And I’m about to do it again.
I bought my last one about four and a half years ago for less than I could’ve built one. Quad core, lots of memory, dual head PCIx video card…$400-ish.
Well, that one just died in less than spectacular fashion. Again. The drive I got two months ago is having the same symptoms the original drive did, meaning that while the BIOS can detect it, the controller can’t seem to see it. It’s weird, and I don’t really have time to troubleshoot it. This is the fourth hardware failure on this box this year (very glad I moved the blog from home-hosted to HostGator), so time to just get a new one.
After off-loading my sites to HostGator, the only thing this box did was act as a media server. I have been using XBMC since it was on the original XBOX. The PC is connected to a Pioneer VSX-1020-K using a DVI cable for video and an optical cable for sound. The receiver is hooked up to a Samsung HDTV which basically acts like a big hairy monitor*. I freaking love that receiver.
So we have this nice TV, nice receiver, and a nice entertainment center, and next to all that is a mini tower that looks out of place. Well, now I’m going to fix that. But I need your help.
See, it’s been so long since I’ve built a computer that I may be missing something. I need gamers and other performance-minded folks to look at this and say, “Hey, wiz? That’s not gonna work and here’s why…” I’ve already had a guy at work tell me I didn’t need to buy a CPU cooler since the retail box I was getting comes with one.
So here goes…
What I have already:
From the old machine I’ll be pulling a pair of Western Digital 2 TB WD Green SATA III Intellipower 64 MB Cache Hard Drives. I bought those about 2 weeks before the flood that caused hard drive prices to double overnight and triple in a week. They are my mirrored media volume. All my videos, music, and pictures are on that setup.
I also have an LG Blu Ray player/DVD Burner similar to this one that I bought at the same time.
I plan on at least testing the two other hard drives that may or may not be bad. I’m thinking not, for the reasons described in the top of the post. One is a 750GB, the other is a 500GB. I’m hoping they’re both still good, but if not…well the 500 is less than two months old so it’s still under warranty. UPDATE: I was able to load both drives (individually) in an external drive enclosure and get them visible in Windows on another machine. So the drives aren’t bad. This confirms my suspicion that a controller on my old board was being wonky.
The power supply in the old server is less than 6 months old, and I think its a 600w, so I’m going to try to reuse it, too. That may not last long because I might opt for a silent PSU in a couple of months.
I want to build something that will fit in with the rest of my equipment, so I’m going with an nMediaPC 6000b.
I bought those two 2TB drives with the intent of buying a 3rd later and setting up some software raid. Add in the two drives that might still be good, and that’s a whole lot of drive bays I’m going to need. This puppy has 6 of them, and will still fit in my entertainment center. It’s going to be a tight fit, but it’ll work.
I totally swiped most of the rest of this list from PC Perspective’s Leaderboard from 9-2-2012. I’m using their mid-range specs as a base.
I gotta tell ya, I was amazed at what you can get in a motherboard for $100 these days. The on-board video card has an HDMI out that will do 1080p and 7.1 audio. That’s fantastic. I’m not going to be playing Modern Combat Warfare Elite Operator Black Operations 2014 on this thing, so I don’t need or particularly want a fancy video card. I just need it to play handle MKVs and Blu Ray playback.
I think I paid $350 for my 3.0Ghz Pentium 4. This seems like a fair price to me. I did just find out, though, that the “k” at the end of the model number means that this one can be overclocked. I guess Intel figured out a way to extract more money from the performance computing folks by locking down a chip’s multiplier.
The very thought of 16gb of memory makes me giddy. I want to go with 2×8 instead of 4×4 so I can go up to 32gb later if I want. I probably won’t, but there’s no price difference. Yes, there is a very, very small performance difference, but I’m not building a gaming rig. The only reason I want this much memory in the first place is for editing. And I want this one to last 5 years, too.
That’s all I think I need. Am I missing anything? Is there some nuance I may have missed after being out of the game for so long?
*I was really, really concerned with getting a “Smart” TV. I shopped around for the best features and software, and even “hacked” my TV to get extra features within a day or two of bringing it home. Now I don’t use any of that stuff.