The New Rig, 2014 Edition

My Dell all-in-one desktop finally stopped playing nice with me — it had a persistent memory issue that finally sent it into permanent blue screen mode — so it was time to go ahead and get a new desktop computer. I knew that this time around I wanted to get a computer with a little more oomph than the Dell; it was a perfectly well-specced computer but it choked on the latest games. At the same time I knew I didn’t want another monster tower; aside from not having a whole lot of space on my desk, as a 45-year-old man I’ve gotten past the age where I want the computer equivalent of a street racer in my office.

So I went with one of these, which despite the hype of the site I just linked you, is a compact, reasonably-demure-for-a-gaming computer. To the base model I added a couple of tweaks (a solid state drive and liquid cooling primary among them); I would just as soon had the garish green side panels go away, but inasmuch as the computer now sits directly behind the monitor, it’s not really that much of a big deal. It’s now chugging away (relatively quietly, thanks to the liquid cooling) on the desk, and so far, so good.

Because the new computer can push a whole lot of pixels, I also splurged and got a 4k monitor, specifically this one. It features something called G-Sync technology, which basically is a way to make video games look smoother and nicer, even when the framerate drops. We’ll see if it works (the only games I’ve played on the computer so far is Unreal Tournament 2004, which doesn’t really need any help for high framerates, because it’s ten years old).

I will say, however, that the monitor is kinda gorgeous due to pixel denseness — I basically have to sit a couple inches from the monitor in order to see individual pixel (and I won’t do that because, seriously, eye fatigue). It’s not a perfect screen — it’s a “twisted nematic” display which means that depending where you sit you’ll see some color shifting at the edges — but it’s still pretty sweet.

Anyway: Meet my Christmas present to me.

19 thoughts on “The New Rig, 2014 Edition

  1. It may be the decade’s age difference in play, but Husband just picked up a monster 2 weeks ago: http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Zeus_EVO_Storm_1000/ It’s very pretty, but we still have to get connectors to hook up his wall’o’monitors, because he likes many and the video card comes with four monitor hookups, but they are each a different connector and all his monitors are the same connector.

  2. Had to laugh. My first reaction to the picture was: “Wow, something really shattered his monitor.” Glad to hear it was considerably more benign.

  3. you said a persistent memory problem, and I thought it would have been funny if your wallpaper had been Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory”….I have a print hanging in my living room….

  4. I’d love to see how Bioshock Infinite or Dragon Age Inquisition looks on that.

    I’ve been holding off on upgrading to 4K/Gsync until the tech becomes a bit more mainstream.

  5. my most recent build is almost as nice, but I have a total of 7 terabytes of hard drive space with 3.7445 terabytes available, not a brag, just a fact. the graphics card fan has been tweaked and retweaked and now sounds like a freaking wind machine. . . ya know forget what I’m saying, the only thing mine has going for it is hard drive space, I need a new system cause I’m just getting depressed looking at yours. sweet setup man. Hey! can you send me one? I turn 47 this Sunday!

  6. Forget the PC, i just want the background image. Love it.

    It’s interesting you moved from the all-in-one back to a separate PC. I’m tossing up at the moment between an all-in-one (clean desk, clean floor) and a compact (more power, can add more screens).

  7. That’s a very nice Christmas present! Congratulations!

    @shakauvm, Dragon Age at 4K needs dual cards, although I suppose that you could turn all the settings but the resolution way down and make it work that way. At 4K with most settings on highest, a pair of Nvidia 980s get about 45 FPS. it is indeed very very pretty. I run mine on a 50″ TV instead of a monitor.

  8. Awesome. I’m still following your advice for aspiring writers by keeping stuff as long as possible. Today I had to pay $110 to get Windows reinstalled on a factory reconditioned tower that I bought in 2011.

    But your books are awesome and you totally deserve that computer.

  9. Glad I’m not the only one still semi-addicted to UT2K4. I have to boot it up every once in a while just to hear “Headshot!”

  10. My suggestion for your birthday present to yourself: cable management. ;-)

    Seriously though, that looks like a great setup.

  11. My first response was “Ooo, fancy new shiny!” and my second was “and still cost less than every PC I bought in the 20th century.” It’s nice to be reminded once in a while how good we’ve got it, tech-wise.

  12. @ldgilmore: If you want to mod skyrim, I recommend this site. They have instructions on how to add 100s of mods to skyrim without it crashing. It can be alot of work at first to read the guys. there are custom tools to use. I am technical and it took mew a couple of weeks to get passed their ‘lingo’. They have packs to do different types of overhauls.

    btw,there is a skyrim tool to make HD mods run better on lower end pcs. I can’t remember the name of it, but there is a guide to it on the site. The main site has the official ‘step’ overhaul. This should be your first mod attempt with it to learn how to do it. The forum has a variety of packs to add to step and other overhauls. This requires more knowledge of the tools.

    wiki.step-project.com/

  13. I build my own PC every few years. Started doing it back in 2002. I had an issue with Gateway 2000 PC. Took it to get reparied. It took 6 weeks at the gateway store and it was several hundred dollars to replace a modem card and a power supply. Got annoying. Figured out how to build after that. Destroyed alot of parts doing stupid stuff over the years…

    my worst was when I blew out all my hard drives. THis was a result of me not paying attention in high school science classes. Had an issue with my pc and decidced to open it. I know not to do this on a carpet since that causes static electricity. Being the idiot that I now know I am… I figured Id put it on the place I have over the carpet so my chair doesn’t destroy it. As soon as I put it down and opened it up, there was a spark and a burning smell.

    Plastic transmits electricity way faster than carpet. I didn’t realize this. Totally wasted both of my hard drives. Yeah I’m an idiot.

    Only thing I would add to John’s PC is an SSD to boot up on. IF you got a windows disk with the PC (they don’t always give you one), its pretty easy to add this, then go in the BIOS to make it your boot drive. The bios screens have gotten alot more user friendly with better online documentation in the past. The bootup time is much faster.

    Just don’t put it the pc on carpet or plastic when you do it… or you will end up like me.

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