This is my most recent computer, again designed and built by myself. I won't lie, this computer was built with World of Warcraft in mind. You can read more about this game under the projects section if you like. I initially played World of Warcraft on the my Work Horse. I noticed that game played well enough, except in-game loading was a problem. As it turned out the game was having to use the paging file far too often. The solution was to get more RAM but after 1 failed attempt at getting the Work Horse to operate reliably with a stick of modern RAM in it, I decided to put together a whole new computer.
My requirements for this computer were simply, play World of Warcraft as good as possible for the least amount of money. I decided that RAM and hard disk performance were the main concerns, with the processor and video cards following in that order. I decided it was time to make use of RAID 0 for enhanced hard disk performance. Every time I read something on RAID 0 people are always knocking it because it is no good for data integrity, if 1 disk fails the whole thing is done for. All I have to say to that is SO? This is no different that if I had a single drive. I don't store anything on the disk that I could not live without anyway. The extra hard disk performance is nice for World of Warcraft, but for daily tasks it is not really necessary. The thing I like about RAID 0 is that you get the full capacity of both disks with some, at least theoretical, performance gains, while not losing anything that a single disk provides.
I just recently put the computer together meaning I was able to document the whole thing with my new digital camera (thanks Nikki!). You might notice that the case is a boring beige color. That is exactly what I wanted and it is harder than you might think to find. I did not want any clear cases, brushed aluminum panels, game-cube looking LAN-party cases, or neon lights. In the end, I only had to settle for 1 neon light in the power supply. This does not bother me too much considering you can not see it at all from the outside of the case.
- Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard (not currently using SLI, but better safe than sorry)
- AMD 64 3200 socket 939 @ ~2 GHz (still beats 3+ Ghz P4's)
- 1024 megs of DDR400 (PC3200) Kingston HyperX RAM
- 8x DVD drive
- 2x 160gig 7200 RPM 8mb cache Hitachi serial ATA hard drives in RAID 0 configuration
- AGPB 500 watt power supply
- Leadtek GeForce 6800 256 mb PCI-Express video card with HDTV and DVI out
- Motherboard integrated sound, gigabit ethernet, and dual serial ATA raid controllers
I really only use this machine for playing games. Other than that, the my Work Horse computer works fine.
Here are some pictures I took while putting the various parts of this computer together.
The power supply has a platinum looking case, bling bling. Also the cables are incredible, plenty long, plenty of connections, and high quality wire. Also, this power supply has the 24 pin motherboard connection that the Asus board needs (in addition to a P4 cable).
Being a 500 watt power supply means nothing without having sufficient amperage rating on all the lines. This power supply in particular puts out 28 amps on the 12 volt line. The minimum AMD recommends for a similar system is around 14 amps.
Look at all those cables the ASUS boards comes with. Unbelievable. It has IDE cables for CD-ROM, hard drive, floppy, 4 serial ata cables with corresponding power cables, additional rear USB, gameport, serial, and firewire ports, and finally a SLI connector.
Perhaps the most impressive accessory that the Asus board came with was a sticker with pin diagrams. I promptly put this on the inside door of the case.
Here is the processor. Not much to say about it. I also got a factory AMD heat sink and fan.
Here is the RAM. I got two sticks of 512 each so that I could run the motherboard in dual-channel memory mode
There are the two serial ata hard drives that comprise the RAID 0 setup. It took me a long time to get the RAID fully functional. At first it was because the F10 key on my keyboard was broken not allowing me to enter the RAID bios utility. I honestly thought my motherboard might be broken before I figured out it was the keyboard. Even after the RAID was setup, I could not get it to be recognized by Windows XP 64 bit version, even though I had all the proper drivers. Oh well, I am using the standard 32 bit version with no problems.
The video card is pretty sweet. I was very happy to see that it supports DVI and component out.
The assembled unit (minus the side panel). With the side panel on its not much to look at, just the way I like it :)