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Parts on the way - but numerous questions ...

Last response: in Systems
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September 18, 2008 6:08:16 AM

Hey everyone. I recently purchased all my parts for the PC that I will be building, but I have numerous questions!!

The system that I am building (with much advice from this very forum) is as follows:

1 x LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827106265

1 x Antec Nine Hundred Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 x Seagate 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822148335

1 x SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB GDDR5 Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814102768

1 x CORSAIR 750TX 750W Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 x mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820146731

1 x ASUS P5Q Pro P45 Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131299

1 x Core 2 Duo E8600 Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1x Sunbeam 120mm "Core Contact Freezer" CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835207004

1 x Arctic Silver 1.75G Thermal Compound - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835100014

I plan on adding another HD in the very near future and running them in raid 0. I also plan on adding another 4 gigs of memory (I've decided to run vista ultimate 64 bit). I made a few last minute changes, but I'm quite happy with my build.

My problem: I'm reading a lot of different things about what to do AFTER getting the system put together. I've looked through these forums and googled as well ... I just can't find a definitive, precise, step-by-step guide.

I will be OCing (probably just to 4.0 - a fairly simple FSB multi of 400 ... I hope not to have to raise the voltage, but I'll get to that when I get that far), but I plan on running the machine stock for a week or so first. That way I can get a 'feel' for how much my OC is speeding things up rather than just numbers a prog tells me.

So: After I get it completely built, what are my exact next steps? Do I let it boot up and then install my OS or ...

When and which ones and for how long do I need to test my machine (remember this is stock - no OC yet)? Do I need to test temps and all of that even with no OC?

Do I need to do a system 'burn-in' and if so ... with what prog and for how long?

As far as OCing a system, I've read a billion guides already (and have the one here on Toms bookmarked for reference) ... but what steps in what order do I do with a stock system?

Thanks and sry for the noobish ?s.

Narcissus
September 18, 2008 9:15:02 AM

alright, when you get everything plugged in, your gonna turn it on, put in the vista cd and let it boot and install (from what i have heard vista 64 bit is plagued with driver issues and program incompatibilities so i wouldnt recommend it but things may have changed by now). When it is installed, you will want to begin installing your drivers, starting with motherboard drivers and then the others (dont think order matters much after motherboard) you should be able to just install all drivers you need off the cds that come with the various parts. Then, when you have everything installed and rebooted, i would suggest defragmenting your HD just to make sure everything is in line, this will give you faster access times to the important stuff. Now, in order to get some good base numbers on your system before overclocking i would use 3dmark, prime95(benchmark). While running these i would keep an eye on your temps for cpu, mobo and vid and write down the maximums (max cpu should be possible with two instances of prime95 torture testing, that will give you pretty much an absolute highest temp). Once you have your basic numbers, just start playing games for your "burn in"; use the most intensive games you have and use it as an excuse to play long and hard late into the night. While playing, keep an eye on temps just so you have a good feel for what your machine does and keep in mind your fps. If you want extra burn for your cpu, just torture test it with prime95 (two instances will run on both cores, maxing them both out). For OC, i cant give you any info that the billion guides cant, just start slow and build up (it will be long, slow and likely painful). I would probably start with the vid card, as that thing produces rediculous amounts of heat that may effect your cpu overclock. Each time you up frequencies, run some torture tests, benchmarks, play some games, keep an eye on temps and make sure everything is stable. Its a good idea to write down all of your numbers in a chart with your overclock so you have it recorded for later. Good luck, and any more noobish questions i can try and answer.
September 18, 2008 1:33:19 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the following is a simplified, step-by-step version of your post:

1. Load the OS.

2. Load the various hardware drivers.

3. Flash the bios to the newest edition (I'm assuming).

4. Download testing programs (Prime95 for the CPU, Memtest for the memory, Speedfan for watching the temps, 3dmark for performance benchmarking).

5. Defragment.

6. Run 3dmark to get some stock performance benchmarking numbers. Do the same with Prime95.

7. While running the benchmarks, keep an eye on my temps with Speedfan to confirm that everything is installed correctly and running smoothly (and to note what the stock temps get to).

8. After getting stock benchmarking scores, play games to 'burn in' the computer. Keep an eye on the various temps with Speedfan while playing as a base temp vs fps comparison/ratio to compare to when I OC later.

9. To add extra burn-in, run two instances of prime95. (How long is a sufficient burn-in period?)

If everything, to this point, is working good ... then I'll just enjoy my new PC for a week or so and then when I'm ready to OC, I'll just follow the excellent guide, step by step, that Graysky wrote: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/240001-29-howto-overc...

Now, I added a few things, but I'm not sure they are needed or the best way to go. I flashed the mobo and I am using Speedfan to watch temps. Is there anything that I am missing and/or any steps out of place?

ANY advice is welcomed as I want to be 100% positive that I do things right.

Narcissus
Related resources
September 18, 2008 1:49:28 PM

Replace the cpu hsf with:

XIGMATEK HDT-RS1283 120mm CPU Cooler - Retail
XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket - Retail

TIM is not required, but useful for re-application. Optionally, either ditch AS5 or replace it with:

ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

Build your pc first. Look at this guide. Youtube "diy pc'.

http://www.corsair.com/systembuild/report.aspx?report_i...

