How cheap is good enough for a dedicated box?

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Apr 3, 2008
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Since the prevailing wisdom seems to be that, at the moment given work unit types and point allocation, the Q6600 is the most efficient processor. I'm curious, how cheap can you get away with building a dedicated folder around this chip.

In terms of a motherboard I'm looking at the Asus P5k SE for $93. Are there other chipsets worth considering, or is the P35 best for this project? And can I get by with something cheaper?

I also am wondering about my PSU. Since I'll be overclocking and running the system 24/7 my gut is to get something decent and in the 500W range. I'm looking at the OCZ StealthXstream 500W for $60

I'm not to worried about RAM, I'll be overclocking somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 x 9 so DDR2 800 should do fine to achieve 1:1. And I'll be running a diskless linux distro from notfred, so 2 x 512 MB of Corsair Value Select DDR2 800 for $25 seems about right.

Lastly my heatsink and fans. I've built my last few system with the Tuniq Tower and have been really happy with the temps. I've been in the habit of modding these by removing the stock fan, and replacing it with 3 x Scythe Slipstream CFM 110 fans (two cable-tied to the exterior). I'm looking for an alternative air cooling solution that will let me rev the core voltage up to around 1.42V but to keep the folding temps to around 60C. My hesitation with this modified Tuniq setup is that it costs almost $70,

I run the system naked, so no need for a case.

The total for these items at Newegg is $490. How can I do better? Tear this up. Please.
 

Xilikon

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I'm in the same dilemma with the motherboard side. The main thing I'm afraid is that cheap motherboards have only a 4 pin ATX connector and it's often not enough to power a Q6600 at 3.6 GHz without risking to burn the ATX connector. However, a board with 8 pins is more expensive and that's where a good 650i Ultra motherboard will save us. I have one that I bought for 59$ directly at EVGA (B Stock) but I would like to get a P35 board indeed. A Abit IP35-E is also a great choice but since it seems to be discontinued, good luck hunting for one (I'm still hunting for 2 myself :().

As for the rest, you got it right but just bump the memory to 2 Gb since there is some new generation workunits which take over 1 Gb total.

 

aldamon

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  1. Shop around for a better price on a Q6600 or wait for the price drop. Used ones work well, too and are going for under $200 around here.
  2. The IP35-E is $73 shipped AR and has been even cheaper lately when they've thrown in shipping.
  3. I think you can do better on the PSU as well. You don't need 500W for a headless Q6600. It will draw less than 150W overclocked. Try to find a lower-watt Earthwatts or NeoPower on sale after rebate. They pop up a lot and will meet your needs easily. Here's an example (but I think the price is a bit high right now)
  4. Also, your cooling seems a bit elaborate for a naked Q6600 rig. I think you can get by with less since the cooler will not be confined in a case.

 

Crazy Larry

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Found this a while ago: IP35e for $66.19 here Shipping is high, though ($18 for ground shipping to Delaware)
 
Joined
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good advice all around.

I like the idea of 2 GB of RAM so as to be prepared for new work units.

I guess I'm still unsure whether to go with a more expensive motherboard/psu with an 8-pin CPU power socket/connector or a cheaper motherboard/psu with a 4-pin socket/connector.

Also is it that the Tuniq tower with fan mod is excessive, or the Tuniq itself excessive for cooling an OCed Q6600? What would you guys recommend for air cooling this quad?

Also I'd like to throw in my own 2 cents about a motherboard candidate. I have a Q6600 running at 3.6GHz stable on a MSI Neo2-FR ($120). In bringing up the Asus P5K SE, I was looking to see if I could shave some bucks off that component. But I really can't complain, it has a voltage regulators-northbridge-southbridge heat pipe system, 8-pin CPU power socket, and I reached a heat threshold before meeting anykind of FSB threshold.
 

capreppy

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Myself, I'm looking at the GA-P35-DS3L. I won't be going naked, but a cheap case w/PSU is the Dynex (BB Brand).
I will probably be using a TRUE 120 w/120x38 Scythe Ultra Kaze.
I will also be using G.Skill DDR2 800 (2 X 1GB).
For storage, I'm going Seagate HDD. I'm using Windows Vista x32 so I need space. This gives me shared folders and easy OC capabilities. All told this is $540 (+ some s/h).

 

Xilikon

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Be careful with the D35L, it only have a 4 pin ATX and I saw 2-3 reports of burned connector when overclocking quads. This is why I'm steering away from them, despite how cheap they are.

 

chrisf6969

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Be careful with the D35L, it only have a 4 pin ATX and I saw 2-3 reports of burned connector when overclocking quads. This is why I'm steering away from them, despite how cheap they are.


How is this happening when Pentium D's at 90nm and several other chips used more wattage than a Core2 Quad and the motherboards that those chips were run in all had only the standard 4pin not the 8pin EPS.
 

Axdrenalin

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How is this happening when Pentium D's at 90nm and several other chips used more wattage than a Core2 Quad and the motherboards that those chips were run in all had only the standard 4pin not the 8pin EPS.

