i7 920 D0, EX58, 6GB, HD4890 build.
My latest Build, i7 920 D0 @4.0Ghz, Gigabyte EX58-UD5, 6GB Tri-Channel RAM, Radeon HD4890.
This PC was built towards the later part of 2009 but is still in full daily use.
Intel Core i7 920 revision D0 2.66Ghz
The Intel i7 920 processor is the lowest rated desktop CPU in the flagship i7 9xx series, with a stock speed of 2.66Ghz. It has 4 native processor cores (not 2 x 2 core like previous quad cores) and has the memory controller integrated on the die. Hyperthreading allows 8 threads to be computed at the same time, bringing a reported 20% increase in throughput. The best thing about this CPU is it's enormous overclocking potential with some seen approaching and beating as much as 4.2Ghz on just Air cooling alone, and especially with the later D0 revision. For a low investment of around £200 it is possible to surpass the performance of Intel's flagship i7 975 processor, saving yourself a massive £600 in the process.
I have overclocked my D0 CPU to 4.0Ghz as this provides a nice speed increase without raising my core voltage too high and producing too much heat. It doesn't crash and is running all day without problems. This CPU is one of the overclocker enthusiasts favourite chips.
A well known brand and one of the few desired overclockers board for the EX58 chipset. This was rated the PC Format Top 1366 Motherboard for 2009/10. It comes with dual BIOS, lots of lights and a intricate heatsink system to cool important components. The motherboard itself is a Tri-Sli, crossfire enabled board that can take 3 PCI-E Graphics cards, supporting a total of two full x16 lanes and one x8 lane for some serious graphics muscle.
A very simple BIOS screen enables the overclocker to tweak a few values and upgrade their speed very quickly. There is also software that comes with the board for the less adventurous that enables selectable overclocks up to 3.2Ghz.
Noctua NH-U12P SE1366
Noctua, the Austrian manufacturer creates one of the best coolers available for the 1366 platform, mounting two vortex control fans in push-pull configuration to cool the 4 heatpipe and huge fin array. A very large cooler dominates the internals of the case and keeps the hot processor in check.
Patriot Viper 3x2GB DDR3 1600MHz Tri-Channel.
Overclockers memory with large blue heatsinks. The default speed for the board is 1066, but when overclocking it goes up to 1600Mhz. It's memory, it works, what more could be said.
OCZ 600W StealthXStream PSU with a Scythe S-Flex 1600 Fan Swap Mod
A quiet PSU that was only quiet when running a low power rig with very modest power requirements. It was by far the loudest component in the PC. I decided to break my warranty and fit a Scythe S-Flex 1600RPM quiet fan instead of the 2000RPM cheap standard fan. The noise characteristic and sound now generated by the PC is very quiet indeed, even under load.
Sapphire Radeon 4890 Vapor-x 1GB
Best bang for buck card at time of build, with the added benefit of Sapphire's Vapor-x technology assures quiet operation, something which is often overlooked on high end cards. Now somewhat superseded by the 5xxx series DX11 cards, the once flagship single GPU HD4890 remains very capable and runs any game I choose to throw at it. The card is a lovely blue colour and lights up the internals of the case. The card itself is only audible when under heavy stress, say for example in Shattered Horizons which is a very demanding game. The card is pre-overclocked by 2% and fully overclockable to around a 10% which I haven't bothered with so far as I don't really want to additional noise.
Following a guide and a overclocking forum it just required a few setting to be modified in BIOS to push the processor from stock 2.66Ghz speeds up to 4.0GHz.
Temperatures Highest Core
Idle - 34 Degrees C
Load - 60 Degrees C
Idle - 48 Degrees C
Load - 85 Degrees C
SuperPi-Mod -1M - 19 Iterations
20 Minute file of a cartoon based family series, file converted to..
DVD VIDEO using WinAvi
Stock - 93 seconds
Overclock - 59 seconds
As a comparison my old Athlon64 clocked at 2.1Ghz used to take about 12 minutes!
Xvid @1300 using VirtualDub32
Stock - 123 seconds
Overclock - 88 seconds
Mp4 iPod using Jodiz Free iPod Video converter
Stock - 294 seconds
Overclock - 211 seconds
The core components of the machine were added to my existing components which include a super mid tower case, 2x Western Digital 500GB drives suspended on elastic bungee cord for silence, Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS, DVD Writer.
Why Self Build?
There are a few reasons why one would choose to gather components and build their own computer.
2) Learn some new things.
3) Cherry pick components.
4) Re-use components from an old PC that are not critical i.e. Case, DVD, Fans.
5) Make it quieter.
Overview of the internals, NOTE: I am not bothered too much about appearance and have no Window. My Case sits on the floor between desks, it's mainly the Monitor I look at, sometimes the keyboard. It's also a little dusty, having been cleaned out about a fortnight ago :011:
The Noctua Cooler in action, actually spinning at 600 RPM while the shot was taken.
A closeup of the lovely blue lit Sapphire Vapor-X HD4890
Suspended hard drive to dampen vibrations.