Thursday, April 15, 2010

Building my way to a new gaming experience

It has been too long since my last post. Real life, a few business interests taking up more time than it should and of course the daily grind have all kept me not only away from this blog, but also gaming in general.

Aside from being robbed of the chance to lose myself in the latest electronic adventure, all those games I complained about just sitting on the hard drive, neglected like an ugly child at an orphanage are still sitting there, unexplored.

Commander Sheppard has been drydocked, my battle record for Bad Company 2 furloughed. I could go on. But there is light at the end of the cyber-tunnel.

Fate has put me in a place to finally upgrade my gaming computer. She has been one heck of a mistress, treating me so well with the very rare and only occassional hiccup. Built in December 2006, it boasted the following;
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz
  • 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
  • GeForce 8800 GTX
  • 2 GB Memory
I would later add a surround sound speaker system I had long coveted along powered by a X-Fi Titanium  sound card.
Now the reason for buying the 8800 GTX was to take advantage of DX 10 and all the candy microsoft promises game developers would come out with using the latest graphical tools. But that never really happened and for the most part my gaming computer has handled everything thrown at her if not with the newer games dialed down a tad.
But now we are in the age of DX11, and developers are not only taking advantage of it but the games are looking like more horsepower is needed under the hood to get any decent framerates. So the decision was made to take the plunge and prepare myself for a summer of souped up gaming.
What did I go for?
I decided to take the extra step, fork out for that dream system that I read about in the back of gaming magazines. Looking back, it was plain to see if I could get another three years out of this new gaming system, the extra money for the top of the line components would make sense.
This logic translated to the following;
  • Intel Core i7-960 Bloomfield 3.2GHz
  • ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Two SAPPHIRE 100281-3SR Radeon HD 5870
  • CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2
  • Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM
All encased in a COOLER MASTER Cosmos Pure Black Aluminum / SGCC ATX Full Tower Computer Case.
I know there are many reviewers and gamers who post in the forums that feel the two 5870's are overkill, but have you tried to buy a 5970? I was on auto-notify and within three hours of getting an email to say Newegg had them in stock, they didn't anymore!
Besides, the dream list from PC Gamer has the two cards listed, so who am I to doubt.
One package at a time, the components arrived. What caught my eye initially was the size of the coolmaster case. The thing is huge.
But it has to be, the video cards are reportedly long and big. The rods that outline the top and bottom of the case not only gives it some science fiction look, but makes the large case easier to handle.
There is nothing space age about the thick cloth cover that comes with the case though. I'm guessing this is for moving the thing down the road. Nice touch.
I had never spent as much on a case as I did with the coolmaster, but as it was unpacked the quality and care that went into it was obvious, making me feel better about the extra dollars. Everything was painted, inside and out. Padding was inside to help with soundproofing. Four massive fans come with the case, all strategically placed around the inside to create an airflow over the various components. From the unique rack system for the hard drives to fans located on the bottom and top, the cooling jetstream can be imagined peering into the expansive case.
And the vents on the top of the case look so sharp.
The case is also designed to tuck away the different cables, a panel of inputs are located on the top and towards the front. Among the inputs is an ESata. hmmmm. Never had one of those before.
The power supply isn't only located on the bottom of the case, but the fans points downwards to a duct, obviously venting the hot air out of the case instead across the components trying to be kept cool. The case comes with a small plastic accessories case which includes screwdrivers, etc. I couldn't quite work out what the little case was for or even how to open it. Its design would have fit comfortably in a science fiction movie. Although the screwdrivers are nice, they're not to the quality I use, so they stayed in the case. What was very clever where the custom screws for the HD bays and motherbaord giving the finsihed computer a polished look.

The front door can be changed so it swings either way and the drives slide and snap into place in the different drive bays.
More on this build as the different components are unpacked and assembled.

No comments: