So after some struggle within the family, we are ordering a new desktop computer. My wife has difficulty handling the notion that computers really only last a few years time before you have a get a new one, but the final nail in the coffin was when I got an email that it was no longer playing music for her. That is a big no-no for my wife who works from home. She needs her music. So after some research and some haggling, we managed to settle on a computer.
We needed something that would facilitate her photography business and also cater to my gaming needs. My laptop is great, but it is struggling to keep up with some of the games that came out this year, as graphics cards can’t really be updated in a laptop, and some pretty significant leaps forward have been made in that regard in the last three years.
Case: Xion Predator 970 Gaming Series Mid Tower Case w/ 2 External Removable HDD Bays
CPU: AMD FX-8150 3.60 GHz Eight-Core AM3+ CPU 8MB L2 Cache & Turbo Core Technology
Cooling Fan: Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan
Motherboard: ASUS M5A97 AMD 970 Chipset CrossFireX Support DDR3 Socket AM3+ ATX w/ USB3.0, SATA-III, RAID, 2 Gen2 PCIe, 2 PCIe X1, & 2 PCI
Memory: 8GB (4GBx2) DDR3/1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (Corsair XMS with Heat Spreader)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2GB 16X PCIe Video Card
Power Supply Upgrade: 700 Watts – Standard Power Supply – SLI/CrossFireX Ready
Hard Drive: 2TB (2TBx1) SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (Single Drive)
Optical Drive: 24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive (BLACK COLOR)
Sound: Creative Labs SB Audigy SE PCI Sound Card
Network: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
Keyboard: AZZA Multimedia USB Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: AZZA Optical 1600dpi Gaming Mouse with Weight Adjustable Cartridge
Wireless 802.11B/G Network Card: 802.11b/g/n 300Mbps PCI Wireless Adapter Network Card
Flash Media Reader/Writer: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit Edition)
All this ordered from Cyberpower
. This will be my first experience with them, but they come highly recommended, and I was tired of fighting the losing battle with Dell over their reducing the customization options. We needed something that fit our price rance and the only way to do that was to limit the goodies to what we really needed. I enjoyed the buying process, and there were no shortage of specials in their back to school sale to help with the upgrade process.
A little rundown on the componenents…
Case: I loved the Predator for several reasons. One is that it was one of the few cases that comes with hot swap bays for hard drives. This is a feature that plays to my wife’s photography business. Pictures are massive – the RAW files she edits are usually more than 10 Mb each, and its not unusual for her to come home with 500 or more photos. The ability to swap out hard drives rather than keeping all those photos on the main drive was a huge bonus, particularly since using the dual SSD+HDD setup put us a little beyond what we wanted to spend. On top of that the layout of the Predator makes upgrading a snap, and I’m sure some of that will be forthcoming.
CPU: This was a little bit of a compromise. Obviously the i5-3570k that Cyberpower is offering now is not that much more expensive, and better for gaming – but the FX excels on Photoshop with all those cores whirling, and was cheaper to boot.
RAM: Yea, I would have liked 16 instead of 8 as well, but this is the easiest component to upgrade, in my mind, and it kept us below our bar.
Graphics Card: GTX processors are tops for gaming, and they use the CUDA cores that Photoshop loves so much. Easy choice.
Sound: I have used SB cards since before time began. I don’t think enough people appreciate what a good sound card can do for you, particularly in this age of digital music. Worth every penny.
Keyboard/Mouse: Don’t know a thing about them, but they were free with the system. And I’ve gotten so used to my little Orochi on my laptop that life would feel incomplete if my desktop didn’t also have a mouse with lots of buttons on it.
Any feedback you have, whether of the “hey that’s cool” or the “hey you’re an idiot” variety, I’d love to hear it.