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Old February 9, 2011, 11:01 AM
lkramer's Avatar
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Default Cancelled - Project: Neptune

Introduction


I have built a few computers over the years for my family and friends but never one for myself. My goal for this computer is to use the best quality components that I can find for a low price, and build a reliable computer. In other words, build a computer that is a good value. Since this is a new build, I have a couple of objectives in mind. First, this computer will be used primarily for graphics and embedded development and secondarily as a gaming machine. Second, I want to keep the physical size of the system to at most a mid-tower.

Log


04 Feb 2011: Picked up CPU, Heatsink, Motherboard, Graphics Card, Sound Card, Power Supply, and Case
07 Feb 2011: Ordered fasteners
08 Feb 2011: Ordered ball-hex drivers, fans and connectors
09 Feb 2011: Received fasteners, fans, connectors, ball-hex drivers
09 Feb 2011: Took out all screwed in items within the case and put components in
15 May 2011: Cancelled project.

Last edited by lkramer; May 15, 2011 at 11:01 AM. Reason: Update
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Old February 9, 2011, 11:13 AM
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Default The Parts List


Case
I have been a fan of the Silverstone TJ09 and TJ07 case for some time; however, while these full-towers look great. I could not find a mid-tower case from Silverstone I liked. After looking at a number of cases, I decided on the Lian-Li PC-8NWX. I had built a computer for my sister using a Lian-Li case and really liked it. The case should provide good air flow after I remove the hard drive cage, it looks easy to work in, and it looks good. I will be replacing the Lian-Li supplied fans with San Ace fans.

Power Supply
This is an easy one; I exclusively use power supplies from one manufacturer, Seasonic. I selected the fully modular X-750 power supply unit.

CPU
This was tough choice. Being somewhat of an Intel fan boy I had more or less settled on going with one of their "Lynnfield" CPUs. Two disadvantages in using Lynnfield versus Intel's 2nd generation Core i7 CPUs, code-named "Sandy Bridge", is lower performance and the lack of the AVX instruction set. But the Sandy Bridge CPUs and motherboards are not cheap as they are a brand product. Yet another factor to consider is that the Sandy Bridge motherboards are not currently available in the retail channel due to a design flaw in the 6 Series chipset.

But, after weighting all these factors and the desire to stay true to the goal of putting together the best computer for the money, going with a Lynnfield CPU made the most sense to me. I chose the 2.53GHz Intel Xeon X3440, which should overclock quite well and for around $230.00, would seem to be the sweet spot for price vs. performance.

Motherboard
This is another easy one. I have traditionally used motherboards from Intel. Given my experience, I decided to go with an Intel motherboard again and chose their DP55WG. This board does not have all of the candy-ass features, such as a flashing skill/logo or remote overclocking (RoG Connect), and the overclocking capabilities of say an EVGA, ASUS, Gigabyte or MSI motherboards. But it does have an on-board POST display which should help in diagnosing boot problems and according to reviews I have found it should offer sufficient overclocking for my needs.

Heatsink
For the heatsink, I decided to try a prebuilt all-in-one watercooler for this build. After considering a number of factors, I decided on the Coolit Eco. I choose a San Ace 9G1212P4G03 PWM fan for the radiator fan as the fan is capable of pushing 3.7 m^3/min with a static pressure of 120 Pa at 51 dB when running at 100%. However, at 0% the fan is quiet (18 dB). I also chose Arctic Cooling MX-4 for the thermal compound.

RAM
I was looking for a 4GB (2x2GB) kit with the timings as low as possible but also inexpensive, so selected the 4GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 as the memory was on sale for $39.99. In addition to the 4GB kit, a friend of mine give me a 6GB (3x2GB) kit. Hopefully, two of the sticks of RAM from the 6GB kit will work with the 4GB kit.

Graphics
I have no allegiance to either AMD or Nvidia and was willing to go with either depending on a number of factors such as price versus performance, customer service, warranty, and driver support. I ended up going with Nvidia this time around and chose a GeForce 570 from EVGA.

Optical Drive
I will be reusing an older LG Blu-Ray/HD-DVD reader with DVD burning capabilities that I bought for an aborted build from a few years old.

Hard Drive
This was a tough decision, too. I really wanted to get a sold state drive. So splurged a bit on the drive and get an Intel 80GB X25-M SSD. For my data storage needs, I will be using my 640 GB RAID 1 based NAS drive.

Operating System
No much of a surprise here. I am going with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. Why the Pro version and not Home Premium? Remote Desktop. Home Premium does not support it and I really want this feature so I could easily access this computer remotely.

Last edited by lkramer; April 12, 2011 at 03:48 AM. Reason: Changed location of images.
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Old February 9, 2011, 11:30 AM
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Sounds good on paper! Now put it all together!
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Old February 9, 2011, 09:52 PM
lkramer's Avatar
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Default 09 Feb 2011: Gutting the case and Starting to Put Components In

I took out all screwed in items (HDD rack, 3.5" drive bay, fans, front panel I/O, etc.):


I started putting components into the case until I run in a small issue (the wire to the Eco pump is too sort to reach the rear fan connector):

Last edited by lkramer; April 12, 2011 at 03:52 AM. Reason: Changed location of images.
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Old February 9, 2011, 10:04 PM
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looking good. remind me what the top compartment is for? :)
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Old February 10, 2011, 04:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _dangtx_ View Post
looking good. remind me what the top compartment is for? :)
Thank you. The top compartment is for the power supply.
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Old May 15, 2011, 10:59 AM
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I have decided to cancel this build and sell all of the components as I am planning a new build based on AMD components.
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