Step 1: Build the ultimate gaming system with a no-budget, but don’t waste money approach
Step 2: Build a mission-critical workstation with a focus on stability
Step 3: Put both systems head-to-head in the first biennial Eternal Battle.
Step 4: In classic videogame fashion, reveal the true form of the final boss and continue the battle
Our results might surprise you…
Part 1: Building an Ultimate Gaming PC
Life is about struggles. As a kid, the struggles were simple. It was all about getting that kite to fly or whether you wanted vanilla or chocolate ice cream. As you grew up, it got a bit more complicated as you started to have responsibilities not only to yourself but to others, and one of the battles we all face daily is choosing between work and play. Admit it, if any of us won the lottery, we’d certainly go for an early retirement or at least cut back on our hours at work. This debate between work and play is reflected every time you build a computer. For any given budget, we’re always balancing our need for performance, reliability, and the realities of our budget. With an unlimited budget, we certainly can go all out and get the very best of products, but few of us truly have an unlimited budget…
For our Summer 2005 season of System Building articles, we’re actually going to publish five different articles, one each day! After we go over how these systems were built, we’ll pit them all against each other in one giant “John Woo” style shoot-out.
I’m going to start by making good on my age-old promise to walk through the creation of an ultimate gaming system. Our philosophy remains largely the same – build a killer system with a balanced approach to component selection. Our goal is not to have the fastest benchmarks alone using things like liquid nitrogen cooling. We’re actually running everything at spec, but our goal is to produce an enjoyable system to own, use, and of course, show-off. It’s not going to be cheap, and as always, few of you will actually buy every component we select, but the point isn’t to build an identical system to what we’re doing, but instead to check out our approach and see where you might want to splurge for a flagship component and where you might not.
We’re going to do something extra special this time too – I already said that we’d be building multiple systems, but it’ll be an unfair battle between unequal designs. We’ll have our flagship gaming system with performance, but we’ll also be building a high-performance workstation with maximum stability. Along the way, you’ll learn what makes workstations different from desktops and the differences in style and approach to system building. You already know that the gaming system will outperform the workstation for games, and that the workstation will outperform the gaming system for work – but just how big is the difference? What about low latency versus high-bandwidth DDR? PSUs? This isn’t just a short list of components, it’s all whole week of tutorials and the thought process we put into building our systems.
Of course, the above only describes three days worth of articles – the two system building articles and one benchmarking article. I’ve already said that there are going to be five articles in total; you guys will have to figure out what the surprise will be. Think like a videogame screenwriter, and you’ll figure it out.
This week will aggregate everything I’ve discussed in one form or another over the decade I’ve been writing. This will help make these articles a single-source reference – know this and you’ll be at the top of your system building game.
So, now without further ado, I present to you with our first article: Building the Ultimate Gaming System.