New Computer

Monday 3. March, 2008

I finally got around to buy me a new computer as the old one really started to feel old. Now I just have to cut in some “expenses” as it was rather pricey for a student budget.

This is what I had before:

  • AMD Athlon XP 2400+, 2.0 GHz processor
  • 1 GB RAM (DDR-333)
  • Asus A7V8X-X motherboard
  • 200 GB HD by Seagate
  • Geforce 6600 GT (AGP)
  • Some cheap DVD-drive that cannot read cd-rw-disks it burned
  • 1,44 MB floppy drive
  • 1,2 MB floppy drive  (I don’t really use it… It just looked cool)

Hmm.. funny… I don’t remember what components I had on it…
Anyway this is what I got now:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6750, 2.66 GHz
  • Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard
  • Corsair Twin2x  1 GB DDR2-800 memory kit, total 2 GB(TWIN2X2048-6400C4 G)
  • Western Digital Caviar SE16 320 GB HD
  • Gigabyte GV-NX88T256H graphics adapter based on NVIDIA 8800 GT
  • Antec Sonata III case with 500 W power supply

As I don’t have a car, I had a bit of problem on how to get it into my apartment from the local post office, but my two friends from the university helped with it. I don’t live too far from the office so we brought the three packages over by our bare hands 🙂

The case was the heaviest package and I had to carry it as far as the first traffic lights until my friend told me I looked ridiculous carrying the heavy big package so we switched and I got the lightest package 🙂

Building the computer wasn’t so easy as I thought it would be. After putting every component where they belonged the computer booted fine. Then the problems started. My old Windows XP installation cd didn’t contain any sata-drivers as they were supplied in Service Pack 2. I had created the sata-driver floppy but the installation halted on STOP-error “PAGEFAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA” or something like that and a reboot later it told that the installation structures were damaged and it refused to continue. I restarted the installation several times just to get various different STOP-errors until I gave up and tried to install Ubuntu.

The Ubuntu installation didn’t start very well as I saw some error messages from the linux kernel, at this point suspicion rised. I rebooted and selected the memtesting from the boot menu of the Ubuntu dvd. What I was encountered with was various memory errors and a lot of red colored characters. OK, my memory chips weren’t working properly. Maybe one of the two Corsairs was broken? I tested them individually and neither of them failed testing. As I put them both back on the motherboard, the failing began again. I wasn’t thrilled at all. Apparently the motherboard fails to recognize the memkit and give them proper settings. Some googling with my laptop revealed that others have had the same problem. I had to manually set some timing and voltage settings in the BIOS. Tadaa! It didn’t fail anymore.

I think it was this site I got the working settings from:

Bios Settings:
SLI-Ready Memory = Disabled
Memory Voltage = 2.085
tCL = 4
tRCD = 4
tRP = 4
tRAS = 12
CMD = 2
Advanced Memory Timings

tRC = 22
tWTR = 15
All other settings = auto

Now I have Windows XP Professional, Windows 2003 Server and Ubuntu Linux installed (I got the Server from MS’ DreamSpark-service for students). Everything seems to working alright

As for performance… well.. none of few games has any performance issues. It was an interesting experience to play Portal and Half-Life 2: Episode Two without any stuttering or glitches. My SimCity Societies is still waiting to be tested as for some reason it keeps telling me about conflicts with emulation software even though I don’t have any emulation software. It seems like someone is going to get cracked.

(The HL2:EP2 achievement about squishing 333 grubs was only 3 bugs away… >:-()