Building A Mid-Range Gaming Rig 1

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Tivon
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Introduction:

  Welcome to 3dGameMan "Building a Mid-Range Gaming Rig 1”. Have you always wanted to build your own gaming rig, but was unsure of where to start. The mid-range builder walks a fine line of performance and price. Never afraid to overhaul a complete system in the promise of playing games. Normally buying the latest hardware is only for the Elite, but for a gamer the only limits are our bank accounts or nagging wives.

  Before we start building, let's take a moment to recognize our beloved supporters that made this review possible: HIS Digital, Thermaltake, SilverStone, Crucial, Cooler Master, XILENCE, AuzenTech, Western Digital and Rodney Reynolds (AKA-3dGameMan).
THANK YOU!! :cool:

So without further ado...

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Tools:

  Before building a gaming system it's essential to have the appropriate tools to make the install process much easier as we "tool up" for production. When building our own PC the best option is a "Complete computer tool kit," preferably one that comes with a ESD (Antistatic) wrist band. Otherwise just acquire at least: wire cutters, phillips screwdriver, flashlight, cable ties and thermal compound.

  • Complete Computer Tool Kit (wire cutters, phillips screwdriver, flashlight)
  • Cable Ties
  • Antistatic Wristband
  • Thermal Compound

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The Parts:

  Building a PC is easy, but choosing which components to buy is a daunting task for even the experts. Understanding what mix of parts to achieve the best ratio without creating a bottleneck is a challenge. In the low-end markets it’s easy to just pick the cheapest parts you can find. In the high-end markets you go with the biggest baddest and most likely expensive hardware. Unfortunately the mid-range has a lot of room to blend high-end and low-end parts and that confuses new builders. Therefore if you need any help feel free to ask our members in the forum.

  The hardware markets change so fast that it’s difficult to keep up with all the new adjustments. Don’t get raped with the high prices! Use 3dgameman.pgpartner.com to search for the best prices online.



Parts List: (Picked at Random)
**New Recommended Parts Soon!**
3/03/2010
Intel i7 920
HIS or XFX AMD Radeon HD 5770
COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced or Basic




Case: Thermaltake V9 Black Edition | CHECK PRICES

Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST60F PSU (600Watts) | CHECK PRICES

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P | CHECK PRICES

CPU: Intel Q6600 Quad-Core | CHECK PRICES

Memory: Crucial 4GB kit (2GBx2), 240-pin DIMM, DDR2 PC2-8500 | CHECK PRICES

Air Cooling: Cooler Master V8 | CHECK PRICES

Additional Cooling: XILENCE internal fan control panel 3.5'' (XP-FCP.B) | CHECK PRICES

Video Cards: HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo 1GB Video Card | CHECK PRICES

Sound Card: Auzen X-Fi™ Forte 7.1 Low Profile PCI Express Sound Card | CHECK PRICES

Hard Drives: WDC WD6400AAKS-00A7B2 640GB (SATA300, 3.5", 7200rpm, NCQ, 16MB Cache) HDD | CHECK PRICES

DVD Burner: Plextor PX-740A DVD Burner | CHECK PRICES

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit OEM

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Behold the power of video!

  I've conveniently added all of our components that Rodney has done reviews for. Now you don't have to take my word for it, but seeing the hardware in video is far better than any text written article can provide. If you are here now you probably already know this, but feel free to check out Rodney's other hardware videos at YouTube or here at 3dGameMan.com. And hopefully with this added resource some of your Questions will be answered. Enjoy!



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Video Builders Guide!:

  Here is the "Building A KICKASS Gaming Rig 2" video made by Rodney in 2008. The specs are out of date for his Elite Kickass Gaming Rig, but the general rules still applies for us Mid-Rangers. Anything that I may have missed you can find here. Enjoy!

° º ¤ ø . ¸ . ø ¤ º ° º ¤ ø . ¸ ¸ . ø ¤ º ° º ¤ ø . ¸ . ø ¤ º ° º ¤ ø . ¸

Don't test my skills, I was trained by myself! Check out my Gaming Videos!

