The Third Harmonic gets a new PC!
There comes a time in every computer’s life where it has to die for no known reason, and our 4 year old Dell Studio 1555 decided it would stay black-screened the rest of its life. Although it complained about video problems, it wasn’t very helpful about telling us that – two different beep-codes are given, both pointing to video. Being a laptop (and might I add an expensive one, we paid just over £1,000 for it) there wasn’t much that could be done to fix the problem – the only fix would either be a hammer (although unlikely to work) or get a new motherboard for it with the dedicated ATI graphics (which overheats and throttles anyway). This didn’t seem economically viable (that’s our excuse) to do that so the other option is to get a new one.
We follow some of the blog posts over on the EEVBlog and the post about Designing a Silent & Cheap Video Editing PC was the inspiration needed to build our own powerful PC. We decided to go with CPU power as an important part of the build and since gaming is not something we’re that good at, we stayed with integrated graphics for now.
The specifications of our PC are:
- Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge, unlocked) ~£250
- 8 GB Corsair memory ~£60
- Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard (which is pretty awesome for the price) ~£85
- 2 TB Seagate Barracuda HDD ~£70
- Cooler Master Elite 430 case ~£40
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler ~£25
- Corsair CX430 power supply ~£40
- AOC 1920×1080 VGA, DVI monitor ~£85 (still waiting for Amazon.co.uk to dispatch so not yet received)
- Anker USB 3.0 x2 front panel – fits in 3.5 inch bay ~£15
(the prices are approximate and from memory)
This is a lightning quick system only slowed by the hard drive. Windows 7 scored the system at 5.9 (determined by the hard drive) but the processor and memory got 7.8, that’s only 0.1 away from the maximum possible score! The graphics (and gaming graphics) came in at 6.6.
Here are some juicy PC pics, the first showing some of the motherboard, power supply (gathering dust already), and rear inside case.
Below we can see the 2TB (2000GB) hard drive from Seagate. It’s apparently capable of 6Gbps – feels more like 4.Below we can see the HUGE CPU cooler (seen better in last pic) with 120mm fan. Note: We’re using the Intel stock cooler fan as a case fan (since we can). Both fans are PWM controlled (4-wire).And lastly, we see how big the cooler is. Luckily it fits in the case – there were worries at build time whether it would fit! It is clear of the side of the case by about 10 mm. In conclusion, excellent PC build! It may have cost a bit more than it should but… meh. It works and is super quick in doing CPU intensive stuff. The i7-3770k has Intel’s QuickSync video decoding and encoding technology in its GPU so H.264 transcoding of video can get up to 300fps on SD video and ~150fps on HD video.
The next step is to get a discrete graphics card – maybe with NVIDIA GeForce 660 for around £150… but will the 430 watt power supply be man-enough to support this beast of a computer?