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Spendthrift Spazz Spews Up Some Specs

I'm looking forward to my upcoming build. As I mentioned in my intro, I'm trying to reconnect with this hobby, so I may make some choices just for the fun of trying something different. This is my my current buy list and my reasoning/waffling. Before I pull the trigger, I'll post my final list to the forums and encourage all to fling feces at it.
  • EVGA 780i A1 If I want SLI, I have to get 680i, 780i, or the nutty Skulltrail. After reading so many bad 680i reviews, I'm hoping 780i provides more stability. I chose EVGA because over Asus because the Striker-haters seem angrier. I will keep an eye open for 790i reviews.
  • (2) EVGA 8800 Ultra Playing Crysis at very high is like paying a sherpa to tow your fat rump up Everest's peak. It's a great view, but on the way down you're thinking about all the money you spent and how cold you are right now. But what the hell. OTOH, going Tri-SLI makes me feel guilty: all those watts wasted by that third card merely idling. I picked EVGA simply to match with the mobo, again hoping for stability. With the 9800GX2 and the 3870X2 crossfire patch on the horizon, I'm inclined to wait and see on this item.
  • QX9650 I will be using this computer for work as well as gaming (I telecommute), somewhat justifying quad core. There's something magical about 3GHZ, so it's this or the QX6850. Day-to-day stability is important; starting out fast means I'll be less tempted to screw myself over by clocking too high. Also, QX9770 is on the horizon.
  • Gateway FHD2400 24" LCD Saw this beautiful model at the store. I want a minimum of 1920x1200 (my current resolution at 17"). Higher res would be great, but I don't think I have room for a 30". Too bad I can't get higher res at 24".
  • PC Power & Cooling 1KW-SR Should power two Ultras, and the brand is respected.
  • Seagate 7200.11 500GB + (2) WD Raptor 150GB I want to try Raid 0. The "uber way" of doing it is with dual Raptors, but this nets a measly 300GB raided drive. Hardly substantial, so I need a third drive to compensate. I'm half a mind to ditch the Raptors and raid two 500GBs together. My eyes wander to the RAID 5 benchmarks and three Raptors, as a little voice tells me the faster speed of the Raptor will make up for the slower write speed.
  • Office 2007, Windows XP Pro, Vista 64 I need Office for work, XP for work, DX9 gaming, and general stability, and Vista for putzing around with the interface and DX10. Vista is already unstable, so why not try the 64 version? Completing triple boot will be a linux distro, possibly Ubuntu.
  • Silverstone SST-TJ07-BW Tough choice. Case and water cooling decisions go hand in hand. It's the only case I've seen that can fit an internal PA120.3 and yet still look relatively like a normal case. Mountain Mods UFO is, of course, another choice. Also is rear mounting or making a "sidecar," opening me up to mid-tower options. Has anyone tried latching two desktop cases together, putting the mobo up top and the rads below?
  • Sony DVD Burner w/LightScribe If I wanted Blu-Ray, I'd get a PS3.
  • APC BR1200 UPS Don't tell the city planners I said this, but Atlanta's power grid is terrible. I really only need a few minutes just to shut down normally.
  • G-Skill 2x2G PC2-8000 I keep vacillating on this one. I'd like to maximize my RAM in XP, and give Vista a healthy headroom. I keep reading that two modules is less taxing on the memory controller than four, so this means I need 2x2GB. I'd like PC2-8500 with Micron D9s and a heatsink, but I can't find them. Am I better off with higher quality PC2-6400?
  • WUSB300N 802.11n Network Adapter My router is in another room. It's only 802.11g, but we may upgrade it, so might as well get my N adapter now.
  • G15 Logitech Keyboard The old model had a nicer blue color, and a knob. Still, I like the new one. I don't care about the fewer G keys.
  • G5 Logitech Mouse I think I like the ergo and style of the G5 better than the newer G9. What I'd really like is a cordless mouse that comes with a charging cradle. Any recommendations?
  • Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 I read somewhere that using your on-board audio saps your CPU. This is the only reason I would get a X-Fi. See next item.
  • Gateway Audio Speaker Bar As much as I'd like to get a cool 5.1 system in the home office, it would go underused. I only game at night after my girlfriend has gone to sleep, so I'm on headphones then. Therefore...
  • AudioFX Pro 5+1 Headset This model has gotten fairly good reviews. It's pretty much the only way I'll hear 5.1 anything, so if you can recommend a superior headset, I'm interested.
  • Aerocool FP-01 Am I trying to do too much in one piece? This front panel supports three temps, three fans @ 18W/channel with alarms, and an adapterless card reader. This seems to be a great deal. I may mod the display so it sits in its own bay.
