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From 680i P5N32-E SLI to790i Striker II Extreme

Last response: in Overclocking
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May 11, 2008 12:51:01 PM

This is the way my system looked before, it has not been OC, and Crysis would get 32.7 FBS with very high settings and a 3Dmark06 of 14241. I know 14241 seems low for Triple SLI but M06 doesn’t see the cards as linked and does not scale properly.

Thermaltake Tower Case Armor+
Thermaltake 1000W PSU
ASUS P5N32-E SLI 680i
Intel CD2 E6850 3G 65N 4m Cache
Crucial Ballistic 1Gx4
EVGA 8800GTX 768MB
EVGA 8800GTX 768MB
EVGA 8800GTX 768MB
XFX SP- PCC5 - G PCI SATA 5-Port RAID Storage Processor
With 5 Hitachi 160GB 8MB Cache 7200 RPM S-ATA Drives
One Western Digital 160GB SATA2 WD1600JS
One Seagate Barracuda 7200 160GB SATA 3Gb/s
LITE-ON IDE DVD-CD Burner
Koolance CPU-330
Koolance VID-282-V10 8800GTX water blocks
Koolance 1000-SL
Vista Premium Home 64 bit
Gyration Ultra Cordless RF Mouse and Keyboard
Acer 24” AL2416WD TFT LCD

This is what it will have in it after the upgrade. Note the Motherboard, Processor, Memory, and Hard Drives are the main changes.

Thermaltake Tower Case Armor+
Thermaltake 1000W PSU
ASUS Striker Extreme II 790i
Intel CD2 Q9450 2.66G 45N 12m Cache
Corsair XMS3 2x2GB DDR-3 1600
EVGA 8800GTX 768MB
EVGA 8800GTX 768MB
EVGA 8800GTX 768MB
4 Seagate 250GB SATA 3GB 32M Cache onboard Raid 5
2 Seagate 250GB SATA 3GB 32M Cache Mirrored Boot Drive
LITE-ON IDE DVD-CD Burner
Koolance CPU-330
Koolance VID-282-V10 8800GTX water blocks
Koolance 1000-SL
Vista Premium Home 64 bit
Gyration Ultra Cordless RF Mouse and Keyboard
Acer 24” AL2416WD TFT LCD

The first thing I’m going to do is back up my game machines raid drive with a Seagate 500GB FreeAgent external drive. I’m replacing the 160GB 8MB cache SATA drives with Seagate 250 GB 32 MB Cache SATA drives which will give me a 1 TB raid drive. This will be done before the system board, processor and memory.

The process of backup, building a raid array and restoring takes about 11 hours.

Next came the disconnect of the radiator which only takes about 5 seconds because of the Koolance high flow ¼ turn quick disconnect valves and all the external cables.


Once I’ve carried the Game System to my work bench that just happens to be my kitchen table I’ll drain the inter loop of water. From there I will remove the system tray from the case and uninstall the hardware.



Remember put a rag around open ports and stand your graphics cards upright well out of the machine.

This is the new board with the processor and memory installed.

I tried to use the heat transfer pedestals but found that they where about a ¼ inch too tall, what the hell were they thinking.

After installing the motherboard on the tray I installed the cards and water cooling.

The next step was to add the Fusion Block to the water loop which turned out to be a waste of time because it leaked on the bottom fitting and no matter what I did I couldn’t get it to work.


I discovered the leak well I was purging the air from the water system; fortunately there’s no power on the motherboard well doing this. After several tries of adding the Fusion Block I took the system tray back out and put the water system back the way it was after I blew the PCI slots out with a hair drier and wiped up the water. That night I ran the pump all night to run the air out and let the board dry out.
The next day I installed a new copy of Windows Home Premium 64bit on to the new Seagate 250G 32M Cache mirrored drives, I’ve found that a fresh install with this big an upgrade avoids lots of OS problems. This to is made easier because all the programs and files are on the raid 5 drive and it is just a matter of sending shortcuts to the desktop for most of the programs.
Let me say that the E6850 that I had on my 680i board is a good bang for the buck processor that gives great performance for most of the games out there. After saying that there are some games that do benefit from using a quad core processor with SLI and faster memory and I pick the Q9450 for its bang for the buck performance, I paid $299 for it. Then there’s the memory which had to be DDR3 and the Corsair XMS3 2x2GB DDR-3 1600, in reality this really 1333 7, 7,7,20 t1 memory that’s been tested to run at 1600 9, 9,9,24 t2 and has to be set that way in the bios, works great.
Now for the motherboard the ASUS Striker II Extreme at $449.99 there will be a lot of people, who will think I am crazy, but they said that about buying an 8800 GTX and when you have 3 water cooled GTX’s like I do, you want a motherboard design to run them. Without doing anything other then doing a level up in the bios I went from a Q9450 to a QX9650. There are so many nice features on this board that it makes it worth the extra $100 over the other 790i boards that are out there. Would I like to have bought it cheaper of course who wouldn’t?
The only draw back on the board is the Fusion Block that doesn’t work and I haven’t decided weather to send it back to NEWEGG or not. The NB and SB processors run cool enough even under load so I’m not sure it’s worth the time an effort to replace it.
After the upgrade I ran into a problem with my raid card, where it would keep kicking the fifth drive out of the array and was causing this error.