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Unboxing:

  At last here we are looking at our hardware in boxes. It's all tightly sealed and well protected, hopefully. Sometimes PC parts can be damaged during the shipping process. This is probably an excellent time to clear out some space for the unboxing and inspection of parts. You might want to hold onto some of these boxes should you determine later that a part is DOA (Dead on Arrival) and needs to be returned.

  Before we begin removing the hardware be sure to use your Antistatic wrist strap! This device will prevent static discharge from damaging your new parts.

I sleep fine at night knowing we are banning people who deserve it.  Tivon
Don't test my skills, I was trained by myself! Check out my Gaming Videos!

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Building I:

  Now that everything is out of the boxes we can begin building the computer. At this point we are ready to build the cooler. Similar to many other large heat-sinks in the heavy weight class the V8 cooler requires brimstone and baby owls. :) I'm kidding of course, just a back-plate that must be mounted to the motherboard before installing it into the case. This can be a tricky process because of the weight of the cooler. You can view the V8 CPU coolers instruction manual here. Sometimes the provided installation manuals are inadequate at best. If you feel lost assembling the cooler, please ask our forum members for help.

  If you have a PC case with a removable motherboard tray, this is a good time to remove it. Below I have the motherboard resting on a box. You can use whatever work area or surface you are comfortable with. The next thing we want to do is follow these instructions from the boxed Intel processor.

Boxed Intel® Processor Installation Instructions for Intel 775.
1. Open socket lever by pushing lever down and away from socket, Lift lever.
2. Open load plate.
3. Remove protective cover from load plate. Do not discard the protective cover. Always replace the socket cover if the processor is removed from the socket.
4. Remove processor from protective cover.
5. Hold processor with thumb and index fingers. Align to socket cutouts. Align notches with socket. Lower the processor straight down without tilting or sliding the processor in the socket.
6. Close load plate. Pressing down on load plate, close and engage socket lever.

  You should follow the directions on how to install the thermal paste here. I however tend to do things a little differently, but I fully understand why they instruct people the way that they do. The key heat spot is in the center of the processor just below the heat spreader, also known as the IHS. At one time CPU's had their meaty parts exposed, but some people had problems installing their heat sinks properly and cracking their processors. Both AMD and Intel then started using the IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader) to solve this problem.

  Knowing this information helps to understand why they want you to either place a pea-sized blob in the center or just a line in one direction of the cores. The paste must be spread out over the IHS nearest the cores to insure proper heat contact. When you install the heat sink it will spread out the paste in an oval shape. Actually metal to metal contact is the best conductor of heat, but the micro gaps of air pockets in between are not as conductive of heat as the thermal paste. Over applying thermal pastes can also impair the heat transfer because it’s not as good as the metal to metal. Therefore you can either read the instruction for the processor type to insure a nice line or blob is made in the direction of the cores or do what I do and use the smallest amount of paste and spread all over very thin with a card.

  The weight of the V8 is quite heavy. The best way I found to install it was to flip the cooler upside down and flip the motherboard over. Once it's lined up you can add the supporting Backplate and lock it down with the provided nuts. This plate helps to hold the cooler in place without putting extreme uneven pressure on the motherboard and processor. Once it's all in place you should be ready to install the motherboard into the case.

  From here we need to setup the case to install the motherboard. The first thing to do is remove the side doors and the front case panel. Now we need to install our Backplate (I/O shield). The I/O Shield is that rectangular metal plate on the back of the case that surrounds the motherboard ports. Most cases provide a default Backplate based on a universal standards that no one seems to follow, go figure. You should buy your motherboards with the retail box and avoid OEM deals because you will need the I/O Shield. Now with a firm push remove the Backplate already on the case, just be careful because on some cases the metal is flimsy and will warp. Once it's out you can install the new Backplate from the motherboard box. Just push it into place and you are ready to move on to the standoffs. Do note that on some I/O shields there are metal flaps that stick out. These flaps might get in the way of the motherboards ports. It might be in your best efforts to examine the I/O shield first as you are installing the motherboard to prevent any blockage later.

