'm a step away from paying someone to help me :(

    and I am 1 step closer to accepting that payment! :wink:
  7. Alright, I'll buy you a beer. Now answer some of those questions I had pretty please :D
  8. if you look up the thermalright ultra 120 benchies you'll see it clearly outperforms any air cooling system (if you discount compressor air cooling lol)

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article646-page1.html thats a good idea compared to the other "best" cooler
  9. Raid can result in roughly 25-50% more performance, but at a slight increase in risk to data loss. In the end, it's really up to you to decide if you want raid. Some people swear by it, others swear against it...

    Ram timing difference between the 2 types of ram will be negligible at that speed, especially if you are overclocking. You would most likely have to relax the timings anyway, and would pretty much lose any advantage of the faster ram.

    If you are going to purchase the Typhoon cooler, I would recommend the Typhoon VX version. I would also encourage you to research the Tuniq Tower 120, Cooler Master Gemin II, or the Thermalright Ultra 120 ( as was already mentioned), as well as other heatsink/fan combos that may work better for you.

    Hope that helps...
  10. Well, I think with those components, you shouldn't be disappointed.

    RAID 0: You can get lots of discussions on this. I personally love having RAID 0 for my OS and Programs (excluding games), but I wouldn't run RAID 0 without having at least 1 other disk for my data files. You will notice faster load times for OS and programs and faster file transfer rates, but it won't make games run faster as such - only when the game needs to retrieve data from the disks will you notice an increase in speed (if your games are installed on RAID 0). However, it's just a nice-to-have and by no means necessary. If your trying to save some money, I would skip this.

    OC expectations: Whilst I have managed to achieve 3.4GHz quite easily, don't 'expect' this with your CPU. All CPUs are different, so there is no guaranteed OC. However, these CPUs are great overclockers, and there are lots of things to try to get a higher OC if your prepared to spend time on them.

    Memory: As has already been stated, the cheaper memory with slightly lower timings will provide almost the exact same performance. The only way you would be able to notice the difference would be with a synthetic benchmark - it certainly wouldn't be noticeable in day-to-day tasks.

    Heatsink: I should apologise here. I didn't recognise the model code, and hence did not realise it was a Big Typhoon. This heatsink has a very good reputation, and looks pretty cool too. This will stand up with the best on performance. If that's the one you like, I would stick with it.

    Graphics: I just had to make the same decision. Whilst I wasn't really restricted by budget, I chose to go for the EVGA 8800GTS KO AC3 640MB. My main reasons were:
    a) My current PSU is 580W - the 8800GTX has some pretty demanding power requirements
    b) I'm upgrading from a 7800GTX, so the difference for me will be massive
    b) Having chosen EVGA as the card manufacturer, I can always upgrade to the 8800GTX within 3 months and only pay the difference if I decided I wanted/needed the extra performance.

    Also bear in mind that the 8800 has no direct competition from ATi at this time, so prices are somewhat inflated. If a competitive product comes out within the next 3 months, prices should drop (or a better model may be released), and you could then take advantage of EVGA's warranty to upgrade if you wanted.

    Just a couple of other points. Now we've saved you some money, have you considered any of the following:
    Sound card
    Case mods

    Well, good luck with the new build and OC.
  11. Thanks for the help all, I really appreciate it! I'm ordering the computer as we speak, but I will check back for any last minute comments you guys give me. :wink:

    aoe did it again, talked me into getting a Sound Card. I haven't bought a Sound Card in ages so hopefully this will be worth it instead of using the onboard sound. Thinking about getting the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card.

    I'll probably go for RAID 0 because I want to see what all the fuss is about. I have flash drives, DVDs, and online storage I can save important information on, so that isn't my concern.

    I bought some really nice BOSE speakers for my computer from Best Buy last year. Think it's a keeper for now.

    Not sure what kind of Case mods I would want for the computer.

    I'm leaning towards getting the Thermalright Ultra 120 thanks to rammedstein. Thanks for the links!

    You convinced me size does matter in some cases. lol. The Thermalright Ultra 120 is HUGE, hope it fits in my Case!
  12. Thanks for making my dream become a reality. I finished ordering the new computer and I made some last minute changes. I want to make sure my logic is in order and if I made any bad choices. If you see something I shouldn't have bought or didn't really need, please tell me. Thank you.

    I wanted the best computer for gaming at a reasonable price.

    1. Many of the computer components I want, such as the video card and the fan, are quite large and may not fit in a mid tower. I decided to go with a full tower for the extra space, additional fans and more efficient air flow. I decided on the NZXT Zero Black/Silver Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case. I hear Aluminum keeps your computer components cooler inside the case vs a steel case and this case packs a whopping 8 case fans. (1 x 80mm top fan, 4 x 120mm side fan, 2 x 120mm rear fan, 1 x 120mm front fan) The reviews from customers were also very good for this case, always a plus.

    2. I wanted the computer to boot up and load fast. I also wanted games to load fast. I decided on 2 Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drives configured in RAID 0. I hear WD Raptors are top of the line when it comes to HD performance, and the RAID 0 will give me even more performance. A lot of reviewers noticed their computers booting up twice as fast than before with this set up.

