- Looks nice in the living room.
- Isn't too noisy
- Performs well running new games with pretty graphics (e.g. Oblivian)
- Has some future upgrade possibilities
- CPU: AMD X2 3800+ to 4400+ dual core processor
- MOBO: NVIDIA nForce SPP 100 / nForce 4 SLI chip set
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 7900 (GT/GTX) (256/512)
Here's the complete configuration I'm looking at (newegg-ing it). I think my budget may be a bit out-of-control but here goes:
- Lian Li V COOL PC-V1200B plus Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
The case looks nice. There's no drive door and having the ports on the front is important. I've heard it described as "quiet" (the plus version has an extra fan). But I guess it depends on what's inside there and what it's doing...
- ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce SPP 100 ATX AMD Motherboard
I looked at the comperable MSI and Lanparty offerings, but this one seems to be "the favorite" (and I wasn't crazy about the fan on the MSI board). By "favorite", I mean that a lot of people bought this board, not that they all considered it flawless.
- XFX PV-T71G-UDF7 GeForce 7900 GT (470MHz) 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card
The 7900 is temporarily MIA, but otherwise it seems to be a cooler (and generally better) version of the 7800. The GT/256MB card is 300$ or more while GTX/512MB card is a bit less than double that. My goal was to pay less than 400$ for a graphics card, but I may have to rethink that.
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester 1GHz HT Socket 939 Dual Core Processor Model ADA4200BVBOX
Right now AMD is ahead by a nose, and I think I'll try to stick with the dual core thing. I've heard that it may be better to go with opterons and overclock, I may be to old for over-clocking... (but then I have bought into the OC'er type of gear).
- CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model Twinx2048-3200c2pt
I know I want at least 1Gig, and since I'm already in way over my head, I might as well put in 2 gig now and get it over with.
- ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro Cooling Fan with Heatsink
I read a nice review of this cooler on a similar rig (same mobo and case anyway). The word "quiet" was also mentioned. I'm also thinking that investing in a more efficient cooling system should quiet down the system a fair amount.
- FSP Group (Fortron Source) FX700-GLN ATX12V/ EPS12V 700W All-In-One Power Supply
I tend to make a lot of "just in case" decisions. SLI makes sense "just in case" I want to add another video card. The XMS memory makes sense "just in case" I want to try lowing the CAS timings. The cooling unit makes sense "just in case" I want to over clock the CPU. And a 700 Watt psu makes sense "just in case" I want to do all of the above. That said, it's all kind of a waist if I end up doing none of it.
- ViewSonic VX924 Black/Silver 19" 3ms gray-to-gray (avg.); 6ms white-black-white (typ)' LCD Monitor
Like I said, a 19" monitor. Perhaps this doesn't really require very much GPU power at evern the highest settings? Maybe it really does (I'd feel like less of a dupe).
- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card
I don't really need an audio card. Actually, I'm probably going to use this thing under head phones, I might ditch this card for now until I really need one. I'm also not sure I can use the front audio ports if I have another sound card (though I can't see why not).
- Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD4000KS 400GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
This is another popular item (this type of drive that is). The trend is to create a RAID0 array out of 2 (perhaps smaller) of these drives (creating one bigger and faster drive). Actually, I should probably do that since it's a clear win. Another trend is to buy 2 modest sized 10,000 RPM drives (e.g. WD 74Gig Raptor) and create a RAID1 array (this creates one smaller drive - the size of a single disk - with faster read times. The disk is mirrored so you can keep running if one of the drives fails). I believe the idea is to install the OS on the RAID1 and everything else on the RAID0. I might just put in a RAID0. RAID01 sounds really neat, but I have no idea if it's supported (and I'd have to buy 4 drives).
- PLEXTOR 18X DVD±R DVD Burner included Replaceable beige front bezel Black E-IDE/ATAPI Model PX-760A/SW BL
- PLEXTOR CD Burner Black IDE Model PX-230A/SW-BL
I'm really tired of shoddy CD/RW and DVD/RW drives and Plextor is supposed to make some higher quality ones. I thought NEC was rated well also. I read some advice somewhere that it's worth getting the SATA version of the Plextor DVD drive. I'll look into it "just in case" it matters lol.
- SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Windows 98SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP
Wow. We never managed to adopt the metric system and we can't seem to get rid of the floppy drives. What is it that Europe and the Macintosh have that we don't? Okay, I didn't want to start an argument. Actually, the price tag I'm running up here reminds me of the old days when I'd trade several choice limbs for a Macintosh. Those were the days...
A bit of background just in case I haven't yet managed to bore you into a coma...
My current computer is a zd7000. I've bought into the desktop replacement scheme because I liked the idea of a semi-portable system that I could play 3D games on as well as handle a variety of other computing tasks. This rig is primarily for living room use so portability has never really an issue. But the tradeoffs of this type of system are an issue (I could go on, but I'd exceed the maximum post length). The fact is that I really do like the laptop overall, but it's not really a good solution for a gamer.
So my curiosity was piqued when I read a suggestion to another dissatisified zd7000 owner who wanted a (semi) portable gaming machine to "go out and get a Shuttle." I'd never heard of the Shuttle, and I was very excited when I saw one of these neat little boxes. The whole Small Form Factor (SFF) idea kind of took off in my mind as a completely groovy compromise between a desktop tower and a desktop replacement laptop. And one of those things really would look great in my living room! But after drooling over many configurations and looking into various boxes (there are some other nice enclosures out there like the Monarch Hornet, and Monarch's also come out with a high end mATX board), I realized that I'd have to make another performance tradeoff. It's true that I did build up a fantasy Shuttle SN26-P1 system very similar to the configuration above (it has a nForce 4 SLI micro ATX board that can take the dual core AMD X2 CPU's), but I knew that it would run hot and loud, and might not perform as well as a desktop (for the same $$$). But maybe I should also go back and take another look at that shuttle.
Edited by Fred Richardson, 05 April 2006 - 06:10 PM.