Videocard: Visiontek GeForce4
based on the GeForce4 Ti4600 card will do, however we chose the Visiontek because
they're the first to hit the retail market. With a 300 MHz GPU, 128MB DDR RAM
running at a blistering 650 MHz there is no game that the card can't
handle! While the GeForce4 Ti series of cards aren't as advanced as the ATi's
Radeon 8500 in terms of features, one thing is for sure; because of the GeForce4
Ti4600's pure power, higher resolutions with all eye candy (and FSAA) have now
become possible. Rumors have it that the Abit and Gainward GeForce4 Ti4600's will
come clocked higher then the competition with a core speed of 330 MHz, but
since they're not out yet we can't say for certain. Also, because the GeForce4 is
in such short supply GeForce3 based cards are still quite expensive.
Visiontek videocards are usually quite inexpensive,
but their GeForce4 Ti4600 still goes for about $650 CDN!
Notables: Asus V8200T5 Deluxe - $590 CDN, MSI
G3Ti500 Pro-VTG - $540 CDN
Soundcard: Hercules Game Theater
soundcard is just
as important as a good keyboard and mouse. With a cheap one, you won't be
able to enjoy your favorite MP3's or DVD's. We're going to recommend the Hercules
Game Theater XP. While Creative products are more popular and have good
quality, we just can't recommend them because from experience, their customer service
is just horrible. As a owner of a SB Live! Platinum 5.1 I am very happy with
the card and it has never let me down, but that whole fiasco about paying
for WindowsXP drivers soured
me quite a bit. That is no way to treat customers and I know quite
a few people who will not be buying Creative products anymore.
The Game Theater XP has a great looking breakout
box that does more then look pretty it's a fully functional multimedia
The going rate for the Game Theater XP is about
Notables: SB Audigy Platinum EX - $350 CDN, SB
Audigy Platinum - $275 CDN
Hard drives: 4x 120GB WD Caviar
along at 7200 RPM with a Ultra/100 IDE interface and a huge 8MB
cache the WD Caviar is one of the top performing drives out there. While it's true that the Maxtor
D740X and D540X are both Ultra/133 class drives they're actually a little slower because
of the cache sizes. Also, Ultra/133 is more of a catch phrase at
the moment. In terms of raw performance there's no benchmarkable difference. We chose four drives
because with the Abit boards have an IDE RAID controller and
we can run in RAID mode 0+1. Think about it, a 240 GB HDD with 100% data
The WD's are hardly cheap and four of them goes for
a whooping $1450 CDN! Remember, this is a dream system! =)
Notables: ( 4x) 80 Maxtor D740X HDD's - $960 CDN, 4x
80GB IBM DeskStar 120 GXP - $1200 CDN.
DVD-ROM: Toshiba 16x DVD-ROM
I know I'm going to get flamed for this one... Toshiba has always
produced high quality products their DVD's are no exception. Running at a 16x speed,
the SD-M1612 will play any DVD movie with absolutely no problem. The other nice thing
is the drive can also read DVD-RAM discs at a 2x speed rating. With DVD-RAM
starting to take the lead out there for the burnable DVD format it's a great
future proofing feature that's for sure!
thing about the Toshiba 16x DVD-ROM is that it
is not too expensive! Only about $105 CDN!
Notables: 16x Pioneer Slot DVD-ROM $105 CDN, 16x
Pioneer Tray DVD-ROM $100 CDN
CD-RW: Plextor 40x12x40A
There isn't anyone
who doesn't know about Plextor's quality. Being able to full CD in under 3
minutes is simply amazing and not to mention, having Plextor's patented BURN Proof (Buffer UnderRuN) technology and Power-RECII, there isn't
anything more you could ask for.
You can have all this CD-RW happiness for only $260
CDN too! Not a bad price!
Notables: TDK 32x10x40 VeloCD CD-RW $210 CDN, LG
32x10x40 CD-RW $160 CDN
Computer Case: Lian Li PC-75 USB
Having owned a Lian Li PC-70 ATX case for the last one and a half years,
almost any other case I see is ugly or not very easy to use. Lian Li has spared
no expense or luxury with their all aluminum cases with six
open 5 1/4" drive bays, three open 3 1/2" and eight
hidden bays you're going to have a hard time filling up everything. Lian Li knows
how important cooling is to the enthusiast they've also included four 80mm Adda
fans that push about 36 CFM each and despite that they're still quiet! Lian Li
has taken the liberty of cutting a window one big case mod has already been
taken care of! You just have to make sure your computer looks nice!
The Lian Li PC-75 is not cheap it would set you
back about almost $400 CDN!
Notables: Lian Li PC70 (my baby) - $330 CDN, Antec
SX1040B $225 CDN
Power supply: PC Power and Cooling
Again, something that is overlooked very easily is
the power supply. Gone are the days that a Generic 250W PSU can get you by
these days computers not only require high wattage PSU's they also want the
quality ones too! No one matches the level of quality or excellence PC Power and
Cooling provides however you pay through your nose for them. With 475W of power
backing your system up no piece of hardware will tax your system.
I did say the unit was pricey, at a cost of $375
CDN there is nothing else in its price range.
Notables: Sparkle 400W $220 CDN, Antec 400W $190
Keyboard: Microsoft Natural
This keyboard is a personal favorite of mine because
the ergonomic "Natural" style keyboards offer a higher level of comfort then
most standard keyboards. We also noticed that the Microsoft ones seem
to have a high quality build than competitors. Its keys are more sturdy and
Microsoft's Natural Elite keyboard isn't cheap,
however it isn't expensive either at $40 CDN!
Notables: Logitech Natural - $30, Keytronic
Standard - $35
Mouse: Logitech MouseMan Dual Optical
optical mouse was rather revolutionary
since it offered never before smoothness to a user and doesn't
need the high maintenance of a regular ball mouse. Logitech has upped
everyone else by offering a dual optical mouse. The purpose to track the
movement of the mouse more accurately and we find in our weekly CS or RTCW matches here
in the office, this mouse does give its user an
It's a pricey one though at $80 CDN.
Notables: Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 - $80
CDN, Logitech Optical Wheel Mouse - $50 CDN
CRT is the only way to go for
a gamer because LCD monitor's response time is just too slow. Often times it's
difficult to lock on or track fast moving enemies on LCD's because you only see
a blur. As for the Viewsonic P220F with a aperture grille and a refresh rate of
over 85Hz at 1600x1200 what more could one ask for?
22" monitors, no matter what you get, will cost
you an arm and a leg and the P220F weighs in at $1100 CDN!
Notables: Samsung 1200NF - $1200 CDN, Sony
G400 - $750 CDN