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EDIT: Finalized Version! - High-end gaming\processing PC\server

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Last response: in Systems
September 5, 2009 7:49:26 PM

Old post:
Quote:
Here's what I've got. Keep in mind that this will be a caseless setup on a table, mounted on blocks, with the fan blowing over it. It's in a small room so I need the fan to direct heat out the door with a window open for ventilation. The CPU\RAM\graphics card will all be overclocked to the limit then backing off a notch on the CPU (Lifetime warranty on RAM\GPU, 3 year on CPU :lol:  ). Hoping for 4.0 GHz on the CPU with timings down a bit on the RAM. Any help in the form of discussion\suggestions\etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Update:
OK, so after having spent several weeks researching and posting on this and other forums, I think I've decided on a final build (coincidentally, it's now more then 1,000$ above what I was originally planning to spend. Ahh, the downsides of posting on computer forums :love: 

I decided against getting a HD5890; it'll still be considerably slower then a GTX 295 WC Overclocked and won't have the water cooler for months. Plus, there are far more applications that take advantage of nVidia GPU processing vs. ATI\AMD, and since I'll be doing a lot of hash cracking\video rendering I'll want the 100x speedup of the GTX 295 vs. quad-core i7.

So, without further ado, here's the setup:



And details on the cooling build:



Again, advice\comments\better bargains\deal breaking things I overlooked etc. etc. is appreciated. I've researched everything VERY extensively, so if anyone has questions about why I picked something feel free to ask :) 

More about : edit finalized version high end gaming processing server

a b à CPUs
September 5, 2009 9:14:41 PM

For that class of machine, you should consider
upgrading your SSDs to the OCZ Vertex Turbo,
and the larger capacities run faster, due to the
firmware on these SSDs.


Secondly, I would highly recommend the WD RE3
HDDs with 32MB cache and perpendicular magnetic
recording:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=503

We have two of the 750GB models configured in RAID 0 and
their performance has been simply fabulous!


Lastly, I would go with faster Corsair "Dominators"
and get the "matched" kits with the memory module cooler:

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

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

On the margin, those Corsair RAM fans are terrific bargains
and also excellent insurance.



MRFS
September 5, 2009 9:26:37 PM

Quote:
For that class of machine, you should consider
upgrading your SSDs to the OCZ Vertex Turbo

To be honest, I consider the turbo to be a huge waste of money. All they did was overlock the controller speed instead of the actual flash along with better binning, the end result being 5-7% performance improvement with fewer lemons for almost double the price.

Quote:
and the larger capacities run faster, due to the
firmware on these SSDs.

The thing is, a 60gb with 30% faster writes costs as much as 2x 30gb with 90% faster reads & writes. I'd rather continue adding 30gb drives, as I can scale up to 6x30 = 1.8TB of drives while getting 2.5gb\s+ throughput on ICH10 Southbridge.

Quote:


Secondly, I would highly recommend the WD RE3
HDDs with 32MB cache and perpendicular magnetic
recording:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/pro [...] riveid=503

We have two of the 750GB models configured in RAID 0 and
their performance has been simply fabulous!

Those look really good. I'm considering going to those, but the problem is that I already have one barricuda that I bought several months ago; I can add a second for perfectly matched raid for about 85$. Getting 2 new 1TB drives would set me back around 370$ - for an improvement of ~8% performance on my data drive. That being said, I don't want to skimp on this build - but hard drives are one thing you can always buy more of while putting your old ones to use.

Quote:

Lastly, I would go with faster Corsair "Dominators"
and get the "matched" kits with the memory module cooler:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820145255

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820145254

On the margin, those Corsair RAM fans are terrific bargains
and also excellent insurance.

