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I7 920 Build - Feedback Request

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January 17, 2010 10:47:55 PM

Any suggestions for improvements would be great!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: The next week, hopefully.

BUDGET RANGE W/O MONITOR: $1500 +/- 10% including shipping, before rebates (rebates can be unreliable, therefore I don’t count them until I’m depositing the refund.)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: I’m an engineering student first and foremost, therefore related software (MATLAB, Simulink, Maple, SoildWorks, Ansys-finite element analysis), word processing; I’d like to be able to relax and play some of the modern games, surf the internet, and a platform to pursue my quest for world domination.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg, tigerdirect – I’d like to be able to use the 12 months same as cash, so I guess mainly Newegg (unless there is some part Tigerdirect hugely undercuts in price.)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States


PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel CPU, the reset as long as they are reputable, reliable and offer decent customer service*

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, likely processor only.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, in the future (I’ve selected a PSU for the ‘just in case.’

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 (monitor is listed below parts)

*ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Being my first build, I will likely need help from manufactures, forums and any soul willing to help if something doesn’t work. Therefore, I've stuck with name brands, mostly retails versions as I wll need manuals for assembly.

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Parts and prices as of 01-17-2010

Here is the build that I have prepared thus far. Virtually every part choose was based on ratings at Newegg, suggestions found here at Tom's or by way of links to other reputable review sites. Feedback on any components or alternative builds is welcome.

Combo: ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard & Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 $589.98

Combo: Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case & Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power CPX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC $239.30
I'm not familiar with pulse width modulation PSUs and mainly selected this because I saw it suggest here on Tom's and it is a heck of a deal on Newegg assuming the PSU is quality

==>I'm also considering dropping the case & PSU combo shown above for:
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case $159.99
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply $139.99
Combined these two are $60 more than the Antec/Antec combo above, so if the Antec PSU is quality I'd prefer it for the sake of value.


Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme Universal CPU Cooler 120mm Magnetic Fluid Dynamic LED Fan and Fan Controller/Heatsink Rev.1 $62.99I based this on the reviews given at frostytech. My hesitation is that the product is new and aside from Frostytech, there are very, very few customer experience reviews.
XIGMATEK Intel Core i7 compatible Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler $44.96
So after the suggestins made below and a fair bit more research I decided to scale back from a "premium cooler" as I don't plan on doing extreme overclocking, just some. Also helps keep cost closer to $1500.

CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8D $219.99
I had a hard time finding RAM on the QVL for the MOBO that wasn't deactivated (perhaps I just randomly picked badly). The cost is certainly higher then I want so I'd like some input on an alternative which is compatible and of course available.

G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ $149.99
Thanks a4mula

SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity $399.99
Thoughts on the 5870 versus the 5850 which is $100 less would be great. Or if there is another card that is better but not more expensive than the 5870, I'd like to know that too.

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $89.99

Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD/CD Rewritable Drive - OEM $25.99

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound $6.99

Sub-total (shipped): $1657.60
Sub-total (shipped): $1569.60

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MONITOR:
ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built in Speakers
$199.99

Sub-total (shipped): $208.98

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GRAND TOTAL (shipped): $1866.58
GRAND TOTAL (shipped): $1778.58
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Best solution

January 17, 2010 10:59:16 PM

Antec psu is spectacular, just keep in mind that it's not compatible with standard atx cases, so moving it later is limited.

Tuniq Tower isn't a bad cooler, but for premium prices Thermalright Venomous-X, Noctua NH-D14, or Prolimatech Megahalems will out perform it.

Dominators are way overrated. For 149.99 G.Skills base 1600 kit will serve its purpose and short of epeen flexing you'll never know the difference.

Everything else looks great.
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January 17, 2010 11:01:25 PM

Looks great. My build is nearly identical to this. A few recommendations:

Memory: Since you are considering overclocking, get the Mushkin Redline DDR3-1600 memory instead
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I understand you might be uncomfortable with the price, but these will definitely outperform the Corsair. Cas6 DDR3 RAM is also hard to come by. The kit boasts lower latencies and better performance, with greater overclocking headroom. It's not too much more, and I've never heard anything bad about Mushkin. It's up to you though. The G.SKILL that were mentioned are a lot more affordable.

I also debated between the 5850/5870, but I ultimately decided to get the 5870. You'll see about a 15-20% performance increase with it. $100 isn't too bad of a price difference, anyway. Might as well get the best you can (well, the 5970 is better, but that thing is way overpriced and unavailable).
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January 17, 2010 11:39:07 PM

Quote:
get the Mushkin Redline DDR3-1600 memory instead
The RAM looks really good but I have a couple reservations:

1. That Mushkin part number isn't on the QVL for the MOBO. Again, this is my first build so I'm not real sure what not having a memory on the list implies. The only 6GB Mushkin on the list is 998659(XMP). Looking over all the 1600 (12800) Mushkin at Newegg, I'm thinking the QVL isn't complete/updated b/c I cannot believe they don't support any of those.

