Andrew Pollack's Blog

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Well, the new PC is all built and happy -- here's a review on the hardware and build

By Andrew Pollack on 03/29/2004 at 05:19 PM EDT

Overall, the whole thing went fairly well. I'll give you a run down on each of the bits of hardware so you can decide if they have value to you. Assembly took about two hours, but in part that was me taking my time and getting every cable and screw just the way I wanted them. Software install took 20 hours. I started with a complet list of all the applications on my present workstations (57) and installed every single one and tested them on the new machine, then copied all the data from the old machine -- including trillian cached conversation logs and sharpreader settings. That's a boring job.

P4 Prescott Processor 2.80GHz, 800MHz FSB, 1MB Cache

The processor was a boxed Intel unit so as expected performed as advertised. The chip is the size of a quarter, while the heatsink & fan are the size of my fist (and I have big fist). The fan is the only thing I've found I really didn't care for. Its the loudest thing in the PC even though its not terribly loud. I'll be going aftermarket for a good cooling tower that runs more quietely.

Hyperthreading ROCKS. Windows XP/Pro actually sees it as two processors, each at 1.4ghz.

Intel D875PBZLK i875P P4 800FSB DDR ATX Motherboard
w/Gigabit LAN, RAID/Serial ATA

My oldest and most reliable server is the only other boxed Intel board I've puchased and once again I'm impressed. Installation was easy, stickers and RF shields were provided as were easy directions. The Serial ATA RAID system (0 and 1 are both supported) has been seamless and shows actual through puts in excess of 30 megs per second.

Corsair TWINX1024-3200 1GB Kit DDR400 XMS3200 Dual-Channel Memory w/Heat Spreader

Installing the ram was easy enough. I hadn't realized you wanted to split it so you put one in bank A and one in bank B instead of filling the first back up, but that's what you do if you want to take advantage of the paging features on the system board to speed things up even more. SWEET.

(2x) IBM Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 80GB Serial ATA 7200RPM Hard Drive w/8MB Buffer

So far, so good. 160 gigabytes at 30 megs per second average (peak close to 70). Its pretty amazing.

ATI Radeon 9600 4x/8x AGP Video with 128megs of DDR Ram

This turned out to be a great choice. Its not the best for games and things, but its pretty great and is the best you can get without having to have yet another noisy fan in the system. Its fast, smooth, and support two monitors at once. One to hold copy, one to work on stuff. Very nice.

Sony DWU18A Internal DVD±RW Drive (Beige) w/NTI DVD-Maker Gold Suite Software

So far so good with this, though I haven't used it much.

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy LS Sound Card

I'm not really very impressed with this card. It requires amplified speakers and is really meant for a good surround sound set up, not cheapo sound. At the same time, the card has no headers for a case setup with remote speaker & mike so its not supporting that aspect of my case. Nothing a little work with a soldering iron won't fix, but a pain all the same.

Antec TruePower True330 330W Power Supply

Nicely set up, but I'm having to have it replaced as the back fan is not spinning fast enough. Antec is drop shipping a new supply though, and in the meantime I've bolted a spare on the back of the unit to make sure I get good airflow. The unit is good clean power and has connections for everything -- including the ability to manage case fans at variable speed based on temperature. Its nearly silent, and even plugs into one of the system board fan sockets so that your bios can monitor the power supply fan speed. Nice.

TEAC FD235HFC291S 1.44MB 3.5in PS/2 Floppy Disk Drive

Nothing to say on this one, its a floppy drive.

There are  - loading -  comments....

Andrew, you're a wuss!By Danny Lawrence on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
A real man wouldn't have put in a floppy drive!

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