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Old August 22, 2008, 12:51 AM
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Default Need advice on a Crossfire MB

So I've received a request from a friend to build a custom machine with minor case modding. I'm extremely excited to do this one since it happens to be modded for a subject that's close to heart; a Robert Jordan tribute.

Now, I already have the idea formed in my head as to what I'm going to be doing with the mod and build. My biggest concern is that I am going with a red on black build, and have settled on using either 2x Sapphire HD4870 512MB or 2x Sapphire HD4850 512MB (depending on how the cost goes) and have no experience with crossfire. The board needs to be (preferably) black or, failing that, red. Someone I know suggested using a DFI LanParty DK X38 T2R, but I'm having huge issues with the fact that it looks like a clown threw up on it. I was also wondering about X38 vs X48. Should I be gung-ho looking at X48 boards? Or should I stick with cost/performance and go with X38? I'd make an educated guess, but like I said earlier, I have never looked at crossfire before so I really don't know the importance of the features between them. Although I will say, system stability is number one. I'd rather the board runs stable rather than squeeks out a few extra FPS. Oh, and I'll be using Windows XP since I pretty much regard Vista as the spawn of Satan, so keep in mind it'll be running DX9. If someone has some absolutely glaring issue to bring up about crossfire running under XP that I don't know about, please speak up.
To give you an idea of the system I'm building, price ranges, etc.; here's what I'm looking at so far:

Case - SilverStone TJ09 (Absolutely firm on this.)

PSU - OCZ StealthXStream 600W

MB - ?

CPU - Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300? (Best performance for price I saw for the 775. I'm open to suggestions though.)

CPU Cooling - Thermalright TRUE Black 120 CPU Cooler

Video 2x Sapphire HD4850 or HD4870 512MB (Still debating cost vs. performance)

RAM - OCZ PC2-8500 Fatal1ty Edition DDR2 Dual Channel 1066MHz 2G Kit (Love to go with more RAM, but I can't bring myself to put Vista on any machine.)

HDD 2x Samsung 500GB 7200RPM SATA II 16MB Cache (Not running raid, since the second HDD is specifically requested as backup storage, although will likely page off the second drive for the speed jump)

Any further suggestions on the build are welcomed. Keep in mind the relative prices I'm working with, the color scheme, and that my case choice is an absolute must. (Although the case is a great choice anyway since it has great cooling for the GPU's and a lot of room to play around with.)

Last edited by SKYMTL; August 22, 2008 at 04:53 AM.
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Old August 22, 2008, 12:53 AM
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Argh! How do I get rid of the wikipedia links in my thread?
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Old August 22, 2008, 04:23 AM
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I would take a look at the Asus lineup of boards. The Rampage Extreme is a rather sexy board albeit a bit pricey
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Old August 22, 2008, 05:04 AM
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This might sound odd but where does red + black tie into Robert Jordan's books? I read them all up to Winter's Heart until I got fed up with his writing and promptly threw the book against the wall, but I distinctly remember blue being mentioned quite a bit. Maybe I am mistaken though...

Anyways, for a mobo I would probably go for one of the ASUS P5Q series. Maybe the P5Q Pro or Deluxe which have black..ish PCBs but yellow memory slots. Then I would buy some Mushkin Redlines to cover up the yellow slots. There you go, a black and red combo.
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Old August 22, 2008, 06:47 AM
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Red and black DOES fit in very well if you read the whole series.


Can't knock the mobo recommendation...other than lack of 16x PCI-e electrical ot both VGA slots. You should be able to get Maximus Formula for a decent price...Maximus 2 Formula is red/black, but again, lack of 16x PCI-E keeps me away from that board, but it does seem to be a good performer.

One thing about the P5Q series...all the P5Q boards are lower-grade than the Maximus 2 Formula. The deluxe is mid-level board, adn the chipset quality seems to reflect this well.
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Old August 22, 2008, 06:54 AM
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Yeah, I guess red + black would represent the Aiel quite well...

I would hesitate to recommend any higher-end P45 board like the Maximus II due to the fact that the P45 chipset seems to be very much hit and miss when it comes to memory clocking. IMO, $300+ for a MII is bordering on insane, no matter how many bangs and whistles they included.
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Old August 22, 2008, 07:04 AM
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Did you get a chance to personally play with Formula2? I really think the lower-level boards are more hit and miss due to binning for the Formula2, but not having any real experience with all of them means I'm just guessing.

And yeah, Aiel..the Band of the Red Hand, dressed in black...The Red Shields...


Anway, some interesting stuff happens in the later books, IMHO. I love the political slant of the series, and I tihnk you left off @ 9th book? Is a bit long-winded, for sure.
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Old August 22, 2008, 12:24 PM
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The P45 motherboards are very good as well. Even though they operate at 8X when running in Crossfire, the PCI-E 2.0 should remove any bottleneck caused by the lack of bandwidth. However, since you want the board to be red or black, that's going to be a bit hard. I believe MSI's boards are red and black...You'd have to check. ASUS motherboards are black, and I definitely recommend the P5Q Pro. Check out Hardware Canuck's review on the P5Q Pro.

You may want to switch the cooler to the OCZ Vendetta 2 or a Xigmatek HDT S-1283.

You can get 4GB RAM running at DDR2-800 instead of 2GB at DDR2-1066. The 4GB would definitely be better, even if you're running 32bit OS.

For hard drives, take a look at the Seagate or Western Digital 640GB hard drives.
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Old August 22, 2008, 02:37 PM
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I would go with an X48 board for Crossfire. Perhaps not a huge performance boost but would help a little.

The Asus Rampage Formula is a very good board but no red...as Sky said, you can stick some redlines in there for the colour. You can also ask Mushkin Greg to help you with your ram settings in the Ram forum here (he is very helpful and quick!)
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Old August 22, 2008, 04:31 PM
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Another good option is the P5E Deluxe X48. This is the mobo I will be using for some upcoming GPU reviews. Great board and LESS that the Maximus.
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