Weekend Project - Building two quad-core PCs

Weekend Project - Building two quad-core PCs

Summary: Kicking off a short series of articles on building and configuring a couple of quad-core PCs.

TOPICS: Hardware

Instead of a Friday Rant today I thought I'd kick off what will pan out into a short series of articles.

Tomorrow, If all goes well, I should be taking delivery of all the parts necessary to build two quad-core systems.  These systems will be based on the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor.  These CPUs will have the latest G0 stepping (or SLACR S-Spec code) cores. What this means is that they are the 95W TDP version of the Q6600 as opposed to the earlier steppings which were 105W TDP.  What this means is lower power consumption and a greater overclocking potential (not that they really need overclocking).

The Q6600 will be paired with an ASUS motherboard and 4GB or Corsair RAM.  On the graphics side I'll be fitting these systems with ATI Radeon HD 2600XT 256MB GGR4 cards.  I nearly went for HD2900 cards but just couldn't justify it. 

Oh, and to top off the systems, I'm fitting each system with a 150GB, 10,000RPM Western Digital Raptor X drives.  This drive will hold the OS.  Why did I go for it?  I just wanna see the platters spinning and the heads moving!

So, what are you doing this weekend?

Topic: Hardware

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  • With the 10k HDD instead of a 7.2K

    I wonder what the performance advantage is these days for running your OS and applications on the faster drive. Will you get the chance to run some comparative benchmarks on this machine by loading your OS of choice and applications onto a 7200 drive?
    • Good point

      My plan is to try to compare the Raptor X to some other drives I've got here and see if I spent my money wisely ;-)

      Note that I have no idea whether I spent it wisely - the reviewes of the Raptor X are good, but whether this translates into real and noticable performance gains ... well, I'll have to wait and see. Still, it's a cool drive and I'm not going to regret buying it (unless the MTBF is awful or something).
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • I'll look forward to seeing your results (nt)

      • Test your Raptor against a 7200 RAID1 configuration

        Test your Raptor against two 7200 in RAID1 configuration that's partitioned to the same size of your full Raptor and run some IOMeter tests on it. On the remaining portion of your drive, run RAID0 and run some throughput tests on that against the single Raptor.
    • Good Idea

      A lot of people want to know that...including me :)
      Hopefully there isn't too much of a difference...you will make me feel bad lol!
  • I'll be doing a performance evaluation of Linux and OSX

    I want to see which is more responsive on my 6 year old Toshiba laptop. The tests are simple:
    1. Which OS will install faster on my Toshiba laptop.
    2. Which OS allows me to configure my mail client faster (I'll time it from login to the successful sending of 1 email).
    3. Which OS allows me to have 4 desktops on the 4 faces of a cube and use my mouse to spin the cube around in order to choose the desktop I want to work with.

    Gee, I sure hope there aren't any issues with test #1!!!! :) :) :)
    • Sounds like fun!

      Have a blast!
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • sigh

      i am rolling my eyes at you, sir.
    • Only four desktops?

      Ha! I can get 32 (but I normally have 6).
      Michael Kelly
  • WD's Raptor Doesn't Play Nice With Vista

    See the following:
    • re: WD's Raptor Doesn't Play Nice With Vista


      More accurately (and to the point), the combination of the WD Raptor, an upper-level nVidia 7000 or 8000 video adapter, and Vista Enterprise or Ultimate do not play well together.

      Besides, Adrian is going to be using ATI X2600 video cards in his system builds. While Tom's Hardware hasn't necessarily tested that card in combination with the Raptor and Vista, it's unlikely to cause the problems noted in the article you referenced. Not impossible, mind you, but unlikely.
      M.R. Kennedy
      • That's part of what I'm testing ...

        ... I heard about this issue before but never seen it ... I might have to try and get an NVIDIA to replicate the bug.
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        • Testing...


          Though it seems that Tom's was able to reproduce the problem on two different machines (using the Raptor and gaming-level nVidia 7 and 8 series cards, it would be interesting to see if an independent source (yourself) has the same experience.

          Veering back to the topic of the article:

          Though you said (jokingly, I presume) that the reason you went with the Raptors was so you could "see the platters spin and the heads moving", I'm pretty sure you had other reasons for using a relatively small drive.

          Perhaps one of those reasons was to see if the Raptor produces more perceived noise than "slower" drives do. And though you stated that the OS would be installed on the Raptor, I'm presuming that a larger secondary drive will be installed for applications, data, and media files. (After all, the latter can claim a huge amount of HDD real estate.)

          What I can't see is how having the OS on a 10K RPM drive is going to speed up media streaming from a 7.2K RPM drive. The media player (presumably WMP11) will certainly load a tad bit faster, but the media it plays would be stored on and read from a "slower" HDD.

          Unless, of course, you initially use the default locations for the user accounts' music and movie directories for baseline tests, then transfer them to the secondary drive for comparison tests.

          Sheesh. <smacks forehead> Am I answering my own questions?
          M.R. Kennedy
    • Best part of that article...

      "Practically all of the editors at Tom's Hardware Guide's Munich labs have made the switch to Windows Vista, using it as their sole operating system - both at home and in the office."

      Kind of throws a wrench into the ABM'ers "lukewarm vista uptake" theory.
  • Bulding Quad-Core Machne

    I too am looking at putting together a Q6600. Interested in which MoBo you have chosen. I'm leaning tword the GIGABYTE GA-G33M-DS2R INTEL. Any comments? also when will your material list be available?
  • I gotta ask why?

    I recently built a quad core but for NLE paired with a Quadro FX3500 GPU. My only regret was not being able to afford an 8 core system which according to the industry gurus definitely speeds up 1080p rendering tasks.

    However, other than prosumer video and other niche applications why would you need 4 cores? The gamers out there plainly state that the money is better spent on a faster GPU.
  • i think that when you're done...

    ...you should give me one. you know, for, uh, more testing. ;-)
  • I'm gonna build a Mac and test OS X

    What you can't? Damn.

    We've already proved that you can't expect to install *nix on any new equipment without endless troubles so I suppose we need to get some Mac person (you know one of the technical ones - they both can't be busy) to see how bad it gets when you put together a Vista computer from scratch.

    Here's a suggestion - go and buy one. The two laptops and the desktop I bought seem to work without a problem. Never mind, perhaps I can disassemble them and see if I can create some problems.

    Now I can understand why Ed Bott is building a media center with the latest gear - that's new. However, reinventing the wheel (believe it or not you can buy the latest gear with Vista already working on it) again and again to confirm either technical incompetence or one's own prejudices is starting to get a little repetitive.
    • what?

      have you been drinking? i can't quite understand that rambling post...
    • Obviously this is lost on you...

      based on your incoherent ramblings