The Test Platform
Intel’s Core i7-980X six-core processor requires an LGA 1366 motherboard with recent BIOS, and we just reviewed a few of those in May. Of the boards we evaluated, Gigabyte’s X58A-UD7 appeared to offer the best stability.
Testing the performance differences of a single processor at various speeds wouldn’t require fast RAM, but we used it anyway.
High-end graphics also would not be required, yet we didn’t want the system to appear slow in game benchmarks. Sapphire’s Radeon HD 5850 is more than adequate for producing playable frame rates in most games at high settings.
The Cooler Express startup guide suggested a motherboard installation height that almost perfectly matched our Danger Den Torture Rack 2 chassis. That’s a striking coincidence, since we were already using this chassis in a motherboard testing station.
Corsair’s reputable CMPSU-850HX was already installed on the Torture Rack 2 from its use in the motherboard testing station, and we knew this unit would provide far more power than our single CPU and graphics card would require.