    3. I knew I wanted the best CPU I could get and I wanted to OC the monster. After reading countless reviews and listening to some fantastic forum members, I decided to go with the Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor. Hopefully with all these case fans and an awesome heat sink + fan, I can OC it with no problems.

    4. So what kind of CPU heatsink/fan did I end up getting? Well, after listening to rammedstein and checking out the article on Thermalright Ultra 120, that was what I wanted! Unfortunately, it was sold out on Newegg.com so I had to try to get either something better or similar. My eyes were fixed on the Thermalright SI-128 CPU Cooling Heatsink. It looked awesome, similar and it was more expensive. Now I just needed a good fan to go with it. I decided on the Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120mm Case Fan, it incorporates some Sony technology that allows it to be super silent while doing its job well. I also bought some Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound because I hear thats the best of the best when it comes to thermal compound.

    5. Some say when it comes to gaming, the #1 factor is how good your video card is. Well, I wanted the best of the best, no exceptions. I got the EVGA 768-P2-N837-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO HDCP Video Card. If that doesn't impress me, then I do not know what will.

    6. I needed a great motherboard that will complement my computer and the video card well. It also needs to be able to OC with no problems. I decided on the EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard.

    7. What's a great computer without some decent memory? After debating over the options, I ended up getting some CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400C4.

    8. I want a PS that will have more than enough power for all these components and then some. I believe Thermaltake Toughpower 850W W0131RU – NVIDIA QUAD-SLI APPROVED, FOUR +12V RAIL READY is up to the task.

    9. A last minute decision for me was a sound card. If it helps the overall performance of the computer and delivers awesome sound, I'm all for it! I decided on a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card.

    If you had to spend about $2500 on a new computer just for gaming. What would you get instead? These were my choices and hopefully every penny was well spent. :o

    Thanks for the help everyone, let me know what you think. :)
  13. That all looks good to me. I'm sure your going to enjoy building and OCing that :D

    I only have 1 comment, and that regards the disks. Raptors in RAID 0 absolutely fly (I have them in my system). However, do you have (or are you planning to get) another disk to store data?

    I like to keep my OS and program files separate from my data files, as the data files will quickly fill up the disks, reducing read/write times generally. Not a huge problem, but if your really going for performance, spending another 50-100$/€ (not sure what currency you use) on a 'basic' 250-500GB SATA (7200rpm, 16mb cache) to store all your data files will help keep that RAID 0 nice and clean, and keep the speeds up.

    I also find it very useful when upgrading/reinstalling, as I keep all the installation files for my programs on the data disk so I have them readily available after a reinstall of the OS.

    Just a thought.

    Enjoy the new system, and I hope all goes well with the OC.
  14. Think about it... is 240Mhz of extra speed worth $200? Go with the E6600, even overclock it, and you won't be disappointed.
  15. I dunno how you do it aoe, but you make perfect sense and I must buy another harddrive for my data files. 8O I want to add it to the order I already sent in to Newegg and add it to my bill, but I dunno if that is possible. Hate being charged with extra shipping if they do that.

    So will the decrease in performance be noticeable if I keep my harddrives defragged? Whenever I hear performance decrease, I panic! :D I don't have that many data files too. Perhaps some word documents, a few zips and movie files.
  16. Looks Good. If you are not going SLI or CF. Then The Gigabyte DS3 v3.3 is about $120. Mushkin sells its 4Gig set of PC8500 for $600. But unless your running Vista it make little differance. They also have a PC85OO Set for $260 2Gig. Anyway my $.02.

    Wish I had your system. Mine was tops last year or so.
  17. that build is perfect, if i was looking to build a new one it would be very similar, the creative x-fi cards are aesome, i just bought an x-mod for my mp3player
  18. Quote:
    I dunno how you do it aoe, but you make perfect sense and I must buy another harddrive for my data files. 8O I want to add it to the order I already sent in to Newegg and add it to my bill, but I dunno if that is possible. Hate being charged with extra shipping if they do that.

    So will the decrease in performance be noticeable if I keep my harddrives defragged? Whenever I hear performance decrease, I panic! :D I don't have that many data files too. Perhaps some word documents, a few zips and movie files.

    If you don't have that many data files, then it probably won't be that noticeable. I currently have around 170GB of data files (mostly music, videos, and software).

    There's another reason though - I don't like to store any files I don't want to lose on a RAID 0 array. Now, maybe I'm being over-cautious, but there is a slightly increased risk of disk failure for the RAID 0 array (2 disks, either could fail) - although I have never had a disk failure to date, so I still consider this risk to be minimal. Saying that, any disk can potentially fail, so I also have an external hdd to backup my important files.

    Another option would be to partition the RAID array and use the 2nd partition for data files. You can always add an extra disk in the future if you like, and then just move all the files across.

    It's still a good idea to have an external disk to backup any files you would not wish to lose, whichever solution you choose :)
  19. I hear the 2 WD Raptors in RAID 0 produces a lot of noise and heat. To combat these problems, I purchased 2 ZALMAN ZM-2HC2 NP(Noise Prevention) Heatpipe HDD Coolers. A bit overpriced, but all the WD Raptor owners really love this product and swear by it.

    Nothing wrong with a powerful, silent gaming machine.

