Hardware Upgrade Complete

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged to the masses. No I haven’t died, I’ve just been really busy. Stuff on my to-do list includes getting out a new podcast and comic, enjoying a much-needed vacation, and writing up more articles like the EON review series.

To kick all of that off, essentially a pre-req for all of that, my PC was in dire need of an upgrade.

Cooler Closeup

First off, specs time:

  • Power supply: Corsair HX 850W Power Supply w/ 140mm Fan
  • Motherboard: Asus P7H55D-M EVO w/ DualDDR3 1333, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, USB3.0. 1394, PCI-E x16, HDMI
  • CPU: Intel Core™ i5 Processor 750 2.66GHz w/ 8MB Cache
  • Memory: Corsair 4GB XMS3-1333 TWIN3X Dual Channel DDR3 Kit (2 x 2GB)
  • Video: Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB GDDR5
  • Boot drive: Intel X25-M Mainstream 34nm 2.5in SATA II Solid State Drive, 80GB (OEM)
  • Secondary drive: Western Digital 1.5TB Caviar Green 5400rpm SATA II w/ 64MB Cache
  • Disc: Samsung SH-B083L 8x BD-ROM / DVD Writer Combo Drive
  • OS: Windows 7

There’s some additional drives in there from my previous PC adding another two terabytes of storage to this.

ASUS Heatsink

Going with Windows 7 and a SSD for a boot (and EVE) drive ends up being a fantastic thing to do, and I can’t recommend it enough. The OS’s speed is insane, and everything’s whisper quiet. So much so that when I touch any of the data drives (where I’m installing pretty much everything else)  it’s immediately noticeable how quiet everything is.

Desktop View

It’s nice having a rig where I don’t have to run Battlefield: Bad Company 2 multiplayer on the lowest settings in order to not have the game lag like crazy. It’s also awesome to have EVE run like it’s built on an Astroglide-based architecture.

Check out the rest of the build pics in the Hardware set at my Flickr.  Enjoy, and if anyone’s considering an upgrade feel free to give me a shout and I might be able to provide some tips.

Dell Inspiron 1420

Inspiron 1420 ClosedSo as promised, I figured I’d do a little writeup of my new Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop, which shall see some field use at Fanfest this year.

One of the main reasons I went with a Dell as a laptop is that I’ve had a lot of experience with them in the past through work. They’re pretty solid units overall, so it wasn’t a big stretch to go with one. I’d considered picking up a Toshiba or something through Best Buy, but found the experience there to be too much of a hassle.

14″ seemed to be the perfect size for portability, I really don’t have any need to go much higher than that. This isn’t intended as a desktop replacement rig, since my custom built one is far more than adequate enough for gaming as it is. The high res glossy screen is pretty damn nice, and made for a worthwhile upgrade to the basic matte display.

It came with Vista Home Premium, and once my initial nausea subsided I’m finding I’m liking the OS more than I thought I would. The silly hardware requirements and extraneous CPU use no doubt impact battery life though, but I got a second battery to help with that. My only complaint was that Dell doesn’t provide physical OS media, you only get a restore partition on the drive. Thankfully they’ll courier one upon request, something which I’ve already done.

So far I’m extremely pleased with the purchase. Price wise this is pretty much at the ideal price point for someone who needs a laptop but doesn’t want to spend a kajillion pesos to do so.

Inspiron 1420 OpenInspiron 1420 Keyboard 1Inspiron 1420 Keyboard 2

Basic Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66 Ghz
  • Mem: 2 gigabytes
  • Disp: 14″ high resolution glossy

A new PC is born

So finally I managed to get a PC worthy of a gaming rig. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that. First, a shot from before the upgrade. That’s my old PC and my iMac, sitting happily together on my desk. Ah, the memories. It’s like a silicon version of the black and white cookie.

Before the upgrade

And now, the new gear. First, a shot of my case and PSU in their boxy homes, and second a shot of my motherboard. I decided to be lazy and let the guys at the store mount the CPU and memory for me with my cooler. Saved me some time, and it was free of charge. Can’t complain about that. Lastly, a shot of the case after I installed my PSU.

Boxes of goodies Motherboard, CPU mounted and ram already in PSU installed

After that I got pretty busy installing all the other stuff, so I didn’t take too much time to take pictures. On to the action shots.

img_1074.JPG img_1073.JPG img_1071.JPG img_1070.JPG img_1072.JPG

Got the requisite “gamer in the dark” pictures accentuating my lack of sunlight exposure, and the last one has a flash on to show some details on how much I need to wipe down my glass desk. My iMac has subsequently found a home off to the right where my printer was, and the printer is on the floor waiting for a home.

It was a great bit of fun doing the build, I have to say, and it’s even better that it booted up on the first try. At some point I’m going to have to wrangle the cables a bit better, but this thing blows away what I upgraded from. Here’s a list of what went inside:

  • Antec Nine Hundred Ultimate Gamer Case
  • Intel Coreâ„¢2 Duo Processor E6600 2.4GHz w/ 4MB Cache
  • Zalman CNPS9700 NT Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler
  • Asus P5B w/ DualDDR2 800, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, SATA II, PCI-E x16
  • Corsair 2GB XMS2-6400 TWIN2X Dual Channel DDR2 Kit (2 x 1GB)
  • eVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB PCI-E w/ Dual DVI, HDTV-Out
  • Seagate 320GB Barracuda 7200.10 SATA II w/ NCQ, 16MB Cache
  • Corsair HX 620W Modular Power Supply w/ Triple +12V
  • Dual Samsung SyncMaster 206BW 20in Widescreen LCD w/ DVI, 2ms, 3000:1

And no, I didn’t go with Vista on this thing (yet). No real reason to yet. 🙂