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Creating a room full of i7

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  • Intel i7
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February 16, 2009 9:41:43 PM

Been working on a new i7 build to create 4-5 copies of to fill a room. Decided to run it by all of you experts since you were quite helpful last time. Didn't really have a budget in mind for these other then the desire to never have any issues attempting to play anything using max settings at 1920x1200. This is the rough build I've laid out over the last week.

CPU
289.99 Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail

Memory
135.99 G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
135.99 G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

Motherboard
259.99-20 GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Hard Drive Raid0
179.99-20 Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive) - OEM
179.99-20 Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive) - OEM

Case + Cooling
78.99 Black CoolerMaster CM 690 Computer ATX Case RC-690-KKN1-GP, 5x 5.25in Bays, eSATA, 1394, USB, Audio Ports
34.99 ZALMAN MFC1 Plus-B Black 6 Channel Multi Fan Controller - Retail
3.99 EVERCOOL FAN-EC8015M12CA 80mm Case Fan - Retail
3x9.99 Scythe SY1425SL12H 140mm Case Fan - Retail
6.99 ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail
69.99 Thermalright U120E-1366-RT CPU Cooler, Supports Intel Core i7 965XE/940/920 Processors

Graphics Card
274.99-30 XFX GX260NADBF GeForce GTX 260 Black Edition Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
-OR-
509.99-30 ASUS ENGTX295/2DI/1792MD3/A GeForce GTX 295 1792MB 896 (448 x 2)-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Burner
23.99 Samsung SH-S223Q/BEBN 22X SATA Internal DVD Writer, w/ lightScribe and RoHS Compliant. w/ Software .OEM

Power Supply
109.99-20 CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail

Monitor
359.99 Hanns·G HG-281DPB Black 28" 3ms Widescreen HDMI LCD Monitor - Retail
359.99 Hanns·G HG-281DPB Black 28" 3ms Widescreen HDMI LCD Monitor - Retail

Please forgive the unusual format, it came right of an excel file with pricing tables built in so that I knew my options.
Each will have two x" monitors capable of 1920x1200 or 1920x1080. Only one of them will have two of these 28" ones, unless they are duds :/ 

This is currently at:

6GB w/ GTX260 212 : 2289.82
12GB w/ GTX260 212 : 2425.81
6GB w/ GTX295 : 2524.82
12GB w/ GTX295 : 2660.81

If you guys see anyway to cut some corners, please let me know. Your help is greatly appreciated :) 

More about : creating room full

February 16, 2009 9:49:15 PM

Might think about dropping the Raptors for some Black series Caviars. Could save a bit of money and some eardrums. Although, money does not seem to be an issue here. Also, why the 80mm fan? That doesnt move much air but is kinda loud, and with 4-5 of these systems in the same room, I get chills thinking of the noise. Everything else seems to be pretty good.
February 16, 2009 10:02:28 PM

The 690 has a 80x80x15 fan mount behind the motherboard on the other side of the case. Was hoping that with the addition of the fan controller it would be relatively simple to tone down the fan speeds to an acceptable dB to cooling ratio.

How much performance is lost switching to the Caviar Blacks?
Related resources
February 16, 2009 10:31:09 PM

You really might only notice the performance loss when running synthetic benchs. As far as real world, not a whole lot. There is definitely debate as to the utility of the higher RPM drives compared to the upgraded platter density of the newer 7200 RPM drives.
February 16, 2009 10:31:52 PM

Read write of a velociraptor is ~150mb/s, The caviar black 640gb is ~110 mb/s I believe...so not a huge difference, and not something you would really notice that much unless you were working with huge files, and in Raid0, you will already have super-speed anyways :p .
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You don't need 12gb of ram unless you are video editing or doing CAD, get 6gb of quality 1600mhz ram. Also some mobo's don't do so well when you add the second 6gb kit in there, you have to turn the speeds of the kits down to run the system stabally, not sure how that UD4P will handle it. I recommend these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

On the motherboard, The Asus P6T is a little better I think based on some reviews I have read. However, I'm sure that UD4P would be fine. Read this:
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2340773,00.a...

I would say if you want to run a 1900x1200 monitor without any problems in games at high settings, you need to go with either a GTX 285 or 295, the 260 won't cut it.

If you aren't going to SLI, you can get the 650tx to power your systems, even if you chose to go with the GTX 295.
February 16, 2009 10:38:03 PM

Just out of curiosity, why do you need to build 5 of these for one room? You creating a LAN lab or something?
February 16, 2009 10:39:31 PM

i hope its not for server-based applications.....
February 16, 2009 11:12:40 PM

As far as the caviar blacks are concerned: Would I be looking for the AALS line or FALS line?

