Saturday, January 29, 2011

The building of a new "Monster" PC

In December 2007, I began the project to build a new PC out of the ashes my old Gateway GM5266E which lasted 10 months. I wasted the majority of November trying to find which piece was bad, but after having checked all the parts that are bolted to the motherboard, I came to the conclusion it was time to walk away from the corpse and as start stripping the case for parts because the obvious part that has failed in the motherboard.

The first part of my journey to build a new PC was to determine the cause of the failure. At the time, the obvious culprit was the weak power supply that came with the kit which was not capable of sustaining the operation of the PC after I added a second hard drive and doubled the RAM to 4GB. Also, the heat that was generated by the system could not have been good for the health of the PC. Pretty much, it is obvious that one has a problem when the heat coming out of the back exhaust fan was so hot that it was uncomfortable to hold your hand in front of it for any amount of time. So, I think I had a basis to begin looking for parts.

The foundation of the PC now known as Monster was a new Asus P5K motherboard with the leftover RAM, CPU, hard drives, etc. from my old Gateway. To hold this new MoBo, I selected an Antec Nine Hundred case because it had way too many fans to make sure the computer stayed cool under the most stressful of load. I selected a CoolerMaster 500W power supply for a good level of clean power and modest price. Finally, I tossed a ThermalTake CPU cooler on top of this as I felt this would be best to keep the CPU cool.

As time passed, I added more stuff to the PC including a new ATI 2600 series video card with 512 MB of RAM, a new ATI TV Wonder Tuner, and even a new Core2Quad Q6660 CPU running 2.4 GHz. Eventually, it was upgraded to 8GB of RAM and is sporting 5 TB of hard drive space. In all, a pretty good system that can keep up with the Jones while surfing the web.

Now it is time to move on and build another machine of even better caliber. The goal is to attempt to double every specification (except HD space) that I can with the new system. More of everything is the rule and the goal is to do as much as possible in a single big bang. Plus, I want the cabling to be neat as the always visible parts of Monster looks pretty ratty. I think with the technology offerings that have hit the market in the last 3 years, I can find plenty of gear to generate the amount of performance game that I need to justify the purchase of this much gear. Short of the introduction of Sandy Bridge, the bang for the buck factor never equaled the outlay of cash needed to make the upgrades. So now I have revealed the secret ingredient to the new PC build.

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