Sunday, April 13, 2008

So I wanted a new PC...

Recently I bought a PC via the parts catalog over at Newegg. Intel Quad core Q6600 CPU, micro-ATX motherboard and case, blah blah. I intended to make this a Hackintosh to try out Mac OSX. Simple, right? Well, as it turns out the motherboard is not (yet) completely compatible with OSX. And then I thought, hey, why not overclock a little bit? Yeah, well, the perfectly decent motherboard I had, an ECS G33T-M2, is a crappy overclocker. Between that and the OSX issues I ended up deciding on a replacement, an Asus P5K-VM.

Then the problems continued. After trying Windows Vista and recoiling in horror, I whipped up an Ubuntu Linux installation. Then I wondered..."how does one check CPU temperature on Ubuntu?"

So I google this, and a brief "apt-get install lm-sensors" plus a few commands later could check the CPU temp on the new PC. Naturally, I whipped up some Python scripts to max out the 4 cores and started them running. I noticed the cores all hit a max of 62.2C. I google this number...and discover this is the max temp the core will let itself get to, after which it'll insert null operations into the running code, and if that's not enough, it'll turn down the clockspeed.

Argh! Now I need a better heatsink/fan for the CPU so I can get the performance I paid for...and so that it'll run full tilt when I bump up the front side bus and the cores at 3GHz instead of 2.4GHz. This is the one I have:

and for $10 more I need to get this one:

Newegg's shipping debt is sending some packages my way.
While I was at it I ordered an 80 mm fan to add a top blowing cooler to my Tivo.
I couldn't quite bring myself to ditch the microATX case while I was at so will live with that.
In all the times I have built PCs, I cannot think of one I have screwed up more than this one.

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