Description

Building the PC This is my first PC in a long while, my first PC build and my first gaming PC. I was considering building PC some time ago in early 2016, when I started to become somewhat unsatisfied with my Xbox One and laptop, and I began studying this stuff.

Mid 2016 I still had nothing to show for my learning, though it happened a relative had a PC he could give away, something old and incredibly dusty that was bundled with a box containing a mountain of cables, CDs and even an old motherboard, along with a few extras.

I began a small mission, to see what was really inside the PC. A friend helped massively along the way and around October I knew most of the parts in there and gained a lot of knowledge. Come mid-November and it was time to fully clean the PC and start it up. Though it was a success, I had to get a new hard drive (since the relative asked for the ones in the PC back), and that meant getting Windows 10 too.

So by December, things were almost wrapped up. I installed a 2TB WD Blue HDD and Windows 10. The PC seemed to work fine until I spotted an error in the BIOS, the CPU was reaching high temperatures. I quickly identified there wasn't even a fan on the water cooler (Antec Kuhler 620) radiator in the PC, and put a 120mm Silent Eagle 1000 on it, that happened to be in the box. This wasn't enough though - the cooler was clearly broken. I bought a Cooler Master 212X and some thermal paste, and attempted to apply the cooler. This took several days due to various reasons but eventually, the cooler was fitted smoothly (it seeeems) and I attached to Silent Eagle to the 212X. Altogether this halved the idle temperatures the 620 had (60 down to 30). Later the Silent Eagle was moved to the front as a third intake.

Conclusion And that was it, it was a bit of a suprise seeing the i7-975 Extreme Edition in the BIOS menu during its first start-up, I expected it to be a 920 or something, but the 3x4GB RAM (one stick of 4GB wasnt in there for some reason, making it 8GB - don't know how to represent this on the list), weird sound card setup-thing (turned out not to be one, apparently some fancy sound device from EE-MU) and mountains of software CDs in the PC and its accompanying box should have already told me this was some sort of (sound?) editing machine. The GPU was probably the weakest thing in the PC.

I intend to use this PC for gaming and whatever programs I might decide to try out.

Aside from the cooler situation, the only problem was me always messing up placing the RAM down (after taking it out to put in correct dual-channel config). It seemed so simple :/ Got to use some force (Even when sorted, proper dual-channel config refused to show 8GB, had to use single-channel).

Results CSGO - 150 - 350fps Whatever settings --

Civilisation V - 30-50fps Highest (old) --

Borderlands 2 - 70-100fps Highest --

Cities Skylines - 20-60fps Highest --

Warframe - 100-250fps Highest --

Terraria - 60fps Highest (capped(old)) --

Planetside 2 - 20-60fps Highest (old) --

Deus Ex Human Revolution | Director's Cut - 40-60fps Highest (old) --

Doom - 80-140fps Highest w/ Vulkan

Gears of War 4/Halo Wars 2/Halo Wars: Definitive Edition - 60fps Highest

Payday 2 - 60-120fps Highest (varies due to different upscaling and reshade 3.0 settings, haven't tried stock)

Space Engineers - Variance between the CPUs/GPUs/patches used.

XCOM 2 - 20-40fps mixed settings (old)

1080p/60Hz

For the grand total of £0.00, getting the core PC as a gift was very nice and means I'm more free in getting extras like peripherals, SSDs and monitors (my current one is some 24' Bush TV thing). Can't wait to get into this PC stuff.

(Jan-Feb 2017) Overclocked i7 975 to 4GHz - but had to disable hyper-threading.

(Mar 2017) - Installed RX 480 to replace HD 6850. Nice.

(Apr 2017) - Edited out some final things, probably the last time this'll be updated until phase 2 of the build. Overclock tweaks, enabled hyper-threading. Added fans to list.

(June 2017 - 7 Month Update ) - Wanted to clean up some things that annoyed me and add more info on how the PC is going. The 4Ghz OC I'm running with the 975 gets to around 80C in Prime 95 and Blender, a little higher now that it's summer. Regular gaming is not a problem though and during intensive tasks like rendering I crank up the PC fans to 100% and place a big home fan near the case which brings the temperatures down 5-10 degrees. Quite a few people don't like 80C as their max temp but my experiences using hot laptops and consoles makes me indifferent to these sorts of temperatures. 85 degrees is my personal maximum. Also it runs at a slightly higher voltage (1.23) than the one in the screenshot because Cities Skylines would crash at 1.21, the only program to do so.

