Foster’s Dream Computer is Being Built

September 30, 2009

Over the past year, I’ve covered all kinds of parts that you may want to consider in your next computer. I’ve told you that I would soon be ordering some parts and assembly my dream computer. The parts have been ordered and almost all of them have arrived in the office. Now it is time for me to put them all together. As many of you have asked about what I decided to buy, I’m going to document the list of all the parts I ordered. I’ll also link to each of the products at Amazon as well as back to the blog post where we discussed that part where possible.

CPU: Intel Core i7 950 Quad-Corel 3.06 GHz Desktop Processor. We last talked about processors in the New Intel Core i7 and i5 Processors post. I decided to go with one of the more powerful processors available. My goal is also to overclock (run it at a faster speed than rated) the processor to at least 3.5 GHz if I can do so without errors. Heck, I may be able to go even faster.

CPU Cooler: Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme 1366. If you are going to overclock the processor, it is imperative to keep the temperature down. I talked about this in the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme post last week. Even if you don’t plan to overclock your machine, it is important to keep the CPU as cool as possible for optimal performance.

Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound. I haven’t talked about thermal paste before so I’ll have to talk about it more in a future post. The paste sits between the CPU and the CPU Cooler and helps to dissipate the heat. It doesn’t cost a lot, but is definitely important for keeping your computer cool.

Motherboard: Asus P6T Deluxe V2 Core i7. I last talked about motherboards in January and a lot of new models have emerged since then. Back then I chose an Asus board and I did the same when putting together this machine. The Extreme board was a little bit more than I wanted to spend and had more features than I really needed so I went with the P6T Deluxe V2 and saved $100 over the Extreme board.

Memory: Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D Dominator 6 GB 3 x 2 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz 240-Pin DDR3 Core i7 Memory Kit. I talked about memory in January and prices have already dropped quite a bit. Not only did I get one set for 6 GB of RAM, I got two sets and loaded up the computer with 12 GB of RAM. I’m sure that is more than I need, but it was worth a little extra to put in as much memory as possible.

Power Supply: OCZ Technology PPCS910 910-Watt PC Power Silencer. Power supplies were discussed in mid-February. It it important to have enough power to get juice to all of your components. It is also nice to have your system be fairly quiet. So I chose a different power supply than what I discussed back then.

Video Card: BFG nVidia GeForce GTX 295. I talked about video cards in the Video Cards – Better and Best post in August. I’m not much of a gamer, but I work with graphics all day and wanted one of the best cards available. This card has power to spare and then some.

Sound Card: PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion Series. It has been over a year since I wrote about sound cards. There hasn’t been much change in that time and I went with one of the best cards from Creative Labs. Part of the reason I wanted to get great sound is that I do a lot of sound recording and editing when I do my tutorial videos.

SSD Drive: Patriot Torqx 2.5-Inch 128 GB Sata II Solid State Drive. I discussed these lightning fast drives about a month ago in the Patriot Torqx Solid State Drives post. I will be installing Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit on this drive for the fastest performance possible.

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5 TB Sata 32 MB Cache. I talked about this exact drive back in March. It is fast and it holds a lot of data. I will partition it into two partitions. One partition will be used to install all of my software and media such as clip art, font and photo libraries. The other partition will hold all of the data that I have created. I don’t see any way that this drive will come close to filling up any time soon.

DVD Drive: Samsung Internal Half Height DVD-W Supermulti Sata 22X Lightscribe. The drive I got is a very close cousin of the Samsung DVD burner I discussed in March. I believe it is a slightly updated model and it cost less than half as much as the one covered in March.

Blu-Ray Drive: Pioneer BDR-203 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer. I talked about an LG Blu-Ray drive in July and decided to go in another direction when I bought this drive. Basically I felt the Pioneer drive had equal performance at a better price. Now some might wonder why I got two separate drives for burning discs. I like having two drives since it is easier to copy from one to the other. I doubt I’ll use Blu-Ray much in the near future, so I got the much less expensive DVD burner since it is probably all that I need in the short term.

Media Reader: MD3 Media Dashboard. I told you about the MD3 Media Dashboard about a month ago. It looks great and it provides slots for all of the popular media cards along with even more USB ports and eSata ports. I’m excited to finally be able to insert my media cards directly into the computer rather than having to plug a USB device in to do it.

Case: Cooler Master ATCS 840 Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case. All of these components have to go into a case and this one seemed like the perfect choice. It has very good ventilation and plenty of room for all of the components I’ve chosen. It may not be the least expensive case, but it is definitely one of the best.

Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000. I last covered keyboards about a year ago and this was the keyboard I’d recommended. This exact keyboard is attached to my current computer and I was ready to get another one for the new computer since I really love it.

The total bill was $2830.87 for the components listed above. I will be using my current monitor, scanner, speakers and a few other gadgets. Some of you will consider this expensive, but I feel the time I save with a powerful computer is worth the extra cost. You have the list of components and you can decide where you can cut corners or where you want to get something even more powerful than what I chose.

Once everything is up and running, I’ll revisit this topic and talk about how it was assembled and how it is performing. Feel free to post a comment on what you think of this machine. What do you like about it? What would you change?

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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