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Old December 5th, 2007, 07:06 AM   #121
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Just wanted to let everyone know that I finally got all my parts and got the system put together. I did change a few things along the way. I started to worry about noise on the Supermicro chassis. I instead opted for a Coolermaster Cosmos chassis which is still a very large chassis like the Supermicro but is also supposed to be very quiet. Has a lot of sound insulation in it. For a power supply I chose the FSP Group Everest 1010 1000 watt power supply. For the video card I went with the 8800 GTX as opposed to the Ultra. The only other adjustment I had to make was the memory. In building the system I found that according to the board docs I couldn't use the 800 speed memory with the E5440 processor because it only has a 1333 FSB. According to the docs 800 speed memory is only supported by CPU's with a 1600 FSB. So I got the exact same spec memory in a 667 version. The only other "gotcha" I ran into was that unbelievably enough there are no Vista drivers for the Intel 82575EB ethernet controller integrated on this board. If someone can find them I'd love to have them. So to get connected on a network I found an old 3com 3c905 and stuck it in there.

So, what I finally ended up with are the specs I posted previously with the exception of the graphics card, memory, chassis, and power supply. I haven't seen anyone else post here that they've actually completed a system with the new 45nm Xeons and the X7DWA-N MB. As of late yesterday I actually have it built, up, and running. And yes, I've read the posts regarding Vista but I decided to stick with it anyway. Currently the system is clean with no software other than the OS, all the latest Microsoft updates from Windows Update, and the 3com driver for the NIC. I'll be anxious to see how this performs.

If anyone would like me to repost my total parts list and cost with the changes let me know and I'll be happy to dig through the receipts and repost the total build spec as I have it built.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 07:25 AM   #122
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[quote]When installing your software, make sure you have your BIOS settings correct especially the AHCI settings, and before installing Windows, install the drivers with F6. If that does not work, reset the BIOS to not use AHCI, let Windows install itself, then from Windows install the Supermicro drivers for AHCI, reboot and then reset your BIOS to use AHCI. That should take care of any installation problems.[\quote]

Harm, I just went back and reread this thread and your post I quoted above. I forgot all about this setting when I installed Vista. You say to install the drivers with F6. I assume you mean the AHCI drivers? Would these presumably be on the Supermicro disk with the MB? Or on the Vista install disk? You also say that if I don't do it on initial install to install the Supermicro drivers after the fact, reboot, then reset the BIOS to enable AHCI. The problem with this, and the other "gotcha" I forgot to mention, is that the the CD that comes with the Supermicro board isn't valid for the X7DWA-N. Yes, that's right, they're shipping an old CD that doesn't support the board. Inserting that CD will tell you something to the effect of "sorry, this CD only supports the following boards..."

So currently I have Vista installed and AHCI disabled in the BIOS.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 07:31 AM   #123
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Is this the solution?

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976
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Old December 5th, 2007, 08:31 AM   #124
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Travis,

I was thinking XPPro+SP2. When installing that, you have the F6 option. Not sure about Vista. I tried that on one machine and took it off at the earliest opportune moment.

You may have a look here for the most recent drivers: http://supermicro.com/support/resour...ce_drivers.cfm
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Old December 5th, 2007, 02:59 PM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
John,

On the motherboard, I would have a serious look at the one I mentioned earlier, the SuperMicro X7DWA-N, which supports the 5400 CPU series and uses the 5400X Seaburg chipset. That is a workstation mobo, not a server one. It is the latest upgrade from the Greencreek X chipset.

I will respond later on your graphics question.
I agree that the Supermicro motherboards are more workstation oriented than any of the Intel ones. Especially in the 5400X chipset series.

The Geforce 7950 would probably be your ideal GPU card, all things considered. I recommend getting one, and if you find something you don't like about it, try again, but it should be fine for all of your needs.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 06:18 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Reese View Post
I started to worry about noise on the Supermicro chassis. I instead opted for a Coolermaster Cosmos chassis which is still a very large chassis like the Supermicro but is also supposed to be very quiet. Has a lot of sound insulation in it.
Travis, does it keep everything cool enough? And how about the noise? My PC will be in the living room so I'm hoping it's not unbearably loud.

Quote:
If anyone would like me to repost my total parts list and cost with the changes let me know and I'll be happy to dig through the receipts and repost the total build spec as I have it built.
I'd love to see it. I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to a final system spec and I like the idea of the case you chose to go with the Supermicro board.

I can't get that power supply over here so if I do end up with the (over $1,000AU) Supermicro board I'm going to have to investigate an alternative that meets Supermicro's specifications about connectors (none of which I really understand)...

My guy just got back to me with another alternative board, a Tyan described here:

Tyan i5000XT - $740.00.

What are your opinions of this one compared to the Supermicro?

