Category Archives: Technology

We Must Rebuild – Starting Out

It is the night before I build, well hopefully, anyway. The case should arrive tomorrow (delayed due to pretending to have stock – thanks Amazon merchant Ballicom), everything else came on Friday. Went to Gregynog Friday evening and night, as well as most of Saturday. Was hoping to build Sunday. I haven’t unboxed anything as yet, as I am waiting for everything to arrive first. Also the case is kind of the bedrock for everything else.. [Minecraft reference].

I started writing about my new computer build here, as I had that page before I created this blog. Everything now has been transferred over to the blog in appropriate posts :).

Over the past few weeks I have been looking more seriously into building again, and just over a week ago I started looking into specifics. I knew I ideally wanted to build an i7 based computer, wanted a Solid State Drive ideally, a nice (big) board and more RAM than a field of sheep [Red Dwarf reference ^^]. So I started researching, looking at benchmarks, reviews and talking to my friends about what they had done.

Starting out

So I decided I wanted to build another computer. Where do you start? It’s a tough one – I started with the processor. I wanted an i5 or i7, they should last for the near future and far beyond I hope. I have always wanted the i7 2600k (I don’t plan to overclock it, but hey – if I ever want to, the “2600k” is better for it than the 2600). Whilst looking at components, I created “Idea boards” in microsoft paint, to show the ideas of what I currently wanted, and some of the choices. It helped me choose parts as I could easily see their pictures and prices, and look them up for more info with their full name if needed. This was my first price list of ideas on Aria from a few months ago. This was a more recent idea board, almost everything has changed since then though, as I have found different boards, and CPU coolers, and I have changed from a 60-120gb SSD, due to my current programs already taking up around 60 plus windows files. I also decided I didn’t really need 16gb of RAM, and 16gb was pretty much double the price of 8gb, rather than being less than double. My last ideas board is here.

I chose the i7 2600k fairly quickly, yes it is more than I need right now – but I am hoping this new machine will carry on for years to come. I know computers are getting better / cheaper all the time (in accordance to Moore’s law), but I am hoping an i7 will still be more than adequate for browsing the web and playing the odd game 6+ years now when the SandyBridge E’s and the IvyBridge’s have come out.

Next post about board. Recommendations will likely follow at the end of the build :).


Old Computer Build

Why buy a computer pre-built, when you can have all the fun of building it yourself, maybe save some money, and get EXACTLY the computer that you want.

As you may guess, I quite like building my own computers – since working at a computer repair shop whilst studying for my A levels, I have the knowledge needed to start looking into building computers myself. I made a webpage (before I made this blog) about my current computer. You can find that here. Have a quick look – there’s pictures! Basically I am currently running a Dual Core AMD 2.0 GHz desktop with 3GB of RAM, 2 x 1tb HDDs and a nice meaty XFX ATI Radeon HD6850. All it’s details are on the aforementioned page. I acquired the case, board and CPU from work a good year or two ago. I bought some nice OCZ RAM and a PSU, popped those in. Grabbed a nice big terabyte hard drive and slotted that in. Also invested in an ATI HD4650 graphics card which unfortunately died when someone dropped a USB card reader into his open computer case..

I kept adding bits and bobs to that PC, nice fans and lights, and even went so far as modifying the start button cabling to include my own ignition-style key switch. I wish I blogged back then! But this page should tell you enough about it. Go on check that link out, there’s pretty pictures of shiny ram and fans glowing in the dark etc!

After having that PC for a bit, I upgraded to an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (Rev 2) CPU cooler, which was much quieter than the stock AMD cooler, although it did over hang one of the RAM slots – making me worry about this a lot for my new build. I also replaced my HD4650 with a HD6850 (ranked 12th at time of writing on CPU benchmark – google it).

However, now in my second year at university, I have decided we must rebuild. Read the next post for more.

Recommendations: Arctic Cooling coolers and fans are lovely – aesthetically pleasing, quiet, and must shift some air. Tip – if in a university room especially, check your fans every few months at LEAST. My HD6850 was running at about 60 degrees C (with its fan automatic – before I found that you can manually shut it up in the Catalyst Control Center), and when I removed the upside-down card from my PC to clean it, I found the heatsink was caked in dust. I’m sure there are photos knocking round somewhere of that.. it was bad. Also I cleaned the CPU cooler and 120mm Arctic Cooling exhaust fan. (I used cotton buds/Q-tips and toilet tissue – at university, you don’t have all the fantastic cleaning products that you do at home… but it did the job. Also a hoover is a great help, but be careful!!).