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Thread: NEW BUILD no-SLI/CF - Case/mobo/graphics Help please?

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    Senior Member Perfectionist's Avatar
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    Question NEW BUILD no-SLI/CF - Case/mobo/graphics Help please?

    I had a PC with radeon 4870X2 for about half a year on and off and found it very prone to graphics glitches due to overheating or other things, and also slower on some games than it should be due to, I guess, the poor handling or more than one graphics core. I remember people recommending I turn one off - Bit of a waste.

    Are other SLI options worth it? Is there really a difference? Bearing in mind I tend to run at 1920x1440 and will be upgrading to 1920x1600 when organic LEDs get themselves sorted out (I hate backlights on LCDs the washed out greyish black on games like Doom 3, FEAR etc, using high-end CRT instead) and prefer to run stuff on max settings. I remember Crysis ran on max settings but was quite buggy with LOD for some reason with rocks only showing when up close while rest of things worked fine, stuff like that. I also use my PC for business but I am planning around games first because they need the most juice and anything that works for high-end should be fine for everything else I think!

    I'm going to make a fresh start and possibly build my own PC this time around, last one was from Overclockers UK, who I foolishly gave a chance even after reading various negative web reviews (mixed with a few "oh they're fine" ones which I guess may have been astroturfing).

    Going for watercooling for sure as I want a quieter PC this time, 4870X2 revved up like an aeroplane at times even with about 6 fans on Antec 1200 case going at full blast:

    Also, thinking about the possibility of having USB extensions and monitor lead extensions to have the actual box in a different room from monitor and accesories - how viable is this, one thing I remember hearing last time I investigated it was that USB power tends to drop off after about 2 metres or something? And I'm worried that routing through a hub would possibly slow things down. I know VGA cables have a limited range, but I thought I could work around that by having the DVI to VGA adapter near the monitor and having the actual cable DVI still.

    Thanks for any help, hopefully I won't have to post in multiple forums to get some reliable info like last time around I researched

    p.s. Prev PC specs was Corsair 1000HX PSU, graphics card as prev mentioned, Q660 oc'd@3ghz (didn't last long though) 8gb corsair ddr2 can't remember speed, with vista (only chosen because of the larger ram allowance) - obv win7 + i7 this time, unless there's any new cpu coming out soon? i7 was available when I bought this PC but I skipped due to rumours of poor gaming support
    (Oh and will be going with nvidia card(s) this time - much as I am not interested in brand names and despise pandering to a monopoly - I got pretty sick of games developers choosing to support Nvidia to more of an extent than ATI with all the "way it's meant to be played" anti-competitive BS which, I think if gaming was more mainstream the government would care enough to squeeze the same way Microsoft have been.)


    Also looking at Scan 3XS systems, with the possibility of maybe picking the parts and having it made rather than picking a named/brand one as I'm not really bothered about that and they seem to have quite a mark-up. From what I have seen almost £100 might be well worth avoiding the hassle of learning how to overclock, watercool properly etc and leave it to the guys who do it every day (who seem pretty friendly unlike OCUK who just seem to want to keep you as far away as possible once they've got your money off you). I was impressed by "# The engineers care about the systems they build. # They use a rigorous build process to ensure the systems built are tested to a set standard. (We’ll share these results with you) # Systems are fully stress tested and QC checked prior to despatch" and the actual guys taking pictures of the machines and posting on forum etc, well they actually do seem to care about their job like the marketing pages claim rather than just chucking them out without testing. However on another thread I replied when I said about overclockers someone said something bad about scan and it got deleted (here you can see where my post was edited where I was quoting another person and replying to their vanished message saying scan had wronged them somehow (I can't remember who it was now so I guess the memory-holeing is effective of sorts), and the message after mine sounds weird because the other messages are missing), so I'd like to hear anything really, I'm a lot more wary now (hence my questions about the use of premium rate numbers for customer services in my other recent topic)

    another edit: added links to previous threads from couple years when I was last researching/planning.
    Last edited by Perfectionist; 18-10-2009 at 09:09 AM. Reason: edited title

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    Senior Member Perfectionist's Avatar
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    Sorry for the mass-editing, I kept thinking of other things I wanted to ask! Post done now, I think

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    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    Well it sounds like you're willing to throw quite a bit of money at this.
    I don't really have any experience of this type of custom built pc, not built by others at least.

