HDD Killers

Media Centre PC

Posted on Sunday 11 March 2007

I’ve somehow managed to acquire another computer to add to my growing collection. On Wednesday I spent several hours searching through lists of componants on three big retailer websites to find the perfect combination of parts to give the most performance with the minimum of noise. Not an easy task, and unfortunately I had to compromise on the type of case, however the computer I ended up with is nothing short of uber. It’s stylish, unbelievably quiet and gives killer performance.

Not all the parts have been put into the system yet (sound card and TV card still to go in), however this will be the final specification of the beast once complete:

I have to say, the pictures on the Zalman website of the CPU cooler make it look good, but to hold it in the hand, it’s such a very impressive piece of kit. All gleaming, all business, no noise. And it keeps the CPU in check too, with all the fans on the lowest speed setting and both cores running the Prime 95 torture test, the CPU temperature got to a maximum of 55 C, yet the system was so quiet, you had to have your head right next to it in order to hear even the faintest whisper.

Here are some pictures I took at various points along the way. First off, we have the parcels stacked against the wall, and then the individual boxes once unpacked.

Parcels stacked against the wall. Component boxes stacked against the wall.

Next up we have the motherboard, complete with free annoying glare! I tried to get it without the glare by turning off the flash, but for some reason without the flash all the pics were blurred, so live with it.

Shiny mobo.

And here we have two of the inside of the case, empty and full.

Empty computer case. Full computer case.

Here are a couple of snaps of the computer running, one with the DVD drive open.

Computer on, DVD drive closed. Computer on, DVD drive open.

Finally, the PC curls up for the night, in a TV cabinet which will remain it’s home for the time being. At least until I get my hands on a huge 720p (or 1080p) TV, which is what it’s basically for and has no real use until then.

Computer packed away with the keyboard on top and monitor next to it.

So there you have it, the PC spec, and some snaps to boot. What more could you want? Oh OK, if you say so, here’s it’s PCMark05 score:

4077 overall, 6124 CPU, 5276 memory, 1468 graphics, 4508 HDD.

And my main PC’s score for comparison:

4429 overall, 3432 CPU, 3436 memory, 6130 graphics, 8063 HDD.

As you can see, my main PC get’s absolutely raped when it comes to CPU and memory, but takes back a lot of ground with graphics since it has a dedicated graphics card and the media centre PC is stuck with onboard graphics, then my main PC just pips the media centre to the line with a little help from RAIDed 150GB 10,000rpm Raptor drives as opposed to the media centre’s lone bog standard 80GB drive. red-wax wins by 4429 to 4077, good game, good game. However I am considering buying a GeForce 8600GT for the media centre when they hit the market, in which case the media centre will just stomp all over my main PC mercilessly.

The only issue remaining is of course, what do I call this PC? My main PC is called red-wax, my file server is called blue-wax, and there are two more PC’s called clear-wax and black-wax. But what of the media centre? Due to the silence of the machine I jokingly considered ear-wax as a possibility. I have yet to come up with a name, there are just no colour names I can think of that strike a chord with me as to how this PC functions and what it does. Perhaps a different naming scheme? One based on Greek gods or atmospheric layers? I just don’t know, so for the moment it’s called media-centre, but I think that’s rather boring. If you have any (serious) ideas for a name, or even a new naming scheme, feel free to suggest them in the comments.

As per usual, if you want to see the full size pics, I have uploaded those too and they can be found here:

    Sunday 11th March 2007 | 4:57 am
    James's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Wow! All I can say is… Wow! It makes me wish I had my new computer already. 🙁

    As for the name, beats me! I’m not that good with names… Just wait ’till I have a kid! 😮

    Sunday 11th March 2007 | 10:44 pm
    Antony's Globally Recognised Avatar

    It is indeed a very sweet PC and so quiet, if i hadn’t heard (or not heard) it for myself i don’t think i’d have believed it.
    Makes me know even more just how much i need a nice new one 🙁

    Monday 12th March 2007 | 5:15 am
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Don’t worry Jick, I’m sure you’ll think of something. (Quote from the future, “Aww, look at Male Offspring Unit Zero One, he’s taking his first steps.”)

    Yeah, I need a new main PC too, if and when I get a graphics card for that media centre PC, I think I’d have to get it here and use it as my main PC for a while. Supreme Commander demands it! I mean … it’s not quad core and dual 8800GTXs in SLI … but I’d make do. 😛

    Monday 12th March 2007 | 11:07 pm
    James's Globally Recognised Avatar

    “but I’d make do. 😛 “

    Yes… I’m sure you would. 😛

    Monday 12th March 2007 | 11:11 pm
    James's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Doh! Why the pluck wouldn’t it recognize the tongue face with a lower-case “p”? Stupid %@#&!

    Monday 12th March 2007 | 11:58 pm
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    There there Jick, don’t fret, I edited it for you.

    Tuesday 13th March 2007 | 4:34 am
    James's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Haha… Thanks. 😛

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