We want to understand the thinking that goes into your tech area. And to do this, we're inviting you to name your PC and show us what it looks like. Not just the PC, but your desk, chair, displays, mouse, cabling, printer, room lighting - the whole glorious mess. The aim is to let you see what everyone is using, from graphics cards to mice pads. It's an excuse for a bit of show and tell, and over time, a way to build a store of data about your fellow PC user.
Here's what to do:
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including….
Pics of your PC/tech area
Show as much as you can - the PC, the desk, the chair, as much of the spread as you're comfortable with. Feel free to post closeups of your favourite equipment too. Images must be under 200Kb each and you can supply a maximum of 10 pics. Your email must be no more than 10MB and no more than 1,000 words.
Then, in the same email, tell us:
The name of your setup. Eg. The Battlefield 3 system, George the Third, we'll leave it up to you…
Pros: Best things about your setup.
Cons: Worst things about your setup.
The history of your setup - Tell us a bit about it.
Specs: Go nuts with details here. CPU, hard drive, Graphics card, RAM, Case, Keyboard, Mouse, Screen, Printer, external hard drives, connected equipment like NAS, OSes, everything you can think of.
Who would this setup suit? An FPS gamer? Someone who works from home, and does a bit of gaming, but doesn't need massive frame rates? Web developer? The home media enthusiast? A family? Programmer?
Advice: What would you tell anyone else trying to put together a setup like this (problems you encountered, things you'd recommend others do, or don't do)?
Your screen name: the name you want published with your photos.
That's it. Send the email to email@example.com. Each week, we will post the best submissions on the site. Please be patient, as all submissions need to be approved before being posted and where necessary formatted to fit our site guidelines. We will let you know by email if your submission is selected to be published on the site.
We've had some elaborate systems submitted which we've loved reading about (thanks people!), but if your system isn't flashy, it doesn't matter. We're equally interested in your system too. It's all about how much effort you put into the photos and explanation. To everyone who has submitted so far, a big thank you, and if you're thinking of submitting yours - we're all looking forward to seeing it.
You can see a list of winners of our man-cave competition here.
Now, take a look at the systems...
You can jump in and make comments about the systems at the bottom of the page.
The Work Rig (submitted by ShwaMiller)
A bit about ShwaMiller's system:
Pros: Smashes Battlefield 3 on Ultra settings. Renders at break-neck speeds.
Cons: Price of some components.
The history: My interest in computing stems from a fascination of hardware and how it can be utilized to best play video games. My day to day work now involves editing and graphics, which I originally did on the Mac in this photo. It is a 2010 i5 with 8GB of RAM, 2TB of hard drives space, but not enough grunt to edit quickly and efficiently. I also wanted to start using Adobe’s Master Collection after a few years using Final Cut as well as a hardware upgrade path.
Intel i7 980X Processor
10GB of RAM
1x 120GB SSD for operating system and applications
2x 1TB hard drives in RAID-O configuration for scratch and gaming
2x Alienware 120hz, 3D-ready monitors
4x 3TB USB3 Seagate GoFlex for backup
1x Nvidia GTX580 for CUDA-powered Mercury and gaming
Gigabit network connection for fast transfer between Mac and PC (using XML formats)
2010 Apple 27” iMac
2TB hdd capacity
OSX Snow Leopard
Who would this setup suit? I’d recommend this setup for anyone who is very serious about editing, motion graphics or photoshop. Gamers will also love any Extreme series Intel chip. As a creative professional it is important to cater for anyone who may work with you, so it is best to keep a PC or Mac (the opposite of whatever you use) on hand just to be safe. An Extreme chip isn’t necessary, however, and most people would be better off with a 2600k or the upcoming 2700k; the money you save there is better spent on an SSD, RAID and RAM – and YES the price difference is enough to buy all this instead of an Extreme.
If you are starting out in 3D design/modelling/rendering/animation the PC is also an excellent choice, as it allows you to start with cheaper components that suit the basic work and expand out to something more powerful as you begin to monetize your skills.
