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Should i OC my i7 920?

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April 18, 2012 10:58:28 AM

Hi so i have been told that my CPU is holding me back and was curious if its safe and a good idea to OC my CPU. Keep in mind i have never done this before and i don't want to fry my pc because i made a dumb mistake. So if its as difficult as i read it is maybe i will read up on it for a month and really learn about it. Here are my specs.

AMD HD7870 with 2gb of VRAM Gigabyte OC'd edition.
650W PSU
Motherboard: Gateway TBGM01
Processor: Intel i7 920 2.7ghz
Operating system Windows vista
12g of RAM
Directx 11

Reasons i want to do this is because certain games like Battlefield 3 and Grand theft auto 4 don't work as well as they should with my setup.

More about : 920

a b K Overclocking
April 18, 2012 1:46:25 PM

As long as your cpu vcore is less than 1.37V and the qpi voltage is under 1.35V and your temps stay in the low 70's it will not fry. These are Intels recommended safe zones. If you have the D0 stepping 920 then you should be able to hit 3.8GHz or higher with good aftermarket cooling and keep your temps in the low 70's with a Vcore of around 1.3V. Once you crank the BCLK up to 200MHz you may need to manually increase the qpi voltage to maintain system stability as the auto setting may not be sufficient. The qpi voltage is needed to maintain stability with the BCLK as well as the RAM frequency so start with 1.35 and if your system is stable then you can lower it or increase it depending on how things are working. The max overclock you can hit really depends on the quality of the chip. Mine was good to 3.8GHz at a peek of 73 degrees but as soon as I hit 4GHz my temps would hit 80 degrees and then at 4.2GHz I would hit 90 within a minute of starting prime95. I kept mine at 3.8GHz with a cpu Vcore of 1.3125 and a qpi of 1.35V with my RAM at 1866MHz and BCLK at 200 using an antec620 hydro cooler.
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April 18, 2012 11:21:36 PM

Wow, thanks for all the info i really appreciate it.

Ok so it turns out my BIOS voltage settings are locked and i cannot access them. Sorry for not noticing before your post lol :p .

What would you suggest i do? try finding a way to unlock it, or just buy a new processor? Buying a new one wouldn't be hard since my setup right now works decent and will hold me off until i can buy a new one.
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a b K Overclocking
April 19, 2012 10:26:00 AM

You do not need a new processor. It is the motherboard that has locked BIOS settings. The processor is ok. I was wondering if you were able to change BIOS settings on a gateway motherboard. I have no experience with motherboards from prebuilt systems but I hear that most do not allow you to change BIOS settings. I guess it helps the company maintain the integrity of the product that they have warrantied. If you want, you should be able to get yourself a good used socket 1366 motherboard for $125 to $200. The boards like the EVGA classified III and the ASUS Ramapage Extreme III are selling on ebay for $200 or less which is less than half of what they were at retail price before they were discontinued. You will certainly see a performance increase with everyday applications as well as games with a faster processor.
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April 19, 2012 10:38:54 AM

Oh okay, well no i cannot change the BIOS settings. Would it be hard to replace the motherboard myself? Because my warranty is voided/expired so i don't know if they would do the work for me. Also would i have to put all my files on a memory stick(games,music, etc) and pretty much wipe my PC clean?

And if i did get a new motherboard i could then OC my processor? Or would the performance increase enough so i won't have to OC? I honestly would prefer not to OC but if i had to i guess i would.
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a b K Overclocking
April 19, 2012 10:49:42 AM

If you are worried about it then don't bother. IMO replacing a motherboard is relatively easy. You will not need to reinstall windows but I would recommend backing up your files if something goes wrong. Simply replace the old board and power up the machine. Windows detects the new hardware and will make adjustments automatically. You may still need to install the proper motherboard drivers when the computer loads. Windows will also ask you to re-validate your copy of windows because it will see the new board as a new computer. Don't worry about your OEM copy of windows, it will activate eventhough microsoft says it is only good for one machine only. In the worst case, you will have to use the automated telephone activation system. I have used the same oem copy on 3 different motherboards and they all work. My OEM product key came off of an acer computer that I parted out.
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a b K Overclocking
April 19, 2012 10:51:22 AM