Then we'll talk about burn-in.
September 18, 2008 2:19:45 PM

Good stuff. Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound. Just as good as silver based but no conductivity.
September 18, 2008 2:22:57 PM

why change the hsf?? the sunbeam is on first place at frostytech
September 18, 2008 2:39:44 PM

auscanzukus said:
Replace the cpu hsf with:

XIGMATEK HDT-RS1283 120mm CPU Cooler - Retail
XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket - Retail

TIM is not required, but useful for re-application. Optionally, either ditch AS5 or replace it with:

ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

Build your pc first. Look at this guide. Youtube "diy pc'.

http://www.corsair.com/systembuild/report.aspx?report_i...

Then we'll talk about burn-in.


Thanks for the help/advice. Unfortunately, I have already ordered my parts (they should arrive tomorrow according to UPS tracking).

As far as the xigmatek goes: it is a great (read: fantastic) cooler ... but the Sunbeamtech Core Contact Freezer is slightly cheaper, cools slightly better, and is slightly quieter. :) 

What is the difference between the AS 5 and the Arctic cooling mx-2 that you listed? Is the mx-2 better? I never even thought to research the thermal compound as I have always heard that AS is the 'BE ALL END ALL' of thermal compound. Crap ...

Thanks for the diy link ... I'll look it over as soon as I finish this post. Good stuff.

I would like confirmation that I'm not missing any steps or whatever ... I have very little room for a PC atm and as soon as I start putting the new pc together, I have to bring this one down.

Thanks!
Narcissus
September 18, 2008 11:57:17 PM

your steps look good to me, flashing the bios to newest version is a very good idea that i missed. Just run the prime 95 for burn in whenever you feel like leaving your comp running; best to be around when you are doing so but likely it wont matter. no burn in is necessary, technically, it just may help your oc later, so dont worry too much about that, just use your comp, play games, and when you can just leave it to run put on prime95. Enjoy and good luck!
September 19, 2008 12:22:05 AM

masterclam said:
your steps look good to me, flashing the bios to newest version is a very good idea that i missed. Just run the prime 95 for burn in whenever you feel like leaving your comp running; best to be around when you are doing so but likely it wont matter. no burn in is necessary, technically, it just may help your oc later, so dont worry too much about that, just use your comp, play games, and when you can just leave it to run put on prime95. Enjoy and good luck!


Thanks so much for your help!

One last question that I've thought of: how long do you think I should run my computer at stock before starting the OC process? Remember that what I'm wanting to do is see what the actual difference feels like, not just what a few programs tell me (ya know, the difference in speed). I don't really care about numbers (e-bragging isn't really my thing), I just want to enjoy the thing. :D 

Thanks yet again to everyone that has helped me directly (in both of my threads) and to the many, many more that helped me indirectly (in the hundreds of other threads I've read here).

Narcissus
September 19, 2008 12:27:04 AM

u dont need to wait that long.

When i had my E2180 i oced it basically right after i installed Vista. Some even do it b4 install to make it go faster.
September 19, 2008 2:20:09 AM

Silverion77 said:
u dont need to wait that long.

When i had my E2180 i oced it basically right after i installed Vista. Some even do it b4 install to make it go faster.


I realize that I can OC it straight away. I think you missed my meaning: I want to feel the difference between the stock speed and the OC speed. That was what I meant when I said:
Narcissus said:
Remember that what I'm wanting to do is see what the actual difference feels like


I'm wondering how long it will take me to get used to the stock speed (my current machine is a p.o.s. gateway pentium D 830 with a dead ati x1950 xl) before I OC it. That way I can decide if I think the extra wear and tear is worth the speed. Numbers on a graph that says my computer runs faster means little to me if I don't 'notice' the extra speed, ya know?

Sorry for the confusion!

Edit: I am also considering lapping my heatsink as described in the following guide: http://www.overclockersclub.com/guides/lapping/

I realize that lapping voids the warranty on it, but I really want to keep my temps down (the article says lapping can shave off around 5C. Anyone know if I should lap a Sunbeamtech Core Contact Freezer?

Narcissus
September 19, 2008 2:43:58 AM

you should be able to lap any heatsink, although higher quality heatsinks will not get as much help from it as they are better manufactured (i would assume); also, you can lap the heatspreader on the cpu itself, but be VERY VERY careful. There really isnt any true answer to how long you should play before ocing, i guess a week or two should do but you really are have to go by personal feel on that one, since you are looking for a subjective rather than objective measurement i must give a subjective rather than objective anwer. Play until you feel like you know and love your new baby, then give it some extra power and see how she feels.
September 19, 2008 3:33:50 AM

Thanks again. :) 

I'm sure that I won't be lapping the cpu any time soon, but I'm 95% sure that I'll tackle the sunbeam before I install it. :whistle: 

Gotta love Tomshardware! This place rocks ... 'nuff said.

Narcissus
September 19, 2008 3:49:23 AM

no problem man, enjoy
!