Well the new computer that I mentioned wanting to build in a previous post is finally built and I would have to say that I have achieved what I was looking for which was no longer wasting time waiting for applications to open and for Visual Studio to build. Hopefully this one will last a while as I am going to be much more diligent about keeping the clutter off of it and install most noncritical applications to VPC images. I still need to pick up a new keyboard and mouse for it, but other than that everything is in working order. Below is what pieces where finally assembled to build the system. It is a 64 bit system with 4GB of RAM running Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit edition. I currently have a user experience rating of 4.6 out of 5.9. My memory is the low item at 4.6 and the gaming graphics is the next lowest at 5.6. Everything else rates a 5.9 which from my understanding is the top rating. I'm not exactly sure why my memory is rating low, but I am assuming it is due to the speed. I would also like to note that besides a couple installation issues because of using a 64 bit OS, I have experience no issues with Vista and I am quite happy to be using it. I do get prompted due to UAC, but it has so far not been that much of a nuisance for me, and I don't get hit with it on a daily basis, only when installing software or configuring certain items.
One thing you will notice is that I didn't go for the solid state hard drive. The prices just seemed too high so I went with the WD VelociRaptor which I have no regrets doing. The thing is super fast with a 4.2 ms read time and a 4.5 ms write time. It is actually a 2.5 inch drive with an inch wide cooling system build around it.
The other thing that is awesome is the 44 inches of screen space that I now have. I was concerned initially that having two monitors would cause me to not have a center space to focus on, but I am finding that not having a monitor centered right in front of my face forces me to use both monitors together instead of focusing on one as my primary monitor.
The Antec case is about three times what I have ever paid for a computer case, but it not only looks good, but is super quite. It has a very nice setup for running wires, several built in fans, and the hard drives are mounted in a separate compartment on rubber tabs that reduce vibration.
The one thing that is not yet installed is the Corsair power supply as it appears to have been defective and I had to send it back to the manufacturer. That was a bit frustrating and I wasted money on a temporary PSU to use until I get the replacement, not to mention the money and time I had to waste shipping it back in. That is definitely one huge minus to purchasing items online.
Amazingly another rather difficult thing to get done was installing Office Ultimate on the system. The actual install of the software wasn't the issue, but opening the stupid box to get the DVD out was. It is one of the most unintuitive packages I have ever seen and I actually had to Google to figure out how to get it open. I mean seriously Microsoft, when your packaging is harder to open than a DVD movie (which by the way I curse every time I have to do) then you may want to reconsider what you are doing. They must not even have handed the box to someone and asked them to try to figure out how to open it. (Seriously Bigyan, can you let Bill know about this?)
Another weird issue I had was trying to initially get the 64 bit OS installed. Apparently Vista 64 bit has an issue installing and running with more than 3GB of RAM. I had to pull one of the 2GB sticks out, install Vista and then apply the following hot fix. After doing so I was able to reinstall the 2GB stick. This issue took me a bit to hunt down and I even emailed MSI, the manufacturer of the motherboard who tried to blame it on either an out of date bios, or memory voltage and timings. Way to go MSI! You would think this would be a fairly common issue they would hear about, but apparently not. Luckily I found the solution between contacting them and finally getting their response.
That's about it. All in all it was a good experience and I am very happy with the results. Of course since I finished building the system several weeks ago it is probably already out of date and I'm sure the prices have probably already come down significantly. All the components were definitely worth it though. In the past I have skimped on cases and hard drives to save money and invested in the processor and memory, but I definitely won't skimp in those areas again. Hard drives seem to be the main bottleneck nowadays and this case is definitely the quietest one in the room.
Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-520HX 520W ATX - $96.95
Case: Antec Inc P182SE P182 Mid Tower Special Edition - $178.08
Motherboard: MSI P7N Diamond LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard with SoundBlaster X-Fi Extreme Audio - $249.99
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Yorkfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9450 - $339.99
Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model - $124.99
Hard Drive: WD VelociRaptor 300 GB SATA Hard Drive - $299.99
Video Card: MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported - $122.99
CD Burner: HP 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DVD1070i - $32.99
Monitors: 2 X LG-22" Widescreen Flat-Panel LCD Monitor-W2252TQ-TF - $593.58