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Back in 2003…

I used to be “particularly interested in quiet computers and components”. These days I’m more interested in Youtube and videography, although I still like my computers to be quiet! I still spend way too much time online. These days, technology has changed, and although I know just as much as I did back then about Computer basics, I haven’t kept up with all the new technologies specifically.

I first tried Mac back in 2006 with a 17 inch Powerbook, and by February 2007 I had purchased a 15 inch Macbook Pro which, to this day I still have and am typing this very sentence on. It also got me through my latter college years (Spring 2007 – Winter 2009 at SJSU) so I have somewhat of a small emotional attachment to it just from all that it has been through with me. However, with my recent hobby of Youtubing and videography, it is a bit lacking in modern processing power.

I am currently unemployed and looking for a job, so I was thinking once I get a job, I would build a new desktop. 6 years ago I thought a laptop would be my future computer, and it was a very good estimate that was also ahead of its time (back then, everyone wanted to buy Desktops). Who would of thought I’d get into a hobby that required powerful computers? As I wasn’t and am still not a hard gamer, I didn’t think I’d ever need more than a good laptop. Laptops also have a big advantage in that they consume much less power, and I’m really into being “green” when I can.

Also, I’ve just finally stopped using my Sony Trinitron CRT recently. Well, I think it was in 2008 when I finally decided to buy a 30 inch Cinema Display. Until then, I must of used the Sony CRT for a good 2-3 years at least. I believed and still do to some extent, that CRT’s had better image quality than even the best LCD’s. In June of 2010, I sold my 30 inch Cinema Display amid rumors that Apple would update it with a new 27 inch LED Cinema Display. I was interested in preserving the value of my monitor before the update, and for that I was mostly right to do so. However, the updated Cinema Display had the ultra reflective screen that I did not like, and so I switched to the newest 27 inch Dell monitor, the U2711. I also liked that it has a lot of inputs so I can hook up my game consoles to play games. Since I live in a small room, I have gotten rid of my Television for many years now, opting to try to stick to just a good large computer monitor.

“I probably like the computer technology world because it is always changing and there is always something new to read about it;)” – This is something I wrote at least 7 years ago, if not more, and it still holds true. These days I keep up more with just basic tech news rather than in depth details that I used to read into. The latest Apple gadgets, OS’s, and of course Smartphones and their technologies. I currently own an iPhone 4 which I believe to be the best hardware currently on the market, yet I will soon part with in the interest of $$. I am going back to my 3Gs, which I still have. I will miss the iPhone 4…particularly the screen and camera, but will probably update again sometime in 2011 after I get a job and we see what the iPhone 5 is all about. With Christmas coming up and Apple’s rumors and release cycle, I believe it is a good time to sell my iPhone 4 for maximum value benefits. I expect to get anywhere from $600 – $700 for my iPhone 4 (minus steep 12% fee from selling on eBay!).

As for the desktop I’d like to build, I would probably budget at around $1000 and have an idea what sort of build and components I am looking for. Since I’m really into technology and computers, probably more than most people, I tend to have a bigger budget than most people. I would like it to be a hackintosh compatible computer, so I have the option to run OSX or Windows 7. What this means is I would choose hardware that is known to be able to run OSX with some hacked boot disks or whatever (I haven’t done the research yet).

I would like the build to have probably a single socket quad core intel CPU, based on what I know about CPU’s these days. Basically I want it to be a highly overclockable CPU that is reasonably priced. I would choose a hex core intel if I could due to the 32nm process it uses, but they are currently priced at over $800 each at least, while a low end yet overclockable intel quad with 45nm core is more in the $200 range. I haven’t ruled out dual socket Xeons if the cost is right, basically looking for bang for the buck here, while still getting a reasonable amount of power and power efficiency. I do believe smaller die processes (32nm vs 45nm) are usually superior in headroom and power efficiency.

For the PSU, I am pretty much dead set on Seasonic. Probably either the latest X series or the fanless one, whichever I feel has the best combo of noise, efficiency, and price. I’ve heard the newest fanned Seasonics don’t actually spin the fan unless they consume a certain amount of power. If I was confident I would not pass that threshold, I would get the fanned PSU as it is cheaper and has a higher max power rating.

For the case I would use my current case if I could, the Antec P180 original. I still think this is one of the best, and best looking cases on the market. Besides, someone I know and respect helped design it, which I like as well. I would almost certainly use my favorite HSF, the Scythe Ninja, and what I like about this case in particular is that there is a fan grill directly above where the CPU socket would be, since I am considering making my next build ENTIRELY noiseless (fanless with SSDs).

Speaking of SSDs, that is what I plan on using as the harddrive, and I’m pretty dead set on this as well. I would probably choose or at least seriously consider the next gen Intel G3 SSD’s. The question is not if I’ll use SSD’s, but how many I will get and put into RAID 0. It could be anywhere from 1-4, depending on cost, mood at time of purchase, and number of SATA channels I have. SSD’s have been the greatest performance increase I have ever seen when I upgraded a component in all my years and experience upgrading computer hardware.

I would also use my old DVD burner if I could, but that may not work out because it is PATA and I imagine everything on mobos is SATA these days. Its been so long since I built a desktop that a couple of major interface changes have occurred, namely the switch to PCI express for expansion cards, and SATA for other peripherals such as harddrives and optical drives. I’d probably also get some sort of wireless card and a bluetooth card, and a good hackintosh compatible mobo with fanless cooling for the onboard components. I would look for native USB3, Bluetooth 3, and Wireless N built in if that is even possible, so I don’t have to deal with external cards for that functionality. I think it would be a cleaner build to only have one expansion card – for the videocard. Even that is debatable if onboard video is decent enough to play starcraft 2 at reasonable settings, since as I often repeat, I am not a hardcore gamer. If the videocard effected the performance of my video editing software (Final Cut), then that would be different…

So there you have it, a good idea of what sort of build I am looking for. I would probably go with a low heat videocard that has a good combo of price, speed, and efficiency. Then I would probably go through the mobo BIOS and undervolt/overclock things I find to get a good combination of speed and heat produced. Ideally it would be entirely passively cooled, but I am not ruling out a VERY quiet 12cm fan, since even a tiny amount of air movement leads to SIGNIFICANTLY lower temperatures. It may be a compromise I have to make. Ram quantity would almost certainly be between 4gb – 8gb, as I feel it is the best combination of price/performance. I’ve read recently that ram now runs in triple channel, so 3 sticks of 2gb may be a good choice there.