At least one of them will be processing acoustical design CAD, but due to simplicity of adding ram later, it shouldn't be a problem to go with 6GB. My initial desires were to go away with the Paging file and have 12GB. Hard a hard time finding benchmarking with/without paging files. Was initially considering more SSD's so that created the no paging file mindset. Would be nervous about shutting off the paging file with only 6GB of ram.

Would the GTX 285 be sufficient with the eye candy enabled at 1920x1200?
Thought that single gpu solutions weren't capable of this, but I have been wrong before.

The GTX 295 'wants' 680watts according to the nvidia website for current spikes so that why my idea for the 750w power point.

The UD4P was to shave a bit of money, but it seems it's only $20 more for the P6T and I can avoid a rebate, so I feel it's worth it via your recommendation.

Two monitor setup to support expansive desktop space and having a 360 attached to the second monitor in each setup. Tired of waiting on slow laptop loading times. Midas well get some good equipment to feed some group gaming desires.

The desktop I built with all of your help earlier does more advanced rendering.
February 17, 2009 2:25:11 AM

All the eye candy on in crysis on 1900x1200, you would probably need the GTX 295, but the 285 will do alright.

Nvidia overestimates power usage, more important than the wattage is amperage on the 12v rail, and to get enough amperage on the 12v rail on a low quality psu, only the high wattage rated PSU's have enough amperage. But better quality PSU's will have enough amperage to cover it. The 650tx will be enough for one GTX 295, your system probably won't draw more than 450w at full load.
February 17, 2009 4:16:09 AM

xthekidx said:
Read write of a velociraptor is ~150mb/s, The caviar black 640gb is ~110 mb/s I believe...so not a huge difference, and not something you would really notice that much unless you were working with huge files, and in Raid0, you will already have super-speed anyways :p .
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You don't need 12gb of ram unless you are video editing or doing CAD, get 6gb of quality 1600mhz ram. Also some mobo's don't do so well when you add the second 6gb kit in there, you have to turn the speeds of the kits down to run the system stabally, not sure how that UD4P will handle it. I recommend these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

On the motherboard, The Asus P6T is a little better I think based on some reviews I have read. However, I'm sure that UD4P would be fine. Read this:
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2340773,00.a...

I would say if you want to run a 1900x1200 monitor without any problems in games at high settings, you need to go with either a GTX 285 or 295, the 260 won't cut it.

If you aren't going to SLI, you can get the 650tx to power your systems, even if you chose to go with the GTX 295.


Those extremetech reviewers put the evga x58 down more than they should have. Foolishone, since you have so many computers, you may consider a board manufacturer with better service such as evga. I still can't understand why the reviewers were so disappointed by that board. I think its great, and sometimes it has a pretty good discount.
February 17, 2009 2:23:42 PM

Cooler Master's HAF-932 has a large hole directly below the CPU socket
to permit access to an HSF's backing plate: GREAT IDEA!

Although larger and more expensive than the CM 690, the HAF-932
is roomier and has incorporated more features e.g. room for 2 power supplies.

After working on cases with cramped interiors, for me the HAF-932 is a breeze!


MRFS
February 17, 2009 2:28:25 PM

Is your pricing in £ or $?
February 17, 2009 3:11:55 PM

Greg_77 said:
Those extremetech reviewers put the evga x58 down more than they should have.



what's your reasoning? Seems fairly independent to me...
February 17, 2009 5:29:59 PM

My reasoning is, well, they didn't have much reasoning. They gave few reasons to backup their disappointment. They wrote it had a bad price to performance ratio, yet I have seen it dip down to $270 on newegg, putting it in line with other x58 motherboard prices. Plus, other review sites rated it very well (anandtech for example). Also, from first hand experience with the board, I can say is is truly excellent and well-organized. Maybe the asus really is that good?
February 18, 2009 1:43:03 AM

All prices are in $ and are currently split between newegg and Directron. Saves quite a bit of money on 4-5 items and shipping if it's split. Made a couple changes and the current build is this:

CPU
289.99 Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail

Memory
154.99 OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
?154.99 OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail

Motherboard
249.99 ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Hard Drive Raid 0 (~1.5TB will be used to manually mirror a 1.5TB drive for data security. The beginning of the drive will be partitioned for the OS.
79.99 Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
79.99 Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
79.99 Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Case + Cooling
78.99 Black CoolerMaster CM 690 Computer ATX Case RC-690-KKN1-GP, 5x 5.25in Bays, eSATA, 1394, USB, Audio Ports
34.99 ZALMAN MFC1 Plus-B Black 6 Channel Multi Fan Controller - Retail
3.99 EVERCOOL FAN-EC8015M12CA 80mm Case Fan - Retail
3x9.99 Scythe SY1425SL12H 140mm Case Fan - Retail
6.99 ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail
69.99 Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme 1366 RT CPU Cooler

Graphics Card
504.99 EVGA 017-P3-1291-AR GeForce GTX 295 1792MB 896 (448 x 2)-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Burner
23.99 Samsung SH-S223Q/BEBN 22X SATA Internal DVD Writer, w/ lightScribe and RoHS Compliant. w/ Software .OEM

Power Supply
94.99-20 http://www.directron.com/cmpsu650tx.html

Monitor
359.99 Hanns·G HG-281DPB Black 28" 3ms Widescreen HDMI LCD Monitor - Retail
359.99 Hanns·G HG-281DPB Black 28" 3ms Widescreen HDMI LCD Monitor - Retail

no monitors
1763.83 1918.82
w/6GB w/12GB

w/ Monitors
2483.81 2638.8
w/6GB w/12GB

Haven't had a chance to examine GTX 285 benchmarks, we'll see if the benchmarks are impressive in comparison to power usage. The 295 is a nice blend.
I'll look over the evga x58 board. I'll admit that I haven't looked over their motherboards yet, so I'll wait to decide on that one.
I will also take another look at the HAF-932; It gets quite a bit of good reviews, but the looks initially scared me off.
Thanks again for all of your comments.
February 18, 2009 2:02:05 AM

looks good to me...the ocz ram is AGAIN cheaper at newegg...down to 149.99 and free shipping.
February 18, 2009 2:23:14 AM

You may need some larger case fans brother. Like what the guy up there said about the 80mm. I wld listen to him. What are your full plans for this again???
February 18, 2009 2:44:47 AM

If you want to use 12gb of ram, I would get the P6T deluxe V2 instead of the P6T. Using more sticks of ram is harder on your motherboard, and especially if you are running them at tighter timings/oc/different than stock voltages, you will want the Deluxe for more stability. And it looks like you can afford it.

Get some more case fans to cool all those components, those drives will heat up your case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and fan controller:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
February 18, 2009 4:50:46 AM

Welcome back, foolishone... By the looks of it, you're very happy with your original rig. :sol: 

I'm fashionably late to this very posh party; perhaps you'll consider a few of the following points:

1. You've mentioned 1.5TB drives, which means the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11. Your research should have unearthed their current problems. If it's just for backup, wouldn't you rather use the Caviar Green 2TB to backup 3x640GB=1.92GB?

2. If you're going to use the CM-690, then just use 2 of the Scythe fans (instead of 3) to create negative pressure in your case for better cooling (don't put the third fan on the bottom--it just sucks in dust). And +1 on the backside 80mm fan.

3. Recognizing that you do have a fan controller spec'd, if you want a quieter model of fan, try this Scythe S-Flex SFF21F: link.

4. You only need to buy 1 syringe of MX-2 to build all 5 of these rigs. Better yet, use the remaining thermal paste from your original build and save 5x$7=$35.

5. The Scythe Mugen 2 is a better value than the TRUE 1366 heatsink, if you're multiplying by 5 and if you don't OC that high. However, if you don't mind spending the cash for the TRUE, you might get a slightly better overclock.

6. Add the backplate to your GTX 295 if you want better cooling (especially if you overclock it)--it lowers GPU temps by a significant amount.

7. If you're going to drive 1 GTX 295, I'd go with Corsair 750TX for better margin (or the red PCP&C Silencer 750, which is the better value), especially with all of your embellishments. To leave room for 2 GTX 295s (from your OP requirement of "the desire to never have any issues attempting to play anything using max settings at 1920x1200"), use the Corsair 1000HX.

8. GTX 295 is definitely the way to go here.

9. I'd definitely go with the 932 HAF case, given the type of hardware you're putting inside and to better meet your future requirements. I'd suggest you also have a look at the Coolermaster Storm Sniper case, if you don't like the looks of the 932 HAF.

10. If you're going to scale GTX 295s, then the only mobo to go with is the Asus P6T Deluxe V2--it has a gap between the video cards for better cooling, which you will definitely need later.


