[sung to the tune of Developers, Developers, Developers]

Over the last few months I’ve had my hands in almost half a dozen computers with various builds and upgrades. If I get around to it, I’ll put up some pics of each of them.

First up, was little brother’s new computer. He’s been rocking a Dell Pentium 4 for years now which just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So I sent him the parts, some instructions, and made the sign of the cross and let him build it. New computer is now running a Q6600 Quad Core, that I helped him overclock to about 3.0 or 3.2 Ghz (can’t quite remember which). Significant upgrade to say the least.

Next up, over the holidays began a bit of a round robin with computer parts. Little brother’s build was, um, “complex”… so after he was done we had an extra motherboard (don’t ask). Also at that time I finally decided to bump my RAM up over a 1:1 ratio (no that’s not porn speak, Cliff) and came to the disheartening realization that my tried and true Asus P5B-Deluxe motherboard didn’t like tRFC values of less than 54 for high density sticks of RAM (still not porn, Cliff), which of course 2GB sticks are. This is a limitation partially of the chipset which by then was 2 generations old, and partially something specific to the P5B-Deluxe. Well, the extra motherboard from little brother was running on a newer P35 chipset and would solve that problem. Then I got bit by the upgrayde bug, figuring “since I’m not buying a new motherboard, I might as well by EVEN FASTER memory” to take advantage of the extra capacity in the new motherboard. So I got a new set of G.Skill 1066 memory.

OK, we’re still in holiday season and I was working on my parents computer and came to the realization… DAMN this thing is SLOW. So, a light bulb went off. Why not take my old motherboard (which was a champ except for large amounts of memory) and use that in the parents computer. They were running an Athlon XP 1.1Ghz single core. Now I needed a chip for it. Hmmm, where can I get a… AHA. Microcenter had some e7300’s for just over $100. Jackpot. But, I won’t put that into the parents computer because the motherboard doesn’t support that series (too new). However, my Media Center (Ghetto Tivo) sure did.

A little chip swap was in play.

  • Get the new e7300 and install into the Ghetto Tivo
  • Take the e6300 from the Ghetto Tivo and the P5B motherboard from my computer and install into parent’s new computer
  • Take Lil Brother’s new, but not unused, motherboard and install with my old Q6600 and new memory into my computer.

Voila! Parents have a new-ish computer, I have faster RAM and a new (if less exciting) motherboard, and my Ghetto Tivo has a faster yet more efficient processor. Oodles of fun all the way ’round.

Next round of computers was helping my buddy Kit Fu build his computer. Microcenter had a deal on a Q9300 at that time for about $180 (crikey! they’re $110 now!). Just a little over the cost of a e8400. The plan was to get it and overclock it to around 3Ghz, maybe a bit over if possible. Looking around, the motherboard of choice these days seems to be the Gigabyte UD3 series. Everyone swore by it on all the forums I looked at. Many people were getting 500Mhz+ FSB speeds with dual cores and high 400s with quads. Yummy. Long story short, after a little fussing he got up to 3.0Ghz.

Also, around this time I worked with my best friend to build his daughter (my goddaughter) a new computer. So that was the next build. No overclocking, just a simple AMD setup as low cost as possible of an acceptable speed to run web, email, and some kids games. I liked the AMD setup for this because in a few years there is a clear easy upgrade path to AM2+ and AM3 socket chips. So with just a little fuss we can upgrayd if she needs more horsepower in a few years.

Next to last was another buddy who wanted to upgrayde his computer that I put together for him well over a year ago. He was running an e6550, overclocked to 2.8Ghz. We chose an e8400, which at it’s stock speed of 3.0Ghz is already faster than his old one. Then I proceeded to overclock that too up to a speed of 3.8Ghz. So a full 1Ghz increase in speed. In addition, we popped in some 1066 RAM and off we went.

And last, but nowhere near least. I’ve again upgrayded my machine. This. One. Is. Glorious. I will definitely devote a full blog post to that one as soon as I can. New motherboard, the same one Kit Fu ordered… the GA-EP45-UD3R, and the newly discounted Q9650 which before Intel’s price cuts early this year was waaaaay out of my budget. Stock speed for the Q9650 is 3.0Ghz, and I quickly got that up to 3.8Ghz with almost zero effort. 4Ghz was my goal and after just a little fuss I got it there. That made me greedy, and I tried 4.3Ghz. Yes, ladies and gentlemen… four point three gigahertz. It booted into Windows, but wasn’t stable.

So this hulking monster is now running at just over 4Ghz. Color me giddy :)