|My Custom Gaming Computer|
(updated December 02, 2016)
A custom gaming computer can be pretty expensive, but I had been saving up for one for a couple of years, so I had a pretty good budget. I spent a lot of time checking out computer companies. I also researched all the individual components that went into my computer . . . and I read through a ton of information to figure out how all the various parts work together in running a demanding game. Putting together a top-end gaming computer is way more than just picking the latest processor and the latest graphics card. And a awesome looking case is worthless if it doesn't provide adequate cooling (as heat build up will greatly shorten the lifespan of a computer).
Like so much else, this is all about balance. The idea is to pick components that mesh well together (it makes little sense to pick the faster processor, and then not add enough system memory). My computer is fairly expensive, but you are not going to get a high-end custom gaming computer for the same price as a mass-produced computer (that competes with all the other mass-produced computer companies, where a low price is often the biggest selling factor). If your budget is only $1500 or so, you can still get a pretty good system, by you're not going to be able to afford a top-end gaming computer. Having said that, there is point where spending more money begins to have little impact on actual gameplay performance. You can spend $9000 on a custom gaming computer, and it will likely be faster than a $3000 system . . . but it will NOT be 3 times faster . . . and (unless you are running VERY high resolutions on multiple monitors), it may be difficult to see any difference in real gameplay between the two systems.
Initially I had budgeted $2500, but this ended up being a bit low for what I had decided that I wanted in this build. Rather than settle for a lessor build, I increased my budget to $3000, and waited another couple of months, until I had enough saved up. The additional $500 basically covered the extra cost of a upgrading the graphics card from GTX 770 to a GTX 780 SC; and upgrading the SSD from 256GB to 512GB.
Why didn't I just build my own system: Ok, I happen to know the detail specs of every single component that went into my computer, because I picked every single one. So I know exactly what the same computer would have cost, if I had ordered all the separate parts and attempted to assemble it myself (which would have likely resulted in hours of frustration). Yes I would have saved some money if I had done that . . . but it only cost me about 15% more to buy a ready to use system. For 15% more, I got a team of experts (instead of me, pulling my hair out) who assembled, overclocked, and stress tested my computer. I also got a 4-year warranty, and life-lime free tech support.
A little warning: There are less expensive gaming computers than my Digital Storm ODE system. But please take the time to do a bit of research before you place your order. Look VERY closely at what you are getting (look at every single component, and read ALL the fine print ... some available options by some companies will actually void their 30-day free return policy). I have been ripped off before because I was uninformed and because I trusted the owner of a company (who took advantage of my lack of technical knowledge).
On August 15, 2013, my new custom gaming computer arrived! As you can see below, this is a MUCH faster computer than what I had been using.
Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core AM2 5200+ @2.6GHz; 4GB
DDR2@800MHz; NVIDIA GTX 260 Core 216 896MB@2106MHz; Vista 32 bit
Current Desktop (Gaming) PC:
This is a VERY fast gaming computer. I selected every single component that went into my build, and special ordered my motherboard and graphics card. My goal was to make sure that all the components would work well together, in giving me the best performance I could afford. Here are some of the reasons why my build includes the following specific components:
- 16GB of
system RAM (instead of 8): X-Plane 10's 64-bit version can actually use
all 16GBs (also true of other 64-bit games).
Current Laptop - purchased in June 2010 (mainly used for work, but I do have a few games on it):