Yes, even craptacular motherboards will allow you to change BIOS settings to OC but the higher quality boards will give you tools to make it easier. Like ASUS provides a software tool that allows you to change BIOS settings while in windows. It is very handy.
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April 19, 2012 10:53:04 AM

Hmm ok so i will probably ask my computer techie friend to help me, but if i replaced my motherboard would i still have to OC?
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April 19, 2012 11:00:17 AM

Also would this motherboard be good? http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-LGA-1155-Motherboards-P8Z68-... $200 like the ones you suggested. I didn't see many good reviews or info on the rampage III extreme, but the one i linked has good reviews + pci-e 3.0 which is perfect for my 7870 right?

And from my understanding getting this motherboard will give me access to bios and i will be able to overclock finally and get some good performance out of my setup?

Also if I'm gonna upgrade my motherboard wouldn't it be a good idea to fork out the extra cash and get the processor too? That way i wont have to overclock + that would mean my setup isn't out of date anymore. To me it makes sense cause why have all new gear but leave a important piece old and outdated? Idk much about computers that's just the way i see it.

Hmm i just noticed my i7 920 is still a expensive popular processor but many people just OC it... So maybe i can just get some1 to OC my stuff for me. Also some1 mentioned i can go to my pc vendor and ask for my BIOS access code to OC, so maybe i wouldn't even need a new motherboard? gosh i have no idea! Sorry for asking a bunch of stuff and typing walls of text but im just confused on what to do lol.
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a b K Overclocking
April 19, 2012 1:00:46 PM

What you linked is the wrong socket type. It is 1155 and yours is 1366. Your processor is still good. You will probably not find a new 1366 board since it has been phased out in favour of socket 2011. The easiest way to is to unlock the BIOS if you can. Even if you buy a new processor/motherboard you will still need to overclock it if you want to hit 4GHGz or more. The poplular i7 2600k only has a stock clock of 3.4GHz so it needs to be overclocked to hit in the 4GHz range. Your processor is a good overclocker. Most people who have a 920 have a full time overclock of 4 or 4.2GHz. Most people who have an i7 2600k run a full time overclock of 4.5GHz. Do you really want to spend $500 on an i7 2600k and motherboard to be able to run .5GHz faster? Even if you can't unlock the BIOS, it may only cost you $150 for a good socket 1366 motherboard which will allow you to overclock the i7 920.
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April 19, 2012 1:08:46 PM

Ok I think i finally understand lol. But if i go to 4GHz wont that need a better cooling system then the default stuff i have?
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a b K Overclocking
April 19, 2012 8:22:59 PM

Yes you need a better cooler. You can get a good air or hydro cooler for $60 that will work great.
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April 20, 2012 12:00:10 AM

alrobichaud said:
Yes you need a better cooler. You can get a good air or hydro cooler for $60 that will work great.


Thank you very much. I won't be able to purchase this stuff for about a week so in the time being can you help me find the exact motherboard and cooling system i need? I know you already suggested 2, but can i get links to them? Same with the cooling system, i have no idea what to get. Thank you so much for all your help i appreciate it.
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April 24, 2012 5:16:34 AM

Ok so should i really buy a used motherboard? I could either get a used rampage extreme III for around $300 from a non trusted seller or the rampage extreme II for $200 new with warranty and whatever else. I honestly feel safer and better with the rampage extreme II but i don't know how big the difference between the 2 are. I only need this motherboard so i can get someone to overclock my i7 920 so I'm not sure if the rampage III is needed.

Also i will most likely get the noctua or something like it. Not sure if i trust the hydro coolers just yet.

Ordering everything in a few days.. I really hope this solves my FPS problems in games... If it doesn't, then my next option is upgrading to win7 but i have gotten mixed answers about that so I'm not sure.

I honestly feel like my setup should run games like GTA4, Skyrim, Team fortress 2(old game yet bad fps+not even maxed settings?) and Battlefield 3 flawlessly. Everything i have is pretty solid.. Except for my motherboard, i7 920 only being at 2.7ghz and operating system(Vista64) . Could those 3 things really be holding me back THAT much?

