Updated Computer Core

It’s been a looong time since my computer saw an upgrade. I think I’ve gotten new RAM and DVD drive along the way, but by and large I have had the same computer for the last 5 years. Here’s my last blog update talking about my last upgrade. Unlike last upgrade, this one was far better planned. I had been slowly upgrading my computer for some time. I had already upgraded from a lowly 300GB hard drive to 4TB of space. And was well on the way to saving for the next upgrade. This particular core upgrade came about from a $1500 bonus that I got from work, for my new position that I had only been in for 3 months. Nice!

So, the first thing I got was a 128GB 840 Pro Series SSD. This part came to me as a Christmas gift from my best friend who had known I had been working on building a new computer for quite some time and wanted to help me along the way. This happens to be the first time I have gotten an SSD. Last time I was upgrading, SSD was just starting to gain popularity and was a little expensive for what you got. I think at the time 16GB was standard and I laughed at it as something that is only useful for speeding up Windows. With 128, I plan to install Windows, Minecraft, and any other intensive games that i may be playing a lot of. I’ll keep other games and other media off on other drives. I must say it is hard saying how much faster the computer is because of the SSD or if it is because of the faster CPU and RAM, however startup and coming out of sleep is much snappier than it ever has been for me before and I am sure SSD is part of that.

Next, with my bonus, I bought a new core. What I mean by core is the combination of Motherboard, CPU and RAM. These are the things i have noticed in the past I generally upgrade at the same time, because new CPU generally requires a new slot (mobo) which requires new RAM. And that is the case now. I went from 6GB of DDR2-800 RAM to 16GB of DDR3-1600 RAM. For the CPU, I went with the Intel Core i5-4570 3.2 ghz quad core processor. It is a locked processor, however, I have only once overclocked a processor. That’s not something I do or care to do because I just don’t get a new CPU often enough to burn one out like that so I felt it was justified to save a few bucks and get the locked version.

I got an ASUS Z87-PRO. Now for this, I must admit that I was apprehensive about it, and still am. ASUS has been woefully bad to me in the past when it comes to motherboards. I feel they make good features and setups, but their motherboards breakdown faster than other vendors so I tend not to like them. However, I wanted to get Intel’s newer chipset so that it was a little future-proof and I wanted one with onboard WiFi so that I didn’t have to waste an expansion slot on it and/or use USB wifi which i find a dubious thought. I must say that the WiFi works wonderfully, this is the first board I had with onboard wifi and I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, but it is great. I also like their new LED on the motherboard with error codes on it, it helps diagnose what is going on with the motherboard.  Again the setup was great, I think the instructions were a little confusing as to what slots to put the RAM in because it took several attempts before the motherboard actually detected it.

I also went out and bought a new case. Truth be told, I haven’t really liked the case I’ve had for the last several years.  It was an old cooler master brand and I got it to help with cooling, but it was extremely loud and it had fans in the window that made opening and closing the case a task that I didn’t enjoy. In addition, besides having a ton of fans it had almost no bells and whistles. So this time I went out and bought a Corsair Obsidian 550D case. I absolutely love it so far! It is a little bit bigger than my old case but much roomier. It has screwless sides so that I can just push a button to open it up. It has holes in the backdrop that are rubberized so that I can run cords behind the case to keep the main section neat and tidy, which also helps the air flow. It has completely screwless drive bays, and lots of them. A nice front panel, that has a door which you can open from the left or right. And the door is made of Aluminum which also very nice. Even the expansion slots in the back are big huge thumb screws that you don’t need a screwdriver for. It also has Styrofoam padding along the sides to keep it quiet. Filters along the fan openings to stop dust from entering. And snap doors on the side and top in case you decide to add more fans to it. It is full of features and I love every one of them. I’d highly suggest this case if you get the opportunity.

Going forward, my next part that I plan on getting is actually a hotswap drive on the front of my computer for back up hard drives (I bought a 3TB backup drive over the holiday season for dirt cheap).  And I was also thinking of getting a Chromecast for streaming my movies down to my TV now that it has gone down in price. After those relatively cheap parts i plan on upgrading my Graphics Card which should be another fairly big purchase.