The new beast of a workstation arrived (in parts) at 7:45 this morning. I’m now typing up this posting using the new beast, and watching Windows Update install 77 updates. Amazingly, there were no more updates after a reboot.
Regarding the assembly of the beast, I’m very impressed with the level of documentation that came with it, and the way various accessories were packaged up. Firstly, the monitor – 22″ LCD made by LG. It arrived in 3 component pieces – the panel, the base and the riser. Slot the riser over the mating on the panel, then over the mating on the base, job done.
Secondly, the Corsair HX520 power supply. The box was properly solid, and contained some very nice foam padding around the actual PSU, a booklet in multiple languages on how to install it, a set of zipties for neatening up the inside of the PC, and a velcro’d pouch with all of the modular cables in it. The pouch made me go ‘oooh’. Sad huh? There’s a good selection of cables in the pouch, including 2 PCI-e power cables, and a dedicated fan only splitter.
Next up, the retail Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and heatsink/fan. Not much to say, other than the fan is nice and quiet, and since when were the pins on the motherboard and not on the CPU?
(And the rain pours down. I hope I’m not in a flood plain.)
I ended up picking the Gigabyte P35C-DS3R motherboard, complete with two RAID controllers, 8 SATA ports, an e-SATA connector (which will be handy if I decide to splurge on a Thecus 2050 later on), and a dirty big heatsink on the chipset. All of the cabling for the drives etc was nicely packaged in individual bags, so getting one set of cables out didn’t mean spilling the lot. The only thing missing was a good number of #6×32 screws – I had to dig into my bag of screws that I’ve accumulated over the years to find some.
The video card was a bit of a surprise – I was expecting it to be a bit bigger (it’s an 8600, rather than an 8800), and was a bit boggled when I couldn’t find a PCI-e power socket on it. I guess the 8600 doesn’t need one. It’s also passively cooled, and seems to be quite happy in the case. I also never realised how large a passive heatsink for a two-slot card can be 🙂
Finally, the Silverstone TJ04B case. It was well worth the money spent on it, given the decent amount of room, 4 hard drive bays, two 3.5″ external bays and four 5.25″ external bays. It also came with two 120mm fans pre-installed, though they’re dumb fans, so no RPM control. The gloss black finish on the sides is very nice, and I can see fingerprints showing on it already, so I think it needs a bit of a wipe down. The drive slots use sliding catches, so no screwdriver required to perform the install. Just slide the catch back (and apply a bit of force to make it life the metal prongs), slip in the drive and slide the catch forwards. Done.
I’m still installing all the software I need (such as EVE!), but it looks like this will be a very nice machine. Hopefully it will last me several years at least. The only thing I think I need to get now is a decent USB keyboard. This PCline (PC World cheapie) is misbehaving.