I was given the opportunity to purchase a new machine (with my choice of parts) at work and put it together from scratch, something I had never done before. I’ve dabbled in cases ever since I played games (the driving force behind much of my computer knowledge), but never actually assembled an entire box from parts.
It’s amazing to see how far along motherboards, and even cases, have come now. Overclocking can be done through software, as opposed to opening the case and fiddling with jumpers. Fan speed is automatically controlled for a balance of silence and cooling. Rail mounted drive bays make hardware configurations much simpler. Thumbscrews eliminate the need for screwdrivers for a simple dusting. Firewire ports, ethernet connections, video support, even 5.1 surround are all built onboard, for the option of extremely clean, roomy, and cool cases, even if they are rather simple.
I managed to put the system together without having to re-seat a card, clean a connection, or wiggle a power cable. My machine is now a P4 3.2E (I suppose all higher end Pentium chips now automatically come with hyper-threading), with a gig of DDR RAM, a 200 GB serial-ATA HDD, and a 128 MB ATI 800XT Pro video card. I also requested another 17″ flat panel, and received it the next day, so I can take advantage of the dual display goodness.
Work was good, but now it’s just better.