Badass Custom Built PC 14TB, i7 960, 12GB DDR3, N495GTX, 1KW PSU

This has to be one of the coolest PC’s I’ve ever built.

We were given the task to build the fastest PC for Video editing and rendering, with the most storage space we could fit, all without becoming a heater or jet engine for the user sitting in a cubical. The system had to be fault tolerant, so one OS hard drive could die and/or one drive from the RAID 5 array could die and still function. If the case could hold more drives I would have devoted another drive or two for a hot spare.

Few notes worth mentioning:

  1. I’m a huge MSI fan so anything that could be MSI is MSI.
  2. I didn’t think the top of the line i7 was worth the money so I went with the 960.
  3. I don’t have much experience in SATA RAID Controllers so I just picked one based on NewEgg’s comments.
  4. I didn’t go over 12GB of DDR3 memory, because I didn’t feel the user would even use that.
  5. I wanted a mirrored (RAID 1) array for the OS (using the onboard RAID Controller)
  6. I wanted a RAID 5 array for the 2TB drives to produce the largest amount of usable space.

The PC was built in a few hours, and then another hour was spent cleaning up all of the wires and installing extra fans. You can see in the pictures that I should have turned off the PC before installing those top fans. I managed to clip one of those fan blades on my knuckle.  I would have loved more of those larger fans, but I used what I had.

After building the PC, the RAID 5 array produced a little over 12TB of formatted, usable space. The 14TB array took almost 2 days to initialize!  The firmware on the PCIe RAID Controller needed to be upgraded to see the full size of the array. The BIOS on the motherboard had to be upgraded as well.

There were some slight under-clocking issues after install that ran the i7 960 processor at like 1.2 GHz instead of the 3.2 GHz. After resetting some jumpers, clearing the CMOS, and playing with the BIOS settings we were finally able to get it at 3.2. I played around with the overclocking and could not get the system stable at 3.4, it was worth trying though. =)

The total project fit inside a $3500 budget (not including a copy of Win7).

Here are the specs from NewEgg:

Qty.

Product Description

Savings

Total Price

1

Description: LG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner - Bulk SATA Model WH10LS30 LightScribe SupportLG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner – Bulk SATA Model WH10LS30 LightScribe Support
Item #:N82E16827136181

$139.99

1

Description: Verbatim 25GB 2X BD-R LTH Single Jewel Case Disc (use w/LTH Compat Drive) 96569Verbatim 25GB 2X BD-R LTH Single Jewel Case Disc (use w/LTH Compat Drive) 96569
Item #:N82E16817130069

$2.99

1

Description: MSI N465GTX-M2D1G GeForce GTX 465 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video CardMSI GeForce GTX 465 (Fermi) N465GTX-M2D1G Video Card
Item #:N82E16814127506

$279.99

1

Description: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power SupplyCORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
Item #:N82E16817139007

-$50.00 Instant

$279.99
$229.99

2

Description: HITACHI Deskstar HD30500 IDK/7K (0S00161) 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -RetailHITACHI Deskstar 500GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Retail
Item #:N82E16822145286

$99.98

1

Description: COOLER MASTER STB-3T4-E3-GP 4-in-3 Device Module Hardisk CageCOOLER MASTER STB-3T4-E3-GP 4-in-3 Device Module Hardisk Cage
Item #:N82E16817993002

-$3.25 Instant

$23.25
$20.00

1

Description: Intel Core i7-960 Bloomfield 3.2GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80601960Intel Core i7-960 3.2GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
Item #:N82E16819115224

$559.99

1

Description: MSI X58 Pro-E USB3 LGA 1366 Intel X58 USB 3.0 ATX Intel MotherboardMSI X58 Pro-E USB3 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #:N82E16813130273

$199.99

8

Description: HITACHI Deskstar HD32000 IDK/7K (0S00164) 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -RetailHITACHI Deskstar 2TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Retail
Item #:N82E16822145276

-$1.18 Sale

$1,119.92
$1,110.48

1

Description: HighPoint RocketRAID 2320 PCI Express x4 SATA II RAID CardHighPointRocketRAID 2320 PCI Express x4 SATA II RAID Card
Item #:N82E16816115026

$259.99

1

Description: G.SKILL PI+ Turbulence 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL6T2-12GBPISG.SKILL PI+ Turbulence 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
Item #:N82E16820231354

$399.99

1

Description: COOLER MASTER Centurion 590 RC-590-KKN1-GP Black SECC / ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer CaseCOOLER MASTER Centurion 590 RC-590-KKN1-GP Black Computer Case
Item #:N82E16811119152
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

-$15.00 Instant

$69.99
$54.99

Grand Total:

$3,358.37





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