We Must Rebuild – Board and RAM

Board

From the processor decision, it was decided I needed a socket 1155 board. This was very hard to choose – so many different ones, with many that are very similar to each other. I considered MSI, Asus, and to a lesser extent, Gigabyte. MSI and Asus looked like fantastic boards, many good reviews, and I happened to go down the Asus route. I found a board I really liked, a P8P67 something. About £90ish, and it had everything I wanted. PCI slots, a few PCIe’s, 4 RAM slots, USB3.0 on the back, even bluetooth and a PS/2 port for old keyboards and mice I think. However, a friend told me not to go for a P67 series, go for a Z68. The Z68′s apparently are newer – therefore newer chipset, with many lessons learnt I’m sure from the P67′s which seemed fantastic. I also heard tell of P67′s having trouble with SSDs. So to be safe, I went for a newer Z68. [Asus P8Z68-V £126]

RAM

From there, I needed some DDR3 RAM, and although I loved my shiny OCZ RAM with heatsinks on each side, I had heard a lot of good reviews about this Corsair Vengeance, and a friend recom

mended it to me as good RAM, and even 16gb of it was only £80ish. In the end I went for 8gb – by the time I need another 8gb, the price will most likely have dropped. [8GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance Blue DDR3 PC3-12800(1600) £40.99]

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 :).

Matt

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!!).

Searching Quickly In Google Chrome

Searching With Chrome Search Engines

How to search the web, faster

In Google Chrome, you may have noticed when you type for example “amazon.co.uk” it prompts you to “press tab to search amazon.co.uk”. You either press tab (or space if you have finished typing all of it) and it quickly searches Amazon (using Amazon’s search) for whatever you type after. Useful? But we can do better.

Head into the “wrench menu” of Google Chrome. If you don’t have Google Chrome, get it, you won’t be disappointed, and are unlikely to go back to another browser. In the wrench menu, under options, under Basics, hit “Manage Search Engines…”. Under here are all the search engines you have encountered. It shows what you must type (e.g google.co.uk, 7dayshop.com) to search their respective sites. However, you can change this keyword to what you like, for example I changed YouTube’s to “yt”. So if I want to search YouTube for christmas songs, I just type “yt christmas songs” into my main Google Chrome address bar, and bingo – it searches YouTube for some festive tunes. So try out a few yourself, I also added another for Facebook (just copy and paste the search URL code to a new entry at the bottom) to “whois” so I can type “whois Peter Griffin” and it will search Facebook for Peter Griffin (Jeopardy reference :D).

I’m unsure how the picture will come out, as its the first blog post I’ve added a photo to. Now searching YouTube or Facebook is quite useful, but what can’t you quickly search for from the Google Chrome address bar that you CAN search with from Google.co.uk? Images. Maps. Shopping. I’m feeling lucky. There’s a few – so Google away, find the search code, add it as an entry under Manage Search Engines, and you are away! Want me to get you started?

For I’m feeling lucky, create an entry – call it what you like, give it a keyword (I just used “\” – when will you want to search just that?) and use the code without quotation marks:

“{google:baseURL}search?{google:RLZ}{google:acceptedSuggestion}{google:originalQueryForSuggestion}sourceid=chrome&ie={inputEncoding}&q=%s&btnI”.

So add away, maybe do one for YouTube, Wikipedia, eBay and your other favourite website.

Recommendations: Have a search on Google for those search code’s, they will be out there somewhere. If you are feeling generous, comment them here so we can all add them :).

Matt out

 

 

Config settings

WordPress, as great as it is, doesn’t magically work out of the box – you have to give it a few settings of the database you want it to use. Fair enough.

The file for this is located in the root of the directory you extracted into. The name of the file is “wp-config.php”. In here, you must set the database name, host, and a username and password.

Where do you find this information? Well when I did it for a university assignment, we had to set up our uni accounts with the MySQL server, create a database, name and password in a special way. However, in the real world – turn to your webhost (assuming they provide you with MySQL etc). My free webhost (000webhost) provides this, and it was easy to create a new database by going to MySQL under the control panel. I created a database, provided it with a username and password, and it was done. It provided me with a nice little text that I could save that included all the details I needed for the config file. Change the config file’s username, password etc in your favourite text editor, I use (Notepad++). Save these changes, make sure that the updated file is on the server, then go to www.BLOGDIRECTORY/wp-admin/install.php  replacing BLOGDIRECTORY with where your blog was extracted. This brings up a nice little WordPress user interface if the database is all good, (the new blank database you created earlier) to name your blog and create an admin name and password.

Bingo. You should be all done. Go and have a look around, and delete the “Hello World” post under posts. Choose a theme (see which one I chose), and start blogging away!

Why do I write what I do in detail?

I write in a reasonable amount of detail so that people can follow exactly in my footsteps if they wish. This way they know exactly what to do, and what the end result should be. I think this comes from my own worries – In technology it can be hard to do things exactly right if instructions are lousy. For all I know, someone reading this post may have little computer experience, and may be interested in having a look at blogging. A “power user” however will not need this level of detail, but it may be useful for them to refer back to if something goes wrong.

If you are a new user, and have tried to follow something I’ve done and it hasn’t gone quite as expected, please do get in touch. (Click that link to open your email client. Email not displayed freely on the webpage to give me a tiny line of defence from bots crawling through web pages picking up email addresses to spam).

Recommendations: Try WordPress. Look at their site for lots of awesome themes. Use Notepad++, it highlights the syntax of many different languages, loads quickly and is very useful. I’d buy it if it wasn’t free.

Matt out

Theme

I had a good look around some themes, and decided that the “LightWord” theme suited me quite well. Quick, simple and easy to read. Find it here: LightWord.

Matt out

Blogging about blogs

Just managed to get a new blog set up on my site matthewrobbins.co.uk. This turned out to be a bit more of a hassle than I originally thought, mainly due to the fact that I wanted all of the unzipped WordPress files in the blog directory, but when unzipped they go into their own “WordPress” directory. Moving the files up and out of that directory caused many errors and problems, probably due to changing path names. I looked at sending the unzipped files off my machine to the server through my FTP client FileZilla, but it looked like this was going to take huge amounts of time as each of the 900 files was uploaded individually, it’s permissions were changed, the directory was re-listed etc..

In the end I unzipped the files on my machine, then re-zipped them into a folder called “blog”. When extracted automatically by the server, they all went to their new blog directory, and are now happily living there.

Recommendations: Don’t try and upload 900 files through FTP clients. Zip as the folder you are aiming for, and let it unzip into the folder you desire automatically. Also bear in mind your web host (000webhost for me) may have a button hidden somewhere to upload a zip/tar file and it will upload, unzip and place the files for you.

Matt out