Monday, January 24, 2011

Exciting new PC build coming

I admit it. I'm a nerd. I love computers. That should be obvious by now. Though I'm somewhat mechanically inclined, I don't feel competent working on engines and the like. Give me a computer to work on and I'm (usually) happy. I'm mostly running Macs in day-to-day life but I do have a desktop PC for games and the occasional use when something doesn't run on a Mac.

My current PC is a homebuilt machine that currently runs an AMD Athlon XP-M 2200 CPU on an ECS K7S5A motherboard. With stock settings it runs at 1.8GHz but I usually run it overclocked at around 2.0GHz. I have 1.5GB of DDR RAM plugged into the board as well as a BFG Nvidia Geforce 7600 GS AGP 512MB video card. For sound I still use a venerable Soundblaster Live! PCI sound card. There's a collection of hard drives from which I boot Mandriva Linux, Windows XP and even tried Haiku OS (a derivative of BeOS). It's starting to show its age and has always had an occasional bit of trouble booting at the correct CPU speed. I think it's time to move on.

Now what's a bit funny is that I trace the history of this box back to a store-bought Pentium 166 machine I bought way back in 1997. Over the years I've replaced bits and pieces along the way until really there's nothing left of the original machine. I think the last piece left was the 3.5-inch floppy drive which I only just pulled a few months ago to slide in another hard drive. Yes, even the case and power supply aren't original.

I think the current configuration is nearing five years old now and it's time to rebuild. Now, I'm on a budget so some of the parts I've purchased are used bits from eBay. The heart of the system will be an ASRock N68-S motherboard fitted with an AMD Athlon II X2 240 CPU which is a dual-core chip running at 2.8GHz. Another used item will be the video card. In this case I've chosen an Asus Nvidia Geforce 9600 GSO 512MB PCI-Express video card. New products going into this build are a 500MB Seagate SATA2 hard drive, a CoolerMaster 500-watt power supply and 2GB of Corsair dual-channel DDR2 RAM.

Hard-core gamers would probably roll their eyes at this build but I'm not going for all-out speed. I'm spending the least amount of money to get something quite a bit faster than what I have. I don't play games that often and the games I currently have will keep me busy for a while yet so I don't plan to get any of the newer system-taxing games.

What do I play? I like my combat flight simulators and racing simulators, though I mostly tend to play the rFactor racing mods since it's easy to just jump into the game and drive, but then it's complex enough that I can still adjust anti-roll bars, spring rates and wing angles to get better car control and lap times.

So anyway, now that I know all my new goodies have shipped, I'll be keeping an eye on the post office! I can't wait to get started on building my new beast!