Building New System Phenom


It's been a while since I've been on here and am building a new system this weekend. I've built many a systems, but like anybody, one can know alot but not everything. So I'm asking for any tips on this new system in the works. Geeze it's just after 4am and besides doing other things, I've been checking out on the hardware I bought so far for it. Some h/w is from my old Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe system that took a dive last week (most likely just needs a new BIOS chip) but was ready for a new system anyways.

NEW parts-
CPU: Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition AM3/4000MHz 45NM 125W Boxed
Mobo: Gigabyte AMD Phenom II/Socket AM3/AMD-790FXTA-UD5/4DDR3-1866(OC)/3-Way Crossfire/2GBe/7.1-CH ATX (2x USB 3, 2x SATA-3 etc)
RAM: Corsair DOMINATOR 8GB (4x2GB) PC3-10666 1033MHz CAS 7-7-7-20 w/RAM Heatsink (included in the package)
Case: Cooler Master CM 690 II Advance (sweet black steel, filtered case 2010)
CPU Sink: Cooler Master RR-B10-212P-G1 Hyper 212 Plus UD Contact Heat-Pipe 120mm CPU Cooler
New Drives: 2x Hitachi 2TB Deskstar SATA-2 7200-32MB Cache drives
" " : Seagate 2TB 7200 SATA-3 64MB Cache (should arrive today)
4-Pack Cooler Master 120mm Silent Case fans box set
Aditional fans or water cooling (havn't bought yet) 2-80x15 fans and/or water cooling system

OLD parts-
PSU: IN-WIN Commander 1200W PSU (love this PSU, rock hard steady +5/12v rails that to my monitoring have never dipped below rating ever, always on par or above even with a multi-loaded out system in SLI, they could eat more! These PSUs are very well made!)
GPU: eVGA nVidia GTX 295 (stuck my 2x 7800 GTX-OC's away) And could probably get another 295 for cheap/free or some new alpha/stalk CPU card because one of my good friends is a semi-big wig at nVidia.
Monitor: Samsung LCD 2232BW+ (will buy a bigger one later)
2x 1TB SATA-2 HDDs (one WD, other Seagate in eSATA+USB enclosures that will most likely go into the CM case along side the other 3x 2TB HDDs (hey! I love mass storage!! What can I say?!? ;) )

And a plethora of other stuff; like a Logitech cordless KB+Mouse, 16x/48x (I think it is, can't recall ATM) Lite-On DVD-Lightscribe burner, 52x Lite-On combo drive burner (both IDE, and have a couple other IDE burners-an NEC Lightscribe, another Lite-On DVD Lightscribe), black floppy (doubt I'll use it), and other stuff like an XFX USB Gamepad, MS Flight Master 2 (?)-the last FF stick they made-have 2 of them, 2nd one is different than the 1st version, Thrustmaster (can't recall version, but it's fairly new-USB PC/PS3 (got it for my PS3 mainly)) stick, 3x160 IDE HDDs (have Rocket-Raid IDE to SATA converters (those little things work great)), 500GB SATA-2 Seagate, 2x SATA-2 250GB Seagates, fans-mounts-brackets/cushioners-name it, PCI-E 2 port eSATA-2 card, USB 3.0 card+2.5" SATA-2 (the SATA-3 is on the way) HDD enclosure (that I am testing for a company-not available to the public yet-sorry can't name who I'm working on this for), adjustable speed control fans and boxes upon boxes of more stuff that would drive me buggy to remember! Hey I'm a de-bugger/programmer-tester as one of my jobs.

Since Tom's HW has been around and highly respected for so many years I thought I'd post for some input from other gurus abound first. My main questions that I can think of so early in the morn (been up all night-playing around with new stuff and my iMac & PS3) to take breaks is if you were building said system I listed, would you do these and ANY input is very much appreciated!! As I posted, we all learn from each other, and different views are most welcomed.

