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Old January 1, 2009, 09:54 PM
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Default Moving to i7...

Okay, so I've done some rough calculations... For the i7 920 to match two Harpertown quads at 2.7GHz, it'd have to be overclocked to roughly 4.2GHz. I could BSEL mod my chips to 3GHz, and they'd be pretty much untouchable by i7, but i7 running at 4.2GHz would benefit me a bit more on applications that do not use more than 4 threads.

I'm still waiting for the parts to arrive, and NCIX didn't add the RAM I requested to my order, so I've still got some time. Pros and cons, help me decide:
  • PRO: Applications that use 4 threads or less will be faster on i7. (This really means games.)
    .
  • PRO?: The EVGA X58 board has a better peripheral layout. The last slot is PCI, so I can put my sound card there without losing both my PCI slots to dual-slot-cooler video cards. This means I won't have the added expense of water cooling my video cards with expensive fullcover blocks.
    On the other hand, it seems that this product at NCIX will allow me to do SLI on non-adjacent PCIe slots on Skulltrail. The only question is whether or not that slot will run in x16 mode or x8, and if the cable is actually long enough.
    .
  • PRO?: The fun of overclocking past 4GHz.
    .
  • Neutral: I have not tested to see if I can even get 3GHz by BSEL modding my CPUs on Skulltrail.
    .
  • CON: I have to take apart the water cooling loop to move to a single-CPU X58 setup.
    .
  • CON: 16GB (4x4GB) FB-DIMMs at 800MHz would cost me roughly the same as 6GB of DDR3-1600. So, I could allocate 12GB and run an entire game off RamDisk, and still have 4GB left over for the OS and applications.
    .
  • CON: Applications that use more than 4 threads will be slower than two quads at 3GHz.
    .
  • CON: I won't have 8 cores to split off to various virtualized operating systems. That means each core I dedicate to virtualization will cost me 25% of my local computing power versus just 12.5%. (For reference, I run up to 3 virtualized operating systems at a time in Windows Server 2008, through VMware Workstation.)
    .
  • CON: I'll be downgrading to 6GB RAM from 8GB. This means I won't be able to reliably use RamDisk. But I can go to 12GB when needed, although I'd really, really like 24GB.
    .

Also, is 4.2GHz with i7 920 on water doable with the EVGA X58 at a reasonable voltage? Have they released any mounting brackets to put the D-Tek FuZion on LGA1366 yet?

As you can see, I really want to try i7, but there are a lot of cons in my list. Do you guys have any input on the matter?
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Old January 1, 2009, 10:00 PM
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TDP limit? for i7 130tdp before it throttles (no idea what speed or vcore that will occur at)
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Old January 1, 2009, 10:15 PM
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My 920 requires about 1.41 vcore to be stable at 4.02 GHZ and my temps load at about 60 on water. I know many have theirs running 4 GHZ on air so I think I got an iffy chip overclocking wise. I would say a stable 4.2 might be pushing it, though with a WC setup it would probably be pretty easy to go beyond 4.5 with a 965 chip. The 940 is also an option, though I have no idea what kind of difference the extra multiplier makes. It also depends on what you consider "stable" and what kinds of voltages your comfortable at/how long you want the chip to last.

As far as I know the GTZ is the only 1366 compatible waterblock.

The performance increase was very noticable going from a 9550 at 3.8 to this 920 at 4.02. I was very suprised at how much the C2Q held back these 4870X2's as my framerates jumped probably 30-40% in some games. I noticed it also makes Vista very snappy, almost to what XP was like.

Coming from a Skulltrail platform, I have no idea what the difference would be between the two. Though I imagine it wouldn't be as noticable especially since it sounds like you really utilize the 8 real cores opposed to 4+4 hyperthreaded as well as the extra ram you have in the Skulltrail system. If I were you, I would try and get a little more out of those two chips you have now and upgrade when the 32nm refresh of i7 hits later on this year. Hell, there might even be some dual socket gaming boards down the road.
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Old January 3, 2009, 01:03 PM
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Just did some quick searching, seems that one guy did 4.45 GHz at 1.482V on this board. 73 C with the TRUE Copper, which should be as good as entry-level water cooling. 4.3 GHz at 1.47V. Someone else did 4.19 GHz at 1.41V on water, 70 C peak.

I now see that 4.1GHz is doable, which is acceptable to me. But I still don't have an idea of whether or not to stick with Skulltrail or move on.

I see they've already got out a list of Gainestown quads, but the lowest one I'd go with would be the Xeon E5520, which is the lowest-clocked (and cheapest, at $400) 8MB cache quad. Has there been any word on dual-socket Intel boards? Perhaps some sort of "Skulltrail 2: The Search for More Money". I did some searching, and there were only rumors of it before IDF, which obviously did not come true. Seems to me the EARLIEST we'd even hear anything about it would be at CeBIT in March, meaning a release date of April at minimum. So... Shall I hold off on Nehalem for at least 4 months, or hop to it? Tough choice. A major con for holding off any longer means the value of my Skulltrail system will drop to almost nothing.

Gonna head on over to Canadian Tire later today to pick up some conductive ink, maybe I can get the BSEL mod for 3GHz working. It's a long shot, but if it does work, then I'll stick with it for now.
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Old Workstation: X7DWA-N : 2x Xeon E5330 Quads @ 3GHz + 24GB FB-DIMM DDR2-800 on water
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Old January 6, 2009, 03:27 PM
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two harpertowns? lol, sounds a lot like the Mac pro

which by the way costs like 3.5 grand and like 4 grand w/4 gigs of memory if you're interested lol
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Old January 6, 2009, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squilliam View Post
two harpertowns? lol, sounds a lot like the Mac pro

which by the way costs like 3.5 grand and like 4 grand w/4 gigs of memory if you're interested lol
he has a Skulltrail which he says in the first post.
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