Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

New Gaming PC Build-out – Final Results

Close up of the case and internals It has been all done for a little over a week, and I love it. As I said in my last post, I decided, for the first time in almost 20 years, to build a machine from scratch for my home-office. I spent a bunch of time chatting with friends at work and who I play World of Warcraft with, and I think I ended up with a pretty kicking kit.

The order came in 5 shipments, which had me a bit freaked out that 4 would arrive and the CPU would be a day late stuck in Kansas, but that didn’t happen. The whole thing arrived on time, and in one big pile of boxes. In addition to the order I described last time, I also ordered another Dell E228WFP to go with the one I already had.

Construction of the machine was painless. Far more painless than I thought it would be. I was a bit worried about screwing it up, so I went pretty slowly. Opened each box, looked at what was there, set the instructions aside, etc.

The case is pretty big. It has four fans, including a big 200mm one in the top. You’d think it would be loud, and I guess it is louder than my laptop was, but I don’t find it distracting.

First thing to go in was the motherboard. I decided to put the mobo in before installing the CPU and memory and probably would do it that way next time too. Brad Wilson suggested doing the CPU and RAM on my desk to make it easier, but I figured moving that sucker around all loaded up would suck.

The mobo has tons of ports (USB, eSATA and more) on the back and came with a little panel that slides into a slot on the case to expose all the ports. That was nice and simple. Motherboard slid right in, crewed it down and moved on to the next step.

I bought a 750W power supply. Some would say that is too big, but the graphics card claimed that I needed a minimum 550W supply and the motherboard/CPU wanted 140W so I didn’t want to come up short. It came in a velvet bag like a bottle of Crown Royale, which made my laugh. Tons of connectors on it, which is great. Dropped right in, no issues. On to the next step.

I was a bit concerned about getting the CPU in there right. I’d heard stories of people breaking off pins, or breaking the lockdown clamps and crap like that. I guess going slowly was on my side though… it dropped right in. The only issue I had was getting the heatsink clamp to grab on both sides. I had to push A LOT harder than I expected. I was a bit nervous pushing that hard and had a friend on the phone saying, “Don’t worry man, I’ve done dozens of those and never broken one. Just push on it.” Haha… he was right. In it went.

After that it was smooth sailing. RAM went in next. Who knew RAM came with heat dissipation fins these days? Wow. Video card after that. Man that’s a big sucker. Takes two slots on the case, has its own big ol’ fan and two external power connectors.

Hard disk, DVD came last, then got into routing power and data cables. All in all it came together quite nicely I think and I would happily do it again. I do expect I’ll upgrade this next year to a double graphics setup. Since I’m using nVidia it will be SLI based which means I probably have to buy another mobo. That is the only downside to the sweet bundle deal I got. I’ll also add another 4GB RAM sometime later this year to bring me up to 8GB.

I’m running Windows7 RTM x64 which I love. Best operating system Microsoft has ever produced IMHO. WoW screams on this machine, pulling appx 75-100 fps with most of the graphics sliders turned way, way up. Here is the final setup on my desk showing the two monitors and my work laptop.

Desk showing new machine and monitors

I’m using Synergy to share my mouse and keyboard onto the laptop which effectively makes it like a third monitor without having to actually hook it up that way. (More coming on Synergy in a follow-up post.)