    I'm posting for the reason that VGA cable limit is around 50m when correctly shielded eg http://www.lindy.co.uk/50m-premium-g...ble/37753.html
    Not cheap but I doubt you'd need 50m and they generally come in 5m steps, so something like a 5m or 10m would probably be enough.

    Yes USB does loose power over distance and connection (ie the more connectors you have along the length the more you lose)
    Higher quality cables will help reduce the loss but a powered USB hub at the end would pritty much negate that anyway.

    Personally I'd build a pc my self, mainly because you got a lot of bits there that don't really need replacing, that Corsair 1000HX PSU is well over spec'd and more than enough for almost any needs.
    Same goes for the antec 1200

    The only real thing that might push me away from a self built would be the water cooling, but mainly because I've not done it before.
    That said, I'd probably get some bits and build a water cooling 2nd pc just to try it, just no way I could afford that.

    On the subject of fan noise, have you tried just running all the tri-cools on low? it really doesn't take that much air flow to keep a pc cool.

    On Sli/nvidia, I'd hold off atm, nvidia seem to be having issues atm, what going to happen with them is a bit unsure.
    Lots of nasty rumors flying around, conserning the current 200 series going EOL and no sign of the new series yet . . . where the truth is we'll probably have to wait a month or so to find out.

    You might not want any down time due to this also being a work pc, but what is that "work"?
    A lot of applications don't need any where near the power you have atm, so a 2nd off the shelf lower spec pc for work and then use your current pc as a base to build a new high end rig or mess about with water cooling.

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    Pre-Cambrian nibbler's Avatar
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    I agree - wait it out. But Crossfiring 5770s is pretty damn viable

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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    didn't the OP just mention they didn't want CF or SLi? anyway the 5870 is the best card to get at the moment, all things considered. nVidia don't have new cards out for a while yet so I don't know how long you'd be prepared to wait. the 295 might be an option for you but it wouldn't be a huge jump from the 4870X2 anyway and all the problems of heat and noise would persist. The 5870 is also very quiet and runs cool so you might not even need watercooling this time round if you go down that route. A good CPU cooler would do the job and you can re-use your PSU too.

    So if I were you I'd look at getting a 5870 which gets rid of the noise problem. A good CPU cooler to go with your i7 (or even keep your Q6600 since you just bought it...?) which would be effectively silent too. Keep your PSU and case and invest the money into a good mobo and maybe an SSD

    Then you can turn your case fans down to low and voila, you have a very quiet PC with i7, 5870 and an SSD! You can't get better than that
    Quote Originally Posted by Hexus
    And which will be able to Crysis 2?
    Which huh, punk?

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    Senior Member Perfectionist's Avatar
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    I don't have any of the components mentioned anymore, I sent it all back as one system for the refund, sorry if I was unclear, I did say "I had" though I have all the money back instead, which makes me feel less like I wasted some of it and so more prepared to buy again but hopefully do it properly this time. I'm on a backup PC at the moment, starting from scratch

    For VGA cables wouldn't it be smarter to do what I said in the original post or is that not possible? Not use VGA cables at all and instead have the adapter slot into a DVI extension lead?
    e.g monitor with fixed unremovable vga cable ->slots into DVI adapter>DVI end of adapter slots into DVI extension lead which connects normally to the DVI graphics card?

    As for USB, I'm not really sure on the technical workings of hubs, is there processing time involved e.g. adding additional hubs having it over a distance may make my mouse go slower than if I had it just plugged straight into the PC over a short normal cable?

    On Sli/nvidia, I'd hold off atm, nvidia seem to be having issues atm, what going to happen with them is a bit unsure.
    Lots of nasty rumors flying around, conserning the current 200 series going EOL and no sign of the new series yet . . . where the truth is we'll probably have to wait a month or so to find out.
    Interesting, hmm -
    anyone else heard about this too? I was thinking of a GTX 290 for the graphics card (again had bad probs with support for ATI cards on some stuff)
    Last edited by Perfectionist; 18-10-2009 at 05:23 AM. Reason: bolded because some people after pob still replying as if I have the old PC still!

