Computer Build

Posted by: Zimm

Computer Build - 07/02/09 03:21 PM

I thought it appropriate to thank Chris (Club Neon) for his fantastic help in getting me into a new computer on the forum that helped me find him. I was ready to place the order for a Dell, but Chris convinced me that I could build one. To my surprise, he was right. With his detailed help, I built a new computer based on the brand-spanking-new Intel i7 (Nehalem) 1366-pin chip. The gory details follow, but suffice it to say his advice on vendors and products proved right on, and he walked me through the actual build step by step over the phone and email. I only found out how accurate he was after doing my own research after every recommendation, only to end up right where he put me to begin with. Then, once I fired up the new hot-rod, i knew he was good at his job. I can run two big screens of CAD/CAM, plus a ton of crap in the background. Sweet!

Saved about $2,000 as compared to the Dell, and got a bit more performance, and in less time. Thanks again Chris.

Vital Stats:
SuperMicro Barebone Tower/4U S-1366 for i7 CPUs \:\)
Radeon HD 4870x2 2GB GDDR5 \:o
Intel 920 i7 CPU
12 GB RAM \:D
Vista Ultimate 64-bit \:\(
2 TB Seagate Cuda Drives (Raid 1)
2 23" Samsung LCDs ;\)
Pioneer Blu-Ray burner \:\/
6 or 7 cooling fans assorted other stuff!
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Computer Build - 07/02/09 03:41 PM

That is a hot rod PC. This would be why PC's still dominate the market, the DIY fun of them.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Computer Build - 07/02/09 04:22 PM

Been waiting for you to make this post. \:\) You're welcome once again.

I need to get me one of those Blu-ray burners.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Computer Build - 07/02/09 04:28 PM

Damn, that's a nice rig. I just build my own Core i7, but it doesn't have as many fancy gew gaws as yours.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/02/09 06:29 PM

Me loves some gew gaws! Really I just wanted to make sure I had no problems with CAD, as I was not sure how much power I needed for 3D modeling. Turns out, I have plenty!
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/02/09 06:31 PM

 Originally Posted By: ClubNeon
Been waiting for you to make this post. \:\) You're welcome once again.

I need to get me one of those Blu-ray burners.


I have not burned a BR yet. And once I saw the blanks were $17 I figured I should think about it before I just go burning everything I can find. But it plays BRs very nicely in 1080p.
Posted by: Avi Deshpande

Re: Computer Build - 07/03/09 01:45 AM

DAMN..thats one awesome rig.

Thinking about putting Windows 7? I am running beta and it blows vista.

--Avi
Posted by: CV

Re: Computer Build - 07/03/09 03:56 AM

Nice work. I may have to get Chris to weigh in on my next build, which I'll do after Windows 7 is out. I don't feel like I need more power than I have, really, but I'd like to pass this computer on to my sister, since she's been without one, and as long as I'm getting a new one, I may as well make it a fun one.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Computer Build - 07/03/09 06:42 AM

We should just very nicely ask Chris to post the notes here! \:\)
Posted by: fredk

Re: Computer Build - 07/03/09 07:52 AM

Kudos to Chris for helping you out so much!

That looks like a killer machine. I'd love to build me one, but honestly, I don't do anything that needs that kind of computing power.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Computer Build - 07/03/09 03:31 PM

Hey Avi,

Have you had any trouble running games on 7 RC? I haven't been able to get a number of Steam games to run, and since I can't find the game exes, I can't set them for Vista or XP compatibility. Just wondering if you had any thoughts on that. The culprits at the moment seem to be UT3 and World of Goo, but I haven't tried everything yet.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Computer Build - 07/03/09 04:30 PM

Well hurry up and try everything.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Computer Build - 07/03/09 04:30 PM

Uh, right, that'll be no problem with a 2 year old and a newborn...
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Computer Build - 07/03/09 04:31 PM

And me..... somewhere in-between. \:\)
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Computer Build - 07/04/09 05:47 AM

 Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
We should just very nicely ask Chris to post the notes here!

I'd be happy to help anyone one-on-one who is considering building their own PC. Generic notes don't help too much, because I do take into account what the person wants to do with the machine and their budget.

Something to keep in mind before asking my advice: "cheap" computers for me start at $1500, I can't seem to put together a machine for less than that. So if you want something to just surf the web you're probably better off going with a pre-built from one of the major manufacturers.
Posted by: CV

Re: Computer Build - 07/04/09 05:59 AM

 Originally Posted By: ClubNeon
Something to keep in mind before asking my advice: "cheap" computers for me start at $1500, I can't seem to put together a machine for less than that.


I know what you mean. I've always hated choosing middle-of-the-road components. It just feels like if I'm going to buy something, I should buy something I won't regret.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Computer Build - 07/04/09 01:03 PM

 Quote:
So if you want something to just surf the web you're probably better off going with a pre-built from one of the major manufacturers.