Advice: If you start with a good, large PC case, then you’ll have the option to keep the same housing and get bigger and better components over the years. No matter what people say, even a Mac Pro can’t be upgraded and changed the way a PC can – and a Hackintosh is just a PC with OSX installed.
Always make sure you find the best price for your components, but don’t sacrifice good service! A shop with excellent customer service is worth paying the extra 10% or so. My local computer shop owner remembered what RAM I had in my old machine 3 years after I bought it, they have even given me a free SLI bridge when I lost the one that came with my motherboard, helped me to design an excellent AMD APU media system and been helpful on dozens of other occasions.
My do-it-all Rig (submitted by makecoldplayhistory)
A bit about makecoldplayhistory's system:
Pros: I built it slowly, agonising over every purchase and enjoying the benefit of every upgrade. Learning as I go.
Cons: I'll never be satisfied... there are always newer and better components around the corner. With my first child arriving in April, PC upgrades will have to wait a while.
I'd also love an HDD. I can't justify the $ per Gb at the moment.
The history: I began learning about computers when I bought a new hard drive for my Dell PC. I bought a SATA drive but needed an IDE. Just to show how little I knew. 5 years later, my PC has gone from a slow, unloved and slow performing Dell to my current set up. I've become interested enough to have begun an computing degree; studying java, databases, HTML, mathmatics for computing etc.
Primary monitor - LG Flatron E2350
Secondary Monitor - Chimei 20"
Genius 11" drawing pad
Speakers - Logitech X530
Keyboard - Razer Lycosa (Mirror Edition) (for general use) / Apple Extended, Wired keyboard for coding.
Mouse - X7
Mouse Mat - Rantopad H1
Printer - Cannon MP495
PC Case - CoolerMaster CM690
HDD(s) - 5x 1Tb (WD Black)
CPU - Phenom II 965BE (C3). Overclocked to 4.0GHz
Motherboard - Asus Crosshair Formula III - Republic of Gamers
Optical Drive = LG LiteScribe GH24
PSU - HX850w
GPU - GTX470 (SLI)
OS - Win7 64Bit Ultimate, Ubuntu 11.10, Mint 12
RAM - 4 x 4Gb Mushkin Blackline (1600MHz 7-7-7-20)
Dell Lattitude D610 - Ubuntu 11.10 - used for understanding Linux practice. Battery doesn't hold charge
Compaq Presario V2000 - Win 7 (32Bit) - used for practicing Java in Starbucks
CPU - Athlon x2 7750
3 x 1Tb WD Green
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-MA-78GM-US2H
Kingston 2 x 1Gb DDR2 RAM
Controlled through TeamViewer
Used for backing up pictures, videos etc
Who would this setup suit? My rig does it all. It's a home media server, coding, photoshopping, gaming, website designing and entertainment centre.
Advice: Buy in haste, repent at leisure! Always research every purchase thoroughly. Ask people who know and are unbiased such as PC Authority or other PC forums. Don't ask in a PC store and expect unbiased advice. You might get it but, in my experience, you won't.
Make use of online resources. People who know a lot about PCs very often use the internet a lot. Take advantage of this. Google your questions; someone will have had the same issue as you before!
Don't be afraid. It's hard to break your computer through the interface. The best way to learn is by doing!
My Setup (submitted by Hak52)
A bit about Hak52's system:
Pros: Built it myself and know it inside out
The history: Been building and upgrading my own computers since I had my first 286 or 386 can’t really remember anymore. Had my share of AMD and Intel and now have ended with this my baby. All up I have another 3 desktops built from leftovers and 1 laptop.
This baby has i7 980x CPU with Coolit Vantage cooler , 12GB Corsair Dominator 2000MHz RAM 2x 120GB OCZ Vertex SSD 2x 1TB Western Digital HDD and 1 WD150GB Raptor
2x Sapphire hd6970s in x-fire using Eyefinity
3x 27 inch HP 2711 led monitors
Logitech 5500 speakers and G930 headset
Who would this setup suit? Plays BF3 , DeusX Human Revolution COD-MW3 all on high settings, so it's really good for FPS games. Does photo and video editing really well. It really is a good all-round peformer and does all it’s asked so far. Who knows, an update might be just around the corner! ( Intel socket 2011).
