New computer

I finally “upgraded” my computer, which is to say that I basically bought a new one. Purchased the parts online mainly from Netlink Computers, because they had very good prices, shipping wasn’t bad and because they’re in British Columbia, I didn’t have to pay PST because I’m in Ontario.

Before I go on, let me say that I didn’t need to get this new computer at all, and its main purpose will be for of course, gaming. But computers are something I love playing with and just putting them together or building them (while sometimes frustrating), is still rewarding.

I already had the case, PSU and memory from some review work I did for Virtual-Hideout, so this saved me some money, though it still left the main parts for me to get. The total damage? Around $1230 including taxes, shipping, etc. Yes, that is a lot of money, especially for me, but considering I’ll use it for at least the next three years (as I did with my present, soon-to-be-previous computer), that only works out to about $400 a year. Or, possibly more if you consider the time-value of money… oh commerce course memories.


Here’s a breakdown of the main parts used: (I am not going to bother to mark up every acronym or abbreviation in this list because I am lazy.)

  • Antec Sonata case
  • Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe Motherboard (nForce 4 SLI x16)
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (2.0 GHz)
  • Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro Heatsink/Fan
  • 2 GB OCZ PC-3200 Memory
  • EVGA e-GeForce 7900 GT (500 MHz core, 1500 MHz (effective) Memory)
  • LG GSA-H10A Dual-Layer DVD Writer
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320 GB HDD

If you’re not familiar with computer parts, most of this might not make sense; but it’s not just the lack of technical knowledge that’s a problem here. In general, the companies that make computer parts tend to slap the most extravagant and verbose titles on to their products in order to make them stand out from the previous generation of products; and since product life cycles tend to be on the order of months rather than years, this results in names like “XTX1900++ XXL GT OC Special Edition!” Videocard and motherboard makers seem to be the most prolific offenders here.

Putting it together

I spent two or three hours Saturday putting all the hardware together, and the first thing I marvelled at was the size of aftermarket heatsinks nowadays. Most of the better ones utilize heatpipes, which basically utilize phase-change in order to transfer heat away from the CPU. Traditional heatsinks were just made of a metal (usually aluminum or copper) in order to increase the surface area that heat could be dissipated, with a fan blowing across to further remove heat. (The heatpipe is also embedded in a heatsink to increase the rate of heat transfer.)

Anyways, these heatsinks are big – the size of a small melon. It sort of makes you wonder about the energy consumption of today’s processors. Surprisingly, the stock heatsink/fan from AMD (included with the processor) wasn’t big at all, and was a pretty standard design.

Problems ran into were mainly trying to get connectors hooked up within the confines of the case. I’ve done this a lot, but things were a bit tougher this time because of the front-panel connections on the case. You see, normally a bunch of pins/sockets form a connector, so it’s easy to attach/detach at once. With these front-panel connectors on this case, all the pins were separate – so a 10-pin connection suddenly becomes an exercise in tedium. (The reason for this was that at the time this case was made, front-panel connector layouts varied widely, so there was no one layout a case manufacturer could rely on – so every single damn wire/pin was made available, separately.)

Other than that, everything went well, and it booted fine on the momentous first power-on. Now, I’m just left to installing Windows XP, all my other applications, games and transferring all my old data over from my current computer, which I’ll be giving to my parents.


  1. At long last you’ve got the new machine going… hows it handling dude? cant wait to see it once I get back to ktown

  2. So far, so good. Seems like computer hardware nowadays is somewhat easier to put together, in that there’s less chance of incompatibilities, which can always be frustrating to no end. It’s not too noisy either, which was something I was worried about.

    Should probably put up some pics soon.

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