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HP Blackbird 002 (retail edition) upGRADE > core i7

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April 2, 2012 6:36:21 PM

Howdy all...I'm new to the forum and seemed to be a good place to get some much needed advice and/or technical help:

Currently I have a HP Blackbird 002 (retail edition) Core 2 Quad Q9450 and I'm looking to finally upgrade this machine in the next 2-3 months to jump into the Core-i7 series of processors. The main uses of my rig is for modeling...rendering...animation (i.e. 3ds MAX) and Photoshop work so the multi-cores of the new i7 will certainly be utilized. Right now I'm trying to keep my budget within the $1500 range and I believe I can easily accomplish this by choosing the right components.

So after doing the usual Google searches to gather information about how others have upgraded their existing Blackbirds I'm starting to distill some early thoughts on what may be the best plan of action.

I suspect the first thing to decide (aside from budget) is the processor and after reading from a few different sites I'm starting to lean towards a Core i7-3930K...It seems like a good balance between power and price.

Next up the mother board...again after reading a wide spectrum of information/opinions/preferences I'm starting to consider Intel DX79 SI...Asus P9X79 Pro...EVGA FTW X79...or Gigabyte X79-UD3. I would probably like to get at least one SSD as my OS/Application drive so I may have to "rig" something in the case (possible drive bay solution from Icy Dock) to accommodate the additional drive since those drives have a SATA II connection.

I'm probably going to go with some flavor of nVidia video card so any suggestions on that would be welcomed. Based upon the primary use of the box I haven't decided if I'm going to implement SLI or not...on my existing machine right now I don't have it implemented so I haven't taken advantage of this functionality yet. Other things to consider are RAM (how much and brand...I'm thinking at least 16gig) and if I need a new power supply based upon motherboard and processor specifications...Again thoughts on this are welcome based upon certain factors of the motherboards and case design.

Well for now this information will at least get me started in the right direction so any thoughts...ideas...opinions...experiences that you may have to share would be most welcome.

Thanks in advance for all your time and effort in helping me with this upgrade.

Best solution

April 2, 2012 8:18:51 PM

Hello op

The best recommendation is to get the i7 3960k

if you could push the budget upto 2000 usd it would have been possible to make a nice arrangement for the storage.

What hdds you currently have .

Intel i7 3930k
cm hyper 212 evo cpu cooler.
Asus sabertooth x79 motherboard
corsair 4x 8 gb 1600mhz low profile vengence ram
Evga gtx 560ti 3gb
Seasonic 620w 80+ bronze psu
crucial m4 128 gb ssd ( for os + 3d max and other programs ).
Wd carvier blue 500gb 7.2k rpm hdd x 2 in raid 1 ( for work data storage )
Seagate baracuda 2tb 5900rpm hdd for storage.
Corsair carbide 600T white edition case.

This would come in you budget.

I would posts some link afterwards.
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April 2, 2012 8:24:27 PM

I may have forgotten one critical piece of information...I want to keep my existing case.

I apoligize for not clarifying this earlier...OOPS!!!
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April 2, 2012 8:37:48 PM

Ok does that case supports atx and e- atx motherboard.
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April 2, 2012 8:40:56 PM

The build wont change just the hdds would become carvier blacks instead of carvier blues and they would be 1tb in raid 1 and not 500gb in raid 1
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April 2, 2012 10:19:03 PM

SerialKiller,

Thanks for all your input/suggestions...much appreciated.

I'm also thinking about keeping the existing water block I have for cooling since that system (Asetek) seems to be working nicely...but your suggestion is noted.

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April 9, 2012 11:55:56 PM

Best answer selected by KaSTRAW.
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April 15, 2012 5:15:42 AM

Hi KaSTRAW, I rebuilt my Blackbird and information is hard to come by so I'm compelled to post for all future readers as well. I'll limit my suggestions to BB specific items since opinions about most components are a dime a dozen and most of them will work the same in the BB as a standard ATX case.

First, take pictures of everything and label the smaller wires (used for the lights and pop up front USB) before you tear it down. I can't find a wiring diagram for these anywhere.

Upgrading the Hard Drives was my biggest issue. The back plane that the HD's plug into is very unique. As you noted, you do pretty much have to lose it in order to upgrade HD's and SSD's. You will lose the LCD lighting when you do this and I haven't found a work around short of installing new lighting. The only thing that will remain lit is the power button (not the whole front power button face plate). The BB backplane turns the lights on when the PC is turned on and I haven't seen an aftermarket lighting system that will do that. If anyone reading this knows of one, let us know. I ended up wiring the drives directly to the motherboard and keeping the original drive bay minus the backplane. If you go that route, get an SSD with an adapter to fit a mechanical drive size. I went with Kingston which you can get with a nice kit.

