Building An Intel Core 2 Duo System
Looks like my move to AMD will be a one-time deal–I bought a Compaq V2000Z laptop with a pretty speed AMD CPU as my main machine. Anyway, my aging PIII-750 server has been disconnecting under loads so I tried swapping the NIC only to find that it conflicted with the SATA controller card. Too many PCI cards in that thing…SATA, NIC, soundcard, video, and modem. Since I just put a new PS in it, I was really didn't want to spend any more money on it. I prolly tweak something in my recent vacuuming of the case and cards. Who knows.
Anyway, I ordered a brand spankin new Intel Core 2 Duo E6300, Asus P4B mobo, 1GB stick of RAM, videocard, and 400W PS which I will place in an old ATX case I have. I'll reuse a couple 250-300GB HDs and DVD drives as well. Total cost less than $600 seems damn cheap to me for such a fast system. I chose the low-end of the new Core 2 Duo CPUs to minimize the heat issues since I'll be using this system 24/7 as server. Most ppl are overclocking using this setup, but I don't intend to. Amazing enough, Dell was offering a full system for $529–not that I'd buy a Dell.
I've been consolidating systems lately and I've mothballed two PIII desktops and one P4. Only the P4 actually died and I think its only the PS. I'm hoping I get similar longevity out of this new system. HDs and PSs seem to be the common weakest link in my experience. Of course, I don't throw anything away, so I've got a couple cases and parts should i ever need. I may eBay my Compaq iPaq desktop tho. The 256 limit on RAM really limits its usefulness for me. Sweet formfactor tho. 2bad.
I spent a lot of time researching cases and could never decide on one. The Antec Sonata II came closest to being selected, but I saw it at CompUSA and was less than impressed. I decided to just reuse the best of my spare case. Amazingly though, the case is pretty nice. It seems as good as I could have hoped to get in a new one, but we'll see when I actually put everything together tonight.
There was a giant trade off when selecting mobos. PCI slots, COM and LPT varied. Finally decided on more PCI and LPT. I hope my PCI serial port card (thx Jasoa) works in this. If not, I can always use USB to COM adapters. That's why I figured the COM port was the easiest feature to live without on mobo. I still have an HP Laserjet printer that uses LPT and my home automation/X10 requires multiple com ports.
Bought everything a Multiwave (mwave.com). There prices were good and they actually tested the mobo, RAM and CPU for $9, which I felt was a deal. I've read a lot of reports of issues with RAM compatibility, mobo BIOs updates for Core 2s, etc. Just wanted a little comfort in knowing the system would at least post.
Buying from mwave is ironic since that is where I got the parts for the last full system I pieced together back in 1998.
AMD must be dying now. This CPU was only about $185 and even at stock speed it runs at about the speed of AMD's top-of-the line Athlon 64 FX-62!