I priced out building a cheap computer before buying off the shelf. At the bottom end, there is no point.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/04/09 04:45 PM

The heavy markups are clearly on the new toys. Dell's markup for the i7 products was insane, and HP was no better. What was really odd was that some of the Del setups seemed wrong. Chris can correct me, but I think the new i7 chip-set uses 3 memory channels, so you need multiples of 3 for RAM - i.e., I have 3 rows of 4. But when I tried to order the dell, it only offered multiples of two, and capped at 8. Perhaps I don't understand, but I don't think that is a good use of the chip-set. And for that inefficient design, you pay an extra $2,000. Wow, $2,000 and a guy to read the instruction manual to me in Hindi after 2 hours on hold when I have a problem, sign me up!
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/04/09 04:48 PM

 Originally Posted By: Avi Deshpande
DAMN..thats one awesome rig.

Thinking about putting Windows 7? I am running beta and it blows vista.

--Avi


I'm curious, but honestly I'm not gaming on this thing, and I'm still concerned about the CAD software having a fit. As Chris can attest, I spend many hours trying to weed through the fact, BS, and serious issues that CAD has with some software, hardware, and/or vendors. Until I know Win 7-64 bit works with those programs, I'll stay put. But let me know, I'm curious.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Computer Build - 07/04/09 06:15 PM

Actually, as I understand it, as long as you have a minimum of 3 dimms, you're using 3 channel. I'm not sure how Intel's doing it, but there we are.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/05/09 08:26 PM

 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
Actually, as I understand it, as long as you have a minimum of 3 dimms, you're using 3 channel. I'm not sure how Intel's doing it, but there we are.


Right. So how do you get a 2GB, 4BG, or 8GB Dell setup unless they are using mismatched DIMMS (1 + 1 + 2)? I really only wanted about 8, but much easier to count to 13 by 3's than to 8 or 10. But I'm new to this...
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Computer Build - 07/05/09 11:49 PM

The 2 GB is undoubtedly 2 channel, but the 4 GB is potentially 1+1+1+1, and since it's minimum 3, Bob's your uncle.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/06/09 11:39 AM

You lost me - and Bob - how do you get 1+1+1+1 in a 3 channel config? 1+1, then 1 and then 1? I didn't think you could mix and match like that. If so, I could pull out a 2GB DIMM and put in a 4, and have 4+2 and 2+2 and 2+2? Never heard of that, but I've only built one i7 system so I'm certainly no expert. But there are several articles that explain my understanding better than I can.
 Quote:
The three possible answers would be to use a cooling solution other than Supermicro’s, low-profile DDR3 memory modules, or simply three memory slots rather than six to populate the board’s triple channel configuration. Naturally, that'd be a problem for anyone looking to go over 12 GB, and even then, we're told that the the ICs needed for 4 GB modules are prohibitively expensive right now. It'd be hard to justify a move to 12 GB across three slots or 24 GB across six.

From the Tom's Hardware review at:SuperMicro X58 Review
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Computer Build - 07/06/09 11:59 AM

It's confusing, but Intel says you can have an uneven distribution and still use triple channel, as long as a minimum of 3 are populated. I'm not sure if they have to be the same size.

Also, I would take Tom's with a very, very large grain of salt...
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Computer Build - 07/06/09 12:20 PM

I'm not sure what happens in the case where one bank is full with 3 DIMMs, and the other isn't. I don't see how it would enable triple-channel memory access to all DIMMs in that case. Perhaps it does 3x to the first bank and single or dual to the second.

The motherboard manual says for best performance to populate all DIMM slots with same sized memory modules. That's what I'd say too.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Computer Build - 07/06/09 12:22 PM

Well, there's 3 banks, to start with, 1 in each bank does triple channel. Add an additional 1 to a bank, and it apparently still does triple channel. My Gigabyte manual attests to this, and I've read it elsewhere as well--I believe in the review of the UD3P as well as reviews of the new Mac Pros.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/06/09 01:40 PM

 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
It's confusing, but Intel says you can have an uneven distribution and still use triple channel, as long as a minimum of 3 are populated. I'm not sure if they have to be the same size.

Also, I would take Tom's with a very, very large grain of salt...


Interesting. Thankfully not something I have to worry about for some time.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Computer Build - 07/06/09 02:08 PM

From Intel's site:

* Triple channel mode is enabled when identical matched memory modules are installed in each of the three memory channels (blue connectors).
* If only two of the blue memory connectors are populated with matched DIMMs, dual channel memory is enabled.


Their example board has 4 DIMM slots. If all 4 are filled it operates in dual-channel interleaved.

It really does seem that a multiple of 3 matched DIMMs is needed to enable triple channel. An even number of matched DIMMs puts it in dual channel mode, anything else and it falls back single channel.

