Been a little busy around here the last two weeks. I’m finally about done with this new computer stuff. My new gaming rig is built, and my old gaming rig is now running as my new work computer.
The specs for my new gaming rig are:
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor
Asus Striker Extreme 680i motherboard
4GB Corsair Dominator RAM
2x GeForce 8800GTX video cards
Ageia PhysX card
320GB 3GB/s SATA Seagate HD
The Asus Striker Extreme motherboard is really nice. It’s got tons of really cool features, and of course the nVidia 680i chipset. It also has a ton of problems, as you’ll see if you look at the reviews on NewEgg or any forums. The motherboard is really finicky, so I was rolling the dice by going with it, but I thought it was worth a shot.
I was using a Cooler Master Stacker 830 for my case this time around. My previous two builds have both used Thermaltake Xaser IIIs, which I really liked. But now that I’ve used a Stacker 830, I won’t be going back to the Xaser III. The stacker just has so many really great features, it’s well-built and its a neat looking case too.
The build went pretty smoothly to start. I got the motherboard mounted to the case’s mobo tray, and then realized I had to unmount the whole thing in order to install this massive Zalman heatsink I had. So put that together with some trusty arctic silver, and put the whole thing back together. Threw the 4GB of memory onboard and tried to post, since memory compatibility is pretty much the #1 problem I’d heard about with the Striker Extreme. The system posted without a problem. The motherboard has a little LCD screen on the back of it (where all your plugs go), which you can read while the system posts to see if/where there is a problem. It was fairly helpful during the build. The motherboard also has a series of buttons mounted directly on it for power, reset and cmos, so you can work on the system without connecting it to your case.
I put one of the video cards in, the system still posted fine. So I started installing the rest of the components, and installed the mobo tray into the case and connected all the wiring. This is where the build went sour for a while.
All of the sudden I was getting the dreaded CPU INIT error on startup, and the system wouldn’t post. This error is notorious with users of this board, so my heart sank. Using my laptop, and trusty Google, I started the long process of troubleshooting. Started with the memory, trying to boot with only one stick, clearing the cmos a few times in a row, at one point I had everything but the CPU out of the system, and I was still getting the error. I was getting seriously frustrated, and was fairly close to RMA’ing the board.
Then, somehow, by a stroke of blind luck, the system posted on startup. I started analyzing what I had changed. I’ll save you the long story, but in the end, the culprit ended up being the floppy cable. I had ordered a nice round floppy cable for use in the system. But when it was plugged into the motherboard, I got a CPU INIT error and the system wouldn’t boot. I swapped it out with one of the regular ribbon floppy cables that comes with the motherboard, and the system had no problem. Reinstalled all the hardware and everything worked great.
The system is a powerhouse, and I love it. It runs Command and Conquer 3 with everything on high at 1920×1200 like butter. I even reinstalled Oblivion and bought Shivering Isles just to play around and see how it looked. The system was a pain in the ass there for a little while, but it was worth it.
Here’s a picture of the motherboard mounted to the tray, before I realized I had to take it apart to put the heatsink in.
I installed trusty Windows XP on this one because nVidia hasn’t gotten Vista SLI support nailed yet. I’d rather lose a little bit of RAM than a whole 8800GTX.
This is just as cold as it looks. The Cooler Master Stacker has some serious airflow. I love it. (this is also during setup, while I was making sure everything was working. I rerouted and ziptied all those cables before closing up the case)
Here she is all set up and purring like a kitten.
Also, as promised, I have some puppy pictures. This is Britanny and I with Simon when we went to pick him up.
When we first brought him home, Kaylee was a bit scared of him, even though she’s four times his size. She kept running to me to protect her.
We gave Simon his first bath.
Keeping the little guy warm afterwards.
The two of them on my lap. They’re not a huge fan of the camera flash.