This post revolves around putting the system together. At the same time that I get my answers, and put the computer together, I want to answer everyone else's questions too (ie: document my steps w. pictures etc so people can see how its done). Alternatively, maybe someone can direct me to a previously written guide and that would simply save everyone time.
Anyways that was my pre-amble (pre-ramble maybe?). I'm putting together the following system, and was wondering if anyone can offer tips related to the parts I am using from their own experiences, or share anything I should really be aware of before I push the power button on for the first time.
FYI: I never have put a system together before, but I can read manuals! To be honest my biggest fear is not connecting the Chassis fans/lights/buttons to the mobo correctly
RAM: OCZ Reaper DDR2-6400 2x1gb
HD: WD SATA 500gb
Optical: LG dvd drive (forget model #)
HSF: Thermalright Ultra 120 w. Scythe Fan (because I'm unoriginal like that!)
Chassis: Antec 900
PSU: Corsair 620HX
GPU: BFG 8800GTX OC
I was thinking of assembling without the HSF first to get baseline temps, reassembling with HSF and measuring temps again, then finally reassembling after lapping the HSF and measuring for the last time. I have no problems putting the effort into this, but what I want to know is whether or not this kind of information is useful to other people as well?
Without intentions of being presumptuous, if I can help out the community by documenting my experiences and making a little guide I'm more than happy to do so.
My suggestion would be NOT to lap the HSF. Thermalright is VERY good and they bottoms are VERY flat. I'd worry more about the CPU heat shield as they tend to be concave. I wouldn't lap anything untill you make sure everything works and also only do it if you have not other alternatives. It voids warranties. Granted I lapped my e6400 but the heat spreader was VERY concave as I saw from holding a razer over it up to a light. IT helped but dont unless you have to.
Fan connectors are keyed so you can't make a bobo. Lights? well they will either not work or work. If they dont work switch the pins, ive done it so many times. It doesn't hurt them
I would suggest putting the CPU, heatsink & fan, ram on the mobo before putting it in the case. Besides you have to take out the mobo to put the U-120 on anyways with the backplate.
I know the initial core 2's has some issues with concave heat spreaders so lapping was a great fix but voided the warranty. I haven't heard much complaining lately though. I think just the cooler with do great. They are machines VERY well. The contact surface has a machined finish but there is a reason for this. It actually increases the surface area and the thermal paste fills in the gaps. It's still perfectly flat but has slight ridges which is what increases the area. A pretty good design if done right, and they did. I now use Thermalright for all my cooling, you can't go wrong with them. Some of their solutions are a little overboard though.
I've had lots of problems with my LG DVD drive, so I would recommend against it, and probably recommend a Samsung SH-S203B. I know people who've used them and they seem much more reliable. There are millions of recommendations for this drive across the internet.
Also, Gigabyte does a pretty good job of labeling pin connections on their motherboards, so finding the right ones shouldn't be a problem.
Lapping will void your warranty. The only value in doing it is to reduce the cpu temperatures to the absolute minimum if you are trying for a maximum overclock. With less than a maximum overclock, you can afford to let your cpu run a bit warm if necessary.
I recommend the (Thermalright) Ultima 90 if you want an aftermarket HSF; it has the cooling ability of the Tuniq and the Ultra 120 with 1/2 the weight. The only thing that beats it is the Ultra 120 Extreme.