We use a gaming grade desktop PC in the shop. During the day we use productivity tools. On the weekend we like to play games. The flexibility of the PC makes this possible.
This 2011 machine was assembled in October from a new components. The low cost Raidmax Tornado chassis is a standard ATX model with lots of room inside for additional hard disks. We have the blue model and this chassis also available with red trim.
While the Raidmax came with a 238W crap PSU, the low cost Saga 400W PSU has dual 12V rails which provides more 12V current was selected. The cable bundle is adequate for the optical disk, disk and a video card with a single PCI Express cable. This PSU is not very efficient but the hardware is even less demanding.
The chassis has one 120mm rear fan. There is smaller 80mm fan on the front and on the transparent side panel. This configuration is fine for using even a longer gaming grade video card.
The Asus P8H61-M LE/CSM is a basic µATX motherboard for Sandy Bridge. It supports 2 sticks of DDR3 which is enough for basic use. There are 4 SATA ports and 2 USB headers for front panel or a rear bracket as available. The integrated graphics are available when there is no video card installed.
The Kingston DDR3-1333 works well with motherboard. Dual channel operation works fine. 4096MB of memory is standard for machines in 2011. Higher capacity memory still was not widely available until 2013.
Later in 2012 we installed the EVGA GT 640 4GB edition which is a basic mid range card, featuring a pair of DVI connectors and a µHDMI port. The GT 640 has GDDR3 and it has plenty of performance for general Windows use. The GPU also supports general entry gaming. NVIDIA is supporting DX12 for Windows 10 with this card. The GK107 needs the 65W that the slot provides shows that a good PSU is needed. The EVGA card competes in the $99 market segment. The EVGA card we have lacks a PCI Express power connector and its cooler is single slot. Other models may have a PCI Express 6-pin connector.
The WDC WD5000AAKX 500GB Blue series disk is standard in 2011. Disks run at 7200rpm which loads Windows fast. We experienced failures with 2 other 500GB disks however this disk has managed to survive. See the page on hard disk survival.
In 2015 we purchased the Corsair CS450M which made this machine dramatically more energy efficient. The additional 100W of capacity affords the use of a mainstream video card including cards with a PCI Express power connector.
The current H61 based boards are still widely available but the Cougar Point problem only affected the boards with Q67, B65, H67 and P67 chipsets. H61, H65 and Z68 are not affected. Its is estimated that Intel lost $700 million replacing motherboards.
Ivy Bridge motherboards are widely available that can accept the i3-2100 CPU in case of a motherboard failure. B75 is the cheapest Ivy Bridge followed by Q75, Q77, H77, Z75 and Z77. The low cost MSI B75MA-E33 can replace a failed motherboard if needed for our i3-2100. The Gigabyte GA-Q77M-D2H offers USB 3.0 SATA III and 4 memory slots.
THE CURRENT SETUP
|MB||Asus P8H61-M LE/CSM|
|RAM||4096MB Kingston DDR3-1333|
|GPU||EVGA GT 640 4GB Edition|
|MON||Omnitech OM19WD LCD Monitor|
|KB/M||Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 & Wacom Bamboo Capture|