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    Rampage III Black Edition: System Build

    Black Edition PC Gaming System Build

    Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition 1366 CPU Retail BoxIntel Core i7-980X Processor

    Intel Core i7-980X CPU

    For my build I have chosen the Flagship Intel Core i7-990X Extreme Edition CPU. The 990X CPU is a six core, twelve threaded behemoth clocked at a notable 3.46GHz. Intel's 990X is manufactured using a 32NM process and boasts an impressive 12MB L3 cache. This CPU supports the latest in DDR3 technology with six memory banks loaded with 24GB of memory in triple channel. The i7 Extreme edition CPU comes packaged with a powerful quad heat pipe air cooler and the necessary thermal interface material required for installation.


    ASUS Rampage III Black Edition X58 MotherboardASUS Rampage III Black Edition 1366 CPU Installation
    ASUS Rampage III Black Edition

    Focusing on the Extreme aspect of the CPU I selected the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition to unlock its full potential. The ASUS Black Edition Motherboard is the crown jewel of ROG boards. This Motherboard touts a sleek black PCB and gunmetal 136 CPU retention socket. The fist step in building a system is to install the CPU into its motherboard socket. I recommend installing the CPU when the motherboard before the motherboard is installed into the chassis.


    Coolermaster Storm Scout CaseCoolermaster Storm Scout Side ViewCoolermaster Storm Scout Case Rear I/O
    Cooler Master Storm Scout Chassis

    The CMSTORM Scout is one of my favorite cases. This beauty comes loaded with enthusiast features and my personal favorite is the carry handle located atop the caste. On the top front of the case is where the front panel is located. Within the front panel users will find 4 conveniently placed USB 2.0 ports, 1/8th stereo headphone and microphone ports, eSATA, Power & Reset, Hard Drive Activity and Power status LED, As well as a fan LED on off button. Below the front panel we can clearly see five 5.25" drive bays. Covering the entire front of the case is a perforated metal mesh backed by a black dust filter. At the top rear of the case is a 140MM PWm cooling fan. Two sets of mounting holes exist allowing users to replace the 140MM fan with the more common 120MM fan. At the rear of the case is an acrylic 120MM red LED illuminated fan, also Cooler Master has provided mounting holes for 80MM, 90MM, and 120MM cooling fans.


    Drilling out Case RivotsDrive Caddy removed to make room for Video Cards
    Removal of Hard Drive Cage

    My deciding factors on choosing this case for its smaller size and attractive carrying handle have collided with my video card hardware selection. Standard ATX chassis do not allow use of a graphics card exceeding a length of 10.5 inches. This length restriction can be a problem for aftermarket or dual GPU graphics cards. The ASUS GTX 580 Direct Copper II graphics cards are 11.5 Inches long and require a slight modification of this case. I do not intend on using a large number of 3.5 inch hard drives, making the removal of the internal hard drive cage an easy decision. Removal of the cage is quick and easy, simply use a metal drill to remove the 4 mounting rivets.


    Installation of motherboard screw mounts.Installation of Rampage Black Edition Motherboard Into Coolermaster Storm Scout case.
    Motherboard standoffs and mounting

    Cooler Master has graciously provided an easy to use motherboard mounting template. This template labels the standoff location alphabetically for both ATX and Micro-ATX mounting. I use a 5MM nut driver to securely fasten the standoff to the motherboard back plane. To ensure proper mounting turn the standoff 1/4 past tight, this will help prevent standoffs from sticking to the motherboard mounting screws.

    CPU Mounting Bracket
    CPU Heatsink Mounting Bracket

    Once the motherboard has been installed it is time to mount the back plate for the 1366 CPU heat sink. Remove the secondary case panel access to find the CPU mounting access hole. loosen the screws near the CPU socket and and it is possible to slide the back plate into the 1366 mounting holes. I prefer this method as the back plate is held in place by the case freeing up an extra hand for installing the CPU cooler.


    Corsair Trippe Channel 6GB 3x2GB DDR3 2533MHz GTX4 Memory KitInstallation of ASUS R3BE RAM Kit
    Corsair Dominator GTX 4 2533MHz Tripple Channel Memory Kit

    As an Overclocker and enthusiast gamer I have my heart firmly embedded in top performance. I have carefully chosen the Corsair GTX 4 memory modules for their 2533MHz clock frequency. The triple chanel memory kit comes with three 2GB modules topped with an extra large red heat fins. Carefully install the memory kit into the primary memory channels, the primary Chanel is located closest to the CPU and is identified on the Black Edition motherboard with its lighter grey color.

    Thermal Interface Material Applicationsmoothing of thermal interface material
    Application of Thermal Interface Material

    Its time to apply some thermal paste in preparation of mounting the heat sink. One method I have used for some times is the application of multiple diagonal beads of thermal compound. The next step is to use an object with a flat edge to smooth the lines out into a nice flat coating over the processors entire surface. The two most common objects I have used are a razor blade and credit card, the credit card is my personal preference as it is easier to apply dynamic pressure along the edge for a more conforming coat.


