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Old October 17, 2008, 09:23 AM
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3oh6 3oh6 is offline
Hardware Canucks Reviewer
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 1,053
Default Main Course: GTX 260 SLI Entrée

I finally got a hold of a pair of GTX 260s, EVGA Superclocked + GTX 260s to boot. These two are from a retail store and appear to clock about as good as others with stock cooling in normal ambients. I only have them for a short period of time but will do my best to make use of the them as best I can. First up will be some clocking with the cards on air and the CPU under LN2 to get a feel for what they can do on this board and how the CPU will clock FSB under cold on this guy. Here is a complete list of hardware used for these results and then a photo of the setup as always:
  • CPU: Intel C2D E8600 (L814A526)
  • CPU Cooling: Rev3 CU Mousepot w/LN2
  • RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2x1GB PC3-16000 CL9 // G.Skill HZ 2x1GB PC3-12800 CL7
  • NB Cooling: Swiftech MCW30 / MCP655 / MCRES-Micro / PA120.2
  • SB Cooling: Thermalright HR-05-SLI
  • PWM Cooling: Swiftech MC14 x 4
  • GPU: 2 x EVGA GTX 260 Superclocked+ (177.92)
  • PSU: Ultra XPro 750W
  • HD: Seagate SATAII 80GB 8MB NCQ
  • OS: Windows XP Pro SP3 (fully updated)
The setup as tested...
click for full size...

I had two session after I missed any Vantage or 06 benchmarks because I bugged the CPU and it was all downhill from there in the first. I didn't want to stick to the same clocks for each benchmark as 05/06/Vantage are limited by FSB so I basically maxed out each benchmark. The goal was to test FSB clocks for each benchmark as this was the first and second time running LN2 on this board. Consider these the shakedown runs, with most tweaks sure to note the bandwidth in a few of them, 15K on yet another 790i board for this guy :up:

Keep in mind, the Vantage score is without PhysX for HWBot submission...and I was stoopid and forgot to run it after with PhysX enabled.

click for full size...

Things went well and getting down to temperature went quite smooth. I was able to boot at the clocks you see above no problem and the board responded as it should throughout the session, until I bugged the CPU and warmed it up with a blow dryer in the first session. That was the end of that as the pot was just too unstable to run anymore. Temp swings were nightmarishly quick and all over the place. The pot needed to be warmed up to -80C before the bug went away, with the RE, this CPU would bug and 20 seconds later it was back in action without any outside heat applied which made benching a breeze. With this board, I will just have to make sure not to cold bug the bloody thing. During the second session I was much more careful and went a solid 3.5 hours without an issue.

The other thing I want to mention is that my Ballistix will absolutely not boot at higher than 1050MHz. I thought it was a board issue and threw the G.Skills in to find they were booting just fine at 1096MHz so clearly not a board issue and related just to the Ballistix.

At this point I thought I was done with the GTX 260s on air but then something came up and a sleep deprived FTWD owner decided he needed a colder SPP and got crazy with a makeshift LN2 setup on the SPP. The results then spurred the phase change SPP cooling seen at the bottom of the cooling section. First up is a photo of the system followed by the initial results with the cards still on air from SPP temps around 15C give or take a couple degrees.

click for full size...

The results...
click for full size...

I only had a couple liters of LN2 so the session was strictly focused on 01 and AM3. I had to dial back clocks on the GPUs just a touch because the ambient wasn't as cool as before but I am still a little idssapointed with the 01 score. I was hoping for 125K at 6GHz but it just wasn't meant to happen. The AM3 score is just ridiculous though and I would have loved to run higher but as it turns out, my CPU ran out of juice. FSB clocked a good bit higher yet so if I can get this E8600 whipped into shape, the final AM3 score I put up with this board and these cards might be something pretty exciting.

Last edited by 3oh6; November 4, 2008 at 10:21 PM.
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