A Real Gaming Machine?

A personal computer at home is something that came in pretty late in my life considering I wanted to be a software engineer since 6th grade, I got the first computer at home when I was in 8th I guess but it was password protected and got full access only when I was in 11th or maybe 12th I don’t remember! My friend Harish once told me dude join Orkut, I was like sorry what? He explained the concept of orkut and I was like cool, but my mind questioned why would people do that when they met at school anyway? Neverthless having a computer to use at home and the first broadband connection that used to fly at 512kbps made me join Orkut and then rest is history! I had an assembled computer bought from a local vendor for approximately 50000 INR, it had a generous 10 GB hard disk, pretty good considering the norm was 3GB back then! An intel P3 processor coupled with a paltry 256MB RAM. I was so happy I had the fastest computer, I had no idea what those numbers meant but given the fact that I pressed buttons and things changed on the screen made me feel out of the world!

Going into class 12 things changed, I became a regular on the chip forums and an avid chip reader, learnt a lot about hardware and what goes well with what and it was only a matter of time before I made my dad rob a bank to fund for my next PC. This time I chose what processor to get, which hard disk to get but that was it. The guy at the shop got out some cheap motherboard, a stupid cabinet that was probably a bird prison before this, absolutely no ventilation and a stock PSU! The system could run Warcraft 3 and that was all I wanted back then! It was back to feeling all powerful, then i started actually reading about other components of the computer that were reviewed on Chip. I realised a PSU was really important and ventilation had to be setup in such a way that there is no turbulenece. How a GPU can shift load away from a CPU and so on. Shocked at how stupid I was when all i stressed upon was the processor last time I tried asking Dad for a new computer within a year and the obvious happened, I was turned down! Then my master stroke came at the end of first year of BTech, I convinced him I needed a laptop for my college course [partly true]. Got a Dell Studio 15, they had the option to customize the hardware and I did so, got a Core2duo 3.2 Ghz with 4 GB RAM and patiently explained to the lady on the phone from the Dell center that to use the 4GB I would like a 64 bit OS and not a 32 bit OS. Back then 3.3 GB and 4 GB sounded way apart in terms of RAM, I faked  my knowledge and finally got a good deal on a custom custom Studio 15 with a plum purple lid. Happy days were to follow until I dropped my laptop during an overseas trip and the left angle broke, I did not feel happy with it just because I was bored with it! I had started earning from my internship of 4th year by then and easily got permission to get myself a MacBook Pro 13.3, and that is one system I still use 2 years down now and am completely happy with it, I had to take only what they gave and trust me I could never imagine that kind of hardware performing so well! Nevertheless since the 2 year limit had been breached my hands started itching again and now I have more insight into PC hardware and well want to get the killer rig which can smoke through anything I throw at it without constipating like my previous systems none of which had a dedicated GPU.

With a decent salary now, it took me around a day to convince at home that it was a good idea to have a working PC and the fact that my brothers laptop [yeah my old studio 15] was failing one organ at a time supported the claim. I had been planning the current upgrade for at least 4 months and researching on what was the latest and what was a gamers paradise. I had been out of touch ever since I started working. My brother and I researched and finally came up with a decent rig that could handle Crysis 3 at medium setting at a decent frame rate.

Intel Core i5 3470K

ASUS Gtx650 Ti

Corsair 500W PSU (Yes I was ready to spend 5000 for a power supply)

AsRock H77 extreme 3 motherboard

RipJaws 8 GB RAM

Asked a few friends who have good gaming units to review it and one Mr Bhargav and my dear brother almost at the sametime suggested going for a Gtx660 fabricated by MSI, the TwinFrozr model! It costed a whopping 22000 INR in India and way out of my budget but once I saw the performance difference I was fixated on getting a Gtx660 at any cost! By unfortuantely budget constraints led me to take a hit on the other components, until I called the shop owner on SP Road and he said the gtx660 was only 11 grands and I went to the store the very next day only to realise he told me that price by mistake! Heartbroken I was still in no mood to give up. Told him the only reason I was there in front of him was because of what he said over the phone! He gave me a good price finally and then I chose component by component, made a few compromises on the motherboard and processor to accomodate the GPU and the forgotten component from the configuration mentioned above, yes a HDD!  I was under the impression that my old HDD was an IDE device and since the new motherboard supported only SATA, I had to get a new one. Settled with a non overclockable CPU and since I would not buy a new GPU soon, a non SLI capable motherboard. Went for the compartively inferior B75 chipset inplace of the H77 or the Z77 chipset.

Intel Core i5 3470 3.2 Ghz with turbo boost with a mas multiplier of 36

ASUS B75 LE Motherboard

ASUS Gtx660 OC (Yay!)

Seasonic 620W S II 2 PSU

RipJaws 8 Gig RAM

Seagate 1TB

My older cabinet had been changed once in between because of electricity leakage issues and ram getting displaced due to the box vibrating under load, it was a roomy Circle cabinet, had good inlet and outlet perofrated walls. Got all the components home and the nervousness made me sweat like crazy, it was the first computer with a GPU that I was going to fix! I had opened up my box multiple times earlier to change one part at a time, but never the whole config! Sat down on the floor with my brother and opened up the existing cabinet, it looked simple. Then I opened the PSU box and holy mother of lord it had so many cables! I couldnt not imagine that going in there! It just had too many cables.  I decided i’ll map the current connection to the new connection and put it in, simple eh? Nope absolutely not, everything looked different here! Everything! Took a leap of faith and removed the old hardware and fixed the new components in one by one. The moment I had to fix the monster GPU in, i was unsure if it would fit in, but thank god for standards followed by manufacturers it just sat in perfectly. The click that said the GPU was in place bought a smile to my face, the first since I got home with the components. Now the big moment of truth, the power cabling had to be done! It was scary, one wrong move could burn up the place. I tried matching pins to the board and powered up a few, some were risks I took, when I found a matching socket for a cable from the PSU I just shoved it in. Finally everything was done! It was time to power up the device, I did it and to see the UEFI boot screen was heart warming, first time on UEFI coming from an age old BIOS. I tried opening the CD drive to pop in a live Ubuntu disc only to realise my old hard disk was indeed SATA but my CD drive was IDE! No disc reader, finally made a bootable Windows 8 pen drive and shove it in and got it up! Then came the next blocker, I did not have the key to install it, searched on the internet to land up on a small hack to avoid putting in the key during the installation procedure (legal copy, which would expire if not activated with a key). All setup, had to download drivers form the internet since the disc drive was not working.

6 Hours and 1GB later the machine is up and running! In all glory it burns through the all the games I’ve put to it, Crysis 3 testing will happen soon! The feeling that I have right now is just amazing, my first high performace PC built by my brother and me with no external help!

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