Hello, I am returning to overclocking after many years away. The last overclocking I did was back in the Intell dx2 / Amd K62 days. I have just been buying off the shelf. Sadly, I wandered into the wrong shelves at CompUsa and here we are again.
I've moved the location of this post a couple of times - this forum section seems the best fit, but will use the template from system builds.
I've been playing catch up for the last month or so, lots reading ... so much reading, and a little buying.
I think I have a pretty fair idea of what I want/need but I've always tried to check with people who know more than I do whenever possible.
I have a Gateway DX4822-01 that has actually been a really good computer, but pretty limited as far as improvements go. I have been able to use it to test some of the parts I've bought so far but I have reached the point where it will no longer serve.
Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP - should maybe have posted this earlier, but my patience is running low.
Budget Range: Depends on a few factors, have around $500 today I think - can spend more but would have to wait - see above.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: I'm very big on rock solid dependability, I play a little Wow, and I want a machine I can play around with Overclock settings and not kill.
Parts Not Required:
CASE: I have a Diablotek Evo case, probably not the best case but it was the first part I bought on an impulse (Grr..) does have 4 120mm fans though, bottom mounted power supply, and was cheap.
CD/DVD: New Samsung, works - checked it out in a hp pavilion p4 I have at work (actually what I initally went in the store for)
GRAPHICS CARD: EVGA GTX 460 1 gig (Stars in eyes by this time, made huge difference in WoW over the Radeon HD 4350 I was using)
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair TX650w (Had to get a better PS for graphics card, read lots of reviews and this seemed like the one)
HARD DRIVE: Western Digital WD1002FAEX Black (Have always liked WD, and seems to be about as dependable as any - Sata 3g is a non point I know, but the 64m buffer may help a little and the price was the same as the WD1001. Also, not interested in a SD drive at this point- maybe when they get cheaper and/or larger)
I've put the PS, Graphics card, and HD in the gateway to test, seem to work fine - hard drive is a little noiser than the 1 tera WD green drive that came with it.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
I really prefer to buy from a walk in store, but only two close are CompUsa, and Best Buy, so really only CompUsa is an option there I guess. I'm gonna have to order MB online for sure - Newegg looks like the place.
Country of Origin: Me or the parts?
Intel i5 2500k - Can't really see another viable option, they also have them in stock at CompUsa near me for $229.
This is really my biggest concern at the moment - hence the title of my thread. Lots and lots of reading about motherboards. This one seems like it has good OC potential. I don't plan on using SLI, but its there if I decide to later (or Xfire for that matter) not big into sound but dolby 5.1 is a little bit of a plus. It is a little more than I wanted to spend, but I would rather spend a little more and not have problems down the line.
ASUS and AsRock boards seem to have an issue right now, don't know if its just supply, or an actual problem - but the ones I was looking at seem to have disappeared from Newegg and Compusa in any event (Asus pro, and Asrock Fatality 4 were the ones I believe)
MSI, hm... never did see one that I liked, consensus seems to be they have more problems than average.
I reviewed everything I could find, I've read hundred, probably thousands of reviews from short ones on store sites, to long ones on review sites, and many, many here on Toms hardware, and Extreme overclocking as well. Naturally I gave less weight to the general reviews, more to the review sites, and the most here where people are actually using said product in the same manner I plan to.
Why yes, I have indeed been accused of over thinking things a time or two. Sometimes it pays off.
Anyway, I've learned a lot about modern VRM's and MOSFET's and what have you along the way. (For which I thank you all, never used to be info like this readily available.
The final thing that really makes me like this motherboard is that as part of my somewhat slapdash research methodology I search for problems with the product I am looking at. I can't find anybody who has had a real problem with the UD4. (bet I hear about a couple now, he he he)
Well, I take that back, apparently it doesn't make a good platform for a hackintosh - I can live with that.
Memory: I still have some research I should do here, but my understanding at this point is that anymore than 4g isn't going to have much impact, but given the price difference between 4 and 8, I will go with 8. Not a big issues for me.
Timings are another matter, is CL9 really going to perform so close to CL8 or even CL7 on Sandybridge that it makes no matter?
Speed, I've heard that 1600 is what Sandybridge likes best, true? Any advantage to faster memory in the real world?
Voltage, 1.5 is what the spec is for Sandybridge? Most of what I see is 1.65 is this a problem? I gather memory speed and processor speed are not tied together in sandybridge?
Just last night I read a rather long review, and I found this of interest:
However, by reaching the multiplier wall, the user is still not 100% finished with overclocking. It is still possible to overclock the BCLK as long as the hardware being controlled through the BCLK is not too sensitive to major changes in frequency. Since the BCLK is now controlling not only the CPU frequency, but also the Memory and PCI-E lanes, it is important to understand that there is only a slight change that can be done before the hardware will get unstable, especially PCI-E hardware like RAID cards and Video Cards.
