Fascinatin' Rhythm

October 1, 2010

You wanna be starting something

Filed under: PC Build — Thurulingas @ 1:50 pm
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So, I embarked on the first phase of my PC build project this week, and progress has definitely been made.  I’ve been following several different sets of instructions, but probably the most useful has been http://techreport.com/articles.x/13671 which lays it all out pretty clearly.  I’ve also bee using the Custom PC magazine Masterclass article from a few issues back.

The first step then: motherboard, processor, heatsink fan and memory.

Motherboard The motherboard unboxing was fairly painless — made sure I’d earthed myself, and used my new anti-static wrist-strap religiously.  The motherboard is freaking huge, larger than I’d expected (but that was nothing compared to some of the stuff I’d be unboxing later).  It came with a variety of cables and mounts, a big box of screws and plastic thingummys, none of which I had any idea of their puprose, at that early stage.

The board itself came wrapped in an anti-static bag, as shown below.  Custom PC mag recommends assembling the base components outside the chassis, using the mb box as a base of operations.  I followed this recommendation, and it was good advice in the main as I found it easy to organise myself around the box.

Motherboard (bagged) This pic shows the motherboard unboxed, still bagged, with the various components and cables that came along with it.  Included in this were the port shield for later replacement into the chassis, some switch combination bits, and cables.

Motherboard (unbagged)Now unbagged, you should be able to see the motherboard clearly, and I used this point to acquaint myself with its various areas — time that was to prove invaluably spent later on.

The cage in the middle, opened up in the pic to the left, was to receive the processor.  To the left were 6 DIMM sockets for the memory.  Above the cage were the expansion slots, 3 PCI-E and 3 PCI.  I had thought this motherboard was enormous — it would prove to be only just large enough when it came to installing some of the expansion cards later on!

Round the edge of the board were various fan connectors, chassis switch connectors, power inputs, and sundry other mysterious and vaguely intimidating gubbins, including the ports.

Next up, then, was marrying the processor to the MB.

Processor (boxed)Processor (unboxed)

Processor (unboxed)The processor itself was a tiny thing, but came (unexpectedly to me) with its very own heatsink and fan arrangement.  I had already purchased my own processor heatsink and fan, so rejected the bundled one from Intel and proceeded to install the processor in the MB cage.

processor in motherboard cage and there you have it — processor safely ensconced in its cage.

I was slightly concerned that I might have failed to marry the two correctly, but there didn’t seem to be any sense that they would ‘click’ in any way according to the instructions that came with the processor.  Just align them correctly, and bind securely with the cage, and all would be well, it seemed to imply.  So I ignored my misgivings, and soldiered on, hoping that all would be well.

But you’ll have to tune in next time to find out whether all was indeed well!  This is the end of Part 1.  PArt 2 will concern itself with heatsink shenanigans, PSU paroxysms, and cabling.  The chassis will be unboxed.

That is all.

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September 23, 2010

I’m-a living in a box

Filed under: PC Build — Thurulingas @ 9:45 am
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All the components are here assembled.  All I need now is the courage of my convictions, and a large whiskey, and I’ll be ready to embark on my first ever PC build project.

It’s going to be tough, there’s no getting away from that.  There’ll be laughter, and tears.  There will be crying, and sighing, and anguished noises aplenty.  But I shall come through the other side stronger than before!

Well, OK, perhaps not.  But it’s certainly going to be fun, a challenge, and quite likely to take more time than I’ve anticipated.

Anyway, this is going to be a fairly major project, and I’ll be documenting each step (forwards and backwards) with imagery of all unboxings.  But the final spec is this:

Antec 1200 Full Tower caseCase: Antec 1200 Full Tower

NEC MultiSync EA231WMiMonitor: NEC MultiSync EA231WMi 23-inch

XFX 750W Black Edition PSU (Black)XFX 750W Black Edition PSU (Black)

ASUS 1366 P6X58D-E S/L MotherboardASUS 1366 P6X58D-E S/L Motherboard

Intel I7-930 Bloomfield Quad Core ProcessorIntel i7-930 Bloomfield processor

Corsair 6Gb DDR3 XMS3 Dominator memoryCorsair 6Gb DDR3 XMS3 Dominator memory

OCZ 60Gb Vertex SSD DriveOCZ 60Gb Vertex SSD Drive

SAMSUNG SPINPOINT F3 S-ATA/300 1TB INTERNAL HARD DRIVE 7200RPM 32MB BUFFER Samsung Spinpoint F3 SATA/300 1Tb HDD

ASUS XONAR DX PCI EXPRESS 1.0 RETASUS XONAR DX PCI EXPRESS 1.0 RET Sound Card

XFX/ATI Radeon HD 5870 Graphics CardXFX/ATI Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card

