Published
By Paul Scherbak
Editor: Julio Franco

Read user comments

Case, Input Devices, System wrap-up

Case

Standard: Cooler Master Praetorian - $ 110

High End/Dream Machine: Lian Li PC201A ATX Full Tower – $ 250

The Cooler Master Praetorian is a truly wonderful Mid-tower case. With plenty of room and four 80mm fans, this case is nearly as good as it can get for air-cooling. Two fans at the front pull in cold air, blowing over the hard drives. A top fan blows air onto the CPU, while a rear fan blows all out the back. The entire case is tool-less, with both side panels detachable for easy access and a removable motherboard tray to allow easy installation.

For the more expensive configurations, the elegant and beautiful PC201A is the high-end recommendation. With four 120mm fans and copious amounts of space, this case is a sure bet to keep your system cool and uncluttered. Featuring seven 5.25” bays and twelve hard disk mounts, it also has plenty of room for future expansion or the inclusion of previous hardware from your old system. Keeping the HDDs separate from the rest of the system, a 12cm fan at the front blows cool air over them and right out the back over the power supply, where two additional 80mm fans can be placed for even more airflow. The front panel ports are located on the top of the chassis, allowing for easy access without having to reach down (a definite plus considering this is a full tower case). In addition to spacious functionality and excellent out-of-the-box cooling features, this case simply looks good! It’s an aesthetic feast for the eyes, which also comes in black (PC 201B).

Power Supply

Standard/High End: Antec True Power Trio 550W - $ 90

Dream Machine: Cooler Master Real Power Pro 850W – $ 250

After the case, we need something to get the whole thing running and that is the True Power 550W. SLI-certified with 2 PCI-e, 4 SATA, and a load of other connectors, this will keep your system powered and running smooth. A 12cm fan keeps the unit quiet and cool, while still being advertised as working 24 hours a day at 50 degrees Celsius. The addition of “fan-only” connectors allow the PSU to control case fan speeds which allows for greater cooling ability, power management, and reduced system noise. Our Dream Machine will be a GeForce 8 SLI rig, so a larger power supply is needed. This monster of a power supply is one of the few recommended by Nvidia for a GeForce 8 SLI setup. Featuring a massive 135mm fan to cool, four PCIe power connectors, over/under-voltage, over-temperature, over-loading, over-current, and short-circuit protection, this is a powerful and stable machine.

Input Devices

Standard: Microsoft Wireless Desktop 700 - $ 27

High End/Dream Machine: Logitech MX5000 – $ 100

Like we say in every guide, keyboard and mouse recommendations are the hardest of all to make. Keyboards come in various styles, colors, and with an assortment of different keys. Whether you get ergonomic or standard, with or without multimedia functions is up to you. How many buttons you like on your mouse and the level of sensitivity is also very individual.

The Logitech is Bluetooth wireless which will work at distances up to sixty feet. This can be useful if you spring for one of those 46” monitors and want to play from across the room. The mouse has a right-hand orientation, features six buttons with a mouse wheel, and uses a laser for tracking with 800dpi resolution. The keyboard also features a small LCD screen for information such as date/time, playlists, IM notifications, and various other items. For more extreme mousing, gamers will certainly will want to look for Logitech’s G series or Razer’s Copperhead.

Wrapping things up...

High-end PC 'Standard' Configuration

Price

Case

Cooler Master Praetorian

110

PSU

Antec TP3-550 550W

90

Mobo

MSI P965 Neo-F

95

CPU

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600

320

RAM

OCZ Platinum 2GB DDR2-800

270

GPU

Nvidia GeForce 8800GTS

440

Sound

Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic

100

HDD

WD Caviar SE 500GB

150

DVD

NEC Dual Layer 16x DVD+/-RW

50

Monitor

Acer AL2223Wdr

330

Speakers

Creative Inspire 5800

60

Keyboard

Microsoft 65X-00024

27

Total

2042

High-end PC 'Fully Loaded' Configuration

Price

Case

Lian Li PC-201A Full Tower

250

PSU

Antec TP3-550 550W

90

Mobo

eVGA nForce 680i Socket T

250

CPU

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600

320

RAM

OCZ Platinum 2GB DDR2-800

270

GPU

Nvidia GeForce 8800GTX

600

Sound

Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic

100

HDD

WD Caviar SE 500GB + WD Raptor 150

375

DVD

Plextor 16X SATA DVD Burner

100

Monitor

Acer AL2416Wd 24”

650

Speakers

Logitech Z-5500 Digital

320

Keyboard

Logitech MX 5000

100

Total

3425

High-end PC 'Dream Machine' Configuration

Price

Case

Lian Li PC-201A Full Tower

250

PSU

Cooler Master Real Power Pro RS-850W

250

Mobo

eVGA nForce 680i Socket T

250

CPU

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700

1000

RAM

Corsair XMS Dominator 2GB

460

GPU

2x Nvidia GeForce 8800GTX

1200

Sound

Creative X-Fi Elite Pro

260

HDD

4x WD Raptor 150

900

DVD

Plextor 16X DVD Burner + Sony Blu Ray drive

800

Monitor

2x Acer AL2416Wd 24”

1300

Speakers

Logitech Z-5500 Digital

320

Keyboard

Logitech MX 5000

100

Total

7090