Thursday, December 21, 2006

Putting it all together

I almost had a heart attack this morning. I leave my PC on all the time and this morning when I walked into my study, my PC was powered off. The first thought that crossed my mind was my PC crashed overnight. With my heart pounding heavily, I powered on with a click of my mouse and I was very relieved to see the "Resuming Windows" message. Whew!

I was somewhat surprised that Windows Vista put my PC to "sleep" since I have it set to "never put the computer to sleep." The only thing different I did last night was I closed all active applications except for the Windows Sidebar. Must be a Windows Vista feature: it must be smart enough to know that the PC isn't really doing anything so it will put itself to sleep regardless of what the power plan settings are.

OK. On to my new build...

I have all the components assembled and wired together for the most part. The ASUS P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP motherboard is mounted in the Antec Nine Hundred case with the panel connections (Firewire, USB, Audio, power, reset, and HD Led) all wired to the motherboard. The additional USB header for the back has also been installed (using the PCIEX16_2 slot position since I am not planning on installing a second video card in this PC.)

The Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 processor and stock HSF (Heat Sink & Fan) has been mounted on the motherboard and the CPU fan cable connected.

The Antec NeoHE 550 power supply has also been mounted in the case and the 24-pin EATXPWR cable connected to the motherboard. The plastic cover on one half of the EATX12V connector on the motherboard has been removed but I will wait until later to connect the 8-pin EPS +12V connector from the power supply to the motherboard until later.

The Plextor PX-755 SATA DVD-RW drive and one Maxtor 500 GB SATA-2 disk drive (I will add the other 2 disk drives later) have been mounted but not connected yet.

At this point, I'm waiting for my Corsair memory which I ordered from Zip Zoom Fly before I can proceed further. It was shipped yesterday so I should be receiving it later today. A note about Zip Zoom Fly: this is my second order from them, the latest one I submitted online last Sunday. It was only yesterday (Wednesday) when I finally connected with customer service on the phone that my order was processed. Unlike other online retailers, Zip Zoom Fly appears to require some interaction over the phone - at least based on my experience. But once everything is cleared up (Zip Zoom Fly is very cautious about credit card authorization and changes in shipping address, etc.), they get your order to you quickly. In fairness to Zip Zoom Fly, my first order was shipped to my work address and this second order is being shipped to my home address.

While waiting to complete final assembly, I will share what I plan to do with this new computer I am building. Ultimately, the plan is to run Windows Vista Ultimate x64 on this overclocked computer (with 3 Maxtor 500 GB drives in a RAID5 set) when I finally turn it over to my wife in February 2007.

Until then, my plan is to install a separate operating system on each of the 3 drives: Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Windows Vista Ultimate x86 (RTM Build 6000), and Windows Vista Ultimate X64 (RTM Build 6000). Only one hard drive will be connected at any point in time during this experimentation phase when I will be conducting performance benchmarks and other testing.

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