  From this angle you can get a better view of the possible number of standoffs needed. This case has some built in standoffs, they look like mini volcano mounds. Most cases come with the Mounting Screws and Standoffs. Rodney was nice enough to send me a care package containing every possible extra part needed to build this Rig. This case didn't come with the non-conductive washers I'm accustomed to using. As long as the board isn't touching the metal of the case, you won't ground the board. That's the general idea that I've been told over the years. Some people go to great lengths to install these red paper like washers under the boards. Don't ask me how they keep them in there, it sounds frustrating. All you need to do is install the standoffs to case that match the holes on the motherboard. Then from the top of the board tighten down the washers and mounting screws. The layers will be in order of: Case, Standoff, Motherboard, non-conductive Washer and Mounting Screw.

Now that the motherboard is installed, we can proceed with the rest of the system.

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Building II:

  After fidgeting with the video card install for a few minutes. It really shouldn't be this difficult, but I had to remove the Tool-less device at the rear of the case by undoing two screws. This is my first Thermaltake case and I can't say I'm blinded with star quality like those from Lian Li, Antec or Cooler Master, but at least I have chicken.

  In the event that you might find yourself in a similar situation where the Tool-less setup doesn't quite work so well. You should at least consult with our forum members first before any permanent adjustments are made with metric hammers. They tend to add these Tool-less devices to cases more as a selling point than a competent tool of functionality. Nonetheless this is very typical of cases that cost around 100$. If you spend more money on a good 200$+ case and do your research, you can avoid wasting time and get back to enjoying a much more pleasant building experience. In most pc cases they will at least provide the old tried and true method of using screws.

At this time go ahead and install the video card, sound card and wireless network cards for now, but don't lock them down just yet because we might need to remove them later for the wiring. If you are unsure of the appropriate slots refer back to your motherboard manual.

  The hard drive Tool-less rig works well, but I still added some screws to be double sure nothing was going to move round during transport. In this particular case you don't need to install any locking devices to the sides of the hard drives as I've done in other cases. I always seem to lose those hot swapping drive brackets anyway.

  If you plan to install a water cooling device into this case you will not have alot of room. Another way to make things work better in these tight cases is to install the hard drives into the Optical Bay Area using a 3.5" to 5.25" Drive Adapter Bracket. This will also solve the problem of reaching IDE drives with motherboards that only have one IDE port to share.

  The DVD drives are easy to install in this case. First remove the front panel to the case with a nice firm tug from the bottom. On some cases there are tabs or screws to hold the front panels in place, just give it a look first before you break something. Now remove the quick locking device for the slot you are going to use. Slide the drive in from the front and position the quick lock to the holes on the side and then twist the red knob to lock it in place. I tried installing this DVD drive from the top at first, but later I put it down at the bottom slot so the IDE cable would reach the Hard Drive. These are just some of the issues that you might deal with when adapting older legacy parts into your new gaming rig.

  One concern to point out here is the sound card and the first memory slot. The low profile sound card is longer than normal; it comes right up to the memory slot with no room to spare. To fix this problem you will need to: (1) buy another sound card from Auzen, (2) use the onboard audio, (3) use only 2 sticks of memory or (4) install the sound card into the second video card slot. Either way you go with this issue it is not a big deal because it does not prevent the system from functioning in this build. For now just install the memory into the 2nd and 4th memory slots. First pull back the ejector clips, align the memory module notches with the memory slot keys and with your fingers gently but firmly push the memory into the down position.

  The other issue here is that the side door does not install with the fan attached to the side. This is because the V8 cooler is so freakishly massive that there is just no room. Again this is not a big deal; I replaced it with a 120mm fan later. I only wish Thermaltake provided a window with a 80mm fan since this case is painted black inside and no one can see it.

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Building III

  Wiring is probably the most time consuming process of any computer build. Some people are not concerned about the wiring and probably have loose ends hanging out all over the place and held together with duct-tape. Well if they are not the self motivated type of person then that's fine also, but you lose out on the improved airflow and the pride that comes with the sizzling hot looks.

  First I start simple and fasten together the case cables down the front right side and tied them together with Cable Ties (Also known as Zip Ties). Ideally you want to position as much of the cables as possible behind the motherboard tray or places that can't be seen and out of the way. This case does not provide enough room behind the motherboard, but there is an area behind the hard drive cage. Use your best judgment here and check to be sure the doors can close afterwords.

