My PC Hardware Ramble

My PC Hardware Ramble

PC hardware, it is one of the most infuriating things about being a PC gamer at times, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Earlier this year I built myself a nice new system, I got myself a Quad-Core (Q6600) with 2GB RAM on a nice shiny new Asus P5K motherboard. However I kept my old 250GB HD and my nVidia 7900GS. Oooh talking about all these things makes me want to tinker away!

This build was the first time I had done everything from scratch since I was a young nipper on a work experience placement in Year 10 High School (14-15 I guess I was) working with the School IT Support in my home town of Cardiff. I got to do some fiddling about inside of a PC, however that was a long time and I was a bit nervous when I was setting up my current machine. However, despite my worries I got it all working, I may have nearly fried some stuff by not getting the fans working correctly, but it all worked fine.

The first thing I came to do upon booting up the machine was to install Windows. XP was, at the time, my system of choice yet for some reason I partitioned the hard drive. I installed XP on the slightly larger one and left the other one empty. I had fun with my fancy new system, but eventually I desired change, so I got out a Vista disc and put Vista on the other partition. This was a measley 120GB and the cause of my desire to tinker away again.

You see, I have a Press Account on Steam, this pretty much gives me a whole heap of great games to play and write about. In addition to this I have a pretty large collection of PC games. I am now starting to struggle for space, I find myself uninstalling games just to be able to download a demo without having to worry about running out of memory. I have another problem; I feel that I am falling behind graphically, I was playing Call of Duty: World at War on average settings and was getting awful frame rates and stuttering. I yearn for a new graphics card to come along and end my grahpical woes.

You see, that first experience I had with fiddling with the insides of a PC, and my latest issues leave me wanting to splurge the cash and improve my PC. I want to get inside it, figure out what goes where, install a nice new component. I want to get involved with the hardware of my PC right now, but I can’t.

Am I the only one who feels a desire to actually start messing around with the hardware in my PC? Is this something many people feel, or are you often scared of what you will find in there? Or is it the rapidly changing state of the hardware world that causes you to pause and just buy a pre-built machine? Personally after building my current one, I just can’t face getting a pre-built one.

Final note, I shall be getting a nice new 19″ monitor for Christmas, I also plan on buying a new graphics card. I can’t wait to get back inside my case.

6 thoughts on “My PC Hardware Ramble

  1. Built my own rig for the first time just over three years ago now, although I was already familiar with the insides of the PC. I’m currently considering a new HD, as my 160GB drive is straining and I need the space. 1TB here I come!

    I don’t think I’d ever do a pre-build, I like to be able to choose exactly what goes in my system. Hell, at the moment I’m half tempted to swap out a perfectly decent motherboard due to a few minor issues (most of which are only a problem when I’m actually inside the system.) and a vague lust for ASUS Express Gate.

  2. I think I’ve basically always built my own. Certainly, my Dad and I were trawling through computer fairs years ago, so I always helped out with the building of them (alongside my teched up cousin who introduced us to the fine art).

    My most recent system was a year or so ago – augmented by the graphics card I won for a letter of the month in PCGamer (yay). So I’m with an AMD 6000×2 (:<), 2gbs of RAM. Annoyingly my motherboard is actually the only one in its range not to allow for a Phenom upgrade, so the next time I do it, it's going to be a whole new MoBo. Should have gone Intel in the first place. The 8800 320 has long since been replaced by a 4870. :P Frankly I can't imagine any other way of doing it. Especially when system building is so damn easy these days.

  3. I’m in the opposite camp. 15 years ago I’d be upgrading my system component by component and have a couple of frankenstein’s on the go, but nowadays I’d rather just get a system prebuilt so it’s tested and known to work. I just don’t have time for the hassle of OC’ing RAM, purchasing video cards that don’t fit in the case, etc.

    That said my current PC is in need of another graphics card and it finally looks like the GTX 260’s are worth the upgrade from a rusted 8800 640.

    Also if you’re after a monitor, 22″ widescreen has been the sweet spot for a couple of years now and is definitely worth the money (if only for dual browsing). You’ll never look back.

  4. Oooh don’t get my started with OC’ing, that just seems like a bad idea for me. You see my PC is in a converted part of the garage, which means that in winter it is utterly freezing. As such I need a heater on most of the time right now. I don’t want to risk doing any OC’ing and increasing temps in the case as I am sure it gets hot enough in there as it is!

    An 8800 :O While I would probably go for a 9800 GTX or something, an 8800 would still be a massive improvement on my 7900…GS! A GS of all things =[

    I would love a 22″, but I don’t really have much space on my desk at the moment, my current 17″ flat screen takes up a fair amount of room as it is.

  5. Don’t be a sissy, get a 20″ CRT.

    Also, you should all be fairly content with your graphics cards (8800 oh noes!), I’m on a (broken, no less) 9600M GT (the M in there meaning that the memory bus is 128 bits, not 256 as the desktop-9600GT which essentially makes it slower than a desktop-9500GT.) I can still run current games, including Crysis.

    Finally, OCing? Don’t worry about the heat. Judging by how often you people seem to upgrade, the extra wear the heat generates won’t make a difference. The difference in speed can be considerable: my Athlon 3200+ was easily (and i’m serious: just by changing two values in the BIOS) pushed from 2,0 to 2,4 GHz. This was on stock cooling! Obviously, some chips OC better than others, but many reviews touch this subject. You also need to make sure that the motherboard supports OCing though – I bought the Q6600 for my last desktop with the intent of OCing it quite a lot, but I made the mistake of buying an Intel motherboard for it. Its BIOS doesn’t trust the user one bit. Wank.

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