Friday, July 17, 2009

Hexagon v3: Part 1 - Components

This is a post about my new custom build PC. See the other posts as well:

Part 1 – Main Components
Part 2 – Case fans
Part 3 – Case assembly
Part 4 – Full assembly
Part 5 – Over clocking


My custom PCs are always named HEXAGON or OCTAGON (that’s because there are some weeks where I use them both and Windows does not like equally named computers within the same network). Each new build gets an version number because I’m a programmer and I like version numbers :-).  I’m writing this on OCTAGON v2, so the new PC will be HEXAGON v3.

Hexagon v3 Main Components


CPU: Intel Core i7 920 (Bloomfield)

I like the features it has like the integrated memory controller (although this idea is stolen from AMD) with the triple channel interface. As it looks like, you can overclock the 920 very good so I hope I can each 3.2 GHz with it. I know that new Core i7 “Lynnfield” are on their way, but they will no longer have the triple channel for the memory.


image Main board: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P 

UPDATE As it seems this is EOL, replaced with Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5

X58 chipset (not that you have a choice for the i7…), with Intel Controller Hub v10 RAID (ICH10R). I plan to use RAID 1+0 (Mirroring and Stripping) and the ICH10R will allow me just that. Also, it comes with EasyTune a software normally designed to over clock from Windows but I want to use it to read the current temperatures, voltages etc. directly from the board. It has Dual Bios so if flashing the production BIOS fails, you can still access the board. Great if you were stupid enough to flash a board during a storm…


image CPU Cooler: Scythe Kabuto

A top blower cooler, which should help cooling the components around the CPU. With a 120mm fan and a airflow of about 74 CFM (cubic feet per minute) it should operate silent but also keep the CPU cool.


imagePSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro M600

Very silent, very good efficiency in low to medium workloads and very good protection against surges, bursts etc. Its 600 watts should be enough since I don’t plane to build a SLI system (two or more graphic cards). If you want build a pure gaming PC with SLI, there are better PSUs for that.


image Memory: Patriot Viper Series DDR3 6GB (3 x 2GB) PC3-12800 Low Latency DIMM Kit (PVT36G1600LLK)

It is on the list of supported memory modules from Gigabyte and DDR3-1600 MHz speed will give me enough bandwidth when I try to overclock the CPU. And if overclocking fails: They look good too.


image Hard disks: Samsung EcoGreen F2 HD103SI (four times)

932 GB is more than I need, but it’s good to know that I never ever get the “HD full” message again. Beside this, this is a 5400 rpm (rounds per minute) drive and still has a performance of 105-121 MB/sec. This looked to me like the ideal compromise between silent operation and good performance. The switch between slower/silent and faster/louder will be explained in a different post.


image Case: Antec Twelve Hundred

This case has three 120 mm fan on the front, two 120 mm on the back and a 200 mm fan on the top. This should allow a very good cooling and (with good fans) a very silent operation. If you think I choose it because of the “cool” blue fans it has: No, since I will replace all (except one) of them.

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