Retrofit Recommendations - HP Blackbird

I would like some recommendations on building a solid system around an inherited CPU, motherboard and video card(s).
These parts were sourced from an HP Blackbird during an upgrade.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (Fall 2007) I have inherited a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 sitting on an Asus Maximus Formula X38. It also came with two ATI 2900 XT's in a Crossfire configuration and 2 GB Corsair DDR2 on board. These are the guts of an HP Blackbird and were top of the line in 2007.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Photo work, Basic Video Editing, so it is a graphics machine with some decent sized file access (avi's).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I need advice ONLY on a case, power supply, hard drives and a blue ray player/ DVD writer.



OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, but not important. The ATI 2900 XT configuration is already CROSSFIRE

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Video card is already chosen as ATI 2900 XT in a Crossfire configuration (will run occasionally at 1920x1200)


CASE PREFERENCES: Cool, relatively quiet, room for 3 HHDs and 2 optical drives, between 100-200$ (i.e. Antec 900)

PSU PREFENCES: Reliable . . . Reliable . . . Quiet is nice too. (i.e Antec TruePower New TP-650 650W SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE)

HDD PREFERENCES: Between 150 - 250 - 500 GB and perhaps removeable. I'm looking to install a RAID 0 but want a RAID 1 option down the road when it becomes a server. I'm considering 10,000 rpm drives too. However, I'm unsure if it's worth the price and if two 7200 RPM drives in RAID 0 are fast enough. The raptors are expensive, so I'm wondering if SATA 2 with two Western Digital Blacks might be sufficient - still in RAID 0.

BR/DVD WRITER PREFERENCES: I'd like to equip the system with Blue Ray but also want that drive to write DVDs. This is an area where forum experience can be helpful. I want something "robust" that reads consistently and writes well. The fastest isn't important. I burn alot and have many beat up discs to read.

The general idea is to reconstruct the Blackbird box using it guts, but not reproduce the original $4500 price tag.

So without going bleeding edge, but staying in the upper middle, what are some recommendations for:
1. Case
2. PSU - is 650W going to be enough with the CPU, 3 HHDs, 2 Video cards and fans?
3. SATA 2 HDD in RAID 0. I'm open to suggestions here between having the OS on 10,000 rpm and storage on two 7,200 RPMs RAID 0. Or other ideas the get me speed, price and around 500 GB of storage for a reasonable price (< $400). SDD is not an option here.
4. BR/DVD writer

Thanks for your seasoned input on this.
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. keep that blackbird box, it's sexy :D. Get 2 samsung f3 500gb in raid 0 and u get simliar read/write as ssd but loses in random writes and access
  2. Thanks Ubernoobie!

    I looked into the Samsung which is also on proximon's recommended parts list.

    I think I'm going with RAID 0 and two f3's. The price/performance point makes it an easy decision.

    I found a watt calculator and think I'm going for 750 Watts to be on the safe side.
    If I load this system in the future, I found I'd be hitting 650 watts. It'll be a Antec True Power.

    Still haven't decided on the BR/DVD.

    Unfortunately, I can't keep the Blackbird box. These guts were left overs from an IC7 upgrade. I'll be going with the Antec 900 unless someone has a strong reason for me to avoid it.
  3. Best answer
    I like the antec 900. The only issue with that case is space. You will fill it up quickly if you expect to be adding more hardware in the future. It can hold a lot of hardware but it will be a tight case if you do.

    I went with the Coolermaster CM830 Stacker after owning the Antec 900. Unfortunately its a hard case to find now but I think its still out there:

    This is a very spacious case, large but spacious. You will need a lot of room to place this case so you know. Click here to see coolermasters website for it and you can click where to buy to find out who still has it:
  4. Thanks for the info.

    I found the Coolmaster CM830 stacker here:

    I was considering the Atec 1200 which is also a very spacious case, but went with the newer Antec 902. The 4 fans make it a cool case. I also like the looks and the newegg combo price with an Antec TP-750W (necessary for the two cards). The only downside on the Antec 902 I've read on it is no removeable MOBO tray and really no wire guides.

    After checking on the older Radeon 2900xt cards, they were 9.5" so should fit fine. I'll also have two Samsung F3 HDDs, two optical discs and water cooling on the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 extreme.

    There should still be room, but I'll really find out when it arrives and I put it together. The Crossfire for the two Radeon 2900xt's might block some expansion, so I'll find out.

    Thanks again for the response.
  5. Box is done and works great.

    I had to remove the slot extenders on the Radeon 2900xt's. It made them 11.5" long and were for added support. Otherwise the cards fits fine.

    The samsung F3's are super quiet and fast in RAID 0.

    The Zalman Monster CPU fan also fit though it looks like a jet turbine - kind of cool.

    I went with the Antec 902. Excellent case that fits nearly as well as a full tower 1200. A little cable bunching at the bottom near the power supply, but it works. Fortunately the ATI Radeon 2900xt's shoot the hot air out the back, so it's not causing buildup with the PSU on the bottom of the case shooting hot air up out of it's top fan onto the cards. Temp probes show now issues.

    Could use case cable guides and removeable motherboard plate.

    Runs cool and like the easily adjustable fans for quiet running outside of gaming and graphics work.

    I'd recommend the Antec 902 for cost, ease of use, and looks.
  6. Very nice. Good to see you got it together and are happy with it... ;)
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