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Hardware Installation

System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $2000 PC
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With the exception of our CPU cooler and hard drive trays, today’s build followed the same steps detailed in our how-to-build guide. We’ve already outlined the additional steps required to install our CPU cooler on this page in our June System Builder Marathon, and that link allows us to move on to our hard drive installation.

Lifting the tabs on the bottom of our hard drive trays allows each to be removed separately, exposing the fact that the Fortress 2 case has only a single hot-plug connector. We used it for our high-capacity storage drive.


SilverStone’s drive cages use rubber bushings at each screw hole and shoulder bolts to prevent crushing of those bushings. Unfortunately, the shoulder bolts have the same UTS 6-32 threads used by 3.5” hard drives, while A-Data’s 3.5” adapter trays have the same ISO M3-0.50 holes used by optical drives.

The only way to mate these parts “correctly” would be to resize the holes in the aluminum adapter tray to the larger UTS thread. The aluminum is soft enough to force thread the UTS screw into the ISO hole using nothing more than a screwdriver, but those who prefer to do things the right way can also buy a 6-32 tap at their local hardware store. Even though we have that very tap size on-hand, we resized and rethreaded the holes of our adapter trays the “wrong” way to make sure it could be done “nicely” by anyone experienced with tools.

Both side panels must be removed for cable installation. After doing that, connecting the parts is as easy as following the motherboard, case, and power supply manuals. Please note that memory fills the white slots first on this motherboard, as Intel’s “Core I” series CPU-integrated memory controllers require the last slot of each channel to be filled first.

Display all 131 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    amk09 , December 13, 2010 4:13 AM
    The link to enter the giveaway doesn't work!

    I would love to be first to enter :) 
  • 2 Hide
    micr0be , December 13, 2010 4:18 AM
    i think im gona get a revo 2 drive ssd to upgrade my current build.... all thanks to santa !!
  • 7 Hide
    Tamz_msc , December 13, 2010 4:31 AM
    Its good to know that choosing the wrong memory can affect performance in such a way.
  • 7 Hide
    fstrthnu , December 13, 2010 4:49 AM
    I'm pretty surprised we didn't see Geforce GTX 570s in this build, I guess they got released too late to make it here.
  • 2 Hide
    fstrthnu , December 13, 2010 4:57 AM
    >> First time in recent memory
    "Cough Cough" Lame Pun
  • 2 Hide
    jerreece , December 13, 2010 5:01 AM
    Wow that Mushkin memory really jacked up this benchmark.
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , December 13, 2010 5:10 AM
    Most perfect build ever ? Just read the configs yet, and I think that's a possibility.

    Now don't skin me if the config proves to be a flop in the coming pages. Just read the first page and couldn't resist a comment.
  • -5 Hide
    hemburger , December 13, 2010 5:16 AM
    Why not replace the two ssd's with a single intel 120gb... same price and now on 35nm
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , December 13, 2010 5:17 AM
    I think this one can be trimmed to a very good $1500 build as well. Change the CPU to i5 760, remove one of the cards, one of the SSDs, and you'll need lower capacity PSU for that, let's slash $30-$50 there, you get a very good PC for $1500.
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , December 13, 2010 5:23 AM
    And oh, cheapen the case as well. There's no free lunch. You gotta sacrifice some silence to gains some frame rates.
  • 6 Hide
    duk3 , December 13, 2010 5:44 AM
    Get rid of MW2 in benchmarks for Battlefield Bad Company 2 and add in Starcraft 2 in my opinion. Nice computer, that's too bad about the memory.
  • 7 Hide
    gti88 , December 13, 2010 6:12 AM
    Having $2000, I would take i5 760 + 2 x gtx580
  • 1 Hide
    barmaley , December 13, 2010 6:15 AM
    I agree with the people above who mentioned i5 760 and GTX 570. I was thinking the same thing when I saw the config. IMO, $2000 would give you far better performance in games, especially with high resolution and quality:

    GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 - $125
    Intel i5 760 - $205
    Scythe Mugen 2 - 47
    Cooler Master HAF 932 - $140
    GTX 570 2x SLI $700
    Samsung F3 1TB - $70
    Crucial 128GB C300 - $275
    CORSAIR XMS 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 - $125
    Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ-1000 1000W - $170
    Lite-On iHBS112 Blu-ray Drive: 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±R - $120
    Total: $1977

    All prices without rebates included. The $23 left over can be used to pay for the shipping where applicable. Also, an SSD can be replaced for a cheaper one to save a little money, if that's your thing.
  • 1 Hide
    styrkes , December 13, 2010 6:19 AM
    But isn't this worse than the previous $2000 PC?
  • -1 Hide
    Tamz_msc , December 13, 2010 6:27 AM
    @barmaley
    Everything is fine except the motherboard and here's why:
    http://www.hardware-revolution.com/p55-motherboards-crossfire-sli-performance-problem/
  • 1 Hide
    nyrychvantel , December 13, 2010 6:34 AM
    why is single intel 120GB better than 2x 64GB RAID 0? I thought the later twice the speed than a single SSD?
  • 2 Hide
    gti88 , December 13, 2010 6:44 AM
    $2000 config with TWO gtx 580:
    ASUS Maximus III Formula LGA 1156 - $179
    Core i5-760 - $205
    Noctua NH-U12P - $75
    Kingston DDR3 4gb - $56
    ENERMAX REVOLUTION85+ 920W - $200
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2Tb - $100
    COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced Black Steel - $80
    GTX580 x2 (SLI) - $1100

    Total price: $2005
  • -1 Hide
    barmaley , December 13, 2010 6:52 AM
    This build with 2 GTX 580 is nice. The only thing is that a lot people would have a problem paying $2000 and not getting blue ray and SSD. Not that it affects gaming in a big way as much as a good graphics card does, but it still counts.
  • 1 Hide
    nevertell , December 13, 2010 7:08 AM
    gti88$2000 config with TWO gtx 580:ASUS Maximus III Formula LGA 1156 - $179Core i5-760 - $205Noctua NH-U12P - $75Kingston DDR3 4gb - $56ENERMAX REVOLUTION85+ 920W - $200SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2Tb - $100COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced Black Steel - $80GTX580 x2 (SLI) - $1100Total price: $2005

    Good for gaming and nothing else.
  • 3 Hide
    SpadeM , December 13, 2010 7:10 AM
    Probably one of the most balanced (and i mean that in a good way) build i've seen in a while. (though i do miss the exotic 4x4850 from Don a while back, and i do hope u bring that back some day)
    Tamz_mscIts good to know that choosing the wrong memory can affect performance in such a way.

    And yes +1 for that and for Thomas, i'm looking forward to a follow-up article on that specific issue.
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