So... 1999 was when I was introduced to the fascinating world of Home Computing. Sure, prior to that, I had some personal PC experience... a little Win. 95 here, Win N.T. there.. some phatty DOS action on an old Com 1112; but up until 1999 I hadn't owned a PC all my own.
That all changed with my first Compaq Presario 1100. With a hefty 4.2GB hard drive, armed to the teeth with an Intel integrated 16MB graphics card, 256MB of Ram and a fresh install of Windows ME, I was ready to rock and roll with my United States Post Office refurb I'd snagged for a mere $499, monitor included.
After just a short 6 or 8 weeks, I discovered a lot about hardware and software... realizing that a 16MB graphics processor wasn't enough; I upgraded to my first aftermarket piece of hardware; the nVidia Geforce MX480. This beast had a whopping 64MB of dedicated video RAM with it's own single core graphics processing unit.
After that, the race was on.
Since The PO PC, there has been too many hardware upgrades to describe in detail, or even remember; but there has only been really 2 distinct PC's since the Post Office PC; and all since then I've built myself. Being budget minded; typically I've shopped for 'bargin' parts, catching graphics cards on the backend of their development cycle, going with 1-timing down RAM, year old processor releases... but I've always put together great little machines.
1) "Beast" - Beast was my first self-build project; built at the same time that Carlton built his first real PC. We both went with SLI builds; very cutting edge for the 2002/2003 timeframe. With an AMD Athlon64 2Ghz (ish), 1GB Ram and 2 Geforce 7600GT 256MB's.. Beast was quite the machine for it's time, having lasted me until about a year ago. Sadly, the hardware Beast utilized (AGP / Athlon64) went 'out of style' about a year after I built it, so upgrades were very hard to come by because of parts-availability.
2) "Beasty" - Beasty was the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Beast's demise... a firey demise as his Graphics cards and processor overheated in a blistery inferno. Boasting a nice little Core 2 Duo and 2 512MB 8800GT's (nVidia's hall of Famer) with Vista and 6GB of RAM, Beasty is a formidable little budget gamer. While the 8800GT is 2 series behind, Core 2 Duo's are a little behind the times and DDR2 isn't even close to the cutting edge, it does very well for itself. Can it play Crysis on 'extreme', or Call of Duty 4: MW on gamer? No... can it still play them very well? Yes.
Now.. with the demise of the bike; Beasty is giving way to 'Beastier'. Beastier is going to be roughly the best PC you can buy at the moment, given the current hardware environment. Typically I've built budget PC's; but given the circumstances, I'm going to be building what I want this time:
Intel Core i7 965 (3.33Ghz Quad Core)
Asus P6T Deluxe Motherboard
Tri-SLI'd Geforce GTX285 2GB (3 Graphic Cards)
12GB Mushkin DDR3 1800 Mhz RAM
2 RAID-0 10K RPM HardDrives (600GB total)
LG Dual Layer DVD-R/W drive
LG 6x BluRay player
Asetek Liquid Cooling System
AZZA Solano 1000 case
Corsair 1200W PSU
Vista Ultimate 64... going to run a beta'd Win 7 as soon as I can.
And I don't think I'm going to be building Beastier... I think I'm going to let a custom PC shop build it for me. The price difference is so miniscule that it's worth not having to fool with setting up the OS, the Raid, deal with all the drivers, the custom work on the case, the liquid cooling setup.
So anyways.. I'm getting excited about this build; hoping that I get to place the order for it next week.