My 3 year old Dell feels slower each day. It's not good-looking at all. It makes noise. Time has come to upgrade. Just for fun, I will put together my new computer from scratch. I will document the whole process here, with photos.
Step one is buying the right components. Here's my shopping list:
- Antec Miditower P150 430w Silver
- The best case I've seen, from a functional point of view. Excellent power supply (low heat), USB/audio/firewire connectors available on the front, looks ok, rubber-band mounting of hard drives, etc. Good review at Silent PC review.
- AMD Athlon 64 X2, dual core 4200+
- A difficult decision to make. I like the cooling (throttling) solution, and the dual core. AMD is not that cheap any longer, so chosing between AMD and Intel is not that easy. For me, the heating problems with most Intels was the key.
I chose the AMD Manchester core, with 2 x 512 kB cache. The newer Toledo core had doubled the cache size. However, Manchester consumes a maximum of 89 W, while Toledo max out at 100 W. There's a quite long article on this matter at Tom's hardware.
- Freezer 64 Pro
- A silent CPU cooler. Heat pipe and low weight. I'm a bit scared of the Zalman coolers that weigh close to a kilo of pure copper. More info at the Arctic Cooling site.
- ASUS A8N32-SLI DELUXE
- I've always bought ASUS motherboards, when I had the choise. Cannot change now. The bridge is cooled by heat pipe, no fan.
- CORSAIR 2GB DDR PC3500 437MHZ XMS PRO LED
- Expensive like no other...! I hope this investment will pay off in speed.
- 2 x Samsung SpinPoint P120 SP2504C, 250 GB
- Large means fast. Sound and temperature are more important.
- ASUS Extreme N6600 Top Silencer 256MB
- I wanted a silent card with dual DVI connectors - I always use a dual screen setup at work. Today I use a Matrox P650 and it's excellent, but lacks in performance and 3D-acceleration. This ASUS is also passive (large copper cooler, no fan) but has one DVI and one VGA connector. Close enough. I didn't find a passive one with dual DVI connectors at all.
- Plextor PX-716SA - DVD±RW
- Why are almost all CD and DVD players sold with IDE connectors? I thought we all wanted something else than the messy IDE cables. This one is S-ATA. In Europe Plextor has the reputation of being a premium brand. I don't know about that, but all my Plextor models have worked just fine.