X800XL in the house! (!!! images !!!)
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Thread: X800XL in the house! (!!! images !!!)

  1. #1
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    Cool X800XL in the house! (!!! images !!!)

    OK, I finally got my Sapphire X800XL delivered this week! The only reason I haven't got round to posting about it until now is that I've been enjoying it too much!

    I thought I'd share some pics of how the mATX Athlon 64 build went, and finally some benchmarks with everything nicely installed, bedded in, and overclocked. For those who didn't catch my deliberations in an earlier thread, look here, basically I was looking for an excuse to upgrade after my HDD starting making nasty noises.

    So, there was no point getting a new HDD and it not being SATA. Which meant it was easier to buy a new motherboard with SATA rather than get a separate controller. A new motherboard meant it really had to be Skt 939 for future-proofing against AMD's dual-core plans, and buying a Skt 939 board meant there was no point limiting my selection to AGP solutions, so it meant replacing the video card. It would be pointless to replace my Radeon 9800 Pro with a PCIe card of the same speed, like the X700 Pro, and the 6600GT isn't THAT much of an upgrade, so I plumped for the Radeon X800 XL.

    Stock was really hard to find over here, but dabs.com had the Sapphire X800 XL retail for £202, with 6 in stock! However, a week later, no allocation, and no stock either. Thankfully, the MSI motherboard I ordered had onboard video courtesy of the ATI Radeon Xpress RS200 chipset, so at least I could build the rest of the rig and wait for the XL to turn up. Only downside to this MSI board is there aren't any overclocking options, so I won't be seeing if this 3000+ can reach 2.5GHz on air until I get a new MB.

    Here is the nice fanless heatsink on the chipset.



    The Socket 939 Athlon 64 3000+ before it got smothered by the retail heatsink and sticky TIM.



    And a moodier shot...



    I was slightly concerned about the retail heatsink not fitting in my little mATX case, as the DVD drive comes so close to the socket area. Big? yes. Ugly? yes. Cool hologram? Yes!



    The fit was pretty tight with just enough room to feed the cables underneath.



    A few weeks before the HDD was plunged into the throes of death, I had upgraded to 1GB of RAM, and decided that for once in my life I was going to get something faster than bog standard! Reading around, Crucial's Ballistix seemed to be one of the fastest, with 2-2-2-5 timings at insane bus speeds, and a very reasonable price of £144 the pair, shipped. (Basic branded RAM is about £100 and something with equivalent timings like Corsair's 3200XL is close to £180). So here they are.



    All I needed now was that X800 XL goodness to fill my vacant PCIe slot. The onboard graphics were pretty ropey, class leading as they may be. UT2004 was only playable at 800x600 with lowest settings, and 3DMark03 only racked up 1258 points. dabs.com still showed it on back-order, which was not a good situation with a major LAN party less than 2 weeks away! If it didn't come I would have to completely uninstall the new kit and go back to the nForce 2/Athlon XP 2400+ combo just to make use of my 9800 Pro and actually play some games. I had been keeping a keen eye on alternative suppliers, but those that did have any stock were about £30 more expensive when adding on shipping, so when MicroDirect got some stock in, and for only a £14 premium, I jumped on it!

    To be continued, apparently I have exceeded both the word count and picture count! Not surprising really...
    If you've got your money for nothing, who cares if the chicks are free!

  2. #2
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    So, a few days later, here is what came from the Amtrak man.

    If he hadn't have had a *** drooping from his stubbly lips I swear I would have kissed him.

    (what? I can't say f-a-g? OK, mmmm, what about... "he had an openly gay man, smoking at one end with an orange filter on his head, protruding from his lips in a totally non-sexual manner", is that OK Mr Filter?



    And from the back...



    It has this really cool window in the back of the retail box. I haven't bought a retail card in a long time so having a piece of hardware dressed up this much was quite a shock, especially when you realise that NEVER, ANYWHERE, will a card of this quality and speed be displayed on a UK shelf to be lovingly handled and bought. Still the best you can buy in PCWorld is some GeForce 5700 Ultra, well, I'm guessing, but it's NOT like we have a Fry's or Outpost equivalent over here!

    The contents kindly pose for the camera to have the obligatory 'what's in the box' shot taken.



    Now for the main graphics dude itself!



    The arse side has been usefully tarted up with some blue ramsinks, we'll see if they're any good in a little while. I'm guessing they would have looked better on the standard blue PCB that I've seen used on review issues of the Sapphire X800XL. Not sure why this one is red, but it looks better against my ATi themed red motherboard, so no complaints there!



