Wednesday, December 17, 2008

5:32 pm

My "upgraded" com + Dream PC

Let me clarify something, my computer is not some extreme quad-core liquid nitrogen-cooled speed demon that some assume (although I may have the capacity to build one). Thats why, I wondered whats the best possible parts one can obtain today that money can buy. See end of this post.

In the meantime, my parents spent a little under $300 to get my current computer up and running with parts salvaged from our older coms.

Complete specifications.
(Links included for those who are more interested in the technical details)

$99 Motherboard (mobo) : Asus P5N73-CM micro-ATX form factor. 533/800/1066/1333 Mhz FSB speed support. nforce630i/Geforce 7100 chipset.

Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3.06GHZ 524 HT EM64T 90nm 533 MHz LGA775 (Single-core) + Coolermaster CPU fan

$119 Graphics Card: PCI-Express x16 Asus Nvidia EN9500GT OC 512MB DDR3

Sound Card: PCI Creative Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 (1999)

RAM: Kingston + Infineon 2x512MB DDR2 533Mhz Single Channel

HDD: Samsung 160GB HD160JJ/P 7200RPM SATA2 16MB buffer with NCQ

Removable HDD: Lian Li RH-007 Mobile Rack for IDE HDD

DVD: HP DVD+-RW 635d

$58 Casing: ASUS TA-B41 Full-ATX

Power supply: Coolermaster 390W eXtreme Power Plus

Windows XP Home Service Pack 3 + Fedora Core 10

Those without prices are old parts obtained from my current computers at home. Yeah, I know, compared, to the likes of Chwee, Amos and gh, mine is way obsolete except the graphics card. Normally, I'm not an advocate of PC upgrading. But what I can do, cash is limited in this uncertain economic climate to get an even decent modern gaming-grade PC.

I super hate those small micro-ATX mobos since it limits expansion options. And gosh, ONLY TWO RAM slots! No choice, this is one of the few new mobos sold in Sin Lim that still support my "legacy" processor. But no worries for me, this mobo has the upgrade potential to reach the quad-core processors if necessary.

Graphics is a lower-mid level 9500GT. Quite a reasonable price at $119 considering that the next in line 9600GT costs 50 bucks more. Any lower than $119 gives me a far less graphical power. Even so, playing Half Life 2: Episode 2 and NFS: Most Wanted at maxed-out settings is something I never fathomed possible but I did. What glorious pictures! Maybe I should considering purchasing Crysis sometime in the future.

On the casing front, we chose the cheapest we could find. Its not I like care about the looks anyway. With experience from Amos's com, I knew ATX casings at this rock-bottom prices was still of reasonable quality for home use.



So here comes a personal challenge to me. What is the best gaming PC one can possibly get with commercially-available parts and a huge wallet. No personal overclocking, everything at stock configurations, and all parts must be sold in Singapore.

After spending about 3 hours researching and checking compatibility, here is the specifications of the best money can buy you in Singapore.

$710 Motherboard: Asus Rampage II Extreme with x58 chipset
including SupremeFX Xi-Fi ADI-A2000B (Sound) via PCI-Express x1 daugtherboard

$1700 Processor: Intel Core i7 Extreme 3.2Ghz 1366Mhz FSB HT LGA1366

$570 RAM: 3x2GB Corsair Tr3X6G1600C8D Dominator DDR3 1600Mhz in Triple-Channel Mode

$700x3 Graphics Card: PCI-Express x16 Asus Nvidia GTX280 1GB DDR3 in 3-Way SLI configuration

$285x2 2x Western Digital 150GB VelociRaptor 10000K RPM 16MB buffer SATA2 striped at RAID 0 for performance gaming and OS bootup. (2.5" drive in 3.5" enterprise class mounting frame)

$100x2 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB 7200RPM 32MB buffer SATA2 mirrored at RAID 1 for data reliability.

(Unknown if the mobo can actually support dual RAID configurations in a single system)

$800 Optical drive: Sony BWU-800s 8x Blu-Ray Read/Write SATA

$890 Casing: Lian Li ARMORSUIT PC-P80

$460 Power supply: Thermaltake ToughPower 1200W

$340 OS: Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64bit Edition (to support 6GB RAM)

Not included extras: An elaborate water/ liquid nitrogen cooling system, keyboard, mouse and TrueHD monitor

Total: $8340++ (Prices obtained from Sim Lim price lists I collected last week)

Who said computers are cheap? It depends on what specs you want! This list is not limited. Anyone with better suggestions or corrections can tell me lol.

I can almost drool at the specs. Too bad, all these are just on paper. I'm not even 100% sure if this dream PC can be built if I have the parts. The 3-way SLI configuration especially could be a headache. Power supplies and casing volume may be inadequate. Dual RAID configuration may not be supported. Drivers/software may not be available for the 64bit Windows Vista blah blah.

Whatever it is, the power of this system offers the glimpse of what the future of computing could be.


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