Many of the regulars who've been here for a year or 2 will remember my task to get the ultimate system back in early-mid 2011. 3 GTX580's, 16GB RAM, 2600K, 1200W PSU, and 4 SSD's in RAID0. Oh, and watercooling on the cards and CPU of course.
A few months ago, i sold one of my 580's as i had no need for that kind of power. Last week, almost a year since i finished my last job, i got a letter informing me that the government owed me £404 as Tax Refund ("404 - Tax Refund Not Found" heh). It only took a few days for me to set my heart on a GTX6 card. Just a single one, as i didn't even have need for 2 580's. At the same time, i decided i didn't need watercooling if i was going with a single card.
So, with the money, i bought myself the very pretty EVGA GTX670. Just the normal version. I say pretty as it's got a white strip down the side we can see with the brand and model "engraved" into it. This provides a nice contrast in my 800D with the white LED i've got running (yes, i swapped back to it from the Elysium -- best decision ever i might add). Along with the 670, i'd need a CPU cooler. I looked for a while, and almost as soon as i saw it, i knew the NZXT Havik 140 was the one. I looked at reviews. I wanted something quiet but where the cooler could really pull ahead when it needed to. Sure enough, reviews pitched this in a very favorable light, though i wasn't quite ready for just HOW good it'd be.
I had planned to install some Corsair Airflow fans, 5 to be specific (2x140 + 3x120), but settled on leaving those until later.
So, today, these 2 parts arrived. I gutted the waterloop out of my system in about 30 minutes and set about installing the new cooler first. I have to give a big shout out of NZXT for making this cooler so easy to fit. It is BY FAR the simplest cooler i've ever fitted, more than even my EK Supreme HF Waterblock with "easyfit" kit. It's a 15 minute job and very simple to do. Next up, i fitted the card. You all know how this goes, so no explanation needed. What i WAS surprised at is just how light it was. I've been used to cards that weigh over a kilogram for the past 18 months or so. To hold a card that seems to weigh less than 500G was great.
Now, i mentioned earlier i wasn't ready for how good the CPU cooler actually was. Let's put it this way - You know when you're about to yawn, and you start to hear that sound in your head as you actually start yawning? Well, i can't hear it over the "sound" of that. To put it another way, if you've ever had an old motherboard with a 40mm fan fitted on the chipset, the whole system is about 100% QUIETER than that and without the annoying high pitch noise or rattling. The loudest part is the GTX670 cooler, and even that's difficult to hear. I'm sat about 3ft away from the source of the noise and i can barely hear it. It's a damn-near silent system, and the temps are quite admirable.
Now, when i turn up the CPU fan, obviously i can hear it, and when i turn up the GPU fan curve, obviously i can hear that too. However, it is still quieter than my watercooling ever was, and what's more, with each component handling it's own temperature and cooling, i can actually play games like WoW with the CPU fan at minimum and not worry about heat from the GPU pushing it up to 65-70C. Yes, i can game with the CPU fan at minimum and i don't have to worry about temps. It is literally that good. If i need to use the CPU, just up the fan speed and we're good. This is on a 2600K overclocked to 4.6Ghz at 1.4V, and temps peaked at 62C in WoW earlier. I don't run intensive software that often, so i can run silent mode with confidence most of the time.
One thing i'm not so impressed with is the 670's idle temps. It's noise is great, but at default settings, it idles at 55C. Temperature peaks at 80C in WoW (out in the barrens which pushes usage to 99%). Obviously, with MSI afterburner, i can create my own fan curve, so this is a small point not worth worrying about. One thing to keep in mind is that i'm running this in an 800D with only 1 exhaust fan at the back. The 800D is infamous for it's rather poor airflow (as it's only got 1 intake, and that's not a great design), so it's not a problem. Main point is that these temps are fine by me as i can always fix them very easily.
So, i solved all the problems with these upgrades;
- No more heat issues
- MUCH less noise in every situation
- Less maintenance
- Less power usage
- Support for 4 screens on one card - Something that comes in very handy as a developer at times
- Less crashes and bugs due to the very frustrating issues with the 580's when in SLI
I used to only be able to run 2 screens per GPU, and since i occasionally used a third, i had to disable SLI when on 2 cards.
Now, pictures. I must apologize for the quality. The iPad camera doesn't deal well in low light shots, but it also doesn't like light pointed in it's general direction. Click on any picture for a larger size one.
The CPU cooler up close with the 670 hiding underneath. You can see that it blocks off the first RAM slot if you're using RAM with tall heatsinks due to the fan, but that's not an issue for most people.
A general overview of the system. I've since removed the bottom 140MM fan you can see there. The overall tidyness of it is impressive as i'm traditionally known for not caring about tidying cables. With only 1 card, this is not a problem.
Now, perhaps the most stunning pic (in real life, it looks better);
A night shot with the lights at full. I've tweaked the position slightly since this shot was taken, but you can see i've run it from the PCIE slot (where it connects to the controller), up and behind the fan, to the top, down between the RAM modules, and then wedged it between the top of the GPU and the bottom of the CPU cooler. Since the change, you can now also see the model to the right of "EVGA" as well. It looks much more stunning in real life than in the picture.