  The onboard audio cable was basically resting on the heat pipes and I didn't like the idea of possible melting it over time. So I’ve installed the cable stretching across the motherboard. This is not the ideal wiring layout and later I will purchase an extension piece to reroute it or use another computer case entirely that has the power supply mounted on top.

  They only provide one IDE port on these new motherboards. I have a few extra IDE drives that I want to hang onto for a while longer. For this to work I used a 36-inch IDE 80-pin cable to reach the HD and DVD. The other drives are SATA and because of the limited space in this case they require the 90 degree SATA cables that can bend out of the way. It's best to install the SATA cables from the bottom up as this will allow room for each cable to overlap. Also seen here in the image below, you can hide alot of wires using Cable Ties.

  From time-to-time you run into these little issues during a build. The 8-pin 12v power cord was not long enough to travel along the right side with the rest of the cables to reach the connection right above the processor. You can solve this problem in two ways. Either buy the proper extension cables or run the wires across the motherboard. The best way that I've found when going across the motherboard is to remove the expansion slot cards and run the cable up right in the middle between the cards and slot risers as seen in these pictures. Before doing that however you might want to check and see if the cable can travel behind the motherboard tray first. I will come back later and use some extensions to re-wire the 12volt and Audio wires, but there is no window on this case, so it might be pointless as to what things look like inside.

  Begin by installing the classic ATX12V 4-pin power connector (also called the P4 power connector) and the 24-pin PC Main power connector (usually called P1) to the motherboard. Then connect the power to any case fans you might have. Some fans are 4-pin and others might be 3-pin. I normally install the CPU cooler fan into the motherboard to prevent accidentally shutting it off. Most case fans are typically plugged into a fan controller like the XILENCE internal fan control panel that we used in this build.

  The power consumption of graphics cards today have increased a lot over the years and often demand between 90 ~ 250 watts. And not only does watts matter, but also the 12v rail amps of a power supply is another concern in today's cards. Some research should be done to pick the right power supply to match the needs of your system. So please check before buying the power supply that it comes with the correct number of connection and power to properly support your hardware. Most modern computer power supplies include the 6-pin connectors which are used for PCI Express graphics cards, but some require 2 of these 6-pin connections or the addiction of a 8-pin. Don't stress out if you don't have enough connections however because you can always buy adapters. And as if it could not be more complicated, some Intel i7 motherboards now have yet another power port that needs to be plugged into the motherboard for systems with video cards that use more than 75watts.

  At this time you will want to read the motherboard manual for the layout of the pin outs. This can be a tricky process to install the front panel leads to the motherboard for such things as the power switch, reset, speaker, hd led and power led ect..

  Now that all of the devices have power you are ready to install windows. If you want to take this build to the next level and become a pro. Then perhaps some custom cable sleeving would do the trick. Most power supply's today do come pre-modded and that saves alot of time, but there are other wires in your system that can use a good cable sleeving 'mesh' look.

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Software & Bios

  Without the software it's just an expensive paper weight. So take your pick from Microsoft's Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Any of these operating systems from Microsoft will put you in the mainstream and capable of doing just about anything for games. However life would be boring with only one flavor of OS. And so you have Linux with its many varieties and the best part is that most versions are free, but it’s not the best for games.

  I currently have Windows 7 working on this system and running great. Most people should upgrade right away to get the full support of the hardware such as DX10 & 11, 64-bit, Audio Hardware Acceleration and full usage of your large sticks of memory. If you currently have a full copy of Vista and a nice computer then you might not feel the need to upgrade as much as those people still hanging onto Windows XP. After all these are hard times for a lot of people and there is no need to waste money on things that are currently working fine. As long as the games work, then that is all that matters.

#42 - Question/Answer: Best Operating System for Gaming

"What's the best operating system for gaming; Linux, MAC or Microsoft Windows? Watch the video to find out more..." ~http://www.3dGameMan.com

Windows 7 Release Candidate: Installation instructions

  The link above is a good place to start for the beginner. You typically start first with inserting the Windows DVD or CD into the optical player. When the computer turns on and runs the bios should auto detect the installation disk and start the install of Windows. However some motherboards come with a default bios option to detect the hard drives first. What happens then is that the bios stops loading and it prompts you with an error. If this happens you will need to read your motherboard manual and setup the drive order to allow the optical disks to load before the hard drives. After you are done installing the OS (operating system) you can change these bios settings back to improve the boot time.

