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Help me build a benching rig.

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Stan_Lite, 14 May 2006.

  1. Stan_Lite

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 27 Apr 2004

    Posts: 107,331

    Location: In bed with your sister

    I am considering building a benching rig and would like some advice please.

    The plan at the moment is to use a Vapochill lightspeed unit to cool the CPU and have dual watercooled gfx cards.

    I have a DFI expert motherboard on one of my rigs just now and like it very much but I like ATI gfx cards. My question is, would the DFI crossfire board clock as well as the expert so I can go crossfire with 2 X1900s or would I be better with the expert board with 2 7900s in SLI?

    Also, being a bit of a watercooling noob, I would like some advice on which components would be best for the gfx cards and Northbridge. I would prefer blocks which cover the ram chips as well as the GPU. Which pump, rad/fans, reservoir, blocks would be best?

    Which PSU would be best for this rig? I need something which will give me adequate power and stability for benching at high clocks.

    Also need advice on RAM. Which RAM would be best for this sort of job? I would imagine I would be better with RAM that can run with tight timings on a divider rather than high bandwidth (I will be using this particular rig for AMD chips with the possibility of making up a seperate mobo/RAM set up for Intel when the Conroe chips and boards come out).

    I was intending mounting it on a table for easier access when changing stuff out and to help cooling, I was also going to point a deskfan at it to help keep the whole lot cool whilst in use. When not in use I will be covering the set up to keep out dust etc.

    I will be using a 37Gb Raptor for storage and installing a trimmed down version of Windows (using nlite) and only installing benching software etc. Any advice on benching software etc.? or would I be better asking in the Overclocking forum?

    Please only suggest items stocked by OcUK as I prefer to buy my stuff here (I have seen the lightspeed unit a fair bit cheaper elsewhere but I like dealing with these guys and can't be bothered ordering stuff from here, there and everywhere).

    Don't be afraid to suggest pricey items as I would rather spend a few bob and get a really good system than compromise and have a good system at a reasonable price

    Stan :)
  2. StarShock

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Nov 2005

    Posts: 1,788

    if all you're interested in is benching and price doesn't matter go for the "Ultima Extreme QUAD SLi 7900 GX2" on this page and add all the cooling you can get your hands on.
    Nothing around at the mo that will beat quad SLi and you can't buy them as components
  3. fenderbass86

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 26 Jun 2005

    Posts: 1,986

    Location: Chelmsford

    Yes there is, a standard SLi or X-fire beats it because the quad cards are wasted with limited CPU power. Utterly pointless. So i've heard anyway.
    Last edited: 14 May 2006
  4. Jimbo Mahoney


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,283

    PSU - OCZ Powerstream 600, or PCP&C

    RAM - tricky, because it's often the CPU which can't run the RAM at tight timings when clocked high. e.g. my Opty 146 can't run my G.Skill @ 2-3-2 when it's clocked over 2.8Ghz.
  5. StarShock

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Nov 2005

    Posts: 1,788

    fair enough and as far as real world usage is would be pointless anyway.
    But an fx60 oc'd to 3.5ghz using that vapochill he wants is unlikley to do a lot of limiting, :eek: and all he wants it for is benchmarking
  6. Stan_Lite

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 27 Apr 2004

    Posts: 107,331

    Location: In bed with your sister

    I can see the attraction of the Quad sli rig but my intention was to oc and bench many different CPUs. As far as I can see, the above machine would be pointless if testing a 3500 Venice core or something like that.

    What I need is a set up which will be able to test pretty much any CPU to as high as I can get them and compare benchmarks.

    Any that I find which clock particularly well will be kept and built into a fairly high end system and either used or sold. Any "duds", as far as overclocking goes, will be sold on.