It is a very tight fit for cabling on the back side of the BB, especially behind the backplane. Notice how tight the cabling is there. You will have to keep it tight and meticulous all around to get a good fit for the closure of the back panel.

The PSU will need to be replaced. The original is custom to BB and not compatible with the some components. But a standard size will fit. I recommend going with one with the fan on the bottom and blows out the back, like the original.

Be very careful with the plastic push tabs that hold the video card in at the back. They are very easy to break. Also, you won't be able to use the bracket that holds the back end of the original video card but it's not an issue.

If you do want to change the water cooling and your video cards aren't water cooled, the Corsair H100 works well with minor mods. It's easiest to use the fans that come with the H100 to do this.

You will lose the slim CD drives unless you want to keep the slower PATA drives and buy an IDE PCI adapter. I left them in and unplugged and put a standard drive in the third bay. Easy and fits well.

Best of luck
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January 1, 2013 8:50:41 PM

rodger 1 said:
Hi KaSTRAW, I rebuilt my Blackbird and information is hard to come by so I'm compelled to post for all future readers as well. I'll limit my suggestions to BB specific items since opinions about most components are a dime a dozen and most of them will work the same in the BB as a standard ATX case.

First, take pictures of everything and label the smaller wires (used for the lights and pop up front USB) before you tear it down. I can't find a wiring diagram for these anywhere.

Upgrading the Hard Drives was my biggest issue. The back plane that the HD's plug into is very unique. As you noted, you do pretty much have to lose it in order to upgrade HD's and SSD's. You will lose the LCD lighting when you do this and I haven't found a work around short of installing new lighting. The only thing that will remain lit is the power button (not the whole front power button face plate). The BB backplane turns the lights on when the PC is turned on and I haven't seen an aftermarket lighting system that will do that. If anyone reading this knows of one, let us know. I ended up wiring the drives directly to the motherboard and keeping the original drive bay minus the backplane. If you go that route, get an SSD with an adapter to fit a mechanical drive size. I went with Kingston which you can get with a nice kit.

It is a very tight fit for cabling on the back side of the BB, especially behind the backplane. Notice how tight the cabling is there. You will have to keep it tight and meticulous all around to get a good fit for the closure of the back panel.

The PSU will need to be replaced. The original is custom to BB and not compatible with the some components. But a standard size will fit. I recommend going with one with the fan on the bottom and blows out the back, like the original.

Be very careful with the plastic push tabs that hold the video card in at the back. They are very easy to break. Also, you won't be able to use the bracket that holds the back end of the original video card but it's not an issue.

If you do want to change the water cooling and your video cards aren't water cooled, the Corsair H100 works well with minor mods. It's easiest to use the fans that come with the H100 to do this.

You will lose the slim CD drives unless you want to keep the slower PATA drives and buy an IDE PCI adapter. I left them in and unplugged and put a standard drive in the third bay. Easy and fits well.

Best of luck


Proud Blackbird owner here, who has already upgraded once and plans to do so again in a few days. :hello: 

I'm wondering two things:

1) What are the minor modifications to place the H100? I am installing a H100i with my new upgrade, so it'd be nice to know what to look out for.

2) Why remove the awesome storage back plate? It can accommodate SATA3 just fine, if that's a concern. If you want to put in SSDs (as I will be doing), Icy Dock makes a great 3.5" to 2.5" adapter that fits perfectly in the BB's drive bays.

JML
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February 13, 2013 11:58:47 PM

rodger 1 said:

...
First, take pictures of everything and label the smaller wires (used for the lights and pop up front USB) before you tear it down. I can't find a wiring diagram for these anywhere.
...
Best of luck


Dooh,
I wish I read this post before I tore everything down in my Blackbird 002

I am in the process of updating the MOBO to an ASUS Maximus V Formula with an i7 proecessor
I have a couple of extra of the smaller wires coming out from the front panel that I can't find a home for.

Can you assist me in identifying a black/red twisted wire four pin black connector?
There is another 4 pin wire that looks a bit like a fan header, the four pins are a little offset to one side
I have the fan that blows over the hard disks connected so it is not that.

Thank you in advance.
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