As you may have heard, I have an awesome new computer.
With a hell of a lot of research into what I wanted, what tech was up and coming, and the stuff that was old and lame (floppy drives), I chose these parts.
I read loads of reviews and watched as many videos as I could find.
You see, it was necessary that I build this thing myself. The last machine had parts selected for me by a friend of mine; he also built the thing.
It didn’t seem so hard. The most difficult phase of the operation is the power connections, and even then, everything is color-coded and labeled.
And even if you’re color blind or.. just regular blind, pretty much every device uses a different connector.
Moving on, when I arrived at the store to order these parts, I had a huge chunk of money in hand. When it was all ready to be paid for, I handed over two grand to the employee helping me. He told me that it was the largest wad of money he’d ever handled directly at one time.
Also, seeing as I was getting a board with tri-SLI (that’s three graphics card slots for NVidia brand motherboards, FYI (that’s "For Your Information", FYI)), he made sure to check with me earlier on that I was only getting a single 8800 GT. He seemed rather flabbergasted, I must say.
I told him what I’ll tell you folks now: my plan is to step it up later on when more awesome cards come out. I’m hearing buzz about some "GT200 architecture" or something.
So I picked up everything right then and there.
Except for one piece.
The processor! The one I wanted was a special order, as it’s fairly new-ish. A little hard to get it seems, from what I read after I ordered the damn thing.
I had to sleep in my bedroom surrounded by all these awesome computer components for like two and a half weeks before receiving the notice that my processor was available at a post office a block away.
I paid ten bucks shipping on that thing and they didn’t even try. Stupid Canada Post.
But whatever. We’re here now.
Let the party begin!
So here we have all the parts we’ll be using. Well… most of them.
Not shown – the case (huge), processor (it came in an anti-static baggie), speakers, and monitor.
I’d already been using the mouse and keyboard for some time.
Actually, same for the monitor.
Fumbling my way through the mildly intimidating small box of spare parts that came with the case, I located a set of wheels.
I put those bitches on right away. Now all I need is a steering wheel and horn and then I can drive my computer to work.
With the motherboard mounted, it is now time for that damned processor I waited over two weeks for.
But OH! YOU DON’T GET TO SEE IT.
Why? Because I went to lunch; when I came back, I forgot I was taking pictures. By the time I remembered, the heatsink was already on there.
This particular heatsink was extremely easy to mount. Just clips right in, like Lego. Also, it comes with thermal paste preapplied. I think it was called MX2, but I can’t remember now.
On another note, please look at that huge heatsink surrounding the processor slot. That came with the motherboard. Do people’s processors really run that hot while gaming? I’m assuming since this board comes with tri-SLI and enthusiast BIOS options that it was intended for gaming, so…
I dunno. Might be to keep it cool for ambient temperature increase caused by having THREE GODDAMN CARDS in there.
The power supply, even as large as it was, slid right in with no problems.
Sorry if that sounded sexual.
The CD drive is mounted without incident. The installation has been pretty normal so far.
Just down below, I pop off three front plates and slide out the hard drive holding thing. Yes, that is a fan on there. Came with the case.
This little box was really difficult to slide out, and for good reason. There are two plates on the side meant to absorb a couple hundred pounds of direct force. Or something like that.
Sorry for blurry picture. You won’t believe how many pictures I had to delete because of smudgy crap all over the lens.
Never let a baby play with your $250+ digital camera.
In any case, the hard drive is in. It goes back in its place no problemo.
Another piece a little like Lego, my 120mm fans snap right in to these fan slots on the case’s side door.
Here we have the sound card installed in a bad spot given the size of the graphics card. I would later move it to a slot further away.
Oh, hey. Look. My knee.
That’s just lovely.
Now to free up the power cables for conne– OH GOD THERE ARE LIKE FIVE MILLION WHAT THE HELL DO I DO
OH GOD IT ACTUALLY WORKS I DID IT RIGHT WHAT THE HELL DO I DO
OH GOD I’M… oh, just formatting. I’ve done this before a few times.
Please note that this took forever. I think I watched the full run of Spiderman 3 on TV while it formatted.
Just a little longer.
Temperatures are nominal, Captain.
Suddenly, speakers all over my desk. And note the size of my penis. I mean my monitor.
Meanwhile, in the other room, my old computer plots revenge.
But actually, I now use that machine entirely for my music making stuff. Sure, I still have all my old games installed on there, and it is still a decent computer, but I just don’t have much use for it other than for music.
Please note that my mouse pad (bottom left) is the processor shipping box.
For a short time, I simply could not get the internet to work.
Then I remembered that power cycling the modem mostly fixed every network issue I’ve ever had.
And there we go.
Since I’d not done this before, it took me about a day’s work. The main issue was in getting the power connections all set up; now that I’ve done it once, it’ll surely be much quicker next time.
But that’ll be a few years.
As for everything else, I can’t say the graphics card allows me to max everything out, but it is a hell of an improvement over my 6800 GS.
The G5 mouse is a great step forward over the basic one I’d been using for years.
The G15 keyboard is also quite nice; it took time, but I’ve finally gotten used to how hard you need to press the keys (they’re not very sensitive).
The Coolermaster Stacker case is amazing. I can’t imagine how difficult this all would have been had I settled on a mid-tower case like I’d planned at the start.
The processor is snappy. Documents and files open instantly, and there have been no stability issues so far.
Not much I can say about the RAM really. No memory errors, unlike my old computer. I’m pleased.
Can’t say much about the motherboard either. I don’t know from motherboards that well.
The fans are amazing. You can hear them, but the noise is much softer and whiter than on my old machine. Everything is perfectly cool.
Windows XP 64-bit runs just fine. There are a few programs that refuse to be run, and Microsoft did a bit of dicking around with Messenger, but I worked it out.
Power supply is sufficient. That is all I ask.
Zero instability. Zero crashes. Zero lockups. Zero memory errors.
This is fantastic. No major problems.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any problems or issues at all however.
The holes in the back of the case where your USB ports and graphics cards and stuff stick out — there is a slight issue with the motherboard being slightly off from where it should be in relation to the back of the case. It is certainly tricky getting the sound card to fit in properly.
In fact, the sound card is out. I could not get it to work. I probably need drivers, but I’ll get around to that when I actually have games that require 7.1 surround sound or whatever it offers.
One other issue with the sound card is that the ports are not color coded. There are icons embossed into the metal on the bracket, but they’re very difficult to see.
Not sure what I did wrong, but the audio ports on the front of the case do not work. My headset has to go around back.
Windows Live Messenger, as of a recent version, refuses to run on Windows XP 64-bit. There’s a way around this of course: downloading the installer directly. Microsoft used their Live updater program to block folks like me, probably to push Vista. Even if that theory is not true, it is still a real dick move on their part.
Not only that, they won’t let you update Flash on 64-bit browsers. I really don’t see what the hell the difference is…
Some programs are specifically made to refuse to work on 64-bit XP, such as oecake.
That was disappointing.
That’s my tale.
I just need a moment to work on those projects I put off, particularly that little (huge) avatar drawing thing.
Too bad work is starting to get going here and I hardly have time between eating, working, sleeping, and Dwarf Fortress.