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System Assembly And Overclocking

System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $1300 Enthusiast PC

Overall, this mini-ITX-based system was easier to assemble than I thought it'd be. Of course, the working space was a little cramped, but Lian Li's PC-Q08B case is sturdy, and it accommodated all of our components after some trial and error.

There isn't a power supply in the picture below. It actually gets placed above the motherboard, so you can't see much once it's installed. I was also thankful that Antec's Kuhler H2O 620 leaves a lot of space above the motherboard; our favorite air coolers would have certainly interfered with the power supply.

We did have one fitment issue, unfortunately. The Kuhler's radiator input and output don't fit without interfering with the motherboard's SATA connectors. In order to give all of the parts some breathing room, I moved the internal 120 mm fan outside of the case. It's still functional, and fits pretty well mounted where you see it, but it obviously messes with Lian Li's minimalist vibe. Form must follow function in this situation.


I have plenty of experience overclocking the Core i5-3570K. But despite solid stability at 4.5 GHz under Prime95, the system consistently crashed in our game tests. So, our final CPU clock rate is 4.3 GHz at 1.3 V.

Memory overclocking was easier. I simply used the XMP profile in the motherboard UEFI, which increased the data rate to 1866 MT/s and dropped timings to 8-9-9-24 2T.

The GeForce GTX 680 isn't known for scaling super-high, but by maxing out my voltage and power limits, I managed to push the GK104 an extra 94 MHz ant the memory up an additional 200 MHz, yielding a 1100 MHz base frequency and GDDR5-6408 data rates.

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