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Old January 12, 2011, 06:20 PM
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Default Platform Upgrade: AMD Spider / Dragon to Intel Sandy Bridge

Current status: Well I'll call it complete because I went to a LAN party with it...

Hi all,

After your help in picking parts in this thread...
Main rig Compute Upgrade (CPU / mobo / RAM / GPU)
...I decided to post the worklog of the build I am performing over here.

Log (the folder IS called "worklog" is it not ):
Jan 9, 2011: Asked you folks about how to perform my build
Jan 10, 2011: Ordered CPU, HSF, RAM, Mobo
Jan 12, 2011: Received parts from NCIX; proceeding to run backups and finish all current F@H and BOINC projects
Jan 14, 2011: Gutted case and put the SB components in
Jan 15, 2011: Stability tests passed / Windows 7 install
Jan 25, 2011: Removed noisy Radeon 4870 for a MASSIVE downgrade to a 3650
Jan 27, 2011: Undervolted rear 120mm exhaust to +5V (annoyed by the fan vibrating the case through the rubber groomets)

Before: Phenom 9950 / GA MA770-UD3 / 8 GB OCZ Platinum/Fatal1ty DDR2


Current: Core i5 2500k / GA P67A-UD3P / 8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1333 / Radeon 3650 512MB


...let me know if the pics start disappearing as I'm just copy-pasting from the links I see in SkyDrive...
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Last edited by frontier204; February 21, 2011 at 06:52 AM. Reason: Update
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Old January 12, 2011, 06:23 PM
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<separator from summary thread>

I made a slight(ly heavier) alteration to the parts I got from NCIX, swapping the Xigmatek Dark Knight cooler for a Prolimatech Megahalems, since another thread mentioned it. I just have the pic of the parts straight from NCIX, i5 2500k / GA P67A-UD3P / Prolimatech Megahalems / Ripjaws F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL, in boxes:



I have never owned a 120mm fan class cooler before, my largest cooler before being the BTF90 (seen in the "before" pic in the summary page cooling my Phenom 9950). As I go to LANs with friends, I'll look into some sort of way to secure the HSF, similar to Scythe Ninja wire but not paying the price premium.
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Old January 14, 2011, 04:30 PM
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Default Jan 13: Basic Rebuild

After my first build (the Phenom), I wanted to pay a little more attention to details, as to not risk scratching parts or potentially having static electricity damage parts. I also wanted my rebuild to be cleaner than the old one, so I thought up more ways to hide cables from view (and prevent them from getting in the way of any future upgrades).

I decided to gut my case and put in the components that I had (CPU, mobo, RAM, HSF). First was to get rid of the old stuff...


Like my grounding scheme? That's an old AT (not X) power supply I got from a surplus store that I use for a +12V / +5V source in my generic electronics experiments; it doesn't ever power anything resembling a computer these days, and in this case it's powering nothing. It's just connecting my wrist strap and the case to ground. One of the disadvantages of all-black painted cases is that you just can't find good spots to ground to...

After that, I started unboxing everything (for the second time, as I opened each box the night before to perform the rarely done act of reading the instructions for the mobo and HSF). While working on the motherboard to attach the heat sink brackets, I grounded the motherboard through one of its USB ports:

I connected the mobo to ground just in case the motherboard gets charged by me moving it around too much, and a static zap occurs from the motherboard, through me, to ground.

The heatsink BARELY cleared the RAM, so look out if you want to point a wide cooler up or down with the Giga P67A-UD3P! (probably goes the same for the other UDs as well)

This was quite a surprise since part of what the SB platform did was remove the "southbridge" and give the potential for a more clean and spaced out mobo layout...

Another issue with this motherboard was that the CPU power connector was very likely made for top-mounted PSUs... With a bottom mounted, you'll either need an extension or do what I did and sneak the CPU power cable up in the space between the PCI/PCI-E slots and the expansion slot brackets.


Anyway, after having fun with the positioning of the connectors, I decided on a cleaner SATA cable layout than the last build to go in this case by sneaking cables in the space between the drive bay and the motherboard mounting plate, which was luckily or conveniently 0.5mm or so larger than a SATA connector is thick:

It's certainly cleaner than before, when I had the SATA cables going around the front (also making it hard to reach the front panel connectors).

Another modification I made was to undervolt the top two fans. At 12V, they vibrated enough to cause the case to hum loudly enough to be distracting.

That's a 7809 voltage regulator chip, cooled by the fact that it's screwed to a conveniently-placed hole in the case. The fans at 9V are still audible but they don't create the vibration through the case that they did at full speed.