    I use a 2GB flash drive to store all my important files on. I also burn DVDs with programs and data I want to save for the future. I love Lightscribe too. :D

    My philosophy is, if you can't risk losing important information, save it on a flashdrive and/or DVD rather than another Harddrive. The portability alone is worth it.
  20. Deth,

    Per your request.....my thoughts on your new computer....

    Overall, you have a system there that MANY of US here at THG would envy. Very NICE!

    But...to be thorough...I will try to add a few tidbits to your thoughts on it...

    -Cases-More fans don't necessarily translate to better cooling. When it comes to cooling, you must be aware of airflow, which is measured in cfm (cubic feet per minute) and sound volume which is measured in db (decibels). Sometimes, less fans with better airflow can be quieter, and better on your system. I would suggest doublechecking and then RE-checking the cooling aspect, especially if you will be overclocking.

    -Hard Drives-That combo of 2x WD Raptors is about as good as it gets for ANY raid 0 setup. You should be pleased with it. As a matter of fact, that is exactly the setup I am sporting on this computer as I write this. Much like was stated prior to this post, I also suggest a non-raid storage drive....just in case.

    -CPU-Good choice there. I don't see any problems with that. I has 4 mb (vs lesser processors that have 2mb) L3 cache, is an excellent overclocker, and is overrall touted to be the best processor for your buck at the current time.

    -Heatsink/Fan-Again, another excellent choice. Not exactly the Thermalright Ultra 120 there, but not far off either. The fan you chose...again...I use that same fan for my HSF, as well as case cooling. I believe you will find it an excellent match. Arctic Silver 5 (AS5) is never a bad choice for thermal grease (Thermal Interface Material, or TIM), but if you will be overclocking, any help you get in cooling is important. I would suggest checking out Arctic Silver CMQ-22G ceramic-based thermal compound, as it improves your heat transfers slightly better than AS5.

    -Video-That certainly is top-notch. The only thing I would add to that is that you want the ACS3 if you want that particular card. It appears that your card will have it, but I would double-check, just to be sure.

    -Motherboard-Very good choice, yet again. However, the 680i is touted as an enthusiast board, and can be very overwhelming if you don't know exactly what you are doing. The Gigabyte 965P-DS3 might be something you may want to look at if you don't feel you are ready for the 680i. The DS3 is labeled as an entry level board, but is very popular among enthusiasts for the ease of overclocking the C2D processors. The DS3 also costs about $100 less than the EVGA 680i.

    -Memory-The C2D E6600 processors tend to be very efficient with ram. In most cases, PC4200 is recommended to maintain a 1:1 FSB/Memory timing. Your choice, the PC6400, is a very good choice. Again, this choice mirrors my own choice of ram, as this is exactly the same type of ram I am using. The PC6400 is basically 2 steps above the memory requirements you need, and if you so choose, you could run this memory asynchronously (sp?) and get better performance. You should find this well suits your needs, including for overclocking. Very flexible.

    -Power-Again, a very good choice. Your choice of PS is from a good name, is a stable PS, receiving good awards, and appears to even be futureproof, for at least the near future. Some may call that PS overkill, but I can see no fault for buying now for your next build...

    -Sound-Yet another nice choice. I can see no fault with that. The XtremeGamer's would be pretty much the lowest cards I would recommend, and offer great value for the price. The only bad thing about this, is that MS Vista support is lacking. You would want to keep tabs on this issue.

    Overall, I believe you will be VERY pleased with the performance of your computer. I believe it would be very close to the way I would spend $2500. I give it my personal thumbs-up! Good luck with it!
  21. Hrmm.

    I'd drop the raptors. Barracuda is all you need, For the money you spent on two raptors you can use it to setup some barracudas in Raid 10.

    I'm running fine with my stock E6600, runs everything fine and cools. I'll OC when it's necessary (maybe when UT3 and Crysis comes out). E6700, waste of money.

    I'd skip the 680i chipset and go with P965 or 975X. Esp since the MCP is a crapper Raid performer. Hotter. Consume more power. Crappy driver support. And seriously dual card setup is overated unless you look to drive a 30 inch high res monitor. AND in some games you wont get it to run stable unless you disable SLI!

    I'd go with a PC Power and Cooling 720W.
  22. I should have my new computer by Friday. I'm very excited and I have high hopes for this set-up. Hopefully everything will be shipped, working and nothing will be missing. For now, I might as well comment on your comments.

    Groveling_Wyrm: Thanks for the info, I appreciate it! :D Yeah, I know it doesn't mean much by having more fans. But, without actual numbers, I have only my logic, common sense and tons of reviewers commenting on how much they like the case and any flaws.

    - Aluminum Case is a plus (compared to Steel case)
    - Full size Tower is a plus (more space to work in)
    - Lots of reviewers commented on how all the fans are so quiet and it has good air flow. A few even mentioned that their components were cooler than their friend's set-up with the same components, just a different case.

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure the video card has ACS3. That's what I saw on the box in the picture.

    That's exactly why I wanted the motherboard! "an enthusiast board, and can be very overwhelming". I'm enthusiastic just listening to you talk about it! I'm one of those rare types that would rather spend the day going through the BIOS and studying each option and reading the MB manual before going to bed. It's like a game in itself! :P

    I'm not sure if I mentioned it here, but I also wanted this motherboard because it would be "future proof". In case I wanted another identical video card, I can take advantage of SLI technology.

