The AMD Valentine’s Day Gift for Intel, or how I almost got divorced

So I’m sitting minding my business today when the following note is hand delivered to my wife with a cup of chocolates: Dear Rob, I heard that Sandy B broke your heart and wanted to let you know that I’m here for you. Oh, and I have a cousin from Llana Texas I’d like to introduce you to soon – I think you two will really hit it off!


Good thing that on the way up to my office to ask me who the heck (actual word omitted) Sandy B was, my wife fortunately figured out that it must have something to do with Intel’s Sandy Bridge delay and teasing their new processor due out later in the year. 

Good thing for me because I expect that large cup would have hurt when it connected with my head.  

I can think of just a couple of peers who thought monogamy was an option in the early years of their respective marriages that may not have fared so well if their wives, who unlike my own, don’t work in tech and might not see the humor in time. 

I’m getting on the Groupon list for flowers for Tuesday just in case I need to send a dozen to their hospital rooms. If you ever decide to do something like this I’d strongly suggest a rubber mug.  

AMD’s Short Term Advantage

However, as luck would have it, I built a system over the weekend and since I have current processors from Intel and AMD, I started the process by trying to locate a great motherboard – only to find all of the current Intel boards had been yanked and sent back. 

There were older boards sitting around but most of the good ones were open boxes and I wasn’t about to spend an entire afternoon building a system only to find out that the yo-yo who had the motherboard before me had broken something off I didn’t notice.  

So, the advantage is anyone like me starting out and wanting to build something current, at the moment, can either pick up a new AMD motherboard or an old Intel board that has likely been opened and returned. This wasn’t a hard choice I picked up the AMD part.


That made the choice easy and I picked up the absolutely wonderful Thermaltake Level 10 GT case, my current favorite (designed by BMW), and the new Asus Crosshair IV Formula Motherboard from Fry’s and off I went. 

It has been over a year since a built a system from scratch. It used to be that folks would send me parts, but increasingly they send out complete systems and I don’t have to build them anymore. My last was basically putting a system that had been sent to me in a more attractive case. 

The experience was vastly better than I remembered it. Typically, after I first assemble a system there is at least one thing I have to troubleshoot and that was the case here. I hadn’t seen the power hookup for the drives (which is built into this case) because it had been tucked under something else.

I did struggle a bit with the processor cooler; I’d decided to install a Corsair H70 liquid cooled system for the processor.

Everything went well until I had to mount the pump, which goes on top of the processor, and I struggled with that for about 15 minutes. I’m sure I could do it faster the second time.

So far this is an impressive solution, dead quiet and the running temperature is impressively low. 

I needed to make one change to the hardware setup BIOS menu to point to the SATA optical drive to load the OS and I was running. 

Windows 7 went straight in and it had all of the initial critical drivers with the exception of networking and the driver disk that came with the motherboard took care of that right off. Most of my time was spent reinstalling all of the applications and I’m left with a very attractive PC at the end of the day. 

Key components were an AMD Phenom II 1090T processor, a 6970 AMD graphics card, and an Intel SSD drive. 

Wrapping Up:  My Valentine’s Day Present

So my present for Valentine’s Day was a hot looking new desktop system and some chocolates. 

As I look ahead to Windows 8 one of the features I would really appreciate is one that would automatically install all of my applications because even though much of this stuff is on the web now, installing each one, one at a time, is a rather tedious process and the most annoying part of building something new. 

Rob Enderle is one of the last Inquiry Analysts. Inquiry Analysts are paid to stay up to date on current events and identify trends and either explain the trends or make suggestions, tactical and strategic, on how to best take advantage of them. Currently, he provides his services to most of the major technologyand media companies.  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.