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Topic Title: The Black Widow
Topic Summary: A complete log from conception to what it is today.........
Created On: 05/22/2010 02:16 AM
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 05/22/2010 02:16 AM
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X-tremedreamer
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Many of you here have some really nice rigs and your work logs have inspired me. However the build of the Black Widow has been much more then just assembling parts. It was a huge learning experience. Most of the computers I built before this came from recycled parts. They worked well for the software of the time, but none of them would I have ever considered a "gaming" rig.At least not buy today's standards. So this thread I will share with you the building of my first "X-Treme" system. complete with my mistakes and what I learned from them. There is over two years of history in this build so this thread to log when finished can not be written in one setting. (Or even a week for that mater.) Though this is targeted to everyone, I hope it will help people in deciding on what to buy to putting it all together

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 05/22/2010 02:21 AM
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PC-GURU -
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well, give a yell if ya need any help with the 5870,s.

Dual 5870 HD your 965 BE will bottelneck all to hell lol. I can tell ya that now with out doubt.

ya need 1090T.

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AMD phenom II 1090T @ 4.23 Ghz custom water cooled
Asrock 890 FX deluxe 3 mother board
4 GB DDR 3 1600 @ 1688 Mhz 7 7 7 24 T1 2688 Mhz NB
2x 1 TB WD Sata III 64 mb cache HDD,s raid 0
2x 5870 HD @ 1015/1300 Asus reference
Dual OS win 7 x64 ultimate & win 7 x32 Ultimate (bench os)
 05/22/2010 01:16 PM
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OC Maximus
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Looking forward to it.

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Phenom II 965BE @ 6.22GHz on LN2


 05/22/2010 03:38 PM
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X-tremedreamer
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Originally posted by: PC-GURU -

well, give a yell if ya need any help with the 5870,s.



Dual 5870 HD your 965 BE will bottelneck all to hell lol. I can tell ya that now with out doubt.



ya need 1090T.




Yea I had guessed as much, But as I learned from before ( I will get into this a bit more later) sometimes bottlenecking your CPU can be a good thing. ........... ( What the heck?? lol yea I know. Again I will get into more of that later.) Anyway, to tell you the truth, I dont think anything short of the Bulldozer will fully realize the full potential of quad or even dual crossfire.

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 05/23/2010 10:43 AM
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X-tremedreamer
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The Black Widow actually didn't start out with a name in mind. I was using and older rig sporting an Athlon 64 x2 6400, with an nVidea 8800 GTX. News of the Phenom x4 was released with details of the "Spider Platform". I always wanted a gaming rig, but buying a prebuilt rig was not something I could afford to do, and I have never been a big fan of anything I could not tear down and rebuild myself. My IT career was starting to take off and money was coming in such a way that I could afford small chunks of money to get the rig off the ground. So I started looking at the different components I was going to need.

I wanted maximum expandability, so the 790FX platform was the obvious choice. In the interest of saving money I scavenged the Power supply (Rosewell 900W Extreme) HDDs, 2x 500GB Maxters and a pair of Sony Optical Drives. So to launch this build I chose an ASUS motherboard M3N32MVP-Delux. It had the 790FX NB and 600 SB. I chose a pair of Sapphire Toxics 512Mb Radion HD 3870s. At the time it was the best GPU from ATI. I used a Nirvana 120 for a cooler on top of the newly released Phenom x4 9850. For memory I picked out 4 x 1 GB DDR2 1066 Balistix Tracers by Crucial. I had to look for a new case that all this was going to fit in, plus anything else I was going to put into it in the foreseeable future. So I searched the web and settled on the largest case I could find. The Thermaltake XaserVI with 10 expansion slots, 7 3.5in HDD bays, 7 5.24 external Drive bays, removable motherboard tray, and set up to receive water-cooling. It looked good on the web, but the sheer size of this case was not something I was expecting. I already had my components; I was still in need of a case to put it in. So in a rush to get the case I paid a small fortune to have it shipped to me before the weekend. It was Friday and no sooner gotten home from work when the Fed-X truck pulled up the drive. I was very surprised to see the driver get off his truck with a two wheeler and a huge box on it. It was so big, when I set the box next to my old school house desk, it extends my desktop.

As I had never had a rig or built a rig with crossfire I knew this was going to be a learning experience for me. Documentation on how to set the bridges, and which PCIE slots to put them in was kind of lacking, it was more confusing than anything. This would prove to bite me later. So once I had Windows XP x64 loaded it was a trip to the school of hard knocks as trial and error was what it took to get it set up right.

From the word go I found so many issues, problems that I need to solve that dug alot deeper then the Video cards. Some of my issues was solved when I changed from Windows XP to Vista, But Vista was still in its early stages (Pre SP 1) and stability issues were plaguing me more then the driver issues I was having with XP. Most of my problems turned out to be with the motherboard not really being happy with PATA drives. After fighting with Asus (They RMAed the first board and the problems didnt go away) for a BIOS update that would fix the problem I decided that I would scrap my Drives for SATA drives. This caused install issues with XP, as installing from a SATA dvd drive would cause XP to BSOD during install. So I had no choice but to install one PATA DVD drive and use SATA for the rest of them. Using two PATA dives caused the Motherboard to post incredibly slow. Intalling Windows would work, but right after the install it would fail to boot with out the Install disk. If I unplugged the the DVD drive the system would boot. It made no sense to me but what ever worked I was going to do.

In my next post I will have pictures ready of the early stages of the build.

