System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,600 Alternative PC

Starting Over, This Time With Success

These are the good old days…

Twelve years have passed since the last time I was forced to chase down such a series of catastrophic events, where a board damaged a processor that in turn damaged every board it touched, which in turn would damage every processor it touched. Back then, I had to pay for that troubleshooting myself. This time, I only had to explain why my two-week paycheck hadn't yielded any content.

Switching to a motherboard that held-up under the load of Noctua’s NH-D14 installation kit, and a memory set that wouldn’t damage the apparently-fragile E1-stepping Core i5-3570K’s memory controller, I moved on to re-build the system.

Fractal Design’s trays support 2.5” drives by direct mounting, and 3.5” drives through grommets and included shoulder screws. The shoulder screws prevent grommet crushing, and the grommets prevent the transmission of vibration from mechanical drives to the drive cage.

We probably don’t need to re-shoot the CPU cooler installation, since the same method was used a second time on the Gigabyte motherboard. The big difference is that Gigabyte supplies only one CPU fan header, so we had to include the NH-D14’s fan power splitter in our installation.

Finally, a working system that doesn’t slowly die after a couple of days!