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Editor's Note: Upgrading a CPU, Quiet Case

Jan 09, 2010, 00:03 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

After weeks of research, and pondering, and gazing sadly into my shriveled bank account, I finally took the plunge and bought a hotrod triple-core AMD Phenom CPU, and a beautiful Antec Solo quiet computer case.

I've been dithering on in previous Editor's Notes about wanting to upgrade my studio computer to a multi-core CPU. That's where I do audio production and digital photo editing, and the old Athlon LE-1620 (2.4GHz Single Core) was rather overworked. So going to a multi-core CPU seemed like a good move.

Of course, this was not as simple as going to Newegg and ordering something. First came weeks of reading and researching, and over-analyzing. I really wanted to try an Intel Core Duo, they're getting great reviews and I've mostly been cheapskating on AMD processors. AMD are great, I just haven't touched many Intel CPUs the past few years. But going Intel would have meant a new motherboard.

To make a long, dull story short there is now a Phenom 8750 X3 powering this very PC I am typing on. That's three, count 'em, three cores. I did some timed tests in Audacity and Digikam before the upgrade, and will do some comparisons later on.

I also splurged on an Antec Solo mid-tower case. I love Antec cases because they are big and roomy, and quiet. I've used a lot of them over the years, and this one is the best by far. The Sonata cases are super-nice, but they have weird little design quirks. For example, those freakshow CPU exhaust chutes that filled half the case and interfered with airflow. I always took those out. The Sonatas have little doors over the power switch and external drive bays. These are nice if you need to lock children out, but otherwise they're in the way. The front intake filters are real PITAs to remove, and if you do it wrong the little tabs break off.

The Solo is a great bit of engineering. It's very solid, everything is easy to remove and replace, and it's easy to work inside. It's quieter than the Sonata cases. It even puts a Firewire port on the front, along with USB and audio.

It has some interesting noise-reduction options, like an option to put hard drives in little slings, and rubber grommets everywhere.

I almost fried the new Phenom. Oops how funny, I forgot to connect the case fan. Fortunately I figured it out before it melted down. (Clue: when the CPU fan sounds like a fighter jet turbine, check your CPU temp.)

Check out LinuxPlanet.com next week for a "how to upgrade a CPU" article, with photos. Do not believe what random persons on the Internet say, I found more misinformation and nonsense than I ever thought existed. It's really easy to find the correct information-- go to the manufacturer's sites.

Have a great weekend, and we'll see you back here next week!