I finally got around to building a new desktop PC. I’ve been working from my MacBook Pro for the last year or two, and its perfect for getting things done and its very speedy. Unfortunately, it simply cannot handle any of my hard-core games. So, in a fit of insanity, I built a new rig.
Components I had to buy to bring the old box up to speed:
- i7 920 2.66ghz Quad Core
- GTX 260 896mb Video Card
- 6gb DDR3 1600
- X58 Motherboard
- 550w PSU
- Vista x64 Home Premium
So far, everything is working without a hitch. I am noticing some interesting things though. For one, I now understand the frustration that everyone has with Windows Vista. UAC is beyond annoying, and sometimes things are a pain to find due to the new start menu. However, the machine is incredibly snappy. Everything runs incredibly fast, and crash recovery is much better. I can alt+tab from a game to desktop and back without a complete reboot, and games run like melted butter. That said, getting my older games to run under 64bit Vista was… fun. Battlefield 2142 apparently requires the patches to be installed in a certain order, and Punkbuster (the anti-cheat scanner) has to be manually updated. All of my Steam games run perfectly though, and the recommended settings are right on par with what I expected. Overall, I was really impressed with how they handled that. The game knew I had a decent machine, and automatically ramped up the settings. I love it.
I’m still running on some old 17″ LCDs, but a friend of mine has volunteered to swap me his dual 19″ for them. I’ll definitely owe him, but it’ll be nice to have matching monitors again. I should be all set, except for my chair, which is the next upgrade on my plate.
Now, the i7 definitely gets my seal of approval for hardware as does the GTX 260, but if you are trying to build a machine on the cheap go for the raw clock speed. The i7 does a lot of things (at the same time) well, but Battlefield is still not as buttery as it should be. I got the EVGA brand motherboard and graphics, which at the time was due to reviews and cost but in the aftermath I think it was a great choice. Why? Because it came with free stuff. Not only did I get the Newegg bonus Call of Duty: World at War, but I also got 3d Mark Advantage, the ELEET overclocking tool and a bunch of discounts. EVGA also offered to let me return my new graphics card and upgrade it to a higher end model within 90 days. That is just amazing, to me. Also, the extra year warranty I get from registering my motherboard is a wonderful bonus.
One day I’ll get around to installing Visual Studio, for now, Counter-Strike and BF2142 will do nicely for burn-in testing.