DementedDragon / Member

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Part Deux - building a PC for the first time

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Part II of my blog, if you can, be sure to read Part I (previous post) since it lists the main parts.

First thing I did was made space, I just put a bunch of newspapers on the floor, a comfty pillow and went to work. Apparently PC parts have this 'unwanted attraction' to static electricity so before I touched a part, I grabbed the metal arm of my chair to 'ground' myself. Thankfully throughout the whole process I didn't carry a charge.

There were several manuals I looked through to make sure the process was painless but unfortunately it wasn't, being new to computer building, it's a bit difficult to understand what they're asking you to do. So I went online (God bless the internet) and found another guide detailing a nice step-by-step way to putting it all together.

I was warned (by some arsians) that their application of the thermal paste was "completely wrong" so I went by the folks who made the artic silver 5 thermal compound.

Motherboard

This was arguably the hardest part of the process, putting this el gigante heatsink on top of the CPU (which came OEM.) It was hard to rotate the heat sink, to get the thermal paste evenly spread but I did it. Asus (who makes the heatsink) provided this very shoddy mounting process that was a real head scratcher, thankfully after literally an hour of working with it; it decided to stay.

RAM

This mother board supports up to 8GBs of ram but I only wanted four since it seemed more than enough, like a lot of the parts, it was designed to go one way. And it took me a full 15 minutes to realize I had to pull down the little white side tabs to get it in properly. Did I mention this was my first time building a PC?

Hard Drive

Pic of my 750GB hard drive from Western Digital that arrived faulty and thus had to get it sent back for a replacement; thankfully the shipping was free.

Opt. Drives

A regular CD/DVD-Rom drive on the left and a CD/DVD +/- R/RW burner on the right, both IDE which made it a hassle getting the ribbon set up properly in the case.

Case 1

Inside of the case, I was completely shocked by the size of this case, had no idea how big full tower cases were. But the extra space helps with the air flow so I can deal with it.

Ack!

Holy crap, I could not believe all these cables, it was incredibly tedious and when I pulled out my PSU . . . . . . MORE CABLES! This took me a good 45 minutes, especially after I put in that huge 8800 GTS card which took up even more space on the motherboard. I was happy the sound card was smaller, it went at the very bottom away from the GPU.

After all the hard work was done, I was ready to see if I made a PC or a time-bomb.

Case 2Case 3

My metal monster, it actually has a key that opens the cover to reveal the drives, a nice feature but the door can get in the way. Up front are two USB 2.0 ports (8 in the back on the motherboard), a headphone jack, mic port and strangely enough a firewire port. Above all that is a power button (white), and a reset button below it.

What I really love about this case is that it lights up! And the lights are blue, ma couleur favourite! Even that big ol' heatsink has blue LED lights in it, at night my room has a nice blue color.

Case 4Case 5Case 6Case 7

Okay, i'm a sucker for 'gimmicks', so I purchased a glowing mouse and keyboard too. :P

KbdMse

A few things:

I went with a quad-core not just for 'future-proofing', but it's supposedly ideal for those who do a lot of multi-tasking on the computer. I for one love using photoshop and converting/making video so having a cpu that won't have to work too hard at maintaining my habits is a nice plus.

It runs very cool too with the heatsink and the three 120mm case fans (two in the back, one in the front) with a idle temp of 26 degree, the highest i've seen it gone was 37. But I haven't really done anything too demanding like overclocking (and probably never will.)

I already had a monitor (not from my old computer) it's a nice 19' flatscreen LCD that I don't want to get rid of at the moment since it was a gift. And honestly i'm not too sold on those fancy 'widescreen' monitors, since having tried one, I don't like the way it stretches my images.

I'm a console gamer first and a PC gamer a very, very, very, very distant second, I haven't gamed at all on a PC before. However, I am interested in Starcraft II and wanted to make sure my computer was more than capable of handling it once it arrives.

I would recommend to anyone new to computers to take the challenge in building your own, despite some irritants (those darn cables!) it's actually quite fun. If you ever get lost, do like I did and look for detailed guides on the web or ask forums filled with computer geeks who know a thing or two (like arstechnica)

Part Un - buidling a PC for the first time

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Finally, something interesting to blog about (well to me anyway.)

