So, what did I install in my wife’s new desktop computer?
I needed to consider what she was going to do with her computer, which includes some email, web surfing, some photo editing, some graphics, mainly simple things. I could have built her a lot less powerful computer — but the incremental cost was in the range of a couple hundred dollars. Since I hope that she’ll keep this one 4 years, or even 6 years like her last one, I wanted to make sure it had enough power to last that long.
I started by looking at the Intel Core i7 and Core i5 CPU’s. I finally decided that, since her computer sits in a computer desk (open at front and back, but with about 1 inch gap on each side), I would get the Core i5, which should run cooler. It does.
I settled on the Intel Core i5-750, which is a 95-watt processor, compared to the 130-watt Core i7 processors I was considering.
For the motherboard, I picked a Gigabyte model GA-P55A-U3P that was very similar to the GA-P55-U4P model that I used for my home theater PC. The biggest changes were: the addition of 2 SATA3 connectors, the addition of USB3, loss of one PCIEx1 card socket and a heatsink relocated. This allows me to install a maximum of 8 GB RAM, which I chose to do.
The CPU cooler that I picked was the same as I picked for the home theater PC, a Thermaltake Silent 1156.
For the power supply, I chose the Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W power supply. That would give me way more power capacity than I should need, so it should stablize the power more effectively. Still, if I needed more power, it would be there waiting.
I went with a little more expensive video card for the desktop than I did for the home theater PC, the
POWERCOLOR Radeon HD 4670 AX4670 . While there will be some game-playing on this desktop, it will be arcade-style games and word games, rather than the first-person shooters and role-playing games that tend to demand high-end video cards.
My memory choice was the same as for my home theater PC, the I went with a little more expensive video card for the desktop than I did for the home theater PC, the
G.SKILL Trident 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM. This was one of the models that Gigabyte specifically listed, on its web site, as compatible with the motherboard. Plus, it looks great!
I chose the COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 case in black & silver. This inexpensive case is lightweight, has a window on the side, and is designed for tool-less . This was one of the models that Gigabyte specifically listed, on its web site, as compatible with the motherboard. Plus, it looks great!
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional – Retail version for my operating system. Although this was much more expensive than the System Builder OEM package (almost double the price) it had several advantages. First, it came with both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions. I can install one, if I don’t like it, I can install the other.
Second, the retail version allows you to use it on one computer, but does not prohibit you from replacing the motherboard and processor as upgrades (Microsoft’s stance is that System Builder versions are licensed for one specific computer — and they define that to include one specific motherboard and CPU, or the exact replacements of them for repair purposes).
Finally, the System Builder license is actually licensed only for system builders who sell the resulting computer to an unrelated third party. Using it for your own PC or a family PC appears to be prohibited by the System Builder license.
Samsung SH-S223L was my choice for a DVD burner. It has worked well both for reading CD’s and DVD’s as well as for burning DVD’s. It is an OEM model and does not include cable, screws (don’t need them on the Centurion 5 toolless case), or software. I bought Ashampoo Burning Studio 9 for the computer after downloading and trying the trial version.
Finally, the hard drive — I chose the Hitachi Deskstar 1 TB Retail package. Although I don’t think she’ll use anywhere near that amount of space, some of it can be used for backing up other data files.
After installing Windows, my first step was to install VIPRE Antivirus Premium and to load its updated definitions. This provided my antivirus, antispyware and firewall programs. At that point, I installed the drivers and utilities from the CDROM that came with my Gigabyte motherboard. Then, I did my Windows Updates. Finally, I installed the video drivers from the ATI CDROM that came with the video card.