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New machine

posted 4 Oct 2011, 22:18 by John Stavrakakis
Finally. I've been awaiting the arrival of the new machine. There was some setup time involved nonetheless, I installed windows 3 times because I didn't have an enterprise edition to use with the university :(

Specs of the machine are: 
  • Intel Core i7 2600K 3.40Ghz Quad-Core CPU (Sandy Bridge), LGA1155, 8mb, 4 cores, 8 threads 
  • ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 Z68 LGA1155 ATX M/B, 4x DDR3, 2each PCI-E x16/x8/x1/PCI, GigaLAN, CrossFireX/SLI, VGA, DVI, HDMI, 4x SATA2/2x SATA3, USB3
  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance 240-pin DDR3 1600Mhz PC-12800 Pack (2x 4096mb sticks) w/heat spreader, 9-9-9-24 
  • Sapphire AMD HD6950 PCI-E 2.0 2GB GDDR5 Video Card, Dirt3 Edition, 2x DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI 
  • Thermaltake Contac 29 BP (BackPlate Edition) Rev2 CPU Cooler 
  • 650W Corsair TX-650 ATX Power Supply
  • 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Capacities 2.5inch SSD 2000Gb 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green SATA-III 3.5in hard disk, 64mb cache
  • Samsung SH-S222AB Black Internal 22x Speed SATA DVD-RW 
  • Antec Solo ATX MiniTower with Silver Bezel

The package

I was a little baffled to find this pop rivet fall out of the box though.

Front and back of PC

Some extra boxes

Stock CPU heat sink

The real heat sink

Setting up the SSD drive

I installed windows 7 enterprise on the SSD drive. The 2TB disk is used as a secondary drive for storing large programs (E drive). I have to move all the user related folders to that disk since the 60GB SSD shouldn't be pushed to capacity. 

Originally I was trying to force this link in windows 7 terminal. But it didn't seem to work without quotes
mklink \D "E:\Users\duck\xxxxfolder C:\Users\duck\xxxxfolder"
where xxxxfolder is Documents, Downloads, Music, etc.

Instead, dragging the folder with Shift (move operation) to the other disk automates this process. So Downloads is now mapped to E drive. 
All installations of significant size I put in E drive. Visual studio, dev kits etc.


Using the SSD drive for windows allows it to be very snappy. The responsiveness is superb and the boot time is fantastic.

Average of 3 runs
Boot time to user login screen
26.3 sec

Boot time to usable desktop (network is the last thing to be ready)
about 33 sec

I am still wondering about the performance testing of some suite is necessary. At the moment there is not enough time to toy around with this part of the machine.

The keyboard

Majestouch 2 Filco TenKey-less Black mechanical keyboard, linear BLACK Cherry keyswitches, 87-key mini-layout 

Feels fantastic. The only problem is that after I move the USB plugin location, windows 7 doesn't seem to recognise the keyboard any more. The keyboard is still working fine with OS X, Linux machines I have here. It appears to be a USB driver issue with windows 7. Bummer.


This machine is significantly quieter than the other PC in my office. The Asrock tuning suite allows the control of almost all the fans in the PC. This helps reduce the levels even further. I might get around to reporting dB levels in future. Both machines off is still better :D