My Inspiron E1505 laptop which has served me well for the last few years has slowly begun to outlive its usefulness for gaming. With the advent of the Dominion expansion, I noticed that the upgraded graphics took its toll on the Geforce Go 7300 video subsystem in the laptop. I can still do industrial activities, jump through gates, hit minor gatecamps, and even get into very small engagements with it, but all the details and graphics are set to low. Larger fleet battles utterly fail on this laptop, and thus PVP has not been an option for me.
So over the past few weeks, I’ve been researching my options for a new gaming rig. My starting criteria was to be able to play EvE with everything set to High, and be able to PvP. Sounded easy enough. As I got deeper into the build, I had to weigh the different options and components. I read many, many different forum articles, reviews, and websites pertaining to the different choices. I was also constrained by the size of the desk I’d be putting my system in, and had to make sure everything fit within the case. A small disclaimer on this is that I really only play EvE Online and no other games at the moment. This rig, however, will run most, if not all, of the current games that are out there including Crysis at 1920×1080. Some may say this is extreme overkill for running EvE, but this rig will give me longevity without having to replace components too soon.
I did do a little research after hearing about Physx. There was a post about Physx being used to create the clothing patterns for the Incarna expansion which is due to come out sometime soon ™. Physx is a proprietary Nvidia technology that was bought via an acquisition of a company named Aegia. It’s supposed to offload physics processing for games from the CPU to the GPU, and originally came in the form of a separate hardware card in addition to the main GPU. The only real game that currently employs Physx is Batman: Arkham Asylum. This game does not use Physx to change the gameplay at all according to reviews, it just beautifies certain scenes and aspects, most notably swirling paper effects and fog which is hard for a standard GPU to do by itself without help from a dedicated processing system. What I’ve found so far is that Physx right now is just an expensive extra, only supported on Nvidia, and does currently relate to anything supported in EvE Online at the moment. Physx as mentioned in the article strictly relates to development using Physx to assist with clothing development from what I can tell (this is not confirmed). So the practical upshot is that I wasn’t going to pay the extra money to go with an Nvidia GTX 285 card to employ Physx when most games run without it now. The ATI lineup has the best reviews, price to performance ratios and also the better power handling of the the two big GPU manufacturers.
I ended up buying my system completely from Newegg. They had everything I needed. I found a lot of good deals, and ended up getting some stuff on rebate. The shipping was about $26 bucks for everything, everything said it was in stock, and I got 3 day shipping for that. So I should be seeing the parts in about 3 days or so.
I will be posting a step-by-step of the gaming rig build when I receive all the components and get ready to put it together. But for now, here’s a detailed linklist of everything I purchased for the system (links are all to Newegg and open in separate windows or tabs):
CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 965 Black Edition
Motherboard: ASUS M4A79XTD EVO Socket AM3 Chipset 790X
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4Gb (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600
Case: Antec 300 Illusion
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 750Gb 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-750HX 750W Modular
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1Gb Video Card
Display: ASUS VH242H 23.6″ 1920×1080 Full 1080P HDMI widescreen LCD
Keyboard: Logitech G15 gaming keyboard
Mouse: Logitech MX518 gaming mouse
Headset: Plantronics Gamecom 377 Circumaural Open Air
CPU Cooler: Rosewill RCX-Z5-Ultra
Optical Drive: ASUS Black CD/DVD Burner SATA