I have taken our media box apart that housed the large drive bay cage with 4 x 3.5″ drives in it with 2 TB of empty storage. The main reason for selling that gear and keeping the base items (cpu, mobo etc) is that there was no media on that box because I normally purchase my media via itunes which is stored on my 2TB storage drive and if I want to watch it on the TV I just stream it to my Apple TV or access it from the Apple TV. My partner just watches them on her computer so no one ever used the terabytes of storage that was housed on the large Thermaltake V3 case. The main hardware that I kept from that system is all low profile capable, MATX gear so a large case is now not required.
The parts include a socket T mobo, P4 805 dual core chip, 4GB of dual channel DDR3 1333 RAM, Geforce 210 video card with HDMI output, dual hybrid TV tuner, zalman low profile HSF and a 2.5″ 320GB HDD and some massive full ATX PSU that is so overkill but SFF PSU’s are so expensive.
As you can see the mobo is half the size of my hand. I have decided to put this system together for the children to use for education etc, running Ubuntu which will be installed from the thumb drive sticking out the back of the motherboard which can be seen from the top image.
The main thing it needs to run is Minecraft for my eldest daughter which can be done fine since Minecraft is a java game, educational games are taken care of with a quick trip into synaptec, actually they have there own section.
There are about 50 DVD’s I might backup and put on there for quick access and the fact that the original disks are getting quiet damaged by the kids.
It all started when I heard a bang, actually I thought my new PSU went but there was no smell and the PC was still powered up, then I noticed the optical drive was having troubles reading the disk.
I’ll show the image and explain more.
My nice new Blu Ray drive, not even a month old was the poor recipient of a shattered disk in the drive
I looked on the drive for one of those “void warranty if removed” stickers, but there wasn’t one so I opened the drive up and this is what greeted me inside I had to plug the drive into some power to get the tray open so I could remove the front fascia then I could lift the whole thing out, I emptied the bulk of it into the trash, got a clean paint brush (which is what I use for cleaning computers) and took it outside and let the paint brush have its way on the drive
All is good now, put her back together and have used the drive many times since then (yes I still buy and have many games on these disk)
The disk in question was a windows 2000 Pro CD that I was trying to image to backup and also install in virtual box, so it was around 12 years old
I have thought about upgrading but there are a few things stopping me. I have an AMD hex core chip that is an insane chip performance wise and I have no real desire to purchase a new chip.
The Intel core i5 3550 looks like a good option with its extra virtilization features but then I would also need a new motherboard.
The AM3 board I have isn’t the latest AM3 chipset so I could just get a newer AM3 board with a newer chipset but that wouldn’t really give me any kind of performance upgrade.
My ram is DDR3 but is only 1333 and I doubt that I would see very little if any speed increase in my gaming, general windows use or my minecraft so I really have no desire to go down that route.
My ATI 6850 has no problems playing any title that I throw at it, from Crysis 2 to Rage and does it with ease, bare in mind that I only have an 18.5″ 1366 x 768 screen which I love and have no idea to replace (a nice Benq LED based screen that is actually mounted to the wall just above and up of my desk)
I do miss the CUDA technology that my old GTS250 provided, hardware Physx would be nice, so something like the GTX670 would fit the bill as I would like a card with 2GB of ram as I might buy a larger monitor but the GTX670 is over $400 which is a lot of money for a single component. The new ATI range is very nice and a card such as the 7850 2GB for around the $250 mark is nice and I could sell my current card and get at least $70 back But, and this is a big but, the 7850 isn’t really that much faster than the 6850 in reviews, both get high frame rates in tests and even though there is a 10+ fps difference between the cards the 6850 is still up there and well above a 60fps which is what I get in all games that I have.
So my current chip as my ram and video card are all fine and don’t forget my motherboard which is also fine. I would need a bigger PSU with the video card upgrade as my CX430 might get a little strained
I have always wanted a mini-itx gaming system, something around the:
i5 3550 because it has all the intel extras (except for that fake hyper threading crap, no fakes for me)
BitFenix Prodigy, one hot little case that takes normal PSU’s and not the small (wattage) and very expensive SFX PSU
Corsair CX600 or the GS600 PSU, both to me seem more than capable, although the GS600 does have a blue LED fan
Lastly a couple of 8GB DDR3 1600mhz sticks (hey if i’m getting new ram then why not the 1600 instead of the 1333 plus its only about an extra 20 bucks over the 1600…
I almost forgot the new 7850…
So that is over a grand for not much of a performance difference over what I have.
Well it has been around 6 weeks since I purchased a 60gb SSD for windows 7 to run from and it has been an amazing upgrade.
patroit pyro ssd
2.5 to 3.5 custom adapter
I purchased the 2 x 2.5″ to 3.5″ custom made steel adapters from ebay for $9.00 a peice since the standard adapters didn’t fit into the 3.5″ bays and line up with the screw holes
Performance is amazing, from the time you turn the system on till the system is ready to log in is around 6 seconds and once you log in it all loads is is there ready to go in about 5 seconds. It is totally amazing.
According to the results above it doesn’t seem that fast but trust me it is blazzing fast The tool I used is AS SSD Benchmark which can be downloaded from here.
I don’t know what else to say apart from these drives are fast, make no noise and very little if any heat and draw stuff all power so it seems to be a winner on all fronts
I use to have 4 x 500GB western digital drives 3.5″ drives which seemed a little overkill for my requirements. Now i just have the 60Gb SSD and a 2.5″ 320gb 5400rpm drive for my storage and gaming needs. Actually those drives are more than likely to be sold along with the 4 x bay SATA cage in our HTPC of which these drives have nothing installed on them
A quick video showing off my hot CPU, Motherboard, Memory and Video Card in my sweet little NZXT Vulcan case. Nothing to exciting but it shows the hardware that I use to play any game I want maxed out.
Bare in mind that I only play games at a 1366x768 resolution which is just perfect because I have never really like large monitors, mine is a 18.5″ AOC LED.