Will this set up work?
06-08-2009, 11:35 PM (This post was last modified: 06-08-2009 11:50 PM by robthebloke.)
RE: Will this set up work?
The setup will work OK, but just a couple of points I'll make.
Get an Intel i7 920
It's going to cost a bit more, but having just built one for my housemate I honestly can't see the point in buying anything else. These are the bits we used:
Asus P6T SE
- I prefer ASUS to other makes, they have some fairly swanky bios options
Intel Core i7 920
- There are 2 versions of this CPU so beware! The older one is called the C0 stepping version. The newer one is the D0 stepping. So... Make sure you get the D0 stepping one!. Be sure to ask newegg which one you're getting before buying.
Fan + Cooler
closest thing i could find on newegg:
- The CPU does come with it's own heatsink, but it's pretty lame. Here's a quick comparison shot: http://www.pcityourself.com/forum/attachment.php?aid=3 (stock cooler on the right). Larger heatsinks keep the fan noise down, and also keep the CPU very cool indeed (for reasons that will become apparent later).
6Gb DDR3 memory 1600Mhz
- Make sure you get 1600 Mhz.
There are some photos from the build here:
It's worth noting the benchmarks in the very last photo. Hitting 4.2Ghz was pretty easy (which is why the fan and mem speed are so important!). Anyhow, even without overclocking it's damned fast. (But I'll talk about that more later...)
Get Windows 7
The next thing is vista 64bit. Windows 7 is coming out in October, so i don't think it's worth purchasing vista at the moment. You can however download the 64bit release candidate for windows 7 and use that instead: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows...nload.aspx
It's completely free to use until March 2010, when it will start shutting down every 2 hours until you buy a license of windows. So it doesn't avoid the cost of the license, but it does put it off for a bit to help you find that extra cash for an i7
There are a few problems worth noting before you go this route. First it's an RC, not a final version so there may be some minor problems you encounter along the way. The only problems we've seen so far are:
1. We couldn't get the ASUS motherboard drivers to install properly from the CD. We 'fixed' that problem by manually selecting every single device in the device manager, manually upgrading each driver, and told it to go search the DVD for drivers.
2. We couldn't get any software to work to let us slow the fans down in the case. (this is normally done with some asus software for the motherboard, which wouldn't install on windows 7). As a result, we had to spend a little bit extra to go and buy a basic fan controller. Something like this will do the job:
Both of those problems were fairly trivial to work around for the moment, and they are likely to be fixed when windows 7 is released in october.
Things to bear in mind when overclocking
The first rule is that caution is advisable! The most important thing is basically heat. The highest temperature for the i7's is 67.9 degrees, so don't let it go over that, ever!
The CPU voltage is the typical cause of heat problems, and the operating voltage for the 920 is 0.80V - 1.225V. The lower that number, the less heat it generates, the slower you can run your fans (noise), and the lower your electricity bill will be.
To overclock the CPU it's just a case of modifying the base clock for your computer (a.k.a. BCLCK). By default this is 133Mhz, and a CPU multiplier of 20 gives you 2.66Ghz (The i7's have a turbo mode that will put the multiplier up to 21 for 2.8Ghz). In theory you keep increasing the BCLCK until the system fails to boot, at which point you dial it down again. I say 'in theory' because in practice, this doesn't work that well.
When you modify the BCLCK, it also modifies the RAM speed. If the ram speed is somewhat non standard (i.e. anything other than 1600Mhz +/- 5Mhz) you'll find you get random crashes, some devices won't work etc. The trick is to find the BCLCK's that have multipliers for 1600Mhz ram speeds, which happen to be 133, 160, or 200.
The absolute highest you can reasonably expect is:
BCLCK 200, CPU multiplier 21, cpu voltage 1.225v, which gives 4.2Ghz at max temp of 58C with fan speed on high.
However at that speed, the fan noise is a bit on the loud side, and it'll put your electricity bill through the roof. In the end we settled for two modes:
eco: BCLCK 160, CPU multiplier 21, cpu voltage 1.01v, which gives 3.36Ghz at max temp of 54C with fan speed on low.
turbo: BCLCK 200, CPU multiplier 17, cpu voltage 1.03v, which gives 3.36Ghz at max temp of 56C with fan speed on low.
Both of those modes outperform the top of the range 3.33Ghz Core i7, and the voltages were low enough to be able to run the case and CPU fans at the absolute minimum (i.e. close to silent). We found that the voltage jumped *a lot* when we went above 3.4Ghz. At 4.2Ghz we needed the maximum voltage recommended for the CPU. If you see any reports of anyone running the CPU at 4.2Ghz +, they are either lying, or they are pumping dangerously high amounts of voltage through the CPU.
P.s. There's a 1TB Hitachi drive for the same price as the 640 WD hard drive:
p.p.s. I only ever buy Hitachi drives these days, because they are the only make that has never failed on me....
p.p.p.s. As a comparison, my quad core PC @ 3.8Ghz seen here: http://www.pcityourself.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=11 is about 45% of the performance of the email@example.comGhz in all benchmarks we ran....
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RE: Will this set up work? - robthebloke - 06-08-2009 11:35 PM