Q1: In this CM 690 II Advance case, like alot of newer CM and other companies' cases they allow for mounting the PSU above or below the mobo. Also they can be positioned in either dirrection.. So far all I've done is check out the parts, read some and just put the PSU in the case (below mobo, fan facing down). So it sucks air out from below the case (plenty of room below on this new 2010 CM case) and spews it out. Perhaps reversing it to suck in case air might be better? My older PC had it atop mobo in suck/spew standard configuration. ?
Q2: Planning on running the O/S (Vista x64 Ultimate SP2) for now with a fresh install on the SATA-3 HDD. Fastest drive it will be for me...and I'm thinking of partitioning it for an XP Pro dual-boot (like my dead comp's system was), and perhaps other O/S's..can do a W7, Linux/Unix etc partitions. 2TBs for a primarily system drive is huge enough, so I might as well break it down. ?
Q3: Have considered RAID with for example Raptors. But with all the problems I've heard about, why not go SCSI if one needs that speed? And SATA-3 beyond 7,200rpm drives will appear. Something to consider. I do get some access to early build HW/SW. But that's also a problem, being in early to very early stages, it really does suck to loose your array/boot drive. ??
Q4: Not sure if my CPU 212 cooler will block any of my DIMM sockets/RAM sets, especially when I'd like to use the spreader that is bundled with the Corsair RAM kit. I'd like to get into O/C'ing again for the fun of it and having such low latency RAM (7-7-7-20 8GB) is sweet. Would like to keep it cool, ya know. ?
Q5: Being that everything except the case and mobo is unsealed (PSU is not new, but about a year- old), I've just played around with positioning them in the case to look-see. Any ideas?!? PSU positioning? I kind of like it being below the mobo, thus would allow me to use if wanted later liquid cooling Much easier to set-up.
Q6: Case came with 2x 140mm fans (one in front with LED), other in the top & a 120mm in the rear. The top 140mm can be removed and replaced with 2x 120mm OR leave the 140mm and add a 120mm OR add a radiator). Bottom can support 2x 120mm or a radiator if PSU is atop mobo. Right side panel can support 2x 120mm or 2x 140mm (or combo of the 2 sizes), Left panel can house an 80x15mm fan (and off course liquid cooling), VGA holder/support can house an 80x15mm also. HDD removable/adjustable cage can house a 120mm fan to help out with the 140mm front intake (because at 90 degree setting, the 140mm won't cool the HDD stack fully). So that is basically 11 fans not including the 1 or 2 for the 212 CPU sink, or adding radiator blocks.

Thanks for any suggestions, ideas or whatever input you may want to add. It's been since around 2005 since i last custom built an O/C friendly system and am sort of out of the loop, but just reading around I think I picked my HW well enough....but everyone has different opinions, experience etc. So all ideas are welcomed!!

Thanks All!
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More about building system phenom
  1. Hi newcomer and welcome to the Tom's hardware forum.

    +1 to dogman_1234.

    1- Good, processor and mobo.
    2- You don't need 8GB of RAM at least that you want run many Adobe applications at the same time.
    3- The PSU is a junk.
    4- Good GPU, but maybe you can re-sell it, and the 2x5870 for Crossfire.
    5- With 11 fans, that case will be an airplane and the airflow will not be good.
    6- IMO you don't need a LCS, with the Hyper 212+ is enough if you don't want an insane OC.
  2. ^That is a good question, and I ask the same to the OP.
  3. I would really do it differently but if it's all ordered and done and dusted oh well :P

    1. PhenomII X4 925-955BE
    2. 890GX mobo
    3. Try to squeeze in a 64GB Kingston VSeries SSD
    4. Samsung F3 1TBs all the way :P
    5. 4GB RAM is fine
  4. ^Good, but the GX chipset isn't very good. If you want a good mobo with chipset 890, wait for the ASUS Crosshair IV or MSI 890FX
  5. Err if TS is sticking to his GTS 295 even a 890GX is not needed as no SLI support so if willing to wait till April 26th: for no CF/SLI

    870 or 880G chipsets
  6. Thanks for all the replies.

    I have to add this: the PSU is NOT junk (saint19). The In-Win Commander 1200W has been tested many times with steady voltages with all the cables in. So to that I do NOT agree. It blows away my OCZ GameXtreme 700w and my other lesser wattage Antecs and such.

    I sent the entire system back for full refunds. For a hundred bucks I bought a new Asus A8N32-SLI DLX mobo to replace my cooked Or dead BIOS chip one from a girl on ebay. System is reinstalled freshly Vista x64 Ultimate now, with final SP2 installed. Works like a charm again. Besides that all I removed was 2x 200GB SATA drives, added 2x 2TB SATA-2 drives. Removed several fans and am about to cut out from the side panel with a dremel tool and mount exhaust fans, using cushioned fan mounts to reduce heat around the CPU & GTX 295.

    It's funny, I can still run Mass Effect 2, Metro 2033 and other games at fully maxed out settings...they play just fine. So for a measly $100 I recovered my system. I will upgrade later when needed, but for now, this old 2005 system still does very well. Added also was a eSATA 2 port card, and a USB 3.0 2 port card which both work perfectly.

    In all I feel it was a wasted and annoying attempt on a new system for way too much $ then I wanted to spend while my old system works fine. I don't care about DX11, as it's still in such a shabby state and MS will not get my money for Windows 7. They screwed me on the $9.99 deal if you bought Vista boxed (not OEM), and for that matter I hate MS anyways.

