I got home around 6:30 last night with Nate to find my parts in a relatively small box in the living room. It was nice to talk to another human being during the commute home. We actually ran into each other on accident. I remembered that he worked in downtown Seattle and would probably be on that boat so I called him. My suspicions were correct. It was nice to see Crystal and Henry in the middle of the week. After pouring a glass of beer and chatting a little, we dove into building the new machine. I have to admit, the whole process was amazingly easy. The case was clearly designed for convenience; when you remove the side panel behind the mother board, the case has hooks to wrap your extra length cables around. So tidy!
Anyway, first we prepped the case by adding the posts. Nate and I took turns holding Henry. Then we placed the RAM on the motherboard followed by the CPU. Then we attached the motherboard to the case. After connecting the two power cables to the board we attached the power and reset buttons wires and other front-of-case plugs. Then we attached the hard drive to the chassis and the DVD drive. I also attached the extra USB ports to the rear of the case. At this point Nate had to leave (he works early and hadn’t had any dinner yet) so I took a break and attended the last half of House Church (kind of Bible study).
When I got back Crystal went out and got us some dinner. I feel terrible about this because she got food poisoning from it! She is doing better now but it really kicked her butt. Moment of silence to let that sink in.
Okay, so I put in the monster video card. This thing is like a brick much larger than anything I have ever seen before. It feels substantial not that other video cards do not but it takes up two slots and the heatsink/fan is the volume of that second slot. It requires its own power supply connection as well. After plugging it into place, I attached all the power wires and SATA cables.
The ASUS manual had an addendum which switched the SATA positions. I put the case together and turned the computer on. Success, everything powered on but no hard disk found. Ok, I checked the BIOS and noticed I had the SATA drives plugged in backwards. No biggie, power off and try again. Problem solved. It booted and I ran through all the BIOS settings making sure everything was set right. You know, Plug and Play and the usual things in the BIOS are set correctly. Then I inserted the Windows XP Pro SP2 disc and installed without a hitch. Formatting the 500 GB drive took 2 hours. I like doing the long format on raw drives the first time through. Then windows installed in fifteen minutes. After that, I installed the drivers and ran Windows Update. After a little tweaking and installing basic applications like Winamp I had a solid system. It loads in around 15 seconds. I noticed that my HDD and power lights were not working. I opened the case and turned the plugs upside down and that fixed both of those problems. Apparently, the polarity matters on this case.
That is what I love about building a system from scratch. I have complete control over every piece and configuration. I wanted all SATA and that is what I did. It is amazing having none of those strange, bulky ribbons in my case. I wanted low latency RAM and I did it. I wanted a DX 10 capable card… done. I stayed up until 5:30 in the morning installing World of Warcraft, Company of Heroes, Counter-Strike: Source, Day of Defeat: Source and Neverwinter Nights 2.
Man have things changed! No floppy is kind of weird to get used to. On board network port is new too. I mean, I built Crystal’s brother Andy’s machine with a newer board but that was a newer version of my old system. The new system is ridiculously quiet. The refrigerator in the kitchen is louder. That was my goal for the case. Extremely low noise, no fancy windows or lights, and easily accessible USB/audio jacks on the front. The next step is to do some more tweaking, install some office software, and get my music stuff working.
My only gripe is actually not having a door on the front of the case to hide the power button. I mean, I hate those doors. After having to deal with a door for 5 years I am glad it is void but I did not really think about Henry crawling around and hitting the power button repeatedly.
I played WoW, CS;S, CoH, and NVN:2 and they all performed perfectly at max settings with full anti-aliasing. Satisfaction. Of course, today I am super tired but it’s all good. No complaints. I just hope Crystal recovers from that craziness. Oh, and my boss gave me an unopened copy of Window’s Vista Ultimate. What are the chances? *sigh*