Not “tomorrow” anymore, but here’s more.
The power supply – a beast by yesterday’s standards, but these days 750 watts seems almost ordinary. Nice thing about it is that it’s modular. Power supplies used to have a mess of cables coming out the back, and if you didn’t use them all you’d have to bundle the remainder up or find some place for them to go. Now, you use only what you need and store the rest in the box for later.
Incidentally, here is the bag all the cables came in.
The power supply, mounted in the bottom of the case. Another sign of the times – power supplies used to be mounted on top. The way air flows through a case, by the time it reaches the top-mounted power supply, it’s already fairly well-heated, and power supplies generate a fair amount of heat themselves. Now when warm air rises, it simply exhausts out the back.
Speaking of airflow and temperatures, why did I remove this massive fan from the top of the case? We’ll see in awhile.
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO motherboard. More than adequate for folks who don’t classify as extremely high-end, but not bargain barrel stuff either.
Serial ATA ports. This board supports adding eight hard drives (or seven hard drives and a DVD burner, or some other combination of the two), so it’s good for some of the more exotic configurations such as RAID.
The CPU socket (center) and RAM slots (lower-right).
The input and output ports that will be exposed on the back of the case. With onboard video, audio, networking, USB, and even bluetooth, it’s possible to run the entire setup just through the board without any extras. But where’s the fun in that?
The CPU socket, exposed and ready for installation. The gate folds back down and secures the CPU in place. One interesting thing about this particular socket is the pins. Normally the pins protrude from the bottom of the CPU and meet contacts in the socket, but here the pins come up from out of the socket and meet contacts on the CPU.
The underside of the CPU. This is an Intel Core i5-2500K. Like the motherboard, satisfactory for most folks who don’t need to be on the bleeding edge (and don’t mind cutting $100 here and there off of the price of their new computer).
The heat spreaders on these sticks of memory are entirely too aggressive-looking for a part that will never be seen while it’s in use. This is 16GB of memory. Quite a lot, if you think about it. It wasn’t that long ago that you couldn’t even find hard drives this big.
The CPU and memory are installed and ready to work.
This is a Corsair H100 CPU cooler. CPUs generate heat, and liquid cools better than air, which makes this a very interesting idea. The block sits above the CPU, transporting heat to the radiator, which is then blown off – through the top of the case – by a pair of fans. After a few days in service, I can say this thing does a really fantastic job of keeping the CPU cool when I put it through the paces.
The H100, installed.
The video card is installed. In the lower right (almost cut off) you can see the hard drives mounted in the bottom cage. I had three total – a solid state drive for Windows and some bare essentials, and two traditional drives for bulk storage. The SSD’s advantage is that it is much faster and much quieter than its elder siblings, but the drawback is that it’s significantly more expensive. As technology continues to advance, the older drives will probably no longer be needed by regular folks.
Here’s a shot of the computer, finally on its feet, with all the components installed and cabling run. The nice thing about this case is that the cutouts to the right and underneath the motherboard allow you to run cabling in such a way that it only exposes itself right in front of where you need to plug it in. This allows air to move through the case with fewer obstructions.
For reference, this is how the inside of my old computer looked. The case is much smaller and didn’t have many of the same amenities as the newer one does, so cabling kind of had to go wherever you could put it. That’s not to say the computer didn’t work, it was just a real pain to service and clean.