Building a V8, or Maybe Biting Off More Than One Can Chew

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Pam Heinze Posted: Fri, Mar 7 2008 10:08 PM

I wanted to build one of these for a long time and always managed to talk myself out of it because dual socket Xeons are scary and complicated but I figured I had picked out all the right parts and could handle it now.

First of all, I need to say, that the keychain pictured at NewEgg with the Coolermaster Stacker 830 was not in my box and I really wanted it.  It had a bottle cap remover on it and many of the beers I like to buy are not twist offs, and my current key chain had the picture thingy fall out so I need a new one anyway.  So I was very sad when I went through the box and did not find that key chain.

Also a little disturbing was the picture of the motherboard tray was not the same as what I got.  The picture at the website appeared to be compatible with the Tyan Tempest motherboard, but the one I got had loads of extra holes and a big blank spot.   Half of the processors hangs over this blanks spot, and this is what that looks like.

So two of the screws just hang off into nowhere and I bravely attached standoffs to them, hoping that would secure the heatsinks to the processors.  I loved the idea of the motherboard tray that I could assemble and then slide into the case, and here is what it looks like before I slid it into the case.

The Coolermaster 830 is very big and I thought my Tsunami Dreams were big, but this one makes them look puny.  It comes with casters and I installed them.  You want to roll this thing around, you don't want to be picking it up and putting it on top of things.

 To connect to the motherboard, it seemed smart to connect the front panel headers first.  They are at the top of the board and are not labeled.  So you sit there with the diagram from the manual and figure out where the power switch goes and the reset and the hard drive led and reset, which doesn't seem to work for me, so I thought it was odd that it went on the end pins.  The power supply doesn't have an off switch so the whole thing comes on but wait, we need to talk about teasing out the connectors you need and stuffing away the ones you don't and not having them hang right into the processor fan because even though it is a big case, it still isn't big enough for all the snake-like cords coming off the processor which isn't modular so the unused stuff needs to be stuffed under the dvd-rom drive out of the way after you finally tease out the stuff you need.

Once the header pigtails are in, then the 24 pin, the 4 pin and the eight pin can be attached and connect USB and IDE and SATA for the drives and we might actually be ready to go.  With half of the heatsinks hanging off INTO NOWHERE! 

 So it did come to life and I got into the BIOS and checked the hardware temps and OH MY GOD, it says the processors are running at 70 deg C below Tmax.  What the heck is Tmax?  Am I running at 70 deg or 70 deg below it?

 I intalled Ubuntu 7.10 and tried to install sensors but they read -48 deg C.  It's cold in my basement, but not that cold.  I installed BOINC and it pulls 220 W at full load and the processors are only running at 85 percent according to the cpu monitor applet and I usually get rid of powernowd right away when I install Ubuntu on a BOINC machine but with the temperature issue, I am a little afraid to do that right now until I am confident I have installed the heat sinks correctly. I installed BOINC and got it going and kept waiting for the system to blow up under load but it hasn't yet.  

But I'm a little baffled as to why the motherboard tray would have a big blank spot where I am supposed to bolt half the heatsink to.  I will probably spend the rest of the night shutting down and trying to tighten that side, in hopes of getting those temps down in the BIOS and I must say the heat sinks that come with these things leave a lot to be desired anyway. 

Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat.
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Kamrooz replied on Sat, Mar 8 2008 8:29 AM

 Don't let the large size scare you, same with the bolts hanging out the back. This case is stated to support Extended ATX...But most people that buy this case will have a standard ATX configuration, those holes are for routing wires, but in order to support extended, you loose the wire routing option. 

But the odd thing is, the pictures I've seen show no slit in the motherboard tray...Through all the sites I've gone through... Whether it be the Evo or the standard 830..So I don't know why you ended up getting one with a slit in the tray, but IMO...it's a good thing for standard ATX users.

If you want, call cooler master and see if they can ship you one that doesn't have the slit considering you need to bolt down the heatsink....Up to you though if you want to take that route.

Regarding the temps...a bit high..but I'm not sure what the temps would be at with those stock heatsinks for xeon cpu's...So I won't be of much help there =(. 

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One of the reviews for the Tyan motherboard had mentioned the Coolermaster 830 but I guess I should have spent more time reading the Coolermaster reviews, I am not the only one this has happened to.  One reviewer said Coolermaster sent him the right motherboard tray, so I have contacted them and hope they will do the same for me.  In the meantime, I guess I better shut her down. :(
Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat.
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frg1 replied on Sat, Mar 8 2008 2:09 PM

looks good 

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 Against my better judgement, I've continued to run this setup.  There isn't any monitoring software that I can find, so I have to trust that the BIOS is probably correct in reading 70 deg C idle, which probably means at least 80 deg C load.  I've since installed Win XP Pro 64 and get 230 watts with BOINC going full bore.  I haven't had any crashes, so either the BIOS is wrong or these things can just take it.

 New Egg says I can return the case within 30 days and I haven't bothered to ask them if I'd actually get the correct case if I did, which would be aggravating to get the same thing back after going to the trouble and expense of returning that huge, heavy box.

