For the computer-happy wunder-geeks

October 12, 2005

Kevin just ordered a new computer, and the excitement at our apartment is palpable. :-P

Rather than order something prefabricated, he just bought a zillion little pieces off of He's delighted because of the advancements in how cleverly they fit together and how well-made his case was. We spent the evening upstairs -- he unpacked all of the components, and I knit and oohed.

For those who want documentation (and agree with my view that it's fascinating to see all the innards, even if you like ordering your computers whole), here goes:

Case: CoolerMaster WaveMaster TAC-T01-EB Blue Aluminum
Power Supply: Antec NeoPower 480
Motherboard: Abit AN8-Ultra
CPU: AMD Athlon64 X2 4400+
RAM: 2GB OCZ Titanium PC3200 (2-3-2-5 timing)
Hard Drives: 2 x 250 GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 SATA (in a RAID-0 array)
Video: ATI All-In-Wonder X800XL 256MB
Sound: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic
Speakers: Logitech THX Z-5300E
DVD Burner: Lite-On
Floppy Drive: NEC
Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 2005FPW
Tablet: Wacom Graphire4 4"x5"
Mouse: Microsoft Wireless Intellimouse Explorer
Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

(Plus, it's worth noting that many of these didn't come with the requisite cables. Kevin's been collecting such occasionally-useful things since the early-nineties, and thus was able to fill in the gaps without a trip to the store or a wait for shipping, but those who find they have better things to do with their closets ought to order the cables at the same time as the pieces.)

And a play-by-play with pictures:

The motherboard is pretty. I would feel excessively girly for saying that, except that the colors were clearly designed to go in a case with clear sides. So, pretty it is:

Here's a close-up of the cpu.

The gold fuzz is actually my camera's rendition of the zillion little pins sticking out of it which plug into the motherboard. On the opposite side goes the special heat-conducting clay. It needs to be pressed on well -- if there are any air bubbles between the clay and the CPU, it can create dangerously hot surfaces temperatures that then render that part of the CPU permanently unusable. After the clay is attached, the CPU goes on the motherboard and is covered by a huge fan, also for heat-reduction. Here's Kevin pointing to the CPU (clay side up) on the motherboard before he attached the fan:

Next, a bright and shiny photo of the RAM:

Kevin actually has two of these, which attach onto the long, blue, horizontal parts of the motherboard.

The hard drive had some new slender wires instead of the massive flat ones -- we were both impressed. The dvd drive came with interchangeable faceplates. ("ooh") And here are the sound card and video card. Note the semi-nude woman on the video card -- and we wonder who they are marketing to... :-P

While I still prefer (CS degree and relatively dorky work environment not withstanding), to buy a computer in one piece and selectively upgrade the hardware as needed, it's fun to see someone who enjoys such things pull together all of the pieces into, as described by the boy in an email to a friend, an "AMD X2 4400+ (dual-core) with 2GB of wicked fast RAM, SATA RAID-0, and an ATI AiW X800 XL." Ahh, dork-speak.


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