  If you are having problems installing the operating system you will probably want to ask our forum members for help. There are so many things that will stump the average PC builder. Once you are in Windows for the first time it may ask for drivers to get your new hardware up and running. One of the worst is when you need the network port drivers so that you can download drivers for the other parts. If this happens you might need to use another computer and a flash drive to get started.

  My advice is to download and install the latest drivers of your hardware found on the manufacture's websites. Downloading the latest drivers will often provide you with the best compatibility and performance, but sometimes just because the drivers are new they are not better. This is when things can get really time consuming if something is not working right from the start. Should this happen to you a search on Google might save days of troubleshooting.

  There are alot of applications out there that you can use to detect the performance of your system. Vista and Windows 7 both have built in rating systems, but you will probably want to use 3DMark, Hdtach Ect.. These synthetic benchmarks are good for gauging the power of your new system.

-------------------- Bios --------------------

  In the spirit of overclocking you might discover potential issues with your hardware. Complex components like the motherboard may require that you upgrade or downgrade the Bios to gain performance or stability. Most manufactures will provide download links and instruction for updating the Bios. This should be handled with extreme caution because if the motherboard fails to flash properly then you might be stuck with a dead system. If you have no idea what a BIOS is then skip this part.

Updating the BIOS with the Q-Flash Utility

  The Gigabyte motherboard bios updating is super easy. You basically download the correct bios version for your boards revision. Run the EXE to extract the files to a floppy or USB drive. Place the files at the root directory, for example (G:\), because it might not see the files if they are located inside a folder. When you first turn on the computer there is an option for Q-Flash, hit the keyboard button. When Q-Flash loads up choose the hard drive option and you should see the Bios file listed. Give it the ok and the rest you should leave alone until it says finished. After it is done you can reboot your computer. You should then go into the motherboard bios and load the defaults. The reason for loading the defaults is to clear out the CMOS cache that stores the old motherboards settings. The battery on the motherboard is used for retaining the time, date and other personal adjustments on the CMOS chip when the system is unplugged from the AC power. If you don't clear out these old settings your system might become unstable with the new bios changes.

#50 - Question/Answer: Updating your BIOS

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The Benchmarks:

Without any overclocking or tweaks we are given a nice score of 13169 points in 3DMarks06 using the default settings.

  Overclocking of the Q6600 processor @ 3600MHz (400 x 9) 1.36V and the video overclocked to 780 - 1090. The final 3dMark2006 score is a meaty 16663! Wow! 17 ~ 18K is possible with the right tweaks and drivers that I've not done yet. The video drivers used in this benchmark test are the 9.4 ATI drivers. Future drivers might prove to be more fruitful over time.

Call of Duty - World at War

HDTach 3.0

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Finishing Remarks:

STEP AWAY FROM THE BONE SAW!! This building guide is over!

Recap: We picked out some parts mostly at random. Ran into a few issues, but nothing Chuck Norris can't fix. Learned a few things along the way and finally we are kicking some tail in our favorite games. Looking back on things it takes a long time to write a builders guide. So my thoughts right now are that you can probably build an Intel i5 or i7 system in the mid-range such as the Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem. It will cost a little more for the cpu, motherboard, psu and memory but the power will make it worth your wild. The Q6600 IMHO is the most successful quad-core processor of all time for the LGA775 platform, and that is if you overclock it. The only real upgrade option on the LGA775 platform is the Q9550, but the Q6700, Q9400, E8400 and plenty of others might also make fine processors for these older rigs.

Feel free to drop by our forums if you have any questions putting together your own rig. Thanks again for reading our work and take care. So until next time.. I'm out of here! ;)

Tiv
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Builders Guide 1 is up and with more tweaking to come soon! :crown:

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I promise to come back later and clean this guide up. It was rushed out the door because of the change to the new website.

