09:14 AM
Core System Testing: How to Achieve Success
Oct 06, 2016
Property and Casualty Insurers have been investing in modernizing their core systems to provide fl ...Read More>>

Tutorial: Build A Dual-Core System

Create low-cost, high-end PCs capable of running today's entertainment applications.


To start this project, you'll first need to select the components that make the most sense. With a builder’s typical needs as a guideline, it’s apparent that a careful balance of cost and performance is required.

While both AMD and Intel offer dual-core offerings, product availability and established motherboard support drove me toward selecting an Intel-designed dual-core processor and Intel motherboard. That’s not to say Intel’s technology is superior to AMD’s, but as a simple fact of availability, it was easier for me to get my hands on Intel’s products.

Next, with an eye on economy, I selected the Intel Pentium D processor 820, Intel’s entry level dual-core processor. The D820 is a 2.80-GHz design, with an 800 MHz front-side bus and 2 MB of L2 cache. With a street price under $250, the D820 brings dual-core to the masses. Here's a look at this processor:

On the other end of the spectrum, system builders could select Intel’s top dog, the Pentium Extreme Edition 840, which runs at 3.2 GHz and offers hyper-threading. But you'll pay a lot more: The street price is around $1,000.

For a system board, I selected an Intel D945GNT motherboard, which is moderately priced at around $150 (street). It offers a host of features, including 1066/800 MHz FSB, DDR2 667/533, Intel 950 graphics, PCI Express X16, 4 PCI, 2 PCI Express X1, SATA (3.0Gb/s) RAID, IEEE-1394a, gigabit LAN, and high-definition audio. Here's a look:

For a case, I selected the Antec Sonata II, a mid-sized tower design that is geared toward quiet computing. This case offers front and rear panel ports, large low-speed fans, and a host of technologies to reduce noise. The case is also a “tool-less” design, using thumb screws for panel removal. The Sonata II is available in an attractive piano-black color for around $130, and it's worth every penny for those building media-style PCs. Here's a look at this case:

To finish out the components, I recommend the following three components...

...a BenQ optical drive:

...Kingston DDR-2 Ram (1 GB):

...and a Maxtor SATA drive:

2 of 3
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.