Tuesday, May 29, 2007

FD has a new PC

Ok...I finally decided to build my own PC and I have to say...the most nervous time of my electronics-life was when I had all of it together and I plugged it in and hit the power switch...I was sweating bullets. But...she fired right up w/no trouble and so here you have it:

Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4GHz chip from Intel
680i nVidia MB from XFX
8800GTX Video Card from XFX
4GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) memory from Corsair
150GB Raptor (10,000rpm) HD from WD
P182 Case from, Antec
PC Power and Cooling 750W (825W peak) PSU
ZALMAN 9700 110mm CPU Cooler
X-Fi SB Platinum sound card from Creative
Some non-descript OEM-based DVD player (x16)
Logitech G5 second generation mouse (2d thumb button)
Microsoft Natural Keyboard
XP SP2 and Vista (dual boot)

Total new purchased cost: $1,500
Total cost of on-hand parts: $1,000

Overall: Build was slow...I'd never done this before so I was ultra cautious. I even redid the paste on the chip when I realized I had put it on wrong. I had to invert the PSU so the cables would flow to the back side of the MB (the antec case allows for behind-the-motherboard routing of cables) and because the PSU was longer than most I had to reposition the lower case fan. Speaking of fans...the Antec case has 3 120mm fans built in and room for one more. The 8800GTX is so long it interferes w/the center 3.5" drive bay so I had to position my harddrive in the lower of the two bays. Others online say they just remove the bay and use it for the fourth case fan. Because of that and the extra-long PSU I've effectively removed about half of the drive space in the box so further down the road I'll have to rearrange to get some of that back.

Once I got all the parts in and wires connected (bitch to do once the MB's in the box) and fired her up, the bios confirmed everything was running (I really was nervous...thinking I could soon have a smoking hole in the ground...)

At first I loaded XP on the HD. I had to load the MB drivers to get the ethernet ports to work but it went well until I loaded some active X deal that broke my windows update. After some research I figured there was no reason not to just rebuild so this time I partioned the drive and loaded both XP and Vista. I used BCD utility to work the boot sequence. I loaded all drivers, updates, and loaded an identical Steam install on both sides (just copy one to the other and redo the clientregistry.blob). Testing proved Vista was running (for me) at a 94% clip in terms of perf compared to XP:

DoDS XP: 130fps
DoDS Vista: 124fps
Lost Coast XP: 132fps
Lost Coast Vista: 125fps
CS Stress XP: 223fps
CS Stress Vista: 206fps

Since then I've been toying with overclocking...nTune seems to work well and these E6600's can be pushed...the PCIE bus went from 2500 to 3800 and the FSB from 267 to 279 w/o trouble. I should be able to get more from the FSB. I also GEEKED out and installed blue LED fans w/LED-based fan controller card in the front. THe blue LED's are enough to blind you...they light up the entire room at night.

All-in-all I have no complaints. I'll take a few screens and post them when I get a chance.