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Update #2

Upgraded the 4870 to a 6850. At first I thought maybe this was going to be a bad upgrade because the size difference of these two cards is by a lot. The 6850 is about 50% less weight and uses half the power. My normal idle system amps was 2.3 but now it is 1.7 amps, about 100watts less. I just ran 3dMark06 with my CPU at 3GHz, default CCC settings and no OC on the 6850 to get a nice score of 16118. As I recall my 4870 was able to hit 16663, but the difference was that my CPU was at 3.6GHz (unstable at times), and the card was overclocked and the CCC settings tweaked to the max. I'm sure if I put everything to max  and raise my CPU overclocks the final 3dMark06 score would be pretty high. Anyways, that benchmark is old school.. :)

 

Update #3

3dMark11 score is around 3600 with OC'ed video card, Q6600@3GHz, using the 11.1 drivers. If I was to upgrade to a more current mid-range system I'd probably go with a i7-2600K, 6 ~ 8GB DDR3 and maybe a 560 Ti or 6950 or something in the $250 ~ $300 range. The 6850 in regards to DX11 performance is a good buy, but hardly has the power needed to play some games like BFBC2 with high levels of eyecandy, perhaps the limited Shaders is the problem?

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You could try unlocking the 6850 to a 6870, but I don't believe you get any more shaders :/

Rodney Reynolds,
Register: http://www.3dgameman.com/user/register

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I've been looking into that sort of unlock/flash, but so far there does not seem to be much gain from doing it. The hidden orb cooler works really well on the GPU. The memory has no cooling that I can see. I played some games at 850MHz core for a few hours stable. Currently looking into that MSI overclocking software to see if it will let me go higher, but overall I'm just happy I can play DX11.

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Hard to believe this rig is a few years old already.. Still overclocked, the PSU died and was replaced, the video card has been updated to the 6850, but other than that just common usage repairs. Overall there was some challenges in this build from the start and I will choose different options next time around.

Critical Short Parts Review:

1. Thanks for the sound card Auzentech, but next time I'm going with a different sound card. It's been 3 years and no fix for the audio distortion other than changing the modes. My On-board sound is better, what more do you want me to say on this matter? :/

2. Thanks for the case Thermaltake, but next time I'm going with a different brand of PC case. In short this a a very flimsy case, feels light a fragile, screw-less options are a joke and the fans didn't last long. Next time I might go for another Cooler Master case or Lian-Li. :/

3. Thanks for the PSU SilverStone, worked great for a long time and when it went bad you replaced it asap. I'd gladly recommend these power supplies to my friends. :)

4. Bought the Gigabyte motherboard, overclocks like a beast. Has its share of issues only when you overclock, such as reboot loops after a sleep resume state, only when the FSB is higher than 333MHz. I might go with an Asus next time, but really even that brand has issues.

5. Bought the Intel Q6600 Quad-Core, has a lot of multitasking power, but needs to be overclocked to 3GHz to be in the same class as the i5 Quads that are out today.

6. Thanks Crucial for the memory, still working strong, you guys are the best and always there to replace, only wish these sticks had some cool looking heat-sinks for that swag factor.

7. Thanks for the V8 Cooler Master. It barely fits into my case, does the cooling job well. Hate that I have to remove the whole motherboard to mount or dismount it and the fan died once a long time ago. Overall would still ask for another and perhaps buy better fans.

8. Thanks for the WDC WD6400AAKS-00A7B2 Western Digital. Works great, can hardly hear it, no complaints. Still my favorite HDDs.

9. Bought the Plextor PX-740A, it's still working. The door gets jammed once in awhile, but the drive was cheap enough that I'd buy another if it fails. Personally I miss the older Plextor burners. There is no reason for me to buy the Plextor name if they are only just rebadged Lite-ons. Perhaps I'll get a Pioneer, LG, Samsung or another Lite-On the next time.

10. Bought Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit OEM and it has been great. A few problems at the start, but overall once I've disabled all the nagging issues and setup a better Windows XP like feel, it just works and that's enough for me. Although I'm not sure about windows 8, might pass..

11. Thanks for the fan controller XILENCE. Only wish you could disable the sound activity option and maybe use lights that allow for color change. Also one of my buttons fell off but simple enough to use a little glue as a permanent fix.

