Builds where you don't have to mod anything are easy right? *Sigh*
Processor: Xeon W3550
Mainboard: Asus P6T6
Graphics: ATI HD4890
PSU: Corsair HX850
Memory: Kingston 1333Mhz ECC 3*2GB (KVR1333D3E9SK3/6G)
Storage: 1xIntel X25-M 160GB G2 (SSDSA2MH160G2C1), 2xHP 36GB 10k SAS drives
Case: Antec P183
Optical: LG GGW-H20L Blu-ray rewriter
OS: Centos 5 and Windows 7 Ultimate (On preorder)
Ok! I had not had a new desktop machine for 4+ years, my old P4 sucks, to be frank it caused problems since day, and this put me off getting a replacement. The problem with it was it had memory problems with dual channel used it a while before I realized it was causing corruption. changed board... changed memory... nothing helped... underclocked memory and hated system as it could reset to default setting that corrupt! I decided the next desktop I would get would have ECC memory, the problem is I am an Intel fanboy.
The project took a while to get started, quite like the core 2 chips, no ECC, xeons require a not very good chipset... Wanted a motherboard with 1x16, 2x4 Pcie, for fibre channel card and sas controller. It got put off as I didn't like things.
Optical: LG Blue-ray Disc Rewriter GGW-H20L
First Order: Dabs 2009-03
To be honest I was owned some money and was repaid in kind.
Still was not sure about processors then things all changed along came core i7, w35xx and X58! Thats exactly what I need... Chipset had many more lanes, a range of processors with ECC for little more than the desktop processor. Even better the desktop chip was the same.
Second Order: Scan 2009-08-05 Windows 7 Ultimate Pre-order, well I needed a 64bit windows, missed vista completely, so it main sense putting it off would just have cost more.
Much consideration, knew DX11 was coming out, probably very expensive not sure the time scales... considered a HD4770 Sock gap, perhaps two in crossfire, then along came scans offer for a HD4890 for £120, seemed a great choice at the time, later I read more reviews and heard it was rather loud/buzzing caps, and got quite worried about my choice, however having some of the bits I thought would drive me on. Seeing the pricing for the new ATI cards I think waiting till late next year to get a DX11 might be good.
PSU: Corsair HX850
Easy really, like the idea of a modular PSU, never had one before, like the reviews for the HX850 on HeXus and Johnny Guru. Sorted... It comes in a velvet bag... velvet bag! I ordered it at the same time as the graphics card because it was out of stock so I thought the delay would be good.
Third Order: Scan 2009-08-06
Powercolor HD4890 and Corsair HX850.
And now a word from my sponsor.. oh right that's the bank of me... I better get on with it then.
Processor: Xeon W3550
This is where it all fell to bits. I tried to find a UK retailer for over a week, for any processor in the w35xx range, even PMed scan people on here and messaged the forum, didn't even get a reply, a simple no get lost would have been nice. Disappointed decided gray import was my only option, fortunately I have a friend in the states who agreed to receive and send things on to me. I felt this was better than trusting someone on ebay. Why to be honest I would have been happy with a W3520, as i was going to the trouble of importing with extra fixed costs involved, I should probably get a better one. The new ones came out I thought great I can get a w3540 cheaper however the replacements seemed to be the same cost. As the slightly slower ones, so getting the new range seemed to be the right thing, toyed with the idea of a W3580 but really could not justify it! So got me a W3550.
Forth order: Amazon.com 2009-08-16 W3550
Amazon (US) had the W3550 in stock and even dispatched same day on a sunday! Of course a courier took a week to drag it across the states. It was sent on to me on 2009-08-25 and finally landed in the Uk cleared customs in 2 days and was available on monday 2009-09-07, where it sat, Parclefarse sent me a letter about a customs charge (not surprised about this) however this letter never arrived. I am in the mean time getting worried, get the customs number and receipt from my friend. After much searching discover putting the US customs number in the parcel farse tracking box gets you the complete package history. So finally track down its sitting in action waiting for me to call them! 4 Days for a letter not to make it from West to North London Well done Post Office your worth every penny! Speak to some nice people fo give me the code from my "letter" so I can turn up in action to pay and collect, finally arrives arrives 2009-09-10!
Note importing isn't quicker or cheaper than if I had bought it here it probably costs me 60 pounds more, however it did know I was going to get the item eventually, they still are not listed in the UK. So it was the right decision. Good!
To stop me making the same mistake as with the graphics card I waited until I had possession of the processor before getting anything else.
