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Pros: I have two of these in Crossfire. I mostly play Warcraft, but also Call of Duty MW2, Steam games like Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fort 2. Also last weekend I picked up Civ V. It runs all of these at max settings, which I anticipated. I'm sure the i7 had a lot to do with it, along with my 10/100/1000 LAN, but I was able to host a pretty massive Civ V LAN game and there wasn't ever any kind of slow down. I picked the 6870 after the "best for the money at X pricepoint" article on Tom's Hardware and have been really happy. I basically have a $600 video card for $400.
Cons: The power connectors required some adapters to split the inputs. Not a big deal as it comes with them (I actually had better ones in my rig building box) but it does create some extra wiring that I had to tie off to make look pretty.
Other Thoughts: i7-950
ASUS X58 Sabertooth mainboard
2 x HIS 6870 in Crossfire
2 x OCZ Vertex 2 SSD in RAID 0
In Win Dragon Rider case
This review is from: IN WIN Dragon Rider Black 1.0 - 0.8mm SECC Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Pros: Awesome looks. You have to see the "mesh" in person to really appreciate the design, even though the pictures look good too. It's not overly massive. It reminds me in a lot of ways of the great design of my old Thermaltake Armor, which is still my favorite case on the market.
Jutted out door behind the motherboard tray is perfect for cable management. Insane number of spots for 120mm fans (11 total; I'm currently using 6).
Air flow is fantastic because of the mesh design.
Hard drive rails are in a good location, and I like the bottom of the case power supply location (though the filtered intake on the bottom of the case is a little weird).
Cables to the top and front panels are quality and were pre-ran through the cable management.
The access window to the CPU's mainboard bracket is probably the single best thing about the case; you're able to swap your HSF without removing your motherboard. Saves a ton of time.
Everything is high quality except the cheap thumb screws.
Cons: Door panel doesn't have a quick release lever; after having one on my Antec SOHO case and Thermaltake Armor for years it's hard to go back to having to unscrew the thumb screws every time. Again, the filtered intake window for the PSU on the bottom of the case is good if you have the PC on a table or similar, but sitting on carpet (I know, I know.. tsk tsk) I can't imagine it's getting much air into the PSU.
Other Thoughts: Had to remove the 220mm fan to fit my HSF, but the door panel has space for six 120mm fans, of which you can use five if your HSF is large like mine.
i7-950 & 3.8Ghz
Thermalright Venomous-X HSF
ASUS X58 Sabertooth
G.Skill 6GB (3x2) DDR3 1600 RAM
Raidmax 730w power supply
2 X HIS Radeon 6870 in CrossFire X
2 X OCZ Vertex 2 80GB SSD in RAID 0
500 GB WD HDD (storage)
This review is from: Thermalright Venomous X - RT 120mm CPU Cooler
Pros: After running the stock cooler for a few days I decided to start messing with the overclocking capabilities of my i7-950. The stock cooler is adequate for non-overclocked rigs, and in all honesty has better clearance for most applications, so if you're not overclocking then don't worry about upgrading your HSF.
Overclocking to 3.8 Ghz with the stock cooler worked, but after running Prime95 temps were about to hit the dreaded 95C so I shut it all down and went back to stock clocks.
Overclocking to 3.8 Ghz then pushing Prime95 on the Venomous X has temps hovering at 80c, which is safe, but still higher than expected given the robust airflow in my case (and the low ambient temperatures in my computer room during winter). I'm considering re-seating the HSF to see if that helps. Idle is pretty decent at 42C. Gaming averages 55C.
Very easy to install, and the instructions are really clear. Thermalright exceeds a lot of other HSF companies when it comes to instructions.
Cons: NewEgg doesn't carry the non-RT version of this, which is just the heatsink (all I really needed). But, they had it for a good price and now I have an extra 120mm fan that I use as a case fan.
Measure your RAM and case for clearance.
And, I don't consider this a con: I had to remove my case's stock 220mm side door fan. The Dragon Rider assumes this might happen and has spots for up to six (!) 120mm fans on the door alone, so I have three 120mm fans on the door now (along with five others in the case).
Other Thoughts: Mine came with a black shroud, unlike the white one in the picture. On another site I purchased two black shrouds and two Akasa PWM 120mm high volume low noise fans (Akasa's fan design is pretty nice, 30% more CFM at equivalent RPMs) in a push/pull. I also purchased a PWM splitter so the push/pull fans are running from the same CPU PWM.
Using Zalman thermal paint/paste.
i7-950 @ 3.8Ghz
ASUS X58 Sabertooth
IN WIN Dragon Rider case
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