Building a New PC

After a hiatus that can only be categorised as way too long, I’m preparing to build a new PC. My argument for running in laptop-only mode for the last couple of years has been lack of space at home, but we’ll just have to deal with that through intelligent use of a small, wheeled computer desk or something.

I can categorise my requirements for a new PC in the following order:

  1. Small(ish). Definitely not a full tower. Possibly not even a mid-tower.
  2. Quiet(ish). Don’t mind a bit of a hurricane whilst game playing, but don’t want a hairdryer noise when browsing the web or coding.
  3. Fast enough to play the latest iteration of games (BF2, CoD2, Doom3) at 40fps +

Unfortunately the first requirement is a little stymied by the second and third requirements, so it’s most likely that I will go for a small mid-tower case. The currently favoured setup is looking something like this (comments welcomed):

  • SLI-capable AMD socket 939 motherboard
  • AMD 3800+ X2 dual-core CPU
  • NVidia 6600GT graphics (single at the moment, probably SLI soon)
  • 1 GB RAM in dual-channel configuration
  • Sundry components (HDD, DVD, etc)

Update: done and done. Built the PC over the weekend, and it is a very, very sweet machine. I managed to find a case with 120mm case fans front and rear, plus a PSU with a single 120mm fan. 80mm is the standard size for PC cooling fans, but when it comes to fans bigger is usually quieter (big fans can move the same amount of air with less RPM, hence less noise). The CPU cooler is louder than I’d like so I’m looking at investing in a big Zalman 7700Cu cooler.

With that CPU cooler I think I should have a nice quiet, fast machine.

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  1. That Zalman 7700Cu cooler seems like a great idea, but I worry how stupid it would look sitting on the keyboard of my new AlBook. I might have to stick with the classic SlikkaPad covered in an old teatowel for now — not only does it cool the underside of the machine; it soothes the ‘book-related scalded areas on my thighs.

  2. w00t! A nice new AlBook! Sweet.

    Installed the Zalman this afternoon. The damn thing weighs 950 grams, so there was some trepidation as I raised the case its normal upright stance, all the while studying the motherboard for flexiness 😮

  3. Nice work.
    Hows the noise volume?
    And I take it the weight didn’t rip your motherboard in two?

  4. Nice work.
    Hows the noise volume?
    And I take it the weight didn’t rip your motherboard in two?

  5. Volume is great. Still a little louder than I’d like, but a large fan running at 900 rpm is a hell of a lot quieter than the stock CPU fan that didn’t seem to drop below 3000 rpm. I’ve got a dial on the back of the PC so I can ramp the CPU fan up to 1700 rpm for those LAN evenings in hot little rooms. Plus only one of the two case fans is running at the moment.

    No it hasn’t broken the mobo. The reviews suggest taking care when moving your computer around, but my feeling is that if there were a whole bunch of broken motherboards around then I would certainly have read about it on the intertron. Plus I made sure that the mobo is secured using all 9 available mounting points.

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