EDIT: Here's the link to Tyan's web site about the board recommended to me. It does not mention 45nm compatability.

http://www.tyan.com/product_board_de...d=43S2696A2NRF

These ones do, and may be the right ones to go with. Of course, we can't get these over here yet so I can't assume anything about the prices so they may end up being the same price as the Supermicro board.

http://www.tyan.com/product_board_detail.aspx?pid=560
http://www.tyan.com/product_board_detail.aspx?pid=562
http://www.tyan.com/product_board_detail.aspx?pid=564
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Last edited by John Hewat; December 5th, 2007 at 07:50 PM.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 04:03 AM   #127
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John,

The Tyan with PID562 looks pretty similar to the SuperMicro. From the 3 links you gave on the Tyan website, this one appealed the most to me because of the 8 FBDIMM sockets. The thing missing is on-board fire wire. but the location of the PCI slot makes it easy to add a simple PCI fire wire card. You have to take into consideration that the PCI-e 8x slot will be covered by the video card, if it is one of the 2 slot versions.

The most noteworthy difference is the maximum FSB, which in case of Tyan is limited to 1333 and is 1600 with the SuperMicro. Also the SuperMicro supports DDR2-800 and the Tyan only DDR2-667.

The board suggested to you by the dealer is based on the Greencreek chipset and does not support the Harpertown 45 nm CPU's. It is a previous generation mobo in comparison to the Seaburg based boards.

If you use the PC in your living room I would suggest you take a good look at the dimensions of the chassis. The SuperMicro SC743 TQ-865B is not very high, but very deep. The Coolermaster is higher, but less deep.

In terms of noise there are a couple of things to consider, SuperMicro has a relatively silent PS, has passive cooling of the CPU's and uses an air shroud to accomplish that. Coolermaster has no air shroud and requires active cooling of the CPU's. Also the PS may be a bit louder than the 'silent' version of the Supermicro.
A last remark, any case less deep than the Supermicro may give more difficult installation of expansion boards, less clean cabling and therefore lesser cooling, requiring higher fan speeds to keep temperatures in check and, most importantly IMO is the lack of hot swappable drive bays, which is so easy.

In an ideal situation you could compare the two options side by side in operation, but that is hardly achievable. Hope this helps.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 07:24 AM   #128
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John, here's what I finally ended up with.

Supermicro X7DWA-N $698
Coolermaster Cosmos 1000 chassis $190
FSP Group Everest 1010 watt PS $280
Soundblaster X-Fi Elite Pro $249
Kingston DVR667D2D8F5K2/2G memory (x2) $220
eVGA GeForce 8800GTX $550
Vantec EZ Swap MRK-200ST-BK (x3) $105
Intel Xeon E5440 $770
Areca ARC-1261ML $820
Areca battery backup $129
Areca ARC-1000 LCD $79
Areca 2GB Memory Upgrade $189
Seagate 500GB ST3500630NS (x8) $1199
Western Digital Raptor X 150GB $175
Sony BWU-200S Bluray burner $599
Dell 2707WFP Ultra Sharp $875
Windows Vista Business $280

Total $7486

The case itself and the fans included with the case are very quiet. The only noticeable noise comes from the fan included with the CPU. That CPU fan is definitely not quiet. I'm going to be looking for an aftermarket CPU fan to replace it but haven't gotten one yet.

Otherwise it seems to be a pretty good configuration. With the system drive in one of the Vantec trays I can just swap out OS's if I want. I use the other two vantec trays for the Seagate drives and the remaning 5 1/4" slot for the Areca LCD.

Harm, I was able to use the Microsoft article I linked to successfully switch to AHCI.

Harm is also right that the Coolermaster doesn't have the hot swappable drive bays. For me this really isn't an issue. The 6 internal drive bays are where I'm running the Seagates and can't see a need for swapping them unless one fails. When and if that happens I don't really mind shutting down the system, opening it up, and replacing the failed drive. And with the Vantec enclosure I have a quick swap of the system drives to change OS's anytime I like.

One other thing I'll mention if anyone is looking to install Vista on the X7DWA-N board: the integrated network controller is flat out incompatible with Vista. I couldn't figure out why I had such a hard time finding a driver until I found an intel document stating that 82575 NIC chipset is incompatible.

So I've now got it up and running, have Vista installed, have all the Windows Update updates installed, updated the intel chipset software from a download from Supermicro, and am now in the process of installing CS3.

Harm, I looked at the benchmark you wanted me to run. According to his site it doesn't work with CS3.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 07:53 AM   #129
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Travis,

The benchmark was updated by Bill, but most likely he did not yet have the opportunity to make it available on his site. He obviously has been very busy.

When he has it available and you run the test, you should not be surprised when you end up with the number 1 position with your system. This is one heck-of-a-system. Thanks for posting all the components and their current prices. This is very helpful for other people looking for a top-notch system.

Happy editing....
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Old December 6th, 2007, 02:42 PM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
John,

The Tyan with PID562 looks pretty similar to the SuperMicro. From the 3 links you gave on the Tyan website, this one appealed the most to me because of the 8 FBDIMM sockets. The thing missing is on-board fire wire. but the location of the PCI slot makes it easy to add a simple PCI fire wire card. You have to take into consideration that the PCI-e 8x slot will be covered by the video card, if it is one of the 2 slot versions.

