I had built my first custom rig last year. I chose the parts carefully. I wanted a powerful enough machine. However, I would not sacrifice stealthiness for performance. As a result, I went with the ASUS M2N32 SLI Deluxe motherboard. The innovative heat spreader and other thermal technologies convinced me that it would be good at handling heat. I went with the 65nm AMD Athlon X2 4200+ processor: the 65nm would yield lower heat. I got the Corsair VX450W power supply for its efficiency and quiet operation. The Antec P180 case had large 120mm fans at the back and the top, and set on low, it was very quiet. I chose Samsung SpinPoint SATA 3.0gb/s drives, and they too were silent. To top it off, a pair of 1GB sticks of Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 RAM provided speedy performance.
However, somehow, everything turned out FUBAR when I decided I would get a faster processor. I was hasty in my decision, and I’ve learnt my lesson well. I wanted to upgrade my video card and CPU. To make a long story short, I ended up purchasing a new motherboard and a new CPU because I wasn’t sure just which part was the culprit of my problem.What’s my problem you ask? The damned thing wouldn’t POST. I got no video and no beeps. I grabbed a case speaker (4-pin speaker) for $2, the ones that are little black cylinders with the black and red wire. I hooked it up to my Q-Connector, and there still wasn’t any sound. I tried swapping video cards, motherboards, and CPUs, and I just couldn’t for the life of me figure it out.Now, I’m not a n00b, but I also don’t fancy myself a systems wizard. Not anymore at least. I was quite proud of my rig. It did exactly what I wanted it to. I knew it’s innards. I knew what it was capable of. It was mine because I put it together with my bare hands. I even bled for it (yes, a small cut on my finger counts).
Anyway, now I’m RMA’ing the parts I can, namely the CPU and the motherboard. Replacing my computer is the HP Blackbird 002.
Considering my budget, I shouldn’t really get it. However, I certainly don’t trust Gateway. My Serbian friend has got one: it’s mostly plastic, it’s loud, and it’s hot as fuck. That’s what I like from girls in bed, but not from my computer. Okay, I was kidding. About the plastic part.
Anyway, I looked at Dell’s computers, and I don’t know…something just doesn’t sit well with me about their rigs. I’m always worried about how noisy they’ll get. And from my experience, Dells will get plenty loud if you give them a year or two.
I checked out some of those gaming computer builders you see in the advertisements in PC Gamer, but most of them featured garishly lit cases. Most of them were not elegant enough for my tastes. They also didn’t offer much of a compelling reason to buy from them: it felt as though I could simply rebuild my rig for cheaper.
But since my trust in my abilities has now been completely and utterly devastated, I checked out HP. And then the Blackbird caught my eye. I had read good things about it in PC Gamer. I loved the design, and the option for liquid cooling has always intrigued me. I was never brave enough to venture into liquid cooling, certainly not as a DIY, and certainly not anymore with my confidence in shambles.
I’m configuring my Blackbird 002 as bare as I can get it. I already have an 8800GTS lying around, so that’ll suffice for now. I also have a 200GB, 500GB, and 750GB SATA drive, so I certainly don’t need it from HP. However, I have decided to jump for the new Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer sound card: the X-Fi crystallizer feature seems good to have.
I’m calling them tomorrow since they have a free liquid cooling upgrade for call-in orders. The only downside is that they ship on 2 July 2008, which happens to be my friend’s birthday. I’m an impatient guy when it comes to this sort of thing. I could spring for the prebuilt ones that are available on Amazon.com, but I can’t justify spending $3,300 just to have a new computer in my house within a week. That’s an $800 premium over my own config.
So yeah, here’s to my new computer and my complete loss of confidence in my system building abilities.