Computer Upgrade Madness!!!

I went to the computer show yesterday. First time I’ve been able to catch one when it’s at the ubiquitous Basketball Hall of Fame. It was the first time I’d been in there… ever, pre-construction or otherwise. I can’t believe how big a sphere can be. It’s amazing, wonderful, and so much to do… for basketball people. =]
I was only interested in the architecture and the computer show held within.

I bought a new case, as I was creating almost another new computer – black with blue bubbles up the side which cast a nice blue glow. It has a window (of course) with multicolored fan which casts more black-light-ish light about the innards. It looks quite nice. I already had a few Pentium 4s — went with the hyperthreading 2.4ghz I had on hand. I made sure to get dual channel DDR (the only thing similar enough to get me off my 2+ year stint of RDRAM) on the motherboard as well as an 800mhz bus, RAID and SATA. I don’t actually have an SATA drive yet, but it’s there to improve performance in the future. I went with ASUS for the motherboard, and 1GB of Kingston RAM w/ “heatspreader” (a blue heat-sink type thing). I had to get a new video card too — couldn’t let that hold me back.
I settled with a mid-grade GeForce FX 5900 128mb RAM, 400mhz clock, Asylum brand.

New system:
P4 2.4ghz 800mhz bus w/ hyperthreading
1GB Dual Channel DDR RAM
RAID (60gig, 100gig, 120gig HDs)
Asylum GeForce FX 5900 w/ 128mb RAM, 400mhz clock
Sony DVD-R (500a)
Creative Soundblaster Audigy Platinum

I did my old performance tests, 3DMark 2001, 3DMark2003, and RedFaction comes with a neat little performance test in the setup program.

4100 -> 6200 -> 11701 -> 14600
430 -> 800 -> 4300 -> 4620
3200 -> 14200 ->15700 MB/Sec
(RAM transfer rate)

The first test was the old system, second test was new system w/ old video card (GeForce 3 64mb), the third test was new system w/ new video card, and the fourth test is single channel vs dual channel DDR. 3DMark2001 with the new card blew the power supply. I haven’t run another test yet.

My previous RAM broke all the records with the RedFaction test, RDRAM running at 300-400mhz was more then the 1200 MB/Sec that DDR RAM would get running at 133-200mhz.
My jaw dropped when I saw what Dual Channel DDR could do — I knew I made the right choice.

That number may also depend on the amount of RAM I have — I had 512 MB previously, and now have 1 GB – since it’s how much can be transferred each second, it most likely calculates that depending on how much RAM is present.

Other then some issues with Windows, things worked great — I attempted to run it right off the bat and AGP440.drv was causing it not to start. I was able to run setup and repair the installation (re-install it) but had to re-activate and everything. I ran it successfully a few times, then after adding all the fans to the new case I was running some really intensive graphics tests when I heard a loud *POP* and everything suddenly quit.

I was really worried, I just spent a pretty pocketful of change here, and I just blew it all up?!! Nope — just blew the power supply with my uber-computer. I put my power supply in from my real case (the giant one I had before) into the new one and worked like a charm. Windows now worked enough for me to get a few games in there but I detected underlying problems.

** update 12/30 **
Memory errors in Windows… pulled out one of the Memory Modules, no resets, no bluescreens. I called Kingston to get a new set of chips sent to me (they’re paired to work as a dual channel – like RDRAM has been for about 2 years now) so they’re on their way as I write this. In the meantime I’m running 1 512mb.

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