Don't confuse banks and channels. A bank is a grouped set of memory slots. On dual or triple channel boards a bank will have 2 or 3 slots respectively. Additionally, a mutiprocessor board will have nodes which are made of one or more banks. Each node is local to one processor.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Computer Build - 07/06/09 02:35 PM

Gigabyte EX58-UD3R manual, page 16 indicates that 4 dimms does work with 3 channel. Very odd.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Computer Build - 07/06/09 02:48 PM

I see what Gigabyte did. They put two DIMM slots on one channel, and the other two on their own. There will be some addressing contention between the modules on the shared channel if all four are installed. So there may be a slight loss in over-all throughput over using only 3 DIMMs. That trade-off needs to be weighed against the benefit of having more RAM available. Also it should be noted that the max bandwidth of 3 channel DDR3 isn't usually reached by normal workloads (i.e. non-benchmark programs), so the small loss probably won't be noticed.

Supermicro on the other hand built their board with 2 banks each having 3 channels. No shared channels within one bank.
Posted by: Golden

Re: Computer Build - 07/07/09 12:56 PM

Zimm - I may have missed this, but what was the total cost of the rig?
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Computer Build - 07/07/09 03:21 PM

I wanted to know the same thing.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/07/09 03:45 PM

Chris charged me $1,200 plus shipping. I'm sure if you call him he will build it for you for the same price...right Chris?

Frankly, I had not added it up post purchase, but I'll do that now.........

Looks like $3,080.50 before software. I think the last Dell version I built (online) was around $6,000, but that included some software, less RAM, and smaller screens. Not apples to apples, but the price difference is dramatic. Almost all my equipment came from Newegg.com and the process was generally smooth, but Chris handled all the customer support so I can't truly grade them.
Posted by: Avi Deshpande

Re: Computer Build - 07/08/09 12:14 AM

Chris:

I had a question for you.

I am setting up my HTPC (Sony Vaio VGX-XL1A). I want to use my projector as the secondary display(connected using component video) and use a monitor(connected using HDMI) as the primary. I want to use the monitor, when playing content other than video. The PC has a Nvidia GeForce 6200 TurboCache. When i go to Nvidia control panel, i do see both the displays but do not see the option of clone mode..it only shows me single monitor mode.

any help is appreciated.

Regs,
Avi
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Computer Build - 07/08/09 02:27 AM

Do you have the second display currently extending your desktop? I think that needs to be turned off in the Windows display settings, so the second display is not in use before it can be selected as a clone of the primary.

Other than that, I don't know. There are some limitations when using the component out--stupid DRM crap.
Posted by: Avi Deshpande

Re: Computer Build - 07/21/09 04:35 PM

I tried a lot to get the clone thing working but cannot. I can only pick one.

I will try to test with 2 monitors on HDMI and Svideo. Just to make sure it is only on component out.

Avi
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Computer Build - 07/26/09 10:19 AM

Zimm, do you have RivaTuner installed on your computer? It's an extremely useful program, and really a must have (I use it), that allows you to monitor the temperature of your video card and possibly other stuff.

Once you have the program set up, it will automatically change fan speeds based on temperature, or you can do it manually.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/26/09 01:43 PM

 Originally Posted By: wheelz999
Zimm, do you have RivaTuner installed on your computer? It's an extremely useful program, and really a must have (I use it), that allows you to monitor the temperature of your video card and possibly other stuff.
Once you have the program set up, it will automatically change fan speeds based on temperature, or you can do it manually.


I don't have that, but the XFX Radeon HD 4870 X2 I use has a built-in software control panel that does all of that and lets you manually control the overclocking and fan speeds while monitoring temp, memory use, etc, or you let the system monitor those. I also think my CPU has a similar control panel but I'm not messing with upping the voltage on the i-7 CPU - at least not yet.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Computer Build - 07/26/09 02:48 PM

What motherboard do you have? I don't recall seeing that in your specs.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/26/09 04:07 PM

Here is the motherboard, it comes with the SuperMicro barebones set: Intel X58

I think the CPU voltage and temp controls are in the Bios setup screen. But I have not looked for them, just saw it somewhere on install.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Computer Build - 07/26/09 05:04 PM

If you ever want to get adventurous, this video will help you . Luckily it's the same motherboard and chipset.

I want to overclock my Q6600 to 3.2 GHz (running stock at 2.4) which is possible with my setup; I actually built it exactly (with exception to hard drives) the same as this (doesn't even come close to yours), but it requires somebody with patience to help me out \:\) , even though I have all the suggested settings.

Edit- I'm pretty sure that Intel has overclocking software for their motherboards that works right in Windows, therefore no BIOS required.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Computer Build - 07/26/09 05:57 PM

I'm still shocked i was able to get this working, so I'm not going to mess with the clock. It runs all I need without issue so I'm good. As it gets long in the tooth (yesterday????) I may change my mind. Right now, I would not even know the difference as 3D models run smooth and draw time is 0.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Computer Build - 07/26/09 06:00 PM

I don't blame you for not touching it, that's one sweet rig!! Didn't know what your intentions where, as some people just can't get enough \:\) .