    I didn't intend on OC'ing the ram or the video card. Just the CPU for now.

    Yes, again on the PSU. "Future proofing" my set-up :P

    Thanks for the thumbs up, glad I didn't make any really stupid mistakes that will keep me up late at night! :)

    Nossy: Being a hardcore gamer, I tend to value performance over data safety. Data redundancy would be great if my intentions were to use this computer solely for business, but that is not the case. I will still use flash drives and DVDs to lower the risk of losing important files. But, my current logic is that 2 Raptors in Raid 0 has better performance than 4 Barracudas in Raid 0+1.

    I'm not familiar with MCP? What is MCP? So the 680i chipset will not perform RAID 0 to its fullest potential?

    Nvidia developed a new so-called MCP (Media and Communications Processor) for its nforce 6 chipset for Intel processors.
  23. I knew I might have made a stupid mistake..

    I read about an issue this morning regarding the new 680i MCP Southbridge and it's poor performance with regard to data transfers at high speeds, notably in high-speed RAID 0 arrays.

    During their tests, they ran up against a bottleneck on the 680i's MCP, saying "At the same time, Nvidia's nForce 680 chipset somehow showed a 110 MB/s bottleneck, which we still couldn't overcome." That pointed me to another article, The Southbridge Battle, which shows they received similar results in an earlier test.

    I've spent the last 3 hours trying to find more information on this, and have come up relatively empty handed. All I've seen is rumors that it's the software that Tom's uses has a fluke with the nVidia hardware, or that the MCPs aren't tweaked to provide higher throughput. I certainly have seen a lot of "This board has so many features it'll make you slap your grandmother!" type which highlight Gigabyte's quad-NIC, or ASUS's LCD POST indicator. Both of which, I could care less about, really.

    I ask because I'm currently spec'ing out my next PC, and this issue causes me much hesitation in wanting to purchase an 680i-based chipset, since it's going to put a big bottleneck on my drive speeds.

    I am also aware that it's relatively rare to see drive utilization like these tests create. But, I don't see the point in purchasing a motherboard as expensive as the 680i series, purchasing two high performance drives, then going through the trouble to set up a RAID 0, when it won't net any performance gain because the southbridge can't support it. And frankly, when drive access tends to still be the largest bottleneck to any system, I'd rather squeeze all the performance I can out of my drives.

    I'm trying to figure out if this can be traced to a logic error, an underpowered chip, related to the SATA corruption issue, a bug in the firmware, testing software biases, or any number of other possible issues.

    Does anyone have any good sources information on this topic?

    Is this getting fixed? Did I just waste money getting 2 WD Raptors in RAID 0 only to faced with a 110 MB/s bottleneck caused by my MB?

    The only good thing is that I figured out what MCP is. The bad thing is, Nossy was right. I might have just wasted good money on 2 Raptors because my MB stinks.
  24. Quote:
    I'm not familiar with MCP? What is MCP? So the 680i chipset will not perform RAID 0 to its fullest potential?

    MCP = Media and commiunications processors - generic term for the onboard chips controlling the SATA/PCI/PCI-e ports and stuff.

    Regarding RAID performance on the different chipsets, I found this review comparing the ICH7R amd nForce4 chipsets (couldn't find one with the new nForce 680i chipset). There are small differences, but I don't think those differences are significant.

    Of course, a separate RAID controller (of good quality) will always beat an onboard RAID controller, but I personally can't justify the additional cost (300+ €/$).

    ICH7R has Matrix Raid, which allows RAID 0 and 1 with only 2 disks, but that's not something I would use.
  25. I found this thread. Probably best to ignore all the trashing of thg at the beginning of the thread, as it's not constructive.

    Anyway, there's 1 post that suggests a possible solution:


    2 x 150 raptors on 680i motherboard:


    The trick to getting all the speed is here:


    go into device manager...scsi & raid controllers...right click on nvidia 590/570/550 serial ata controller click properties..make sure primary and secondary channels look like this...reboot and rebench...you will see a difference.

    Anyway, this 'fix' seems to have worked for some. However, also bear in mind that this is a relatively new chipset, so keep an eye open for BIOS and driver updates.

    Note: I'm having problems getting the 2nd image link to work in preview mode. Even though the bbcode looks good, it seems to be linking to the thumbnail image. So here's the link without the image ~> link
  26. The amount of money I'm pouring into this new computer is crazy. 8O Oh well, I have to pay for quality. So I ended up getting the 3ware 9500S-4LP 64-bit/66MHz PCI2.2 SATA Raid Controller Card RAID 0/1/5/10 JBOD. Pretty expensive, but its the price I have to pay if I want the performance I so much desire. Coming in at $300, and I only intend to use only 2 of the 4 internal connectors. The main reason I bought it was because its a good solid "real" RAID, unlike the software-assisted RAID found in cheaper raid controllers. The reviews were awesome and it has 128MB ECC cache memory and hardware XOR engine.

    Now, are there any more problems I have to address (and pay for the solution, lol) before I build my dream computer. :P

    Ah. I just noticed your 2nd post aoe. So do you think my solution of buying this Raid controller will out perform your solution of changing the settings around in hopes it will work? I'm curious of the performance outcome and difference of each solution.

