My First Sandy Bridge Desktop System

I was standing in line at the Denver Micro Center at 11AM this morning (despite the beginnings of a small blizzard), so I could get my hands on a 32nm Intel “Sandy Bridge” Core i7 2600K processor. It is a good thing I was there early, since they only had five 2600K processors available for sale, and they had a number of disappointed people.  The K suffix means that the multiplier is unlocked, which is the only way to substantially overclock the Sandy Bridge.

I ended up buying all of the parts needed to build a complete desktop system, including all this:

Intel Core i7 2600K processor

ASUS P8P67 Deluxe motherboard

VisionTek Radeon HD6850 1GB video card

(2) Corsair 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 kits (16GB of total RAM)

Crucial 128GB RealSSD C300 SSD

Western Digital 1.0TB Black 6Gbps hard drive

Thermaltake V9 BlacX Edition ATX case

SeaSonic X660 660 watt modular power supply

OEM 22X SATA DVD Recorder

The ASUS motherboard has four 6 Gbps SATA III ports (two Intel and two Marvel) and four USB 3.0 ports. Three of those USB 3.0 ports are on the front of the case. The Thermaltake case has two SATA II docking stations on the top, where you can just plug in a bare SATA drive. This system gets a 7.7 Windows Experience Index (WEI) score, due to the relatively weak video card, while the processor (at stock speed) comes in at 7.8. The memory score is 7.9 and the hard disk score is also 7.9, courtesy of the Crucial RealSSD.




Here is CPU-Z. I am still messing around with the BIOS settings. BTW, the ASUS motherboard has an EFI BIOS, which has a very nice GUI, and lets you use a mouse to navigate the BIOS setup screens. ASUS bumps the Bus Speed up to 103.0 Mhz by default.




Geekbench comes in at 12544, which is very impressive. That is about 50% better than a Core i7 950 system, and in the ballpark for a two socket, Xeon X5550 system.  I think the upcoming Sandy Bridge EP processors are going to be wicked fast for SQL Server workloads when they become available later this year.




Here is how the 128GB Crucial RealSSD C300 SSD does on Crystal DiskMark, plugged into one of the Intel 6 Gbps SATA III ports on the motherboard.  The 256GB Crucial RealSSD C300 was even better write performance than this. There were also several upcoming consumer SSDs announced at CES that will have substantially better performance than this.





Here is how the 1.0TB Western Digital Black 6Gbps drive does on Crystal DiskMark, plugged into one the other Intel 6 Gbps SATA III ports on the motherboard. This is the newer WD Black, with a 64MB cache.




This single socket desktop system has more CPU horsepower than most four socket database servers. 

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11 Responses to My First Sandy Bridge Desktop System

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention My First Sandy Bridge Desktop System | Glenn Berry's SQL Server Performance --

  2. Chris Dickey says:

    That looks like a great system. Did the motherboard and case come with all the cables and hardware needed to hook everything up? Are you running RAID 1?
    How is the noise level? I am interested in music recording.

    I am wondering how the SQL Server optimizer is going to change (and when) to account for new high cpu speeds, large amounts of RAM and SSD drives. My understanding is that reads are still costed as disk I/O because there isn’t a way to tell if the data is in the RAM buffer.

    • Glenn Berry says:

      New motherboards always come with all the cables you need. I am not using RAID, this is just a casual system. You can control the noise level by choosing components carefullly.

  3. John says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’m looking to spec out a similar system, but want to wait for Intel’s 3rd Gen SSDs.

    Glenn, I noticed that you didn’t put a link for your memory. I’ve read that you want to ensure you buy 1.5v memory as sandy bridge has less tolerance for the higher voltages, although people have reported success with 1.6v. has some more reading on this.

  4. Brian Savoie says:

    Built this exact system out on NewEgg: $1547.90. I might just hit the “checkout” button. 🙂

  5. Soe Tun says:

    If you guys are looking to buy a Core i7 2600K, get it in store now at Micro Center.
    They have it on sale for $279 (regular $329) this week.

    I just bought one this past weekend.

  6. ohoeflein says:

    When building a dedicated SQL server for more of an OLAP usage model, say Dell 710 32GB RAM, Xeon x5690 RAID 1 146GB SAS for transaction logs and OS. With no money left over in the budget for a FusionIO drive, would you substitute something like a pair of Crucial C300’s in a RAID 1 or are those drives just to consumer to be trusted in an enterprise environment even if they’re RAID 1.

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