Final build (for the day):


If you're wondering about that device attached to the PCI-E slot; for a limited time only, you can laugh / throw virtual things at me / cower in fear as I use this new Sandy Bridge platform rig with a dusty old ASUS Radeon 4870 The gaps between the HSF fins near the fan of that GPU are so close together I'd probably have to discharge 1/4 of my duster can to clean it out, or remove the heat sink altogether and blast it on its own. Hopefully a good GPU deal will come around so I can actually complete this thing.

Other pics:
Out with the old...: http://public.blu.livefilestore.com/...818.jpg?psid=1
Comparison of Intel Core i5 stock cooler vs. Prolimatech Megahalems: http://public.blu.livefilestore.com/...824.jpg?psid=1
The ugly cabling in my very first personal build that prompted me to try to clean things up for this build: http://sp8cnq.blu.livefilestore.com/...634.jpg?psid=1
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Last edited by frontier204; January 14, 2011 at 04:47 PM. Reason: Comparison...
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Old January 15, 2011, 02:12 PM
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Looks nice. Plenty of great GPU options out there. All that's left to decide is if you want best bang for your buck, or all out visceral performance.
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Old January 15, 2011, 04:06 PM
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Thanks.
My gaming urge is quite a bit less now that I overdid it with Fallout / Borderlands over the holidays, so I can wait until the cravings for either video games or the F@H PPD craze come around

Yesterday I tried to overclock (tighten timings) the RAM, and it didn't take any of it. I couldn't stabilize 8-8-8 timings even up to 1.64V (not sure how high I can bring RAM on these Intel platforms).

One thing's for sure is that the SB platform is A LOT more efficient than my old OC'd Phenom for folding.
My old rig drew over 300W out of the wall while this is consuming only 220W and producing more PPD. I have to start overclocking this thing soon (after it completes a few more WUs so I know I don't have to RMA anything).
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Old January 15, 2011, 04:32 PM
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Try somthing like this on your fans NCIX.com - Buy Fractal Design Efs Rubber Mountings for Fans -4PACK- - 6308011 In Canada.
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Old January 15, 2011, 06:14 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion; wonder if they'll work with the PC-K62's pre-installed groomets. In any case they can be useful for my home server with its Cooler Master case that amplifies the front case fan noise. ...added to my "to buy" list.
I had that idea in the back of my mind for a while, but I forgot to order some since I was trying to get my order through at 10:00 PM and had class the next morning
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Old January 27, 2011, 05:01 PM
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Default Shut it, fans!

Help! I've become addicted to quieting down my PC. I rearranged stuff in the house such that there's no longer a couch between the computer and where I sleep. As such, noise I used to not care about became intolerable.

After I found out that it couldn't add to my folding PPD, the first thing to go was my Radeon 4870. In its place, an Asus Radeon 3650 Silent. Did it cripple my ability to game? Of course. I haven't gamed one bit since the school semester started on the 5th, so I didn't think of it as much of a loss compared to the power savings and the elimination of that ~75mm fan that sounded like a stock AMD CPU cooler amplified 10 dB.

[EDIT] Why is the GPU attached to the PCIE 4x slot even when the 16x is not even populated? 'cuz I wanted to test the 4x, and it's not like a low end card can be starved with PCIE 2.0 4x anyway. After swapping my GPU out, there was such a huge difference... but then I started to think my PC was still a little noisy. I guess I lowered the bar when I didn't have the GPU in there anymore.

The next noisiest thing in my case was the rear 120mm fan. For some reason, my motherboard doesn't allow case fan speed profiles in BIOS, and I didn't want to rely on software. I decided to do another fan undervolt circuit, given that I have a lot of old fan adaptors and 7805 / 7809 voltage regulators left in my parts tray.

I soldered together the input header from molex to fans adaptor, a 7805 regulator, and an old (far too noisy for my new tastes) socket 478 CPU fan to produce a circuit to drop the fan voltage to +5V. Yes I know I could've jacked the fan to a +5V from a Molex, but at the top corner where the fan is, running a cable to where my PSU goes to wouldn't look that great. The regulator is screwed to the fan with a lock washer, so the vibrations of the fan (or moving my case around) don't cause the regulator to flop around and short circuit with whatever it lands on.

...and the final product of the day...


Edit: The 120mm fan was dropped from ~1300RPM to a mere 605RPM due to the undervolt, and it's no longer audible over the 140mm fans. Now that front fan sounds too loud to me, and the top 140mms (already undervolted!) have this slight bearing squealing noise... If I keep at this rate my rig will be water cooled in the next 6 months
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Last edited by frontier204; January 27, 2011 at 05:09 PM.
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Old January 30, 2011, 03:58 AM
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any particular reason why you chose to mount the cpu heatsink for top exhaust?
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