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Here are the specs of what I ended up with:
I am also now officially running Windows Vista Ultimate x64 which can now take full advantage of running with 4GB of RAM. And in case I want more RAM, my PC is ready to "bring it on". I've heard some amazing stories with the power of x64 from my friend (and Featured Community) Carlos Echenique from PlanetAMD6 and am happy to join the x64 "club".
Windows Vista ships with a great way for users to tell just how "good" their PC is - called the Windows Experience Index. Nick actually did an in-depth blog post on the Windows Experience Index which is worth taking a look at if you haven't already. Here is the Windows Experience Index for my new Desktop PC I built this weekend:
Based on this score, you can see where I would need to improve my PC to boost my Windows Experience Index score up. If I replaced my current AMD processor with a higher end model, I could easily make this PC have a Windows Experience Index a 5.6 or higher.
I really had fun putting the new PC together this weekend and now have a fantastically "Ultimate" Windows Vista PC.
I've also put together a new page on the Windows Experience Blog for all the hardware I use. This page details all the PCs I use, my printer, my mobile PC's and everything else. If you're interested in knowing just exactly what I've got set up, check it out.
What do you think of my new PC? What do you think it needs to be even better? I'd love to hear from you on adding to this Ultimate PC. And if you've got an Ultimate PC of your own - let me know the specs!
I would have gone with an Intel C2D CPU. Far better performance and less wattage while under load.
I have nearly an identical system, but C2D based CPU and hit 5.5 in the Peformance Index.
Oh and the price was rather close to the same.
Hey BillF, thanks for the comment! So a Intel C2D CPU would use less power than my AMD processor? Less power is good... I had to scrounge around for a good enough power supply for the PC.
So your overall Windows Experience Index is a 5.5?
Also: are you running Windows Vista in 64-bit?
==> I have heard there are less application support in 64 Bit Vista. Not sure about that. For example, Live Products don't work in 64 bit. So, how did you choose to go with 64 Bit ? How are you using Live suite ? :)
==> I would have gone with Intel Core 2 Duo 64 bit processors rather than AMD.
==> 4 GB is so good :D
==> Where is XBox 360 :D, lol, XBox Live, Xbox Media Center..hmm...
In regards to running apps in 64-bit -I am not running the Windows Live suite apps on the 64-bit PC as of yet. I am currently using them on my laptop running 32-bit.
As stated in the release notes for the Windows Live suite betas, 64-bit support will happen when the Windows Live suite hits final release:
Once the Windows Live suite hits final release, I'll be good to go.
What is your reasoning for recommending Intel's Core 2 Duo for 64-bit versus AMD? I'm curious - have you had an experience that leads you to prefer Intel over AMD?
Oh and I'll be adding more hardware to my "What I Use" page very soon. That was just part 1 ;-)
I've recently built a new all round PC that'll act as a media center PC too, I went with the Intel sollution too for the low power usage. The now built system is very quiet and cool, performs great with 4GBs of Ram too.
I'm using Vista x64 too and whilst I think that more people should make the switch to x64, it's a shame we're still struggling to see it supported. As mentioned above, the Microsoft Windows Live Suite doesn't work. One would have hoped that Microsoft would have been pushing the x64 platform first and foremost.
My friends use the latest iMac 64 bit core 2 duo with Vista installed. The performance is awesome. Since I use Core 2 a lot and seen others too, thought would choose Intel Core 2 :D. I haven't had much experience with AMD though :(
So, you reckon Windows Live Wave 2 will have some surprise for 64 bit :D ?
My understanding is that 64-bit users will be able to enjoy the Windows Live suite once it hits RTM :-) Not sure about any specific 64-bit surprises though.
You said you've built up a PC specifically for Windows Media Center (and running 64-bit too which is cool!) - what kind of TV tuners are you using if any?
I have both core 2 duo E6400 and an AMD dual core X2 6000+. I personally prefer the AMD for the "cool and quiet" technology, and also because I could get the same performance for less money. My core duo machine is very good though, but slightly more expensive.
BTW I initially tried to run Vista 64 on a 1GB RAM system, this is a BAD idea, it really does struggle, with constant swapping to HDD. After I upgraded to 2GB it felt like a new machine (similar to switching from 256mb to 512mb in XP).
Unfortunately I had to switch back to XP-64bit on one of my machines as MSN Messenger video calling does not work in Vista 64 bit (according to MSDN this is a known bug, unfortunately the work around mentioned does not work for me).
I even need to dual boot to Linux as my Sony Ericson mobile and my Canon N1220U scanner do not work in XP-64bit or Vista (any version), but do on all of the leading Linux distros.
You mention that video calling in MSN Messenger did not work on Windows Vista x64. Have you tried the latest Windows Live Messenger releases - such as the 8.5 beta to see if it works? I'll try to test it out myself once the final versions of the Windows Live hit.