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    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    Yes you may well lose some response, but it's very unlikely you'd notice it.
    the main thing you'd have to watch out for would be bandwidth, not really an issue for mouse&keyboard but plugging in things like usb external hard drives and memory sticks, some web cams, scanners, printers and any thing that requires to send a lot of data back and forth.

    For an old CRT monitor sticking in a dvi to vga adaptor and a long dvi cable would be better simply as that would mean if you replace the monitor you'd not have to replace the cable as well
    Also as graphics cards don't have vga any longer so you'd have to run crt cable > vga cable > vga to dvi adaptor > graphics card
    It's the joins that are going to be the weak point with most signal degradation, if you want to carry it over 15m in length then ideally no more tha 3 joins, up to 10m you can get away with about 5 joins.
    However I thing a quiet pc would be a better starting point than trying to move the pc to another room

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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    However I thing a quiet pc would be a better starting point than trying to move the pc to another room
    Yeah I agree 's the reason for the watercooling, but even watercooled seems to have fans (from what I remember, and looking at Scan's built ones to make sure I was up to date). It'd be sooo nice to have 0db

    From what I saw the fans actually part of the graphics card (which I think were the loudest fans in the PC!) can't really be removed can they? Not sure about other ones I haven't experimented. I guess I will be waiting for that announcement about new cards or whatever though to avoid the hassle of removing it finding someone to sell it to and buying a new one again though.
    Last edited by Perfectionist; 17-10-2009 at 01:44 PM.

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    Oh Crumbs.... Biscuit's Avatar
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    DVI is officially specced up to 5m... obviously you can push it further than this but if the distance is over 10m i would get a single high quality cable (£20+)or a signal booster.

    With most GPUs you can buy replacement coolers, maybe not for the new 5870s but give it a few months and they will appear. They will give you the ability to use a low RPM fan which will emit very little noise.

    Choose your case carefully too, cases liek the P183 have very good acoustic perfromance. Maybe even think about putting acoustic lining on the case and buying antivibration systems for the hard drives.

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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    1. Taking the unit too far away is not really practical, no matter how good the cable. 2. No Case is 0db. Probably water cooling isn't any more quiet than air any more - what is different is the clocks you can run at.

    Now you could put the case into an enclosure, but then you'd have a cooling problem unless you had AC in the enclosure. And AC isn't quiet. I can imagine some near "no noise" solutions that could work, but they would be horrendously expensive.

    The simplest way to get low noise is to underclock - then it needs less cooling. The problem with this is that you need to spend more or accept less performance.

    Basically nothing is free. You can't have bleeding edge performance and total silence without spending silly amounts of money.

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    Senior Member GSte's Avatar
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    I found SLI to be a complete pain in the arse.... noisy, hot, always crashing due to instability..... If it were me I'd just buy and AC Accelero Xtreme for your 4870X2.... Runs whisper quiet and very cool.

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    Senior Member Perfectionist's Avatar
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by GSte View Post
    I found SLI to be a complete pain in the arse.... noisy, hot, always crashing due to instability..... If it were me I'd just buy and AC Accelero Xtreme for your 4870X2.... Runs whisper quiet and very cool.
    Quote Originally Posted by Perfectionist View Post
    I don't have any of the components mentioned anymore, I sent it all back as one system for the refund, sorry if I was unclear, I did say "I had" though I have all the money back instead, which makes me feel less like I wasted some of it and so more prepared to buy again but hopefully do it properly this time. I'm on a backup PC at the moment, starting from scratch
    I'm probably going to wait for the GT300s like Pob recommended due to 200s going EOL, I saw in another thread people are being told to do that too:
    Quote Originally Posted by TAKTAK View Post
    GPU = Personally i'd stay away from XFX, and prolly wait it out for the 300's
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterStoba View Post
    I would wait for the release of the GT300 from Nvidia, spending that much on 'old tech' isn't very effective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorsson View Post
    1. Taking the unit too far away is not really practical, no matter how good the cable.
    Can you explain why please I'm not sure what you mean? The stuff mentioned so far sounds pretty reasonable really? Unless the degradation/response time/bandwidth issues is really that bad with USB (mouse,keyboard,other accessories)/DVI(monitor)? Probably only going to be a couple metres to get the box out of the same room, not on the other end of house or anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorsson View Post
    2. No Case is 0db.
    Yeah I know, I was saying that because of the box being in a different room from the rest of the PC (even if it's loud I don't have to hear it while using)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorsson View Post
    Probably water cooling isn't any more quiet than air any more - what is different is the clocks you can run at.
    any more? Couldn't just skip on overclocking and skip on fans and just have pure watercooling? Without needing to underclock or anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorsson View Post
    I can imagine some near "no noise" solutions that could work, but they would be horrendously expensive.