    Here is my wee Yeong Yang case, jam-packed with goodies, and again demonstrating how dangerously that CPU heatsink is living, the DVD drive is practically resting on top of it.



    A very strange thing happened bulding this system. I started BLEEDING!

    Not that it was some quasi-religious stigmata inducing moment coinciding with the glorious re-birth of a new PC, just a rather sharp piece of casework. I had always considered myself immune to such injuries on account of buying quality cases with deburred steel edges, but the culprit here was not a regular bit of casework. Turned out that what bit me was a sprung steel clip holding the fascia on, put a 4mm gash in my little finger, using no force at all, I was simply plugging in an IDE cable at an awkward angle! I didn't mind the injury so much as the inconvenience, it was gone midnight and I really wanted the build completed to get on and have some fun with it.

    In the absence of plasters (band-aids ) I wrapped some toilet paper around it and stuck my arm in the air to stem the blood flow. Some of you may know, but do you have ANY idea how frustrating and downright difficult is to plug in molex connectors, SATA cables and move jumpers one-handed, LEFT-handed at that, with your other paw stuck up in the air and nothing to get any leverage against? About 30 minutes later, toilet paper re-applied, the Windows install was underway, screwdrivers tidied away, and a brand new PC keeping itself amused under the desk and breathing softly. Image to follow, hit the limit again!

    ...continued below...
    Last edited by Bennyboy; February 25th, 2005 at 06:34 PM.
    If you've got your money for nothing, who cares if the chicks are free!

  3. #3
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    Right, if you've got this far, congratulations, you may as well take a leaf out of JC's book (not Denton) and go the extra mile to find out just how all of this spanky hardware performs.

    (The book in question is metaphoric, as is the mile, so don't go ripping pages out of the Bible, buying new hiking books, and then blaming me for the spiritual consequences and the blisters)!

    Right, here's the finished article, nestling beneath the desk on the right, with the blue LEDs. It would be nice to have co-ordinating LEDs one day, rather than the RGB spectrum made up from the monitor's signal light, the mouse's optical sensor array, and the case lights. One can dream.



    Now it is time for the benchmarks. On nothing but the cold winter air and a stock cooler the X800 XL got a nice 10% overclock from 400/490 to 440/550, for everyday gaming I run it at 435/545 though. And at those speeds, here's what the performance figures are.

    20599
    10584
    5123

    For 03/05, that is about double what my old 9800 Pro system got. Needless to say it's not hard to 'feel' the speed increase. HL2 is flawless at 1600x1200 4xAA 8xAF, UT2004 likewise. The other nice part of the upgrade is that the extra CPU power brings about tangible benefits outside the gaming realm. Editing images in COREL Photopaint is now lightning fast, and effects can be previewed so much faster. There were some artistic plug-ins that before I would never dare use, I got so bored waiting for the result, and fine-tuning was just a pain. I don't know if it's the extra, faster RAM, ATi chipset, or pure Athlon 64 power, but the difference is very much appreciated and means I can enjoy playing around with images a lot more, for stuff like this...





    I just liked how they looked, and got snap happy with the digicam one afternoon, and seeing as I've posted thousands of words and almost as many pictures, it's nice to remind myself that computers aren't just an infatuating hobby, money drain and gaming diversion, they also provide a useful service to the mind and soul, truly enabling a person to express themselves in ways that were hitherto impossible.

    If you've read this far (now, be honest), I hope you don't feel I have wasted your time, or me mine. Maybe you just enjoyed the pretty pictures and thought, lucky bastard, hope he appreciates all that, and for the record, I do! And will do even more at the LAN Party next weekend (I lied about it being a creative tool for human expression, it really IS just a gaming rig to try and squeeze a few more 'HEADSHOT' soundbites through my speakers).

    Right, I'm off for a game of UT2k4!

    BB.

    P.S. In case someone asks, all images were taken on a Canon Ixy 450 (or Digital Elph 410, Ixus 430, it's all the same thing)
    Last edited by Bennyboy; February 25th, 2005 at 06:37 PM.
    If you've got your money for nothing, who cares if the chicks are free!

  4. #4
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    Mmmm nice, I'll look forward to seeing it in action next weekend!!!

    I must get a digital camera, I can't believe I haven't got one yet, really nice pics, top job Ben!

  5. #5
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    pics are dead mate, looking forward to seeing it though!
    Gigabyte Z87M-D3H l Pentium DC 3.2GHz l 16GB Ram l 64GB OCZ SSD l Radeon 7750 OC Edition l Windows 7 Ultimate X64
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  6. #6
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    great setup, nice pics

    benchies sure look good, does it also feel way faster in UT2k4, when playing demanding ONS levels?

