There has been a call for the demise of the “PC” for quite sometime now. The power and capability of laptops and the emergence of Tablet computing has made it hard to keep a desktop up and running but I really do like the complete connection that I have with my PC. In fact I built my first top of the line PC yesterday and have been in Geek heaven ever since.
I started off with the Antec Dark Force 35 Case. This was the biggest decision that I made in the entire purchase as I waffled back and forth between 5 different Cases that ranged from $90 to $190. In the end, after due diligence the $90 Antec won out and I am quite impressed with its capabilities. Some Highlights:
- 11 Drive Bays (3 5 1/2 External, 1 Floppy External, Up to 6 3 1/4 Internal, 1 bottom mount SSD bay)
- 4 Case Fans (1 Top, 1 Rear, 2 Front Mount)
- 7 Expansion Slots
Now it one thing to have a cool case but if you don’t put the goods inside…there is not much point.
To power the beast I chose the Corsair TX750W Power Supply. This one out because it is a Modular Power Supply (meaning “if” I add additional components I can add plugs to the power supply to help and not use adapters. It came with 4 SATA connections ready to go but a modular adapter for 3 more (if I add more at the top end of the case!).
For the Mother board I stuck with what I have grown to absolutely love over the years of building custom computers for a living and limping along the FrankenPuter that the Monsta was designed to replace. Gigabyte has been my go to board for years now and the GA-990XA-UD3 is no exception. US 3.0, Dual Bios, AMD Bulldozer (8 Core Processor ready), 6 onboard SATA connectors, 10 USB connectors on the back (the Case gives me 2 more), is SLI / Crossfire ready and has 4 RAM Slots with option to go to 32 GB of RAM.
The Processor is the AMD Athlon Phenom II 6 Core Processor. This is the top rated AMD processor and the thing that I absolutely love is the fact that it is in the top 15 processors on the market right now and it is 1/2 the price of its Intel competitors. Bang for the buck baby…bang for the buck!
To keep things cool I looked up and down the aisle as I knew that this monster would just not loo right with a Stock CPU Fan but like a gift from the computer gods themselves I noticed a Liquid Cooled Radiator from Antec. The Kuhler H2O 620 is a steal of a deal that after looking at the reviews provides a performance and temperature boost of about 25 – 50% over that ugly Stock Fan!
RAM…oh my. I got a steal on this. 4 Sticks of of XMS3 for just $28 bucks a piece to give my 16 GB of glorious VDI ability. Not much to say but I do remember my first PC had just 48 MB of RAM so this is a huge step up!
Graphics Cards were the next decision. I looked at the budget cards and I looked at the high end $300 cards and while the performance differences were not substantial, the price was way to prohibitive for me to justify 1/3 of my total spend on my Graphics (especially when I don’t currently game alot…but do want to get back into it). I went with a mid tier Graphics Card the Gigabyte Radeon HD 6770. It sports 1 GB of memory, HDMI, Display Port and DVI outputs and bang for the buck…puts my old card to shame.
The Drives and Little Extras. In looking around I decided to tack on a “floppy drive” or at least its 2011 equal with a multi-drive that adds an extra USB an every memory card known to the world today to the front of the Monsta! I went for a single generic LG DVD Burner but did finally make the jump to a SATA drive.
For Hard Drives though…this is where I am most happy. To test out the capabilities I went for a dirt cheap OCz 60 GB SSD that will act as my main drive. Performance so far has been stellar although in running Win7 right now…not seeing what the hype is…or maybe it is just Win7 that take forever to boot up. I went with a smaller drive for a couple of reasons…if it works well…it will do wonders for the laptops kicking around the house and because I knew that I was going to take advantage of the price drops in regular drives as I through in an unplanned addition of a 1 TB SATA drive for storage in the Monsta.
There is still plenty of room and oh yeah I forgot one of the key “coolness” factors on the Dark Force DF-35…there is a hot swap SSD drive bay built onto the top of the case…or those times that you need just a little extra storage.
I have pics of the entire build but unfortunately because I am testing things out with Windows right now…I have not installed any effective Graphics software so the 12.0 MP camera images are a tad bit too much for WordPress to convert but stay tuned for a Tumblr update complete with pictures this weekend.
Cheers and have a great holiday weekend to everyone in North America.
Chris J Powell