    The simplest way to get low noise is to underclock - then it needs less cooling. The problem with this is that you need to spend more or accept less performance.
    I'm honestly fine with spending more if necessary if it rids me of incessant whirring noises Though if the put-in-another room thing would work, that seems to be the best solution - again not sure of your specific objections to doing that?


    Quote Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
    Choose your case carefully too, cases liek the P183 have very good acoustic perfromance. Maybe even think about putting acoustic lining on the case and buying antivibration systems for the hard drives.
    You or anyone else recommend any review lists or similar of the best cases? this and this look decent. I'm not going to cut corners on the case (like I got antec 1200 last time for air cooling) as I reckon it's probably the most important thing other than motherboard and PSU (I already know I'm going i7 and ddr3). I notice Scan for their pre-specified watercooling systems use Silverstone TJ09B (empty case pics) for Triad, Silverstone TJ07B for Black Widow / Great White and Corsair Obsidian 800D (empty case pics) for BW Extreme
    Out of TJ07/TJ09 I'd probably say TJ07 agreeing with what these guys say (via Google), but I am interested looking at other cases too.


    Also, I forgot to mention this, I'm looking at solid state drives, and was wondering if it's worth perhaps having a separate one for windows and page file other system crap and a separate one for games/other storage? For OS it's going to be Win 7 Premium (have a PC World - who I usually avoid like the plague [as well as everything else that I think pretty much everyone knows of they treat female customers like a friend of mine in a very patronising and sexist way] pre-order for £90 which isn't too bad, but I will happily cancel if there are any other better deals around - I haven't been able to find one tho)
    Last edited by Perfectionist; 18-10-2009 at 10:30 AM.

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    I R Toff Pandi! TAKTAK's Avatar
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    Re: NEW BUILD no-SLI/CF - Case/mobo/graphics Help please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Perfectionist View Post
    Are other SLI options worth it?
    Personally, i wouldn't bother, SLi still doesn't scale properly and you're often better off just buying a singular higher-end card (obv, internal SLi is a different kettle of fish, you still don't get the double performance boost, but you can just think of it as 1 card rather than SLi which causes less noise)
    Bearing in mind I tend to run at 1920x1440 and will be upgrading to 1920x1600 when organic LEDs get themselves sorted out
    I'd possibly plump for a GTX285 or wait it out to see what happens with the 300 series

    Going for watercooling for sure as I want a quieter PC this time, 4870X2 revved up like an aeroplane at times even with about 6 fans on Antec 1200 case going at full blast:
    You don't need watercooling to make things quieter, and watercooling is still dependant on the fans that you use to exhaust heat from the rads. it would be more cost effective to buy some decent silent fans and stick them on a fan controller
    , i can make my rig almost silent by dropping the fans down (baring in mind that the GFX card is 100% load 24/7) and i could make it quieter by getting a decent case
    Also, thinking about the possibility of having USB extensions and monitor lead extensions to have the actual box in a different room from monitor and accesories - how viable is this
    I'd try and stay away from that, as you're are likely to introduce more problems, it's easier to just make a quiet PC

    SCAN 3XS
    Going the prebuilt option is entirely plausible, however, it would be nicer for you to build it yourself and learn how to do those things (we're here to help) you can just pop on the forum and post a thread while in the middle of your build and go back to that particular part when you have an answer.

    In terms of spec, i'm guessing that you're looking to go high end?

    So, i would probably go for LGA1156 as the price premium is not really worth the performance increase for LGA1336.

