So I have been looking for new desktop computer. I like to build desktops myself just because of the experience, but right now there is a hardware madness going on! Oh you have to believe me… 🙂 Until a few days ago I had only thought I knew about the current state of processors and hardware in general, but, was I wrong!! Currently there are at leaset a gazillion different processors and amazingly there are only two companies that are making these processors. Just take a look at this article by Tom’s Hardware that discusses mainly the intel processors, the fact that there are a dozen pages talking about the processor models is just plain nuts! Now what makes the choice even more tough is that a lot of these options are way too close for going with one or the other. On Intel’s side the new dual core processors are starting only $30 more than the current Pentium 4 600’s.
Now its not just the processors that are like this. On the graphics side you have SLI, PCI-Express, AGP, some of which play hand-in-hand but can also work as a standalone so you have to watch out for those. Last night I found two video cards both eVGA 6600LE, one 256MB and the other 128MB for the same $89 price. After some detailed browsing of the specs I found out that the 128MB version has a faster memory (500MHz vs 400MHz). Which one is better, who knows? Just means more research.
On the storage side you have ATA, Ultra ATA, SATA-I (Serial ATA), SATA-I with NCQ (Native Command Queuing), SATA-II 3.0Gb/s… So you have to consider not only the size but also the rotation speed, buffer, interface and any other features (like NCQ). Again the the thing that makes this tough is that a lot of these have very close pricing. For instance I found a Seagate 120GB SATA-I drive with NCQ for $89 and for $6 more ($95) I can get a Western Digital 200GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s drive; so now I have to decide whether the NCQ is really something.
Same thing with the rest of the components: motherboard (options, overclocking features, etc.), RAM (CAS Latency, Timing, speed, DRR vs DDR2), Power supply (watage, noise level-which is important to me)… Man o man, what I am going to do 😀