I started buying parts for my new computer in February and put it together in March. I guess it’s about time that I made a post about it. Without further ado…
**warning** Geeky long-winded computer stuff ahead…but there are pictures
Intel Pentium 4 processor(2.8Ghz, 800Mhz Front Speed Bus, Hyper-Threading Technology)
ASUS P4P800-Deluxe Motherboard
1 GB DDR 400 Mhz Kingston Value RAM
Zalman CNPS7000A-Cu CPU Cooler
Hitachi 60GB Deskstar Hard Drive
Western Digital 120GB Hard Drive w/ 8MB cache
ATI All-In-Wonder 9600XT AGPx8 Graphic Card/TV Tuner
Samsung SyncMaster955DF 19″ Monitor
Antec Sonata Black Super Mini-Tower Case
Aiptek HyperVcam Mobile Plus Webcam
NEC ND-2500A CD/DVD Writer
HP Deskjet810c Printer
HP ScanJet 3500 Scanner
Altec Lansing ADA800 4.1 Speaker system
Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop Pro 2.0 Keyboard & Mouse
D-Link DBT-120 Wireless USB Bluetooth Adapter
Mitsumi FA404 Internal USB2.0 Flash Media & Floppy Drive
Microsoft Window XP Professional
Here is my entire computer system. Alot of the stuff I took from my old system; the printer, the scanner, the webcam, the monitor, the speakers, and one of the hard drives…I think that’s it. I know, so what the fuck is new about my system
I do love my new shiny black Antec Sonata case. The main reason I got it so that my computer would run quiet. My last two cases were on the loud side, and the difference is noticeable. The front door is lockable and it has front USB, Firewire, mic & headphone ports. The only negative is the two bright blue LCD lights that were in the front. I’m talking BRIGHT. The first few nights that I had the computer running the lights would light up my entire room with a eerie blue light that would keep me up. So finally, I had to disconnect them.
Opening the door, I have 3 5.25 bays and 2 3.5 bays. The drive bays are cool because they are easy to pull out from the front. No more having to tear my computer apart in order to put a new CD or DVD drine in. Also I love the flash/floppy drive combo that I have. No more feeling around in the back of my computer to plug my camera in to upload pictures.
Here you can see just how shinny my case is. It is so shinny and reflective, I could almost use it has a mirror. The side panel is also lockable if I wanted to keep people out of it. I leave unlock cause I know that I will loose the key one day and won’t be able to get into it to upgrade or fix something
This is the major bad part of the case, in that it sucks in smudge marks and dust like a magnet. I am constantly dusting and polishing the case almost daily in order to keep it clean. It doesn’t help that the Antec Logo on the side is punched in and there is no screen to keep the dust from comming into the computer.
Here is the heart of my new computer. The wiring job looks worse than it really is. There is airflow between the front and the back of the case. Still, I do want to go back one day and see if I can clean everything up. The hard drive bays are cool too, since you can load them from the side. It is so much easier. And all of the drive bays have rubber insulators in order to dampen vibrations from the drives. I have only heard my hard drives spin a handful of times since I’ve built this.
A cleaner shot of the motherboard. The Zalman CPU Heatsink is HUGE. Huge is almost an understatement. I was honestly worried that it was going to be too heavy and just fall off the motherboard, ripping out my cpu in the process. However, this thing really works. I can’t believe that I was using my old computer with temperatures in the 70-80 Celcius. That’s pretty hot for a computer and why my rooms were so hot all the time. Now, I think the highest tempetature I’ve got was 45C with the T.V. and a game playing at the same time. And it is so quiet too. The fan is large, so that it can move more air with spinning as fast. It spins so slow that when I boot up, my computer thinks that there is no fan cooling the processor. The rest of the case is pretty empty, since I am using the onboard sound on the motherboard. I do have the ASUS wifi card on the bottom, but it really sucks where I’m at. I get pretty shitty reception on it, so I bought a USB WiFi adapter to get a stronger signal.
This is the main reason that I built this computer so that I could watch and TiVo TV. My video card is decent enough to run this year’s and next year’s games with acceptable visual and performance quality. i.e., I can play Half-Life 2 just find the day that I finally buy it. And with the TV Tuner I can watch TV and listen to FM radio. But I can do so much more than that. Basicly, I can use my computer has a TiVo box and record TV shows and watch them later. I can fast foward through comercials and I can burn TV shows to DVD’s. I can even TiVo the radio and schedule recording of radio shows. With the Gemstar guide, I have my own TV guide interface to see what’s on TV, and descriptions of shows. I can also watch TV while working on the computer by having the TV act has a transparent desktop background. I was going to take a picture, but it’s hard to see it. It’s a cool effect, although it takes some getting use to.
I also have a TV explorer bar in IE, so I can watch TV while I surf the web. It also came with a remote control with a 30′ range using RF, which means I can be in a different room and change the channels on the TV. I can also hook up my PS2 and play games with it. Honestly, nothing is better than watching a TV show and being able to fast forward pass the commercials or pausing TV to go get something to eat and coming back without missing anything.
Now the bad news. The video card uses software to process the TV signal, which means that while I can run a game and watch TV, it’s going to be real choppy. Basicly, if I’m watching TV, I can’t do too much of anything else. Also, Since I only have one TV card, if I record something, I can’t watch anything else, which sucks. The remote control is kinda confusing, and the TV software really sucks. The TV quality isn’t that good either, although it works for me. Also, while the computer is quieter than anthing that I have used before, it is still kinda loud for me. I think that it’s the fan on the video card is the thing making the noise. So for future upgrades, I want to get Windows Media Edition which has a friendlier and easier to use interface, I want to buy one or two PCI TV cards so that I can record more than one show at a time or record a show and be able to still watch TV. I also want to get a silent video card cooler and some sound damping material to line the inside of the case in order to make the case completely quiet. I’m still too afraid to try water-cooling. I mean, one mistake or leak and you entire computer is fried.
Overall though, I am happy with the results, since this is the first computer I built from scratch with no help at all.