Friday, May 28, 2010

My new general-purpose PC

In addition to my music DAW and Softsynth PC, I have an all-purpose PC I use for Photoshop, Gaming, web browsing, DVD burning and what-have-you. The old machine I was using was getting pretty long-in-the-tooth so it was that time again...time to piece together a new computer! I love doing this!!! ^_^

This was also the perfect opportunity to finally upgrade to a 64 bit OS and now that the specter of Vista was behind us, Win7 was looking pretty good.

The sheer amount of power you can get these days for $1225.00 boggles my mind - this relatively modest machine replaced a five year old pentium D machine that cost me twice as much to build and was an absolute slug by comparison.

Here's the specs:
  • Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz Quad-Core CPU (clocked cool and stable @ 3.6 GHz)
  • Intel DP55WG LGA 1156 P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • ZALMAN 120mm 2 Ball Low-noise Copper CPU Cooler
  • Kingston SSDNow V Series 64GB Solid State Drive (OS/boot)
  • Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM SATA II Hard Drive (apps, storage)
  • Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM SATA II Hard Drive (backup)
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 SDRAM
  • Asus DVD-RW
  • PNY GeForce GTS 250 - 1 Gigabyte GDDR3
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
...and I already had a nice 4U rackmount case & PS from my earlier build...though, because it was an older PS, I needed to spend about three bucks on an adapter for secondary power to the video card. The D-400-6 rack cases from IStarUSA are fantastic BTW!

The DP55WG is a basic board but with some surprising extras like SPDIF audio, onboard diagnostic LED readout and external bios reset button. I've been building my own PCs for a couple of decades now and have found that pairing an Intel board with an Intel processor and decent cooling makes for a very stable system, even in this case with the quad-core CPU clocked to 3.6 GHz.

Been using this machine for about a month now and, so far, it tears through every app I've thrown at it. DVD encoding takes minutes instead of hours now. Some of the most demanding photoshop filters take only moments and I'm getting very high frame rates (at 1920 x 1080) for Fallout 3 and TES4! Haven't had a single crash, lockup or bluescreen either - this has been absolutely rock-solid! I give Intel and G.Skill high praise for this.

The only thing I'm still not happy with is my I've ordered something special. I'll blog about it soon. ;)

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