Last Updated 25 Oct 2009

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COMPUTERS

Last time I built a PC was around 2003, so in September 09 I figured it was about time to upgrade in order to be able to keep up with modern games and flightsims. The machine is based around an Intel i7 920GHz Core CPU running at 4.0GHz with water-cooling.

  • INTEL i7 (QUAD CORE) 920 CPU @ 4.0GHz
  • ASUS P6T DELUXE V2 MOTHERBOARD WITH HD AUDIO
  • 6Gb CORSAIR XMS DDR3 1600MHz WITH HEATSINKS
  • SAPPHIRE ATI RADEON 1Gb DDR5 HD5870 VIDEO CARD
  • CORSAIR H50 CPU WATER COOLING SYSTEM
  • 3 X AKASA 1200rpm SILENT 120mm FANS
  • 2 X COOLERMASTER 700rpm 200mm FANS
  • NZXT SENTRY LX FAN MONITOR SYSTEM
  • SAMSUNG SATA-II 1TB 3.0Gb/s HARD DRIVE
  • WESTERN DIGITAL VELOCIRAPTOR 150Gb HD
  • LG BLU-RAY 8X DVD READ/WRITER
  • LG DVD 52X READ/WRITER
  • AKASA MULTI-MEDIA CARD READER
  • COOLERMASTER HAF932 TOWER CASE
  • LOGITECH G-19 GAMING KEYBOARD
  • LOGITECH CORDLESS MOUSE
  • LOGITECH SPEAKER SYSTEM
  • SAITEK X52-PRO FLIGHT STICKS
  • IIYAMA PROLITE B2409HDS HD 1900X1080 MONITOR
  • WINDOWS 7  64bit OS

The strength of this machine lies in the CPU and the GPU. The i7 920 is an amazing piece of technology in its own right, but with hardly any effort at all, it can be overclocked to crazy speeds! I'm currently running at 4.0GHz with water-cooling but will probably drop it down to 3 because there are currently no games that can tax it - well not with the Radeon HD5870 in tow.

The Radeon HD5870 is (at the time of writing) the fastest single-gpu video card in the world and the ONLY one which is DirectX 11 compatible. Despite being frighteningly fast, it consumes relatively little power compared to the competition, thanks in no small part due to the fact that it can match the performance of twin-gpu cards. And best of all, if games move on, a further two HD5870's can be added in Crossfire mode, virtually tripling the power. Jeez, that would be over 6 billion transistors!!!

The whole package is wrapped up in a Coolermaster HAF932 tower case. It's a bit on the big side, but it is superbly designed and has a top quality airflow system to keep temperatures down. Two huge fans run at low speed to move air without sounding like a wind tunnel. The other three Akasa fans are controlled by the NZXT fan controller and in Auto Mode, the whole thing is so quiet that you forget the PC's switched on.

The 24" Hi-Definition Iiyama LCD monitor was a real good buy! Just about the right size for desktop use and amazing adjustability in the stand. It runs at 1900 x 1080 and using PowerDVD Ultra, BluRay films look fantastic.

The panel above shows the CPU at 4GHz performing a TORTURE test using Prime95 and 8 threads! This is the ULTIMATE test for any processor and there's no game in the world gonna push things this far! As you can see, temperatures rise up to the 80's but still no errors and still a nice safety margin. The panel above show a more realistic strain on the CPU. This game (Black Shark) is an extremely demanding flightsim and in this test, ALL settings were maxed out to the very limit and the sim was played at full HD resolution of 1900x1080. Even at this pace, the processor temps remained in the 60's.

Games Played

  • Crysis
  • X3 Terran Conflict

  • Wolfenstein
  • Operation Flashpoint
  • DCS Black Shark (Combat Sim)
  • Lock On (Combat Sim)
  • Falcon 4 (Combat Sim)
  • Microsoft Flightsim X
 

And some mods shown below......

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All image and text are Copyright protected. Tom McQuiggan 2009