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6950 Crossfire upgrade....CPU, PSU,Case etc....

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February 26, 2011 8:52:32 PM

Thank you for reading my post. Think I'm pretty close but could use some input

Just set up eyefinity with one 6950 and see that to fully run at that resolution I will need to setup crossfire

Time frame: Within two weeks

My System:
Phenom II X2 550 (Unlocked Triple Core @ 3.6ghz)
CM Hyper 212+
MSI GM-E51 MB
6GB DDR3 1333 RAM
Sapphire 6950 (2gb)
Sapphire active display port adapter
Corsair tx650
Seagate 7200rpm 160gb HDD
Antec 300

Obviously I will get another Sapphire 6950

Wondering more about the MB and the difference between 8x8 and 16x16 leaning towards this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813157198

Will need a new PSU to power both cards open to options and what wattage I would want?

Also its already a tight fit in the Antec 300 hundred and with two cards worried about temps and airflow. Like the Antec but not sure it will easily cool two 6950's was looking at

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811119215

My main concern is that by upgrading to crossfire my cpu may limit my systems performance and may need to upgrade as well?

Phenom X6?

Wait a few months and upgrade to the new bulldozer and am3+ MB? Make due till then if I have to

February 26, 2011 9:06:29 PM

Your links dont work, so it's hard to comment.
If your gfx cards were 70s, the phenoms may be a bit of a bottleneck.
I would not sweet it yet.
As with most setups, more cores only help if your progs can use them.
Running a bunch of crap in the background is a big demand for more cores. If you dont have more cores, dont act like you do, and you wont have a problem.
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February 26, 2011 9:31:16 PM

Thanks for responding, sorry about the broken links

ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Looks like I will need 650+ watts for power

PSU

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Think I will make due with the Antec 300 hundred, if it does'nt keep things cool I can upgrade down the line, same for the CPU

My main question I guess is what MB should i buy?

What little I've read keeps pointing me to the Asrock. Would like to keep costs down, I usually go with MSI as I've had good experience with them.




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February 26, 2011 11:15:09 PM

The Corsair 650 watt supply will work fine with a pair of 6950's

http://www.antec.outervision.com/PSUEngine

Calculator says; 512watts so 650watt will do the job.....


ASROCK, ASUS, or Gigabyte, just about any board they make will be fine.

But I'd go for x16 x16. I'd want some beefy heat sinks on the MB chip set with all that heat in the system. AND I'd want three (3) slots, NOT the typical two (2) slots between the PCI Express slots for extra cooling

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Your choice only has two slots between the PCI Express slots. And only runs x8 x8
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

On the case & heat:

This your case? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's a bottom mount power supply which is great so you'll be pulling cool air in to cool off the power supply nicely....

Looks like you can May able to install some optional front intake fans, get some your going to need them with the big Crossfire rig.... Typically your top card will run 10C to 15C hotter than your lower card. So, you have to keep the lower card in the low 70C's or you'll throttle....



You mention you have 6 Gb of RAM. How many RAM sticks to you have? And what size?
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February 27, 2011 2:24:02 PM

Thanks for your response. Good point with the extra pci to give a little more seperation between graphics cards. Was hoping to spend less but I think that would be money well spent.

My PSU now only has 2 6+2 pins so while it could probably swing it in the wattage department I'm short a couple if power connectors. I will most likely put this PSU in my HTPC as it has a cheap apevia PSU that came with the case. It's run fine for a year but it's pretty low end.

My case is an Antec 300 and the 6950 fits with about a 1/8" to spare. (2) cards is going to be tight but doable.

Started this system on Win XP and so had a 2gb stick of ram. Once I upgraded to Win 7 I added one 4gb stick of ram.

My main reason for the upgrade is that i'm running eyefinity and one card although impressive on one monitor does'nt have enough power for the 5760x1080 Resolution.

I have room for one more fan upfront and will definately be adding one 120mm. I've got all the rest already installed 120mm in top,back,side,front

Thanks for the good idea on more than one pci and separation
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Best solution

February 27, 2011 6:24:44 PM

On the RAM, I believe using a 2Gb stick matched with a 4Gb stick will force your system to running single channel all the time. That will cut your memory band width in half and slow your CPU and system down. I recommend spending $35--$40 on another Matching 4Gb stick... (remove the 2Gb stick completely...)

NOTE: if your NOT running the 64 bit version of Win 7 the most RAM you can access is 3.25Gb, soooo, just buy a second 2 Gb stick and remove the 4 Gb stick from the system.....


One the power supply, many video cards come with a pair of Molex to 6+2 pin adapter cables like those pictured here (next to the box)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


You should be able to run fine using adapters..... (then if you upgrade later, get an 850watt so your ready for just about anything and it's only a few dollars more than a 750watt (I use the Corsair 850HX in two of my SLI systems...))






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February 27, 2011 8:07:09 PM

Interesting.....started with Win xp as I had it on hand so 2gb was fine. I was then able to get Win 7 through my student discount for 29.99 and decided to upgrade and at that time I bought the other 4gb stick. I guess my memory has not been optimized this whole time? Memory has really gotten cheap guess another 4gb chip won't break the bank. I can always put the the 2gb in my HTPC for a total of 4gb

Thank you for the molex adapter tip....would be nice to minimize costs and keep using the PSU i have.

This started as a budget replacement for my aging p4 when I built it about a year ago. It's been a great rig so far.

I'm going to have to tear most if it apart when I upgrade the MB to a crossfire board. I'm starting to consider keeping the 6950 and 4gb ram & trying to sell the computer with out it. Start from scratch and build something new with a larger case with better ventilation.

The MB and GPU are gonna run $400. Depending on what I can sell mine for It would'nt be a whole lot more to just upgrade everything.

Guess I will have to weigh how easily I could sell it.

Thanks again for the advice on the molex adapter if I go that route it will save me $100, something I would'nt have thought of.


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March 2, 2011 11:16:03 PM

Best answer selected by pacific27.
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