Photos: building a Sandy Bridge PC

Photos: building a Sandy Bridge PC

Summary: We needed a testbed PC running Intel's latest-generation Core i7 processor, so we built our own. Here's how it turned out.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Reviews
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  • Zooming in shows the diagnostic panels, the system battery, the pair of DDR3 DIMMs (complete with LEDs) and the power and reset switches that Intel has mounted on the board. This makes benchtesting much easier — helping you to test over-clocking before full installation, should that prove necessary. Just above the battery, you can also see the cable plugged into the front fan header, while over on the left is a corner of the heatsink and fan assembly.

  • Lower down the board, below the graphics card whose fan and heatsink assemble occupy the top half of this image, are seven green LEDs mounted directly on the board. As you can see from the logos, they provide POST diagnostics (from right to left): CPU, memory, video, optional ROM, USB, hard disk and OS start. If any of these devices fails, the LED glows red and a beep sequence lets you know what the problem is. Also in this shot are, on the right, the front panel indicator headers (as fiddly as they always are) and on the left, unused auxiliary fan and S/PDIF headers.

  • The final shot shows the motherboard's fun stuff: the skull, which sits just to the right of the graphics card, is LED-illuminated. The red LEDs only light up on hard disk activity — we ran chkdsk continuously in a batch file to grab this image — and it's a setting you can even turn off in the BIOS, just in case you don't want them lighting up. To the left of the skull is the BIOS reset jumper, which allows you to recover to default settings in the event of an overclock that locks up the machine.

     How much did it all cost? Here's the bill of materials:

    ItemPrice (ex. VAT)Supplier
    Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz processor£259.59Intel
    Intel Desktop Board DP67BG£138.46Intel
    Intel X25-M SATA II 2.5in. solid-state drive£124.35Intel
    Fractal Design Define R3, Silver Arrow (no PSU)£76.59Quietpc.com
    Scythe Stronger 600W Ultra-Quiet Plug-in PSU£76.59Quietpc.com
    Noctua NH-C14 Top-Flow Flexible CPU Cooler£57.86Quietpc.com
    2x 4GB Ballistix Tracer 240-pin DIMM£53.99Crucial Technologies
    Sweex nVidia 9600GT graphics card£45.19UKDVDR
    Total
    £832.62 

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Topics: Hardware, Reviews

Manek Dubash

About Manek Dubash

Editor, journalist, analyst, presenter and blogger.


As well as blogging and writing news & features here on ZDNet, I work as a cloud analyst with STL Partners, and write for a number of other news and feature sites.


I also provide research and analysis services, video and audio production, white papers, event photography, voiceovers, event moderation, you name it...


Back story
An IT journalist for 25+ years, I worked for Ziff-Davis UK for almost 10 years on PC Magazine, reaching editor-in-chief. Before that, I worked for a number of other business & technology publications and was published in national and international titles.

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  • Update: We will, of course, be keeping an eye out for the SATA II bug in this system's P67 (Cougar Point) chipset
    Charles McLellan
  • Jeez thats a massive heatsink lol! Typical of a big company like Intel to make such a small error :(
    themanunderyourbed@...
  • The heatsink IS pretty big, especially for a 95W part, but it'll cope easily when this extreme version of the chip is computing flat-out.
    Manek Dubash