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Edited: 05/24/2010 at 08:23 AM by X-tremedreamer
 05/23/2010 11:40 AM
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pcnazz
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Looking forward to see .

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    Room Temp H20 | 2 Stage Cascade | PH II X6 1090T BE | PH II X2 555 / Asus CH4 v905 | i7 970 / Asus R2E v1914 | Corsair HX1000 1210W | Asus 5970 QF | Corsair Dominator GT 2000 | WD VR 3+0 Raid ( 450gb )
 05/24/2010 08:22 AM
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X-tremedreamer
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 05/25/2010 09:01 AM
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X-tremedreamer
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This build was built on the spider platform, Phenom 9850, 790FX, 3870 GPU. Notice on the case, the red hourglass on a black background ...........From that the name "The Black Widow" came from.

One of the first things I learned was about the dual channel memory. The DDR2 Memory controller in all the phenoms at the time and to date will only run at 1066 in single channel mode. I set the BIOS on the motherboard to force the memory to the 1066 speed, gave it the voltage it needed to run that fast, but the Phenom wasn't having it. So I was forced to run at 800 speeds. I was able to gain more speed from te memory if I unganged them and overclocked the FSB. My skills with overclocking was limited so I had a friend of mine come over and we sat together pushing this CPU to see what its limit was. 2.9 Ghz is what would call the stable limit of the CPU but it was very hard for me to attain. This was going to prove fatal for the PSU as I kept pushing for higher clocks. At a current draw of about 570W I started to spell the all to distinct smell of hot plastic. I quickly went into shutdown mode. Reaching around the rig I grabbed the power cable at the PSU end and yanked it out. This ended the life of the PSU. It was so hot that the insulation on the power cord was getting soft, and with in seconds of pulling the plug I herd several little "pops" and then a puff of white smoke spilled out from the bask of the PSU. Most PSUs have a thermal shutdown feature, but this one had failed apparently. So the next upgrade was a Thermaltake 1200W PSU. I also added a pair of 1Gb versions of the 5112Mb 3870s. The next post will show the pictures of unboxing and installing the massive PSU.

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Edited: 05/26/2010 at 01:35 AM by X-tremedreamer
 05/25/2010 09:34 AM
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X-tremedreamer
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The cables were a little longer then on the Rosewell but not long enough to hide well behind the motherboard tray ............ This turned out to be a good move. Very solid PSU and I fell in love with modular cabling.

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 05/25/2010 12:26 PM
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X-tremedreamer
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I wanted better silicone, to go with a quad X-Fire solution. So when I dropped in the next two GPUs, I also dropped in the Phenom II x4 9950. However in truth I gained nothing ...... 2.9Ghz was still the best I could get, and I wanted to break the 3.0 mark. Now, if you recall I was struggling with finding out how to connect my GPUs together so in my next line of pictures I will show you what I tried first, before I got it right........ We need to also keep in mind that I was still using Windows XP. Its not really made for a multi-GPU platform. I handled two ok, but 4 and I was having issues. Not critical issues, but driver issues with the way I had them connected at first, and then Windows was not recognizing 4 GPUs and CCC was reporting all but one GPU was Disabled after I got them all up right. at least until 8.4 drivers was out and then the first three was active but the fourth was disabled. So in the next bunch of Pictures not much has changed, adding a few more GPUs, and swapped out the 9850 for the 9950........

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 05/26/2010 11:03 AM
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Orn
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that's some tight cable management, nice work XD

Originally posted by: X-tremedreamer

I wanted better silicone,


hehe, I'm sorry XD I'm just a kid
 05/27/2010 09:19 AM
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X-tremedreamer
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So here is what I tried first and thins of course didn't work.........




Next I tried a different way and this did work.......



Here is a screenshot of 3DMark06 with the 9950 (Stock), 4x 3870s, on Windows XP Pro x64

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 06/09/2010 01:30 PM
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X-tremedreamer
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So I ran the rig for a while until the 940 came out. Of course at the time the new 940 was a 140W CPU, and my motherboard would not support the CPU so I had to look for a new board and I decided that a new CPU Cooler would be in order. I had my eye on the Ultra ChillTech for a while. I did lots of research and read tons of reviews. For the most part I got positive feedback. At the time the Ultra was going for about$150 bones.......... so it was at this time I went ahead and purchased it.


There will be more on this a bit later I will have the pictures ready as well.....

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 06/09/2010 01:51 PM
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QB the Slayer
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X-t.... seems you were in the same situation I was. Seemed like a good choice of cooler when when I was in the store. I have some pics of me taking apart my ChillTEC... I should post a thread/how-to regarding that, maybe today

QB

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The MONSTER HTPC

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 C2 (140W).||.Cooler: Corsair H80i
MB: Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7.||.RAM: 8 GB Mushkin Blackline DDR3 2000MHz (7-10-8-27-1T)
Case: CoolerMaster HAF 932.||.PSU: Corsair HX750
GPU:HIS IceQ 5 Radeon HD 5770 Turbo 1GB.||.Audio: Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro w/ Logitech Z-5300e (5.1, 280W-RMS)
Drive: 2xKingston SSD 40GB RAID0.||.Storage: 6TB (4x500GB Caviar Black RAID0, 2TB Hitachi & 2TB Caviar Green)
 07/02/2010 01:05 PM
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X-tremedreamer
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Wow where has the time gone. I have been so busy that this thread has kind of got put on the back burner. have patience I will get back to it soon.

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