 CoolerMaster hasn't answered my email and I haven't called them yet.

I remounted the heatsinks, and the thermal compound had been evenly spread on the cpu heatspreaders, so contact wasn't a problem.  I remounted with Arctic Silver 5 and I didn't go crazy with tightening the screws this time and got the exact same temperatures. I've set a Lakewood box fan next to the open case and it has no impact on the cpu temps.

Tomorrow, I should get a pair of Dynatron H6EG heatsinks, and hope these bigger ones will do a better job of cooling.  They should also have backplates with them, which should solve the mounting issue.  Of course, I've been fooled by product info pictures before. ;) 

I'll be back with pictures, showing the original tiny heatsinks and what I expect are much beefier, copper ones. 


Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat.
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 I got the bigger heatsinks today and took pictures but my composition gets cut off here, so you can't see what I want you to.  Trust me, they are much bigger.  I have about 4 lbs of copper hanging on this motherboard now.

I secured the top heatsink to the motherboard tray with some shorter standoffs and secured those to the tray with nuts.  The Dynatrons come with back plates, so those are in place under the motherboard.  And when I booted up and looked at the hardware monitor in the BIOS, the cpu temps were reading....

exactly the same.

70 deg C below Tmax.

Either I'm going to melt these puppies or the BIOS is just plain wrong.  I'll keep and eye out for new BIOS versions and I'll keep BOINCing away.  These fans are reading a little higher rpms than the stock fans(4500 vs 4200).  

You only live once.  And I won't lay there on my deathbed saying I wished I built a v8. 

 (Edit: Ok, the fine fellows at 2CPU.com seem to have the answers to these sorts of things.  I found a monitoring program there, Coretemp, and if it is to be believed, then none of the cores are running over 60 deg C under load.  So I feel a little better.)

Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat.
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I would just leave the side of the case and get a temperature gauge and stick it near the processor or stick the temperature gauge  and put it through a hole in the case.

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trueg50 replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 4:53 PM

 What CPU's are you running?

 

As far as I know (these are very confusing, and not really released by Intel) the Tjunction is at the point you throttle at, so an 85 Tmax is the highest recommended temp to run at. Intel doesn't release at what temp the Tmax / junction is at, so all you can tell is that you are safe.

 

Download and run Everest and see what that gives you for CPU and each core temp.

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 So would a temperature gauge like from a car store work for this?  I'll have to pick one up at the store across from where I work.  They don't cost that much.  Thanks for the idea.

 

Pam 

Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat.
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 I have the E5410's, which are 2.33 GHz.  Coretemp has a reading of Tjunc as 105 deg C, which I was sure hoping wasnt' a real temperature.  It shows the cores at 55-60 deg C under load.  I didn't try the free Everest, I just assumed it wouldn't be able to handle the newer chipset.  I always liked Intel's thermal analysis tool (TAT) but couldn't find it at the Intel site.  I found a third party site that offered it and when I tried to run it, I got an "invalid processor" message and a hard freeze.

 I'll give Everest free home edition a shot and see what it says.  Speed fan says something like 15 deg C, so I don't believe that.

Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat.
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MikeL_HH replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 9:40 PM
You could also give Core Temp a shot. Speedfan doesn't seem to detect newer Xeon temps correctly for some reason.

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willardcw4 replied on Tue, Mar 18 2008 11:35 PM

When i got my Coolermaster 830 se w/ 1000 watt psu, the psu died in 4 hours... tried to contact coolermaster customer support and get an rma for about a week before I gave up (with no response despite three phone calls and two e-mails)... i ended up rma'ing through Newegg...

 There were some other reviewers on a different site that had the same mobo tray issue, and they said they resolved it via coolermaster customer support... maybe they hate me?

 sweet system though... makes me want a V8...

 

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replied on Thu, Mar 20 2008 10:31 AM

Nice setup.I really like and admire setups like this,with dual CPUs.Do you run on FBdimm?

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trueg50 replied on Thu, Mar 20 2008 6:09 PM

 So what exactly is this system for?

 

Video editing, photoediting, any CAD work?

 

Or did you just fall to the lure of pure power? Super Angry

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Yes, that is the only choice of memory for this motherboard, they are the ddr2 667 fb dimms.  To use ddr2 800 you must have the real Skulltrail motherboard. 
Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat.
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I built it for BOINC, Seti@Home right now, the reason I started to build computers.  It was the lure of pure power, indeed.  It's RACing up nicely.  I cut it back to using seven cores, since the times seemed to vary, which made me think some might be starved by memory bandwith issues.  The work unit times are more uniform by cutting one core.  I'll probably be sorry when I get my next electric bill.  Like my aunt says, "A fool and his (her) money are soon parted."

But sometimes I think I might buy a nice video card and replay Prey, COD4 and Medal of Honor Pacific Assault and Allied Assault on it...I'm not done playing Need For Speed ProStreet on the current gaming rig and can't move that video card yet. 

Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat.
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