    I also noticed this Raid Controller offers RAID 5.

    RAID-5 is still one area where the mass markets have not touched, but it's still one of the most popular RAID levels for those who want high-end performance but still require data redundancy.

    Do you think I should buy a 3rd WD Raptor and set-up RAID-5? Lol. I'm crazy :D
  27. Hmm - have you considered SCSIs ? (don't even think about it - I'm joking).

    You should have let me know which companies you were buying these components from so I could have bought shares beforehand :P

    Let me know how everything goes with the build and the OC.
  28. That Raid controller will perform better than an onboard solution, but by how much I'm not really sure. It shoud also overcome the problems related to the motherboard chipset previously discussed.

    I also noticed this Raid Controller offers RAID 5.

    Do you think I should buy a 3rd WD Raptor and set-up RAID-5? Lol. I'm crazy :D

    This article gives a nice overview of the different RAID levels. It looks like RAID 5 doesn't provide the same performance as RAID 0. I personally don't think you should buy another Raptor and go for RAID 5. As to whether I think your crazy - well, that's a very subjective question. You'll need to define 'crazy' before I can comment :lol:
  29. After reading an article on the 3Ware 9500S-4LP H2Bench - RAID-0 - Repetitive Sequential Transfer Rate, the raid card doesn't seem that hot after all which doesn't look good for me.

    I had a question concerning what you chose (and everyone else for that matter) for the stripe size when setting up RAID 0 for your Raptors. Also, what is your cluster size? Trying to maximize my performance for my system, any help is appreciated, thank you :P

    Knowing a bit more about how disk access works in operating systems, I would recommend another formula:

    stripe size = cluster size / number of RAID-0'd drives

    A filesystem cluster is the smallest amount of data a program can read from the disk (or write). Even if you request only a single byte, the OS will generously read in the whole cluster (4 kilobytes by default for NTFS). So, if you have two RAID-0 drives, a stripe size of 2K would make sure that you always have each drive processing the sama amount of data.

    Mind you, for this to work, the stripe size has to work out exactly. Cluster and stripe sizes are always in power-of-two multiples of 512 bytes. So if you have an odd number of hard drives in RAID-0, you cannot possibly get an optimal stripe size.

    Fragmentation is a filesystem issue, and has absolutely nothing to do with the underlying hardware. You get exactly the same fragmentation no matter how you configure your RAID stripes underneath. Fragmentation does depend on the cluster size though, so if you follow Zolar1's advice and tie the size of clusters to the size of stripes, then you get worse fragmentation with smaller stripes because your clusters will be smaller too (by your own choice), not because the stripes are somehow affecting the filesystem itself.

    If we bring filesystem configuration into the formula, assuming that you are actually going to tweak NTFS, then you should first consider your filesystem clusters and only then the RAID stripes. If you make your clusters bigger, you waste disk space, but you will get less fragmentation and more performance. Alas, any other cluster size than 4K will also deny you some NTFS features like file compression. Once you get your cluster size right, decide on the stripes.

    Or, if you are not fond on maths and planning, do like I do - set the stripe size to the smallest possible value. This will make sure that no matter the cluster size, the request will always cover the maximum amount of drives. Even if the disk access will span the array several times, the end result will be the same (unless you have a very, very, very stupid RAID controller/driver) - all the drives will do the same amount of work.

    what I infer from Nodsu's comments is that he recommends a stripe size of 32 kb and a cluster size of 64 kb (max for NTFS) if the user is not worried about wasted file space and is running RAID-0 with two HDD's.
  30. As I've never owned a raid controller, I can't really comment on the difference in performance over onboard raid. However, looking at the date of the review and their conclusions, there are suggestions that their test results may be due to poor drivers, and there may be better drivers available at this time.

    I personally didn't think there would be much difference in performance between onboard raid and a raid controller considering what my pc is used for. If I were to do video encoding, database-related activity, or something similar where disk performance is at a premium, then I would maybe consider investing the money in a decent raid controller.

    Regarding choosing cluster size (not sure what you mean by stripe size), I've been running RAID 0 for some time now, and always used to go with the standard cluster size (64K or 128K - can't remember). I then noticed this thread and specifically the following post:

    I've been using 2 Raptors in RAID 0 for over 2 years now and have played with several different RAID configs in the years before that.
    I have gone multiple ways with RAID 0 (single drive/ raid0 by itself/ raid0 for os + additional drive/ single drive for os + raid 0 stripe) for extended periods of time, played with different stripe sizes, etc, and my personal preference is that for the best performance overall, RAID 0 as primary + an additional drive will give the best results. I care not to make an argument as to the how or why, but in my experience RAID 0 can and will give people a multitude of results which will always hinge on how the RAID 0 stripe is setup. Using RAID 0 can and will kick the crap out of a single drive configuration, or using RAID 0 will suck big hairy donkey sack. Whether RAID 0 will work for you depends because it's a loaded question ;-) ** how ** you configure it will make all the difference in the world.

