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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old March 27th, 2010, 10:43 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Craig Coston View Post
If you decide to drop money on an aftermarket cooler, my strong suggestion is the Noctua NH-D14. It's absolutely amazing. Make sure to use their provided thermal paste, as it is better than Arctic Silver's offerings when paired with this particular cooler (my own tested experience). Just make sure you have enough room in your case for this one. I have everything in a 4U height rackmount and had to dremel the top of my case to get it to fit right.
Thanks for the recommendation, Craig. Looks like I might need an aftermarket cooler because at stock speeds (2.66GHz for the processor, 533MHz/DDR3-1066 for the memory) my CPU's core temperature is already at Intel's maximum recommended thermal spec of 72.9C core (67.9C in the middle of the heat spreader) under a full load with the stock Intel boxed CPU cooler. (I ran Prime95 and RealTemp to obtain these temps.)

In other words, the stock Intel cooler barely kept up at stock speeds (if I trust the thermal spec). Of course, I could run stably at 3.66GHz with the core and QPI voltages cranked up to 1.25V, but the temps began to exceed 80C, which might shorten the useful life of the CPU.

UPDATE: I got myself a Noctua NH-U12P SE2, which is compatible with LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775 and AM2/AM3 motherboards. (Although initially, I bought the wrong Noctua cooler - an NH-C12P, which as packaged did not come with the correct mounting hardware for Socket LGA1366 or LGA1156 although the mounting kit for those two sockets could be purchased separately. And though that cooler delivered about 10C worth of improvement over the stock Intel cooler, it didn't perform well enough to justify its relatively high price - and that model was recently discontinued, replaced by the NH-C12P SE14 which now has a larger 140mm fan and comes ready to mount on LGA1366 or LGA1156 in addition to LGA775 and AM2/AM3.) The NH-U12P is an impressive cooler - in fact, it is the "old" top performer prior to the introduction of the NH-D14. Whereas the stock Intel cooler allowed the CPU temperature under full (100%) load to reach Intel's recommended maximum thermal spec at the CPU's stock speed of 2.66GHz, the NH-U12P kept the CPU temp about 10 degrees C lower than this maximum even with an overclock to 3.66GHz and the Vcore and Uncore voltage set to the higher 1.25V (I needed these voltage settings in order for my system to be Prime95-stable at 3.66GHz). This cooler, on average, kept temps about 20C cooler (at 100% load) than the stock Intel cooler at every tested processor clock speed.

Next up: An overclock to 3.8GHz or 4.0GHz. But I personally would not use these settings on a regular basis because the ratio of performance boost to power consumption begins to decrease greatly (or put it this way, the increase in total system power consumption would be much greater than is justified by the performance increase) above about 3.7GHz with this i7-920 processor.

Last edited by Randall Leong; March 28th, 2010 at 09:02 PM.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 09:59 PM   #47
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Final update on my OCing the 920:

Due to the warming Spring temperatures, I decided to settle on 3.6GHz (200x18 rather than the 183x20 I had been using since getting this Noctua cooler) with the memory running at the full DDR3-1600 speed. However, I do feel that my CPU could do 3.8GHz if the ambient room temps weren't so high.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 11:35 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Randall Leong View Post
Unfortunately, the Intel ICH10R's built-in RAID feature requires that all hard drives connected to the SATA ports be RAIDed together - it's all RAID or no RAID.
I was wrong on the above quote. I simply took what I found on the predecessor ICH9R and transposed it upon the ICH10R. The ICH9R would not let me have a non-RAID boot drive when set to RAID mode; I had to use AHCI or IDE mode. But the ICH10R does allow me to have a non-RAID boot drive and a RAID 0 or RAID 1 array for storage or work use. However, if Windows had been installed on a hard drive with the controller set to IDE or AHCI mode, the registry must be tweaked (hacked) in order to switch to the RAID mode; otherwise, the system will reboot into a "repair" mode.

With that bit of tweaking out of the way, I ran PPBM4 on my system at both 3.6GHz (3.78GHz with Turbo Boost) and at stock 2.66GHz (note that the memory was running at a slightly lower speed at 3.6GHz than at 2.66GHz). Although the two results that I submitted will not appear on the list for at least a few days, I can safely say that the OC'd system did beat out all but two of the dual-Xeon systems (as well as the two overclocked i7-920 systems with fewer than four hard drives in a RAID array). And at stock speed, the only stock-speed i7-920 systems that beat mine have at least three hard drives RAIDed together (I tested mine with only two hard drives in a RAID 0 array plus a non-RAID system drive). Plus, my system has "only" 6GB of RAM rather than the 12+ GB of RAM that most of the systems in my performance class have.

I'm sure that I can get better scores with more hard drives RAIDed together - but my motherboard's controller is already at the max (with one BD recorder and two DVD recorders - a single recorder does not do a stellar job of writing to every media that's currently available). And adding more hard drives in RAID would have required me to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the additional drives plus a hardware RAID card. As such, I am pretty happy with my current results - and that squeezing the last bit of performance would cost me much more money than is justified by the performance improvement.

And beginning July 1 of this year, Asus motherboards will no longer be the same. This is because Asus will be completely spinning off its component manufacturing division as a wholly separate company called Pegatron. Asus will retain a 25 percent stake in the new company; however, Pegatron will significantly reduce the use of the Asus brand name on the motherboards it manufactures (instead, it will now be using the ASRock brand name on even premium-priced high-end motherboards) - while Asus will be outsourcing most of its own branded motherboard production to an FIC subsidiary in China. Until then, Pegatron will remain a subsidiary of Asus.
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