Back to the PC

Last July I built myself a quad core Windows 7 PC as described here and here. I thought it might be of some interest to reflect on the experience with the benefit of more time, and to cover off the improvement made since…

Build your own – hit or miss?

Hit I would say, the machine has been stable, performs well and was interesting to build. Windows 7 has some constraints if you buy Premium but in the main I am pleased with the machine and would definitely build another machine in the future.

What were the constraints?

The main constraint was budget followed by size then quietness; I also wanted some performance hence the Core I5 and the graphics card – overall these constraints have been met though there was some tweaking along the way.

What has changed since?

I quickly replaced the inherited mouse and keyboard with a Microsoft Arc Mouse and Microsoft keyboard. The keyboard I saved some money on by going wired, although I have several USB ports I am already using more than I expected (speakers, mouse dongle, printer, camera, something else that I don’t want to unplug) and didn’t need to use it away from the desk.

I recently also swapped out the  IDE DVD burner I salvaged from the previous system (it broke) for a nice SATA Samsung SH-S223C drive; I was initialed disappointed with the level of noise until I installed the tuning software from Samsung to slow the drive down (in read mode), it still makes a noise but it is bearable.

I am very pleased with the new case fan, a Noctua NF-B9 92 mm whisper quiet (and that is on default settings) which has made an already not loud system quieter.

I am also in the midst of setting up a Synology DS110j NAS and powerline networking with Comtrend 9020 adapters which is going ok so far but does need some more design.

What next?

At some point I need to stop adding technology organically and put a proper design in place based on proper requirements (e.g. music distribution, video storage, backup / archive) and the desktop may have gone as far as it needs to  – it as ample memory, disc space (thanks to the NAS) and only really lacks a bigger widescreen display.

I also have smartphones integrated into the environment and ambitions to get an Android tablet at some stage. I’ll keep you posted!


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