This would be a sorta longish post on my experiences on changing my main desktop/workhorse from a Pentium 4 to a Dual-Core system.
For those who had been following the blog I more often
than not had a pattern of putting up a post atleast 2-3 times a month.For the last month or so haven’t put up any posts. At the same time, around 2 to 3 months back my machine had broke down and I was hoping to get the new shiny AMD Fusion chips but the constant delay on their part kept me delaying also.
Being Diwali and the extended family coming to the house it was total chaos. So in this chaos I really don’t know how or why I was gently probed to buy a new system. My mother being addicted to games like Solitaire and Jigsaw Puzzles could have played a part.
So on the Dusshara day, couple of days before Diwali, with new spanking clothes went to buy components for a new Personal Computer/Desktop. While shopping around, was finding that the new 32nm chips were a bit out of reach as I just wanted to have something till the new AMD Fusion chips come and perhaps 6-8 months after that will buy those. So while browsing around came to know of a Pentium LGA 775 Dual-Core 2.7 Ghz E5400 Codename : Wolfdale , a 2 GB Transcend 667 MHz DDR2 Non-ECC Ram, an Asus P5KPL-AM IN board, 500 GB SATA 2 HDD and a no-name 450 W Power supply with an iffy cabinet (looks good but thin steel inside).
The whole bundle put me back by around 10.2k . I did my purchases at Data Care Corporation . Now while I’m no big fan of theirs they do give me reasonable prices and their products are often pushed so getting an old piece of hardware is a rarity (old stock) .
While looking around and looking at the various bundles being put up I noticed from the AMD side only a Phenom X II, that bundle was put up as the costliest bundle available (around 50k). So if I didn’t know any better I would have said that AMD doesn’t know the market or prices itself out of the market. From what I know and what I have known from speaking with people at AMD sometime back that they have been trying to make more partners but are also wary of having too many partners so the partner’s businesses don’t cannibalize each other. This has resulted into seeing strange promotion bundles as seen by me at DCC.
The Good :-
+ a. Now the only saving grace of the Asus Motherboard is the integrated GMA 31 chipset which could use upto 256 Megabytes of RAM for Graphics and Gaming support. So one could do some decent amount of browsing with the new age browsers which do quite a bit of hardware acceleration and do some sort of casual gaming as well.
+ b. It has two legacy IDE ports and one can put up to 2 SATA (2) HDDs.
+c . The motherboard though is of good build quality. I am no system builder enthusiast but it does give you ideas. The mobo has much better possibilities than the previous build and that too at no high cost. Quite a few of the these features were at a premium around 3 odd years ago and now they are are the mainstream or even going out.
The Bad :-
– a.No hardware RAID controller though.
– b. Nor an PCI x16 slot for adding a graphic card 😦
– c. I was also turned off by the availability of only four slots of USB ports (2x only) as well
– d. And availability of only two slots for SATA
– e. While the front has two slots and back also have two slots both have only one bus each way. So you don’t get full speed if you put couple of USB thumb-drives in the front slots and try to see if both of them get optimum speeds (they don’t).
-f. Now the bad, the biggest shortcoming as I see it was putting a legacy VGA port. Would it have hurt Asus to have an older DVI-D or an HDMI port so that one could have a purely digital signal.
Overall a bummer but then what can you expect in a low-end board 😦 and then again I’m looking forward to using nice AMD board in the short to medium-term.
If like me you have been living under the rock or not, you should/would know about the move of the memory controller from the motherboard to the CPU. Now while that has been done with first AMD and now Intel with the Nehalem Architecture some part of it also made it to the old Wolfdale architecture. It seems that now the choice of the processor and RAM which make the speed of the bus. As of right now, the bus speed on my system is cruising at half the speed the bus is capable of. If I buy a newer Core 2 Duo or higher Intel variant processor on the 45nm the bus speed would go higher up. That kind of expandability couldn’t be explored with my old motherboard which was a Mercury/Kobian motherboard.
A part of me has been dreaming about a lot of things nowadays. Some years ago, I met few people who are part of the hardware modding community. These guys do lot of swell things. One of the things that had impressed me was they cut their own sheet metal and make highly customized boxes for themselves. Some even went into businesses but not for masses but for the higher-end enthusiast crowds. I was also able to see some distilled water cooling solutions. This was at a time when most people didn’t know what cooling was all about.
There is still a lot to explore, I might put an addendum later on as need be. As of now those are my thoughts on the subject. Lights out for now 🙂