I have 4 things to get case, ssd, motherboard, ram so try the combinations in a number of sites. For the SSD and motherboard scan was best option. Scan did not list the P6T6 in stock, however was the cheapest but a reasonable amount. Also the scan-care cover on it seemed like a good idea as I have not build a grid array chip computer before (Hints for CPU handling are welcome). So decided the split the SSD into a separate order, on the grounds, that I could move the motherboard to another supplier if needed without impacting the rest of the order. However by the time I had complete the order, and started to put the second one through the P6T6 was in stock and 1 pound cheaper. Great!
I would love to know why (unlike every other e-taylor on the planet) orders placed with scan are taken and confirmed them seem to disappear, then take ages to re-appear in your account, for us nervous people you spend the time thinking you might have made a mistake.
Storage: Intel X25-M 160GB G2 SSD
One of the advantages of the delay this beauty became available. I kind of promised myself I would only use mirrored drives after suffering with a few problems. However rules are made to be broken! It was two 15k SAS drives or this. Getting a pair didn't sound a good item as the cost made it prohibitive, and it did not know if TRIM instructions would make it through mirroring, which would lose a lot of the advantages of the G2 drive. I am also going to throw a couple of SAS 10K drives into the mix which I have sitting in a draw at the moment.
Fifth Order: 2009-09-10 Scan Intel X25-M 160GB G2 (SSDSA2MH160G2C1)
As soon as I saw this board, I knew this was what I was after, lots of x4+ (Electrical) length PCIe slots many board have additional 1x slots. Before X58 only one board and 4 slots, Asus are still the winner with 6(7), I didn't go for the supercomputer board as its slightly larger than ATX so didn't know it would work with the case, and significantly more expensive providing a slot I was not going to use. The other advantage of the P6T6 was it was one of the few X58 boards which formally stated w35xx compatibility. Only problem was the w3550 and w3580 were not on the list the equivalent desktops were, anyway I felt the chip would take a while to arrive, hopefully it would be listed as supported by then. hmmm it still isn't I hope getting the w3550 insted of the w3540 as they were the same price does not come back to haunt me. I did check the web and could find someone who seemed to be using a w3550 with an ASUS P6T however this was an ES so I am unsure! Guess I might have to come begging to borrow a CPU for a reflash if things go bad.
Sixth Order: 2009-09-10 Scan Asus P6T6 WS Revolution
Now we are on the home straight. Case and RAM easy ...
Case: Antec 183
I wanted a case with noise dampening as I don't wish to live in the a wind tunnel, there were 3 cases I considered however quite quickly it came down to Antec ones. I noticed how crampt my current desktop is with a large graphics card and so though I should the bigger Antec 183. This also has 2 mounting points for 12" fans, I want a quiet case, if my graphics card and processor cooler prove to be too loud I am considering water cooling the system and this will get me two places to mount radiators without cutting the case up. I am just using the water cooling to move the heat sources to the end of the case (not overclocking). Plus to do have a T-balancer which can use flow sensors.
Memory: Kingston 1333Mhz ECC (with therminal sensors!) 3*2GB (KVR1333D3E9SK3/6G)
Ok I wanted to get a triple channel kit, so if there are problems I can say it was being used in a supported environment, Kingston listed this part as compatible with the P6T6 which was a good reason to get it, you will notice this is ECC memory. 6GB seems the size to go for as 4GB Dimms seem very expensive, and I really do see I need more than 6GB at this time. Only thing is my chip as a QPI of 4.8 (1066 Memory, not an extreme one) however the 1066 part isn't listed anywhere, I hope it has SPD settings for 1066 and the motherboard downclocks it correctly.
Seventh Order: 2009-09-10 Ebuyer Antec 183 and Kingston KVR1333D3E9SK3/6G
Its in stock, great all done and ordered... wait what is an email from ebuyer... saying the memory part has been discontinued... and suggests I go change it, nothing suitable is listed on the ebuyer site through kingston find the distributors. None of the triple channel kits in stock, can buy the parts as singles, ok I guess but its 30 quid more expensive so I go to ebuyer to cancel the line, and it has changed to picking in progress with supplier!?!? So not discontinued then? Guess I will phone tomorrow.
When I have more boxes I will post some pictures.
Will the memory arrive? Will it work? Will the board recognize the CPU? Will I get a nice electrical burning smell? Will I ever play Fallout 3? Does anyone care? To be continued!