||[Dec. 8th, 2004|02:34 pm]
The Veritable TechNinja
Building a new computer is frickin' hard. No wonder I waited since mid-1998 to do so. I'd really like to get a server-quality motherboard, but the 925E/XE boards from Tyan and Supermicro are _way_ too expensive. ABit will do, but I don't want to overclock, I want rock-solid stability. Yes, I know that's a funny thing for someone who runs Windows at home to say, but screw you, I can't remember the last time my desktop BSODed, and I keep it on constantly. The processor is an exception to my woes, you can buy a 3.2GHz LGA775 Prescott anywhere.
The RAM is my first headache. I want ECC RAM. It helps a lot, I know from experience. Intel has apparently recieved and tested a whole boatload of DDR2-533 ECC modules, but guess how many you can buy? NONE. Well, I shouldn't say none, as Kingston has a 512 meg stick out, but I don't trust Kingston any more than I trust Quantum. Not one of those part numbers is available for retail sale. I even went so far as to call Crucial and ask them, they couldn't even tell me when they were coming out.
Next, video cards. I'm hard-pressed to put any amount of money towards a video card unless it's the best at what I want it to do. All I want it to do is extremely color-accurate and high-res 2D. Matrox is the obvious answer. Of course, there's a problem. All the reasonably affordable Matrox cards are AGP. Guess what intel eliminated when they went to LGA775? Yup, that's right, AGP. There's regular PCI cards available, but for some unknown reason, they're prohibitively expensive, and using one would fill the one and only open PCI slot on the motherboard I don't even want, but may be stuck with. The cheapest one I can find is $220+sh, which is from a pretty shady retailer. More respectable places want more like $279. Mind you, this is _not_ a 3D card. It's a 64mb pro-quality 2D card. You'd be lucky to get an acceptable framerate in Quake 3. I called Matrox, plans to unveil PCI-Express video cards are on hold for at least two months. At least they knew what I was taking about. To top it all off, Cooler Master stopped manufacturing the only case I really like both the looks and features of. Fuck. So I wait until frickin' March to build, or do I get stuck with sub-par hardware?
I can get DDR2-533 ECC Memory from Infineon from Germany, with a relatively reasonable exchange rate WOOT!. The Supermicro P8SAA can be had for $205 at buy.com. I'm still boned on the video card, so I might just end up going with a Matrox G550 instead of a P650 with the 10-bit RAMDAC.