Every few years, I get the urge to see what the state of the art in 3D games looks like now.  Last time was in 2007, when I built a dual 8800 GTX SLI rig and played FEAR for a bit.  That was when I discovered that building a modern gaming rig requires a fair bit more expertise than playing Doom on my first 486 did, over a decade and a half ago.  Computers have evolved, since then.

From cooling problems, to space issues in the case, my last effort turned out to be more difficult than expected and the results were somewhat mediocre, with (from memory) frame rates of around 50fps at 1680x1050, but frequent slow-downs, lock-ups and stuttering.  This time it's going to be different.  I'm planning to build an extreme gaming PC that will play the best-looking games at their best-looking settings.

This blog will log the evolution of this PC, as I build it up from nothing, into a machine capable of maxing out any game that interests me.  I should point out that I am no expert at building gaming rigs - I'm a bit behind the times and I will be learning as I go - so don't expect to find expert advice here!

Just now, my rig is in the planning phase; it exists only in my imagination.  I don't plan to begin the physical build until June 2010, as there is a fair bit of research to be done - and then parts to be ordered - before I begin.  (And also because I am on holiday in France until May!)

After that, I'll begin building the rig in phases, in part due to financial constraints and in part so that I can see the results and learn from each phase of the build before investing in the next phase.  At the end of each phase, I'll publish benchmark results, so that those interested can see the mileage I'm getting from my efforts.  Meanwhile, I'll publish my build plan and parts list on this blog, along with the reasons for my choices.  

Over time, I'll continue to upgrade the rig - either until it can max out all the games that I am playing at the time, or until it becomes unreasonably difficult or expensive to achieve better performance.  Eventually, I suppose, I'll reach a technology dead-end where, despite my best efforts at "future-proofing", I'll be left with an obsolete piece of junk.  So, in a way, this will also be an experiment in how far it is possible to get with incrementally upgrading a computer, before you have to throw it away and start again.

Any comments or feedback on the plan are welcome.  If you know something I don't, feel free to enlighten me.  :-)

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