So my old friend (Dave) blew up his Vista box form 6 years ago. After checking it out, the hard drive was actually salvageable, but not much else was worth it. He asked me to put him a parts list together for a new box. I had been reading about the AMD 9590 for a few days, and was really excited about building something around it especially since I have only dealt with air-cooling solution up till now, and this chip screams for water cooling.
Bear in mind Dave is not a gamer at all. Literally the only video game I can remember him getting into was Command & Conquer Red Alert from WAAAY back. So I knew we did not need an awesome video card, but plenty of CPU and a decent amount of RAM. He said he commonly has to manipulate 15 to 20 sets of data consisting of 700-1000MB a set. (He can't tell me exactly what, he has one of THOSE kind of jobs, lol) He said that everyone else he worked with generally had 4-8 GB of RAM, but once I talked to him about working out of a RAM drive, he got excited and we bumped it up to 16GB of RAM.
I gave him the list of parts, and told him to call me when he gets it all in and I would come over and put it together for him. Lo and behold, he surprises me with a case of my favorite beer, and 32 GB of RAM, saying that he just loved the idea of a RAM drive so much he wanted to leverage it as much as he could.
I tried to take pictures in stages to show the progress, but I got caught up in the process a few times so it's not a part-by-part photo essay, sorry.
The only part of this build I truly regret is not getting a modular PS. Originally Dave had a budget of $1K US, and I was really trying to be mindful of that, while getting him parts that he would not have to replace anytime soon. I love those Thermaltake PSUs, I use them for budget builds quite a bit. I chastised him a bit for going over budget and not telling me, cause a modular PS would have been really good here to spend the extra money on, but it works out ok. It will supply him with more than enough power, even if he adds more drives and gets a beefier graphics card.
The case was great to build in. 140mm stock fans are quiet. Dave dug the LEDs, I didnt care much for them. But no surprise sharp edges, the cable management is laid out well, nice viewing panel on the side. Bottom mount PSU, with a vented bottom so the PSU does not have to exhaust into the case. Cool. Oh, and toolless 5.25 and 3.5 bays. I will buy this case again, for sure.
Had to be a little tricky with the water cooler. Removed the stock fans on the top, placed the radiator over the case and mounted its fans underneath from inside the case to blow upwards. It came with some longer screws to do just that, and the case had convenient pre tapped holes that matched up. Had to do it this way so the top canopy would have room to completely close on the case. I was hoping there would be enough hose to do some cable mgmt, but it turned out ok I think. And it is VERY effective. BIOS reported that hot chip staying at 39-40 degrees Celsius. I was impressed.
The heatsinks on the RAM make it look pretty cool when all 4 chips were installed. I am a total Mushkin fanboy, have their RAM and SSD in every one of my boxes at home. And I'm insanely jealous of this PC having 32GB. I have ESXi virtual hosts at work that handle ~ 25 virtual servers, and they have 64 GB RAM. This one workstation has 32. Gah.
The mobo is stellar. My first time with an ASRock, but I knew they were reputable, so I had no worries. First mobo I've seen that the NB and SB chipsets had a heat pipe. Nice. And more features than you can shake a stick at. Internal power and reset buttons. 2 on-board USB 3.0 headers, diagnostic LED. And if you have a very large video card, it's not going to cover up or limit access to anything on the board, unless you're doing a xfire\SLI. Very well thought out.
I am not a huge fanatic when it comes to cable management. I just like for it to be out of the way of airflow as much as possible.
Did not get around to installing the WiFi card. I left that to Dave, he'll put it in once OS is installed. When I left he was running Killdisk on his old drive. I'm going to see him tomorrow for my daughter's birthday party, will get an update from him then.
The whole build took about 4 hours to do, as I got to explain each component to Dave's 3 year old son when he would wander up. Cute kid. Kept singing the Emperial Death March the entire night.
I've only rated the parts that can be reasonably assessed during installation. I welcome your suggestions, comments, and critiques.