Thermaltake Frio - CPU Heatsink + FanThermaltake Frio – CPU Heatsink + Fan

Logitech USB MicrophoneLogitech USB Microphone

Logitech Webcam C250Logitech Webcam C250

Logitech Cordless Desktop Wave - with MouseLogitech Cordless Desktop Wave – with Mouse

Logitech X-530 PC Multimedia Home Theatre Speaker System - (5.1)Logitech X-530 PC Multimedia Home Theatre Speaker System – (5.1)

Edimax EW-7128G Wireless LAN PCI Card Edimax EW-7128G Wireless LAN PCI Card

LiteOn 8x Internal Blu-Ray Combo Lightscribe - SATALiteOn 8x Internal Blu-Ray Combo Lightscribe – SATA

So, there you have it.   Build will commence this weekend, after I’ve reviewed the Custom PC build masterclass and made sure I’m ready — and cleared some space!  Each subsequent post will be an unboxing and then an assembly post.  The first step is the assembly of the main components outside of the case: motherboard, processor, memory and PSU, hooked up to a monitor, to check that they’re all functioning before mounting them internally.

Wish me luck!

July 19, 2010

Boxes that go beep

Filed under: PC Build — Thurulingas @ 2:45 pm
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Aha!  I’ve hit on a time-saving device.  From now on, all my posts relating to my new PC build project will be taken from Five Star’s classic synth track ‘System Addict’.

So, some detail.  Regular readers (welcome) will know that I’m basing my build on the Antec Twelve Hundred case.  I’m gratified to read reviews that mention the ‘subtlety’ of the fan lighting, so my concerns there are allayed somewhat.

But, to the main event.  As this build is intended a) to last some time, and b) to be eminently upgradable in the future, I really wanted to get some components that would be future proof while giving me good performance now.

To that end, then, this is the current state of my thinking about the build and components I’m intending to incorporate.

Case: Antec Twleve Hundred

Monitor: NEC EA231WMi 23-inch

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58a-UD3R ATX board for Intel iX

Processor: Intel i7-930 Bloomfield Quad Core

RAM: 6Gb Corsair DDR3

HDD: 1. OCZ Vertex 120 SSD 2. Samsung Spinpoint 1Tb 7000 rpm

3. Samsung Story Station external HDD 2Tb

Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 5850 1Gb Dual-link DVI/HDMI

PSU: XFX 750w Black edition

Optical drive: LiteOn IHES208-31 8x Internal Blu-Ray Combo Lightscribe

Sound card: no decision made yet, but am leaning towards the Asus Xonar DX

So there you go.  Any comments?

July 17, 2010

Whistling men in yellow vans, that came and drew us diagrams

Filed under: PC Build — Thurulingas @ 7:04 pm
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I have embarked on my PC building project.  Today I ordered the first components.  Scary, but also thrilling.  I’ll do a wrap-up post when the build is completed, but as I go through I’ll write a series of posts detailing the build itself, my frustrations, problems, epiphanies, and sundry other reactions.  And of course, I’ll post a few piccies along the way!

So, today I ordered the basics.

First: A new computer desk, to fit my machine, and one that will move with me to Manchester when I go.  My current desk was bought quite some time ago, when I first bought my current PC from Tiny.  My monitor was (and still is) a very (unintentionally these days) retro 15-inch CRT horror.  It has served me well, but it’s time to upgrade.  Any large widescreen monitor won’t fit on my current desk, so the desk needs upgrading too.

The desk I’ve chosen is this one: The Glacier Modern Clean Glass Workstation Computer Desk.

Isn’t it a beauty?  I love glass and steel!  (Sorry Shep.)

I’ve also bought the tower case and monitor.  Respectively, they are the Antec Twelve Hundred:

And the monitor is the NEC Multisync EA231WMi 23-inch LCD:

Beautiful.

I also bought a toolkit, to replace my existing one.

A good start, I think.

Slightly obscure post title, perhaps.  It’s from the Housemartins’ track “Build”.

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