Himm, again I'm undecided. I have heard great things about Dominators, but the OCZs are supposed to be pretty good too. The problem is that the Dominators are 320$ more expensive for 7-8-7-20 vs 7-7-7-24, and both of them have lifetime warranties. Cooling isn't a problem, I have an open motherboard so my fan will be blowing directly across the memory modules and the 2 114 CFM fans on the CPU heatsink should help cool off that area. Are the Dominators really worth 320$ (twice the cost) more for almost identical specs?
Related resources
September 5, 2009 9:58:03 PM

UPDATE: After shopping around, I found some reasonable deals on Dominators. Build has been updated accordingly.
September 5, 2009 11:01:54 PM

Update2: Added considerably faster Mushkin RAM for $3 less & upgraded MB to one that OCs better (+ 3-way SLI if I ever feel the need).
a c 456 à CPUs
September 5, 2009 11:16:54 PM

Usability note, once we hit REPLY button, we can't see your build as reply screen doesn't display images.

Many of your components are similar to my own 9CPU, HD's, KB. Mouse, etc) planned build, but a couple of considerations.....

1. Be aware that lapping the Prolimatech voids the warranty and decreases performance:

http://www.prolimatech.com/

"Prolimatech does not condone any type of lapping done to the CPU or to heatsink base. Every Prolimatech's heatsink base is designed on a pin-point scale of how the base is to be flat and/or curved where it's needed to be. We have programed our machines to machine the surface in a very calculated way. Any after-manufacture lapping or modding done to the base will alter the design, hence negating its performance factor as well as its warranty."

2. We have the Vornado on my little bruddah's box as a "temp fix" until Dad gets around to resetting the heat sink. And it really doesn't do what one might expect since it renders the case fans useless, even reversing their flow if pointed in certain direction. An analogy might be darwn to the Asus instructions for some of their i7 MoBos which provide an "optional" fan in the box w/ the MoBo. The instructions advise against using this provided fan if your not using water or passive cooling because it messes with designed air flow.

Blowing air with the Vornado in a normal case directly into the case with the side off has more of an effect on the northbridge chipset / memory surface temperature than anything else (using a thermal probe to measure). It really doesn't drop CPU temps my much unless ambient gets above 82 degrees or so. I have oft thought of mounting a Vornado on one of these:

http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=NzA0

This looks enough like a PC case that I wish I could fit my components in it. Though maybe this would do something to reduce your ambient air temps.

http://www.air-n-water.com/product/PE2-07R-62DB.htm

3. How close will you be sitting to the screen ? ..... given a 1920 x 1200 resolution, all things being equal, given a distance of 1.5 - 2.0 feet, I'd rather have a 22" screen than a 24, 26 or 28. That's because, the bigger the screen the farther apart the pixels and I find it annoying when I can see individual pixels and the screen looks "grainy"....but that's personal preference. Only way to see what works for you is to sit in front of them.

4. What is the fan controller going to control ? .... certainly not the Vornado :) 

5. I'm not quite ready to endorse SSD's yet but if I decide to dabble once the decreasing performance over time issues become a "thing of the past", so far IU like the OCZ Summit Line.

One question I'd like to ask you since you seem to have done a lot of research. I remember reading that while RAID 0 had very significant effect on boot times and synthetic benchmarks it little if any benefit for gaming. AT the link below, test showed an increase in the gaming benchmark of only 1 % (519 to 529)

http://faq.storagereview.com/tiki-index.php?page=Single...

"Unsurprisingly, the dual-drive RAID 0 solution delivers double the sequential transfer rate of a single unit. The SR Office, High-End, and Gaming DriveMarks, however, all climb by less than 10%. Also consider the fact that the RAID array boasts double the capacity of the single drive: as a result, some of that performance increase we see between the single drive and the RAID array simply comes from the larger capacity and resultant shorter actuator travel distances. Is this worth twice the cost ?"

So what I am wondering is, has anything changed with SSD's from what we saw with standard HD's ?

6. Here's some i7 overclocking tutorials for your perusal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwbzQblRQ7I
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-core-i7,2...
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/ultimate_core...
September 5, 2009 11:31:39 PM

Quote:

1. Be aware that lapping the Prolimatech voids the warranty and decreases performance:

http://www.prolimatech.com/

"Prolimatech does not condone any type of lapping done to the CPU or to heatsink base. Every Prolimatech's heatsink base is designed on a pin-point scale of how the base is to be flat and/or curved where it's needed to be. We have programed our machines to machine the surface in a very calculated way. Any after-manufacture lapping or modding done to the base will alter the design, hence negating its performance factor as well as its warranty."

