Taking a time out from my thesis (read: procrastination) to revel in a few things I received in the post today. A few weeks ago I decided I was going to upgrade my computer to keep up with the times. I just got my parts in today, and I’m trying to resist tearing into them. Really – they’re sitting right over there on the table. Brand-spankin-new sealed boxes that I just want to dig my fingers into… but I will endure without doing so because I promised to show one of my students how to put it all together this Sunday :) The rundown:

Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core @ 3.4GHz

Was thinking of going with an i7 at first, but was eventually won over by the sensual curves and fiery moxie of the i5. (Fun fact: Imagery of fine curves and fiery attitudes were, as they always are, just a product of my imagination.) I also looked at the AMD FX CPUs, one of which is an eight-core 4.1GHz stock out of the box :O! But for what I plan to do, I don’t need the extra cores. I just need that little ‘K’. Which stands for “K, ready to overclock.”

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 4GB @ 1.07GHz

Well, this was an easy choice. I’ve jumped back and forth between Radeon and nVidia over the years, and nVidia wins this round. For the sake of future-proofing, I went with the 4GB variant, which wasn’t a hard switch since it was only $50 or so more expensive than the 2GB version. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything needing more than 2GB right now, but you never know :) I chose Gigabyte because their cooling solution has heat sinks across the board, soaking up heat from the GPU AND the memory, with 3 fans to dissipate. It’s factory overclocked to 1.07GHz and can boost clock to around 1.23GHz at decent load temperatures.

Kingston HyperX Blu 32GB (4x8GB Modules) @ 1600MHz

Whenever I build a new rig or upgrade an old one, I don’t skimp on RAM, but I also don’t really go for the high end stuff. That can get expensive :( Plus I’m too old to try to maximize the CPU to the higher end DDR memory clocks. I trust Kingston, and 1600MHz is okay by me :)
(Did I mention I got this RAM on supersale, mega cheap? I got it mega cheap.)

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX

I’m pretty utilitarian when it comes to motherboards. My case is big enough that I don’t have to worry about what form factor the board is. I just need it to have enough PCI-e 3.0 slots for possible SLIing in the future, support for RAID 0, and on-board 5.1 audio. One definite improvement this has over my current mobo is that it has USB 3.0 ports :D (Note to self: need powered USB 3.0 hub.)

Corsair H80i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler

This one is rather important D: My goal is to overclock the CPU to about 4.5GHz, and Ivy Bridge processors are notoriously toasty. I’m deciding to cast aside my trusty (and huge) Zaleman fan for this all-in-one liquid cooler. I’m most nervous about this part because I’ve read horror stories of faulty Corsair build quality, and drip-drip-bad-times. I’ve got faith though :) I’ve seen from hardware tests that this should allow me to get up to 4.5GHz at a pretty comfy load temperature, and maybe let me get as far as 4.7GHz. Wherever I end up, the end result will be a whole lot quieter without the giant Zaleman fan kicking up tornadoes in my case.

Told you it was all just sitting there o_o staring me in the face as I clickity-clack away at my paper. This upgrade is eventually going to change my desktop setup.

For now I have dual 24″ monitors in landscape mode which is amazing for multitasking. But the GTX 600 series throws nVidia Surround into the mix :D If I have the time and the resources, I’ll eventually upgrade to triple 24s in portrait mode at a combined aspect ratio of 16:9.4, which is close enough to True HD. Only I’ll be watching 1080p movies at a resolution of 3240×1920… probably making it a bit blurry :x

Next update will have the assembly :)

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