So my machine is somewhat unreliable. For about 6 months, it has been rebooting during the "Evaluating CPU Performance..." portion of the Windows Experience Index evaluation. It does this every single time, and it does it in Vista 64 and Windows 7 (64) the same. Every single time, in exactly the same spot. The thing is, it's been ONLY during WEI testing, which is... who cares? It's not heat-related; all my temps are good, well below "normal" even, as I'm not overclocking 24/7.
But recently, my temps have crept up a noticeable 3-4° C. Nothing to worry about, but it is noticeable. The real problem is, the machine will reliably hard-lock (requiring power switch/reset switch to reboot) in EQ2 fullscreen. I can play LOTRO (a more demanding game, and with all the DX10 eye-candy turned on/up!) for hours with no problem. But fullscreen EQ2, hard-lock. I can play EQ2 in a window and it's fine.
Doing some research on the web turned up a possible diagnosis of static damage to the motherboard, CPU, PSU, video card, or any/all of the above. The static in the Winter here is really freeking bad. So, we'll get a humidifier before Winter for sure.
But, unreliable machine, time to rebuild!
This time, nothing's being re-used. Well, except my DP/art-grade monitor and my input devices. But I'm rebuilding from the ground up.
Case: Lian Li PC-A70B. Aluminum full tower. This is my first Lian Li case. I've heard of them for years, always heard nothing but good things, but for some reason I've always gone with Antec cases. Well this time I wanted room to work, so I wanted a full tower and the LL came up as the best choice. After getting it in, wow, I'm glad I did. EVERYTHING is thumbscrews. Power supply? Yup, thumbscrews. Expansion card backplates? Thumbscrews. You know all the screws you get with a case, that are usually in a small ziplock bag? Well, the LL case comes with a clear plastic box with dividers in it, to organize/store all the screws. And the case is all aluminum, so even though it's a full tower it's LIGHT. Very nice.
Power Supply: OCZ Gold 1000w. Yes, I really do need a 1kw PSU. This one has modular cables, so I won't have a huge bundle of unused wires to deal with. Very nice. And the extra cables come in a very nice zippered bag to store them in.
Motherboard: EVGA X58 SLI "3-way SLI". I don't need the "super extreme" overclocking features (or the $500 price tag!) of the Classified, so I went with this one. It'll let 2x video cards run at x16 so... win.
CPU: Intel Core i7 950. Yeah, I know, blah blah blah, 920 is cheaper and overclocks the same. Blah blah blah. The 950 has more headroom and should overclock a little higher at lower voltage and thus temp, so pure win. I'm going to have it lapped, since I'm planning a 4G overclock.
Cooler: Noctua NH-U12P SE1366. Same cooler I'm using on my current machine, and I like it. The install method is nice, very secure. And when you're talking about i7 coolers, it's a near-religious war anyway. They all perform within 1-3° C of each other anyway.
RAM: 6x 2GB OCZ Gold DDR3-1600. Yup, 12GB of RAM, same as my current machine. Same memory too. It's good, reliable, and priced right.
Video Cards: 2x EVGA CO-OP Edition GTX 295. Yeah, well. :D Yes, that's FOUR GPUs. Quad SLI. No, there's no game out right now that will even remotely stress this setup. That's the point; it's future-proof. It'll run FarCry 2 @ 1920x1200 full settings at > 80 FPS.
Hard Drives: 2x Western Digital RE3 1TB drives. I have 1x of these in my current machine and it's been super reliable and is plenty fast. I'm not RAIDing them; 1 will be Vista, the other Ubuntu. Nice and easy.
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S223B. I have the 203 now and love it. The 223 is merely the latest version. ;) It's an optical drive; not much to say. It's not time to invest in a Blu-Ray burner (for me), so just a CD/DVD burner.
Other Stuff: I also (for $12) got a Rosewill 40-in-1 bay mount card reader. I have 2 cameras, both which use different card types, and I don't have a USB reader now so use her machine to download pictures. For $12, I figured, why not solve that. I also got a NZXT Sentry LX bay-mount fan controller and LCD temp display. There's 6 fans in the LL case, and while people say they're very, very quiet, I'd like a way to control their speed. So, I got this controller. It'll only control 5 fans, but I'll link each "set" together as 1 so to the fan controller it'll look like 3 fans. The way the fans are set up, there's 2 pulling air through the front - those will be linked as 1. Then behind the hard drive cage there's 2 more pulling air further into the case, those will be linked. Then 2 exhausting air out of the case, again those will be linked.
I'm planning a 4G overclock; should be a no-brainer really on this rig. The CPU and heatsink will be lapped to control temps. Should be a fun build, actually, and I can't wait to see how it performs!