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Informit's 2006 Guide to Building the Ultimate Gaming PC on a Budget: Revenge of the Dual-Core, SLI Machine, Part 3

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Cyrus Peikari puts on the finishing touches in Part 3 of his 3-part series by showing you how to tweak your gaming rig for performance, looks, and noise reduction, and then how to benchmark it using several different utilities. You'll end up with an ultra-fast, powerful, quiet, and attractive machine. Cool.
This is part 3 of a 3 part series. Miss either of the first two? Read Part 1 and Part 2 first.
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In Part III, the pace quickens. We’ll finish off our dream machine and tweak it for performance, looks, and noise reduction. Then we’ll benchmark it, including Quake 4 frame rate tests. This is turning out better than we ever hoped.

Choosing the Storage Drives

Figure 1 shows the system we have built so far in Parts I and II. Now on to the storage drives. For hard drive speed, you can’t beat the 10,000 rpm Raptors from Western Digital. However, we are against buying the very newest and largest Raptors. You’ll add hundreds of dollars to your price tag while degrading speed. Remember that it takes longer to seek on a large drive than on a smaller one.

We opted for the 74GB Raptor (Model HD 74GB WD 10,000RPM 8MB WD740GD). That’s plenty of room for your applications and routine files. If you are planning to store movies and such, then you can add more slave drives (such as cheaper and slower ones). There is more than enough room in the case for expansion.

For the optical drive, we were glad to see that prices have dropped drastically. Because of its excellent reputation, we went with a simple DVD+/-RW NEC ND-3550A. Dual-sided burning was not a priority, because dual-layered DVD discs are still very expensive. The black color of this drive looks really nice when set at the top next to our black control panel.

When you have a high performance machine like this, you will want to have the optimal burning software. We recommend you check out Nero 7 Ultra. Nero has been the state of the art for years. And now it has added a suite of tools including picture slide shows, automatic data backup, multimedia tools, movie editing, and more.

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