Himm, interesting read. I knew about the warranty part, and I'm half tempted to dismiss their argument as marketing BS, but after reading some more reviews it appears to have a very flat surface (unlike, say, the Thermaltake 120) so I think I'll forgo the lapping.

Quote:

2. We have the Vornado on my little bruddah's box as a "temp fix" until Dad gets around to resetting the heat sink. And it really doesn't do what one might expect since it renders the case fans useless, even reversing their flow if pointed in certain direction. An analogy might be darwn to the Asus instructions for some of their i7 MoBos which provide an "optional" fan in the box w/ the MoBo. The instructions advise against using this provided fan if your not using water or passive cooling because it messes with designed air flow.

Blowing air with the Vornado in a normal case directly into the case with the side off has more of an effect on the northbridge chipset / memory surface temperature than anything else (using a thermal probe to measure). It really doesn't drop CPU temps my much unless ambient gets above 82 degrees or so. I have oft thought of mounting a Vornado on one of these:

http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=NzA0

This looks enough like a PC case that I wish I could fit my components in it. Though maybe this would do something to reduce your ambient air temps.

http://www.air-n-water.com/product/PE2-07R-62DB.htm

I'm not sure if I mentioned it in the article, but this is a freestanding MB on blocks (no case), so the fan will be blowing with the CPU cooling fans to cool the northbridge\ram and help carry hot air out of the room (the fans have a fairly directional beam). The air conditioning unit would draw too many watts, I'd rather keep the electrical costs down.

Quote:

3. How close will you be sitting to the screen ? ..... given a 1920 x 1200 resolution, all things being equal, given a distance of 1.5 - 2.0 feet, I'd rather have a 22" screen than a 24, 26 or 28. That's because, the bigger the screen the farther apart the pixels and I find it annoying when I can see individual pixels and the screen looks "grainy"....but that's personal preference. Only way to see what works for you is to sit in front of them.

I have a 22" 1680x1050 that I like, so I think I won't mind the graniness (I'm typing this on a 1920X1200 17" laptop screen).

Quote:


4. What is the fan controller going to control ? .... certainly not the Vornado :) 

The Kaze Jyunis on the CPU cooler.

Quote:


5. I'm not quite ready to endorse SSD's yet but if I decide to dabble once the decreasing performance over time issues become a "thing of the past", so far IU like the OCZ Summit Line.

One question I'd like to ask you since you seem to have done a lot of research. I remember reading that while RAID 0 had very significant effect on boot times and synthetic benchmarks it little if any benefit for gaming. AT the link below, test showed an increase in the gaming benchmark of only 1 % (519 to 529)

http://faq.storagereview.com/tiki- [...] iveVsRaid0

"Unsurprisingly, the dual-drive RAID 0 solution delivers double the sequential transfer rate of a single unit. The SR Office, High-End, and Gaming DriveMarks, however, all climb by less than 10%. Also consider the fact that the RAID array boasts double the capacity of the single drive: as a result, some of that performance increase we see between the single drive and the RAID array simply comes from the larger capacity and resultant shorter actuator travel distances. Is this worth twice the cost ?"

So what I am wondering is, has anything changed with SSD's from what we saw with standard HD's ?

I've done a considerable amount of SSD research, and the Vertex line firmware 1.4 coming out in a week or so has MUCH better GC\TRIM support, so I'll upgrade when that comes out.

EDIT: As for RAID0, it does significantly improve hard drive performance in every aspect except random access times (which, with sub-1ms SSDs, is a moot point) by 50-60%, and 80-90% on sequential stuff. That means that windows bootup, program launches, 4k reads\writes are all going to show significant improvements from RAID0. Game launching etc. is much less HDD-bound, meaning there are very few times when the CPU\GPU\Memory are waiting for the hard drive to feed them information - thus speeding up the hard drive does little for those benchmarks.
September 6, 2009 12:13:54 AM

Decided not to go with the lapping after reading a little more, build updated accordingly.

