Page 1:Upgrading To First Class…On The Cheap
Page 2:CPU, CPU Cooler, And RAM
Page 3:Motherboard, Graphics, And Hard Drives
Page 4:Case, Power, And Optical Drive
Page 5:Accessories And Assembly
Page 7:Test Settings
Page 8:Benchmark Results: First-Person Shooters
Page 9:Benchmark Results: Real-Time Strategy
Page 10:Benchmark Results: Audio/Video Encoding
Page 11:Benchmark Results: Productivity
Page 12:Benchmark Results: Synthetics
Page 13:Power Consumption
Accessories And Assembly
We began our assembly process by installing the LGA-1366 mounting brackets to the Vigor Monsoon III LT. The photograph shows the orientation of the backplate, which was removed prior to inserting the screws through motherboard mounting holes.
Next, the CPU was clipped into the LGA-1366 socket, coated with a thin layer of thermal paste, and topped by the CPU cooler. Flipping the motherboard over shows again how the Vigor Monsoon III LT is attached. Notice that the Cooler Master mounting plate of Vigor's Monsoon III LT fits over Intel's LGA-1366 socket support plate.
The CM Stacker 830 case has a removable motherboard tray, which is only slightly useful in reducing build time since installing cables requires stripping the assembly down to nothing more than the CPU, CPU cooler, and RAM. We also installed the graphics cards to get an easy photo of the complete platform, but then removed them prior to installing the motherboard cables.
Rated at 63.7 CFM and 28.0 decibels at full-speed, we installed a pair of Scythe S-Flex SFF21F fans into the case’s side panel for added airflow.
Both fans were installed into the front half of the side panel fan cage, to blow towards the graphics cooling fans and memory. By blowing towards the memory, the top fan also feeds cool air into the CPU cooler.
Available for $1 each as Newegg item number N82E16812119146, two three-pin extenders allow our fan cables to be wired closer to the fan cage hinge.
Notice that we removed the top rear fan holder from the CM Stacker 830’s side fan cage to make room for the oversized CPU heat sink assembly. Closing the fan cage proves that this combination of components fits almost perfectly.
However, we do have a caveat for anyone who wants to copy this build. The rear fan of our CPU cooler protruded slightly into the space of EVGA’s motherboard VRM sink. We bent the heat pipe slightly for added clearance, only to find that doing so prevented us from inserting the eight-pin CPU power connector. With only the slightest interference encountered, gentle force brought the parts together without tilting the CPU cooler away from the socket.
We’d also like to note that the PCIe power leads must be folded over in order to prevent contact with the blades of the lower fan. Doing so allows the frame of the fan to hold these away from the blades. Anyone who would point to this as a reason to select a different case should be aware that this particular fan is in a perfect position to assist GPU cooling, while alternative designs would compromise cooling effectiveness.
We didn’t need or use any additional cooling for our $2,500 PC’s chipset and RAM. However, such a device was required—but left out of—October’s $4,500 build. The fan we wanted to use but couldn’t find at Newegg is Antec’s Spot Cool, which can be pointed in any direction to cool multiple components simultaneously.
Since we weren’t certain whether we’d need it, we ordered one and ended up not using it. While it cannot be found with Newegg’s component browser by using the name "Spot Cool" or the part number from Antec’s product page, we’ve mentioned it anyway so that readers who do need the device can find it as Newegg item number N82E16835209017.
- Upgrading To First Class…On The Cheap
- CPU, CPU Cooler, And RAM
- Motherboard, Graphics, And Hard Drives
- Case, Power, And Optical Drive
- Accessories And Assembly
- Test Settings
- Benchmark Results: First-Person Shooters
- Benchmark Results: Real-Time Strategy
- Benchmark Results: Audio/Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Synthetics
- Power Consumption