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Year old homebuilt, time to upgrade!

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July 23, 2011 6:07:45 PM

Its a long thread with a lot of different points..but the main point is: What should I upgrade? I'm thinking about starting with water cooling, then in November crossfire. Any tips would be appreciated though! Even if it won't greatly help performance, playing with this computer is a hobby, i have fun upgrading :) 

I7-950 @ 3.8
6GB RAM (3x 2gb)
750W
Radeon 6870
1TB HD
Haf 932
Asus P6X58D-E
212 plus heat sink
Lite on DvD writer

Anyway, I was planning on selling this so i could build something new..but I'm getting suggestions that selling this would be a waste because it's a good build. Instead i'm considering modding / upgrading

-The I7-950 is OC to 3.8, and running at about 76C after 2 hours of Prime 95. I tried to overclock to 4.0 but after 20 minutes of Prime it shut off. I'd like to overclock higher (its a bit of a hobby) but i don't want to spend too much money if i won't notice a difference in performance

-The front audio port doesn't work. It never has, I can't figure out why. It's possible I plugged it in the wrong place, but I can't figure out what the right place is or even which cord it is.

-I Really want to make the side panel a window. I could mod this myself fairly easily, but then I would lose the 230mm fan.

-Considered crossfiring, could my power supply handle it?

-I really want to clean up the case. Paint the inside, wire management, etc, nice LED fans, cold cathode lights,

- I want watercooling. I see the pros of it as: Looking nice, not having to worry about dust, Could overclock higher, overlower lower temperatures. If I got water cooling and decided to crossfire after, would it be a pain to get the new parts and set the cooling up again?

Overall I'd just appreciate any advice involving my computer. If you need more information (temperatures or anything) let me know. I just ran into a bit of money and I'd like to spend it on this, just not sure where :)  Would love to upgrade.

Thanks!
July 23, 2011 6:34:16 PM

The wire coming from the case should by labeled as HD Audio or AC '97. If not, trace the wire from the speaker. Seeing how your motherboard is the same as mine (Asus Xtreme Design), the audio connector should be the lower left of the motherboard. Plugging any one of the connector I mentioned should work.

Unfortuneately, you need a better psu to handle 2 video card and overclocking. Based on corsair.com, you need at least 850W.

If you want to do watercooling, which I think you should because Intel said this chip's max temp is 67.9C (http://ark.intel.com/products/37150), then you can always buy a video card that is pre build with watercooling. Or you can always buy a watercooling component. My suggestion is Koolance, because their water cooling component is really good. In term of installing, it is like installing a heatsink for your cpu, not hard at all. Just take out all the heatsink, clean out the thermal paste, replace them with a new one, then install the watercooling.

Note that buying a watercooling kit is not the best way to do because I too want to do watercooling but the one comes with a kit is build with cheap material. Koolance is nice but expensive. If you only want to watercool your cpu, go for Corsair.

I have to say your pc is overpower. Unless you are using it for some crazy app, then you don't need to overclock your cpu. I have a Core i5-650 and not even once have the cpu processing at 100% often. Most of the time, it only processes at 20-30% when I use it for gaming and such. In my opinion, you only need to overclock it if it is processing at 90-100% often, but I like your enthusiasm!
July 24, 2011 3:20:21 AM

polke45 said:
The wire coming from the case should by labeled as HD Audio or AC '97. If not, trace the wire from the speaker. Seeing how your motherboard is the same as mine (Asus Xtreme Design), the audio connector should be the lower left of the motherboard. Plugging any one of the connector I mentioned should work.

Unfortuneately, you need a better psu to handle 2 video card and overclocking. Based on corsair.com, you need at least 850W.

If you want to do watercooling, which I think you should because Intel said this chip's max temp is 67.9C (http://ark.intel.com/products/37150), then you can always buy a video card that is pre build with watercooling. Or you can always buy a watercooling component. My suggestion is Koolance, because their water cooling component is really good. In term of installing, it is like installing a heatsink for your cpu, not hard at all. Just take out all the heatsink, clean out the thermal paste, replace them with a new one, then install the watercooling.

Note that buying a watercooling kit is not the best way to do because I too want to do watercooling but the one comes with a kit is build with cheap material. Koolance is nice but expensive. If you only want to watercool your cpu, go for Corsair.

I have to say your pc is overpower. Unless you are using it for some crazy app, then you don't need to overclock your cpu. I have a Core i5-650 and not even once have the cpu processing at 100% often. Most of the time, it only processes at 20-30% when I use it for gaming and such. In my opinion, you only need to overclock it if it is processing at 90-100% often, but I like your enthusiasm!


Thanks for the post, I appreciate it. Looks like I might to a side panel and get water cooling for now. I'm just worried that if i get water cooling, when i crossfire I'll need to completely redo the watercooling system.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 24, 2011 3:58:43 AM

Have you considered a SSD. The HDD is the biggest bottleneck in over all performance.

As polke45 stated higher OC not a biggy. 3.8 -> 4.0 ony represents a 5% increase and any thing less than 10% is not even detectable to a user in real life - benchmark yes. Can still go with H20 cooling.

On side window - Don't see why you can not use a good grade of Plexiglass and still use your side fan. I put plexigalss on left side and mounted two 120mm fans on it.
July 24, 2011 3:19:17 PM

RetiredChief said:
Have you considered a SSD. The HDD is the biggest bottleneck in over all performance.

As polke45 stated higher OC not a biggy. 3.8 -> 4.0 ony represents a 5% increase and any thing less than 10% is not even detectable to a user in real life - benchmark yes. Can still go with H20 cooling.

On side window - Don't see why you can not use a good grade of Plexiglass and still use your side fan. I put plexigalss on left side and mounted two 120mm fans on it.


I guess a large reason I'm doing this is for looks. I think water cooling looks nice, and its something I could show off at college. If it doesn't enhance the performance at all then I won't bother, but if it makes my computer a bit better, and gives me the bragging right then it would be worth it to me.

Ive considered an SSD but i don't know too much about them. Right now i have 1 Harddrive, and everything goes on it. If I got an SSD, how would I know what to put on it to make the computer overall faster?

I don't want to put fans on the side window because I don't think it would look nice, appearance is the only reason I'm doing the mod :-p

Thanks for the help! I'll look into SSDs more
July 24, 2011 3:26:48 PM

It would be ideal to put your OS on the SSD seeing as how anything that is not on the SSD will not see the performance increase from using it.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 24, 2011 4:27:52 PM

Generally the OS and programs go on the SSD. Min size is 80 gigs with recommended size of 100->128 gigs. Higher capacity SSD are on the expensive side. Boot time can be impressive - from completion of post and opening a program from 10->20 sec. Opening a program is almost instantaneous. Myself I'm setting my systems up with a "Boot" SSD and a 2nd one for my date/files most often used. In this configuration, I can click on a spreadsheet, the program will load and the spreedsheet available before I can drag the cursor to a cell.
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