Followup to recent build

So my new build has been finished for a few weeks (see sig) and now i'm looking to tinker and have some questions.

Firstly, I'm using the stock heatsink and fan for the core i7 and would like to upgrade; the two linked below both look to be top notch, does anyone have an even better suggestion or an opinion between the two?

I'm using an Antec 900 case with a pretty slim 120 mm fan in the side of the case, will i have a problem fitting either of these in the case for their height? The newegg site indicates some customers have had trouble with the fit but no one seems to indicate what case they're using -- has anyone had their own experience with an Antec 900 and either of these heatsinks?

If i were to go with the Dark Knight, does anyone recommend getting a different fan for it than the one that comes with it? I was considering that for aesthetic reasons to get one with LEDs if not also for performance reasons, does this work?

Do I need to buy thermal paste remover? How does that part of the process work? Which thermal paste should I buy? Arctic Silver is rated highest but i've heard it is no longer the best out there?

Dark Knight

I am also considering (probably further down the line) getting additional memory and/or using SLI for my graphics processing. Can someone give me some feedback on getting an additional RAM kit and an additional video card? How closely does what I have now have to match up with what I buy in the future to gain a benefit?

If I were to get another GTX 275, does it have to be the same brand (EVGA vs XFX for example) or the same model (vanilla vs superclocked for example) or memory size (896mb vs 1792mb for example)?

If I am able to not get a GTX 275, if for example I were to get a GTX 260 to go with my GTX 275, will I get any real edge over just the 275 I already have?

Similar scenario with memory, I currently have OCZ Platinum, but if I wanted an additional 6gb of memory, could i get OCZ Gold? Can I branch out further and get Corsair memory instead of OCZ? Or do I need to get more of the OCZ Platinum?
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    dark knight for sure

    i dont think nvidia takes well to a mix brand sli and doesn do different model sli at all
  2. ok, so if i'm going to do SLI i cannot do a GTX 260 with a GTX 275 at all, and you'd recommend against EVGA 275 with XFX 275, is that what i'm reading?

    thanks for your feedback on the heatsink; how about the size issue? i'm not really comfortable messing with thermal paste and taking a heatsink on/off of my chip more than i have to so i want to make sure i get it right the first (well, second) time

    how about ram? same as video card or more flexible?
  3. well i never had the brand problem but it wouldn hurt to try it and no mix model sli at all and one more thing i dont reccomend mixing ram but try an get some with exact same specs as what got
  4. It's a bit too late to look into since your system is already built, but I saw this article over on anandtech the other day. Lucid Hydra 200 will be the first truly vendor agnostic multi GPU setup. They claim you can take 2 of anything that has a GPU on it, and it will correctly load balance the cards. Pretty amazing claims, but if they pull it off, it will definitely change the high end pc gaming market.

    Looks like the chip is coming initially on MSI motherboards.
  5. that's pretty cool! Given that such a thing is "in development" i suppose it should not surprise me that it is not normally possible. how about the 1796mb version of the same card? i presume that follows the same idea as gtx 260 vs gtx 275?

    how about memory? Does anyone know definitively how well/poorly that would work? When building my new system i went for the OCZ Platinum because it was on sale and had a rebate, but now it's full price, which is a bit more than i want to spend.

    back to the heatsink, does anyone else have any opinions? The link provided above doesn't list anything about heatsinks specifically for socket 1366; also no one has said anything about the fit i can expect ... does anyone out there use an Antec 900 with an aftermarket heatsink? If so how'd it fit?
  6. the msi big bang p55 will be the first offering 3 way slifire

  7. I have mixed RAM in the past, if you manually set the timings to the slower of the two sets for all the DIMMs, it usually works. The one time I did it with different brands of store bought "value" lines, it wasn't all that pretty. I just settled for the better of the two sets. As for heatsink fit, just compare newegg reviews and see if there were any bad experiences with fit. the Antec 900 is one of the roomiest out there, so I doubt there will be a problem unless you find some monster sized cooler.
  8. If you got a GPU with more RAM it wouldn't be used. SLI will go with the lowest common denominator for clock speed and the amount of RAM on the GPU. If you had one card with 896 MB and another with 1792 MB, the one with 1792 would only be able to use half of its RAM. Same thing with clock speeds. If you tried to SLI a stock clock GPU and a super-clocked GPU, the super-clocked GPU would run at stock speed.

    It's never a good idea to try to mix RAM of different specs. The OCZ Gold RAM is not rated at the same timings as the Platinum RAM. You would have to run your Platinum RAM at looser timings if it worked at all.

    Getting components with the EXACT same specs is always the way to go when dealing with SLI, crossfire, or RAM upgrades.
  9. thanks a lot guys, i think that seals up almost all of my questions. of those remaining, how about thermal paste remover? is this an excuse to spend more money and a paper towel by itself would be sufficient, or is this a necessary item to get if i'm upgrading heatsink from the already installed stock version?

    How about the fan that attaches to the Dark Knight, can i get a different one in place of the stock fan, or is it necessary to use the one it comes with?
  10. You CAN change the fan on the Dark Knight, but I don't know why you'd want to. The included fan already has white LED lighting and works fine.
  11. oh ok thanks ... my antec 900 is full of blue LEDs so i was going to get that, but the motherboard has a white LED or two so hopefully that'll look cool, saving me a couple bucks in the process .... how about thermal paste remover? still stumped on this one.
  12. rubbing alcohol from the drugstore (highest percentage you can buy) works fine for removing thermal paste if it's stubborn, but just a paper towel is usually enough.
  13. I'm sure it's not a bad idea to use the paste remover, but I never have. If you heat up the CPU with something like Prime95 right before removing the HSF then the paste is soft and easy to wipe off with any lint-free rag (don't use a paper towel since it leaves little fibers behind). Coffee filters work pretty well.

    Just keep in mind that any impurities will affect the performance of the new paste. That includes oil from your fingers, old thermal paste, dust, lint, etc...
  14. silver tequila works as well
  15. yeah, the lint free stuff over paper towels is better if you have em, but in a pinch I have used paper towels and made sure there weren't any big fibers left. This wasn't for an overclocked system so I wasn't too concerned. If you're trying for a hefty overclock, definitely take all precautions you can to keep the contact points clean.
  16. I have an antec 900 and the scythe mugen 2, while not exactly the same size as the dark knight I believe they are similar. The mugen fits just fine but there is no room for the fan on the side of the case, and I had to get out the dremel and shave off one of the tabs for the side fan(on the clear part of the case, just to clarify).
    So it will fit but I doubt you'll be able to keep your side fan.
  17. thank you so much zach, that's the kind of feedback i was looking for, though not the answer i was hoping for.

    regarding lint free vs paper towel i was actually being facetious when suggesting paper towl for the lint reason; i presumed i'd at least use a coffee filter but wasn't sure if paste remover would be necessary ... i'll check my budget when buying the new heatsink.
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