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2006 Holiday Shopping Guide: Building a high-end Gaming PC!

By: Cameron Wilmot | Guides | Posted: Dec 12, 2006 5:00 am

High-end PC - Inside Parts (PSU, Storage and Sound Card)


- Power Supply Unit Selection


Corsair Memory (CMPSU-620HX) (HX620W) Power Supply

Much like memory, when it comes to selecting a power supply, you can no longer choose a no name cheap unit - those days are long gone! If you want to push your system to the extreme, you need a solid and clean supply of power coming into your components. Again, there are a bunch of companies such as OCZ, Seasonic, Tagan, ThermalTake and others that make really good power supplies by our choice here is the Corsair HX 620-watt modular power supply.


It supports the latest ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 standards and is backwards compatible with ATX12V 2.01 systems. Best of all though, it is nVidia SLI certified which means it will work just fine with our selected components in this guide and naturally running SLI dual graphics won't be an issue.


Besides impressing our editors here at TweakTown in terms of performance, usability is also very good with a modular design which allows you to only use the cables you need, which goes a long way to improving airflow within the case.


- Hard Drive, Optical Drive and Pen Drive Selection


Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320 GB SATA Hard Drive

Since we are building a high-end gaming PC and we are not working with mission critical data, we are going to setup a RAID 0 array for performance using the SATA-2 ports on the eVGA motherboard. Keep in mind though that if your RAID 0 array fails (say if one of the drives in the RAID decides to die), you will lose all your data and it's very hard to get back. You should always backup important data but it's even more important when running a RAID 0 array, which has zero redundancy.


We are selecting a couple of Seagate 7200.10 320GB SATA-II hard drives. There are other hard drives out there such as Western Digital's Raptor X which offer better performance but they are really over-priced and don't offer much value for money at all. Right now, Seagate are aggressively pricing their 320GB drives and a couple of them will only cost you around $200 USD, which is brilliant value. We have tested these drives in RAID 0 in our labs on a Gigabyte P965-DQ6 motherboard and managed to break 400MB/s burst speed in HDTach, so performance is great and price is even better. And you get 5 years of warranty to boot!


Pioneer DVR-111D DVD±RW Dual Layer Burner

As far as optical drives go, there are so many choices. When it comes to DVD-RW burners, most drives offer the same features, so really it comes down to brand and price. We picked the Pioneer DVR-111D DVD±RW Dual Layer burner because we've had good experience with the Pioneer brand in the past. As well as that, it's cheap and is able to read and burn just about all optical media besides HD disks. While we would love an internal HD-DVD drive, they are simply not enough of them at the moment and the price is ridiculously expensive - unless you buy an Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive and connect it via USB, which is always an option.


The last item on the list when it comes to storage is a USB pen drive. While obviously not a requirement for a gaming PC, it's always good to have some portable storage on hand.


Crucial Technology Gizmo! overdrive 1 GB 80x USB 2.0 Flash Drive

We recently tested a whole bunch of different USB 2.0 pen drives and found the Crucial Gizmo! overdrive to offer the best performance of them all. It's cheap, looks great, build quality is excellent and read and write speeds are the best we've ever seen. You can't go wrong!


- Sound Card Selection


Creative Technology Sound Blaster X-Fi™ Platinum

These days, onboard sound on motherboards has improved vastly, since Intel decided that HD Audio was a good idea. Since we are building a gaming PC, we want an add-on sound card which will offer all the 3D audio features such as AC3, DTS-ES, Dolby Digital EX, ASIO 2 and EAX along with great sound quality.


The X-Fi Platinum is not the most expensive sound card from Creative but it manages to impress with its high quality audio reproduction, drive bay panel and remote control which will make a good addition to your new gaming PC.


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