    Myth: RAID 0 will make my computer faster.
    Theoretically this is correct. But like the sticker on a car that says how many miles to a gallon the car gets... your mileage will vary. As a primary volume RAID 0 by itself will not net a significant gain because most of your performance gains are negated by the constant disk thrashing of windows. If setup improperly, things may even seem slower.

    Myth: Stripe size doesn't matter.
    Women say this too, and it's a lie. Stripe size will optimize your read/write performance for real small files (4k)up to real large files (512k). You could go middle-of the road (64/128k) but the term "jack of all trades master of none" comes to mind.

    Here are my takes on a few RAID configs:

    Single Drive (no RAID): slow. too slow for me. Even a PMR drive is too slow for me.

    Single Drive for OS + RAID 0: Unless you are encoding I don't see much of a point to this one. You will see next to no performance gain at all. All of the core OS files are on the slower drive. Even if you install programs to the RAID stripe, you still have to constantly load DLLs and such from the slower drive.

    RAID 0 by itself: most gains are negated by windows "disk trashing" and many times seems slower than using a single volume. If using Raptors is very size limited.

    RAID 0 for OS + Single Drive: A bit of a pain to setup but will net the best performance gains plus storage capacity will never really be a problem.

    My tipes for RAID 0 + Single Drive:

    This assumes you plan to use RAID 0 as the primary volume.

    (1) Plan Ahead
    RAID 0 performance is all about stripe size versus the size of files you are working with. If your RAID 0 is going to be your primary volume then you should set it up with this in mind. Most OS files are fairly small so the approach to take is to optimize the stripe size of the RAID 0 for these smaller files. The RAID BIOS may recommend a 64k/128k stripe... but what are you planning on encoding?? And... why would you ever want to do that with your primary volume anyway?? The smaller the stripe size, the faster the read/write IOs (theoretically) for smaller files. I tend to keep my stripe size at either 16k or 32k. I've had the best results at 32k. Yours may vary. A nicely optimized SATA RAID 0 array of 2 WD Raptors should be able to install XP in less than 10 minutes start to finish. Mine finished in just under 8. It should also boot a clean XP installation very, very quickly.

    (2) Run lean and mean
    Turn off all the semi-useless crap. System Restore, hibernate, error reporting... anything that contributes to "disk thrashing". Also, move the Windows pagefile to the other drive and set it to a static size... i usually stick with 2x RAM.

    (3) Offload everything you can
    Plan to use the RAID 0 for nothing more than the core OS and Program Files... The goal is speed. Whether you're launching Word or WoW you want the programs to launch fast. MS Word the program may require your PC loading 50 different files... your word document is only one file. Keep that one file somewheres else.

    (4) Size/Type doesn't matter
    Capacity and type of drive really doesn't matter for the secondary volume... hell when I started I grabbed an old 40 gig out of my closet of spare parts. Its a good way to breathe some new life into an old 20 or 40gig IDE drive. And the beauty is you can always step up to a larger drive at any time by just copying everything over.

    So, when I reinstalled recently, I went for a cluster size of 32K to see if that was any better. I already came to the same conclusion regarding what to use the RAID for (OS + Programs) from my previous experiences. I also have a separate 150GB raptor (not in the RAID) for game installations, but that's just personal choice.

    Unfortunately, I don't do any benchmarking as such, and each reinstall is generally due to an upgrade, so each time the system performance increases.

    There is a suggestion in the above quote about moving the page file to another disk. Again, I used to do this, but I now prefer to leave this on the RAID 0. Setting it to a static size is a good idea (prevents migration and fragmentation), but my page file hardly gets used at all - with 2GB of memory, there's never a situation where no memory is available, so windows just dumps the bare minimum to the page file. I also disable paging executive in the registry to minimise as much as possible what is written to the page file. Anything that does get written (or read), I want that to be as fast as possible.
  31. Here's another interesting thread on hardware raid controllers.

    Also, check the RAID FAQ on the hard disk forum.
  32. So you went with stripe size of 16K and cluster size of 32K? I might try that, if stripe size should be half of the cluster size.

    I read all the different threads, I just hope everything is patched up and works great. Nothing is worse than spending $300 on something that improves performance by squat. Might as well use the on board RAID if performance doesn't increase! Least I would've saved $300. (Not to mention I spent additional money to have the RAID card rushed to me so it gets here by Friday and I can test this monster of a computer out!) :P

    My logic is that I rather enjoy all the performance gain when I first build/try my computer rather than waiting a few months/years down the road when everything is outdated and I've been suffering with slower performance when I didn't have to. $300 is a lot of money if the RAID card doesn't work like I want it to!

    And I thought you can solve most problems with money. PFFT. I buy a quality product and the one thing I want it for, RAID 0, it seems to fail in. ROFL.

    Anyways, Now I gotta buy a 3rd harddrive to put all my crap on.

    So why don't you like moving the page file to the independent harddrive? Lowers overall system performance?
  33. Alright, so most of my computer components arrived today! :o Cept for the computer case, the raid controller, and the cpu fan. But, that's alright. I can wait another day or two.

    So anyways, I'm looking at the brand new retail Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6600 box as I type this. I found out its week 32, batch F. I've been reading through different posts trying to figure something out. How do I know if I got Revision B or not?
  34. I have a similar system - parts bought last December while I was home on vacation.