The most noteworthy difference is the maximum FSB, which in case of Tyan is limited to 1333 and is 1600 with the SuperMicro. Also the SuperMicro supports DDR2-800 and the Tyan only DDR2-667.

The board suggested to you by the dealer is based on the Greencreek chipset and does not support the Harpertown 45 nm CPU's. It is a previous generation mobo in comparison to the Seaburg based boards.

If you use the PC in your living room I would suggest you take a good look at the dimensions of the chassis. The SuperMicro SC743 TQ-865B is not very high, but very deep. The Coolermaster is higher, but less deep.

In terms of noise there are a couple of things to consider, SuperMicro has a relatively silent PS, has passive cooling of the CPU's and uses an air shroud to accomplish that. Coolermaster has no air shroud and requires active cooling of the CPU's. Also the PS may be a bit louder than the 'silent' version of the Supermicro.
A last remark, any case less deep than the Supermicro may give more difficult installation of expansion boards, less clean cabling and therefore lesser cooling, requiring higher fan speeds to keep temperatures in check and, most importantly IMO is the lack of hot swappable drive bays, which is so easy.

In an ideal situation you could compare the two options side by side in operation, but that is hardly achievable. Hope this helps.
The RAM and FSB differences are only an issue if you are planning to buy a top end Xeon CPU, which while clearly faster, is extremely expensive. I am hoping that the Greencreek 5000 chipset will support the new 5400 CPUs with a BIOS update. I know one person whom that is not yet working for. The 1333FSB and socket are the same. It should be similar to the BIOS updates needed for the Prescott Core or the Core2 release. I am planning to buy an XW8400 with cheap 5100 CPUs, and replace them with >2.00Ghz 5400 CPUs once they become widely available, assuming they get supported correctly for the older MBs.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 05:46 PM   #131
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Hi Travis,

Thanks so much! That's a huge help!

Can I ask a few questions:


Coolermaster Cosmos 1000 chassis $190

I'm seriously considering this case after I read the reviews. As much as Harm recommends the Supermicro case, I just can't see it as the right choice for me. Does this case have any difficulty fitting the large Supermicro board? Or did you get it in there without any hassles? How about heat? Do you think it will become an issue?

Vantec EZ Swap MRK-200ST-BK (x3) $105
Quote:
With the system drive in one of the Vantec trays I can just swap out OS's if I want.
How? Can you explain this to me? I looked these things up after seeing this and the one thing about them that appealed to me was that it says "If you're worried about the Internet affecting your PC then just use one of these drives instead..."

I thought that sounded good but I don't understand it at all! How can that work? I assume it's a good solution for backing up? Also, can you explain to me where it fits in that case? In the front external bays? Or is it external? And if so, how does it plug in??

Quote:
That CPU fan is definitely not quiet. I'm going to be looking for an aftermarket CPU fan to replace it but haven't gotten one yet.
I'd definitely be interested to hear your choice here as I will probably copy it!
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Old December 8th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #132
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So has anyone here had any luck getting a 5400CPU to work in a 5000 series board. The 5000p and 5000i Blackford chipsets are certified by Intel to work, but the 5000x Greencreek workstation chipset is never specifically listed, which is the basis of the xw8400 and Precision 490/690 workstation lines. I know one person is having issues with the xw8400 and a E5410. I was hoping other people had tried this.
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Old December 9th, 2007, 08:22 AM   #133
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There was plenty of room in the Cosmos case. I had no problems fitting everything in or with any of the expansion boards fitting. I've never actually seen the Supermicro chassis but the Cosmos is pretty darn big.

The Vantec is just a SATA enclosure that fits in one of the 5 1/4" drive bays. It uses a tray that has the drive in it which then just slides in. So to swap OS's I can just remove the system drive from the tray, pop in another drive with a different OS, then turn the system back on. I want to keep this machine "clean" without a lof of other software such as games. This way I could swap in another sytem drive with games or another OS.
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Old December 9th, 2007, 07:05 PM   #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Reese View Post
The Vantec is just a SATA enclosure that fits in one of the 5 1/4" drive bays. It uses a tray that has the drive in it which then just slides in. So to swap OS's I can just remove the system drive from the tray, pop in another drive with a different OS, then turn the system back on. I want to keep this machine "clean" without a lof of other software such as games. This way I could swap in another sytem drive with games or another OS.
Me too! So when you swap OSs you don't need to re-attach cables or anything? Is that the idea of it - so that it is simply a matter of slide out the old one and slide in the new one? And it sort of clicks into place?
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Old December 10th, 2007, 09:05 PM   #135
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well if its money is no object.... then you need to check out the new Dell
work stations coming out soon... wow.... these are going to scream...

Check them out at Dell.com

goto workstations and they should be there for you to check out
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