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Z68 Build


Citezein
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I just ordered the parts for a new Z68 desktop build. This will replace my current Core 2 Duo E6600. I'm glad I waited for the Z68, as I'm likely to use QuickSync to encode videos before moving them to my WHS for archiving.

 

Hardware List

  • CPU: i7 2600K
  • MB: Asus P8Z68-V Pro
  • RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance
  • VIDEO: Sapphire HD 6850 with Eyefinity
  • CASE: Antec P183
  • PSU: Seasonic X650 Gold
  • COOLING: Corsair H60

 

I'm not a big PC gamer, but needed a card that would support 3 24" monitors and a TV output simultaneously. After some NewEgg coupons, all of this came to about $1300.

 

As a software developer working at home, my aim was for high quality components with good reliability that didn't cost a ton. I think I hit the mark pretty well. I considered getting a Xeon with the Asus P8B WS, but didn't want to lose the Virtu support for QuickSync. I also considered waiting for Ivy Bridge, but my current machine really needs to be upgraded. I have an SSD and data drive I'll be moving over from the existing system and in fact I'm going to try to get the new system up and running without reinstalling everything.

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I spent a solid eight hours yesterday building the new machine and moving my existing system over. Overall, things went very well, with a few small gotchas.

 

The major issue I encountered was with the H60 cooler. When I was tightening it down the standoff screw broke in half. Needless to say, it's unusable without all four screws. I'm waiting for an email back from Corsair about getting a new pack of parts shipped to me. Luckily, I have the stock Intel HSF, which is what I'm using now.

 

Other notable items:

 

Overall power draw at idle is about 110 Watts with 2 SSDs, and one HD, a few USB devices, and the Radeon 6850 card powering three monitors. When powering one monitor, the power draw is about 90 Watts. Overall, I find this reasonable and it's better than my previous Core 2 Duo system.

 

The Antec P183 case is fantastic. Easily the best case I've ever used with fantastic cable management and design.

 

The Seasonic X650 Gold's fan has never come on because my system doesn't draw more than 20-25% power during normal work. I'm sure when I fire up a game for the first time it will kick in though.

 

It's very, very fast. Lightroom and Visual Studio, my two most used programs just fly.

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I spent a solid eight hours yesterday building the new machine and moving my existing system over. Overall, things went very well, with a few small gotchas.

 

The major issue I encountered was with the H60 cooler. When I was tightening it down the standoff screw broke in half. Needless to say, it's unusable without all four screws. I'm waiting for an email back from Corsair about getting a new pack of parts shipped to me. Luckily, I have the stock Intel HSF, which is what I'm using now.

 

Other notable items:

 

Overall power draw at idle is about 110 Watts with 2 SSDs, and one HD, a few USB devices, and the Radeon 6850 card powering three monitors. When powering one monitor, the power draw is about 90 Watts. Overall, I find this reasonable and it's better than my previous Core 2 Duo system.

 

The Antec P183 case is fantastic. Easily the best case I've ever used with fantastic cable management and design.

 

The Seasonic X650 Gold's fan has never come on because my system doesn't draw more than 20-25% power during normal work. I'm sure when I fire up a game for the first time it will kick in though.

 

It's very, very fast. Lightroom and Visual Studio, my two most used programs just fly.

 

Keep us posted!

 

I look forward to see how you are getting along with your new Z68 system.

 

I have pretty much decided that I will be using the Z68 platform for my next upgrade to my current HTPC.

 

Just waiting for the "Funding Elves" to leave me a basket of Money, so I can start building and upgrading. B)

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One thing I'm still having issues with is the Virtu software. For whatever reason, running in d-Mode doesn't let me use Quick Sync for encoding, even though it really should. I haven't had the time to figure out what is going wrong.

 

For an HTPC, I'm not sure Z68 gets you much over H67. Wouldn't you just use the built-in graphics anyway?

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Guest no-control

The SSD Caching could be useful?

 

For what?

 

While it sounds great on paper, I cannot come up with a single reason to use that feature. If you have an SSD just install the OS on the SSD and call it a day. They aren't THAT expensive.

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For what?

 

While it sounds great on paper, I cannot come up with a single reason to use that feature. If you have an SSD just install the OS on the SSD and call it a day. They aren't THAT expensive.

 

After a few games or so, even 120GB fills up rather quickly, and that's $200+ dollars.

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Guest no-control

Why would you put games on an ssd? The ssd should really contain the os & programs that would benefit from an ssd. Everything else should reside on spindles. Games only benefit from level loading. If you really want that I would suggest buying a 2nd Gen ssd over 3rd or 4th Gen ssd. They are considerably cheaper.

 

I don't see how cacheing would help level loads. The way i understand how it works it only improve game performance if you suck and repeatedly loaded the same level. Maybe I have it wrong and don't understand how the caching works?

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One thing I'm still having issues with is the Virtu software. For whatever reason, running in d-Mode doesn't let me use Quick Sync for encoding, even though it really should. I haven't had the time to figure out what is going wrong.

 

For an HTPC, I'm not sure Z68 gets you much over H67. Wouldn't you just use the built-in graphics anyway?

 

The Jury is still out for me.

 

My main motivation for looking at the new Z68 MBs is slot spaces and Sata ports.

 

For my particular use case I have two PCIE tuner cards, one PCI tuner card , one PCIE Xonar Audio Card, Plus I want to run 4 SSDs, 1 Spindle Drive and 1 Sata BluRay Drive.

 

I realize my Use Case is unusual but that's just my situation.

 

I don't see H67 filling my needs.

 

I use my HTPC setup for more than just a DVR.

 

That's just me.

 

Call me crazy.

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