Apr 14, 2011

New PC: retrospective

It's been about three months since I completed putting together my new PC. How has it served me? Do I have any regrets or complaints?

First off, the exterior being black makes dust rather noticeable. It's also textured on the top and front, which makes wiping said dust a bit harder since it likes to just smear into the grain. Using a microfiber dust rag does the trick well enough, though.

After three months, the front air intake vents were caked with dust. I vacuumed them out good and it looks new again. The Antec P183 case I bought has mesh covers for the vents that open and come out, making vacuuming easy. They also appear to have done a good job filtering, since despite being caked with dust themselves the internals had very little dust accumulated. I'm happy with that, since I'm rather lazy with dusting PCs.

I can certainly feel the lack of an SSD, but I planned for that and I do intend sometime (perhaps near the end of the year or sometime next) to get one. I think it'll do wonders to speed things up. Unsurprisingly, the HDD is the slowest part and brings my WEI score down considerably.

Windows Experience Index scores

As for noise it's fairly quiet overall, especially after I went into the BIOS and adjusted the CPUFAN speed throttle. It defaults to full blast, just FYI. The noisiest part is the fan on the Xigmatek custom heatsink. I went with the stock fans in the case and heatsink, which SPCR recommends to replace. At the time I didn't want to spend the extra money. Should I ever see some deals down the road, I might consider replacing them, but really they aren't that bad. I've dual-box played MMORPGs on it (one running in a VM) which tends to tax the system pretty good and even then the fans never get that bad.

I strongly considered buying a second set of 2x2GB RAM sticks originally but I've not seen much need to go to 8GB thus far. Running a second game in the VM pushes the usage to about 3.6GB or so (1.5GB going to the guest OS) but that's an extreme case. I just don't do the video editing or other memory heavy tasks that would necessitate more than 4GB at this point. Still, I have two extra slots should the day ever come.

The G110 and Lachesis pair together very nicely. I don't use half of their advanced features and buttons, which I anticipated going in, but the extra money spent got me very well constructed parts. They look nice, feel nice, and work nice. I'm quite satisfied.

I ended up going ahead and a buying a simple but reliable DVD burner combo drive. Maybe eventually I’ll get a Blu-Ray, but maybe not if I get a PS3 down the road. Currently I don’t have any Blu-Ray movies anyway. BDROM burners are still about a hundred bucks for a decent one, and I don’t do much burning anymore these days except for the occasional Steam backup.

The monitor is still gorgeous and did I mention how flat it was?

Overall, I think the homework paid off. I've had very little in the way of bad surprises and most of the problems I was aware of going in.

There's a newer AMD Phenom II X4 975 out since then and the X6s have come down in price such that an X6 1090T is close in price to what I paid for my X4 970. I still think that I wouldn't really need the extra two cores for what I do, but even so it bums me a little. The AMD graphics cards have come down in price, too. But that's always how it is, right?

Currently, I'm still dealing with two problems: I need a new desk to put this thing on and I really should get some new surround speakers to do games like Crysis justice. Plus otherwise I'm wasting my X-Fi's potential!

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