Greetings everyone, I've been using this site for 10+ years. I usually post about building a studio PC, but the funding wasn't there to get it built. While I've built machines for friends & family, never got around to building something for myself, but finally that time is over. So this thread is to talk about what went into this custom build and the overall experience since I built this machine. I work on computers everyday all day and even my co-works can't really appreciate this system, but I know the people at Tom's Hardware can:
The Machine - Completed 4-28-09
Case: Antec P182 SE - Had this case for a year to build a Core 2 Duo machine, which never happened. Instead this case was used for a Core i7 system. Its a nice looking case on the outside, roomy on the inside, but would've liked a little more room. However, to counter that you can run the cables on the backside of the motherboard tray, which is really nice. Has 3 fans pre-installed, 1 rear, 1 top and 1 in the lower chamber, with the option for 2 more. I took the lower chamber fan out and used it as a front intake fan. The rear & top fan have speed controls on the back, which is great. I usually run it on med settings, which isn't too loud, in comparison to the high setting. When running at the low setting, u can't hear a thing, but it doesn't move the air well enough, at least not for this system. Also 2 removeable hard drive trays, awesome! The rail system for the 5.25 bays, to me, has a poor design. Difficult to install & remove those bays, but not impossible and really the only thing I didn't like about the case. Running cables up the backside, priceless! 4\5
Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TX - 650 watt power supply, that's quiet as a mouse. Lots of connections, wish it was modular, but not gonna complain, I can barely hear it. 8 sata power connectors!?!!?!? I need that! 5\5
Motherboard: MSI X58 Pro - Didn't need bells and whistles as much as I needed something that worked and works well. Doesn't have on-board video, didn't need that anyway. Also, it has right angle sata II ports, which isn't the greatest design when you consider how close thats places them to the hard drive trays. Thankfully the case allows you to remove the HDD tray, so you can install the sata cables without hassle. The design of most X58 boards suck, only because they are designed with the idea of tossing multiple graphic cards, but for the price of this board compared to all the others, it wasn't that major of a problem. Most likely will not run quad monitors because of the way the card slots are placed. All the other stuff is there, Crossfire support, 2 PCIEx1, 2 PCI, 3 PCIEx16 slots (16,16,4....I believe). Esata, 6 USB, PS2(Good to have), Gigabit ethernet, I don't think anyone can go wrong with this board, check it for youself. Plus, it has Dip switches on the MB for base overclocking. Didn't build this for overclocking, so really can't comment on the bios features and whether this is the board for such a thing. But, there are lots of options for setting the ram speed & voltage, among other things 4\5
Processor: Core i7 920 - This is the baddest player in the box and we all know it. I love AMD and would've went with them, but saving an extra $100 in the face of grabbing a top of the line processor, not worth it. Hard to say just how powerful this processor is, but I over clocked it to 3.332Ghz with no problem. I did a 15 hr toture test, which generated no errors or warnings, so its very very stable at 3.32GHz.
When I get my studio software installed, I can give people a better idea, just how powerful this processor is. I was able to run, Spybot, Avast Antispyware, defrag, surf the web and run NWN2 all at the same time without hiccups, also toss in updating my Ipod, never missed a beat. Everything ran smooth as butter......thank's Intel. 5\5
Ram: Corsair TR3X6G1333C9 (6GB) - Does what its supposed to do at 1333Mhz. 5\5
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB - This was the worse of all my experiences because it came DOA. Nuff said. Lucky I have access to hard drives, so those will hold me off till I get my replacment. 0\5
DVD Drive: Samsung SH-S223Q w/ Lightscribe - Cheap, Sata & Fast, but loud, haven't used the lightscribe yet. 4\5
Video Card: HIS 4670 w/ Isilence4 - There a very few games that I play these days because of my X360 and I really built this as an Audio workstation: But games like NWN2 & Galactic Civ II didn't run well enough on my old P4 with a nvidia 6200. Vid card has no fans, just a large passive heatsink and doesn't require any power supply connectors and it runs my games on high settings without slow down. It takes up 1 slot, but the Isilence portion blocks the installation of another full length card. 5\5
Keyboard & Mice: Logitech Wireless Keyboard & Trackball - Does what they are supposed to do. 5\5
Processor Cooler: Noctura NH-U12P SE1366 - Comes with 2 fans, a massive heatsink, thermal compound, and voltage changers. Does what its supposed to do, keep things cool. 5\5
Monitor: NEC 1850s x2 (Dual Monitors) - These were a gift from a friend. They have DVI & VGA connections. These will hold me over until I can get 2 Samsung 2243BWX. But, these monitors will do for now. 5\5
OS: Xp64, Vista 64 & Windows 7:
Xp64 - Its XP with more ram. I liked it, cause I know XP like the back of my hand. 5\5
Vista Ultimate 64 - Its so so. Not as fast as XP, but I like the direction they were trying to go, but its a slower OS than it needs to be. 3\5
Windows 7 Ultimate RC - This is probably what Microsoft intended Vista to be. It installs fast, load fast, zip through windows really fast. Its stable, it makes Vista look like a weak little baby. All hardware drivers were intalled during OS installation. Everything I was doing in Vista, I can do in W7 faster and without all the UAC interfence. There does seem to be an issue with launching NWN2 from the taskbar sometimes, but other than that its pretty good. Ultramon requires some adjustments as well in order to work under W7, but once that is done you're good to go. I actually prefer to use the Hydravision software, so I think I'll be removing Ultramon. It was pure luck that the RC came out a week after I bulit it. By then I had already been using XP64 & Vista Ultimate and Microsoft this time around has let me down. If their XP mode works as promised, Microsoft will have finally exorised its Vista demons. Even if XP mode isn't as good as its supposed, Windows 7 is just damn good. So right now this system build with Windows 7 is spectacular. 5\5
Software: Only running a few games, Neverwinter Nights 2 and Galactic Civ II. Both run great, NWN2 looks awesome and runs very smoothly. Although I had to perform a workaround to get NWN2 to work. I will be getting Supreme Commander later on. But the real test is when I run Sonar 8, BPM, & Emulator X3, 3 programs with multithread and mutliprocessor support as well as 64-bit support. Then I'll really see how my Core i7 box runs.
Conclusion: This system is pretty good right now and once I add 6gb of additional ram, 4 more HDDs, 1 more fan, this will be a top notch Audio workstation. But starting out, this system is G!
Sweet, is the gameplay the same? because im thinking on installing it soon on my top of the line dual core/P45 Rig.
Yes and no, they have similar aspects that when you play you'll probably skip the tutorial...NWN 2 also has a full 3D camera that you can move...So its like playing BG in 3D. Get the add-ons too, Mask & Storm, you won't be disappointed if you're a true RPG fan like myself.
I can't wait for Tera to come out even though they stole Lineage 3's begginning Data and custom engine from unreal tournament. Look it up on Youtube.
2011 Lineage 3 will be out, made there own Engine and new Data, it will be sweet. Graphics will be the best and im sure it will utilize 4 cores or atleast a good gfx card unlike WoW. It's going to be Huge for MMORPG.