John (zandev) wrote,

PC Upgrading

I'm considering getting myself a new PC. I posted about this in venta's LJ, spawning various discussion.

To avoid clogging her LJ further, I'm posting more details here...

Anyway, my requirements are a PC for gaming, multimedia and some development work. Due to the games requirement I'm going to be running Windows XP on it. I've got other machines for Unix work, so don't complain that I should be running Linux. :)

Yes, I could build it myself. However, at the moment I've fairly cash rich / time poor, and am getting less tolerant of faffing around getting things to function. I do enough of that for my job. Thus, I'm kind of looking for a pre-built system. I may have to give up and build it myself though.

Unfortunately, in the last few years, the number of good systems builders around seems to have drastically fallen.

I would deal with Evesham (who supplied my current PC), but I'm currently boycotting them for spamming. Alienware do some really nice systems, but they are rather expensive, and their cases are rather large. Mesh look pretty good, but I've not had any dealings with them apart from when I was doing my doctorate years ago.

Dell are always a fallback option, but the choices in their systems are a little limited, and their parts tend to by a little proprietary.

I've been recommended GND who look like a good company, but don't quite do what I'm looking for at the moment. They look good for servers though, so will go on the list with DNUK to look at if bateleur and I finally get around to getting a new server.

Speaking of bateleur, he recommended Systemax who seem to be a OEM sort of builder. Pretty good, but I'm not sure if they are quite customisable enough for me.

It looks like I won't be getting a PC immediately anyway, as there are various things I'm looking for, but they are not quite properly available.

I'm looking to go PCI-Express. This is just-about available for some Intel based systems, but not yet AMD systems. Graphics cards are also harder to come by.

Graphics cards are the next problem. The ATI X800 Pro looks reasonable, but I think I'd prefer the nVidia 6800GT. Unfortunately, the latter is really hard to come by in the UK, and I've not seen any nVidia cards yet available with PCI-Express support.

I'd also ideally like 64-bit support. This is currently only really available for AMD systems. Intel is supposed to be supporting this soon, but as far as I can tell their current desktop processors don't. If I was going to go AMD, then the socket 939 version does seem to be a good improvement, but few people are selling them yet.

It would be nice to go for Serial Attached SCSI drives, but this is a standard that isn't yet available and unfortunately seems to be slipping so probably won't be properly available for quite some time. I'll probably have to make do with a fast SATA driver. The 10000 RPM Western Digital Raptor drives look nice.

For future proofing it might be nice to move to the new BTX case form factor, but this does not seem to have taken off as well as Intel hoped, so doesn't seem to be available.

Oh well, I guess I'll wait for a few months and see if the market sorts itself out.

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