Friday, February 08, 2013

Media Desktop

New desktop made primarily for media playback and gaming

Intro

Probably not that interesting to anyone else, but I like to document computers I've put together. I recently did a major upgrade: new TV, 802.11n network, Tomato based router, 5.4ghz WiFi spectrum, UPS systems on everything, new netbook for Pam, and now a new media computer. I mainly liked the case really well (I'm still on a monochrome kick) and built around that, with the idea of keeping it very neat, compared to the rat's nest most of my machines become.
I hadn't built a PC in a while and read the chatter on /r/buildapc and found PCPartPicker pretty helpful for getting a general idea of price and component popularity.

Parts

Not even going to bother linking these, since PC parts change so quick the links will probably be dead in a month. At the time of purchase the parts cost roughly $1400 for everything.
  • Corsair 600T Graphite White Chassis
  • Corsair H80 CPU Liquid Cooler
  • Corsair HX Professional Series 850 Watt Power Supply
  • Crucial M4 SSD (128 GB) (Didn't need much HD space due to several TB of high speed network storage)
  • EVGA SuperClocked GTX570 Video Card
  • Intel Core i5-2500K processor (The K-version of core i7 seemed like a minor upgrade for the price difference)
  • RipjawsX GSkill memory (8GB, picked for lowest CAS latency)
  • TP-Link 300Mbps Wireless N PCI Adapter
  • Artic Silver Thermal Paste
  • Silverston SDP08 3.5 to 2x2.5 drive bay convertor (To mount the M4)
  • HDMI to HDMI mini cable
  • Lite-On LightScribe SATA DVD Drive

Pictures

Test to make sure everything worked

Mounted in the case

All together

Living in it's natural habitat

Gotchas

A few things that tripped me up during the build:
  • Corsair M4 SSD: The hard drive was 2.5" but the slots in the case are for 3.5" drives. If you look closely in the pictures you'll notice the SSD is just sitting there. I ordered an adapter once I realized, but it took a couple of days to arrive
  • Marvell vs. Intel SATA III: I learned that you should not use the Marvell controller if you can help it. The ASRock P67 won't even boot from the Marvell controller by default.
  • Corsair H80 Mounting: If you mount the fans and heatsink out the back like I did make sure to position the hoses on the opposite side. If the hoses are too close to the back they don't lay nicely and will press against the case's viewing window.

 

Outro

Had the system about a year now, and find myself really liking it. Everything stays incredibly cool, and I've not had any stability issues. I notice a huge improvement in games and high def video playback compared to my old Alienware M11x. Overall I'm really happy with it, and how clean it looks and performs.

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