Update: Changed my CPU cooler from Scythe Mugen 2 to CoolerMaster V8 instead.
This is like a dream come true for me. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always fantasized of building my own PC. I can’t even count in my hands how many times I’ve spec’ed a gaming rig, only to be forgotten. Why I still haven’t tried up to this point, I’m not sure. Maybe because I didn’t have enough to actually go out and buy them. Or maybe I was just to chickenshit about messing up and throwing all that money to waste. I can still remember when I started replacing parts in my computer where you manually have to set your own DMAs and IRQs in the BIOS, while trying to figure out which jumper configuration you need to set your hard drive and whether to set it either as a primary master or slave…all of that while trying not to blow yourself up (confession: I’ve actually seen sparks fly during these occasions.).
Anyways, that was all in the past now. These days, everything is like Lego. You just stack everything up and hopefully all the fail-safes built into the motherboard kicks in. Everything is color-coded and labeled neatly, that the only way you could screw up (other than faulty components) is if you read the manual upside down.
Another good thing these days is the pricing. Deflation on computer parts (and tech stuff in general) is already a given. However before, when you want to find the best prices, you literally have to walk through each store and ask for the price and compare it by hand. Now, with price comparison sites like pricecanada.com or shopbot.ca (in Canada) there’s no excuse for not getting the best deals. And then there’s the beauty of price matching where your local store can match the best deals online while saving yourself some hefty shipping fee.
So with all these reasons, I was really running out of reasons not to do it. I started fantasizing again last year, and built another spec sheet for that elusive build but started forgetting about it again. Until a few months ago, when StarCraft II came out. It ran fine on my laptop and was able to finish it but only using the lowest settings. And one of the best things in any blizzard game is the cinematics – from the first WarCraft all the way to WarCraft 3. But this time, Blizzard made a lot of use out of their in-game cinematics vs. the pre-rendered ones, and that put the final nail in the coffin for me to upgrade to a “real” PC.
The most arduous task when building a PC is not how to put the parts together, but knowing which parts to get. It’s really hard to find a balance between budget and power given the plethora of options available. So after months of research, here is what I came up with:
|CPU||i7 930 2.8GHz|
|Video Card||XFX Radeon 5770 1GB HD577X-ZNFC|
|Ram||Mushkin Blackline 3x2GB|
|SSD||Kingston SNV425-S2/64GB 2.5″ 64GB SATA II|
|HD||WD Caviar Blue 1TB WD10EALS|
|Case||CM 690 II Advanced|
|Heat Sink||CoolerMaster V8|
|PSU||Silverstone Strider ST75F 750W (modular)|
|Monitor||Dell 22″ IPS 2209WA|
|DVD drive||Sony AD-7260S-0B|
This comes with a hefty tag of $1200, $1400 including the IPS monitor (which is still a bargain). I’ve started to purchase some of these when I can but it’ll take time. It’s got a hefty price tag, but I think it hits that balance that I need, especially now that I’ve got a list of labor-intensive games I’m dying to play, including Crysis and Far Cry 2. With this list, I don’t think I’ll be having any buyer’s remorse anytime soon (unless prices dramatically drop).
I’ll do another post when I’ve finally gotten all of these together, and start to finally put them together.