    Thermal Right Ultra 120 Heatsink Base
    ThermalRight Ultra 120 Heatsink

    I had intended on using the Thermalright True Black 120 CPU cooler but the lack of ability limited me to the equally capable Ultra 120 Extreme. The Ultra 120 consists of aluminum cooling fins connected with six heat pipes soldered to a solid aluminum base finished off with a protective nickel plating.


    Heatsink Mounting On Socket 1366120mm CPU Cooling fan
    CPU Cooler Installation

    When installing the CPU cooler be sure to observe the air flow from near by case fans. The idea is to avoid conflicting and turbulent air flow. The top 140MM fan is pulling cool air from outside of the case and blowing it down on to the CPU cooler and across the VRM heatsink and system memory. For the CPU heatsink fan I chose the Scythe 120MM Slipstream "SY1225SL12SH". Installation uses the included Thermalright 120MM fan retention clips, and the fan positioned to pull cool air through the CPU cooling fins and blow the hot air towards the rear of the case where is will be discharged out the rear of the chassis be the 120MM LED case fan. Normally the CPU cooling fan would be placed on the front to blow through the heat sink where it is much more effective at removing heat, but the large red cooling fins on the Corsair Dominator memory prevents the 120MM fan from being mounted properly.


    ASUS GTX580 Direct Copper II Graphics CardsASUS GTX580 Direct Copper II Pictured Cooler & back plate
    ASUS GTX580 Direct CU II Graphics Cards

    The graphics cards I am using are ASUS's GTX580 Direct Copper "CU" II's. These cards were selected for their superior cooling solution. The ASUS DCU II Graphics card uses a Fermi Graphics Processor with 512 shader cores and is backed by a 384bit memory bus feeding 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory. This card has a massive three slot cooler consisting of two 90mm fans and five extra large copper heatpipes making direct contact with the GPU core. ASUS beefed this card up from the referance NVIDIA GTX580 and increased the capacity of the GPU power supply with 10 Phases. The combination of GPU power design and upgraded cooling capacity make this card ideal for overclocking without the aid of liquid cooling.

    ASUS GTX580 Direct Copper II Installation into ChassisASUS GTX580 Direct Copper II SLI Connectors
    Installation of Graphics cards

    The top optical drive cage was catching on the rear of the GPU and needed to be folded down with a pair of vice grips. The two ASUS GTX 580 DCUII cards now fit nicely into the Cooler Master Storm chassis. Only one bridge is required to use both 580's in SLI. I have used two bridges purely for aesthetic purposes.


    Corsair 60GB Solid State Hard DriveDrive Converter mounting bracket 2.5" to 3.5"
    Corsair 60GB Solid State Hard Drive

    Here we see the Solid State Hard Drive "SSD" to be used in this build. The Corsair F40 SSD is a member of the Force Series drives and is powered by a Sandforce 1200 controller and 40GB of capacity. Because I have removed the 3.5" drive caddy the SSD will need some adapters to fit into one of the available 5.25" bays.

    5.25" Drive ConverterASUS DVD CD RW Drice
    5.25" Drive Bay Adapter and Optical Drive

    Pictured above is the F40 SSD mounted with its included 2.5" to 3.5" bracket within the CMS's included 3.5" to 5.25" bay adapter. To this date I have not made regular use of Blu-ray technology, with this in mind I opted for an ASUS SATA DVD R/W.

    ASUS DVDRW Optical Drive Installation
    Optical Drive Installation

    By habit I have always installed the optical drive into the top most drive bay With the SSD installed into the lower bay where it is concealed by a blank drive bay insert.

    Corsair AX1200 Watt Modular ATX Power SupplyCorsair AX1200 Watt Power Supply Install
    Corsair AX1200 Watt Power Supply

    The power supply I am using is the powerfully sexy Corsair AX1200, This power supply "PSU" is fully modular and powder coated black. The black finish makes a perfect match for the Black Edition build theme. Aside from the color this power supply's fully modular feature provides an extra step towards a clean and attractive build. Using a fully modular PSU reduces the number of cables inside the case and makes cable management much easier. For wire management the bulk of cables are routed through and bundled in the area of the chassis where the internal hard drive cage was removed.


    ASUS ROG Black Edition Gaming System Completed
    ASUS ROG Black Edition Gaming System

    With the side panels on, screws in place, and the cause all buttoned up this system has a simply elegant feel. This beast is begging me to playing some RAGE on maximum settings!

    ASUS RAMPAGE III BLACK EDITION RESOURCES
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _

    RAMPAGE III BLACK EDITION: UNBOXING REVIEW
    RAMPAGE III BLACK EDITION: SYSTEM BUILDING
    RAMPAGE III BLACK EDITION: OVERCLOCKING
    RAMPAGE III BLACK EDITION: FOLDING AT HOME
    RAMPAGE III BLACK EDITION: EXTREME OVERCLOCKING
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _


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