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I had no idea this was not viewable to people.. >.>

Moved it here, but this is old news. If I had money to burn I'd redo this review with a i5-3570K, ASUS P8Z77-V PRO and 8GB of DDR3. Then maybe keep all the other stuff like the video card or upgrade that as well with a Nvidia 660TI.

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Tax Refunds are buying me some much needed upgrades this year.

•Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W
•GIGABYTE GA-Z77-HD4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
•G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL
•SAMSUNG DVD Burner SATA Model SH-224BB - OEM

I hope these parts are worth the money over my Q6600 with 4GB of DDR2.
This should put my rig back in the mid-range, so I'll update the guide. ;)

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You'll be very happy ^^ (i've upgraded from a Q6600 4.05ghz to an i7 4.83ghz and the I7 was faster at 3.5ghz than the Q6600 and by about the double in gaming (2x 560ti sli at the upgrade time) and the i5 is really faster as the I3 3220 was about the same as my Q6600, even @ 4.05 ghz with 8gb ddr2 1066 running @ 1200mhz 5-5-5-15 !!!)

Gaming PC: MSI Z77A-G45 ::: Intel Core I7 3770k @ 4.83Ghz ::: EVGA GTX680SC Signature ~1300mhz Boost/7122mhz ram ::: 16GB 4*4gb G.Skill 2240mhz CL10 ::: ASUS Xonar DX ::: Crucial M4 128gb (windows) + Intel 330 180gb (Steam games) + 1TB Caviar Black (storage) ::: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold M1000 ::: Antec P280 ::: Noctua NHU12P SE2 ::: ASUS VE247H ::: Logitech G510 ::: Cooler Master Storm Sentinel II ::: Logitech X530 ::: Steelseries Siberia V-2 Black & gold edition

98% Of people under 25 surround their minds with rap music, if you're part of the 2% that stayed with rock, put this in your signature, ROCK IS BETTER!

Tivon
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I was having alot of buyers doubts today. I'm so sick of being such a geek and yet so responsible. Literately spending money sometimes makes me ill, that's probably due to my poor upbringing & childhood. I just want to buy the best stuff and overclock it until it screams of raw masculine electricity & freak sideshows impossibilities.

Sadly this was more money than I should have spent and today I was 2nd guessing myself on not spending a little more for 2133 memory. But then again these current day Intel's cpu's with Ivy Bridge don't seem to respond as much to memory speeds as say an AMD would. I'll try to overclock the memory to DDR3-1866 or drop the timings from 9's to 7's, or upgrade to two 8GB sticks next year.

All said an done, I forgot one thing.. to get a new CPU Cooler. lol

Looking on the brighter side of things, I'm creaming in my pants just thinking about all the processing power that will unfold for my apps and games. :)

P.S. How the @#$!@ did you get your Q6600 @ 4.05ghz? I clocked mine at around 3.8'ish on air but it was not stable until near 3.6 or lower. Perhaps water cooling would have suited me, it's just that fear or ruining good hardware that keeps me from doing it, but it doesn't seem to stop me from thinking about the what if's.

spawnkiller
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DDr3 is harder to overclock than DDR2 (same % of mhz but harder for the timings...) Anyway, DDr3-1600CL9 is only 2gb/s slower than my 2133 @ 2240 CL10 (27.8gb/s 1600CL9 vs 29.9 2240CL10) and i'm not even seeing any difference in game or rendering so don't bother and pick any 1600cl9 or faster RAM with a good deal (i paid 70$ USD for 4X4gb G.Skill Sniper 2133CL11)

I had 450fsb, Kingston HyperX ram that was capable of running 1254mhz (it was 1066mhz) so it wasn't a limiting factor, X9 ratio with 1.625V vcore and 1.5V VTT reference on AUTO on my Q6600 paired with a NHD-14 and i have a "golden chip" SLACR G0 1.1925 VID capable of running 3.44 at stock voltage and 3.6 @ 1.40V vcore (heat was a problem @ 4.05ghz 1.625V but it's still running as my HTPC now (2009 to now) with 65+ load temps (in stress test as real gaming go to 55-60 MAX) and that's why i have a NHU12P for my new rig as Ivy don't heat comparing to older quad...) **In clear i was really lucky to have a good chip ^^

PS: C2Q had a very strong silicon and i had take a guest a few years ago but it works for me and i don't regret it, however i'm not trying to push more than my 4.83 (105*46) 1.35V for my new 3770k... Well, until 1 years or 2 when i'll surely don't care anymore and do the same thing i had do to my quad ^^ However if you plan on the long term, NEVER go over the Intel Max Voltage and only for bench, keep at least a 15-20% lower margin to be safe on 24/7 usage...

