The breakneck pace of the hardware industry
The last time we did our system building articles, dual-core CPUs were brand-new, and the GeForce 6 was the flagship GPU on the market. Much has changed in the last half-year and so it's time for us to do another ultimate system building guide. In the past, we've done things like the "no-budget but don't waste money" approach as well as the $1000 budget PC. We've built servers, workstations, and even high-definition home theater PCs.
Every system building article needs a gimmick. Most of the systems we build end up being the actual production systems that we use on a day to day basis. Likewise, the time it takes to build a budget PC and the time it takes to build a high-end PC is the same. For that reason, I'm always tempted to build the "ultimate" system.
So for this article, I'm placing the following constraint: No component can cost more than $400. This will prevent us from going overboard with something like SLI 7800GTX's or an Athlon FX-57. More importantly, the advantage of putting this limit is that it'll show you how you can spend $400 on a single component and get really cool stuff. Of course, putting a $400 limit per component
still allows us to build a stunning system – think about what kind of PC case $400 can buy you! It just means that we won't spend quite so much on our CPU or graphics system. The other goal we have for this system is to keep the noise level down. While we aren't going to the extreme with a fanless setup, we are going to be choosing components that tend to be on the quiet side and use passive cooling whenever feasible. Of course, system stability is paramount.
In a way, we're still building the "no-budget but don't waste money" system. It's just more fun that way. We're still going only for the very best components and the point isn't for you to replicate the exact system we're describing. The goal is to give you a sense of how the FiringSquad staff ends up choosing the components that we use in our own personal systems. We actually use the products we discuss in these articles. In fact, I'm typing this up on the Ultimate Workstation built during the Summer…
So without further ado, I present you January's Super PC.