    I sure know A64 and new VC made all the differnce in my case.
    Considering my setup was similar to your previous and come to think of it, to what you have now as well.

  7. #7
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    Waahhhaaa!!!! Awesome rig and well done for not kissing the f@g.

    I'd think twice before putting a video card down on that rug though.

  8. #8
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    ooooooooh...... ahhhhhhhh....

    looking good mate, M-ATX or SFF is really sounding good compaired to this big case. was cool at first but now it just gets in the way!
    Gigabyte Z87M-D3H l Pentium DC 3.2GHz l 16GB Ram l 64GB OCZ SSD l Radeon 7750 OC Edition l Windows 7 Ultimate X64
    Dell OptiPlex 745 l Intel C2D E6600 2.4GHz l 4GB Ram l 64GB OCZ SSD l Windows 7 Ultimate X64
    Lenovo ThinkPad T61 l C2D T7700 2.4GHz l 8GB Ram l 60GB Kingston SSD l Windows 7 Ultimate X64

  9. #9
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    No limit on word count or I would be in trouble! There is a limit to the number of pictures (and possibly links) in a post... I think it is 8. It been a while since I hit that. Those pictures do not seem to be linkable. I can open them in a new window, but they do not show up in the message like they are supposed to.
    AMD Phenom II x4 945 3Ghz | ASUS M4A77TD | 2X WD 1TB SATA 2 hard drive | 2x2GB Corsair XMS3 | nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS | ATI TV Wonder Theater Pro 550 | Antec P-160 case | Antec 650w Earth Watts | LG Blu-ray Super Drive | LG DVD RW | Windows 7 Pro

  10. #10
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    Looks real nice, BB.
    Opteron 165 @ 280x9 = 2.52GHz
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  11. #11
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    they dont open at all for me

  12. #12
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    They openned today. They look good now. Maybe you have a low bandwidth cap were they are hosted.
    AMD Phenom II x4 945 3Ghz | ASUS M4A77TD | 2X WD 1TB SATA 2 hard drive | 2x2GB Corsair XMS3 | nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS | ATI TV Wonder Theater Pro 550 | Antec P-160 case | Antec 650w Earth Watts | LG Blu-ray Super Drive | LG DVD RW | Windows 7 Pro

  13. #13
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    Sorry for the flaky hosting guys, and for not replying sooner! I've been away for a long weekend, so I will ask a mate to host the photos tonight, I still haven't got around to transferring my domain yet!

    F_A_L_C_O_N, UT2k4 does feel very smooth, it's like playing original UT. However I cranked up the bots to 32 on FaceClassic and it was a bit juddery at times, dropping the resolution didn't help so it really was just the CPU struggling to calculate all those Monster Kills. God bless dedicated servers.

    Mufu, I did indeed think twice before putting the brand new hardware on the fluffy rug, but thought it was safer than on the carpet I haven't hoovered in a while, or the desk which is hard and high up. Exactly how is fluff going to hurt a graphics card, I couldn't think of a way, so dispelled my paranoia and got on with the photos.

    Martin_89, Yup, small is beautiful, and certainly doesn't limit system performance if you're careful with your choices. I got this case to go in the living room and to save boot space and arm-ache going to LAN parties. Now it's a bit too tooled up to go in the living room though, and the projector can't do 1600x1200, which I'd miss now! Think I'm gonna have to re-case my old nForce 2 mATX board and relegate that to HTPC duty.

    Todd a, It said I had exceeded the limit of 10000 characters, AND the picture count, which seemed to be 6, but it didn't specify. You're right, we do both suffer from the same syndrome.

    SaulTurnedPaul and Richard.R, if memory serves me didn't we three get our 9800 Pros around the same time just over a year ago? Man that was an exciting time! Sorry about the pics, but you'll have to trust STP's opinion until I get them moved. Anyway, either of you considering upgrading yet?

    Nice that the X800 XL is finally hitting the US in quantity now, and below its MSRP of $300, rather than $70 over! Apparently the AGP flavour will be arriving sometime, but 'soon' is a dangerous word to use these days!

    BB.
    If you've got your money for nothing, who cares if the chicks are free!

  14. #14
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    It's the static - seriously, be careful. I have seen people fry memory by putting it down on a carpet and another ask me why his PC was dead since he hoovered the inside.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by MuFu
    It's the static - seriously, be careful. I have seen people fry memory by putting it down on a carpet and another ask me why his PC was dead since he hoovered the inside.
    So, rubbing the card up and down my jumper and trying to stick it to the ceiling was a... BAD idea?

    Advice heeded.
    If you've got your money for nothing, who cares if the chicks are free!

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