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 Post subject: i5-2500k @ 4.3 Ghz, Z68, uATX, 32 Watts @ Idle
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:27 pm
Posts: 327
This is actually a motherboard/CPU upgrade of an older system. The old CPU was an i5-750 @ 3.36 Ghz. Usually I would not bother to move up for a 30% speed bump, but someone else around here needed that CPU and motherboard to upgrade a 6 year old system. When I realized all I would need is a motherboard, CPU and 4 gigs of DDR3 to upgrade two machines it was a go:

Image

Components:
MSI Z68MA-ED55
i5-2500k @ 43x100.0, no turbo
Cooler Master Hyper 212
4x2 G Skill DDR3 1600 cas 9
Sony Optiarc DVD burner
2 x Scythe 800 RPM fans
Antec NSK 3480 with original power supply
Noctua 1800 RPM 80 mm fan in the PSU
Samsung 7200 rpm 500 gig F2
Crucial 64 Gig SSD
Windows 7 64-bit

A system like this is either very interesting because of it's low idle power draw, or very boring because it does not have a souped up GPU.

As you can see the only component that is not super high powered is the GPU. I don't game so that is not a priority. I am looking around for an upgrade that is more compute oriented, but the current crop of Fermi cards are very power hungry. Any ideas? Idle power is 32 watts AC and 29 C CPU temp. Under Prime 95 145 watts AC and 66C CPU temp. CPU temps are for the hottest core. The average is about 2C lower. Under load the IGP draws an additional 30 watts AC; it is overclocked to 1400 Mhz and produces a windows experience rating of 6.5. The system boots very fast due to EFI on the motherboard and the SSD.

My next system will probably be a mid tower with an ATX board. uATX has few enthusiast motherboards available. On Newegg there are 23 Z68 ATX boards and only 4 for uATX. So far, nothing from Asus.

Aside from typical computer chores, I mainly use the machine for photo editing. It is hooked up to a Dell 2209W monitor. The IGP provides "Basic" open GL acceleration in Photoshop. Rendering changes of 2d images such as zooming are near instantaneous.

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Last edited by diver on Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:59 am, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: i5-2500k @ 4.3 Ghz, NSK3480
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:27 pm
Posts: 327
I forgot to mention the ambient temperature for the measurements above was a warm 26C. One of the side benefits of removing the 9800 GT is there is more room in the case to work. Previously, it was nearly impossible to change anything without removing the graphics card. Needless to say, the IGP adds no noise and comes with the CPU at no extra charge. With the reduction in power draw the PSU fan no longer ramps up while running Prime95.

It is rather astounding that a machine with a 4.3 Ghz clock draws about the same power as a compact fluorescent light bulb. Previously, to run at those speeds idle draw was at the 200 watt level.

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 Post subject: Re: i5-2500k @ 4.3 Ghz, Z68, uATX, 32 Watts @ Idle
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:39 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 11:20 pm
Posts: 862
Location: Poland
Can you please elaborate on how the MSI board behaves when OCed? I mean, have raised Vcore to get 4.3 GHz? (probably not, but still have to ask). I was considering an MSI P67 board for an upgrade, but finally chose a GB, as MSIs have been reported to be unable to properly lower Vcore once changes in voltage settings have been made. At least that's what Xbit Labs guys report. I started a thread here but got 0 answers on that. I know, I know, I already got a board but just want to clarify that.


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 Post subject: Re: i5-2500k @ 4.3 Ghz, Z68, uATX, 32 Watts @ Idle
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:53 pm 
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Posts: 327
Overclocking the MSI motherboard is easy. Leave the CPU voltage set to auto. Turn off turbo. Change the multiplier to 42. That is it. This also worked with a 43 or 44 multiplier. I am not near that machine right now and can't remember the setting for vdroop or llc, but it was probably Auto as well. Don't bother with their one touch OC. It will set the voltage way too high.

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 Post subject: Re: i5-2500k @ 4.3 Ghz, Z68, uATX, 32 Watts @ Idle
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:32 am 
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Location: Poland
I'm more interested in how the mobo manages CPU voltage when OCed. A good way of checking it would be to use CPU-Z. As for MSIs sheer ability to OC - I have no doubt it can OC to hell & back. I'm just not sure it can downclock properly if you select CPU vcore manually (as in raise it or lower it).


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 Post subject: Re: i5-2500k @ 4.3 Ghz, Z68, uATX, 32 Watts @ Idle
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:05 pm 
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Location: CT
I saw the pic and I thought it was a new Antec case, I was all excited for a second !! Then I realized the pic wasn't rotated :mrgreen: .... :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: i5-2500k @ 4.3 Ghz, Z68, uATX, 32 Watts @ Idle
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:15 pm 
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frenchie wrote:
I saw the pic and I thought it was a new Antec case, I was all excited for a second !! Then I realized the pic wasn't rotated :mrgreen: .... :lol:


LOL, just rotate your monitor...

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 Post subject: Re: i5-2500k @ 4.3 Ghz, Z68, uATX, 32 Watts @ Idle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:06 am 
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This morning I updated the image in the original post to reflect the "new and improved" cable management. It was not necessary to do any grinding or cutting of the case. Cables are now routed out the front and back in where the opening for a floppy drive was, as others have done around here. Extra cables are stowed under the optical drive in the extra space left by substituting an SSD for a 3.5" hard drive. Whether the machine is cooler or quieter as a result is unknown, but it does look better than before.

Also, I have adopted 4.2 Ghz for the "final" CPU speed as some tech sites say this is a good 24/7 overclock. It will run 4.4 stable with all power management features turned on. Idle power draw is just over 30 watts AC. As a non-gamer I continue to look for a reason to justify buying a fancy discreet GPU, but can't seem to find one that fits me.

As I browse through all of the wonderful home built computer projects here, I notice that many are not using discrete video cards. I suppose this trend took an uptick with Sandy Bridge and will accelerate with Ivy Bridge next year.

Although this build has 3 fans the only time I can hear it is at 4 AM and it is difficult at that. One thing I have noticed is when a good 900 RPM fan is flush against a CPU cooler with tightly spaced fins, the air resistance does a lot to muffle the fan. Something to think about if you are planning a new build.

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