    Basically I want to play with expensive toys and have some fun :D

    Stan :)
  7. StarShock

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Nov 2005

    Posts: 1,788

    if you're benching a cpu you want the cpu to be the limiting factor in a system, if the graphics are limited you'll reach a point when no matter how much speed you get out of the cpu you'll get the same scores

    also I would be temped to get two or three different sets of ram so you can get the best ram cpu combo for all the different cpus you try

    WC-020-VP Vapochill Light Speed Cooling Unit (Socket 478/754/939) (04-L-1010) (WC-020-VP)
    £464.00 £464.00
    MY-002-MK Mushkin 2GB DDR XP4000 Redline Extreme Performance Dual Channel Kit (2x1GB) (991493) (MY-002-MK)
    £199.95 £199.95
    FS-025-OK "Ultima Extreme QUAD SLi 7900 GX2" AMD Athlon 64 FX60 Dual DDR Silent PhysX Enabled System (FS-025-OK)
    £3,599.00 £3,599.00
    MY-057-OC OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) PC3200 Dual Channel Platinum Series EL-DDR CAS2 (OCZ4002048ELDCPE-K) (MY-057-OC)
    £129.95 £129.95
    Subtotal £4,392.90
    Shipping (City Link Parcel Next Day (Delivered Mon-Fri)) £54.45
    VAT £778.29
    Total £5,225.64

    also I would yank the physx thing out cos it'll just slow you down

    edit -- saying that does anyone know if the "Abit AN8-32X Dual X16 Lane (Socket 939) PCI-Express Motherboard " is any good for OCing ?
    Last edited: 14 May 2006
  8. quadboi


    Joined: 28 Feb 2006

    Posts: 1,606

    GREAT RIG! Good spec
  9. Cyanide


    Joined: 5 Mar 2006

    Posts: 3,971

    Location: Nottingham

    Still needs a monitor though, might as well go for the biggest you can if using quad SLI :D
  10. Stan_Lite

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 27 Apr 2004

    Posts: 107,331

    Location: In bed with your sister

    I think I'll pass on the quad sli thing. It isn't really necessary and there are too many things about that splendid machine that I don't need/want i.e. FX60 (although I will get one eventually), case, optical drive, 2x150Gb raptors etc.
    Also, I would prefer the DFI board - I had a look over in the motherboards section and there were a couple of people who said that the X-fire board was a good clocker so I think I may go down that road with the X1900 X-fire and X1900XTX.

    I have Mushkin redline RAM in another machine and I also have some Corsair XMS3500LL that does 2-2-2-5 at 220MHz so I may use those for benching and get some other RAM for the 2 machines I take them from. I was thinking to do that anyway so I can bench with high bandwidth or low latencies. The Mushkin I have will do 270MHz at 3-3-3-8.

    I still need some advice on watercooling for the gfx cards. If anyone can help then please suggest away, if not I will move it over to the overclocking section.

    Stan :)

    Edit: I won't need a monitor, I have enough lying around at the moment and I won't be doing anything exept benching with it most of the time. If I want to try out a game on it, I will take my gaming monitor to it.
    Last edited: 15 May 2006
  11. daven1986


    Joined: 29 Oct 2005

    Posts: 3,310

    for waterblocks, if you are benching and you want the NB cooled you might want to go for 2 loops, one for both graphics cards with a thermochill PA120.2 rad, and 1 loop for everything else, you can WC the ram, NB, mosfets HDDs and run them all off one lowish spec pump.

    for the gfx loop you'd be better off using a liang DCC ultra pump (maybe get the one with the reservoir for ease of use) and for the other loop just any average pump will be fine. try and use 1/2" barbs for the gfx loop with 7/16" masterkleer tubing, and for the other loop 3/8" tubing will be fine.

    as for the gfx blocks danger den ati block or alphacool nexXxos are both good and cover the ram.

    for the other loop i'd use either koolance ram coolers (or another one i can't remember right now), whatever mosfet coolers you need and a low pressure drop chipset block. HDDs can be cooled with a silentstar HDD cooler.