January 21, 2011 at 6:14 am | Blog | No comment

Well, it’s finally happened and I didn’t plan for it to happen. I’ve now got a brand spanking new desktop computer which I’m happy with. Only problem is I didn’t want to build it right now, but seeing what I’ve come up with and the results I’m getting, I’m not regretting it.

It started off with a new sound card for my Dell (the old desktop). Since the onboard one was being funny, and I didn’t want to finance a new computer at the time. So I get a cheap on-offer Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio from Currys PC World Superstore in Bristol. About a week later, I put it into the Dell, works fab. Happy me.

About a few weeks later, I have a couple of quirks from my computer which irritate me. The one that put the bullet in the coffin for the motherboard was that sound was playing up again. I would get j-j-jumping problems with playing music (not iTunes related) and since I listen to my music a lot and notice the jumping a lot eventually I couldn’t bare it. I then go about the task of finding a motherboard in a mini-ATX form factor, with an AM2 slot and 4x DDR2 DIMMs since all I wanted to do was replace the motherboard. I then get recommended by Anderson (aka Knifethrower) the Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H motherboard. Brilliant. Find a cheap (as I could) deal on eBay, a few days later I have a new motherboard.

0111ccGq[1]Now, Dell are known for bad habits with user replacements and their own stuff (PSU having different pinouts for the motherboard connector, PSU being upside down). Their latest craze is not having a removable back plate for the fucking case. It just looks like there is one but when you come to removing the motherboard and then realising you need to get a hacksaw to create a hole, you look like an idiot. Foresight skills, 0.

So, it’s a bus down to PC World in Cabot Circus, Bristol to find myself a good enough case. I come across this nice Xigmatek Asgard Pure case, which for £40 was brilliant! It’s probably the nicest case I’ve ever owned or had to deal with, and it looks nice as well. Ideally I wanted something silver, but black will do. (I liked the Dell case as well). So a bus back home, and away I go. Once again my lack of foresight hits me again, as my PSU from the Dell wasn’t good enough. The Gigabyte motherboard has an 8 pin CPU connector, the Dell PSU has a 4 pin connector. Back to PC World I go again to find a PSU with an 8 pin connector and that is quiet. At the same time, I thought I may as well get a new graphics card to go with the new motherboard. The motherboard has an onboard ATI card, with HDMI on it. It also is ATI CrossfireX ready. I pick up a ATI Radeon 5570 graphics card, that will do me fine. Improvement on the Nvidia 9500GT.

Now I’m back home with all these parts, and two half complete computers. Assembled, got it working, brilliant. Now to attempt to get Windows 7 working again. Late at night, got it working fine, then thought why not and bought a new AM3 processor, an AMD Phenom II x2 550. Somewhere in the mix I also thought I may as well get some more RAM and got 8GB worth of new memory from eBay. This arrived last Monday and Wednesday respectively. By then, nearly everything apart from the Hard Drive (which was replaced in the Dell a while back), DVD drive and memory card reader had been replaced. Pretty much a brand spanking new computer.

166371_10150383785615224_639865223_17072002_4848350_n[1]Then the DVD drive explodes Monday night in spectacular fashion. As in the CD inside (which happened to be Worms Armageddon since I was playing it) decides to crack and explode, shattering into hundreds of pieces inside. Big bang, scares the living moonlight out of me (it was in the evening), bit of dust/smoke coming out the drive, panic. Initially thinking I’ve not done something right, then realising something went wrong with the DVD drive. The results are on the left after the dissection. Lovely isn’t it.

So now that’s being replaced with a BD-ROM/DVD-RW DL drive. About the only thing left that is still Dell is the memory card reader, I’m just waiting patiently for that to explode as well.

PWM MateAnother problem which I’ve been having as well, is that the motherboard is a bit generous on the output of the CPU fan. As in it’s too fast when idling. When it’s too fast, it’s too noisy. There is a motherboard utility (Gigabyte EasyTune6) but it’s completely useless. Why? It just buggers up the sound and causes more problems than solves. Once I figured out that was the issue, it was swiftly removed and all traces of it burnt. I’ve now got myself a Zalman PWM Mate external fan controller which is just  on the back of my computer. Brilliant little device.

So the end result? A new computer. Which then got even nicer when I discovered that the Phenom processor had two disabled cores in it. I now have a Phenom II X4 B50 instead of the X2 550. Sweet.

Final Specs:

  • AMD Phenom II X4 B50, 3.1Ghz x4, 4x512KB L2, 6MB L3 (http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=1608608)
  • Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H Motherboard Rev 1.3
  • 8GB DDR2-1066 RAM
  • ATI Radeon 5570 1GB + ATI Radeon 4200 Onboard (using 512MB Shared Memory) with CrossfireX
  • WD Blue 250GB SATA Hard Drive
  • Samsung SH-B123L Blu-Ray BD-ROM/DVD-RW DL Optical Drive
  • Xigmatek Asgard Pure Black case
  • OCZ Stealth Stream 2
  • Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Sound Card
  • Running Windows 7 Ultimate (Genuine too!)

1608608[1] 101_0665

(In other news, anyone want to buy my old Dell? I’m being serious! http://mattyribbo.co.uk/rnd/dell531.html

January 21, 2011 at 6:14 am | Blog | No comment

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