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E7400 SLI overclocking build..
Ok guys, sorry but I fail at pictures (didnt have batteries for my camera when I built) I have a few pictures of HSF clearance ill upload later.
Specs of the rig are as follows,
CPU: C2D E7400
CPU COOLER: Xigmatek HDT-1283 with crossbow kit
RAM: 4gb (4x1) XTune DDR3 1866mhz 10,10,10s
MOTHERBOARD: eVGA 790i FTW Digital PWM
GRAPHICS: eVGA 9800GTX+ sc+ edition soon to be SLI
PSU: Corsair TX750
HARD DRIVE: Western Digital 640gb black edition 32mb cache
DVD WRITER: LG black
CASE: CM-690 /w optional windowed side panel and 6 120mm fans (4 blue LED)
LIGHTING: Logisys 12" blue cold cathodes x 2
The motherboard and ram where ordered from NCIX as a bundle hense the DDR3, I would have gone with some decent DDR2 but for $30 I got a damn nice motherboard and ram =)
The rest of the parts where ordered from directcanada, it took me a long time to decide wether to go with DC or NCIX/pricematching, but it was less hastle to go with DC this time. I had everything free shipped, they choose to use canadapost which kind of sucked but almost everything showed up within 3 days. the case and everything but the CPU showed up in 2 days so I was able to put the PSU, case fans, and lighting into the case and spend some time with cable management before I threw the motherboard in.
One problem I had ordering from DC, which we will find out if its a real problem..., is they short shipped me the video card I ordered. Ive contacted them about it but It was on a weekend so we will find out next week how fast I can get this handled, for now im running a single 9800GTX+.
Onto the building! Since I had the PSU and case ahead of time I got to spend alot of time on cable management. With the CM-690 I was just able to shove all the cables of the TX750 through the bottom cable hole right behind the PSU before I actually mounted the PSU. This was a rather tight fit but with a little finagling I managed to get all the cords behind the motherboard and still manage to close the right side panel.
The optional side panel luckly came with a pre-installed blue LED fan, so all I had to buy was 2 extra fans, I went with coolermaster blue LED 120mms. this was ideal as I only had to spend $12 to fill the case fan mounts. Another nice aspect of this case was that there was enough room at the top of the case in front of the 2 fans to mount a cold cathode tube with plenty of extra room. I mounted the other CC tube at the bottom in front of the PSU. The controller went in the bottom 5.25" bay so its only bairly visable and all the cables managed to reach with only a little slack. I ran the cabling for the lights through the rounded edges along the hard drive cage and the 5.25" bays, I just used a screw driver to tuck the wires inside the handy tube like edges.
First power up without the motherboard or drives showed that all lights and all fans worked perfectly fine. Anyone who needs to do this should know that the TX series PSUs require that you use a paper clip to connect 1 green and 1 black wire from the 24 pin motherboard power cable to fake having a motherboard pluged in. I also pulled out all but the bottom cable management clips, they where just in the way and didnt do a very amazing job.
The next day the E7400 arrived so now I could center my efforts on the motherboard. There was one thing worrying me from day 1 of the planning stages when I had decided on the 790i Mobo. After scouring the web for reviews I only managed to find a couple, and none of them went to deeply into what HSFs would fit into the socked area since the heat pipes and cooling fins for the northbridge and mosfets is quite high. I did see that the TRUEs bairly fit and you had to bend some of the fins in order to make it fit. So I pulled the trigger and chose the xigmatek hoping it would just fit. I was quite happy to learn that it fit with a good cm or so of space around all parts. Id also like to mention that it fit in any orientation as well.
I applied TIM to the HSF first, filling in the cracks betweent he exposed heat pipes. I then applied 2 thin lines onto the CPU that corisponded to the HSF heat pipes. I tried a BB sized glob in the middle as many people recommended but wasnt happy with the coverage I got from that so I used the 2 lines method. I found that all the reviews complaining about how hard it is to get the fan installed on this HSF are very well founded, I actually only managed to get 3 of the 4 rubber holders through the holes of the fan. The bottom holder was just to cramped up against the northbridge cooling fan, but I found that this held the fan just fine and didnt really worry me.