    So with that in mind:

    Base build:

    CPU: i7 860 (i'd be tempted to hold off until the newer steppings are out ) £217.55

    Mobo: i would try and get one of the boards using a LOTES socket, so the best option to guarantee is by getting a high end eVGA board. EVGA 132-LF-E657-KR £169.68, obviously this is an area to do research on to find cheaper boards using the LOTES socket

    RAM: GSkill Ripjaw £73.59 (you'll have to change to corsair if you get SCAN to build)

    GPU: 1GB Asus GTX 285 £229.17

    PSU: 625W Enermax PRO82+ £83.13 lots and lots and lots of head room for future upgrades

    OS Drive: MLC SSD SSDSA2MH080G2C1 £171

    Data drive: 1TB Western Digital £62.96

    Case: Coolermaster RC-1000 £132.25 or if i could afford it Corsair Obsidian Series 800D £209.99

    £1139.33 with Cosmos
    £1217.07 with 800D for the base



    Air cooling:


    Megahalems 1156 £51.74

    2 Noctua NF-P12 for cooler £15.97 each

    Noctua NF-S12B's for the case (5 or so needed) £15.84 each

    £162.88 for quiet air cooling

    £1302.21 total cosmos air cooled
    £1379.95 total corsair 800D air cooled


    Water (only going by scans stock here and only CPU loop):

    CPU block: Swiftech Apogee GTZ £56.34

    Rad: XSPC RX360 £67.74

    Pump: XSPC Laing DDC £65.07

    Res: XSPC BR525CL Clear 5.25" Bay Reservoir £17.37

    Tubing + barbs + fluid: ~£25

    3 Noctua NF-P12 for rad £15.97 each

    2 for general case airflow Noctua NF-S12B's for the case £15.84 each

    £311.11 for water cooling

    £1450.44 cosmos watercooled total
    £1528.18 800D watercooled total


    But ofcourse, it all depends on how much you have to spend
    I could be way over the mark pricewise but there are plenty of ways to get the price down for example, use Yate loons rather than Noctua's and volt mod them to make them nice and quiet saving ~£10 per fan

    HTH
    Post Counts and Other Rewards, Rules, Folding@Home, Fans: Push vs Pull vs Push-Pull, Corsair PSU OEMs.

    Quote Originally Posted by razer121 View Post
    Would you like me to enter you? it would be my pleasure
    TAKTAK.co.uk

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    Perfectionist (20-10-2009)

  21. #14
    Oh Crumbs.... Biscuit's Avatar
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    • Biscuit's system
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      • AMD 2700X (Be Quiet! Dark Rock 3)
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      • Seasonic Focus Gold 750W
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    Good post by tactac.

    When your going this much in depth at choosing your PC componants what i always do is open excel and start making lists formulas and links. Its the best way to see all your option on a page and it makes sure you dont miss anything.

    Dont bother with review lists the best thing to do is find 2 or 3 cases you like and read 2-3 reviews on each one. Im going with the Coolermaster ATCS 840 as its only £160 on scan atm and it has some really nice features.

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  23. #15
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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      • Dell 21" ips something

    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    You could look into the big external rad made by Zalman
    http://www.zalman.co.kr/ENG/product/...ad.asp?idx=183
    That would remove some of the fans from your system, how well it can cope I'm not sure.
    If you can do a water loop with the graphics card as well as cpu that will cut out a lot of the cooling requirement, you'd still need some air flow through the case.
    Big slow moveing fans are best to reduce noise, so maybe a CM ATCS 840 case for it's big 230mm x 30mm fans

    The basis of what Thorsson is correct, the more powerfull the pc the more heat is going to be produced, trying to get top end performance and slience is next to impossible as there is just too much heat produced to get rid of sliently.
    So you ether have to lower the performance requirements or put up with some noise.

    If you're willing to spend this sort of cash then there's always the Reactor pc, http://www.hardcorecomputer.com/

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    Senior Member Perfectionist's Avatar
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    Re: SLI - Is it worth it? 4870x2 experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    If you're willing to spend this sort of cash then there's always the Reactor pc, http://www.hardcorecomputer.com/
    Interesting!
    A fairly nicely specced one comes out as £2,780.49 (They are in the US and seem to have free shipping for international, too) which is cheaper than some of the the water block based systems by Scan!! O_O Not sure about some of the components though it reminds me a bit of Dell or PC World the configurator: touting yorkfield CPUs as the fastest seems a bit dodgy, like the claim for SLI you need an extra PSU for each graphics card (the PSU is only 650W) - no mention of what motherboard either, I guess I'll have a talk with them thanks, looks interesting for sure.

    edit:
    Now that's a radiator:
    Last edited by Perfectionist; 18-10-2009 at 02:01 PM.

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