Sunday, November 02, 2014

I built a PC

The day before I left for San Diego Comic-Con, my PC died. 

Back at the Comic-Con in 2012, I scored an AMD A8 3870 K APU at a Geek and Sundry Felicia Day signing.  I remember it rained that day.  It's been sitting in the box with a bunch of other SDCC swag.  I decided to build a new PC around this APU.

My old PC was an HP M9400f.  It was heavily damaged in shipping, so I got it a new case.  Here's a list of upgrades I made to it:

Rosewill mid tower
Mushkin 128GB SSD
Seagate 3TB hard drive
DVDR drive
Thermaltake 500W power supply
Coolermaster Hyper 212 fan
Asus GeForce 210 GPU

I bought the fan to help quiet the PC down, which it did immensely.  The old fan was caked in dust.  The HP power supply needed replacing.   I bought the graffics card because the original had sound issues.

I figured the motherboard was dead, so I took it apart.  I had planned to upgrade my PC eventually and had already made a list of parts I would need.

Asus F1 A55-M motherboard
Crucial 8GBx2 DDR3 PC1866 ram
Asus Radeon HD6450

It took me about 2 hours to take apart my old motherboard and install the new parts.  I made two mistakes here.  At the time of purchase, my budget was tight.  The motherboard I got doesn't have HDMI out.  For a second mistake, the ram I bought have heatsinks that get in the way of the CPU fan. 

This is an optimal configuration for the fan, going from right to left:
Exhaust <--- CPU Cooler <--- Fan <--- Air
My set up works like this:
Exhaust <--- fan <--- CPU Cooler <--- Air
The cooler is still cool to touch, so I'm not worried.

I changed the GPU from GeForce to Radeon just to keep the drivers all lined up.  The A8 APU comes with a feature called Crossfire.  So with the Radeon I got that feature and HDMI out.  The Crossfire feature is kind of lost on me, since I don't play video games much.  The drivers took a few days to get stable, but I eventually found the right settings.  Only problem is that my computer gets cranky when it comes back from sleep and the Windows taskbar stops working right.  Reboot takes like 30 seconds so not a big deal to me.  I remember when computers took 5 minutes to reboot.

CPU performance has been stellar.  Moving from 8GB to 16GB of ram has been nice.  No slowdown at all.

Note: This post was drafted in July of 2014.