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[Build Log]: FD R3/i7-2600K; from Northwood to Sandy Bridge, 9 years later!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Introduction:

Nine years ago, I began what was my first build with the following components to start (looking at my order history from Newegg):

1 x ASUS P4B266-C motherboard
1 x Intel Pentium 4 1.8A Northwood 1.8GHz Socket 478 Processor BX80532PC1800D
1 x Creative SB0092 5.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - OEM

Since then over the years, this sytem, which was overclocked from 1.8 GHz to 2.2 GHz (using the original stock Intel HSF) with a 1GB of RAM tongue.gif, had seen various upgrades over time; larger hard drives, different video cards (longest used was the ATI All-in-Wonder series, across three different generations), monitors, keyboards, etc. Still, it was dependable, stable, and best of all, to this date, it still works! About a year or so ago, it was retired to storage in the basement when I was given an IBM ThinkCentre M50-8189 (Pentium 4 3.0 GHz Prescott, 3 GB of RAM) by a friend. That IBM became my main workhorse PC today.

When I bought an HD camcorder earlier this year, I realized that when it gets to the point where you can't even playback or edit a video of your kids, or it takes 8+ hours to edit a video onto a DVD, it's time for a new computer! A Pentium 4 isn't going to be able to support the editing and playback of 1080P videos not to mention all the demands of today's multimedia rich contents, etc.

This is not a "gaming PC" per se but rather a "do-it-all PC" that is also capable of playing today's games if needed and be able to keep up with just whatever that is needed today and tomorrow. I had considered going with an off-the-shelf pre-built system from Dell, for example, since they are often priced lower taking into account economies of scale, sales, promotions, rebates, etc. but you won't get the customization or say in the components or specifications generally (e.g. underpowered power supply, proprietary components, etc.). In the end, I decided since I tend to keep my PCs longer than most and I wanted control over the components that goes into the building blocks of my system, it's time for a new custom build, 9 years later!

As I wasn't in a rush, this afforded me the time to start researching into the various components as early as the mid-2010. At that time, I had considered going with an LGA 1156 i7-920 based platform, but decided to wait for Sandy Bridge (SB) instead. In the meantime, I began researching the components (e.g. hard drive, GPU, case, etc.) and would be compatible with SB and waiting for sales/deals. The catalyst was on December 28, 2010 when Amazon.com had a Hitachi Deskstar 3.5" 1TB 7200RPM SATA II 32MB (#0F10383) for $44.99 and that's started the ball rolling. smile.gif

Then came the Sandy Bridge Recall. That wasn't really an issue as I had the time, until the motherboard OEMs to ship the corrected (B3 revision) chipset based motherboards in late March/early April. In the meantime, while waiting for the revised motherboards to arrive, I also picked up the other components (when they went on sale or had a deal) such as RAM, SSD, GPU, etc. Once the new motherboards finally arrived, the pace finally picked up in the last two to three weeks!

Components
  • Intel i7-2600K CPU
  • ASUS P8P67 PRO LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel MB
  • Cooler Master Hyper 212+ HSF
  • CORSAIR XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 SDRAM - CMX8GX3M2A1333C9
  • 2x Hitachi Deskstar 3.5" 1TB 7200RPM SATA II 32MB Hard Drive 0F10383 (RAID1)
  • Intel X25-M 120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner
  • EVGA 01G-P3-1380-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) SSC+ 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
  • SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold 650W ATX12V 80PLUS GOLD Modular
  • Fractal Design Define R3 Black ATX Mid Tower Case
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1

Notes on Components

Case:

First and foremost, I wanted a quiet case and spent considerable amount of time debating back and forth between these two cases; Fractal Design R3 or Lian Li PC-9F?. Both had their pros and cons but in the end, I decided to go with the Fractal Design R3 due to its lower cost, acoustics, and black monolith look. Both the Lian-Li and the Fractal Design had clean, sleek lines and something that isn't a "gaming" case. In actuality, if the Lian Li PC-9F was the same price at the end as the Fractal Design R3, it would have made the decision more difficult to decide since the Lian Li case has several the advantages over the Fractal Design case (USB 3.0 ports up front, HDD LED activity light, 3 fans, etc.) but overall, I am satisfied and happy with the Fractral Design case and the service and support that I received from them on some of the issues that I had when it arrived.