Quote:
Usability note, once we hit REPLY button, we can't see your build as reply screen doesn't display images.

I usually just open the chart in a 2nd tab, fairly easy to switch between the two. I like the semi-graphical representation of where I'm spending my money.
a c 456 à CPUs
September 6, 2009 2:30:11 AM

Looks like we agreeing on more as time goes on :)  BTW, my build is here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/270740-31-college-bou...

1. I see you have the Mushkin Redlines in there now. That's what I have on my list though I do have some concerns about it not being on the HCL. Only the 996657 is on the R2E HCL and that's in a 4 GB configuration.

I assume you are using the model 99869i instead of the 998692 in mine as the latter uses "Utilizing Ascent eVCI technology for enhanced cooling" but won't fit in a 6 module configuration. I figure these should allow me avoid additional fans on the memory and still get a 24/7 3.66 OC w/o getting over Intel's 1.25 CPU voltage limit. Of course in cool weather, I'm bound to go for that 4k myself. The Dominators with the fan coolers may be better in that situation though.

2. I see you have the NZXT Sentry 2 in there .... I thought you had the NZXT SEN-001LX in there before and was going to recommend against it. The 2 eliminates the problems w/ fan connections, batteries, and unexplainable actions.

And, yes, that was how I answered your post by opening a 6th tab in my browser...others had components I was looking at
September 6, 2009 3:33:23 AM

OK, so after several hours of hardcore price-lowering, I managed to fit a GTX295 into the budget for $2 more - 6GB of the Mushkin Redline. And yes, I'm very proud of that. The $428 GTX 295 took forever to find.

I also switched to a Razorback Tarantula - I *almost* went with the G15 for the LCD, but reviews indicating a great typing experience on the Razorback thanks to the scissors keymount swayed me. I'm a 137 WPM typer, and I regularly churn out 2,000,000+ keystrokes\month on WhatPulse so I want something that's reliable and comfortable (I replace my Inspiron 1720 keyboard every 4-5 months, it gets expensive).

Any other suggestions? I found the P6T for $207 shipped, so unless someone can advise something better for that price I'm sticking with it.
a c 456 à CPUs
September 6, 2009 5:01:15 AM

With only 3 modules, you can use the 692's w/ cooling feature instead of the 691's ... usually like a $5 - $10 difference for the 3 of em.

Think I have settled my CPU cooler fans finally .... Read somewhere that he Megahalems likes 800 - 1200 rpm and these only exceed that by 25% at max rpm but 18dba and $7.99 ecah .... Im sold

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
September 6, 2009 5:09:50 AM

Ehh, it's CFM that matters. The 2x Kazes I have give 114 each, whereas the enermax barely hits 70. From reviews it appears I'll see a significant drop in temps with a combined airflow of 228, but they'll probably be louder - that's what the fan control is for.

I don't think I need memory coolers, I'm going to have a Vornado blowing on HI from literally 1 foot away...
a c 456 à CPUs
September 7, 2009 1:16:27 AM

CFM certainly matters up until the point where you simply can't fit what you want to push thru the space available to push it. However, what that point is, I'm not quite sure.

Q (flow) = V (velocity) x A (Area). Since area is limited to the space between the fins, velocity is the only variable. With velocity comes friction and the resultant backup air pressure. Pressure reduces air flow. So what a fan will do with no resistance in front of it is different from what it will do pumping through a confined space. Kinda like "terminal velocity" of a falling object.... it only falls so fast till air friction stops it from going any faster. This can be especially true if the various fans are fighting each other.

