Constellation Launched!

Software upgrades are often fraught with unforeseen consequences. Upgrading my Mac to OS X Lion had the unintended consequence of making my Windows 7 Bootcamp partition unbootable. After searching for a solution on the web and finding none but to start all over, I decided to move ahead with the Constellation PC building project sooner rather than later. My old XP box, Defiant, was becoming increasingly unstable probably due to a dying video card, so it made sense to build a new box.

Using my baseline specs spreadsheet I headed off to Microcenter this morning with my wife to do some shopping. It all went much better than expected. I got most of what I wanted for less than my base estimates and had a great sales person helping me out. I’ve always gotten great service at Microcenter, which keeps me coming back.

No real problems assembling the parts, the real challenge would come with needing to install the Windows 7 upgrade version from the defunct Mac installation onto a clean hard drive. Some searching lead me to the upgrade over the upgrade technique. Basically you do a full installation from the install DVD then when it asks for the product key, leave that blank and uncheck the Activate box. Clicking Next takes you to the Windows 7 desktop. Once at the desktop, start up Setup.exe on the installation DVD again and this time pick Upgrade install. It upgrades over itself and you can pretty much complete a normal installation from there.

I still have a lot of file restore work to do, but Constellation is running well and I’m looking forward to a lot of work and play with my new ship!

Games and Sports Tech

Constellation PC Project

The last PC I built, Defiant, is pretty long in the tooth these days. It’s a pretty much maxed out XP box that I have no further plans to upgrade. But it does play older games fairly well, so I still get on it from time to time. It’s also the box I use to read JManga books on my iPad.

Anyway, I’ve had the itch to build a new gaming PC for a while and started to spec and price parts today. I’ve decided to call the new PC, Constellation, and build it around the Intel i5 2500K. Why the i5 rather than an i7? Well, Constellation isn’t meant to be a cutting edge gaming PC, just something with decent performance. Though I am choosing a motherboard that will support an i7 once its cost comes down.

Right now, Constellation is weighing in at about $800 which I’m not ready to spend just yet. So I’ll be doing some bargain hunting on the components I’ve listed in my spreadsheet so far. Not sure when I’ll finish this, but it feels good to have started the project!