Once again, it’s taking me entirely too long to get this written down. However, there was some doubt for a while whether the story was truly over….

Part of the plan for this year, especially after building Micca for Smudge, was to filter the goodness down, and upgrade the other PC’s around the house. I put this off for a variety of reasons for a bit, but finally decided to get going on the replacement for my old system the Friday before Memorial Day.

The basic plan was to take the good parts from Sunshine, the worst of the current systems (being a rebuilt HP system), and replace the bad parts with new ones, making a competent system that would be a good upgrade from my current Utena (PIII-550; decidedly aged these days). I actually already had a new case, having gotten one of the same great deals as Micca’s when I put him together.

So, off to Micro Center for a new motherboard and video card. Socket 478 (second generation P4) boards aren’t exactly common anymore, so I had to do quite a bit of hunting just to come up with a couple possibilities. After finding a pretty good one, I noticed the next variant up sitting next to it for $5 more. Looking it over, I found what I got for five bucks was gigabit Ethernet instead of just fast Ethernet. So I got it and went home. Fortunately for me, I immediately opened it up, so I discovered the hidden problem. There were two differences; it turns out that the ‘minor variation’ also changed Socket types….

So back to Micro Center and the cheaper board. I think I spent my ‘savings’ in gas.

After that, things went smoothly enough, with final assembly happening late Sunday (after FanimeCon was done). Initially, things seemed fine. But I found that the first IDE chain was occasionally dropping the boot hard drive in the middle of operation… once in the middle of a write operation, and corrupted the disk. Some tweaking stabilized the situation, somewhat. Instead of hours, the drive lasted two days before managing to blow away the entire directory structure. It was an older drive, and may have just been failing (I don’t particularly care to find out, and this may have wrecked it anyway), but it seems the problem was putting two ancient drives on one E-IDE chain. The boot drive and the CD-ROM were occasionally colliding and crashing the chain. After replacing the hard drive with a more modern one, and placing it on the same chain as the other hard drive, it’s now gone most of a week without a single hardware hiccup.

So, meet Haruhi:
MSI PM8M-V motherboard
Pentium 4 2GHz processor
12x Pioneer CD-ROM (still chugging away after 11 years…)
EVGA GeForce 6200 (256 MB)
Approx. 100 GB HD space

WoW performance is a little sub-par, but workable (it’s pretty obvious that the chip’s a little low, but the memory is great). I’m still tweaking with the settings a bit. Everything else is very nice. The motherboard also has two SATA slots on it, so if I get an urge to get a new hard drive, I can get one that can make the transition to the next generation of system.

Edit: And I had meant to say that this little exercise set me back about $180 total. Most of the new system was existing parts.