  • Fans I'm wavering. I'd like to keep dbA down to ~30. Possibly 33dba Scythe Slip Streams. If the fan controller can handle it, shouldn't I get more powerful fans, like the Ultra Kazes, and just turn it down? I can connect multiple fans to a single controller as long as I keep the total wattage below the per-channel rating, right? Also considering Nexus rubber fan mounts and sound dampening material.
  • Other air coolers The 780i is not listed on ThermalRights HR-05 compatibility chart. But the 780i does come with NB/SB fans. I have to research more options for cooling memory, mosfets, etc.
  • Miscellaneous Zip ties, AS5, cable and wire sleeving, tacky cathode lights, and perhaps some CoolSleeves.
And now the watercooling list:
  • ThermoChill PA120.3 + shroud. With three 110CFM fans I should be able to dissipate 600 watts of heat. Best I can figure, QX9650 + two ultra GPUs all overclocked will put out about 550 watts. If I go for a quieter fan, it'll be close to saturation. I've seen numerous posts where folks said a QX6850 would put out 200-250 watts when overclocked, putting my calculation at low. If that's the case, maybe I need a dual loop. The problem is the TJ07 doesn't fit a second radiator very well. Ayep.
  • 1/2" barbs + 7/16" ID Tygon R-3603 tubing The argument that 7/16" forms a tighter seal over 1/2" barbs, has nearly the same waterflow, and increases air flow makes sense. I hope it's not too much of a pain to force the tubing over the barbs, because I'd like to experiment with a few layouts.
  • (1 or 2) Laing DDC-3.2 w/ Petra Top The highest flow pump in Martin's calculator, and works great in a series. If I stick with a single loop, I may yet add another pump to give me more opportunities to add turbulence. I'm not convinced that a dual loop is necessary. Since I read that after equallibrium, water temp difference is only 1C, I can always add a second radiator to the loop.
  • Dtek Fuzion CPU waterblock and nozzles As I understand it, the Dtek WB is the only block that the nozzles will fit, and I like the idea of tuning the loop by experimenting with different nozzles, flow vs turbulence. I wish there were more studies on the thermal qualities of waterblocks. Just because a block is more restrictive doesn't mean there's a corresponding bump in heat dissipation.
  • (2) Dtek Uni-sink I have heard that the Uni-sink doesn't necessary hold itself flush against all the chips, which was an initial turn off. Since I am really pushing up against the limits of the radiator, a full coverage block will dump a greater percentage of the cards total wattage than a GPU block alone. The Uni-sink allows me to push some of that heat to the air so I don't overload my water loop. I have to research what I need to buy if the sink doesn't make full contact.
  • (2) Swiftech MCW60-R GPU Waterblock w/ G80 Adapter Plate I lean towards the MCW60 because of its higher flow. But again, while flow is important, heat dissipation is the tradeoff. Hey Martin, we're looking at you for a thermal absorption calculator.
  • (2) DangerDen Fill Port I'd like one for filling through the top of the case, and another for a drain line at the bottom. The top part will probably involve some case modding, but the bottom one I'll just have on a tube. If I do two loops, ayep, I'll need to double this item, although maybe I can have them share the drain? With two, I'd probably want different color coolants...
  • MCRES Reservoir I really want a reservoir for faster bleeding, but this one is fairly non descript. Since I'm intending to add fill ports, maybe I'll replace this something smaller but nicer looking. All the cool "porthole" reservoirs seem to have aluminum in them. Is DangerDens Fillport/Reservoir combo non-aluminum?
  • Worm Drive Hose Clamps Petra sells some expensive but nice clamps. They have an inside liner, so I'm hoping that cuts down on the accidentally shredding of tubes from overtightening. Worm drive clamps are often spoken of as providing the best seal and not knocking loose, and they are reusabe. Sounds like a good investment to me.
  • Coolant My latest on-the-fence is making my own coolant. One recipe calls for distilled water, pentosin, biocide, glycerin and Dawn. Can I use 5% UV G11 and add a dye bomb, or will that cause chemical reactions? Is there a colorless corrosion inhibitor I can use? Part of me says I have enough on my plate and I should buy a premix. Also, I need white vinegar for cleaning the loop.

So that's where my mind is at currently. I still have a lot of work to do in the garage before I can really start bleeding loops and modding cases, so it's probably a good thing to wait and see what new graphic card revelations come out in the next month.

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Overclock.net › Member Blogs › Spendthrift Spazz Spews Up Some Specs