After relying primarily on consoles (Xbox and PS3) for gaming over the last few years (and occasionally a very nice Lenovo ThinkPad with a surprisingly capable graphics card), I decided it was finally time to build a serious gaming rig. I'm still tuning and tweaking, so I can't give a final verdict yet, but so far, I've been very happy with it. Here are the components/specs:
- Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz CPU
- 2x MSI N570GTX Twin Frozr II OC GeForce GTX 570 video cards
- 16GB (4 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3 240-Pin 1.5V SDRAM
- 2x Western Digital 1TB 7200 RPM drives in a RAID 1 configuration
- SAMSUNG 470 Series 128GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (so game data loads faster)
- MSI P67A-GD53 ATX Intel Motherboard
- LG Blu-ray/DVD/CD reader/writer
- CORSAIR Hydro H70 CWCH70 CPU Cooler
- CORSAIR 750W ATX12V power supply
- COOLER MASTER Black Steel/Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
- Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
At this point, I've still put more time into building and tweaking than actual gaming, but hopefully that's about to change. I'm a few hours into Fallout: New Vegas, and will probably go from there to Mass Effect, Brink, L4D, and eventually StarCraft II. Any other suggestions?
Update: I've gotten a lot of questions on cost, so here's some additional information. I paid about $2,300 for everything (including Windows 7), shipped. If you're interested in building your own gaming system, you can do it for much less, however. Here are some ways to save money without sacrificing very much (if anything) in the way of gaming performance:
- Shop around rather than buying all your components from the same site. I spent enough time researching components that I didn't want to spend even more time finding the lowest prices on them, so I was lazy and bought them all from the same retailer. That said, I bought them from Newegg which has pretty aggressive pricing, so I probably wouldn't have saved very much.
- Skip the liquid CPU cooler. The fan that comes with your CPU is sufficient. I just used a liquid cooling system for fun, and just in case I want to get really aggressive with the overclocking (which I haven't yet).
- Use fewer hard drives. I could have saved a lot of money just using a single 500GB drive rather than two 1TB drives and an SSD. In fact, this could probably have been my single biggest savings.
- Buy a cheaper case. The case I decided on was expensive, but I wanted something nice and big for air flow and expansion, and I figured I'll have the same case for a long time as I upgrade individual components. But there are much cheaper cases out there that will still work fine.
- Buy less RAM. 8GM would have been plenty. 12GB is kind of ridiculous, but as you can see, I had a little too much fun designing this thing.
If I had really wanted to, I could have probably gotten the cost of everything down to about $1,800 and still had an amazing machine. Of course, I could have also spent much more, so I figure it all balances out in the end.