Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New rig

Decided to stand myself up a new PC over the weekend.

The old rig was becoming a little frustrating, the Win7 install was becoming unstable and constantly running out of memory - not bad for 18 months old though.  The problem is that the rig itself has 2GB of memory plus a 512MB video card, so I'm limited to an x86 build, even though all the hardware is 64-bit capable.

Buying more memory to make an x64 install worthwhile wan't terribly attractive - it's DDR2-800 which is now rareware, an 8GB kit would cost me nearly $300 unless I wanted to do a dodgy eBay purchase out of asia somewhere.  No thanks.  Time for a new rig.

Did some reading and settled on an i5 4690K, it's actually faster than the bottom two tiers of i7 chip and at least $150 cheaper.  Even then the main difference is that the i7 has shades-of-Centrino hyperthreading reintroduced, and there are precisely two pieces of software in the world that can use that at the moment.  The K models are also multiplier unlocked so I can dabble in a little overclocking if I want to.

Went for an 8GB memory kit in 2x4GB - I don't see myself needing more than that anytime soon, it's half the cost of a 2x8GB and I can still go to 16GB in four-channel mode with another 2x4GB kit for $100 in the future if I need to.  Got the nice Vengeance still with the high profile heatsinks, makes them very easy to handle.

After some initial hassles with an older Z87 chipset motherboard that doesn't play nicely with the Haswell Refesh architecture CPUs, I now have a Gigabyte GA-Z97-D3H which has heaps of USB2 and 3 ports.  I went for a full ATX board for the easy of working, it puts all the SATA and front panel connectors further away from the memory and video slot, even though I'll never need the expansion slots.  Forget the old days of needing a USB expansion card, a network card, a modem card etc... I honestly have no idea what I'd even put in there unless I wanted wifi, and even then a number of motherboards have that built in now.

Also shouted myself a Coolermaster CM690iii case, because the old one is the PSU-on-top style and the new upside cases are just so much easier to work on, especially with the transverse drive bays.  It's also got a nice low-speed 8" intake fan.

Kept my existing Corsair 620W PSU as it's more than enough, but next time I'll be up for a new one as I need more SATA power sockets - ATX12V is dead, baby.  Also keeping my GT640 as it's more than adequate for what I do.

Drives are my Kingston 240GB SSD and the two Samsung 500GBs that came out of my old NAS when the chassis went flaky on me.

Can't complain about the performance so far.  With everything on stock settings, it installed Win7SP1 x64 in 12 minutes, and boots to a usable desktop in 9 seconds.  Got to love SSDs.

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