Thanks for all the help
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a b K Overclocking
April 24, 2012 10:18:43 AM

Operating system....doubt it is holding you back. The i7 920 is definately holding you back at 2.66GHz. The motherboard is also holding you back if you cannot overclock your chip. The rampage II extreme would be excellent for overclocking as it is designated and enthusiast level of motherboard with built in overclocking features. It should have a couple of nice automatic one button overclock settings for the rookie such as the ability to set the cpu to 'i7 crazy' which sets the BIOS to 3.6GHz without you having to think about it. The only real difference is SATA II VS SATA III and the ability to have 4 way crossfire vs 3 way crossfire. Both of which should be of no concern since 4 way crossfire is sometimes a pain in the rear, very expensive, requires large case and large power supply and extreme overkilll in most cases. SATA = 1.5GB/s SATA II = 3GB/s SATA III = 6GB/s. These are theoretical maximums. I beleive your motherboard is SATA and your drive is probably SATA also. You could be getting faster program load times if you upgraded to a SATA II HDD but it probably won't make that much of a difference for everyday use.

There are some other upgrades you could do to increase your overall performance but your processor core speed is the single best upgrade you can make to your computer. Get a cheap motherboard that has allows for overclocking and spend another $50 or so on a decent aftermarket cooler. Air or hydro....whatever you prefer. Or you can spend closer to $100 and get the best air or hydro cooler money can buy. The difference may only be 5 degrees C between a low quality aftermarket air cooler and the best on the market so you make the call as to which is best for you. Let the rest of the upgrades happen over time and start with overclocking that processor.
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April 25, 2012 5:22:04 AM

Ok but is that one button overclock safe? Does it automatically adjust all the stuff like vcore and fsb and all the other confusing stuff? Shouldn't i start with a lower ghz and make my way up doing tests and monitoring temps and stuff? i REEEEALLY don't want to mess up my PC and be left with nothing due to no warranty.

Also I don't plan on using crossfire or anything, nor do i really care about program load times. Just game performance + quality of course.

But i think i will get the rampage II extreme if its excellent for overclocking + the good air cooler because that 5C difference might really help. If I'm gonna do it might as well do it good right? Thanks again!
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 10:28:09 AM

rvdman306 said:
Ok but is that one button overclock safe? Does it automatically adjust all the stuff like vcore and fsb and all the other confusing stuff? Shouldn't i start with a lower ghz and make my way up doing tests and monitoring temps and stuff? i REEEEALLY don't want to mess up my PC and be left with nothing due to no warranty.

Also I don't plan on using crossfire or anything, nor do i really care about program load times. Just game performance + quality of course.

But i think i will get the rampage II extreme if its excellent for overclocking + the good air cooler because that 5C difference might really help. If I'm gonna do it might as well do it good right? Thanks again!



The overclock button is safe. It Increases the BCLK and multiplier. The voltage is left on auto. You can be assured that up to that point everything will work just fine using the overclock button but going beyond that will require manual voltage tweaks to maintain stability. The Rampage II extreme is a good board. Personally, I would get the best cooling you can. The stock TDP for that chip is 68.1 degrees. The thermal danger zone according to many users/reviewers/monitoring programs is 100 degrees C. You should be ok running in the low 70's full time. As an example, I had an antec620 hydro cooler and with my i7 920 running at 3.6GHz and after running hours of prime95 my max core temp was only 70 degrees. That cooler was only $60 and you can get better. I currently have a noctu nh d14 which, I believe, is the best air cooler you can get and it performs better than some of the best hydro coolers also but it is big so you need a big case to fit it in. Once you hit 3.8GHz. 4GHz or more(you need a damn good chip to run at 4GHz or higher), you will find the temperatures start climbing. Keep in mind you will probably never run a program that will stress your cpu as much as prime95 so even if you hit mid to high 70's with your overclock you will find that for gaming/benchmarking etc your cpu will never hit that temp. I agree if you are going to do it you should do it right. Though you are starting to sound like me and before you know it the upgrades become a continuous thing until you have a system that will make techy nerds jealous.

