My Rig

Just in case you want to get an idea of where the magic happens. This is a modest rig, but older games love it.

Screen: Samsung Syncmaster BX2031 LED. My little 20” portal to another world! Not exactly a big screen and it only has a maximum resolution of 1600 x 900. Yet it is an excellent compromise between size and performance combined with the brilliant contrast ratio of LED backlighting. The display is big enough for me to appreciate all the finer, graphic details of games, and I cannot see any difference above x2 anti-aliasing which means that the games I play are not too strenuous for the GPU to render. Speaking of which…

Graphics Card: MSI N295 GTX. This card was the fastest, dual-GPU behemoth of its day. Today… not so much. I bought this card second hand in 2012 and had to re-apply all the thermal paste, but it remains an excellent card for games that were part of the DirectX 10 and 9 generation. This was also one of the few 295’s that had the GPU fan sitting in the middle of the card, which meant that you got some improvement in thermal levels, but she still runs a bit hot from time to time. The N295 GTX basically has two GTX 260 chips running at a GTX 280’s clock speed, and the card collectively boasts around 1.79 GB of VRAM (which is unfortunately split between the two GPU’s, but it seems to get the job done when they are working together).

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K @ 3.5 GHz. One of the last DDR3 supporting CPU’s that proved itself to be hot on the heels of its i7 counterpart in the vast majority of the benchmarks. The turbo or boost speed of this CPU sees this card reach up to 3.9 GHz which should be more than enough for those open world games with wide, open spaces.  I keep it nice and cool with a Coolermaster after-market radiator and fan.

Motherboard: Gigabyte G1 Gaming motherboard with H97 Chipset. Board comes with cool features such as E2200 Ethernet controller and an M2 interface. Both of which I never use (haha), but the sound on this board is absolutely excellent. It has a built-in Sound Blaster X-Fi onboard chip that gives warm, punchy audio in music, games and movies. The chip is also grounded separately from the board itself to prevent any unwanted electric buzzing (with pretty red lights!), and the added software really lets me tailor the character of my sound output to my own tastes. I have a discreet sound card lying around here somewhere, but I cannot fathom how adding it to my rig would cause any significant improvement in audio quality as this motherboard really delivers gratifying sound. And USB 3.0 is fast. I actually got this board and CPU together after lightning wrecked my old MSI board. Get a UPS kids.

Speakers: Creative A30 and SBS A50. This is a 2.1 and 2.0 set I combined in quadraphonic 4.1 as an alternative to a what can sometimes be an expensive 5.1 set. The subwoofer delivers astonishing bass and this comes from a tiny little driver that can get the dog across the street barking when I turn it up. Matter of fact, this cheap little 4-speakered combo works so well in bringing my games to life, that I cannot, as of yet, think of any reason to switch to 5.1. Movies work well on them too.

RAM: 16 Gb of DDR3 Kingston RAM (4x4GB kit). Nothing much to see here. Runs at stock speed (1600 I think). Makes it easy to Alt+TAB out of games and write some stuff so I am happy.

The rest of the components are really not worth mentioning here, but it all comes together to produce a system that has provided me with great joy over the years. Yes, I know an upgrade is undeniably in order (particularly in the graphics card department) but I will get there when I shake my unshakable fear of DirectX 11. Oh, and I am running Windows 10 64-bit. Just so you know.