A-shopping we will go
Deep breath, and…
This afternoon, I successfully won an auction for a second hand Sound Blaster Audigy 2 NX USB sound card on eBay, and decided that the time was ripe for acquiring the various components required for my new small form factor computer system from Shuttle. ShuttleUK, with their handy system builder, seemed like the ideal place to start, and I set about putting together something that will hopefully satisfy my computing urges for at least the next couple of years:
- SD37P2: Because Shuttle’s cases as so small, they design their own built-in motherboards, which have a considerably more compressed layout and array of chipsets than most ATX motherboards. The SD37P2 includes the case, a 400W power supply and a Core 2 Duo compatible motherboard based around the Intel 975X Express chipset. It supports up to three SATA hard drives (I only need two) and has two PCIe slots (although, because my video card’s fan will get in the way of the second slot, only one will effectively be usable).
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Socket 775 2.4 GHz: I did consider going for the absolute fastest available CPU, the Core 2 Duo 2.67 GHz, but quickly realised that, for a fairly measly extra 270 MHz, I’d end up spending another £140 I don’t have. Besides, 2.4 GHz should be plenty for my gaming and other assorted needs.
- Kingston 1GB Kit 667 MHz DDR2 x2: Fast RAM and plenty of it. Windows Vista eats memory for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so I want to make sure it doesn’t go hungry.
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 80GB S300: I went for the smallest, cheapest hard drive I could find, which in this case turned out to be an 80 GB affair: more than enough for the operating system and required program files. I intend to initially partition only half of the drive, so that, in the event that I discover the need to set up a dual boot with Windows XP, I won’t have to reformat the Vista partition too and restart from scratch. I’ll also be plugging in my current (400 GB) hard disk as a secondary drive, on which to store data, games, music and so on.
- Asus DVD Burner DRW-1814BLT: In my current system, I have two optical drives: an aged Pioneer DVD-ROM drive (region-free) and a slightly less aged Pioneer DVD burner. However, because the Shuttle case only has room for a single optical drive, I’m junking (well, pawning) both of these in favour of an all-purpose model, which also has the added benefit of being able to write dual-layer discs. Mindful of the fact that it will be region-locked, I’m now extremely glad that I paid for a copy of DVD Region+CSS Free a few years back.
- Asus EN8800GTS/HTDP/320M: And, last but not least, we have a right heifer of a video card. As with the processor, I did contemplate going the whole hog and picking up the most powerful model available - which, in this case, would have been a 768 MB 8800GTX - but again I was held back by the increased price. Not only that, but the 8800GTX is absolutely massive and apparently runs incredibly hot. It’s also a power hog, and, despite the fact that Shuttle’s system builder doesn’t red-flag any potential problems, I’m not convinced that a 400W power supply would be enough to run it stably. The 320 MB 8800GTS will hopefully be more than sufficient, and, if it’s not, I suppose the option to upgrade in the future is there.
Well, that’s that. I shall be weeping once my credit card bill arrives.
Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2007 at 4:04 PM
| Comments: 4
And... more or less, how much for the whole wonder?
Just today I've read a review on a magazine: a complete system with SD37P2, Core 2 Extreme (~2,9GHz), 2GB RAM, 400GB Hard disk, nVidia 7950GX2, Windows Vista Ultimate - all for a "mere" 3345 EUR
Posted by: MCP, April 29, 2007 9:42 PM
I paid £972.31 including VAT and shipping costs, so basically about 1,400 EUR. Now you know why I am weeping! :D
Posted by: Whiggles
, April 30, 2007 6:32 AM
All things considered that seems a very reasonable total. I am moving to pastures new in the next month or so and doubt I'll be able to accommodate a desktop PC (flat is very small and the good lady wouldn't allow PC in the bedroom). I was thinking of making do with a Laptop but was anxious about the lack of speed, functionality and power of the average (my current) Laptop. I had expected to fork out £700 and upwards for a decent Laptop but perhaps a Shuttle PC is the best way to go.
My slight concern would be how much maintenance and technical fiddling would be required. I don't mind the odd bit of tinkering but beyond the very basic I am less than confident I'd have the necessary skill, knowledge or patience to get one of these things assembled, installed and up and running.
Best of luck with the new mini rig and let me know how you find it.
Posted by: Count Fosco
, May 1, 2007 9:11 AM
I suspect that you will have to do little tinkering, if any, provided you buy a pre-built Shuttle PC. I’ve ordered mine from ShuttleUK, which has a handy system builder page. It will let you customise your system by choosing various components (and it won’t let you select incompatible parts). Then, they’ll build it for you and send it to you. My brother was on the phone to them today to find out when I can expect my order, and they said they were building it this afternoon and that, all being well, it might ship out either today or tomorrow. When it arrives I’ll let you know what their service was like.
Posted by: Whiggles
, May 1, 2007 5:44 PM
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