Good question, Chris. I'd like some more info on this as well. Are we sure that these reports aren't just the result of carelessness on someone's part, or maybe just a questionable power supply causing the issue?

The only Motherboard I have with an 8pin connector is the BadAxe2. All the others I have use the additional 4 pin connector. Now, I'm not clocking all of mine to 3.6 Gigs but I've never had any volage issues like some of these that you're referring to. My son's MB is a GB P35-DS3L, e4300 clocked to 2.7 gigs and There's not been any problems with it, either.

Now, I will say that I like the DS3R boards better than the DS3L, but both seem to be pretty decent boards for folding.

 

Xilikon

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Keep in mind that a Q6600 at 3.6 GHz is drawing about 200w, even more than the hottest Pentium D so the 4 pin is stressed a lot. This is why boards geared toward overclockers all have a 8 pin connector.

 

SmokeRngs

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Keep in mind that a Q6600 at 3.6 GHz is drawing about 200w, even more than the hottest Pentium D so the 4 pin is stressed a lot. This is why boards geared toward overclockers all have a 8 pin connector.


Trust me, there is no way you have a Q6600@3.6Ghz using 200 watts under load. My main system with a quad at that speed pulls 255-265 watts from the wall according to my Kill A Watt. There is no way my motherboard, 2 hard drives, 5 120mm fans, 8800GT, dual cold cathodes and dual optical drives are only pulling 255-265 watts. I'm pretty sure the 8800GT at idle pulls more wattage than that.

To get a Q6600 at that speed to pull that kind of wattage, you would have to be dumping voltage into it like crazy and I guarantee you the CPU would fry from that much voltage long before anything else happened to it.

I have 3 Q6600's running 3.6, 3.51 and 3.6 right now and all of them are using the 4 pin plugs. The only board with the 8 pin plug is the Abit IP35-e and it's using just a 4 pin because the PSU doesn't have an 8 pin on it and it's an Earthwatts 380. The Gigabyte P965-DS3 and Gigabyte P35-DS3R don't have 8 pin plugs and they run just fine. With the exception of the P965-DS3 I haven't had any of the boards more than a couple of months but I'm not worried about the 4 pin connectors one bit.

Also, many people overclocked the crap out of the Pentium Ds with the 4 pin plugs and haven't had any trouble so I don't see a problem with the 4 pin plugs anytime soon.

 

chrisf6969

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Keep in mind that a Q6600 at 3.6 GHz is drawing about 200w, even more than the hottest Pentium D so the 4 pin is stressed a lot. This is why boards geared toward overclockers all have a 8 pin connector.

Pentium D 8x0's overclocked used to draw 150-200W.

Multiple people with Q6600's whole systems and no videocards or integrated video are reporting the whole system as around 150-200W.
I think the q6600's are only pulling about 100-150W depending on speed & voltage.

SmokeRngs with a fairly loaded system & 8800GT is pulling 260w at the wall. x 85% efficiency = 220W - all the other components probably about 100w = that leaves about 120W for the Q6600.
 

BillR

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This is what I'm talking about : http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/mainboards/display/ga-p35-ds3l_9.html#sect0

This is why I'm a bit afraid but if lots of people can vouch about using cheap boards to run a Q6600 at 3.6 GHz, I might reconsider this but I'm thinking for the long haul.


Long haul is the best way to think for a folding box. What other situation will pull 100% 24/7/365 with only the occasional shut down for cleaning and possible updates?

Things that have become a must have for me are solid caps, the TRUE HSF and frankly a bigger PSU then I have seen mentioned here. Don’t forget about the TR 90 Ultima (6 pipe version) with a single 120mm 70 or so CFM fan. I have to of those on Quads running at 1.4 or so volts with temps in the low 50s on a warm day.

Case wise, 3 to 5 120mm case fans are a must and I prefer the PSU on the bottom of the case

No way am I putting down anyone else’s buying decisions ya gotta do what ya gotta do but long term energy costs are a bitch as is and I don’t need to be replacing parts on top of that.

Just my $0.2.5 worth;)


 

Xilikon

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That's correct. If I must fork 20-30$ extra for a more robust board, I will do it since it's still cheaper than replacing a dead motherboard (loss of production, time to replace and cost of new motherboard). So far, I'm set on a Abit IP35-E since it have all the features I need so I'm looking for 2 right now.

For the powersupply, get a 80plus one like Antec Earthwatts, Corsair VX or Seasonic. These 3 are very robust and will save electricity in the long run.

 

Kendrak

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For the powersupply, get a 80plus one like Antec Earthwatts, Corsair VX or Seasonic. These 3 are very robust and will save electricity in the long run.


My power bill has gone up (my guess) $40 since I started my farm. That's not much until you add the other 11 months a year I'll be running it.

A good PSU that can keep that bill down is a very very good thing.

 

Sunin

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I built a Quad box for $440 with shipping. That was with MIRs



 
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