    The board is a little complicated to set up. Search for a 680i overclocking guide. That will keep you from reinventing the wheel.

    My motherboard's FSB will almost reach 450 Mhz.

    The MCP does run hot. Use the little fan that eVGA puts in the box whether you are overclocking or not.

    I cannot reach 3.6 Ghz using what I would regard as reasonable voltages (maybe with a better HSF). I work in Saudi Arabia and it is impossible to find what we would call good cases. I was not sure that I could find a case that something like a Tuniq would fit in. My cpu, however, will run at 3 Ghz on 1.25 volts.

    I like the hex POST indicator on the motherboard. It is not as good as the LCD panels on some boards, but it is much better than just beeps.

    If you overdo the frequency settings or memory timings, the BIOS seems to default to lower settings upon reboot. You do not have to clear the CMOS. I do not know how common this feature is.

    I have always liked Crucial memory. About the only things that really aggressive memory timings affect are benchmarks.

    Previous poster is correct more fans do not necessarily equate to more cooling. Watch your temperatures.

    Since I am not using RAID, I do not have any experience in this area.


  35. Hello all Again :) Glad to be back here. For the past 3 days, its been literally torture trying to get everything in my new computer to work. Even their tech support told me to RMA the MB because of the problems I was having, ROFL. I told him it could be fixed somehow, and he was like it'll be easier to just RMA it.

    I've been posting on their forum a lot trying to get my EVGA mainboard working, so here's the jist of what happened in the past 3 days.

    OK, Thanks to everyone who helped!!

    Problem Solved. After 3 days of torture (Just bought this computer and spent every waking moment on it!), Everything is working GREAT cept the USB ports in the back of the case which don't seem to work correctly. The USB ports in the front of my case work beautifully! Is anyone else having problems with the USB ports in the back of the case? Any fixes to it? Thanks in advance.

    Ok. So as you know I had a ton of problems with the motherboard not cooperating with everything else I bought (and I only purchased the quality, expensive stuff so I was shocked), and I called EVGA 4 times (3 of the times I kept disconnecting) and the 4th time we went through pretty much what I already did and he came to the conclusion that I should RMA the mainboard back and get another. I told him what I thought the problem might be and he thought it was easier to just RMA it back.

    Well, that's not the spirit. I KNEW the problem could be fixed some how, I just didn't know how at the time and I wasn't about to give up! (The damn gigantic heat sink I bought [Thermalright S1-128] was such a pain to get on and the monolithic video card I bought [EVGA 768-P2-N837-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB] was a Nightmare to install in my cable infested Full Tower [NZXT Zero]. Well the Nightmare is over friends! And in case someone else gets the same problems I had (and I can't believe not everyone has them), I might as well tell you how I fixed this dream machine of mine. So happy the worst of it is over. Now I just want those USB ports in the back working properly and it's PERFECT.

    Instead of writing a huge story, I'll get to the point and tell you the exact sequence of correct steps it took to go from nothing to All Fixed.

    1. I tried a million combinations of trying to get my computer to even work, let alone work the way I intended it to. I wanted my 2 WD Raptors in RAID 0. The on-board RAID wouldn't work for me, and I must've tried 10 times with all sorts of drivers and what not! By the way, I already flashed the BIOS and had all the latest drivers ready from the manufacturers. So anyways, I ended up using my $300 3ware 9500S-4LP SATA Raid Controller to get this set up working from the get go. And it did. Throw in the WinXP CD and have your floppy ready for the RAID Drivers.

    2. Make sure ACPI is Enabled PRIOR to installing WinXP. (Thanks jimsikes!!!) Well mine was, but something was screwy with my computer at the time. So I reinstalled WinXP probably 23 times over the course of 2.3 days, and I noticed you also need to make sure when you go to Device Manager, that it says "ACPI Multiprocessor PC" under the Computer category. If it says "Standard PC", it's messed up and you need to reinstall WinXP and make sure your ACPI is enabled. And if it already was, then set everything back to Defaults or Flash the BIOS again, whatever you need to do. Eventually, it should say "ACPI Multiprocessor PC" under Computer Category after you install WinXP.

    3. So at this point, my Internet still wasn't working. So what did I do? I installed Windows Vista Business. And now it actually installs because of the damn "ACPI Multiprocessor PC". Before, it kept saying my ACPI was disabled or I don't have a standard ACPI computer. Grrrr...

    4. Once Windows Vista is installed, almost everything works now! Internet WORKS and my RAID-0 is WORKING! This ONLY took me like 2 days of constant testing and calling tech support to no avail. Hopefully this post will help SOMEONE out there!

    5. Install all the Drivers you need that are made for Vista. I had to install the drivers for my Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels Sound Card, and now it works BEAUTIFULLY! Also installed drivers for my video card, but I DIDN'T install the drivers for my MB. The storage stuff and network stuff. My philosophy is, IF IT AIN'T BROKEN, DON'T FIX IT! I would be SO UPSET if I installed any of those drivers and my computer stopped working again. Its so Awesome when it FINALLY works!!

    Ok. If anyone knows how to fix the USB ports, lemme know please! Thanks!

