Muller Jannie

About myself and everyone else.

Designing your home computer

I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the IT industry and exposed to technology since a young age. It could have been earlier and I could have been much better if I had more books around the at time.

This post is not about the past, it’s more about the future and how you should think of your computer.

Lessons Learned.

Bragging rights. When I lived in the UK in 2003 I was one of the first people to get the X800 ati Card. I know this because I basically camped outside the shop when they got stock of the card and since Tottenham Court road had a reputation for the latest and the greatest IT stock. Thus my assumption. Similarly I owned the 9700 pro in South Africa when it was released. Then in 2006 I bought the Nvidia 8800 GTX, I had my cousin bring it through customs from the UK so I’m sure I got that a tad earlier than the rest of the market. Aside from screencards I’ve owned a nice pair of Crucial Ballistix gaming memory and before that I had GeiL in a fujitsu siemens laptop. In 2009 I “invested” in 8GB Kingston Ram and an i7 extreme edition for with 2x 128m SSDs from Intel. The latter mentioned I still use today.

The moral of the story is I’ve learned important lessons by staying up to date with technology, an expensive lesson to learn. It is not worth while to buy the latest and greatest in all areas.

Key mistakes – This is something which I only really understood when I sold laptops. Balance, your computer system should be balanced as much as possible. Many people buy the latest and great graphics card. This in turn cause the whole PC to under perform if they haven’t thought about upgrading the PSU. In some instances you will need to relook at cooling and maybe even a new case. Giving some extremely large cards with their cooling you might occupy another SLOT previously used by your Digital TV tuner. Buy a balanced system. Make sure you are not forking out too much on the CPU and too little on the hard drives.

Purpose – To get a good all-rounder PC is really very easy. You don’t need to spend a lot of money. But you need to know how a computer works. If you are going to surf the web you shouldn’t bother with fancy GFX , get something onboard.

My ideal setup.

CPU – I’d have a high clock speed CPU. Few cores as possible. Unless you are doing serious rendering work you don’t need multi core \ threaded machines. This is a complete waste. Very few applications takes advantage of this. You can rather get a faster clock speed. High clock speed is usually the more expensive of the line of CPU. You can reduce the cores and threads and then pick the higher CPU which should be cheaper.

RAM – Same as the above. If you are going to run multiple applications at once and many different OSes through virtualization then you should go 4gb+. If not then don’t. If you have specialized application for drawing or games that can utilize the RAM it’s worth while buying more RAM.

GFX – Get a decent direct X 10 card. You can even in the same setup go for a cheap SLI card to run at high resolutions. Remember that again the games to deliver a value for money SLI result are few and far between, in most of the cases the SLI will just get you the same picture and frame speed at a higher resolution. (Yes this is good) but people would expect it to be better and faster. It’s not always faster though in some cases it is.

Games – “Hi My Name is Jannie and I’m a delayed buyer.” This refers to buy titles 3-6 months after they have been released. I have more money now as I did in school but yet I prefer to be smarter about it, I always bought the new titles, the ones you pay a grand premium for. I also sat outside HMV for the release of WOW and took some days off. I bought the crysis limited edition and fallout limited edition and .. and.. nowadays I buy the delayed edition. I get the see a longer lifespan on my computer hardware and a 5 year turnaround instead of 2-3 years.

Storage – I went for SSD when it was relatively new, I haven’t looked back. Saying that, I was also limited to a laptop. If I would do it again. I’d go it like this.

1x Small SSD (Kingston 16GB SS) for the OS.

1xNAS (for Music, Movies and Installs)

Alternatively I’d have some local disks for junk. Downloads and general working folders.

I enjoyed eSata but the requirement for a power supply just out weights the portability. The eSata is pretty quick and you can get a good 66mb/s transfer 90mb/s on the intel SSD.It’s good enough for now.Not everyone can afford a NAS without some saving. You can always rely on a good USB drive. I prefer the self-powered ones in order to reduce the number of cables. You can also combine 4 or more drives with a USB multiplier which gives you easy access to all the drives without swapping USB all the time. Not this is a shared channel so don’t copy to all 4 drives at the same time…

Graphics Vendor – This is tricky, very tricky. I’ve had hardware from both vendors. Personally I found some games deliver better results with AMD Ati and other games with Nvidia. I’ve always appreciated the good competition between the two the inevitably delivers a better product for the consumer. I do find though that Ati fits my pocket. I’ve always been impressed with Nvidia’s innovation. With AMD I’m sure the GFX is going to end up on the CPU soon. But I’m not sure if that will be a good thing or not.

Accessories – I’ve always had either Microsoft or Logitech. I’ve not been convinced by any other vendor. My microsoft mouse survived diablo 1…

Motherboard – The BIOS, the number of ports and NICs, onboard sound and HDMI capabilities plays a big part here. I love a bios that you can tweak. I also like a system that you can hardware RAID so you need a good couple of HDD connectors. Depending on the amount of ram you want to fit you could also go for more slots for memory allowing you to buy smaller RAM. I prefer Gigabyte, Asus. I’ve always wanted to buy an MSI board but I’ve never fully committed to this. Maybe my next PC.

General rules I follow for buy equipment and PC components.

I first go to the site and try to download a driver. I punch in the common variables such as OS, Brand or Model. Then I sit and wait to see what happens. If I need to register at this stage it’s a fail in my books. In my head I’ve just spend $1000 on a product and now I need to spend more of my time to make it work properly and now I need to register. Nope not for me.

I enjoy the auto update but most of the time the update is not found or for some unknown reason or the specific chip set you own is not supported. Fail.

I google. I don’t google for reviews though, there are plenty of those. I google for the bad reviews “my Ati 5870 is @#%@”  or “nvidia 8800GTX sucks”. Most of the time it’s rants but it’s always good to look at both ends of the spectrum . Reading features is one thing, but installing it in your motherboard, with your CPU and your Windows then to run your favorite games. This is a world apart from what is mentioned in the troubleshooting guide.

The descriptive noun filter

This is one technique I’ve learned to use when dealing with managers, or sitting in company meetings. When you have the filter on you listen passed all the sales pitch right to core of the message. In most cases you miss it, simply because nothing is really said. Don’t think you made a mistake. A lot of people tend to say a whole lot but nothing of actual value. It’s similar to the techniques people use to answer a question with a question. This filter allows you to read or listen pass that which is not factual. Blazingly fast. How fast? 2.5ghtz that’s better.

Be careful when using this filter you may find the world pretty empty of the truth.


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This entry was posted on October 5, 2011 by in Games, Uncategorized and tagged , .
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