X5650 added, 4gb added to make 12gb. Revised upgrade path - For certain: Vega 56/1070 Different cooler+case+PSU Better fans 144Hz monitor - If the motherboard doesn't die or something.

Part Reviews

CPU

Doesn't seem to limit an RX 480 or below, especially at 4GHz. It produces a fair amount of heat at that point so a decent cooler is a good idea with these i7s. The i7 975 Extreme Edition is good enough pretty much, extremely good enough.

CPU Cooler

Mounting is good enough for first install but it could be simplified for easier maintenance.

Motherboard

Handles a 211 bclk just fine with all of its fancy 'military grade' mosfets and stuff. It suffers from x58 problems though, like wonky (edit: absolutely ATROCIOUS) RAM detection and bad sata 3.

Storage

Not the fastest thing ever but it's cheap with 2TB of space.

Video Card

Died on me at the absolute worst time. Sapphire has non-existent support. Can't justify giving it praise even though it was a solid card.

Case

Fans are molex and cable holes are a bit odd, there's no mobo cut-out too, but it's a decent case.

Power Supply

Fan is pretty quiet and it's held up well so it's good

Optical Drive

It read a disc very nicely.

Case Fan

LED has a blue tint to it, and the screw holes are too small.

Headphones

Comfortable, adjustable, and sounds nice - they are pretty much perfect for the price. 7.1 is good but I've never really used it. It can break if you try hard enough though and when it does it defies physics. Earcup can somehow pop out.

Comments

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for I7 975 :) You should be able to overclock it with that CPU cooler, should you decide to. I've got a 212 EVO for my I7 975, running as a server @ 4.0GHz just fine.

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

I saw your sever build before! Heheh, one of the only i7 975 related things I could find, it seems to be a really obscure CPU. Thanks for the tip, I'll see if I can boost it a bit soon :)

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Great job.

The original DDR3. This style only works at max speed when 3 identical ram sticks are used in the channel. It may seem weird, but it works great.

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-dual-triple-and-quad-channel-memory-architectures/7/

That cpu will still kick ***. You have a great budget upgradable system.

Thumbs up.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

That chipset is triple channel. Later HEDT procs are quad channel. While mainstream cpus are all dual channel.

They are the OG Core-i7 Nehalems and still run great. OC it and the 1060 should have no issues.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Will do!

[comment deleted]
  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

I feel such a feeling of joy, pity, and indigestion. +1

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

How do so many mixed feelings occur?

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

My is a enigma of intervals and irregularities.

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

That GPU totally isn't in par with the CPU LMAO

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

It's definitely going to be the first thing in there to be upgraded :)

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

The only catch about getting a xeon x5650 is the considerably lower single thread rating vs your overclocked i7 975. In addition, a xeon x5650 gets around 7,500 multi-threaded on passmark, while an overclocked i7 975 gets around 7,300. So the difference is quite minimal, and you're sacrificing your single-thread performance for it. Thus, for gaming, I'd stay away from a xeon unless you have a motherboard that can overclock xeons. Just some thoughts.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I actually got one a few weeks ago (haven't updated this). My Sabertooth board can overclock it so I got it to 4GHz. Clock for clock it seems the X5650 is just as powerful in single thread as a 975, and the two extra cores have been worth it so far. If I get a better cooler I'll overclock them both to the max to see how they compare. I was going to do a collection of tests comparing them at 4GHz but I can't while my 480 is being RMA'd

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

O dang. yeah, at 4ghz, the x5650 will be just as strong in single-threaded stuff. As you said, the 2 extra cores are a straight upgrade, especially running at the same frequency. Looks like the last 4.0ghz x5650 got 9610 on passmark, so yours should be around there. Nice! Good luck with that RMA!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks :) I'll need it if I want to get a replacement before September...

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Old, still bold, still gold. Great performance for a freebie and good on you for fixing it up.

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Aye its not a bad PC. I'm glad I restored it, just so this powerful old tech is given another run

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Throw that I7 out of here. Grab a X5650. £50 for six cores man. You won't regret it. Make it an absolute beast. Nice seeing X58 boards floating around. Underappreciated these days.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

If the 975 fares well I'll probably keep it, and save up for other stuff :)

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

True, but just imagine task manager xD

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Hd 6850, I used mine to game up until 2015 lol granted I didn't use my comp for 2 years but someone bought it on eBay for 25$ so cool

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

It's not a bad GPU, for running older games

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  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

It may be old but... it's... it's... ... cold. Bold. Gold. ye