Wednesday, May 21

Yet Another PC Build

Yes, yes. I know. Two PC build posts in a month? Well to be fair this project, to build a replacement for my current workhorse, was a far higher priority than the HTPC - in fact that the latter was a PC at all was second to its primary purpose.

I'm actually late on this too - I was due a new PC in March, the standard four years after buying my trusted Medion MD8083 from Aldi. But what with dropping prices and a bit of confusion about new technology I held off for a while. But now I need one for work (and play) I decided to take the plunge.

So, after hitting various forums and friends for advice, I settled on the following spec:

  • £131.98 Intel Quad Core Q6600 95Watt G0 Stepping 4 x 2.40Ghz 8Mb Cache 1066 FSB Quad Core Processor
  • £10.87 Akasa AK 965 (Socket 775) Aluminium with Copper Base Processor Cooler
  • £73.27 Corsair 4GB Kit (2x2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 XMS2 Memory Non-ECC Unbuffered CL4(4-4-4-12) DHX Technology Heat Sink Lifetime Warranty
  • £63.58 Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3 iP35 Socket 775 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard
  • £13.99 Nvidia 7100GS 128MB Supporting 512MB DDR2 VGA DVI TV Out PCI-E Graphics Card
  • £51.29 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB SATA II 7200rpm 32Mb Cache 11ms 300Mb/s
  • £15.98 Samsung SH-S203D 20X DVD±RW/RAM/DL Serial ATA Black Bare Drive - OEM
  • £63.23 Corsair HX Series 520W Modular PSU - ATX12V v2.2 APFC
  • £24.60 Coolermaster Elite 330 Black Mid Tower Case - No PSU
  • £1.49 Extra Value 120mm Internal Case Fan In Black - 4 pin connector
Once again, everything was bought from E-buyer, with the exception of the CPU and hard disk which came from Novatech (the prices above include any Quidco).

Looking back I think I spoiled myself a little with the PSU and RAM, but prices are so low now I thought it was worth spending a bit - the total for the above hits a reasonable £450.28. Note however that I bought the cheapest disposable dual-view graphics card I could get, in anticipation of new stuff from ATI in a couple of months that I'll be upgrading to. I've set myself a budget of around £200 for that (but hope not to get near that!).

Putting it together was more problematic than I had expected it to be. It took a whopping three and an half hours altogether, although I did break a bit for dinner and the match. The most troublesome and time consuming bits were attaching the case fan to the CM-330 (threadless plastic sucks, no matter how soft it is), attaching the heatsink (I'm not a fan of the push button way of fixing it to the motherboard) and arranging the SATA drives in order to use just the one power cable.

The final build is pretty neat though. The modular PSU is pretty cool - I only ended up using the single SATA power cable (case fans have been attached directly to the motherboard) so it's definitely doing its job right.

I managed to POST okay, and since I have a DVD drive this time I don't envisage any issues installing an operating system (although I seem to be having some reboot issues right now. Hmm [1]). However that doesn't mean my building is now over; no, because running everything at "stock" isn't what I had in mind. But any experimenting with overclocking will be done later on, once I'm confident about the general stability of the system. Eep.

Piccies of the whole process (if you haven't nodded off by now) can be found on my Picasa.

[1] Seems that a BIOS update fixed all the issues I was having. Strangely enough, my motherboard came with version f10 of the BIOS, when according to the website the first for my board was f11. Upgraded to the latest f12 anyway.

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