P.S. I trust that you will not just be using these rigs to play Fritz Chess... :lol: 
February 18, 2009 6:10:40 AM

Very happy :wahoo: 

1. I have a couple of the 7200.11 drives just sitting around and was lucky that they don't match the serial numbers of the defective models. Spent quite a bit of time in contact with Seagate. Awful nice that they have a large facility 2min. away from where I live. I don't care about backing up the OS portion of the Raid 0 and will have a ~300GB partition that contains these bits. Ideally it will only be in the ~8ms random access portions of the drives to mimic the velociraptor performance.

2,9. Probably going to switch to the Haf 932 due to recommendations and reviews. It ends up being ~$20 more expensive anyway and it will probably be better as far as cooling and noise is concerned. The case price difference is made up through fan controller and fan changes. The $34 for the 4 additional fans is no longer needed and I switched the fan controller to this currently: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3. Would the Haf 932 cooling need to be altered?

4. Got ya on the 1 syringe, those things last forever... almost. Wanted to try out MX-2 since it's new to me and the new king?

5. They are going to be overclocked extensively and I greatly admire the TRUE 1366. Would get a Cu one if i could find them. The Scythe Mugen 2 is a much better deal and performs very close to the TRUE, but I find it quite ugly :/ 

6. No clue what this is referring to, even though I have heard people comment on it. More reading it seems.

7. The Corsair 750TX the same price at directron as the red or black PCP&C Silencer 750 is at newegg currently. The other pc has two GTX 295's, so I figure that by the time one isn't enough for these there should be a better solution.

8. +1

10. The Mystery board... wonder if this will ever be sold :/ 


I'm really just tired of crashing minesweeper games and hope that the power of these combined will finally let me avoid those laggy tiles that force me to restart the game ;) 
February 18, 2009 7:31:40 AM

All I have to say is, can you post pics of your newegg invoice and the room with all these in it when you're done? ;) 
February 18, 2009 12:39:15 PM

And two things you haven't mentioned ... A/C & Power

Those rigs would wind up pulling 6-9 AMPS each in single GPU. If you're in a house, that means that you would have max of two per standard 20A circuit, but I'd probably go with either 30A or a dedicated 20A per machine because home breakers will pop over time if running at 18 AMPS.

And A/C. These 5 bad boys would produce roughly the heat of 3 space heaters running continuously. You're going to have to deal with the additional thermal load by either tuning your A/C or adding a window unit (and more power). Otherwise you'll turn your room into a giant Easy-Bake Oven (the chocolate cake is yummy!). Remember that CPU cooling only works if it's cool outside the case.

Don't know what your physical environment is ... but something to think about.
February 19, 2009 12:08:39 AM

1&2. Good plan.

3. Nope. But I have seen another thread where the OP wanted to add another 120mm fan to the roof to supplement the existing 230mm. Guess the H.A.F. (High Air Flow) 932 design wasn't good enough for him...

4. MX-2 is best for all round use, and easy to apply. Not necessarily the king, but pretty close (by 1 or 2 degrees Celsius, if I remember correctly). As compared to Arctic Silver 5, MX-2 is electrically non-conductive (e.g. no short circuits if it squirts out) and has no 300 hour cure time. If you want the real King, here it is--the IC Diamond 7 Carat (link). However, I believe that this one is not as easy to apply.

5. Here's the TRUE copper, available at Heatsink Factory: link.

In the all-copper segment, there's also the Zalman CNPS9900, weighing in at a very reasonable 730 grams (compared to 1900g for the TRUE Cu): link.

Just be real careful if you move a rig with the TRUE Cu!

Another good one for i7 (that isn't out yet) is the Xigmatek Thor's Hammer. Knowing Xigmatek, it should be excellent; looks very cool as well. However, my one reservation is that their new designs (including the Dark Knight for LGA 775) have a black plating for looks, which cuts down cooling efficiency by about 1 degree Celsius.

Mugen 2 is also a bit chubby when compared to the elegant beauty of the TRUE...

6. No need. Here's the eVGA GTX 295 backplate: link. There was a thread in these forums a little while ago showing amazing temperature drops before and after installation.

7. The single video card school of thought is a good one...

10. P6T Deluxe V2 now has distribution in Canada and Australia, AFAIK, but Newegg does have to clear out its inventory of V1s first, right? +1 to xthekidx's post of NCIXUS.com (they are actually a Canadian company selling into the USA); I would have no reservation recommending them.
February 19, 2009 1:22:33 AM

The coolermaster V8 is also highly rated, but a pain to install.
February 19, 2009 1:27:47 AM

Greg_77 said:
The coolermaster V8 is also highly rated, but a pain to install.