Good luck!
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 10:35:18 AM

Sorry I got side tracked. Intels spec sheet has your cpu with tdp of 68.1 degrees C and a Vcore of 1.2-1.375 and a qpi voltage of 1.4. If your numbers do not exceed these tolerances, your chip should last 20 years. You will not have to go any higher on the Vcore to hit over 4GHz. That chip is great to overclock with low voltages. Your qpi voltage will only need to be higher if you are trying to run RAM 1800MHz or higher....less than 1.4 should be enough to run your bclk at up to 200MHz and be totally stable. You SHOULD start with lower frequencies and slowly increase and keep testing to see how things react. This way you will know exactly how your system works and it is good experience for you. You will see a definate improvement with everything your pc does going from 2.66GHz to 3.6GHz since it is the cpu frequency that determines how fast all programs run. If you run it higher, that is even better.
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April 25, 2012 10:40:04 AM

Thank you for all your help. I will be getting this motherboard and testing the overclock button ONLY. Maybe eventually i will want 4ghz+ but for the time being i think the auto overclock will be perfect. Also right now CPU-z says my core voltage is 1.120 Is that normal?

But with that overclock button i wouldn't have to worry about the technical stuff, i just have to hope there is a lower frequency button to start off with or something i guess?

Also when i get this all set up and i use the overclock button i will most likely be back with all my info to make sure its correct. I have been reading up on this "CPU level up" and it says it is just presets that ASUS created for cpus and tested themselves. It should work for me but all setups are different in some way or another so i may need to manually change some stuff. People also say that they just manually increase bclk and multiplier for OC. I'm gonna have some professional help with me while i do this all but I'm gonna need info from the internet too so any extra tips or tricks that could help me would be amazing. You already are gonna get the best answer for this thread but i could use all the help i could get lol.
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 12:59:32 PM

Yes 1.12V is normal. It may actually be 1.1-1.375V according to the spec sheet. Haven't looked at one for a while now. Eitherway, that processor has speedstep that can be turned off in the BIOS. Speedstep reduces the clock speed and voltage when the computer is at idle to save power and help with the longevity of the chip.I should clarify that the overclcok 'button ' isn't really a button. It is a setting in the BIOS. The options are manual which allows you to change the multiplier, auto which sets the cpu to default 2.66MHz and cpu level up which has some sub options. Now that I think of it, I may have been confusing the 920 with the 965 that I had. The 920 options may be i7 940 up to i7 960. This will run the chip at the stock frequency of the higher level chips. You may find that the highest one button overclock setting is i7 960 or 965 which is 3.33Ghz . Either way, it will still work just fine but manual overclocking is still the best. Manual overclocking is very easy with that asus board. It should come with TurboV Evo software which allows you to change most of the BIOS settings while running windows so you don't have to change the BIOS and restart everytime you want to adjust the voltage.

You should read this

http://www.clunk.org.uk/forums/overclocking/22106-core-...

This is a good guide but I think you need a good quality i7 920 to run 4GHz with less than 1.3V so if your voltage is a bit higher don't be too concerned.

When you get your new board installed, try manual overclocking.

First set the cpu vcore to 1.35V
Second set the QPI Voltage to 1.35V
Set the BCLK to 180
Set the muliplier to 20
Set the DRAM voltage,timings, and frequency to what the manufacturer states(if it is 1600MHz or less. If your ram is faster, downclock it to a lower speed)

This will give you 3.6GHz. Run prime95 for at least 5 minutes and make sure you have core temp running also. If you make it through 5 minutes( you will) then you can start lowering the voltages. Start with the qpi voltage. Use TurboV Evo to lower the qpi from 1.35V to say 1.325V. Then run prime95 again. If you are still stable then lower the qpi again until your system freezes or you get a BSOD. You will probably need to restart your computer and go back to the qpi voltage that was stable and that is what you need to run with a BCLK of 180MHz.

Do the same thing for the cpu Vcore. This will be easier since as soon as you pass the threshold of where your cpu is stable while running prime95, you will notice that of the 8 threads you are running one or two will turn off indicating the cpu Vcore is too low. Of course if you lower the voltage by too much at once you may pass the threshold completely and your system will probably BSOD. It is also recommended that you use a program that allows you to monitor all of the cpu cores while they are running so that if one shuts down you can easily see this and stop prime95 as an error has been detected. I simply use the cpu usage gadget that you can easily install if you right click on the desktop and select gadgets. If it is not there then select 'get more gadjets online' and download it.

