I recently picked my gaming addiction back up and decided a new desk-based rig was needed. My original gaming rig is now part of my home theater and I could only take the “lap desk” so long.
Rather than be at the mercy of OEMs, I have saved up and decided to build a custom system. My goal was to end up with a stable, yet powerful rig that has plenty of room for growth; and to not spend over $2000 when everything is said and done. What I ended up with cost me just under $1200:
Case: HSPC Top Deck Tech Station
–I actually bought this a couple months ago in preparation for this project. I wanted to wait until there is a selection of USB3.0 cases rather than locking myself into a 2.0 case and have to perform a reach around to take advantage of USB3.0.
CPU: Intel Core i7 920 (2.66GHz)
–Yes it is the slowest i7, but I didn’t want to run the risk of getting a mobo without the bios to recognize the nominally more expensive 930. And the 920 overclocks pretty well.
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R
–Future proof and highly expandable. USB 3.0, SATA 6G, SLi & Crossfire (I am an ATI man myself).
Memory: 6GB of RAM @ 1600MHz (OCZ OCZ3P1600LV6GKR)
–Gotta have it.
Storage: 750GB HDD – WD Caviar Black
–I will be starting this rig out using a run of the mill HDD, but as soon as SSD is a bit more standard (read cheaper) I will be putting this one on storage duty and using the SSD for boot and certain apps. I did get the ‘black’ so I will get as good of performance as I can for the price ($80). No Seagate fanboy mail please.
Optical: $23 DVD Burner
–While physical media is on its way out, we are not there yet. Will add a Blu-Ray Burner when the need arises or they get cheaper.
PSU: 850W Antec PSU – TPQ-850 850W RT
–More than enough power to get started and even get Crossfire running, and I got a deal on this one so am willing to upgrade in the future if need be.
Video: “GRAPHICS CARD” would be listed here if I had bought one…
–There is a war brewing right now with the imminent release of nVidia’s GTX 480 & 470 and I hope to either see ATI drop prices or announce that they have an ace in the hole to kick nVidia’s butt as the 480 is more than edging them out (even if it is a power pig). I will be using the nVidia GeForece 8500GT that was replaced by an Radeon 4870 in my old HP that is on home theater duty. I figure $800 (or less) for a couple 5870’s will put me right at my $2000 budget.
OS: Windows 7
–Picked up an OEM System builders copy. I have never had to contact Microsoft for support; which is the only thing you lose by going this route.
Anyway, there should be a plethora of posts about any and all of these items in the coming weeks. While I have replaced, upgraded, installed more of every part of a computer than I would like to remember…I have yet to actually build an entire one from the ground up. You might liken it to a mechanic who knows cars inside and out and replaced ever conceivable part on a million different vehicles, but has never worked in an assembly plant. Just because he hasn’t built one, doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s doing.