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Thread: Sprocket sashays...

  1. #1
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    ...into the arms of the Dark Lord.

    For her entire life, my PC, Sprocket, has been an AMD girl.
    Starting with a lowly Athlon 2200+, through Barton core 2500's, a quick side trip to s754 and finally, the dual core Opterons, AMD chips and nVidia chipsets have been the basis of her goodness.
    She has watched with increasing sadness as Intel has whomped up on AMD and has hoped for nearly two years that the Green Team would strike back with a combo as potent as the s939/NF4 of yore.

    Alas, this has not happened and there is no indication that it will anytime soon.
    AMD has piddled around with sAM2 and a mediocre selection of new chips that barely outperform Sprocket's Opteron 180.
    If there was going to be an upgrade, it had to be dramatic enough to justify the cost and AMD just wasn't providing the goods.

    A few weeks ago whilst perusing Microcenter, I saw a new Intel chip- the e8400. For a mere $189 (since raised to $199 and easily available at etailers for @$240), Intel was giving 6MB of L2 cache and a dual core chip running @3GHz.
    Enough is enough I said, and the chip became Sprocket's Valentine's Day gift.
    On the journey home I stopped at the local going-out-of-business CompUSA and scored a Corsair 620w modular PSU for $94 (normally $150+), and we were off to the races.

    Sprocket was pleased but we needed a new motherboard and memory to actually use the new chip.

    Life used to be so simple- just get a good Nforce4 motherboard, DFI for overclocking or Gigabyte/Asus for stability- but things on the Intel side are bewildering for the BlueNoob.
    So many chipsets...aargh!

    Finally settled on the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4 because it was reputed to work with the 45nm Intels out of the box and ran the amazingly cheap DDR2 memory.
    Picked up 2 x 2GB of fast G.Skill RAM to start with.

    Decided that a new platform deserved a new vid card as well, so we added a eVga 8800GT (512MB) to the order.

    The parts arrived yesterday and the build commenced last night.
    In the frenzy of anticipation I only took a few pics- and the ones I did get are pretty crappy- but I'll share what I have and take better ones after I go back and pretty things up.

    First up is the memory- 4 gigs of DDR2 for the system and the newly repopulated (4 x 1GB) iRAM for the OS...


    Now for the heavily festooned motherboard...


    New boards sure come with more sophisticated cooling than they used to.

    And finally, a shot of the motherboard tray ready to slot back into the case...


    She POSTed first time and I was into the BIOS where I quickly realized that I knew nothing about new Intel settings.
    I actually had to go through and read the manual to get myself oriented.
    Still not sure what half this stuff is, so I'm sure I'll be toying around for a while but I did manage to get XP Pro x64 installed.
    Four times so far, in fact.

    First thing I did (after wiping the drool off my keyboard) was build a slipstreamed nLite disc and started experimenting with storage setups.
    Still working on the variants, will report back after I finalize.

    Currently writing with the OS on the iRAM and 2x 250GB Seagate SATAII in Matrix RAID as storage.

    Have yet to play with any memory timings or overclocking the chip.
    Even at basically default settings though, this setup is fast as shit.

    Sprocket is a happy girl.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    mr. nails's Avatar m@D @n!m3 BT Rep: +1
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    just a question... why not a mob with pci-e 2.0? on a budget? too much money for the boards? don't care? u'll upgrade in 1 year anyway?

    also, do u benchmark? what are some of the benches u've gotten? i'll compare.
    Alamo Drafthouse!

    Last Game Completed: Aliens: Colonial Marines (PC) 10-13-13
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    Total Games Completed: 503

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    I probably will upgrade in a year or so and at this point the 2.0 version of PCIe isn't really utilized.

    Still need to decide on a setup before I do any benching.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    mr. nails's Avatar m@D @n!m3 BT Rep: +1
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    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    ...at this point the 2.0 version of PCIe isn't really utilized.
    the 3870x2 uses it and if u dont' have the 2.0 u will be ignoring 1/2 the performance of the card. i'll have to work on finding u a link for verification purposes if u need it. the gforce 8 cards use it, but i think it's a mild performance upgrade as u've stated.

    also, welcum 2 the world of the 8400. i love mine!
    Alamo Drafthouse!

    Last Game Completed: Aliens: Colonial Marines (PC) 10-13-13
    Now Playing: Paper Mario 64
    Total Games Completed: 503

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    Glad you got the new stuff when I have more time Ill take some pics of my E8400 setup. I love mine as well except for the reported temps that I have chosen to ignore. When you guys are ready we should all bench at the same time to compare and share settings
    ( Ghey??)

