Building a new PC

I mentioned earlier that I have hilariously outdated hardware at home and I finally decided to do something about that this month.

Considering that I tend to keep my computers a very, very long time I decided it was worth over-researching my plan.  I started by reading Glenn Berry’s SQL 2014 Workstation blog post about 500 times.  I also looked at lots of things on Newegg and Micro Center’s websites and eventually decided that even with sales tax Micro Center was the way to go for everything because of all the bundle pricing.

There’s a few things to update in the Glenn Berry post.  This post was largely recycled from an earlier post, so at this point you don’t want a Z87 chipset motherboard anymore.  In fact, those motherboards are what are  on the clearance racks at Micro Center right now.  You also probably don’t want the Cooler Master HAF 912 case because it doesn’t have USB 3.0 ports on the front.

This machine replaced a Dell Dimension workstation with a Pentium D 820 processor I bought in March 2007.  It’s definitely one of those, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” moments.  I bought the cheapest thing I could find, and it came with Vista, but could not actually run it. (IMHO, allowing PC manufacturers to place Vista stickers on machines with 512 MB of RAM was a big part of the Vista failure.  But at the time there was concern that price sensitive consumers would not make the upgrade if the machines were too expensive.)  I downgraded to XP and later went to Windows 7 64-bit after maxing the RAM at 4 GB.

Here are the major components and their costs:

I used an existing Samsung EVO SSD that I was not really getting the full impact of from the Pentium D.  For the non-system files I’m using a 7200 RPM rotational disk.

This leaves 2 slots for a future update to 32 GB of RAM, and plenty of internal slots for adding future storage.  On the Windows Experience Index the system gets full scores on all facets except graphics because I am relying on the on-chip GPU.

My ancient MacPro remains, but recently got an SSD for the system disk.  A 2-socket dual-core Xeon system is still pretty decent in 2014.