All good heatsinks are a pain to install. But its worth it.
February 19, 2009 3:11:33 AM

My TRUE was pretty pain-free to install...
February 19, 2009 3:23:05 AM

Well installing them is fairly easy, taking the mobo out and putting it back in is a pain. Install the heatsink before it goes into your system.
February 19, 2009 7:05:18 PM

xthekidx said:
All good heatsinks are a pain to install. But its worth it.


You speak the truth :D 
February 19, 2009 7:12:13 PM

Ended up having to build two pc's for family members, so i went ahead and ordered all the HAF's and Corsair 750 psu's and some MX-2. Figured that i can prep the cases and get some cables organized while I wait for parts to get in stock.

BTW, the only way newegg sells the EVGA 295 is with the backplate already attached for $530, according to my last check.

It makes sense that the best thermal compound is composed of 94% diamond dust considering that its thermal conductivity is more than twice that of silver for the lowest quality diamond material. Should have bought that :/ 
February 19, 2009 7:16:57 PM

foolishone said:
Ended up having to build two pc's for family members, so i went ahead and ordered all the HAF's and Corsair 750 psu's and some MX-2. Figured that i can prep the cases and get some cables organized while I wait for parts to get in stock.

BTW, the only way newegg sells the EVGA 295 is with the backplate already attached for $530, according to my last check.

It makes sense that the best thermal compound is composed of 94% diamond dust considering that its thermal conductivity is more than twice that of silver for the lowest quality diamond material. Should have bought that :/ 


I wouldn't worry, as long as you got MX-2, Arctic silver five, or some other high quality paste you won't have problems. It is more important that you apply the paste correctly for minimal temperature.
February 20, 2009 6:02:55 AM

From what I remember, the IC Diamond 7 Carat's thermal advantage over MX-2 wasn't more than about 1-2 degrees Celsius (though that is a significant number in this rarefied league).

Just remember this little gem when you next require a building full of i7s... :D 
February 20, 2009 7:16:36 AM

1-2 degrees Celsius quickly adds up. If only it just made that heat disappear.
Just bought all of the Asus P6T Deluxe V2's right when they appeared on Newegg. Got the 920's, memory, and hard drives as well. Had to get the cpu coolers elsewhere, though. Freaking GTX 295's went out of stock while in my cart :/ 
February 20, 2009 9:19:07 PM

Holy electronic gazumping, Batman!!! We're in the company of an extreme overclocker!!! :D 
February 20, 2009 10:09:48 PM

Actually, the 1-2C doesn't add up. Regardless of the thermal compound or heatsink, the same total amount of energy gets dumped into the room.

And yes, it is significant. I can tell a significant temperature difference if I leave my i7 system on overnight or shut it off. If I'm gaming, it heats up even more.
February 20, 2009 10:41:18 PM

telling you man...you gotta be quick on those 295s. I spent a day stalking newegg to finally snag one. Although get the backplate models if you're going the EVGA route. It will save you installing them later and it is CERTAINLY worth it for only an extra $20 each.
February 21, 2009 12:34:50 AM

@cjl: If we assume for a moment that voltages are fine and the CPU can go a little higher if not for reaching an uncomfortable temperature, then wouldn't a 1-2 degree advantage in thermal conductivity allow for a hair more speed? I'm also assuming that the room aircon is turned up sufficiently to cool off any marginal heat output.

What is also relevant is the flow, or work per time--would it not be worth it to be able to conduct away 1-2 degrees more heat, within the same unit of time?
February 21, 2009 3:49:14 AM

It would be able to keep it slightly colder, but I'd be very surprised if a 1C difference were enough to make a difference in overclocking. Also, the same amount of heat energy will be moved per unit of time. The more thermal resistance there is in the heatsink, the hotter the CPU has to be to dissipate the same amount of thermal energy though, which is why it runs hotter.
February 21, 2009 4:06:11 AM

Hence lowering thermal resistance with the direct touch heatpipe design...

Beautiful, merci!
February 21, 2009 8:16:45 AM

The combination of lapping, superior thermal paste, and one of the best air coolers is what adds up. Doesn't make the heat vanish... I invented a heatsink that does though.

Trying to find the evga one without the backplate, atm. Bought it separately already.
February 21, 2009 8:38:26 AM

wtf are u going use these for and ur monitor has 800:1 contrast which is very very bad :( 
!