Building a New Desktop Part I

by Nick Thursday, May 29, 2008 6:46 PM

This is the first in a multi-part series on building a new desktop computer.  To be honest, I've been horribly lax in my computer setup at home.  I've had desktops in the past, but have let them go unused in favor of various laptops that turned into my do-all machines.  As I looked at the things I've wanted to do going forward, and projects that I wish to undertake, I've realized that I need to offload some things onto a more dedicated server type machine, and under take new practices personally like my own source code control for personal projects.

I used to build new machines every few years, but haven't done it for a while, and haven't really even kept up to date on the latest hardware available.  But after reading a few articles on Coding Horror and Maximum PC, I've built up a nice parts list.  But before I share the list, I thought I'd share some of my goals for the machine.

Server:  This machine will not run a serve operating system as it's primary OS, but it will have many server like responsibilities.  I plan on using Vista Ultimate 64-Bit.  I'd like to run SQL Server, SVN, IIS, and potentially Mantis on this machine, as well as use it for basic file server and print server uses.

Testing:  I'd like to have multiple Virtual Machines running with different operating systems that I don't normally use in order to experiment and learn.  I'd like to have Windows Server 2008, Ubuntu, and possibly OS X installed as virtual machines.

Fun:  Yes, I'd like to have fun with this machine as well.  I'd like to be able to have decent media capabilities, and possibly be a stronger workhorse for more complicated photography operations and video editing.

Of course there is the old saying that a jack of all trades is a master of none... but I'm going to try to make this machine a good all around workhorse.  With that said, here is what I've purchased:

Case: Cooler Master Cosmos 1000

Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-520HX

Motherboard: MSI P35 Platinum Combo

Video Card: MSI NX8800GT 512M OC GeForce 8800 GT

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Yorkfield 2.5GHz

CPU Cooler: Scythe SCNJ-1100P

Memory: 2 X Corsair Dominator 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (Total of 4 GB)

Optical Drives:

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe
LITE-ON Black 12X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM

Disk Drives:

2 x Seagate ST3500630AS 500GB 7200 RPM
WD1500ADFD 150GB 10000 RPM

Monitor: Samsung 2043BWX High Gloss Piano Black 20" Widescreen LCD 

Everything is currently on order, and will hopefully arrive next week.  I'm also considering what's on my old desktops that I might want to salvage.  For instance, I have an Adaptec 1394UW with some decently large SCSI drives, and a SCSI Zip Drive.  Is it worth hooking up?  I also have an IDE media card reader which will get hooked up as well.

My next post will be the build!

Comments (5) -

Kerry Wong
Kerry Wong
5/31/2008 9:58:42 PM #

Hi Nick,

Nice configuration here. I just built my quad core a month ago. You can go to my site and check it out.

Joel
Joel
6/5/2008 11:44:24 AM #

Having just purchased a similar hard drive (Seagate ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM), I'm curious why you purchased the 7200.10 (16MB cache) over the 7200.11 (32MB cache). Just the cost difference, or something else?

Nick
Nick
6/5/2008 8:54:24 PM #

Mostly just cost difference.  The 500 GB drives are secondary drives for me.  The 10,000 RPM drive is my primary OS drive where I care more about speed in general.

The Chad
The Chad
6/18/2008 11:06:56 PM #

Nice build....how'd it go?  Need any help shaking it down?

I haven't done a full build in a few years.  Picked up a couple of Shuttle's from a buddy to use as a media center and a second system.

I'll be helping a friend of mine build a healthy gaming box soon, so we'll see if I've still got it Tong

Nick
Nick
6/19/2008 9:44:26 PM #

A more complete update is forth coming.  The machine is built, and I have many of the base systems installed.  I'm still working out some issues with things like sleep mode, and the MSI drivers aren't signed, which makes Vista bitch a lot.  I also had one of my 500 GB drives arrive DOA, and just got the replacement via RMA today.  That was the drive I was going to dedicate to my virtual machines, so I haven't started doing any of that yet.

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Nick Schweitzer Nick Schweitzer
Wauwatosa, WI

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I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit. ... Full Bio

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