It’s been a while since I upgraded my personal work computer. My last few personal systems were from Shuttle – they make those cute toaster comps – and it has served me very well. However, I’ve decided it was time for something new and went looking in my garage for leftover computer parts.
In the end, I managed to assemble what you see in the above photo. The system is based around an Abit AW9D-MAX motherboard. I would have used an Abit Fatal1ty motherboard but the only one I had kicking around was made for AMD processors. The Core 2 Duo CPU is cooled by a monster Zalman heatsink and backed up with a NVIDIA 640 MB GeForce 8800 GTS video card and 2 GB of OCZ DDR2 memory. A 600 watt Zalman silent power supply (with heat pipe technology) supplies the juice. A SATA DVD writer and 500 GB Seagate hard drive round out the system.
The nice thing about building your own computer system is you get to decide what goes into it (or in my case, what I had laying around). There’s also the pride of building something yourself. I use self-built systems to show up my cable folding skills. However, since nearly everything is now SATA, folding a cable is a lot easier than the days of IDE. Another advantage to building your own system is the installation of Windows (Vista in this case). You don’t have to worry about all those useless software PC vendors like to bundle with their systems.
The Zalman Fatal1ty Case
The Fatal1ty case is completely modular. Every panel can be unbolted to allow for easy installation of the motherboard and other components. The case is extremely strong – I can stand on top of it and it won’t crush. All the panels are made from thick anodized aluminum. When everything is assembled, the system is pretty damn heavy. Not ideal for LAN party gamers.
The Finished System – Ready To Quake
Building the system took a lot longer than I expected. I spent nearly two hours just working on the wiring (I can’t stand messy wiring). The main thing people notice is the size of the Zalman CPU cooler. The thing is just HUGE! I haven’t overclock system yet but I sure it will overclock very high.
The Zalman Fatal1ty case feature warnings like the above in the view window, front intake and power supply area. They’re meant for fun and shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Adding The Bling Bling
You can’t make a system this good looking and not add a light show. In addition to the red LED fans of the Fatal1ty case, the Zalman cooler and Abit motherboard light up the box with a bunch of blue LEDs. The effect it gives off when the house lights are turned down is pretty evil.