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Windows 7: About to build a new PC after 11 years!

09 Dec 2012   #1

Windows XP Professional SP3/Windows 7 Ultimate x64
About to build a new PC after 11 years!

Well, I have respect for my 2001 Dell Dimension 8200 P4 2GbRDRAM XP PC, it never failed me and I still use it and plan on keeping it as a lab computer (backup, etc). However I thought it was time for an upgrade. Here are the main components I bought:
- ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe
- Intel Core i7 3770K CPU
- G.SKILL Ares Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900)
- 3 Samsung 256GB 830 Series SSD
- MSI GTX 660 Ti PE Videocard
- Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit DVD
- Corsair Obsidian 650DW-1 Midtower
- 1 Western Digital Caviar Black 2 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache
- 850W Thermaltake PSU
- Noctua NH-D14 cooler

I plan on using this PC mostly for Image/video editing, simulation software, and a little bit of gaming. I'd appreciate some tips as this will be my first computer build, specifically:
1) I plan on installing Windows 7 in the SSD and use the WD 2Tb HD as a second drive for documents to minimize SSD usage. Given that I can use more than 1 SSD, will I get any worthwhile performance boost by setting 2 SSD's in RAID 0 for the OS instead of a single SSD? If so, in order to setup RAID 0, is this done from the BIOS?

2) The RAM is 1866, in order to utilize it to max speed I read about XMP or something like that, is this again set from the BIOS?

3) If I'm not going to overclock the CPU, can I use the stock Intel cooler? Is it worth it to install the Noctua cooler?

4) Any additional suggestions regarding the OS/BIOS config for optimal performance/stability?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2012   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64

Those specs look fine to me. :)

To answer your questions:

1) In theory, you will get a slight performance boost with RAID, but when comparing HDDs and SSDs the comparative boost with SSDs as opposed to HDDs is low. Personally, I would leave it non-Raided, but if you do choose to RAID, then the options need to be set in the BIOS - see your user manual.

2) By default, I would expect your RAM to show as DDR3 1333 in the BIOS. In order to make use of the faster speed that it affords you, you will need to select one of the XMP profiles, Again, this is done in the BIOS, so refer to the manual.

3) I'm using the stock Intel cooler as supplied with the CPU, and I have it overclocked (see my specs). However, I also have SpeedStep enabled, so it only runs overclocked when conditions demand. If the Noctua cooler fits, you might be able to get more of an overclock out of it, but each CPU is different, and some will overclock better than others of the same model.

4) Set everything to its defaults, ensure that the time/date is correct. Leave the CPU at its default clock rate and set the appropriate XMP profile for your RAM. Reboot into the BIOS to make sure that the XMP profile has engaged properly.

Once you have installed the OS, ensure that it is updated and you have installed the latest drivers. Should you wish to try overclocking, I suggest using Unigine Heaven to test your system. With mine, I found that although it would boot at 4.4GHz, running Heaven at that speed would cause the system to freeze, necessitating in a reset. Backing the clock down to 4.2GHz allowed Heaven to run to completion, and it is what I have my overclock set to. As I mentioned earlier, your overclocking mileage might vary. I then used the same principal to overclock my graphics cards.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64

1) Yes I hear that with raid some gains in speeds are normally seen and with a lot of tweaking substantial gains can be had.

2) In the bios and in XMP mode the 1866 ram speed will be picked up automatically, or at least that's what happen with my similarly spec'd rig.

3) You're dropping some serious coin on a banging system and you're thinking of using the stock cooler??? Noctua upgrade everyday of the week and twice on the weekends....Maybe even consider a sealed water system that case and all just screams for a quality cooler.

4) Dwarf is spot on just set up for defaults and get the rig up and stable then play from there. I suggest 2-3 days of MS updates shut downs and re-boots to begin curing the thermal compound and then you could be ready with the right cooler to look into an real easy basic overclock and maybe tightening of the ram timings but only after all the drivers and MS updates are mostly done.

5) On a side note with 32gb of ram you may want to investigate dedicating a portion of that excessive ram to a flash drive. I've got 16mb and rarely get close to use all of it and I'm looking into this amazing set up. I'm in the reading stage and don't have all my ducks in row yet but those using this set up are claiming crazy increases in speeds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Dec 2012   #4

Win7 Ultimate X64

Thats a good looking list of components, if you dont raid the SSDs and install on a single drive then dont forget to change the sata mode to AHCI before you install OS as it cant be changed after, and i really hope your mobo doesnt need a bios update to run ivy chips as a few of us have suffered with lately
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2012   #5
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

My recommended power supplies. Their are many other sites for reviews if one wants more.
1. Seasonic X-Series 850 W Power Supply Review | Hardware Secrets
HARDOCP - Conclusion - Corsair AX850 850W Power Supply Review
You have chosen many good things that should work well for you.
My thoughts on over clocking.
1. Use your system a few weeks at default and make sure you don't have problems.
2. Never over clock with out extra cpu cooling. Can you get by without extra cooling? Sometimes you can. Why take the chance? With the case you have chosen (very nice selection) you will be able to change the cooler at a later date when or if you decide to over clock with ease. Noctua is a great air cool system. As all of the quality air coolers take up a lot of motherboard space.
Noctua NH-D14 review - Final Words & Conclusion
I would recommend taking a look at some quality in closed water cooling systems.
Their are many now days. Because of your case selection most will fit nicely.
32 gigs of ram is a lot of ram but why not? The price is right for ram now days.
I haven't done a price compare but you could look into less ram and more ssd as a option. You would be hard pressed to need more than 12 or 16 gigs of ram. Just something to conceder.
I hope my suggestion and thoughts will be of some help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2012   #6

Windows XP Professional SP3/Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thanks everyone for their feedback. This week I will get my hands on the components and assemble them, I'm so anxious to see this system working. In a couple of days I'll be receiving the case front panel (the power button came defective from factory), Corsair customer support was great in handling the RMA. As soon as I get that I'm ready to start the build. In the meantime your suggestions are very welcome. I really like the idea of a RAMdisk, but as most of you suggest, I will start with system defaults and try the special tweaks a few weeks after I check that everything is stable and fine at default. I will keep this post updated. Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2012   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64

Take tons of pictures all the way through the build and please post the best for us in "show us your rig" section. Good luck and hit us up if you have any questions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 About to build a new PC after 11 years!

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