Rebuilding My PC [4]

As we saw in the last post, I started it on the old PC and finished it on the new one. About halfway through writing, I saved the draft on the old PC and shut it down. I then booted from a Windows PE CD and started up ImageX to capture the boot disk to a WIM file. Once that was completed I did the same on the new PC with its new 250 GB HDD, first running Diskpart to partition the new disk and then again running ImageX to apply the boot disk image to it. After this I tried booting and got an error screen telling me to run the Windows Recovery Wizard. This is because the BCD command line tool needs to be run to fix the boot configuration. I had an MDT boot CD handy so I booted that and chose the Recovery Wizard option which fixed the boot configuration for me, then I rebooted and Windows 7 came up looking almost the same as it did on the old PC. While the old PC was imaging I tidied up all the power supply cabling on the new box.


You can see the power cabling has all been tied back to keep it out of the way of things. Particularly that CPU fan. This has become more necessary in the era where such large CPU fans are fitted that do not have enclosed blades like they did in the Socket370 era. But of course tidying up the cabling makes things easier all round for a nice and tidy PC inside.

Around this time I decided it would be safe to leave the new box on overnight so I went to bed leaving it running. Starting again in the morning I have lifted out the old box. Here is a picture of it:


I took the modem, 250 GB HDD and the old DVD writer across to the new box which will now have two 250 GB HDDs and two DVD writers and of course the modem for when the broadband falls over. At the moment I am copying some files off one of the 80 GB disks across. Then it will be all finished and ready to go. Here is the comparison of the WinSAT data for old and new PCs, both running Windows 7:

Component Old spec Old SAT New spec New SAT
CPU Celeron D325 2.66 Ghz 3.4 Celeron E3300 2.5 GHz 5.9
Memory 2.00 GB 4.4 2.00 GB 5.5
Graphics Intel D915 1.9 Intel G41 Express WDDM 1.1 3.3
Gaming Graphics Not detected 1.0 780 MB total available memory 3.4
Primary HDD   5.3 207 GB free 5.9
Overall Score   1.0   3.3

Note that in spite of similar GHz the CPU score is quite different, obviously the new CPU is a bit faster. The memory is DDR2-800 instead of DDR 400. Not much difference in the HDD even though it has gone from SATA1 to SATA2. The low graphics scores of the old PC being in large part due to Intel’s controversial decision not to produce WDDM drivers for the 915 chipset. The branding of these chipsets as “Vista Capable” led to a class action lawsuit against MS and Intel in the US.

The one other issue with the old PC in particular was noise. The new one is almost silent. I checked up with the old PC and found the case and CPU fans are particularly noisy. The CPU is the “Prescott” series with the infamous “Netburst” microarchitecture, which was notorious for the high thermal envelope and resultant heat output. It was this class of CPU that first made it necessary for cases to have an extra ventilation duct put into the side to allow the CPU fan to exhaust directly from the side of the case. Even with 2 GB of RAM the CPU fan runs nearly at full speed almost all of the time even at idle with Windows 7 installed. When I stopped those two fans, the power supply fan was fairly quiet. I rebooted into the BIOS hardware monitor and read off temp of 72 degrees C for the CPU and its fan was turning at 2600 rpm which is flat out. This in a room temp of 20 degrees and with the case completely open so plenty of airflow. In flat out burn in tests with the new box it never got above 55 degrees (frequently a lot less) and the fans only turned around 1100 rpm. Another dumb thing is the old box will not boot off a 160GB HDD, only an 80 will do for those old 915s. I am planning to take the old box to school, purely as a stopgap until we upgrade, because it is so limited that it won’t even run 64 bit editions of Windows.