[Documentation] Project Byakko
[Formal Completion Date] April 25th, 2007
[Build Status] Stable and pending additional upgrades
This post is for the person who wants to find out how I built a phenomenal machine on the cheap. This is also for the person who wants to save a good chunk of coin for a system that won’t be stuck in the “stone age” while technology pushes on.
If you fear wires, this is not for you. If you fear installing Windows on to your own system, this is not for you. This write up is based on the current parts in it now and not from the current inception.
[Price Saving Tips]
What kept most of my costs down so far were a USB flash drive, a second hand LCD monitor, and reusing a good deal of peripherals. I can say part recycling is probably the major reason why sometimes system building can pay off big time in the end.
The purpose of Byakko is a budget build PC with the purpose of entertainment and being a workstation for me. The main requirements were to have an expansive hard drive for archival purposes and then also give the system some life versus what I was used to.
Byakko is named in the nomenclature that I name my computers after creatures from mythology. Byakko is known as the White Tiger of the West in Chinese mythology. In Asian astrology, it is composed with some of the western constellations: Orion, Taurus, Ares, and Andromeda.
Most of this build has been composed of parts and deals from CompUSA out in Plano. The reason is that the store honors online price deals due to their ownership from Systemax/Tiger Direct. The build can be purchased through online if so desired and you may see additional savings. Your mileage will vary.
[Brand NEW Parts Shopping List]
$40 – Thermaltake Wings RS 100 midtower case
$50 – Biostar MCP6P M2+ motherboard (AM2/AM2+ AMD socket)
$90 – AMD x64 Phenom 9500 Quad-Core 2.2GHz processor (AM2 socket)
$30 – Ultra brand 450 watt power supply
$50 – Seagate Barracuda 320GB hard drive (SATA 3.0/7200 RPM)
$60 – OCZ ReaperX HPC 4GB DDR2 1066 RAM kit (2x 2GB)
$130 – XFX GeForce GTS 250 512mb GDDR3
$30 – Logitech ChillStream controller
$426 total part cost for NEW parts
$0 – Logitech G9 Laser mouse
$0 – Logitech G13 Advance Gameboard
$0 – Pioneer USB external DVD+/-RW burner
$0 – Saitek Eclipse blue illuminated keyboard
$0 – Netgear WG311T Atheros 802.11b/g wireless LAN card
$15 – Generic 15″ LCD standard definition monitor
Because I did choose to go with the Geforce GTS 250, which is a double slot card, I effectively lose 2 SATA ports of the 4 I have on the motherboard. This will be later revised with the motherboard change later to come and described on this report. For the person who absolutely must have the PCI ports open, I could recommend using something like a XFX GeForce 9600 GT or 9600 GSO for single slot options.
I had opted for a quad-core for the future proofing, because even though dual cores are more popular for gaming now… I do see quad-cores being used more often later on.
The reason I used AMD’s chipset versus an Intel board is really due to cost as it was cheaper to obtain.
The choice of going with Nvidia versus ATi is more from the fact that more and more games are starting to see the Nvidia/Ageia Physx engine support… Not to knock on ATi, but the only big things going for them as far as their cards were mainly the GDDR5 memory and CrossFireX capabilities with their cost being a little too high for my liking.
I did come across one predicament where I couldn’t get my IDE DVD-ROM drive to be recognized… so I ended up copying my Windows Vista Ultimate DVD ROM to a USB flash drive and did the complete install via USB.
$90 – XFX nForce 750a motherboard
$80 – Hitachi DeskStar 1TB hard drive
$200 – Thermaltake Armor+ full tower case
$80 – Lite On Blu-Ray reader/DVD burner drive
$100 – Corsair 650w power supply
$60 – OCZ Blade 4GB RAM kit (2x 2GB)
$?? – Extra case fans to keep the system cool
$150 – Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fata1ity sound card
$100 – Widescreen monitor
[Notes on Future Changes]
Most of the future changes are semi-dependent on the new motherboard as I will have ample room to play around with it. The additional RAM will max out the board to a grand total of 8GB of RAM giving me a full load. The power supply and fans go together as those will help in keeping the system cool, which is very important. The final piece really is the case as it will keep things even more cool and under control.