As much as I love my retro computer systems I still enjoying tinkering with PC’s as well. For the last few years I’ve made do with a pretty decent gaming laptop but finally decided it was time to build myself a new desktop PC. As well as being able to do the normal office-type stuff, photo and video editing I really wanted one that would be capable of playing the new games that support ray tracing. I also wanted it to sound great and have a variety of audio inputs so I could hook up various Hi-Fi components should I need to.
Here’s a rundown of my system: (last updated 22nd November 2020)
- In-Win 101 Mid Tower High Air Flow Gaming Case
- Asus Prime Z370-P II Motherboard
- Cooler Master Masterwatt 750W Bronze Modular Power Supply
- Intel i9 9900KF CPU
- Cooler Master Liquid Lite 120 Liquid Cooling System
- MSI Ventus 2080Ti GFX Card
- Startech 4 Port USB 3.1 PCIe Card
- Sound Blaster ZXR Card
- 2x Samsung 970 EVO 2TB M.2 SSD’s
- 2x Samsung 870 QVO 8TB SSD’s
- 2x Seagate IronWolf 10TB HD’s (Striped)
- 32GB (4x 8GB) G-Skill Trident-Z DDR4 4000Mhz RAM
- 5x Antec Prizm ARGB 120mm Fans
- 2x Antec Prizm ARGB LED lighting strips
- UGREEN Nano USB Bluetooth 4.0 Adapter
- Samsung CJG5 27″ 144Hz QHD Curved Monitor
- Pioneer BDR-XD07TB Blu-Ray Writer
- HP DS8A3L Lightscribe DVD Writer
- Invision Gas Powered Monitor Arm
- Atolla 7 Port USB 3.0 Powered Hub
- Tobii Eye Tracker 5
- Razer Huntsman Elite RGB Chroma Mechanical Keyboard
- Razer Basilisk Ultimate RGB Chroma Mouse
- Razer Goliathus Extended RGB Chroma Mouse Mat
- Edifier R1280DB Active Bookshelf Studio Speakers
- Razer Kraken Ultimate RGB Chroma Headphones
- Razer Base Station RGB Chroma Headset Stand
- Epson ET-2710 Printer
- Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner
- Dymo LabelWriter Duo Printer
- Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Joystick and TWCS Throttle
- Xbox Elite 2 Controller
- Logitech G29 Driving Force Racing Wheel, Pedals & Gear Stick
- Oculus Rift S VR Headset
I have to say I’m really happy with this system and hope it will give me a good few years of top-end gaming. It boots in seconds and most benchmarks put it in the top 1 or 2% of PC’s around at the moment. Despite this it is also very quiet, even though it sits on my desk right next to me.
As I would have hoped given the specs it certainly plays every game out there with all settings on ultra with stupidly high frame-rates. It’s early days with ray-tracing though as only a handful of games support this feature at the moment.
It sounds amazing too. The ZxR is a terrific sound card and incorporates a plethora of inputs and outputs including RCA line outs, optical in and out plus a desktop ACM for headphone and microphone support. Coupled with the Edifier speakers it’s certainly the best audio I’ve heard from any computer system I’ve used.
One of the things I find somewhat ironic (and slightly saddening if I’m honest) is how good my PC is at emulating other systems. Back in the day I used to emulate both the Apple Mac (using ShapeShifter) and PC (using PCTask) on my Amiga 4000. It was an amazing feat at the time which never failed to impress, even if Windows 3.1 was pretty sluggish. PC’s at the time simply could not compete with this.
However, the tables have truly turned now. Now my PC can not only emulate the Amiga, but can actually become a far more powerful Amiga than I could ever have dreamed of back in the day. It can also emulate the Apple Mac, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo and Sega consoles and much more. It can run Virtual Machines running older versions of Windows, or completely different operating systems like Linux all without breaking a sweat. The sad thing is that the Amiga was well ahead of the PC when it launched… who knows how powerful it might have become today if Commodore hadn’t made such a mess of things.
It’s not perfect though and I do have a few niggles with it. For one, I wish I’d picked a case with a couple of 5.25″ drive bays so I could mount optical drives inside it. It seems drive bays are becoming a thing of the past now though as very few cases still include them. So instead I’ve got a couple of USB 3 external drives sat on top of the case to allow me burn discs and play my original physical copies of Diablo and Starcraft.
My other niggle is closely related to this. Even though my PC has 8 USB ports (6 on the back, 2 on top) that’s nowhere near enough. Even with the extra 4 USB ports from the expansion card I still needed a 7 port powered USB 3 hub to get everything I had hooked up. What I’d hoped would be a sleek, minimalist desktop PC has been compromised slightly by the external devices attached to it and their accompanying cables.
As any PC enthusiast will know – your build is never complete. That ‘must-have’ upgrade is always just around the corner calling to you like a siren of the sea. But for now I am content… at least until I see how much better the 3000 series Nvidia cards turn out to be when they launch…