Advice: I really enjoy building and setting up computers and would recommend anyone to do it and just remember there is so much help in the forums out there when something doesn’t go as planned.
The TyTilian Core (submitted by Lord TyTan Zirakuta)
Old setup (2008) - 1st upgrade
Old Setup (2009) - 2nd upgrade
A bit about Lord TyTan Zirakuta's system:
Pros: It does everything I need it to do. It does it quickly. I have heaps of room to do whatever I want, be it 3D work, photo and video editing, gaming, having multiple things going across the system and being easier to work with because of the extra space. Multiple machines do help me to render large 3D scenes a bit quicker. And it just looks pretty cool :3
Cons: It takes up a lot of space in my room and produces a fair amount of heat when everything is on and working to full capacity. It took me a bit of money and time to get it all up and running.
The history: I am 16 now, turning 17 in January. 3 years ago I had 1 PC (Pentium Dual Core, 2GB RAM, 17 inch CRT, etc) and I just couldn’t handle it. It wasn’t doing what I needed it to do, so I decided to start building my dream setup. The problem was though, I had no money and could not get a job because of other commitments taking up all of my time such as school, making films, photography and working on other things such as game development, 3D modelling and programming, not to mention, I am a goth and all my goth stuff is expensive especially the boots and cyber goth stuff. I decided to start fixing and building computers for people, making a few bucks on the side to pay for my rig. It was slow, but it was working.
I started by building a decent PC that would at least do what I wanted it to do and getting a new screen. As money came in and my demands and requirements grew because of the stuff I was doing, I build up my system even more and added more PCs to the collection; as I would get a new PC the old one would just move down the line.
3 years have passed and now I have this. I was planning on doing an upgrade on my setup in January as I try to do every year (because of Christmas and birthday money I would get from my family) but I need to save up a fair amount of money for a nice video camera to use for my films, so I guess I will have to wait until 2013 before I get my hands onto a nice socket 2011 rig.
Specs: I won’t bore you with the specs of my other rigs, so I will just jump straight onto my main one.
CPU – Intel Core i7 930 – Overclocked @ 4.2GHz (Xigmatek Dark Knight cooler)
RAM – 24GB DDR3 – Overclocked @2000MHz
HDDs – 5x 400GB HDDs in RAID 0 for my main system drive. 1x 250GB External USB Drive with multiple partitions for other OSes, 1x 1TB, 1x 1.5TB and 2x2TB HDDs all for storing all my files such as movies, music, games, programs and project files I am working on for my films and game dev in CryEngine 3. All are 7200rpm and all are SATAII
Motherboard – Gigabyte X58A-UD7 (rev 1)
GPUs – 2x Nvidia GTX470s in SLI
PSU – Antec 1200w PSU
Case – Cooler Master HAF 932
OSes – Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit (on the RAID array) OS X 10.7.2 and a few Linux distros on the external 250GB HDD.
Screens – 3x 42 inch LCD TVs in Nvidia Surround (5760x1080 res)
Network – I have all my machines hooked up to a wireless home network as well as my own gigabit Ethernet switcher. I use this local Ethernet network to distribute a rendering task between my different machines, as I have them all set up to be render nodes.
Other – I have 9 speakers and 2 subs connected to the main PC. There is also a Kinect hooked up the main PC, I don’t really use it for much, but it is fun to have.
Who would this setup suit? I think that this setup is generally a very well rounded system, it should be able to do almost anything that anyone could want. Though it would probably be best suited for gamers, it works very well for photo and video editing as well as 3D design.
Advice: I would recommend that whoever wants to build this sort of rig should have a very well ventilated room with an AC to keep everything cool, especially in the summer. Also start off with buying the best screens you can and keep them and just do upgrades on your main rig every year. I wasted a lot of money on screens I wasn’t happy with before I decided to get these TVs.