Motherboard:

It was either Intel, Gigabyte or ASUS and in the end, I went with ASUS, as I have used them in the past and that the P8P67 PRO was a very popular MB among the enthusiast community, notwithstanding its quirks and issues that these motherboards have.

CPU HSF:

Based on my research, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus is the best value for the money (at under $30) and is reasonably quiet.

RAM:

I went with the Corsair XMS 8GB kit (2x4GB) as it was a good value (for what I paid) and was on ASUS's QVL (qualified vendor list) of supported memory.

Hard Drive(s):

Since I had already bought a Hitachi 1TB 7200 RPM drive, I couldn't resist when I was able to acquire another drive on sale for about the same price as the inital one, and run them in a RAID1 configuration. The other option was to go with two Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 2TB 32MB SATA 6.0Gb/s drives in a RAID1, but with hard drive prices (cost per megabyte) only getting lower, 1TB would be sufficient for the moment.

SSD:

This was an "impulse" decision when I saw the highly rated Intel X25-M 120GB SSD on sale at really great price and given the reputation and reliability of Intel's SSD not to mention the performance, I jumped on it! tongue.gif

Optical Drive:

I decided to forgo a Blu-Ray burner due to cost (even though they can be found for under <$100 today) and also compatibility issues whereas any SATA based DVD burners are typically under <$25. BD media is still expensive too. I went with this ASUS drive primarily for two reasons: (1) it's quieter compared to the other drives out there, and (2) supports AHCI.

Video/GPU:

Having used ATI (before they became AMD) Radeon and All-In-Wonder products in the past and dealing with the headaches of unstable drivers and support, I didn't want to go with ATI/AMD for a GPU. Besides, if I wanted to use some of the photo/video editing software from Adobe, etc. which supports CUDA, I would need an NVIDIA based board, preferably a GTX 460 with 1GB of RAM. I picked this EVGA GTX 460 1GB for three reasons: (1). it uses the reference standard design and has a quiet fan even though it's factory overclocked, (2) it has a 3 year warranty, and (3) it was on sale. smile.gif

Power Supply:

In the past, I would use whatever the cheapest stock power supply that would come with the case (often with a noisy fan to boot) but this time, I began to research into quality and efficient high-performance power supplies and this has led me to the Seasonic X-Series. This one is "over the top" in all aspects (e.g. hybrid fan that doesn't come on unless load is >20%, fully modular, warranty, workmanship, etc.) and is also rated 80 PLUS GOLD for efficiency. The expression, "you get what you pay for" really applies to power supplies and the last thing you want is a cheap power supply blowing up and taking your system along with it.

OS:

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1 will be the operating system of choice and I may try putting a Hackintosh on it someday when I have time and if it supports it.

Build Photos

img3896m.jpg
ASUS P8P67 PRO with CM212+ and RAM installed on the bench


img3897c.jpg
Close up of CM212+ with RAM installed; notice the sufficient clearance


img3899k.jpg
Another close up view of CM212+ with RAM installed


img3900k.jpg
The size of the CM212+ which looks HUGE (but pales in comparison to some of the other HSFs solutions out there)


img3912p.jpg
Motherboard after installed in the Fractal Design R3 case


img3902l.jpg
View from back view of the motherboard showing space for cable management


img3918fg.jpg
Fully assembled taking into account cable management good practices


img3926m.jpg
Back view showing cables routing through the grommets


img3919b.jpg
Close up view of the pair of Hitachi 1TB hard drives and Intel X25-M SSD


img3929f.jpg
Close up view of the Seasonic X-650 power supply and its modular cabling design


img3932lr.jpg
Front view of the Fractal Design R3 case with the front door closed. It really looks like the black monolith from Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey!


img3934.jpg
Front top view of the Fractal Design R3 case with the ASUS DVD burner shown


img3935d.jpg
Front view of the Fractal Design R3 case showing the fan filters, fan

Overclocking

I don't plan to overclock the CPU for the time being (coming from a Pentium 4, this is FAST enough for me for now! biggrin.gif) but will try overclocking in the near future once I get familiar with the system and the inner workings. I did ran Prime95 v26.6 Build 3 in the small FFTs configuration mode for about 5+ hours without any issues and will continue doing further testing/burn-in to ensure stability before I try overclocking.


