Thursday, March 18, 2004

New computer up and running! 

So, the new computer is actually working! I was my first time building one from scratch, but luckily the hours of researching online paid off.

The case that I got (Antec Sonata) ended up being really well-designed, which helped a lot. They put a lot of work into making it quiet from rubber rivots for the main case fan, the hard drives cards having rubber where the screws go, and a door in front. It has a glossy paint job (like black keys on a piano). While all that was neat and expected (due to them trumpeting those features), what I really liked was the more practical things.

The 5.25" covers come off easily and attached to each one is two rails! You just pop them off and go, and the drives click in easily. The hard drive carts slip right out and click in. The PSU is above the MB area, so you don't have to remove it. Main door of the case is easy to get on and off, etc.

The only real hiccup was getting the front usb/firewire/audio ports connected to the motherboard. For usb and firewire, instead of having a regular plug, the indivdual wires had their own things that you had to put on the individual pins. I'd guess this is due to incompatible MB formats? Very tedious.. luckily the audio had both individual and a plug...

Much to my surprise, the thing actually turned on and recognized the drives and cards. I set some stuff in bios and then made the Raid0. Woo.. a total 240gb "drive"!

The day after that was working, I went online to make sure I downloaded all the correct newest drivers and installed those. I decided to make two NTFS partitions 60gb for os and programs and the rest for data. After doing some reasearch, it seems like XP doesn't really need a separate swap area if you keep it a constant size, and if the OS died, I'd have to reinstall any programs anyway..

Last night I re-arranged stuff in the computer room. Since the old computer still has all the old apps, I put it on a table connected to the modem and put the new computer where it used to be.

I'll move everything over soon, but in the meantime, I have the demo of Unreal 2004 running! Between the 19" monitor (I had 14" before) and 9800Pro card (I had an 8mb card before) and Athlon XP 2500+ processory (I had K6-2 500mhz before), it is amazing! I put all the settings on high and it works great at 1280x1024. It also is smooth at 1600x1200, but the refresh on the monitor isn't quite so good. The manual says that 1280x1024 is one of the recommended modes and that works at 85Hz, so I may just keep it at that.

I combined that with the optical mouse we'd gotten a month ago and newer keyboard (scroll-wheel and volume control on the keyboard) and I'm so happy!

Anyway.. I know I'm just being a showoff, but this is really exciting. It is such a big difference from what I had before. I'll also be able to organize all the yo-yo videos and AMVs I've downloaded and do backups to DVD. I'll probably do more with Mozilla FireFox with the added speed, and maybe give a shot at learning ASP .NET and more PHP stuff running locally on the machine.

The only real downer is that the capture card that someone gave to me doesn't have drivers for anything after Win98, but I may stick it on my older computer to fuss with. Also, perhaps my webcam's capture feature will work more smoothly with the new computer..

Anyway.. with that out of the way.. the next post is Games!

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