I guess since my Gtx 460 is overclockable itself it wouldn't be too sensitive to frequency changes?
If so, I would like to get memory that wouldn't limit me there either.
There are a lot of 8g 1600 memory kits on Newegg for around $100 or so, hoping one of them will work.
Cooling: Given the amount I have to work with right now, I think I will use the stock cooler to get everything together and stable and then order a cooler and some AS-5 later when I get some more money.
Looks like Coolermaster hyper 212+ is the way to go, but maybe the:
Scythe SCMG-2100 Sleeve CPU Cooler is it worth the extra $10?
or if I go crazy maybe the Noctura NH-D14? not cheap though.
Oh, ram will have to clear whichever cooler I use, guess that eliminates a lot of Corsair
SLI or Crossfire: Probably not, but who knows?
Monitor Resolution: I have a ViewSonic Monitor, VX2433wm it will go 1920x1080, but I generally stay around 1680x1050 or so. Eyes are getting old from all this reading.
Additional Comments: Given the huge length of my post (Sorry) you would think I would be out of comments, but not so.
I have speakers, mouse, keyboard - they work
I will have to buy a copy of win7, I have the Gateway oem on this and don't think I can even use it to test my hardware when I get it. I do have a legal copy of Win XP pro, 64 bit (think its 64 bit) with a good key I am going to try to install and use to play with hardware until I get some more money. (So I think anyway)
I would certainly appreciate any help anyone feels like offering. Please don't feel obligated to answer all of my questions, my main concerns at this point is whether or not I have made the correct motherboard choice and what ram I should get since I will have to order those, most likely from Newegg.
I can get the i5 at my local Compusa - oh quick question there, does that box come sealed retail? I know OC speed is somewhat of a lottery, but I could see a tech at compusa doing a little personal speed testing and I'd rather have a fair shot at that lottery.
Once again, Thank You for your help and patience and sorry for post length.
Post update. Ordered the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4-B3 board. The Asus pro was back in stock an newegg, but I had basically already made my decision at that point. Nobody here had any horror stories about the Gigabyte, so I went with it. I did find an extreme overclocking site with a long thread devoted (mostly) to the UD4. It had the common cold boot issues in the b2 release, but seem to be cleared up in the B3 release. If you flash the bios some things may pop up depending on what bios version you use, but stock bios is pretty solid from the info I got there.
Got decent reviews from what I could find and I was able to find a couple of ppl using it in the UD4 while raising the bclk. Its engineered to fit under most aftermarket coolers. The red will clash a bit, not a big concern for me.
So, now I wait. Still have enough money for the i5 at CompUsa, and almost enough to get Windows 7.
Hope I can scrape up enough before mb and ram get here, not looking forward to fighting XP only to change it in a week or two.
So, I guess all thats left on the buying end is the Cooler. Lots of threads on that already, anybody know how I can get my postings removed?
Whew! You made good decisions on both the board and the RAM. I feared I was too late as you were asking whether 1.65v RAM was okay to buy. That's a no-no for Sandy Bridge.
You can certainly try overclocking using the BCLK setting, but I don't recommend it as that throws the PCIe, PCI, SATA, USB, NIC, and pretty much every other clock in the system off-kilter. Most boards can only do 102-103MHz anyway, and that's not really worth it.
You can get an OEM version of Win7 Home Premium 64-bit for around $100 from NewEgg. No need to buy the retail version.
And yes, the retail CPU box is sealed from the factory.
Glad to hear I picked the right RAM, it being on sale helped. Guess I defaulted to the correct voltage.
I have read about the 1.5v spec for SandyBridge but didn't know how critical it was.
Motherboard and Ram are in transit to me and should arrive tommorrow, or the next day at the latest.
I will get the i5 2500k at my local CompUsa before then. Good to know they are sealed. When I got the dvd drive from them I took it out to my car and opened the box to find I wasn't the first one to do so, the driver/app CD was missing and part of the styrofoam packing. They exchanged it no problem, but I did learn to watch out for that sort of thing.
Newegg also sent me a promo code to get the OEM Win7 you were talking about for $89 - CompUsa has it for $99 so may end up getting it there just to save the hassle.
The Scythe Mugen 2 went down in price a little and the Hyper 212+ went up a little. (From the majority of what I've read anyway) Guess I'll go with the Scythe. Also found a forum devoted to it, started around the middle of 2009 and goes up to present. Around 175 pages so I doubt I'll enounter an issue with it not covered there: http://www.overclock.net/air-cooling/527713-scythe-muge...
The budget is gone for the moment, but I have enough parts to assemble it, get a feel for the machine, and maybe do a little OC with the stock cooler - not much of course but enough to become comfortable with the bios/software.
So, I thank you for leaping out from the shadows to help me out. Next I'm off the the Hard Drive forum, this WD1002faex seems to be acting oddly.