To fix that problem I had to remove the raid card and go with a four drive onboard raid 5 array that toke four and a half hours to restore and gave me 698GB instead of 953GB raid drive. BTW these Seagate drives are fast and quiet.
The only problem I’m having right now is the NVIDIA drivers crashing every 40 minutes to two hours and right now I’m using 175.16 drivers.
Last but not least here is a picture of my Patent Pending Computer Gaming Station.

May 11, 2008 1:14:13 PM

Goodluck to you if you can get a 790i AMD board to work with a Intel processor. Unless you mean 780i?
May 11, 2008 1:27:19 PM

kg4..... Striker II Extreme = 790i Ultra Chipset = Intel

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Anyway, thats a really clean and impressive build, i have always been too hesitant to try water cooling systems, that is simply wonderfull looking.

The Striker II looks like a great motherboard IMO. I have a Maximus Extreme motherboard and ROG features are the best. Your scores seem about where they should be for your setup. Unfortunately its going to be your CPU holding you back. With your setup you should really be hitting the processor for more Mhz. You're 3dmark will probably go as high as you can get the CPu to go in Mhz.

I have a 9650 and the 45nm processors are good to 1.36v according to intel. I have mine at 4Ghz 1.32v with load line calibration. I would suggest to you to go into the bios and manually overclock it, raise the voltage up to 1.3v with load line calibration enabled and just raise the fsb by 10Mhz increments until you can't load windows anymore then back it off. I've seen 9450s do 3.4 to 3.6Ghz.

I do not think you are crazy for buying that motherboard, however, to make that motherboard earn its keep you need to get more out of that Q9450. Good luck! and Kudos for a clean build.
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May 11, 2008 3:24:27 PM

FHDelux

I'm running the Q9450 at 3Ghz right now and don't want to push it any feather then that right now because I'm having some boot problems and graphics driver problems.
May 11, 2008 3:34:34 PM

I got ya, well, if you are having long term stability issues, you could try a bios update, that 790i Chipset is still new, and ASUS is notorious for shipping new boards with beta bios'. Other than that, you might want to try running non - beta graphics drivers and stock clock speed on the CPU to ensure that the system is running stabily at stock speeds and released bios / drivers.
May 15, 2008 12:22:29 AM

I'm RMAing the board for the Fusion leak, inet hangs, and graphics lockups.
June 12, 2008 5:38:56 AM

If you find in the end your just not happy with it A chainsaw would turn that into a few sweet computers :sweat: 
June 25, 2008 11:31:18 PM

It’s been a couple of weeks now since I received my replacement striker II Extreme motherboard. After reassembling the gaming system, I still had many of the same problems that I sent the board back for, and BTW I didn’t use the Fusion Block, I wasn’t going to take the chance that it would leak again. I did take the Fusion Block heat pipe system off to put some Arctic Silver on the NB & SB instead of the stock tape.

While I was trouble shooting I notice that one of my graphics cards was not reporting any change in temperature and I also noted that it said I was in SLI not 3 way SLI. So I moved the card to a different slot and the problem followed the card. I removed the card and made it 2 way SLI and the machine ran great all the errors went away. I RMA the card to EVGA and had the new one back in two weeks, put it in and when I booted up it said it was in 3 way SLI, which found out from benchmarks wasn’t true. I had to take it out of SLI and put it back into SLI to get it running in 3 way. Because the card stopped working it caused init code hangs, no desk top after boot, freezes and lockups.

This is the hardware I have in the machine now.

Thermaltake Tower Case Armor+
Thermaltake 1000W PSU
ASUS Striker II Extreme
Intel C2D Q9450
Corsair 2x2GB 1600 DDR3
3 EVGA 8800GTX 768MB SLI
2 Seagate 250GB 32MB Cache SATA Drives Mirrored Boot Drive Vista 64 Bit
4 Seagate 250GB 32MB Cache SATA Drives Raid 5
1 Termaltake external E-SATA enclosure with Seagate 250GB 32MB Cache for Ubuntu
1 Seagate FreeAgent Pro 500GB E-SATA to back up the Raid set.
LITE-ON IDE DVD-CD Burner
Gyration Ultra Cordless RF Mouse and Keyboard
3 Koolance 282GXT water blocks
Koolance 330 CPU cooler
Koolance External EHX-1020SL 3 fan radiator
Koolance Internal RP-1000 reservoir and pump
24” Acer Monitor
Turtle Beach Ear Force 5.1 Headphones
Momo Racing Force Feedback Wheel and Racing Pedals
Ideazon Fang Gamepad
Logitech Dual Action Gamepad
Patent Pending Computer Gaming Table




I have a mild OC on the system right now and this is what that looks like.

Graphics Cards OC
Geometric 648MHz 13%
Shader 1512MHz 12%
Real Clock 1026MHz 14%
Effective Clock 2052MHz

CPU
3.2GHz 20%

FSB
400MHz 20%

Memory Timing
DDR3 1600MHz 9 9 9 24 2T

3DMARK
03 72794
05 20474
06 16690
Vantage 14150

All games are at 1920x1200 Maximum setting except Crysis I didn’t go beyond 4xAA.

Crysis Very High 39.37FPS
Crysis Very High 4xAA 27.5 FPS
Lost Coast 148.18 FPS
Lost Planet Snow 35.5 FPS
Cave 52.6 FPS
Call of Juarez 49.7 FPS

I'm using the 175.16 drivers from NVIDIA and I think they still need some work because of occasional driver crashs.
July 7, 2008 10:03:48 PM

Have you tried the P05 bios yet?

It cured almost all the ills on my board. (Evga 790i) And a memory subset timing I had to change cured the video playback hang.
!