I have not built systems from scratch for years, but it's a skillset
that does not go away. Almost like riding a bike. This is useful to me,
as I had the motherboard on my desktop system die the other day, and
I've come to rely on it as a primary system over the past few months.
This system was purchased to run my TV a few years back, and I paid as
little as I could to get it, around \$300 for the tower only. Oddly, at
that price it came with a SSD drive(a small one). This upgrade let me
watch content at full resolution on my projector, which was an upgrade
from the then 10 year old system I had been using. When it died I really
wanted to get a system that could do some more work that I wanted to get
into, so it was the perfect time to upgrade!
My currently running workstation system.
A bit of research, and some recent experience building a system for a
coworker, and I was off. I decided to replace the motherboard, upgrade
the RAM and get a video card that could accelerate my graphics
work(Therefore it had to be a CUDA device, so NVidia chips, I would have
preferred ATI as I have been a fan of them for years). Went and did some
research and pickup up a 4th Gen i5-4670, cheap motherboard, 8GB of
1600MHz RAM and a GTX 750 video card. I figured I could save the rest of
the system(power, case, drives).
Brought the package of new parts home, and installed them. Everything
worked fine, well, except it would not boot windows. I expected this, as
drivers for drive controllers can lead to some real issues. I was able
to work around it by downgrading the mode of the hard drive controller
to emulated IDE in the BIOS, and was planning on fixing the issue. Turns
out I need to reinstall the OS for other reasons, so I will just fix the
issue when I reinstall.
Speaking of reinstall, I had forgotten that I had a 32 bit version of
Windows on this system. I don't really know why I installed that, as I
generally go 64 bit, but that is what I had and it was not a problem.
That is, until I had 8GB of RAM in the system, and could not access it
all. Guess it's time to upgrade the OS. I'm really comfortable with
Windows 8.1 these days, so I will go with a copy of that from my license
Finally, I had to get my monitors hooked up. I had been using one
screen, mostly because I didn't have a long enough video cable(just
found one the other day). With the new system I used that cable and
hooked up two screens. And only that one worked. Lots of fiddling and I
found that the analog port(via DVI adapter) generally did not like to
share with any of the others, I have no clue why, but I was able to hook
up via HDMI to the other monitors and get things working. I grabbed a
flaky monitor that was hanging around and put it in the middle, since
it's large and high resolution, plugged in more cables and we were
looking quite good. (The flaky monitor overheats after about 4 hours of
constant use, I rarely do that, so I should be fine for now.)
Add in the peripherals and we are good to go. New workstation, it
accelerates Photoshop and CAD functions and looks great. Plus it plays
my very small game collection better. Once I've upgraded the OS I should
be good to go for a while. My windows experience score went up to 5.5,
but that is probably due to being unable to access all the RAM and that
score bringing things down. Anyone want a probably working socket 1155
chip, on the low end, and 4GB of 1333 MHz RAM cheap?