Friday, April 17, 2009

RECAP: Computer-building

Here's a little recap of my computer (parts, prices, pictures, etc):

I decided that I wanted to build a new computer about two years ago when I started getting interested in computer hardware (and when I realized that the computer I was using was built 6 years prior). I also thought that it would be good experience to get to know my computer a bit more closely (you never really know exactly what hardware quality you're getting with prebuilt systems).

I ordered all of the parts on January 5th, 2008 from Newegg (newegg for the win) and a few days later I got the parts and put it all together into a shiny new computer. Mmm, shiny.

System Specs
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3 AM2
  • Case: CoolerMaster Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW
  • Graphics: MSI Radeon HD 2600XT 512mb 128-bit GDDR3
  • PSU: Rosewill RD500-2SB 500W
  • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Brisbane 2.1GHz
  • Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S203B
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 250 gb 7200 RPM SATA
  • RAM: A-DATA 2 x 1gb DDR2 800 (5-5-5-18)
  • OS: Windows XP MCE 2005
The price came to a grand total of about $580 (including shipping and rebates). It was a pretty decent build at the time for $580, although I regret a few things such as not getting at least a 2.6GHz dual core CPU (the 2.1GHz x2 is the bottleneck of my system right now), only getting 2GB RAM (not great RAM, either), and not paying the extra $20 for a bigger hard drive.

One minor gripe about the configuration is that the graphics card uses fins on the back of the card to pull the heat away silently. As you can see in the picture (below), this blocks off access to the RAM, so adding RAM will be a bit more of a hassle than I would have hoped. On the other hand, the fins removes the need for a fan (the quieter, the better) so it was a worthwhile trade off.

*I'm still looking for the pictures from while I was building the computer--they should hopefully still be on one of my hard drives*
In the meantime, here's a picture taken of the inside of my computer right now:

Side shot with flash

Click to enlarge (warning: 1600×1200 picture)

Future Upgrades

I probably won't do many upgrades with this computer beyond a few extra gigs of RAM and and upgrade to the processor. I'll probably build a new computer once I get a little income (job) and once I go to college. By then, I'm hoping that USB 3.0 will be out and consumer-ready (should be in 2010 according to TGdaily, assuming there are no major delays). Windows 7 should also be out (or at least close to being out, again, assuming no major delays take place) along with the usual price drops as newer technology comes out.

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