With the CPU installed I clicked a couple sticks of the ram into the black dimm slots as per the instructions, since the ram was going to run above 1600mhz. I popped the motherboard in which was reletively easy in this case. all of the cables on the TX750 had pleanty of length and easily reached all areas of the case and motherboard. I plugged what fans I could into the motherboards 3 pin connectors, only 1 of them had to be plugged into a regular molex. I finished connecting the drives and then routed the last of the cables to the back as much as I could. with this done I buttoned up the case with the blue anodized thumb screws I bought for this build, I also used 4 of these screws for the PSU mounting, mostly because they look alot nicer then plain old screws. one thing I would like to mention since I couldnt find an answer to this online is, the xigmatek and I would expect any other HSF the same size as it fit PERFECTLY into the CM-690 with the GPU side panel fan installed with tons of extra room. Although depth wise there was only about 1 cm of space between the window and the top of the HSF.
Upon first boot I made it through the post, changed a few settings in the bios, I turned on EPP for the first set of boots just to see if i could get the ram to run with its default speeds and timings. The first problem I ran into came when I went to install windows vista ultimate 64 bit edition. I managed to boot from the DVD, create a windows install partition of 35gb and format it. I was able to install vista but after it was installed and the system rebooted I recieved an error code when windows tried to load. I googled the error code, although I dont remember what that code was, I was unable to find any viable information on it though :(. After fooling around in the bios I finaly figured out what it was that was causing the error. When I changed the MPS control from version 1.4 to 1.1 the problem went away =D. With that fixed windows booted without anymore issues, so I went to installing drivers and what not right away. I also installed speed fan, core temp, CPUZ, and prime95.
With the first boot and installs all done i decided to put the other 2 sticks of ram in and see what happened. To my suprise both sticks of ram booted up at stock settings at 1866mhz with 1.5 volts! very nice. With this done I decided it was time to play around in the bios, I shut off all spread spectrums, I disabled every controller I wasnt using as well as speedstep, ctc, halt state, EDB and virtualization for now. I dropped my ram down to 1600mhz so that I could tighten the timings to 8,8,8,24 and upped the voltage to 1.65. I also upped the rest of the voltages up the the highest green setting in bios.
I then slowly started raising the FSB by 15mhz at a time then booting into windows and running CPUZ to make sure the settings stuck. I was able after a while to get this CPU to 4ghz (400x10) but im pretty certain id need atleast 1.5 volts to keep it prime stable and I dont know if I want to do that, although even at that my real temp was still reading under 50 degrees after a 10 minutes of prime95. Do any of you guys know if these chips can handle that kind of voltage as long as temps are that low? For now I have set the cpu running at 3.6ghz (400x9 with ram in 1:2) at 1.36 volts temps after 2 hours of prime95 max temp test havent gone above 49c in real temp, although speed fan is showing 4-5 degrees more. I am having a few problems with speed fan with this motherboard, its telling me that my system temps are 125c but bios is telling me they dont go over 55c... im not sure I want to trust speed fan on this one.
I ran prime95 for 8 hours at 3.6ghz without errors but I wish it would do it at lower volts =(. Today i decided to play a little Crysis warhead with just the 1 9800GTX+ to see how this system handles the game over my older X2 5000+ and I must say I was impressed. I was only able to run gamer settings at 1400x900 but thats still quite a bit better then what I could get on the older system, normally I had most settings at mainstream or lower. I was getting very playable frame rates at this resolution though, around 35-40fps. Now I cant wait to throw in the other 9800GTX+ to see what this builds really made of. I would have to say the change from the X2 5000+ to this CPU was like night and day, the system feels way more responsive .
Now I have a few questions I could use some answers to:
How many volts can I saftly feed this CPU for testing or 24/7 clocks as long as the temps are low, ive read that high volts over intels max can destroy these cpus but I see alot of people running them over 1.5 volts without problems..?
On the 790i boards how much voltage can I feed to the chipsets? Ive got them all in the green zones in the bios right now but im wondering if its safte to take them any higher then that?
P.S sorry if this post was to long for anyone I should have done it in more then 1 post as I was building the PC, but I didnt really have the time and I still wanted to get some of the info I had learned while building out there so people didnt run into the same problems I did. Especially issues like HSF clearance.
Managed to get ahold of Directcanada first thing in the morning by phone, they also replied to my email, apparently my 9800GTX was out of stock at the time but has come in over the weekend, their supose to be shipping it out today or tomorrow. Hopefully I see it before the end of the week.
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