I can confirm that video calling unter Vista x64 works just fine with the latest 8.5 beta, since I recently bought the new Quickcan Pro 9000 and now use it every now and then to "video-chat" with my brother who is in another country (and also has the 8.5 beta under x64).
As for the processor, I have a Athlon64 x2 4200+ (slightly overclocked to something like 4800+) and I have no performance complains at all. But it's true, right now Intel has better price/performance relation, at least at higher end CPUs. That might change when AMD introduces the new Phenom Desktop CPUs... isn't that sometime this or next month?
Sounds like a good project with good results, Brandon.
What are your thoughts on the "ultimate" laptop (light and thin, not desktop replacement) for Vista? What about the MacBook and MacBook Pro stories?
Brandon, I'm using a BlackGold Dual Tuner which originally wouldn't work with an x64 OS using 4GBs of Ram. Blackgold were kind enough to offer me a set of newer drivers though which have done the trick. Though the PC I've built is a Media Center PC, it's also my day to day PC so in essence it's a EDUHTSPC (Every day use home theatre styled PC!).
I find Media Center to be a great app and use it in the evenings but it can be quite problematic. Though the potential is there, I'm not sure it's ready for the mainstream yet. Finding a tuner that works on an x64 system can prove to be hard work and now that I have one, I often suffer from stuttering TV which I can't for the life of me seem to work out.
Other x64 problems I've encountered:
Microsoft Lifecam wouldn't work, though the new drivers seem to have helped. I've only had one lockup since.
Microsoft Silverlight sidebar gadgets won't work as Silverlight doesn't support x64.
Incidently, the new release of Windows Live Suite does now work on x64 so I'm now using that without a problem: http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=10311
As a side note, it'd be great to be able to subscribe to comments on this blog.
As a side side note, I've just seen the link to subscribe up at the top! Used to the subscribe link being at the bottom :)
Is 5.9 the highest possible Windows Experience Index?
Seems like a pretty good set up. I'm at 5.3 on my primary desktop, slowed down by my video card (7900GS with a 5.3 gaming graphics score) and slower hard drive.
If anything, I'd go for the new nVidia 8800GT. Great card, at a great price.
When you log on, do you have to wait ages for your PC to completely load or is it instant?
5.0 score? Hardly ulitmate... I can buy cheap box sets with higher scores.
Now show us how to build a box that gets top scores across the board, then you can call it ultimate.
I am running Vista Ultimate x64 and have a DViCO HDTV5Express TV Tuner. I built the machine in February when Vista came out and (at the time) the DViCO was advertised as the only tuner card that would support digital HDTV in Vista x64. Media Center had some funky requirements for this functionality so I used DViCO's supplied player.
Then I found out that you can watch full episodes of just about any show online for free so I cancelled my tv subscription. :)
AMD's processors were FAR FAR better than Intel's up until the Core 2 Duo which is better, but there still isn't that much of a gap between them. I have looked at a bunch of bench marks online and they are unreallistically one sided one way or the other, usually they don't use identical systems or settings and say that they are similar. I went with an AMD 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5000+ and I might upgrade to the 6000+ which I have at work. I work at a cable studio and do lots of video editing (we had gotten a mac too, but it was slow, hard to get used to, and everything had to be rendered. I love PCs so much more!)
Yeah, I definitely would have went with Intel... I used to be solidly in the AMD camp, but they have really lagged behind in the current generation.
with the e6850 i get a rating 0f 5.7
my 4gb of ram (only running at 800) is rated at 5.9
My ATI x1900 is rated at 5.9 for graphics and 5.8 for gaming.
My WD Raptor system drive also gets a 5.9
Overall performance is a 5.7 - That's running Vista 64
I've got an :
Intel Core 2 Quad
4Gb Geil DDR2 Ultra
and some SATA2 drive.
It gives me
Graphics are 5.9 each
Drive is 5.6
Not entirely sure why the memory is so low, and i'm probably going to upgrade the drive to a raptor at some point next year.
Thats on Vista Ultimate 32bit though, not 64bit.
5.9 is currently the highest score that can be attained. However, as technology advances they will expand the scale beyond 5.9 rather than reduce your computer score.
How big is the power supply on your computer? Did you have to upgrade it to accomodate the minimum requirements of the Nvidea 8600 GTS. The 8600 needs 350 watts of power and the 8600 GTS needs 400 watts of power. My computer only has the standard 300 watt power supply. I was looking at the same graphics cards. Someone suggested that the cards would still run with a 300 watt supply but this does not seem like a good idea.
Me and my Bro just built a computer. here are the specs
CPU: intel Q6600 clocked to 3600 Mhz
temp: 100 Fahrenheit
Video card: ATI Raedon HD 3870
HDD: Hitachi 250 GB 7200 Rpm 3.0/GPS
Mother board: ASUS With EPU
Monitor: Old one
CD drive: Super writemaster
Case: Thermal Take Armor LCS with liquid cooling system
And My windows experience is 5.9. i thought that this was a mistake but i learned that the score can only go to 5.9.