(Again, here, I say "today", but I wrote this yesterday. )
Oh my god… Right… let me tell you about today’s events.
I got my last components today… well… okay, YESTERDAY, as today is now the 29th Feb, and I got them yesterday, on the 28th. They all looked to be in working order, the case was looking awesome even before it was turned on, and all of it looked so easy to do!
So I started by reading the manual, hooking stuff up to different components, finishing with the graphics cards and the PSU. It was a NIGHTMARE. It was quite fun to begin with, but when I realised that I should have put the heatsink on FIRST, and then having to remove EVERY piece of equipment from the case again to install the most stupidly complicated fan ever created by human kind… damn!
The installation took me ALL DAY. From about 2:00 to 11:30, so that’s 9 hours, with about 30 minute or so break for dinner. It didn’t help that my dad INSISTED helping me, even though he was more of a hindrance than anything else. Apart from when I was installing the heatsink, I guess, but every other time… it was a nightmare.
At about 10:30 I had the PC assembled, everything was in place and connected up, so I flipped the switch for the first time… and…!
No, really! Absolutely nothing of any worth happened! We turned on the PSU and the motherboard lights came on, and the LCD Poster that you got with the motherboard (it displays debug info) just said "CPU INIT". I phoned my brother and he said it might be the cooling fan, so I switched it to another, but THAT didn’t work. I suspected it was something to do with the motherboard. Just my luck.
Then he suggested that I press the reset button on the motherboard. I ignored him, and pressed the power button instead, which threw the computer into life! It kinda freaked me out a bit, as my hand was INSIDE the PC as it was on, which isn’t exactly healthy. So, that was that. Except… there was this extremely annoying high pitched beep… constantly going on… BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…!
I had to ignore that, and so I went into the BIOS to try and turn it off. The BIOS is like a very basic program with extremely advanced options, which can wreck your motherboard or other components if you mess with them. Especially the very interesting "Extreme Tweaker" menu, which can fry your CPU in a split second if you OVER overclock it.
There was no option in the BIOS to turn that damned beeper off. Worse still, the BIOS wasn’t picking up my DVD drive or hard drive, so I couldn’t DO ANYTHING other than get into the BIOS. That was easily fixed, though, I never connected them to the motherboard, so no wonder.
When that was done, I brought up Vista, but it was about 11:00, and with that beeping, I just couldn’t install it because it’d keep everyone awake. I looked on Google to see if I could find what it was, and it was the component that I would have least expected. Well… that was when I saw it.
It was one of the graphics cards!
I had been moving them around to add extra USB ports, press the power button and to install my LAN card, as they are SO BIG, they block up other slots on the motherboard, so if you want to go SLI, you’ve got to sacrifice a few other things. SLI is so bad, that if you choose to have THREE graphics cards, that’s ALL you can have, as the graphics cards would cover ALL of the slots on the motherboard.
Anyway, I had forgotten to plug the graphics card back into the PSU, so I did that, and it worked like a charm! And that was that! I installed Vista, and was slightly insulted that Vista couldn’t even find out the name of my graphics cards, saying they were GENERIC VGA DEVICES and saying that they had 16MB of graphics, which is like, as powerful as my VERY old PC, the one that’s around 15 years old. Easily fixed that by installing the drivers, then Vista seemed to drool over the amount of GPU power it had at its disposal. I enabled SLI on my graphics cards, and overclocked my CPU so that it was at 3.0GHz instead of 2.66, which made it look quite funny in the system settings. "Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz @ 3.00GHz"! Hehe. That’s a very good performace increase for a overclocking newbie! The speed is insane! It takes about thirty seconds to get from pressing the power switch to being on Vista’s desktop. It is SO FAST!
I was a bit shocked to see that Vista had given me a 1.0 PC rating. The minimum is 1.0 and the maximum is 5.9. I refreshed it, though, and it VERY quickly changed its mind. I was absolutely THRILLED to see that it had given me a 5.9 in RAM speed, CPU speed, Graphics and Gaming Graphics, but my hard drive let me down with a 5.5, therefore making my base score a 5.5/5.9, which is still VERY good!
I then let 3DMark06 do the talking. It was brilliant! My computer got 6051 3D Marks in the SM2.0 Graphics Tests, and then kinda let me down a bit in the CPU Tests, giving me a disappointing 2587, but my other computer only got 1034 in those tests, so my computer is 150% faster!
Then came the big daddy tests, the SM3.0 HDR tests, the High Dynamic Range tests. High Dynamic Range adds another layer of realism into graphics, light is refracted and calculated more accurately, surfaces look more realistic… and it puts a LOT of strain onto graphics cards. And guess what? The Pwnage-O-Matic did BETTER in the HDR tests than in the normal tests, getting OVER the sweet spot in framerates, the 60FPS mark! It scored an amazing 7568 3D Marks there. Unbelievable. You should have seen the videos it was playing, they were fantastic! Especially Canyon Flight.
After some really weird calculations by 3D Mark, it gave me a final score of 13676 3D Marks, which is really good! And I was accidentally using settings that were higher than my other PC, so it was a bit of an unfair test! I’m gonna do it again tomorrow as I install the speaker system and try and find a good place to put her for the time being. That’s if I can find a place to put her in this tiny room.
Yes, "her". She’s my baby, the Pwnage-O-Matic. I’ve built her myself, so she’s my baby!
Don’t look at me like that! Weirdo.
The Pwnage-O-Matic then, is UN-FRICKIN-BELIEVABLE. You just have to use her to believe her. Fast as lightning, graphics that probably match the Xbox 360 in quality, only about £200 more than my other PC and yet FIVE times better. And she has this amazing stylish case that you will NEVER find on a stock PC. AND I know every single part that’s in her!
Oh, and you just HAVE to see the G15 keyboard. It’s INCREDIBLE!! There are no words to describe how MIND-BLOWINGLY COOL that keyboard is. It’s… okay… words truly can’t describe it. I’m gonna show you it on a video that I’ll make sometime tomorrow.
So, even though the assembly was half-nightmare, half-fun, this whole PC build was a GREAT SUCCESS! I can’t wait to start loading up all sorts of games and seeing what this marvel of a PC can do with them! Age Of Empires III… you don’t have a HOPE IN HELL of exhausting my graphics cards! 60+ FPS ALL THE WAY!
Just a few final words of advice. Never… EVER build your own PC, if you have NO ADVANCED KNOWLEDGE whatsoever! And if you do decide to, just let me know, and I’ll help you out with where to get parts and how to install and in what order. It’ll usually go – heatsink base, motherboard, CPU, Arctic Silver, heatsink fan, CD/DVD drive(s) or 5.25" LCD displays, hard drive(s), RAM, power block, USB block, FireWire block, other expansion cards (like wireless, sound card, etc), graphics card(s), RAM, PSU and finally, the wiring and the SLI bridge. And for GOD’S SAKE, DON’T FORGET to plug the heatsink fan into the motherboard! You will FRY your CPU if you don’t! And if you get an ASUS Striker II Formula, don’t do a MongMaster and forget to turn the board on!
I’ll see you tomorrow, and I’ll be typing from the Pwnage-O-Matic! Now that I’ve got my wireless card installed and I’ve got Kapersky Anti-Virus on my PC, it should be okay to go on the net!