Building the Nehalem EP system
Instead of just jumping directly into the testing we thought it would be interesting to show how the system build for the EP system came about. When building such a high end workstation it is important to make sure the partnering equipment is up to the task so we contacted companies for suitable equipment to ensure the build was as stable, high performing and cool running as possible.
To house the system we asked Coolermaster for their HAF932 chassis, which promptly arrived a few days later.
The HAF932 is a very moddable case which is supplied with massive fans on the front, side, rear and top to ensure the highest possible airflow. As the fans are huge 230mm and 140mm variants, the noise produced is also minimal, an added benefit.
DriverHeaven has reviewed a plethora of Xigmatek CPU coolers recently and we asked them to supply coolers for this review. They sent us samples of their Dark Knight coolers ...
The coolers mounted very easily to the Intel motherboard as there were already backplates prefastened (see above right).
As the image above shows, the coolers are built around the direct touch heatpipe technology which Xigmatek usually incorporate into their CPU coolers.
Xigmatek supply a 12cm LED based fan with the Dark Knight cooler and it runs quietly while keeping the W5580 processors under 55c load at all times. This ensured maximum stability during testing and we never experienced a single heat related issue.
For the graphics support we contacted XFX and they sent us several 285 GTX blackops boards to use for the testing.
To power the systems we used a combination of Enermax Revolution 85+ 1250W and Corsair HX1000W power supplies. Both these units won our highest awards (Heavenly Hardware Gold Awards) in previous testing and we could think of no better power supplies to handle all of the high end systems in our comparisons today.
When building a system like this we have worked extensively in the past with Crucial for all our memory needs and once again they delivered 12GB of DDR3 memory for the test system.
In the Xeon W5580 system each Xeon has a triple channel memory controller, and so to work as Intel desired, they need to both access three DIMMs, meaning we need six in total. Each of the blue slots was therefore populated by a 2GB module for each CPU giving a total of 12GB to the system.
Even with all this high end hardware installed, the Coolermaster HAF chassis handled it very well with a lot of room around all the components.