Thanks!
Edited by onedollarinmywallet - 4/25/11 at 12:52pm
post #2 of 15
God, 9 years on the infamous Pentium 4... that's a sick looking setup and I hope you enjoy!
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amdkillsintel;13238512 
God, 9 years on the infamous Pentium 4... that's a sick looking setup and I hope you enjoy!

Thanks, I definitely will! biggrin.gif

Update: I ran Memtest86+ v4.20 for over 8 hours 36+ minutes without any errors on the RAM. That's a good sign. smile.gif
post #4 of 15
wiow man.
 
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post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Update:

I've decided to add some additional fans to my R3 case to aid in the cooling/airflow and received some Fractal Design's Silent Series fans recently:

img5143c.jpg
FD Silent Series fans

After debating over the location and number of fans to install, I've decided to install an additional 120mm fan to the front (to supplement the existing 120mm that came with the case) and a 140mm fan at the back/top of the case.

img5144p.jpg
Front - 120mm Silent Series fan (additional is on the top)


img5150o.jpg
Top rear of the case - 140mm Silent Series fan

Note: The top rear fan (140mm) is controlled and powered by the FD fan controller that came with the case.

img5151r.jpg
View showing the top fan (140mm, exhausts to the top) installed

r3additionalfans.jpg
Airflow

The picture above illustrates the overall direction of the airflow with the number of fans installed inside the R3 case. The red arrows are the original fans and airflow (including the one that came with the CM212+) and the blue arrows are the additional fans that were installed, and the direction of their airflow. Note: this picture was taken before the additional fans were installed. I had forgotten to take the picture after I had put the covers back on. smile.gif

While I don't have any other fans on hand to compare with, overall, I'm very happy with how quiet these FD fans are. I have the rear top fan set to maximum (via the fan controller knob) and I still can't hear it with the case being under my desk unless I put my ears right on top of the fan. Even then, it's audibly quiet.
Edited by onedollarinmywallet - 6/21/11 at 3:18pm
post #6 of 15
I think it's time for a new keyboard tongue.gif
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post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StockDC2;13958295 
I think it's time for a new keyboard tongue.gif

LOL! You mean the beige colored keyboard that was in the picture? That actually isn't my primary keyboard but rather a spare one that I use for the "lab" when I'm testing/setting up stuff.

My main keyboard/mouse is a Logitech wireless setup in this picture below:

img5162t.jpg
Dual Acer S231HL 23" LED-backlit LCDs with Planar AS2 stand

smile.gif
post #8 of 15
If I may ask why did you go for the P67 mobo and not went with a Z68 since you (like I do) want a general use PC with which you are planning on doing stuff like transcoding? I mean you could have made it quite a bit faster by using the iGPU of the 2600k.
 
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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hukkel;13962709 
If I may ask why did you go for the P67 mobo and not went with a Z68 since you (like I do) want a general use PC with which you are planning on doing stuff like transcoding? I mean you could have made it quite a bit faster by using the iGPU of the 2600k.

That's because the Z67 motherboards weren't out yet when I had built my system (all the various components were ordered from December 2010 through April 2011). As I wasn't in a rush, I was basically waiting for the components that I wanted specifically to go on sale. Besides, it was in late March to early April that the B3 or Rev 3.0 of the fixed Sandy Bridge chipsets motherboards finally began shipping again, and it also happen to coincide with some of the sales/deals of the CPU, MB, Case, PSU, and GPU at that time.
post #10 of 15
Love that stand dude, Where did you get it? Whats it run?

Sexy machine, btw!
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