New Toy

At the end of the last fiscal year, I received my first bonus payout for my new job title, and it was very nice. This is what I did with some of it:

One of the things I’ve wanted do, after packing all that dosh into savings, was upgrade my personal computer. For the last 10 years, roughly, I’ve bought whiteboxes off a friend when he was ready to upgrade his own rig, and that has carried me through with my gaming addiction just fine. Then EVE Online happened (dammit).

I thought it was time to have a go at building my own:

  • CHIP: i7 4790k @4GHz (stock cooling so far, not overclocked)
  • RAM: 16GB 1866MHz Crucial
  • MOBO: ASUS Maximus VI Hero*
  • GPU: eVGA GTX 760 4GB
  • PSU: 850w Thermaltake Smart M Series
  • HDDs: 120GB SSD (OS only), 3x 1TB in RAID 5 (storage and applications)**
  • Display: LG IPS 27″

Some initial thoughts on this build:

I went over the top, for sure. My initial pricing strategy landed the major dollar components in my hands for just over $1k. I thought that was pretty good. By the time I piled in disks and accessories, I was over my initial $1.75k budget, but only by $100. With rebates, I’m right on my mark and that includes the display, which was just fluff (I already had nice displays).

Every whitebox I’ve owned has been SATA***, but many of them have also had IDE for CDROM and older disks, which I completely overlooked this time. I spent about 4 hours slipstreaming SATA drivers into my disk ISO and flashing it onto bootable USB drives, but with no actual luck. I zipped back to the store and bought a cheap external CD/DVD/RW, and that got my base OS on board.

In retrospect, I was very, very tempted to make my base OS a *nix flavor. Finally, after a cocktail or two and thinking it through, I decided that doing so would scratch the geek itch, but to do it would impede my progress, because frankly, I’m not that gifted a power-user. I’ll try a couple flavors of *nix on my old box when I have my data all restored and am comfortable wiping it.

Patches are installed, the RAID is mostly initialized (but usable in the meantime) and now is the time to install software packages. This should be interesting.



*Hero VI supports the 4790k after BIOS 1505. Flashback BIOS utility made this easy, since my board came with an earlier BIOS version out of the box.

**Arguably, putting applications on a RAID5 array is going to be a performance hit, yes. I’m not that concerned about it. If it really sucks, I’ve got plenty of room to change my disk plan.

***Prior to whiteboxing, I used re-purposed business machines with the architecture of the times. SATA didn’t exist then.