Wednesday, March 16, 2005

New PC Up and Running

Well, after what seemed like an eternity of waiting for FedEx and a few trips to Frys, I have just finished putting together my new PC with parts mostly from NewEgg.com. List of parts are...

Intel 915GUX motherboard
Intel Pentium 4 3.6Ghz socket 775 800mhz FSB
BFG GeForce 6800GT OC PCI-X graphics card
Antec P160 super tower case
Antec SP160W side windowed side panel
Antec Neo Power 480w power supply
1GB PQI dual channel DDR2-4200 (3-3-3-8) memory
Western Digital 250GB SATA hard drive
Danger Den TDX Intel 775 water cooling block
2 x Vantec 120mm Stealth Fans

Used some of my existing hardware such as my Pioneer dual layer DVD burner and my water cooling setup comprising of Danger Den Black Ice radiator, a single 5 1/4 bay reservoir, and a DTek Customs CSP750 Mark II pump.



I have to say I was very impressed with the case. I have been a fan of Antec since my last case (the Sonata) was so well put together. This case is no exception and the aluminium finish looks superb. The motherboard tray can be pulled out and the board mounted outside of the case and then slid back in again, very nice. The windowed side panel (an extra $29 direct from Antec) makes this case even smarter, especially with a couple of neons mounted inside. It also has two built in temperature probes which link to the LED readout on the front of the panel. Currently I have them connected to the GPU heatsink and the chipset heatsink (the chipset incidentally runs at what seems like a VERY hot 61C under load).

The Neo power supply, also from Antec, is also a very nice piece of kit. It runs super quiet and not very hot at all. The cable management system is great, being able to only connect the cables you need helps streamline the airflow in the case.

Although the memory is 3-3-3-8 it seemed to default in the BIOS to 4-4-4-12. I went in and manually adjusted it to 3-3-3-8 and I have had no problems or crashes since. Neither the CPU or the GPU is currently overclocked. With the new NVidia 71.84 drivers I am getting the following benchmarks...

3DMark03 11988
3DMark05 5091

My benchmarks for my old system which was a P4 2.4Ghz socket 478 with a GeForce FX5900 (standard) using older 66.93 Nvidia drivers was...

3DMark03 5455
3DMark05 1033

As you can see, quite an improvement especially on the 3DMark05 benchmark which seems more geared towards next generation games.

Incidentally I also did a test overclocking the BFG to 409mhz/1080mhz and got a 3DMark05 score of 5540, a nice 10% performance gain but still the card stayed pretty cool even on stock heatsink and fan.

Memory bandwidth benchmarks in Sandra are coming out at 4823 Int, and 4834 Float. I expected this to be a little higher, since many reviews of lower latency DDR2 are now coming in above 5000. Not sure yet why this is so low. I have a feeling there is somewhat of a bottleneck on the FSB since the standard Pentium4 775 runs at 800mhz FSB and the memory bus is running at 1064mhz. It would be interesting to try a Pentium Extreme Edition since I understand the FSB runs at 1064mhz also thus potentially reducing the bottleneck. I am still kinda learning about the Pentium architecture so I could be talking BS here... I will have to go do some more research.

This setup runs Half Life 2 and World of Warcraft great on my Samsung 192N at 1280x1024. I should be receiving my new Dell 2405FPW on Friday which should stress the card a little more since it runs at 1920x1200. I will post some pictures and a review of the Dell later aswell as some information on performance at this resolution.

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