Sunday, 13 May 2012

New PC Build

It's been quite some time (about eight years) since I last built a PC for myself and I've been promising to build a new one for quite a while, now I've finally got round to ordering some parts.  Not that I need to, but I've justified the expense as a treat to myself after our annual bonus came through, having never really spent the bonus on anything particularly exciting before.

This is a short post detailing what I've gone for and why, not to show off, but so in years to come I can look back (as I have before) on what was available at the time and I'll have a record I can get to should I forget the detail of which parts are in my current PC.

I'm still the sort of geek that likes to build my own computers.  I like to do the research and put them together but it's still definitely the best way to get a good deal and the only way to get each component to be the exact one you want.  I also still like to have a PC for some reason, I have a laptop for work so I've already got something mobile and a PC just feels like the right solution for home use.

So with no further ado, on order are:

Case: I'm sticking with my old Antec SLK3700 case, okay so strictly speaking this isn't on order.

Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K (£175)
Sandybridge was a real game changer when it came out and firmly handed back the power to the hands of Intel  in the processor market.  I've been waiting for Ivybridge to come out for a while, either so I could buy a cheaper Sandybridge or plump for the Ivybridge if the price difference wasn't too great.  Well, for those who know their processors you'll see I've gone for the Ivybridge option.  Currently it's only 20-odd quid more than the equivalent Sandybridge processor and I think the extra expense is worth it to get the better on-chip graphics capabilities and minor improvements in speed and energy efficiency.

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LX (£94)
I'm a sucker for a good Asus board, I've used them in most of my PC builds so that's where I start looking when I want a new machine.  I nearly went for the LE version of this board, it was another 20 quid, but I decided I wouldn't be using the extra features it provides (surround-sound audio and extra sata sockets) so I pocketed the difference and went for this one instead.

Memory: Kingston (4x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz XMP HyperX (£65)
I very nearly went for some Corsair low profile DIMMs but was swayed by the vendor support list for DIMMs for the motherboard chosen above.  I'm still in shock that you can get 16GB RAM for 65 quid!

Storage: Intel 120GB 520 Series SSD (£140)
I've got 4 hard disks in my PC at the moment, one of which is not connected, another is hardly used and the remaining 2 are coupled together in a striped RAID array in an attempt to get some sort of speed out of them.  Hard disks really are the bottleneck in your PC these days so I've decided to shove in a top notch SSD from Intel.  They're the only manufacturer to offer a 5 year warranty and also came highly recommended (under the Hitachi brand, Intel and Hitachi work together on their SSDs) from one of my respected colleagues in the storage department at work.  120GB should be ample for my storage requirements on the PC, the disk will be split to dual boot both Windows 7 64-bit (for those occasions when only Windows will do and a bit of gaming) and the main stay of Fedora x86_64.  My data other than the operating system already lives on a NAS.

PSU: CoolerMaster 600W Silent Pro Modular (£63)
Unfortunately my current 620W ATX power supply only has a 4 pin CPU connector rather than the currently common 8 pin EPS so I've begrudgingly had to fork out for a new PSU.  This CoolerMaster one gets some decent reviews for being quiet, efficient and delivering good consistent power within the tolerances required by ATX.  The 600W rating will also leave me with some overhead should I decide to whack in a high-end GPU at some point in the future.

Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5 (£5)
I've got some really old unbranded thermal paste knocking around somewhere but decided to invest in some decent stuff for this build so the Arctic Silver was the way to go.

DVD Writer: Samsung S222AL 22x with Lightscribe (£15)
I've got 2 optical drives at the moment, both are IDE and with the new breed of motherboards (or not necessarily even the ones that are particularly new) IDE is long since dead so I've opted to get a Sata DVD writer for this build.  Similar to the memory, I'm amazed you can pick something like this up for 15 quid!

Front Case Ports: Akasa USB 3.0 Card Reader (£20)
My current case has a couple of USB ports on the front, I thought it would be useful to throw a couple of USB 3.0 ports to the front of the case too.  This unit also has a built-in multi-card reader so I'll no longer have to hunt for my USB SDHC reader every time I want to copy pictures from my camera.

Case Fan: Antec TrueQuiet 120 (£7)
A 12cm fan for the front of my case, I've got a slot to fit another one in so I thought why not given the heat output I'd expect from this build.

Keyboard and Mouse: Logitech Desktop MK120 (£13)
My current keyboard is PS/2 and has seen better days.  I still like a simple keyboard with none of these funny curves or multimedia keys you can get these days so went for this cheap set from Logitech.

The obvious note in this build is a lack of a GPU.  As I mentioned above, I've left overhead in the power supply to put in a GPU in the future should I choose to do so.  I'm going to do this build and run on the GPU built into the processor.  I'll be interested to see what the performance of the HD 4000 is for my needs, if it's sufficient then great, otherwise I'll be tempted towards an NVidia GTX-560 card.  I guess it all depends on if I do a little more gaming then I do currently (which is next to none on the PC) and whether the HD 4000 is up to the job.

The other thing I've got my eye on is an up-rated cooler from the stock cooler supplied with the 3570K.  I quite like the look of the Corsair H60 Hydro should the need arise.

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