Here I sit on my C2D system, updating the blog for the first time from this behemoth of a configuration. The whole setup took me 3 days, during which I bought the components, salvaged some, laid new wires, changed the networking cables in the whole place, installed a new switch, found new uses for the old machine, and generally, just had a whale of time. More on the setup, and pictures of the Alienware rig later.
So I entertained myself, just doing random things, mostly cleaning up my place, picking up the debris, after the hurricane “New Computer” hit. Speaking of which though, here goes – The components arrived on Valentine’s Day. I took my time and assembled the same at my own pace. The main stumbling block was the new SATAII drive, which I knew not how to install. The board is devoid of any IDE connectors – and has instead, 6 SATA connectors. The manual was put to good use here. The board is also devoid any fans… a fact that never ceases to amaze – the whole rig is SO quiet, that the computer in the corridor (my old system, with 8 fans and 11 HDDs) in comparison, can be thought of as sounding the bassoon!
The processor was seated and the Proc-fan was installed, next the memory was seated and then I mounted the MB on the case. The 500W Black Diamond PSU is really heavy, I was surprised, but then I remembered, my once “all powerful” 450W PSU in my old machine was twice as heavy. The PSU is nearly silent; I can highly recommend the same. I then connected the F_PANEL, and mounted the HDD and DVD RAM drive. What struck me most impressive was that the drive bays don’t need screws! Just mount and twist, mount and twist. The real problem though was the GFX card. The concepts of no screws, extends to the PCI bays as well – which is something I don’t quite appreciate in this Case-rig. I had a difficult time mounting my GFX card due to its oversized passive cooling setup as well as the fact that it was far too wide for the pre-installed clasps in the rig to close on. So I had to find a way to screw it in, the problem? The space was way too narrow. I couldn’t fit a screw through that, and all attempts came to naught. Then it struck me, why the heck not screw it in from outside the case. Brilliant, that I did, and here we go! Still not a very convenient way, but it works! And with that I was ready to test my system on Thursday. I did so, and it works perfectly! I got the display and though I struggled on Friday evening to get XP installed on it (due to the ACPI and SATAII confs) it works!
The old rig has been relegated to a media, print and file server. The drives from that rig are mounted over the Gbps network on startup. That’s 11 drives mind you, and a HELL of a fast network. I could see how much difference a 1 Gbps switch can make! The transfers are SUPER fast, not even a second of delay. Feels really quick under the fingers, as if the drives were mounted locally. In addition, I have installed the DVB-S Card on that machine. So no junk in this C2D system, but rather all is relegated to the old one. I then moved out the printer from my room to the corridor, and connected it to the server. Voila, it works! It works! And then came the difficult part, the wiring.
I had to uproot all existing network cables from my rooms, for here’s CAT 5E baby! Faster, better… and more expensive Anyhoodles, what needs to be done, will be done. With that in mind, I started laying the new cable, uprooting my wireless router (no more MacBook, no more router need), and connecting my Dreambox to the main router, and then laying the new network. The switch from 3Comis just amazingly beautiful! It lights up in hues of white and blue, and looks really a class apart. The network cables were a pain in the proverbial bum, but what followed was even worse – the satellite cable. This was really difficult to lay, owing to the thickness of the cable involved. I had to find special clamps for this. The usual ones just wouldn’t work. But after an hour of back breaking labor, I was good to go! Fired up the server, fired up the C2D, and voila, it works better than I could’ve imagined. The whole setup is seamless and very quick indeed. The best decision was indeed to invest in a Gbps switch! I really love it.
Then of course, I started with the cleaning part. The boxes from the purchases as well as bits and pieces of cable were strewn across the rooms, and my table was a mess. So a vacuum cleaner in hand, I took up the endeavor to clean up this joint, and that I did. I can proudly proclaim, the house looks beautiful, and the wiring is nowhere to be seen. Now all y’all must be wondering how the new system operates… well wonder no further. Though I have not the benchmark results yet, I can proclaim the following –
IT IS A BEHEMOTH! The gaming is amazing! I have tried Top Spin 2, at FULL settings, all graphic extras turned on, and at full resolution on my Dell 2005FPW, and m8s/luvs, the performance has to be seen to be believed. I have never been so impressed, for I had tried this game on my old rig, and basically with everything turned to the lowest possible res, I could barely make the game crawl. It was simply unplayable! I will have the benchmarks up as soon as possible. For now, enjoy pics of the rig!