Some thoughts about the new desktop – part I

So I finally did what I had been slowly planning for about two years: I upgraded my desktop computer! It’s been a couple of months now, so I’ve had time to get accustomed to it and test it in everyday use.

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During the years I used my previous setup, there was one particular goal in my mind that was clearer than all the others: silence. This was due to the hideous stock cooler of the previous i7 930. Now I would be wiser and select the best the market has to offer, a Noctua NH-D14 cooling a i7 4790k. Combine that beast with a spacious, sound proofed, Fractal Design Define R4 case and a 550W XTR PSU and the result is almost total silence. The low hum of the fans can be heard, but only faintly, in a silent room, laying still in a bed about 1.5 meters from the case.

The trend of low acoustic emissions continued in the selection of the GPU: Gigabyte GTX 770 OC Windforce 3x. Three fans, but on a typical desktop/movie use-case they spin so silently that they barely add any additional noise.

But amidst all that serenity a new, and loud, problem surfaced when I connected the HDDs: the abysmal noise of the older 7200rpm 1 TB disk. I may have to replace it or move it somewhere else. For now it’s still connected but offline in disk management most of the time to prevent accidental spin-ups.

Other than that I had a sweet upgrade in the system disk. From HDD to a Samsung 840 Evo SSD. The system is now so fast! Especially in all the reboots a new system requires. Not going back to HDDs, that is for sure.

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But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The components needed to be put together first. No big deal, right? Not quite. First: it takes frighteningly large amount of force to close the CPU-socket.  And secondly: after reapplying the thermal paste for the third time and seeing 50c+ in the bios every time I started to think that maybe the thermal paste was not the real issue here. I nervously installed Windows and all the required drivers and behold: idle temps only few degrees higher than ambient. Lesson learned: don’t trust the bios to provide the correct, real-world CPU idle temps.

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But that was just the beginning, only now the dark clouds of system instability are really starting to gather atop the soothing silence that is my new rig. Stay tuned for part II.