    So if any of you have any ideas why the USB ports don't work, lemme know :D Maybe not enough voltage? there's 2 USB ports in the front of the case and 6 USB ports I see in the back. If I try inserting my flash drive in 1 of the ports in the back, it'll recognize there is an unknown device in the port (it won't function though), and it'll say its on reduced speeds or very low speed (like 0.000001 b/s)

    By the way, now that I got the bulk of it working, what programs do you recommend using to stress test the computer? I didn't even OC anything yet. Which program is everyone using to tell if their CPU is Revision B or not? Thanks!! :D
  36. Answer: Download CPU-Z's latest version.

    The Revision I got is B2!! From what I hear, this is the best Revision to OC :D So should I set my goals for 3.6 or 4.0GHz :o
  37. alright aoe, you wanted to see results? well, I got some RESULTS for you! :P

    I said from the beginning I'm creating my Dream Computer. Best Computer for Playing Games :) and to save a few bucks here and there if I can. Well, it's been Quite an Adventure just building this awesome gaming rig.

    Well, since I got the B2 revision and I didn't feel like wasting time. I Overclocked it to 3.6GHz. With the FSB set to 1600, makes the FSB and Mem clock speed a 1:1 ratio. My temps are low and the games play GREAT! I set my voltage to 1.50.

    So I said to myself.. I wonder what the Windows Experience Index found in Vista would rate my ultimate gaming machine. Well, let's find out!

    Figures. They score from 1 to 5.9, and I max out in 4 of the 5 categories!! Woot, and they couldn't give me 5.9 for the Processor?!?! I just OVERCLOCKED it to 3.6GHz and it's rated 2.4 GHz! HUGE increase! What should I do, go for 4GHz so the damn thing will give me the 5.9? :D ah its ok. I achieved my goal. 3.6 GHz and one heck of a sweet gaming computer.

    Thank you everyone! :D
  38. A couple of concerns here based on my experience. One, there is a misconception that flash drives and other portable storage devices are safer than hard drive storage. Nothing could be further from the truth. You should store documents, music, photos on your hard drive, which is much more reliable than any portable storage. Then, make sure you have a backup plan. If you have 200 gigs of "my documents" then you should have a backup medium large enough to hold that + room for future growth. Then back everything up on a schedule. I have just over 300 gigs of data files on two raided 320-gig drives and I back them up to a similar setup.
    Two, keep it as simple as possible. I will eventually go to a larger single drive (waiting for prices to drop) for a couple reasons. One, if you have motherboard troubles and you have to replace it in a couple years you'll have to put those raided drives in an identical system in order to recover your files. Two, the added speed isn't worth the added risk of an additional drive going bad, as well as noise and power issues.This of course doesn't apply to using one drive for data and another for the system, but then you have to have another drive for BU.

    For what it's worth!

  39. Well, that looks like a nice overclock :D

    What program did you eventually use to test stability? I personally use Prime95 (2 instances running to fully load both cores), but I hear Orthos does an equally good job. I also use Memtest86+ for testing memory stability. You can create a bootable CD to run it.

    I would also look at downloading TAT (Intel's Thermal Analysis Tool), as this will really load both cores, although this should be used to monitor temps under load rather than stress testing the OC. I found it here (Note: link goes straight to download at techpowerup.com).

    Also, I use SpeedFan to check my temps. Read the Core 2 Duo Temperature Guide on these forums, as the way the temps are monitored and reported are different with the C2D processors. I had to apply offsets to the reported temps as they were incorrect. With the offsets applied, I'm running at 23C idle and 48C under load (these are Tcase temps, and I used TAT to load the CPUs as this provides the max load and temps).

    It took me a while to work out my offsets as I had some strange results (see this thread for details). If you need any help workout your required offsets (if any are required), then post here or in a separate thread. CompuTronix is always willing to help, and I also have a better understanding now of how this works after his help.
  40. Awesome, thanks for the info! I'm currently using Prime95 to stress my system. So far here's what I know (I'll edit this post with updates):

    CPU: 1.5V
    FSB: 1.4V
    is STABLE, so I dropped my FSB voltage down .1V, woot! I won't go any further because if it "feels good" might as well stop, lol.

    I tried CPU: 1.4V, I got BSOD :(

    Next test will be half way between 1.4V and 1.5V for CPU. I'll have to get Memtest86+ and run it when I sleep at night :D


    Fine Tuning............................Complete.

    And the magic number is.........1.4875V STABLE. (CPU)

    Under FULL LOAD, my CPU Temperature reaches 52C-54C.
    Is that OK?

    Thanks! :)
  41. Fixed USB port problem for the back of the case.

    The problem was caused by only using one of two USB 2.0 headers found on the motherboard. My tower has 2 USB ports found in the front of the case which only uses 1 of the USB 2.0 headers.

    I ended up modifying an external bracket containing four more USB 2.0 ports. I used only two of these ports and taped off the two unused ports. This gives me a total of 8 functional rear USB 2.0 ports and 2 front USB 2.0 ports.

    The only thing that puzzles me now is that I can hook up my flash drive to any of these ports and it will work perfectly. But if I use an USB extention cord (they sell them at the Dollar store for, you guessed it, one Dollar!), the flash drive won't function and says "Unknown Device" in Windows Vista.

    I'm wondering if I go out and buy the $30 USB extention cord, if it'll make a difference?
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