A month or so back my machine, a Dell XPS M1530 laptop with an nVidia 8600GT Go graphics card, was stolen from my house while I was asleep upstairs. They would have gotten more but they thought nobody was home. When they came into the bedroom they saw me and ran, taking only the laptop and an iPod Nano with them. While being extremely angry about the theft and being intruded like that, things could have been much worse. I'm thankful that they ran. Either they would have overpowered me, or I would have overpowered them. Upon reflection I believe either eventuality would not have ended well.
The laptop was never recovered and the thief(s) never caught (are they ever?) so the home insurance ended up paying out on the claim I made. They called me for details of what was stolen and any possible receipts I had of the items. I had a call back once they'd had a chance to custom build a Dell laptop equivalent or better, than the one stolen. When I originally bought the laptop it was top of the range. I added the best CPU, memory, hard drive, battery, graphics card and operating system available at the time which was around 4 years ago and I paid £1065. The quote I got back for the laptop alone was £940. I was shocked! I had an actual smile on my face. I never thought I'd get anything near that. I was certain, without looking, that I would get back some crappy Dell. It never occurred to me that a direct equivalent was not available except in the same upgraded state that I originally used.
So there I was, almost a grand available to get a new machine with. Hard choices had to be made. Hard ones I tell you!
Laptop or desktop? Luckily this choice was made easier for me by my wife. Previously I owned 2 laptops capable of running EVE but my wife's laptop (a Samsung R20+) snapped multiple times at the hinge so I ended up giving her one of my machines. Now that she needs to take the laptop to university, she has found the need to purchase a smaller model. This means that my old laptop will be available for me to use as a portable machine whenever I need one. Obvious choice remains; I buy a new desktop.
And here is what I built:
Intel Core i5-2500K 3.30GHz (Sandybridge) Socket LGA1155 Processor - OEM
This CPU has way more than enough power for anything gaming I throw at it, especially as it is multiplier unlocked. The next models up are simply not needed considering their price differences.
Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 Motherboard (Socket 1155, ATX, DDR3, USB 3.0, HDMI, Bluetooth Module)
In previous PC builds I have chosen to buy a cheaper motherboard and regretted it. This time I went for a new model with excellent reviews.
Corsair CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B 16GB (4x4GB) 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 Vengeance Blu Memory Four Module Kit
May as well fill up those slots. I opted to not pay the extra for memory rated to run at higher speeds. I'll still be able to get some extra power out of these.
Asus nVIDIA SLI GeForce GTX 570 DirectCu II Graphics Card (1.28GB)
This is always a hard choice. Cheap and cheerful to make more money available for other components with the option to upgrade later, or buy a decent card now. I went middle ground with this fairly new card.
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 16MB Cache - OEM (WD5000AAKX)
Any cheapish hard drive with the current supply issues.
Asus Xonar DG 5.1 PCI Sound Card with built in Headphone Amp - OEM
Even a cheap sound card will sound better that the on-board sound.
Corsair Carbide 500R Midi Tower Case - Black
I looked at many, many cases. The new Corsair case looks mighty fine and even has dedicated space for my chosen CPU cooler.
Corsair CWCH100 Hydro Series H100 Extreme Performance CPU Cooler
Some CPU coolers will conflict with RAM that have heat sinks. Some CPU coolers work better than others. Simple choice, buy a self contained water cooled unit. Out of the 3 sizes to choose from, I chose the largest with it's 140mm radiator.
OCZ ZS Series 650W '80 Plus Bronze' Power Supply
650 watts should be plenty to supply my kit. I'm not SLI'ing and I couldn't even if I wanted to with the graphics card I chose.
LiteOn IHAS224-19 Lite-On 24x DVD-RW LightScribe SATA
Cheap and cheerful. I think I may even have a few LightScribe disc's lying around somewhere.
Now, finally I have all the pieces of the machine assembled and running. I had a few problems with some of the components and they had to be returned for replacements but everything is now sorted and working. One thing I will say though is that Amazon have an excellent replacement policy in case something is faulty. Overclockers.co.uk
on the other hand isn't so great. Don't get me wrong, Overclockers.co.uk
did sort me out a replacement and everything is sorted. It was under my own inconvenience though and their rules about returns are ridiculous. When you first see the rules you just think that they are going to do everything in their power to screw you over. It doesn't inspire confidence.
Of course this meant that I have had no dedicated machine of my own to use. I haven't PvP'ed for a long while but I have been able to keep up with some production.
Now I have built the machine, installed the software and created my own recovery files. Did you know EVE Online is beautiful? I have everything on max settings and wow, what a difference it makes. I have managed to run 2 clients confined to quarters and 1 client in space before the FPS dips below 60.