If you want to go higher to say 3.8GHz use a bclk of 200MHz and a mulitplier of 19 and do the same thing as with 3.6GHz.

The qpi and cpu voltages that I quoted should be enough to run a bclk of 200MHz and a frequency of 4.2GHz or more if your chip can handle it and they are within the intel recommended safe voltage ranges so you do not have to worry about damaging your chip as long as you monitor the temps and if you hit 80 degrees you should stop running prim95 and lower the Overclock. You will find that 1.35V generates a bit of extra unescessary heat if your cpu only needs 1.3V to be stable so make sure that you lower the voltages and find your stable point.
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April 25, 2012 1:24:54 PM

Ok so i will try manual overclocking but i have a few questions.

Do i lower the vcore and qpi voltage at the same time? One after the other, or completely one at a time start to finish? Also since I'm starting both at 1.35 do they have to be relatively close to each other?

Where can i see the manufacturer settings for DRAM voltage, timings and frequency?

Should i get a new PSU? It is very old and probably a cheap one(pre-built pc) I'm looking at that guide and it says if my PSU fails it may take out other important components.
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 1:47:04 PM

rvdman306 said:
Ok so i will try manual overclocking but i have a few questions.

Do i lower the vcore and qpi voltage at the same time? One after the other, or completely one at a time start to finish? Also since I'm starting both at 1.35 do they have to be relatively close to each other?

Where can i see the manufacturer settings for DRAM voltage, timings and frequency?



Lower the voltages one at a time. Not together. This way you will be sure it is either the qpi or the cpu vcore that is the problem. The voltages do not have to be close to each other to start. I suggested 1.35V for the cpu because it is below the max recommended by intel and it is above what is required to run an i7 920 D0 stepping to run at 4.2GHz. You could start with a cpu voltage of 1.275 but your computer may immediately crash do to undervoltage so it is easier to start a bit higher and then incrementally lower it until you lose a core or two in prime95 due to an error. Then you can increase it a bit back to where prime95 ran stable. I chose a qpi of 1.35 because it is below the recomemended max of 1.4V and it should be enough to run with an overclocked bclk of 200MHz. The 'bus speed' or qpi(quick path interconnect) of your motherboard is 4.8GT/s which translates into roughly 2400MHz. It is derived from mulitpliying the bclk x 36. So if you run a bclk of 200 your new qpi speed is 7200GT/s or 3600MHz. In order to overclock the qpi to that speed you need at least 1.35V(it may require a bit more or less depending on your RAM speed). The onboard memory controller of your chip also relies on the qpi voltage to run stable. The stock memory frequency for any i7 9xx chip is 1066MHz. Anything faster than that IS an overclock regardless of whether the RAM manufacuturer says it is or not. 1600MHz RAM is overclocked as far as the memory controller is concerned. That is why I say that the qpi voltage also depends on the RAM you have. So a qpi of 1.35V may or may not be enough to run stable( but is should work for you). A good example is my 2000MHz RAM. It requires a qpi of 1.6V in order to run at its rated speed. I can run my ram stable at 1866MHz with a qpi of 1.35v but I am not willing to run it any faster since I do not want to fry my $1000 processor by overvolting the memory controller to run my ram 133MHz faster.

The RAM modules have a sticker on the side that show the voltage,timings and frequency.
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April 25, 2012 2:11:05 PM

Ok sorry for all the questions its just all so confusing to me lol. So my ram says gddr3 2gb 128mx8 1.5v . not sure what all that means though.
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 2:31:19 PM

rvdman306 said:
Ok sorry for all the questions its just all so confusing to me lol. So my ram says gddr3 2gb 128mx8 1.5v . not sure what all that means though.



No problem..ask away!

There should be more info on the sticker. What is the exact model of that gateway computer you have? Download and install CPUID and click on the tab called SPD and you should see something like this.

http://i1175.photobucket.com/albums/r637/alrobichaud/ra...

