I decided to update the game rig. I never actually posted an update on my last 2 since they were pre-made rigs (Gateway gaming PC’s). This time after some frustration with a Powerspec pre-config system I purchased, I decided to return it and custom build one.
I went to Microcenter in Tustin, CA and wanted to get everything in one place, in one day. So I went to their system builder section with a shopping cart and went to town. I didn’t want to special order items or wait for anything.
I’m also an avid World of Warcraft player and wanted to try out a 3 screen wide display for gaming. I’m a huge Nvidia fan but decided to go with an AMD / Radeon card for a slightly easier to configure Eyefinity multi screen setup.
The parts list:
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922M ATX
Processor: Intel Core i7 2600
Graphics: HIS ICEQ HD6950 2GB GD5
Motherboard: Asus P8p67 Pro R3.1 ATX (Includes Bluetooth, Firewire, USB, SATA, etc.)
Power Supply: OCZ 600W Modular Xtreme Pro
Ram: Corsair 8GB VGNBLUE D3 1600 DIM C9
OS Drive: Crucial M4, 64 GB SSD 6GB/s
Media Drive: Seagate 1TB 7200RPM SATA
Optical Drive: Sony Bulk 24X DVD/ RW
Wireless N: Trendnet N Micro TEW-648U
Multi Card / Media Reader: Kingwin KWCR-901
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium.
Monitors: Asus VE278 LED. 27 inch monitor x 3
My Comments on each (remember I purchased what was in stock at the store):
Case: I went with the HAF922 for what I think is a perfect sized case. Plenty of air space, yet just tall enough without being overly huge for no reason.
Processor: I could have saved money with the I5 but I will be running some apps that take advantage of what the I7 offers over it (media editing, etc). I decided on the locked version of the I7 since I’ve never really bothered to dive deep into overclocking. I’m using the factory included Intel CPU cooler / paste, etc.
Graphics: Went with the HIS ICEQ Radeon HD 6950 for price / performance. It’s not the bleeding edge fastest card, but fast enough. It can also drive up to 4 monitors in an Eyefinity setup from the one card. The card is also overclocked out of the box with what looks to be a nice cooling setup. I’m happy to report that it runs very quiet even after hours of gaming.
Motherboard: To be honest I did not have a preference here, decided to pick up the Asus P8P67 Pro R3 because it also had a bluetooth module. It was more like “this one will work” when I was in the store and threw it in the cart.
Power Supply: I didn’t want too much power since I pay the power bill, but I also did not want too little power. I was going to start with a OCZ 600watt modular and move up if I needed to. I went with a modular supply to make things a little easier to wire up in the case and no extra wire bundles. Turns out 600 watts is working out fine.
RAM: Went with what was on sale. They had 8 and 12 gig bundles.. went for the 8Gigs of the Corsair variety. Plus how can you pass up cool blue fins on dims bro.
OS Drive: Ok I had an SSD failure with OCZ so passed up on them. I am now spoiled on SSD and had to include one in this build since I wanted everything to boot fast, etc. Went with a Crucial M4, 64 GB SSD. 64 gig because I’m a cheap bastard and will just install most of my apps (and everything else) on the media drive.
Media Drive: Seagate 1TB 7200RPM it was what was on sale. Did not want to bother with a raid config so 7200RPM basline was fine.
Optical Drive: Sony bulk. Again what was there in store, cheap and it works.
Wireless N: I went with a Trendnet N micro USB that just plugs into one of the gazillion USB ports. It’s tiny and not noticeable. This way in a pinch I can just turn on the machine within wireless range and go. I will be using the wired LAN connection of course most of the time.
Multi Card / Media Reader: All this money in a system and you CAN’T read a card from your camera or SLR ? Forgetaboutit ! Spend 7 bucks and just install one in a bay so you can read all kinds of media.
OS: Yep purchased windows 7 yet again.
Monitors: I went with three Asus VE278 LED. 27 inchers. In the store I looked at many monitors side by side… and for the price this VE278 looked real good. As a bonus the monitor has a small bezel (eyefinity multi monitor setup) it has standard mounting holes to run a custom 3 monitor stand in the future, they have half ass speakers built in which is nice in a pinch. They include one of every common type of port available: display port, HDMI, DVI, VGA, Composite. They have PIP features which is nice. But what sold me on them was mainly the Display port and LED backlit feature and nice picture. LED backlit of course means instant on and no warming up (to match the SSD fast boot up.. hehe).
Monitors: Asus VE278 LED. 27 inch monitor x 3
Asus P8p67 Pro R3.1 ATX, Intel Core i7 2600, Corsair 8GB VGNBLUE D3 1600 DIM C9
HIS ICSQ HD6950 card w/cooler.
Cooler Master HAF 922M ATX with mobo and OCZ 600W Modular Xtreme Pro installed.
Eyefinity 3 monitor setup acting like 1 big 5760 x 1080 monitor.
Yes I’m getting a new desk, this desk is slightly too small to hold 3 monitors properly. They need to have a slightly flatter angle for my taste.
World of Warcraft on the screen. Stormwind never looked so good in Eyefinity.
So thats basically it. You can go a million different ways when building a system there is almost no right or wrong way. This is the way I decided to go with a shopping cart in a store, all items in stock, no special order, no waiting, no BS. So far it’s working great.
Price for the system, 3 monitors and cables / adapters was around $2500 or so (I think) at the time of this writing. The good news is in about 2 months all this stuff will be outdated .. yay !