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Discussion Starter #1
Well, the time has finally come for another overhaul of my system. I have over the past year been swapping parts here and there, A motherboard here, a CPU there, RAM now....etc. Essentially this is a motherboard swap; a P5NE-SLI for a Maxumus Formula. Realistically it will allow me finally open up the throttle on my quad.


On that note, this will be the final major overhaul on this rig. Down the road I'll replace the video card with something from ATI for sure.


Down to the specs-for the finer details see my sig rig

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I got mu board today
I gotta say, just holding it....wow....It's really nice. The PCB is thick- it does not flex easily. Layout is pretty darn good, lots of fan connectors onboard. I think I'm going to really like this board and have it a long time.


I went ahead and did the teardown of the heatsinks- here are my notes:

Funny thing... the CPU socket guard is from Foxconn....

The blocks appear to be solid copper, while the fins are definitely annodized aluminum with copper plating. No biggie, looks nice- copper is heavy and expensive.

All of the pieces were fairly easy to remove. The NB was stuck on pretty good, but firm, gentle, steady pressure did the trick. No heat/cold was needed.

In the thumbnails you can see my tools at hand. Generally speaking, a #1 or #2 phillips head screwdriver, and needle nose pliers are all you need for removal of the heatsink. Have a hairdryer on hand just in case.

You will also note the bottles of various chemicals and cleaning implements for removing the stock TIM. Standard ArticClean TIM remover did not even phase the stock epoxy-TIM. Moving on to more drastic measures I tested PCE (Perchloroethene; C2CL4) and Acetone, both non-polar solvents. PCE works great, but carries some serious health and saftey risks-Consult MSDS before use. Acetone (regular nail polish remover) works just fine too. Acetone also can pose a H&S risk, use caution.

Just apply a few drops and scrub with the toothbrush. Wipe with a paper towel and repeat as needed. Follow up with a round of ArticClean TIM remover, surface purifier, and isopropyl alcohol. I pitched out the rubber tape TIM that came on the VRM Mosfet heatsink.

Here's what I found once I cleaned it all up:
NB marking: NU82X38 SLALJ L737A979 INTEL 06
SB marking: NH82801IR L7325152 SLA9N 06 MALAY

Apply your TIM of choice to the fresh surfaces and re-install the heat sinks. I used AS5, but you may want to consider Ceramique for the VRM Mosfet sink as it is non-conductive. If you use AS5, use it very sparingly and spread it with a rubber spatula. Use care not to short out the VRM leads with TIM.

Next Episode:Board Swap.

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Ok...Pics of the teardown and rebuild. First is the P5NE-SLI gutted from the case, after TIM removal frm the CPU/Heatsink. While I had the P5NE out, I decided to remove everything from the case and clean- Inside the case was vacuumed and wiped down, and all components and fans were wiped down and cleaned. I even disassembled and cleaned inside the PSU.


Shot of the Maximus installed in the chassis....and then the front and backside of the rig during initial boot and test at stock settings. My RAM would not pass Memtest86+ in 1066 mode, so it's running in 800MHz mode for now.

Note that the PSU is sitting outside the case......Hmmm why is that????

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Well, the my PSU ATX 8 pin connector wire was 3 inches short from a straight line connect on to the Maximus. With XP and antivirus installed and updating, I ran down to Home Depot and grabbed 3 rolls of 16 gauge copper wire (105C rated) and some polyolefin shrink wrap.

I shut down the rig and unplugged the PSU first.....you know, common sense and all.
Then I marked each wire and cut the ATX 8-pin connector off. I spliced in about 1 foot of wire, using 3/16" shrink wrap to cover the individual splices and 1/2" wrap to cover all 8 wires neatly. Apply heat (hair dryer) to the polyolefin shrink wrap to make it shrink.

The added foot of cable, neatly shrink wrapped is now long enoug to run along the edge of the case hidden, all the way to the board.


Almost there!!!! Just gotta get the case back together.....

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The rig is finally put back together, BIOS, OS, and other software has been updated. Overall I gotta say a good run on this project- much fewer problems than usual.

Final pre-OC thoughts:
I'm impressed with the Maximus Formula. First, the PCB is thick and sturdy- quality made. Second, 8 phase power and all solid state caps...more quality in the build. Third, the board layout is superb- infact, probably the best I've seen. Every connector, PCI/PCIe slot, jumper, fan header, capacitor, and chip on this board is in the exact right spot. Finally the BIOS is wicked powerful- lots to tweak.... which could be a down for inexperienced builders.

Making the grade:
Overall Quality: 10/10
Features: 10/10
Appearance: 9.9/10 (I don't like the blue/white slots, but that is personal)
Layout: 10.1/10 with bonus points

Cooling: 9/10 Does the job and looks good, but could be improved slightly. Packaged fan is crap.
BIOS: 9/10 Very powerful, but I don't like the RAM MHz adjustments, does not run PC2/8000 (1000MHz).
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Awesome photos of the process! You'll be so happy knowing you re-seated the chipset. I haven't yet because I have okay temps, but sometimes it keeps me up at night knowing what substandard muck is passing for "thermal" paste in there (well, it doesn't literally keep me up).

REP for the photos. Be sure to check out my gallery, too (profile).

BTW, 0907 FTW (don't even THINK about 1003), and look HERE if you haven't yet.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Dostoyevsky77 View Post
Awesome photos of the process! You'll be so happy knowing you re-seated the chipset. I haven't yet because I have okay temps, but sometimes it keeps me up at night knowing what substandard muck is passing for "thermal" paste in there (well, it doesn't literally keep me up).

REP for the photos. Be sure to check out my gallery, too (profile).

BTW, 0907 FTW (don't even THINK about 1003), and look HERE if you haven't yet.
Thanks man. Good advice- I like to avoid beta BIOSes unless I hear a lot of really good things...I stuck to 0907. Yea, if your temps are good there is no need to reseat really. I was just worried after what was on the NB of the P5NE-SLI and had to be sure. One thing Ive noted on ASUS is they tend to do a crappy job with TIM. ATM my NB/SB load at 37-40C on stock/auto settings. We'll see how that holds as the AS5 cures and I start to OC.
 

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Looking good. Keep me updated on your overclock of the Q6600. I have one right next to me.. stock on a ECS board.

Always wanted that board.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
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Originally Posted by rottenotto View Post
I'm not sayin it's not, . but is acetone rally a good thing to be using to remove stock TIM?
Well, acetone carries some risks- inhalation of the vapors can be toxic, as well as skin absorbtion. Acetone actually goes right through Latex and Nitrile, so you get skin exposure even with most gloves. As a solvent to remove TIM it's perfect- a non-polar solvent, similar to isopropyl it does not damage electronics or oxidize most metals.
 

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So far folding WIN SMP stable for about 8 hours. By far, the easisest 50% overclock I have done since the days of the original 8086 CPUs. Just set Vcore to 1.4000V, FSB/multi 400x9, and set RAM timings and go. Everything else is set to auto('cept volts). No fuss, no muss.

Temps look good- coretemp reports a steady 56C, while everest and PCprobe both report exactly 15C lower. This is with my Zalman fan on low, I get a 12-15C drop with it on high. While the NB/SB seem a tad warm @ 50/43C, this is well within the 90C max set by intel for the X38, and is not causing instability.

Voltages are interesting, I get 0.024V droop on Vcore, 0.05V over on the NB and .10V over on the DIMMs.


Final report card on the ASUS Maximus Formula for performance: A+ 11/10, an overachiever.

 

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Discussion Starter #15
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Originally Posted by Asce
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Ravin, whats the options on overclocking ram on this board.

That took a little while for me to get used to. The BIOS has the NB strap setting for 200, 266, 333, and 400MHz. Adjusting which strap you use selects a range of dividers(you don't actually see the dividers), which you select DDR ram speed from...ie. DDR 800, DDR 1066, DDR 1125, DDR 667, DDR 850 etc. There are the usual dividers available....1:1 1:2 2:3 4:5 5:4, but not too many odd ones like 11:32 or 15:32.

Example, 400MHz strap has DDR800 and DDR1200(I think) and the 266 strap sets up for 533/667/800/1066 DDR speeds (I could not run 1000MHz RAM at either 266 or 400 FSB). So when you select your RAM setting what you set is what you get.
 

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Ok, so my friend needed some computer upgrading assistance, here's what I did with my old P5NE/D820/PC2-4200/PSU/HDD:
ASUS A7NBX-----> ASUS P5N-E SLI (donor part)
2x256Mb DDR 266MHz-----> 2x1Gb DDR2 533MHz (donor part)
200W POS PSU---> 465W Enermax Whisper (donor part)
1.0GHz Athlon-----> 2.8GHz D820 (donor part)
160Gb ATA 100 IDE(kept for storage)--->add 20Gb ATA133 IDE for OS/programs (donor part)
4x80mm fans---->replaced (new)
Radeon 9600LE----> nVidia 9600GT (new and I'm freakin jealous!)
Case---->dusted and cleaned

So far looking good. He's decided to run it stock for a while to see how it goes, for now he's thrilled with how much faster his upgrades are.
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I've tighetened down my RAM timings from 1:1 800MHz @ 4-4-4-12 2T to 3-3-3-8 1T, although CPUz is reporting 2Ttimings. Memtest86+ v3.4a passed 2 runs each with 1T and 2T.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, the results are in. My CPU peaks 63C(cool cores)-66C(hot cores) with the Zalman fan set to low and Vcore set to 1.400, load line calibration enabled. There is very little ripple on my board- pretty much 1.400V BIOS=1.400V under load.





 
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