    Next system to build later this year or next, will most likely be a "hackintosh". I use my computer for various things but seeing as the gaming scene for PC is in such a bad state, it justifies me ditching the "New Hot PC". It just wasn't needed.

    Comments on items:

    Cooler Master may make some good products but their instructions and CSupport is aweful. That Advanced (2010) case was nice, but the black paint chipped so easily. Yes it looked nice, and inside as all black. But they chose a cheap method. The HDD bays facing towards the left was annoying and yes i know people have modded it to face towards the rear (like most cases). Most of the plastic in the case feels cheap. The top mounted SATA drive slide-in port is generally non-functioning (read about it on forums). The filtered grills was cool, but why not filer them all?!? And why not mount 2 fans in the already cut out left panal (when I say left, I mean facing from the front BTW) is beyond me. Also the supposed tuck behind the mobo mount is enlarged vs the original 690, well if they only did it a little more it would actually be not such a pain in the arse. The 212+ HS/Fan was annoying as heck. Again the instructions were beyond terrible. I hated that thing. CM sucks IMHO. They need a 690 III Re-Advanced case.

    AMD CPU had a slight dent seen through the clear plastic box cutout. WHY AMD choses to do this is stupid. It is SO prone to handling/shipping damage. This might have been the problem and all the system did with just mobo, cpu, mount, gpu, ram was mounted in the case. All I got was BEEEEP, pause a few seconds, and BEEEP. Tried different PSUs and PCI-E video cards. No POST.

    Gigabyte Mobo, seemed cool. Looks semi-nice. Booklet ok. Board has some flimbsy ports. Alot of possible ideas, but I was never considering CrossFire. So good riddence. I don't think I like Gigabyte. In assembly into the case, it scratched easily (heatspreaders, pipes etc). My now dead 5 year old Asus mobo still looks brand new. Asus is still better in my opinion.

    Corsair RAM, it's heatsink could NOT fit correctly over the RAM. No matter how many times I tried variations, it at best could sit there, but not snug and would slip if case bumped. Corsair fubar'd totally on this 8GB low latenct Dominator pack. I'm sure the RAM rocks, but the heatsink/fan mount is a joke. Come on Corsair-WTF?!?

    Never tried the Seagate SATA3/6GBps 64mb cache drive. It was expensive. Like $280 or so. Can't comment on it. About Samsung (because someone mentioned the company), I hate them. WORST Customer Support EVER! Will never buy a Samsung product again. It took them 1/2 a year to replace my LCD monitor twice, and I sent it in in NEW looking shape. Got back a scratched to hell and panal glass chips, sent it back and after about 25+ phone calls, not to mention emails, I Finally got another monitor. It STILL is scratched, the screen looks better but is NOT my original monitor that looked perfect. Yeah I know O/T but had to add why I cannot stand Samsung.

    As for going CrossFire, naw... Did the SLI thing, was annoying. And as mentioned I'm using my GTX 295 and will visit my pal at nVidia soon and pick up some new nVidia form factor cards to play with. So then I can have the mighty (lol!) DX11 support. Whatta joke...

    Ohh the price, for the ordered parts was like $1,400+ aprox. Got it all back!! Spent $100 and like my old Asus system. It works well, plays all the new games, runs Vista x64 great. I have plenty of storage and now USB 3.0 support + 2 more eSATA-2 ports. All free with exception of the newly replaced mobo & the 2x 2TB SATA-2 drives. So that cost me like $250 or so for 4TB.

    Nice lesson learned, if you're satisfied with your computer, and you know what is wrong with it, just replace that part and be done. Sure I know some games will eventually work correctly with DX11 (not that much over DX10 really)...and MS will release DX12..and new cards will appear and so on and on and on... Gaming on my PS3 is my preference. It took me a long time to get used to gamepad FPS's, but I'm at a weird point..I go back to mouse+KB for games and sure it feels right for those games...but they are just more fun on a console. Tired of compatability issues, Windoze and the like. I can look back now, see the frustration in picking the parts, building it to be a hot shot computer only to realize I'm not enjoying this anymore.. My little old Asus AMD X2 939 is doing fine.

    End result: $350 to fix/upgrade my comp. Cooler Master can f-off. Yeah nice case-hah, geeze my old black off-brand case with sliding front door panal (to reveal my floppy, DVD/CD drives, a fan/HDD carrage, USB ports), x3 LCD temp reads is still working great and hasn't chipped its black paint over the last 5 years. Sure it hasn't the depth of the CM 690 II, but close to it. Time wasted, learned a new PC isn't needed now, wasn't very fun, got fully refunded and am back to where I was before my old mobo cooked (and decided to build a new system because of it) with two new 2TB HDDs. Now I'm happy... :)
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