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New computer

by Brandon on March 18th, 2007

It was getting dangerously close to 2 years since I’d upgraded my computer – which was an AMD Athlon X2 4200+ on an nForce 4, 2GB DDR400, 2x 36GB (first-gen) Raptors in RAID 0 for the OS / apps, 2 x 300GB Maxtor 7200/16MB storage drives, and a Geforce 7800GTX. It had served me well for a long time, longer than I remember going without a single upgrade and still being happy with its performance. Even Vista was far more than satisfied and running at full steam.

And yet, something about having a laptop that was faster just seemed wrong. That, and seeing Chris’ pre-production QuadFX system really got me interested in what had become the new state-of-the-art.

A couple days ago I replaced everything except the video card and local storage disks. I’m waiting for AMD/ATI to release their new monster before I consider upgrading the GPU. I had considered going quad-core this time around, but couldn’t quite justify the three-times-larger CPU price, so that will have to wait til next time.

So what’s the new rig look like?

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.4Ghz, 4MB) – running at 3.4Ghz
  • EVGA Nvidia 680i motherboard (“Designed by Nvidia”)
  • 4GB DDR800 Corsair memory, 4-4-4-2 timings (Supports Nvidia’s “SLI Ready”)
  • 2 x 74GB Raptors (ADFD model) in RAID 0 called “Bottled Lightning” by Anandtech
  • Seasonic 650W PSU Recommended by Silent PC Review
  • Antec Nine Hundred case (4 large fans)
  • Themaltake “Big Typhoon” CPU coolor
  • Update:  A couple weeks later, and I’ve added a Geforce 8800GTX 768MB to the mix.

The overclocking success that I had with absolulely no effort is remarkable. The machine isn’t silent, but also isn’t particularly loud, and I haven’t yet done any real tweaking to make it quieter.

My main concern is a faint buzzing sound under CPU load, which only seems to happen when overclocking past a certain point. My understanding is that it’s likely some sort of CPU voltage coil which is vibrating at a frequency which is inversely harmonic to that of the polarized deflector dish. As with all things, the remedy apparently involves hot glue.

Performance on Vista Ultimate x64 is absolutely phenomenal. Applications seem to appear so quickly it’s as if they knew in advance they were about to run. Windows Media Center loads in a miraculous one second. Most of all, it’s even capable of satiating the ridiculous computation desires of Vanguard – a feat previously thought impossible.

From → Life of Brandon

  1. That’s quite a system you’ve got there – hope you enjoy!

  2. David permalink

    Nice rig.

    What temperature idle/under load do you get with that setup? I have more or less the same but had to back off 3.4 as things got a little too hot. Did you leave all voltages as default?

    Also, I use a NV8800GTS (o/c’d as a GTX minus those extra stream processors) as it makes nice balanced system. Zoooom!

  3. Brandon permalink

    Nice build! The sad thing is, your old computer is about what I have now, Opteron 170 @ 2.7Ghz with 3GB DDR1 in a DFI Nforce 4 Ultra-D.. Switching to Core 2 will be a pain. New motherboard, new memory, new processor. Technology moves so fast, it is so depressing. I video encode for school, and a few of my friends have Core 2s and they blow through rendering about ~40% faster, it is rather insane.

  4. Sounds nice. I can’t wait until I can afford to upgrade again. Have you ever looked at Voodoo PC’s? I think they might be the first company that I would actually pay to build on for me. I have always built my own but Voodoo impresses me.

  5. It sounds like the Raptors in RAID 0 must have a very positive impact on performance. I have been thinking about doing the same. Tell us the difference if you ever have a chance to boot the system from other disk.

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