Nerdsworth Academy


Building a new computer: Assembly and Performance

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Hey all, 

It’s been a busy few weeks, and, once again, I apologize for the tardiness of this post.  

The thing is that my computer pretty much exploded (not literally) about two months ago, so it has taken me a bit to get back into the posting mood.  Unfortunately I don’t know if I’m going to be able to finish Forth Eorlingas.  I had planned on taking some more great stills from the game, but couldn’t. Now that Third Age: Total War 2.0 (and now, 2.1!) is out, I would rather not downgrade the mod on my new system.

That’s right! My new system!  I did a bit of poking around and found a nice system by the folks over at Tom’s Hardware.  I decided to invest my hard earned bucks in the System Builder Marathon’s $1000 Enthusiast Computer. For the moment, I’ve skimped on the second video card, figuring that I can always invest in another one at a later date if the one isn’t up to snuff. 

I ordered the parts from Egghead and everything arrived within just a few days.  I’ve put together a couple of computers from scratch, but haven’t done so for about five years.  It took about three evenings of fiddling to get everything tucked in nice and tight.  My only real issue with assembly was slapping the heatsink onto the chip; that part always drives me nuts and is stressful on account of the gravity of it.  But in the end, I got it (mostly) secure and in place.  I think it will be fine, but those are famous last words. Perhaps it will fall off randomly and crush my ATI HD 5830. 

I’m not sure if it was an oversight of Egghead or the SBM package, but I received one SATA cable and one IDE cable for my optical and hard drive, but both of them have only SATA connections.  It was a minor setback that was solved with a quick visit to the local Best Buy to pick up a new cable.  I also picked up a copy of Windows 7 from the university bookstore for $20, so now I am rocking a new 64 bit operating system as well. Cool beans.

I’ve had my computer up and running for about a week, and let me say: it is great to have a desktop again! The nice and wide 23" monitor is clear and crisp and huge compared to my laptop’s.  The games I’ve played look and run great.  I really missed out on the effects of Left 4 Dead 2; they are amazingly scary and had me shooting at shadows for the first half hour.  Starcraft 2 looks brilliant, and my computer has no issues at 1920×1080 with all of the effects on ultra.  I also reactivated my Champions Online account for the purpose of taking my old jackalope prince, Sage Longhorn, for a romp through the city with high graphics settings.  It’s awesome!

The only real annoyance that I have with my new computer is the graphics cards’ (in)ability to do video playing.  For some reason, when I plug my TV into the HDMI and use two outputs, the rendering of video on my main screen flickers and has interlacing problems.  My guess is that there is something funny going on somewhere, but at worst I just turn off my main monitor and use my TV. 

All and all, I feel like it was worth the cash.  Everything is running great for the time being, so I’d better not jinx it by saying more good things.  

On the general gaming front, OMG STARCRAFT 2 IS OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!

I tore through the campaign on Hard, finishing the final mission earlier today.  I’ve decided to write a review of the single player campaign over the next few days, so I’ll have a review of the Starcraft 2 by this weekend. 

I’m also seriously considering migrating this blog onto my own personal server and using WordPress to publish it. There are pros and cons both ways, so I haven’t made up my mind just yet. Having the extra control would be nice, but the added publicity of 1UP is great too.  If I make any decision, I’ll let you all know. 

Cheers, 

S


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