The column that says jedec#2 is your RAM. So mine is DDR3 PC3-8500 1066MHz(533MHz x 2) with timings 7/7/7/20 and a DRAM voltage of 1.5V. Just copy the timings, frequency and voltage so that you know what to set them to on your new build.
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April 25, 2012 2:35:46 PM

it is a gateway fx6801. So mine is 592mhz 8/8/8/22 DRAM voltage is 1.5V
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 2:42:24 PM

Strange. Your RAM frequency is usually a multiple of your bclk such as 133x8 = 1066MHz. I probably told you to look at the wrong column. Is there a column that has 533MHz at the top? Your RAM should be 1066MHz.
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April 25, 2012 2:44:36 PM

In the Memory tab my DRAM frequency is 533 but in SPD it does not say 533 anywhere.



Also i forgot to ask before, will any air cooler fit? Or do i have to look for a specific one? obviously if there isn't enough room in the case it won't fit but i mean will it attach on properly or whatever it does?
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 3:19:09 PM

Ok so your RAM is 1333MHz. Up where it says max bandwidth it says 667MHz. x2=1333MHz. I looked up your computer specs and it said 1066MHz. Although, there are different model fx6801 as well which are designated by a - followed by a number such as -01 or -03. You your timings are 9/9/9/24 1.5V 1333MHz. Save that info for your new motherboard. Just make sure that the cooler your are getting is compatible with socket 1366. Most of them can be used on mulitple platforms and come with different mounting hardware depending on the socket that you have.
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April 25, 2012 3:24:22 PM

Sorry its the gateway fx6801-03. Ok thank you i shall save the info.
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 3:29:59 PM

When I get home I will upload that picture that I am using for my avatar so you can get an idea of what you may encounter when deciding on which cooler to buy.
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April 25, 2012 3:52:14 PM

Ok sounds good. by the looks of it you need a ton of room, plus you mentioned you need a big case. Honestly my case is pretty limited to the space i have inside. Here is a pic i took for a different thread a few weeks ago with the gtx 285 instead of 7870(7870 is alot bigger and the case barely closes with it).
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/706/img0017jpt.jpg...
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 4:13:28 PM

Hmm. Looks pretty tight in there. You know for around $60 you can get something like this

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6...

This is light years ahead of that gateway case you have. I suspect you are going to run into issues with virtually no airflow in your exising case as the overclocked 920 will generate more heat that needs to escape to somewhere. The case I linked is a cheapy but it will fit the largest video cards on the market as well as it has 5x120mm fan spaces. You can set up one for air intake on the side,front and rear and set up two to exhaust the air on top. The rear fan is great as an intake since it is positioned next to the cpu cooler and blows cool outside air onto the cpu cooler. You really should get a better case if you are going to get a new motherboard and cooler. All of the existing parts from your old case will fit into the new one. Also, the fins on the fan of your existing cooler are really clogged with dust. You should blow then out with compressed air. Cover your eyes and hold your breathe if you do blow the dust out.
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April 25, 2012 5:40:59 PM

So I am paying a expert to rebuild my pc into that case, install the fan + motherboard obviously and reinstall vista(suggested by him). He will also be Overclocking with me to help me understand it more. I feel this is what is needed to be done, but man i am crazy worried. I really hope this will make my computer run alot better for the price its gonna cost for everything lol.

Also that pic is old and i have used a can of compressed air since then.
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a b K Overclocking
April 25, 2012 6:29:22 PM

rvdman306 said:
So I am paying a expert to rebuild my pc into that case, install the fan + motherboard obviously and reinstall vista(suggested by him). He will also be Overclocking with me to help me understand it more. I feel this is what is needed to be done, but man i am crazy worried. I really hope this will make my computer run alot better for the price its gonna cost for everything lol.

Also that pic is old and i have used a can of compressed air since then.



I hope it works out well and I also hope it does not cost you too much to have someone rebuild it for you. Think of it this way.....any program that you run requires the processor to handle the task of directing all of the information being bussed around between the various parts. Running with a 2.66 GHz processor overclocked to 3.6GHz means that it is now running about 40% faster. This will help every task that your computer performs.
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April 26, 2012 6:20:04 PM

So the expert i am talking with says the case might need to be bigger to fit that fan + all my other stuff and have good air flow. I am willing to spend the extra money to get the perfect case for my setup. Once i get the fan picked out i start ordering :) . Problem is, i honestly have no idea what cases would fit my parts from old case + the new parts I'm getting. I'm gonna look online for awhile but if you can help that would be nice :)  thank you.
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a b K Overclocking
April 26, 2012 7:34:01 PM

rvdman306 said:
So the expert i am talking with says the case might need to be bigger to fit that fan + all my other stuff and have good air flow. I am willing to spend the extra money to get the perfect case for my setup. Once i get the fan picked out i start ordering :) . Problem is, i honestly have no idea what cases would fit my parts from old case + the new parts I'm getting. I'm gonna look online for awhile but if you can help that would be nice :)  thank you.