After months of saving, I decided it was time to get a new PC after owning my previous one (a Dell Optiplex) for 5 years. My old (and very first) computer was given to me by Microsoft as part of a donation to students who exhibited "outstanding academic performance" throughout their high school years. Having graduated in 2002 and heading into a university the same year, this was definitely a savior to my wallet; since I had planned on getting a computer myself. And after 5 years of wear and tear (went through two motherboards and one power supply unit), it was time to upgrade to something much nicer.

So on a $1700 budget there are quite a few options to build a nice PC. I was going to take the easy way out first by purchasing it 'ready-made' by Dell or HP; but it seemed for the most part, they came bundled with Windows Vista, an OS I wasn't too excited about having. Dell does offer the option to have Windows XP installed but to my surprise a number of the customization features on the Vista computers were either completely missing; or cost more to have on the XP ones.

Dismayed, I decided to fumble around on Arstechnica to see if I can get any 'advice' and the majority recommended I build it myself. I was told not only would I be able to have what I want, but I can also save money compared to having it ready-made, so I decided to take this route and I'm quite thankful that I did. Every now and then, Arstechnica makes these helpful buyer guides recommending parts for the type of PC you're willing to spend on.

So a $1700 budget was able to get me the following:

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3R
  • CPU: Q9450 (2.66GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W) Quad-Core Processor
  • RAM: 4GB (2X2GB) PC6400 DDRs-800
  • GPU: eVGA Geforce 8800 GTS 512 MB
  • Sound Card: Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer
  • Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar - SE16 750GB 16 MB cache and a 640GB
  • Opt. Drive 1: Sony NEC Optiarc Black 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM IDE Drive
  • Opt. Drive 2: Sony DRU190A 20X DVD Rewritable Drive
  • Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-550VX - 550W
  • Heat Sink: ASUS Silent Knight II 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler
  • Keyboard: Saitek Eclipse II
  • Mouse: Razor Copperhead Tempest
  • Case: Gigabyte 3D Aurora Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case

I purchased these from a variety of sites (Newegg, TigerDirect, Amazon, Buy.com, MicroCenter), which was a bit of a pain because they all arrived on various dates. By the end of it, I was sure UPS and FedEx were tired of coming to my house.

Bon Anniversaire a Moi! (24 ans)

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Anniversaire

Second post, I'm not that good with coming up with blog topics to speak about, so i'm working on it. :D

Anyhoo, today is my 24th birthday and for some reason I don't feel a day older than the previous three years. I guess this age is similar to being 17 or 19, where the next number in line seems a lot more interesting; but dangit i'm going to show this number some love, so here's a list of 'facts' from wiccapedia about the number 24. ^_^

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24_(number)

1) The number of hours in a day. (Oh snap!)

2) 24 is the number of Chromium (you know the stuff in those chrome rims that rappers go crazy over.)

3) The number of bits a computer needs to represent truecolour images (for a maximum of 16,777,216 colours).

4) The number of cans or bottles in a beverage case (Funny, since around here it's usually 12 :? )

5) The number of Carats representing 100% pure gold (Yeah take that 21 and 18, which is BOOT-LEG Gold!)

6) The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the Civil Rights-era amendments, abolishing poll tax requirements in federal elections.

7) 24 is considered an unlucky number in Cantonese culture because its pronounication is similar to that of "easy to die". For this reason, many buildings skip this floor number. The same goes for 13, 34, 44, etc. (Well i'm not Cantonese, so it doesn't apply to me :P )

8] #24 is a recurring character on The Venture Bros. (I love this show: "I'm not going to flush. Let them see the wrath of the Monarch!!!!!" )

And plenty more if you follow the link, so cheers to the #24, I guess 25 can wait. ^_~

First Blog Post

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Well after putting it off for sometime, I finally decided to make a blog post. I don't have much to say except this is part of a commitment to actually get involved more with the 'community' outside of the forums. A New Year's resolution, this is not, it just moved up on a list of things I should try to do more often. Included in that is communicating with my contacts more often; since I feel a bit slack for not commenting much in their blog posts. So hopefully I can increase my activity more and actually seem like something more than just a questionable 'real' account.. ^_^