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From 680i P5N32-E SLI to790i Striker II Extreme

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May 10, 2008 4:14:57 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 1:49:30 PM

Top of the line gaming rig.

I would only use non-conductive coolants. This is one of the best:

http://www.feser-one.com/site/index.php?cPath=68

$300 for Q9450 isn't a bad deal, considering the Q6700 is about $270.

Well, if you go Yorkie, you don't have much of a choice other than 7x0i. 680i can't do Yorkies. You may be saving yourself headaches of troubleshooting bios screwups from EVGA. ASUS is pretty good at bios. Don't know what you mean by fusion block not working on the mobo. Why not replace the stock chipset cooling? You can't replace the Fusion block performance. Otherwise, you wouldn't have bought the Fusion block in the 1st place. Look at Thermalright HR-05-SLI. I got 2 of them on my P35 board. No stock cooling can beat TR's. They can swing around after install.

May 15, 2008 12:23:05 AM

I'm RMAing the board for the Fusion leak, inet hangs, and graphics lockups.
!