PS: I also had downclock my Q6600 to 3.6/400fsb 8gb 1066ram as it's a HTPC now and i'll try to keep it longer than i thought ^^

Tivon
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Overall this was the most easy upgrade ever. I pulled out the old board, put the new one in. Scratched my head for a min when the power switch failed to work, corrected mobo powerswitch pins. Loaded up windows, repeated many driver installs and reboots. Uninstalled/Reinstalled driver software for the nic card, audio card and mouse. One hour later windows asked to verify, I clicked the button and was instantly certifiably approved.

I have the old vs new benchmark numbers written down that I'll add later. For now the real world noticeable difference is in the BF3 frame rates and multitasking abilities. Before I custom rigged my BF3 config files to use Medium, Low and Off settings and all this just to keep it at 60FPS with some dips down into 20's.

So without touching any settings on the upgrade I was getting crazy BF3 numbers way over 130+ or higher. Almost immediately I started turning on the eye-candy settings with great joy. Choked my video card at around the 44fps with everything maxed. That's not fast enough for me, so for now all of my settings are on High, although some options I left off to improve visibility of the enemy. Now I'm in the 90FPS range, even better is that I can now play games and use my second monitor to play movies without any hitching or lag.

The best part is I've not even started overclocking. :)

Only ran 2 benchmarks, Before and After with 3dmark 11 and Sandra. [Scores Here Soon]

Something to be said of 3dMark and "Windows has detected that my computers performance is slow, and suggesting I switch to the basic color scheme". Microsoft needs to fix this problem, when I choose the option to ignore it needs to respect that choice and stop popping me out of running applications. I've tried everything on the internet for this and nothing seems to work. :/

Need: SSD, 1155 After Market Cooler, IDE Controller Adapter Card.

Tivon
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SiSoftware Sandra
Overall Score
Aggregated Score : (new)5.39kPT vs (old)3.60kPT

I'd like to add more, but I can't make heads or tales of Sandra 2013. I have the XML files but can't seem to figure out how to compare the information like I did with other versions.. :/

3dMark 11
Overall Score
(new)P3687, Graphics 3378, Physics 7222, Combination 3525
(old)P3482, Graphics 3415, Physics 4016, Combination 3315

spawnkiller
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Yeah it's most faster in real-world than what benchmarks tend to say, but when you'll overclock it, it'll be even more noticeable as in game performance and all multithreaded applications will be really faster (that's the point of the new architecture from core2quad to Ivy) on 1 task, at the same speed Ivy win but not by much however, do a cinebench or any really multithreaded application...

PS: Cinebench 11.5 got 1.15 single CPU score and 3.97 multithread score with Q6600 4.05ghz
1.56 single CPU score and 8.01 multithread score with I7-3770k 3.5ghz
1.84 single CPU score and 10.11 multithread score with 4.83ghz OC

Tivon
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I'll run Cinebench 11.5 later tonight and see what she scores. The retail cooler is too small, wish my V8 cooler had the 1155 parts, but might hold out for a Cooler Master Hyper 212+.

Tivon
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Sitting here looking at Easytune. Watching the Multiplier change down from 37, 36 and 35 as I run benchmarks. CPU is running at 59C Max Load and 31C idle with the box cooler. 64bit CineBench 11.5 CPU scores 6.01pts with i5-3570k and the Single score is 1.60pts. My OpenGL score with the 6850 is at 75.79 fps.

spawnkiller
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Nice scores, i'll recheck mine, you score more in single core ^^

Tivon
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Ordered a Cooler Master 212 Evo and a IDE Controller card.