Project: Sabertooth – Stage I
Time for a change, seriously!
Time. I had a lot of it into my original i7-920 x58 system. I wanted to go back to basics. A total redesign of my primary system was needed and quite frankly, long overdue. Sure I updated it a bit with a spiffy new case and some water cooling but in the end it wasn’t enough to save the hot and power hungry rig. The eyefinity was great, but became temperamental when dealing with older programs. It also needed to go.
The Wish List
I wanted a pure gaming rig this time around. Something that was all around fast in any game. I wanted stunning graphics and a screen to match. Game performance had to be excellent for the next 2 years. I still needed it to handle light to medium multitasking as this was going to be used for ripping media, podcasting, and general business purposes. I wanted to keep power consumption as low as I could without sacrificing performance. It needed to run cool quiet and have sufficient ventilation. While not a difficult build, far from it, it was going to require some creative part selection.
- CPU – Core i5 2500K
- Mobo – Asus P67 Sabertooth
- RAM – 8GB (2x4GB) G.Skill Ripjaw X
- GPUs – 2x XFX 6950 or GTX560Ti
- SSD – 120GB 4th gen SSD’s such as a Vertex 3
- HDD – WD Black 750GB
- ODD – Lite-On BDVD-RW
- PSU – Corsair HX750
- Case – Corsair Obsidian 650
- HSF – Corsair H60
Additional items on the list are a new Logitech illuminated KB, R.A.T. 7 mouse, 24”x 48” X-Trac XXL ripper mouse pad and finally a Dell U3011 30” 2560×1600 primary monitor and two Dell 2007FP 20” 1600×1200 Flanking monitors in portrait. I will also do a complete reinstall of the o/s as this hasn’t been done since 7 was released in 2008.
Not being made of money. I needed to spread the cost of the new system out over the course of a year. This meant I would have to repurpose parts I already have as the wish list contained parts not only outside of the current budget, but also not yet released. So these are the pinch hitters.
- GPU – XFX 5870
- SSD – 128GB G.Skill Falcon
- Case – Lian-Li V1000
- HSF – Corsair H50
Assembly was straight forward no real issues other than working with the old school V1000 case. All case fans have been replaced with newer quieter models. All intake fans are filtered as well. I also setup the H50 in a push-pull configuration exhausting out of the back of the case. I also have a dual 2.5 to 3.5 bay drive adapter for the future Raided SSDs.
So why the P67 Sabertooth? Well aside from the fact it’s the coolest looking board out there. The 5 year warranty is a solid choice. The EFI interface is a thing beauty, I spent close to 3 days messing around before I finally installed windows. I’m also interested to see if I notice any cooling benefit of the thermal “armor”. Why not the 2600k? The 2500k is a real screamer it didn’t take much to get it to overclock to 4.5 GHz. In my current usage profile, I hardly ever need the additional 8 threads and based on PCDoc’s testing I didn’t see any real benefit in speed either. So saving money is always a good thing. Being that I wanted to keep the power consumption low I saved my settings and reset to optimized settings. Only settings I changed were boot order and turning off unnecessary onboard devices, like serial ports, 1394, etc…
Originally I intended for this system to be completely next gen this included an install via UEFI shell and EFI version of windows 7 on a GPT formatted system drive. While I had no real issue with UEFI or GPT on this system itself. I do use Windows Home Server, and it doesn’t support GPT/EFI. So Unfortunately I had to revert back to the standard windows install on an MBR format. I thought about just doing manual backups until WHS2011 was released but the Release Candidate sadly also doesn’t support backup of GPT/EFI.
The completed rig looks really good and I’m debating if I even want to switch over to the Corsair 650D case now.
The switch to a 30” panel was a bit sketchy as I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it as much as the 3 24” panels I had in eyefinity. Turns out that I actually prefer the single large panel to the previous setup. The vertical real estate makes up for the lack of horizontal and the addition of the 20” panels on the sides are great for multitasking. The huge mouse pad is awesome. Several mice track very very well on it. Glide has just enough grab for precision but breaks loose without much effort. The logitech Illuminated Keyboard makes night time ops feasible for this hunt and peck typist. I’ve already reviewed the mouse previously.