Saturday, January 15, 2011

First look: New Computer

New computer is built and running. Following the tradition of car names (my previous computer being DELOREAN because of its distinctive brushed steel case), this new rig has been christened CORVETTE.

Final set of equipment is listed at:

PCMark Vantage: 15670.0 PCMarks
Windows Experience Index: 7.5

I haven’t even attempted an overclock yet, because I have no need. Every computer game I own runs at max settings at great framerates. World of Warcraft averages between 70-100fps depending on the zone. Left 4 Dead 2 runs flawlessly.

Most people wonder about the RevoDrive. It really was an easy experience – I had to use a USB key with drivers during Windows 7 setup, but it installed without complaint, and once installed, the system automatically booted from it without complaint. Only quirk was that the installer still put the recovery partition on my data drive, but I grudgingly must admit that this is a sensible thing to do anyways.

My boot time is indeed quite impressive, but not the instant-on that some people experience with even SATA SSDs. I attribute this to the large array of devices and software I boot with even from a clean build, many of which are installed to my data drive.

I havent installed WoW to the RevoDrive yet… the 22GB seems like a lot when there’s only 70GB left after OS and the many applications that still refuse to install anywhere but C:. I imagine it’d be pretty amazing though. I’ll let people know if I try it.

Some other thoughts:

The Antec case is nice - really slick black aluminum, airflow everywhere, blue LEDs anywhere you’re likely to see, and giant fans for quiet running. Having three separate internal fan speed selectors isn’t as impressive – am I really going to open my case and manually adjust each fan each time it gets warm out? The thing that I miss the most from my old case are sideways-mounted HDDs - trying to add or remove hard drives while delicately avoiding both my video card and my RevoDrive (which is a surprisingly long and fragile card) is a nerve-wracking experience!

Gigabyte board has behaved admirably – I love the serious passive chipset cooling, especially given the variety of chipset coolers DELOREAN went through (which came with a 40mm plastic piece of junk on its MSI board). Not a hint of complaint about any of the devices I connected to it. CMOS clear right on the back faceplate (with blue backlight) for those serious overclockers However, their software for overclocking and temp tracking is pretty serious load of MFC fail. Also – 8 SATA ports, four DIFFERENT controllers, each with their own drivers (from different companies), and their own configuration. Finally, there’s a weird quirk when cold-starting – the box will spin up, turn off for five seconds, then magically power up. The first time, I thought I fried the CPU for sure!

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