Last Changed
04/23/2011 04:46 PM

 
 

My Personal Computer Build

Component

Product Name - Description  Price

Case

Ultra M998 - This is the best case I have ever owned.  I am not a big fan of towers but don't like small ones either.  This case is just right.  It has 4 x 5.25" external drive bays, 2 x 3.5" external drive bays and 4 x 3.5" internal drive bays.  The case is very roomy and easy to work in as well which is a big plus for my fat hands.  The motherboard tray is removable, case comes with rollers (a new must have feature for me), the motherboard tray has a power bar which greatly shortens cable runs and plenty of room for a big power supply if you need it.  Like all cases there are some things to dislike, but I find them minor.  Hard drive mounts are old fashioned and probably should have been rotated to make installation and removal easier, edges aren't sharp but they are rough a rounded cut would be nice, should have come with some silicon mountings to keep HD vibration down and screwless is always a nice option. $130
Power Supply Enermax Modu82+ 525w - PSUs aren't a big deal to me but I do have some criteria when purchasing, must be 80% or higher efficient, reasonably quiet, fairly priced and have modular cabling.  You can save some money by losing a feature here or there, but ultimately PSUs tend to live a LONG time and generally speaking out-live my other components so an extra few bucks here is often worth it.  I have no complaints with this PSU.  It is considered one of the quietest PSUs out there right now, plenty of power for my needs and reasonably priced. $130
Motherboard MSI P6N Platinum - I have no idea what a really good motherboard is actually.  I usually go to Anandtech or TomsHardware and pick one of the motherboards in their recommended list.  I don't overclock much and when I do I keep it simple.  Honestly, I have never really been happy with a motherboard and never completely unhappy.  I used to use the DFI motherboards, but they tend to blow out on me every year or so.  In the end, I picked this because TomsHardware liked it and it is supposed to be a good deal.  My single BIG complaint is the lack of PCI Express slots and the complete inability to support x4 and x8 cards.  I would buy the Diamond next time since it is $10 more and supports x8. $140
CPU Intel E6750 - Another area I have little loyalty to.  I basically buy whatever is the best processor I can find around $150 to $250.  I replace a processor once every 12-16 months or whenever a big price drop hits.  Currently the Q6700 is a pretty good deal and by Summer 08 you can probably get one for around $200. $175
Memory OCZ 4GB PC2-6400 - Memory... don't spend a lot here I say.  Quantity is more important than quality and most companies that produce RAM these days create a quality product.  I generally buy what is on sale and just try to sock as much as my OS will support (and sometimes more). $100
Graphics EVGA 8800 GT 512MB - I love Toms Hardware when it comes to figuring out the best bang for buck video card out there.  I was torn between the 9600 and 8800, but in the end the 8800 is faster and about $10 more.  Hopefully one day NVIDIA will realize that you don't need two dozen models that performance wise aren't very far apart from each other. $150
with rebate
Audio I use the motherboard audio.  I know you can buy "better" but generally speaking your speakers are the real hold back. $0
Hard Drives Western Digital SE16 640GB - Big drive great performance.  At some point I will swap the boot part for a solid state drive, but they need to come down a lot more before I get real interested in those.  This machine also has 6x750gb hard drives from various manufacturers along with an LSI MegaRaid 8344ELP running RAID 5.  I am not going to list the RAID setup in the price because I have a lot of data I deal with and most people simply don't need this especially at near 1k in costs.  I do ghost my drive often so I can restore in case of a drive failure and I recommend picking up a second drive that is the same size or larger for doing just that. $120
Optical Drive LG 20x DVD Burner - I just buy whatever is cheap and reasonably fast.  These days one drive seems about as good as the next. $25
Monitor Samsung SyncMaster 245BW 24" LCD - I picked this up at CostCo on sale for $300.  Before that I had a Dell 22".  I basically upgrade a monitor when something breaks or something MUCH better than the current setup I have comes along at a good price.  I have my eye on the Hanns-G 28" for $500.  That sucker drops to $400 and I will probably buy it. $300
Keyboard Logitech G15 Keyboard - The default gamer keyboard these days.  Gets the job done and most people really like it. $70
Mouse Logitech G5 Mouse - I used to use cordless mice, but too many recharges in a day sent me right back to a quality corded mouse. $40
Fan Controller Zalman MPC1 Plus - I needed to quiet down the case a bit so a 6 port fan controller that was pretty cheap and works great was just what the doctor ordered for reducing the noise. $35
Extra Fans D12SL - Several companies rebadge these as their own but they are basically the same fan as a higher end brand at a quarter the price.  I ripped all the fans out of my case and added a couple more using these.  $20
4 at $5 each
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper TX2 - Cheap, quiet (for a fan based cooler), easy installation and works VERY well.  Their is a reason Toms Hardware uses this guy on a lot of their builds. $25
Graphics Cooler Thermaltake DuOrb Graphics Cooler - Another reasonably priced cooler that is pretty quiet.  I cut its power down by 30% to make it VERY quiet and it is still cooling better than the stock cooler. $35
OS Windows XP - I am stuck here for a while at least until Vista calms down A LOT more.  I would like 64bit XP so I could use more memory, but don't feel like finding drivers and such. $80
     
Total Cost For this price, this machine will beat a Dell or similar prebuilt significantly in the benchmarks.

* This doesn't include the usual extras like high end thermal paste, extra cables, etc. 

$1575

 

Upgrades to Consider

For me there are a couple of nice to haves on the horizon.  First is an extra 8800GT Video Card in SLI.  Won't double my performance but it will certainly send it into the high end category for a relatively small price.  I have also considered upgrading my processor as the Q6700 comes down.  There is also a CPU cooling solution on my list which is the Asetek LCLC Pre-Filled Liquid Cooling Kit which is basically a maintenance free CPU cooler for around $100 or so.  I like the extra cooling capability along with the silence it brings.  I may upgrade my MB soon as I don't like jacking my x8 RAID card into an X1 slot via an adapter.  I am loosing performance and right now it doesn't screw into the system which is something I need to fix.

 

Benchmarks

 Keep in mind I run a lot of Dev stuff on this box such as SQL Server so I have not tweaked the machine at all.  This is straight from boot up right into the benchmarks.

Benchmark

Result
3D Mark 12,456 Overall

AquaMark 3

174,000 Total

 


 
 
 
 
Copyright 2003 Cameron Scott Cole. All rights reserved