I wish i could give you more specifics but I threw a question into Prolimatech TS on Thursday w/ just that question and I don't expect an answer soon w/ the long weekend and all.
September 7, 2009 1:48:35 AM

Just found out I can liquid cool the CPU for 188 with a high-capacity system that will easily take a GTX 295 SLI with a 40$ radiator. Also, I've decided to wait for the Ati Radeon 5870x2; DX11 with tessellation is just too tempting, and a future SLI build with that will be awe-inspiring for a year or two to come. And hopefully I can get a liquid block for the two cards. Stay tuned, I'm busy playing with different configs to lower prices. I'm also selling an old laptop for (hopefully) 650-700$ so that lets me relax the budget a bit.
a c 456 à CPUs
September 7, 2009 9:52:27 AM

"Also, I've decided to wait for the Ati Radeon .... "

When those hit the channel in November / December, the new CPU's and Intel price drops will be only 30-60 days away :) 

In the auto field they call it Buyer's remorse .... in the puter field, I think we have "future envy" :)  Don't ya just wish all the "next big things" wouyld arrive all at once :)  ?

One of the things that just started running around my brain was that you had planned to use a fan controller to cool the CPU cooler. The thing that struck me was that, on the newegg reviews for the other NZXT controller was that it just crapped out every now and then and the advice was not to use it on the CPU for this reason

BTW, sure 114 is enough ? .....how about 134 :) 

http://www.crazypc.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&P...
September 7, 2009 11:03:04 AM

I would recommend looking into mechanical switch keyboards as well, if you want the best typing experience. I own a tarantula, and can vouch for its solid-ness and excellent typing feel, but mechanical switch boards on a completely other level.
September 7, 2009 1:51:18 PM

The new atis are supposed to be out in 2 weeks, with the x2 A week or so after that. Worth waiting for :) . I doubt the new CPUs are going to beat the ocing ability of the i7 -4Ghz quad for $220 is amazing.
a c 456 à CPUs
September 7, 2009 3:32:20 PM

Well it's tough to decide which rumor mill to believe but I recently saw on "TheReg" that both companies' offerings were delayed. ATI till just after Win7 release and nVidia's till December.

As to the CPU's, you don't wanna wait for the Intel i7 999 .... with 128 cores overlclockable by 500 % ?


......kidding ofc
September 7, 2009 3:43:06 PM

http://www.trustedreviews.com/graphics/news/2009/08/25/...
Latest info I could find on release sate, a week and a half old. Says September release, other sources indicate mid-late in the month.

Another one: (from the 4th, most current I could find)
Quote:
Given that ol’ Green’n'Red is priming a shindig by the bay on September 10, we can’t
imagine the goods being very far behind.

UPDATE: We have been receiving reports that the leaked MSRPs are in Oz dollars. If that’s true, the USD MSRPs are $505 (5870 X2), $336 (5870) and $252 (5850). Given that parts sold outside of the US are slightly more expensive than a currency exchange would dictate, you might even be able to cut another 10-15% off the USD price.
September 11, 2009 11:54:32 AM

I'm slowly swaying back to the GTX 295. This graph helped changed my minid - it's a weighted framerate summary of the GTX 295 Hydro (the one I'm getting) at stock clocks. It's the dual PCB version in the review, whereas I'm getting the single PCB, but I should at least hit the same speeds they have as stock in the review.



Anyway, if the 5890 is really 2x as fast as the 4870 (source:http://vr-zone.com/comments/-rumour-ati-evergreen-is-1.6x-faster-as-hd-4870--updated-/7539.html), a single 5890 will still be 40-50% slower then a GTX 295, and the x2 coming later would probably be about the same speed (1.7x is the 'best case' scenario, and 2 cards never scale perfectly - 1.6x scaling is standard at 1920X1200). Plus, I won't have water cooling - a BIG deal with the loud fans and 90+ temps of a radeon; I'll have no room whatsoever for overclocking with a 5890. Additionally, I would have to wait until late October or early november for the x2, and that's longer then I want to wait. Finally, if the nVidia 300 series comes out in the next 90 days, I can use EVGA's step-up program to swap out the 295 for a 300x. Not a huge thing, but nice to know it's there if nVidia finally gets their act together.
September 12, 2009 5:33:12 AM

Bump - updated with details on finalized build.