General Melchett

January 2011: The Core i7 Update

After 38 months of faithful service at the front, it is time for GENERALMELCHETT to receive some internal surgery. The new Intel Sandy Bridge, 32nm 'second generation' Cores; and especially the 4 core/8 thread Core i7 2600 looked the correct price/performance. I am glad I have waited over 3 years to update the GENERAL. An excellent investment, it has been rock solid and stable from day 1.

The pricing below also provides a good example of improvement in technology vs. pricing over the last 3 years. And I tracked different replacement configurations through the years. Massive.

Item Configuration Pricing Comments
CPU Intel Core i7 2600 3.4Ghz (Sandy Bridge) $369.30 40% speed improvement on Q9300, for about 10% less price!
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-P67-UD5 SATA3/USB3/DDR3 $321.90
Memory G.Skill 16Gb DDR3 9−9-9−24−2N 1600MHz $301.90 $18.90/Gb for DDR3 compared with $82.50/Gb in late 2007!
Preexisting Items
Video Card ATI Radeon HD 5700
Hard Disk Western Digital Green 1Tb SATA Drive
Power, case, monitors Same as below

November 2007: The Original General

General Melchett, as played by Stephen Fry in Blackadder Goes Forth is the code name of my new work-at-home PC. Just for fun, the two internal drives are called CorporalPunishment and PrivatePlane. Both are names of episodes from series 4. My laptop is called Captain Darling, and various external things (including my Zune: Baldrick. Small yet thick) have Blackadder names. So, onto GeneralMelchett. Here is the current thinking of the configuration, subject to change.

Item Configuration Pricing Comments
CPU CP-Q6600X38COMBO $856.90 Grab most latest motherboard, memory and wait for more choice in the CPU front later in 2008 CPU is the Q6600 at 2.4GHz. Overclockable.
CPU, Update 21st April 2008 Q9300 $412.00 The Q6600 is a beautiful processor. But warm! The Q9300 is the equivalent in the new 45nm processor series: so I upgraded. The ambient temperature around the General is amazing! Performance in video compression is about 4% better. 2.5Ghz of pure fun!
Motherboard MB-GA-X38-DQ6 (included above) 1600MHz Front-side-bus-able
CPU/MB Fans AL-CNPS9700LED (Zallman) and AL-FAN-SMARTCOOL120 $135.19 Fan on CPU is best for a flat configuration, but as this is a vertical mount motherboard: going for a better fan combination to push back to front. Initial processor temperature above 55degC, which is too much.
Memory AL-TWIN2X2048−5400C4 $121.00 1 x DDR2 Kits; additional to 1 x kit included in combo above.
Memory Update 7th December 2007 $660.00 1 x Geil 8Gb RAM. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. Need the extra ooomph so I can get the rating higher than 5.6
Boot HD HD-WD1500ADFD $305.00 10,000 RPM Raptor, 150Gb beastie
Boot HD Update 2nd June 2008 WD3000GLFS $379.00 10,000 RPM Velociraptor, 300Gb
Second HD AL-HD501LJ $341.00 500Gb SATA Samsung 7200 RPM. In Gigabyte SATA2 Mirror RAID configuration
DVD Simple SATA DVD-RW Drive $74.80 Not quite ready for HD yet in our house
Video Card Update 7th December Inno3D NVidia 8800GT 512Mb DDR3 RAM $462.00 Arrgh! Liam stole the 8800GT for Crysis. Time to purchase another
Screen Dell 22″ LCD x 2 $897.60 22″ LCD. Plan B is a 19″ Apple LCD monitor
Case Lian-Li black anodised 210×381×490mm $181.50 Whatever fits all this stuff; needs to be Midi-tower to fit into area. 230 mm (w) x 430 mm (h)
Power Supply Corsair 620w modular $176.00 620w quiet, and the extra cables for modular installation made life very easy. Lots of head room there, too
Keyboard/Mouse Microsoft Entertainment Wireless 8000 $379.50 So excellent in the lounge on the Media Centre. Just gotta have another one. A bit of luxury, but since you spend so much time on the keyboard, it is important you love it.
Extra Inputs Silverstone Card Reader for 3.5″ slot $69.30 SD, CF, MSPro card reader for various pieces of silicon memory in the house. This nifty device also presents audio and firewire to the front of the case
Network No Cat6 in the GeekCave, so it’s Wireless. A normal 802.11g. Draft-N is still Draft. Billion support for full N is the litmus test for me to adopt N. Dual 1Gb Ethernet on motherboard
OS Vista Ultimate x64 (OEM) $275.00 My first x64 OS, so driver fun abounds. Timing is good, as others have worn the pain of early adopters

Build-out, during Vista x64 install: Vista Ultimate x64 Install post-8800GT 5.6? 5.6 for memory. Need to get some more out of it! cpuid-stock Presently, the memory is letting the side down from 5.9's (perfect scores). Overclocking research continues! The CPU can probably multiply up, and the Core Voltage can also be «upped»; but the 5−5-5−18 memory seems to be the bottleneck? CPU with stock fan runs the processor CPU cores at around 40degC