Hitting the Boards

By Jason Cross  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Build It: Last year's $800 gaming PC was a bargain, but had significant compromises. This year's model is an $800 hot-rod gaming rig that offers impressive performance. What a difference a year makes!


ProductMSI K8N Neo4-F

Web Site:www.msi.com.tw

Price:$85 ( check prices)

Pros:One of the least expensive nForce 4 boards on the market

Cons:No FireWire, no SATA-II

Summary:Gets you into nForce 4 goodness on the cheap, and is ready for dual-core CPUs later on.


Kingston, Corsair, OCZ, Crucial… when you're buying basic DDR400 RAM without concern for extreme low latencies or overclockability, the brand is less important than the price. We found a good deal on Kingston modules ( check prices), but memory prices fluctuate perhaps more than any other component. Just make sure you stick with a major name brand. Some of the off-brand stuff can be flaky, and we frequently hear reports of users running into problems with it.

It was a major goal to populate our system with 1GB of RAM, up from the 512MB in our previous $800 Gaming PC. Many games these days benefit from more than 512MB of RAM, especially massively multiplayer online games that frequently load a wide variety of textures in those areas crowded with unique players.

Jason Cross Jason was a certified computer geek at an early age, playing with his family's Apple II when he was still barely able to write. It didn't take long for him to start playing with the hardware, adding in 80-column cards and additional RAM as his family moved up through Apple II+, IIe, IIgs, and eventually the Macintosh. He was sucked into Intel based side of the PC world by his friend's 8088 (at the time, the height of sophisticated technology), and this kicked off a never-ending string of PC purchases and upgrades.

Through college, where he bounced among several different majors before earning a degree in Asian Studies, Jason started to pull down freelance assignments writing about his favorite hobby—,video and computer games. It was shortly after graduation that he found himself, a thin-blooded Floridian, freezing his face off at Computer Games Magazine in Vermont, where he founded the hardware and technology section and built it up over five years before joining the ranks at ExtremeTech and moving out to beautiful northern California. When not scraping up his hands on the inside of a PC case, you can invariably find Jason knee-deep in a PC game, engrossed in the latest console title, or at the movie theater.


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