Saturday, March 25, 2006

Reader - Dan's custom build

Cory-apn says blog reader and middle aged geek Dan, has sent in his custom build. It's a well designed machine with some nice specs. In his own words, here they are:

CASE - Thermaltake Armor Series Black Aluminum/Steel ATX Full Tower with 120mm front filter.

COOLING - Two Thermaltake 120mm ball bearing, sleeved, blue LED case cooling fans (1- 120mm intake and 1- 120mm exhaust through the radiator for CPU water cooling); Two Thermaltake 90mm ball bearing, sleeved, blue LED case cooling fans (1- exhaust and 1-top mounted blow hole); ATOP thermal controller (lousy device, don't like it). If anybody knows where I can get a "Super-Flower Fan Master", let me know.

MOTHERBOARD - Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-9, Socket 939, NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX.

CPU - AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego, 1GHz HT, 1MB L2 Cache, Socket 939 Processor (O/C'd to 2.4 GHz with plans to crank it up further).

CPU Cooler - Cooler Master 120mm Aquagate, Mini R120 Liquid Cooling System (keeps the CPU running at a nice 80 degrees F idle).

POWER SUPPLY - Coolmax "EZ Wire" CU-600T ATX 600W.

RAM - Corsair XMS Pro 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM, unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory.

GRAPHICS CARD - EVGA GeForce 6800GT, 256MB GDDR3, PCI Express x16.

HDD - Hitachi Deskstar 250GB, 7200 RPM, 8MB Cache, SATA, 3.0Gb/s.

OPTICAL DRIVE - Plextor black, 16X DVD+R, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD+R DL, 16X DVD-R, 4X DVD-RW, 16X DVD-ROM, 48X CD-R, 24X CD-RW, 48X CD-ROM, 8M Cache, SATA 16X DVD±R DVD. This device is sweet, fast and quiet!

FLOPPY - Sony black, 1.44MB 3.5" internal.

SOUND - Creative Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum.

KEYBOARD & MOUSE - Logitech Cordless Comfort Duo Black, 105 Normal Keys, 12 Function Keys, PS/2 RF Wireless, Ergonomic.

EXTERNAL ENCLOSURE - Manpower (black) Aluminum 3.5", USB 2.0 with a 120mm blue LED fan (keeps 6 year old Western Digital 40 GB, IDE Hard Drive nice and cool).

SPEAKERS - Altec Lansing 2/2.1 w/sub woofer (temporary). Planning to get Logitech Z-5500, 505 Watt, digital 5.1 speakers.

MONITOR - Planar 17" DVI, LCD (temporary). Planning to get a HYUNDAI Imagequest L90D+, Silver 19" 8ms LCD, 300 cd/m2, 700:1 contrast ratio, 0.294mm pixel pitch.

Vista - Lian Li modified case

So then, now that Windows Vista has been delayed yet again; that leaves us with more time to plan, design and construct our new Vista ready custom build. Lets get started.

We'll begin with a component to house all of the state of the art hardware we are going to be installing. We need a case that is well designed, includes ample ventilation to facilitate airflow, is roomy enough to accommodate a premium, fully loaded ATX motherboard, dual 12V rail power supply, oversized graphics card(s), sound devices, expansion cards, multiple drives and controllers, a plethora of cooling equipment and... has style.

There are lots of choices. Being the middle aged geeks that we are, we're going to avoid that gaudy, adolescent, Star Trek, Las Vegas, space alien, florescent green looking stuff and go with the more practical and understated "engineered" look. In the world of computer cases, many good brand names exist. This includes Antec, Aspire, Coolmax, Cooler Master and Thermaltake. But we are building a premium, top of the line system here and only the best will do.

Cory-apn says: Lian Li

The folks at Xoxide have customized a Lian Li case to add more ventilation. They call it the LL Warrior. It's a masterpiece. Click here to see more ----> Xoxide Exclusive LL Warrior

Note the polished metal interior. Is this case beautiful or what.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Vista - Getting started

If you've been reading this blog you know I'm not a big Microsoft fan. Never the less, MS Windows is alive and well despite it's many flaws and if you are a middle aged computer geek like myself, then most likely you're a Windows user, like or not. That being said, I have to admit I've always liked Windows XP, security issues not withstanding. And, I must also admit that I am looking forward to the upcoming release of Windows Vista later this year because it provides the opportunity for me to design and build a new computer ("Honey, we need to budget some money for the new computer, Vista is on the way!").

My last build (Margarita) was designed around Windows XP and the AMD 64 CPU. She is a sturdy ship. I have sailed her across the seven seas and landed in many exotic ports of call. But with Vista, we are talking about upgrading from a Frigate to a Galleon.

Based on what I've been reading, we are going to need some serious hardware to take full advantage of what Vista has to offer. That's okay, because serious hardware is what it's all about, right(?). So then, with that in mind lets begin to explore in specific terms just what sort of hardware goodies Cory-apn says we may want to consider when designing our next high performance computer for Windows Vista. Be sure to check back to this blog from time to time as we begin to identify the different computer components that will be used to construct our Vista flagship.