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Open for suggestions re: relevant benchmarks.
    I just ran superPI in under 17 sec.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    mr. nails's Avatar m@D @n!m3 BT Rep: +1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detale View Post
    I love mine as well except for the reported temps that I have chosen to ignore.
    are u talking about teh fact lots of ppl are reporting their 8400 are overheating? imo that's due to old software & not the 8400. currently my cpu is running @ 25c stock on air. lots of ppl claiming theirs running up in the mid 40's to 50's. i have yet to see this. 4ghz of this cpu runs @ around 60c i believe on air. u really don't notice any changes on this cpu 'til u pass teh 3.6ghz mark.
    Alamo Drafthouse!

    Last Game Completed: Aliens: Colonial Marines (PC) 10-13-13
    Now Playing: Paper Mario 64
    Total Games Completed: 503

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. nails View Post
    are u talking about teh fact lots of ppl are reporting their 8400 are overheating? imo that's due to old software & not the 8400. currently my cpu is running @ 25c stock on air.
    It's not that the chips are overheating, but it does seem that they misreport their temps.
    Mine (at stock settings) says it's 35c at idle with watercooling....

    Edit:
    Oy vey!
    My head hurts.
    Just finished a session of storage reconfiguring that nearly did me in.
    Prior to this morning I'd installed Windows on the iRAM and then again to the Seagates- once in RAID and once just seperately.
    Today I wanted to get the iRAM and the Matrix RAID working together.

    Also, the Intel RAID drivers include the AHCI drivers as well.
    My external eSATA drive now is hotswappable...it can be turned on after the PC is running and appears in My Computer without a reboot.
    I consider this a "good thing".
    This behaviour is apparently native to Vista but hit or miss in XP so I'm pleased it seems to be finally working.

    All drives (including the Lite-on DVD SATA burner) were connected to the six ports of the ICH9R Intel controller.

    First, I decided to try the drives in AHCI mode to enable command queuing and hotswapping.
    Begin the install, Windows setup sees the iRAM and goes through the loading of files and reboots.
    And starts from the beginning.
    Huh?
    Try again, same thing.
    Enter BIOS and realize that the iRAM has disappeared from the list of hard drives.

    Switch the drive controller back to "native IDE" mode ("Disabled") and the iRAM appears again.
    Change to "RAID" mode and it disappears.

    Obviously the iRAM will only function as native IDE which means I can't have it connected to the Intel controller if either AHCI or RAID is to be applied to the Seagates.

    Fortunately, the board has two separate SATA ports operating from a Gigabyte controller.
    Unfortunately, these two ports are overlapped by the very card I want to connect to them.
    Rooting through my vast collection of cables I found a 90 connector cable that just barely fit.
    On my next motherboard, I want SATA ports that are oriented to the edge of the board, facing sideways.
    I've seen this feature on other boards and it will become a requirement for my next purchase.
    In fact, I'd like to see the main ATX 24 pin power connector oriented the same way.

    Anyway, I now have the OS loaded on the iRAM and the two 250GB Seagates in a RAID0 stripe.
    I have the page file on the stripe and will also install most of my program files there, only keeping the most used (like Firefox) on the iRAM.
    So far, of the 4 GB available I'm only using 1.1GB on the ram drive which leaves a bit of room to play with (Edit: after visiting Windows Update I now have filled 2.77GB, leaving just 1.2GB free. Still not a problem space-wise but my boot times have slowed dramatically. Damn Windows! Gonna try BootVis and see if it helps...).
    More to come...

    Edit #2:
    Another oddity regarding the temps...
    Coretemp continues to show idle temps of @35c even with a nearby window open and relatively frigid air flooding the case (in fact, my hands are freezing).
    At the same time though,the Gigabyte EZTune Hardware Monitor shows CPU temp as 10c and it rises and falls with CPU usage...basically it acts like one would expect.
    Not sure what this indicates but for now I'm going to join Detale in ignoring the reported temps and just assume that all is fine as long as the PC runs well and doesn't smell funny.
    Last edited by clocker; 02-23-2008 at 04:54 PM.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. nails View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detale View Post
    I love mine as well except for the reported temps that I have chosen to ignore.
    are u talking about teh fact lots of ppl are reporting their 8400 are overheating? imo that's due to old software & not the 8400. currently my cpu is running @ 25c stock on air. lots of ppl claiming theirs running up in the mid 40's to 50's. i have yet to see this. 4ghz of this cpu runs @ around 60c i believe on air. u really don't notice any changes on this cpu 'til u pass teh 3.6ghz mark.
    Na dude Core temp, everest, bios all say its 41-44 degrees idle they go up from there under load I haven't pushed it to see how high they will get due to my current time constraints. "Old Software"? What current software are you using?

    @ Clocker what settings using Super pi are you using so I can compare. is that 17 seconds on the 32M?

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detale View Post
    @ Clocker what settings using Super pi are you using so I can compare. is that 17 seconds on the 32M?
    Man, I wish.
    That's the 1 million run.
    Just ran it again (all speeds stock)...
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

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