Sounds like the last time I was only going to do a small upgrade. Turned into a major upgrade fast. Anyway, there is no 'might' about it. You will need a larger case. Any mid size atx case will do. That $60 case that I linked is actually pretty nice for the price. You could take the entire guts of your existing computer and transplant them into any mid or full size atx case and they will fit just fine. All of the components are a standard size. Just make sure that you get one that has 4 or more 120mm fan attachements. That should give you one in the back,front,side and top. The only two items that you will need to get measurements for are the video card and possibly the cpu cooler depending on which you want to buy. A monster like the noctua nh-d14 needs only depth clearance and you need to make sure that there are no impeding motherboard components like the RAM or possibly a northbridge heatsink. If you are uncertain just google your mother board + the cooler+ review and you should find someone who has done that setup before. You can try the same thing for the any case that you are interested in buying. Have a look at the pic below. The cooler does not take up any more room than the motherboard does but it is darn close to hitting the RAM and just below the radiator on the right you can see the small read northbridge heatsink with the black fan on it. I had to bend some of the fins on the coolers radiator to make it fit. Also, notice the right side of the video cards. You need to make sure that you have sufficient space between the back of the card and the HDD bays. Since mine are sideways with the wiring behind where you cannot see itI have a bit of extra room. If I tried to put these cards on a standard size case, they would be right up against the sata and power cables on the drives.

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April 26, 2012 7:51:45 PM

Ok so even though it will fit in the $60 case i think I'm gonna get a more expensive one just so i have that extra room inside and extra cooling stuff. I made a thread about this and a veteran suggested either haf x or cooler master trooper. Both cases range from $120-200 which i am okay with. I don't want to have to bend anything or have any close calls with this system. Thanks for the info!
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April 26, 2012 8:12:43 PM

edited this post :p  I'm gonna start ordering now. Wish me luck!
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a b K Overclocking
April 26, 2012 8:15:24 PM

rvdman306 said:
Ok so even though it will fit in the $60 case i think I'm gonna get a more expensive one just so i have that extra room inside and extra cooling stuff. I made a thread about this and a veteran suggested either haf x or cooler master trooper. Both cases range from $120-200 which i am okay with. I don't want to have to bend anything or have any close calls with this system. Thanks for the info!



Either case will be perfect.
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a b K Overclocking
April 26, 2012 8:17:47 PM

rvdman306 said:
SO someone linked me to a page that shows the compatibility of ram/mobo's for the noctua. I can't seem to find my RAM there. http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=compatibility_ram_ge... . Ordering my stuff in a few minutes and i dont know what to do!!! eeek! xD



In the worst case you may have to slightly bend a few fins on the noctua. It should not make any difference since you may only lose about 1% of the cooling ability. I had to bend mine less than 1/4 of an inch on the far edge only. I don't want to scare you but simply give you a heads up as to what you may encounter.

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April 26, 2012 8:21:41 PM

Ok once again thank you very much!
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April 26, 2012 8:26:59 PM

Oops forgot to ask. You said i need 4 or more 120mm fan attachments on it? Well the one i am looking to buy has... The CM Storm Trooper features two 120mm red LED front fans, one 140mm rear fan and one 200mm top fan. Is this fine? + im a bit confused. Do these cases come with the fans on them? or just a spot to add fans? :p  kind of a dumb question this far into the process lol.
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a b K Overclocking
April 26, 2012 9:04:23 PM

4 or more would be nice and the bigger the better. Yes those are perfect. The front are set up as intakes and the 200mm on the top is exhaust. The rear fan default is exhaust but you can turn it around and blow cool air directly at the cpu cooler which is what I do. Yes that case comes with the fans. :) 
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!