This has been fun!
I put together my gaming computer and got everything up and running the way I like it over the last week. It’s been a satisfying experience – planning it all out, assembling it, and working out the little kinks. (I got a few taken care of; I’ll see how many more I hit.) The result is a computer that has been able to handle everything I’ve thrown at it so far in good form!
This contraption is running off an Intel Core i5-2500K processor, which seems plenty fast enough to eat up some games while also not costing me $1000, like the higher-end Core i7’s do. I have it in an Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 motherboard, which offers not only compatibility with all the other hardware but also sufficient expansion capabilities for me to upgrade a few times over the coming years. There are two 4 GB sticks of 1600 MHz RAM in there from G.Skill, and room for two more DIMMs up to 8 GB each. I sprang for a Sapphire Radeon 7950, which is a GTX 580 competitor that’s only about a month into its product life, giving me plenty of usable time on this graphics card (and the option to pair it up with a second one when we hit the end of the Radeon product cycle). That graphics card also has some nifty power-saving features to keep from hogging all the electricity in my apartment all the time. I put Windows on a 64 GB solid-state hard drive, and have two 7200 rpm, terabyte-sized hard disks in a mirrored RAID configuration for data. It’s all running from a Cooler Master Silent 700 W power supply in an Antec Three Hundred Illusion case. (I am fantastically happy with this case/power/cooling situation, by the way.)
Now I can run around feeling like I’m inside a Lord of the Rings movie.