2. The price of that RAM will blow my budget. :( 

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Quote:
Dominators are way overrated. For 149.99 G.Skills base 1600 kit will serve its purpose


The only G. Skill I could find on the QVL that appears to still be sold is:
F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ - seems to be the only one listed that Newegg sells for $149.00

It appears to be a nice alternative, I'm not sure what going from 8-8-8-24 (Dominator) to 9-9-9-24 (G. Skill) does.

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January 18, 2010 1:04:14 AM

a4mula recommended Thermalright, with which I agree.
I got the True 120 Extreme myself, and I think it is just great. If you run into heat trouble (unlikely), put a second 120mm fan on it.
The Venomous-X is supposedly an evolution of mine (better, I guess).
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January 18, 2010 9:31:34 AM

Mr_E said:

The only G. Skill I could find on the QVL that appears to still be sold is:
F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ - seems to be the only one listed that Newegg sells for $149.00

It appears to be a nice alternative, I'm not sure what going from 8-8-8-24 (Dominator) to 9-9-9-24 (G. Skill) does.


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/Components,1/Memory,3/

I'll save you the time of reading through them. In short, it does nothing. Ram is Ram is Ram. In theory tighter timings should produce lower latency (faster response), in reality it's only reproducible in benchmarks.

Quote:

The Venomous-X is supposedly an evolution of mine (better, I guess).


It comes pre-lapped to mirror finish, also has a wonderful pressure mounting system that alleviates some of the issues the TRUE had with getting a secure fit (washer mod ftl). Otherwise it's the same ole TRUE. Initial reports show a 10c degree difference between it and TRUE Copper. That's a massive jump and I take it with a grain of salt but it should be an improvement w/o a doubt.
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January 18, 2010 12:11:26 PM

Okay added a couple changes and reasoning behind them. Still looking for any other thoughts. I will try and read some more on the Venomous-X today. (Again, thank you a4mula for you ongoing feedback and the link you posted.

I saw a Tom's article that talked about lapping and CPU greasinng but I'm not familiar with the term "lapping". Want to find out what they mean and then I will tack down exactly what CPU cooler I want today.
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January 18, 2010 2:56:51 PM

Lapping, to put it in plain speech is sanding a contact point until it's as free from defect and flush (level, even surfaces, can't think of a good way to put it, but you should get the idea) as possible.

When cooling a cpu (or any chip for that matter) you have two points of contact.


cpu thermal casing (i7 920):


and the Heatsink's thermal block (TRUE):


Now, if you look at those, and you don't even need to look closely, you can see how rough the surfaces are. When these two pieces come together you can imagine how uneven the 'seal' is. Thermal compound (AS5 ect) alleviates some of this, but there is no amount of thermal grease that is going to give you a perfect match.

This is the Venomous-X's base:


Difference is night and day. It comes from the factory like that, no need to sand anything, no need to void warranties. Of course that doesn't do anything for the cpu casing, but it's a heck of a start. Keep in mind that lapping your cpu will void your warranty, and there's nothing you can do to "fix" it so that vendors won't notice.

Here's a decent guide that shows step by step with images how to do it.
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January 18, 2010 3:31:32 PM

For some reason my editing is disabled...

Anyways, I personally wouldn't recommend lapping your cpu as the few degrees of cooling you'll get isn't worth voiding your warranty (just my opinion).

Also if you're going to drop down the budget for your hsf, I'd recommend the CM 212 over the Darknight. It's cheaper, and will perform better. Mad Admiral (where ever you are) put me onto this cooler a while back and after looking into it, it's a great deal. Review with testing:

http://www.*****/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/19383-cooler-master-hyper-212-plus-cpu-cooler-review.html
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January 18, 2010 3:47:53 PM

a4mula said:
Lapping, to put it in plain speech is sanding a contact point until it's as free from defect and flush (level, even surfaces, can't think of a good way to put it, but you should get the idea) as possible.


So I took a look at the lapping video (why don't they just call it polishing?) and cringe at the idea of taking sandpaper to a new processor. While I understand the theory and I am sure very real results of improving the conduction through surface sanding, I'm still back on just trying to put something together that will post--since I've never assembled a PC.
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January 18, 2010 10:39:32 PM

I decided on the CM 212 and placed the order today. So next step is to get it all and build it, thanks for everyone's help!
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January 18, 2010 11:10:24 PM

Enjoy, you have a great setup. Make sure and post a followup when it's all up and running.
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!