Wednesday, October 20, 2004

How to Build a PC for the future

How to Build a PC for the future

ExtremeTech has a great article full of advice on bulding a PC today that can be upgraded in the future. Their general advice is "don't build yesterday's PC but instead bet on the new standards like PCI Express". Matches my opinion exactly.

Of course, when I built the PC I'm typing this on about a month ago I ignored my own advice...with good reason: I really needed a new PC and the "next generation stuff" really wasn't there yet and most importantly I was given a nice mobo and CPU for free.

When I wrote the post describing the system I built, I promised I'd follow up with details of how it went. Until right now I bagged on that promise.

A quick summary of what I built:

Epox 8KDA3+ mobo based on the nVIDIA nForce3 250Gb chipset.
AMD Athlon 64 3400+ 754 pin CPU.
2 74GB Western Digital WD740 10,000rpm Raptor hard drives.
Liteon SHOW-832S DVD+/-RW dual layer optical drive
EVGA GeForce 6800 256MB AGP video card.
1.5GB Corsair DDR400 memory (3 DIMMs @ 512MB each).
Antec P160 aluminium case.
Ultra X-Connect 500W power supply.
Mitsumi USB 2.0 digital card reader w/ floppy drive
Assembly went well with a few minor exceptions:

The Ultra X-Connect PS didn't come with SATA power cables. Apparently they do now. No biggie because the Raptor drives support the old-school power plugs too.
The first slot of the Antec P160 case (where the video card goes) is constructed such that getting a fat DVI connector attached is almost impossible. The card had to be "angled" a few degrees in order for it to fit. If I want to go dual DVI I will likely need a new case. Bummer.
The machine had some stability problems initially. The machine would hard-hang every few days with garbage on the screen. I downgraded the nVIDIA video drivers to the 61.76 version from the 61.77 version and the and the problems have gone away. When nVIDIA releases new drivers I'll try again. Since then the machine has been rock solid and I have no issues to report.


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