My Computer – 2016

What better place to start this blog than a survey of my computer hardware? So, here’s what I’m running for my desktop computer in 2016Q3. Most of the hardware was purchased in 2013; I figure it’ll do for another year or two.

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770, Haswell. My previous computer was an i7-920 (Nehalem). This was a fairly substantial upgrade while using less power.

CPU cooler: I don’t recall the aftermarket cooler. My guess is it’s a Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO, but I could well be mistaken on that.

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H. I like the Gigabyte motherboards for their dual-BIOS chips. EVGA would be another strong contender.

RAM: 32 GB of DDR3. I don’t remember the brand. I spend a lot of my workday inside a virtual machine so 16 GB would be a bit constraining. You never want to be short of RAM, but this would probably be overkill for most people, even today.

SSD: Samsung 840 series, 500 GB. Since I bought this, SSDs have made major strides. These days, I’d go with a 1TB drive and look seriously at the NVMe interface.

Mechanical drive: Western Digital Black 3TB. Also, another WD 3TB and a Seagate 8 TB drive, both hooked up via USB for backup duties (of my desktop but also my NAS).

GPU: EVGA GTX 1080 SC. This was a wonderful upgrade to my old Radeon HD 6970.

Monitors: Dell 30″ U3011, 2560 x 1600. This is getting a bit long in the tooth. I like the size and the resolution, though. Dell 27″ U2713HM, 2560 x 1440. Decent for a secondary monitor but a bit small for a primary.

Keyboard: Coolermaster Quick Fire Pro mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches. Appropriately clicky.

Mouse: Logitech Performance Mouse MX.

Power Supply: I can’t remember what power supply I have. I’m pretty sure it’s an 850 Watt supply and I know it’s rated at 80 Plus Platinum.

HOTAS: Saitek X-55 Rhino HOTAS. This appears to have been replaced by the X-56. I really love my X-55. Makes Elite Dangerous lots of fun.

VR: Oculus Rift. I probably need to do several blog posts on the Rift. Why I went for that instead of the HTC Vive, the good and the bad of VR in 2016, etc. Really, though, I bought this so I could feel like I’m sitting in a spaceship in Elite Dangerous. And it delivers.

USB: So, I ran out of USB resources. My motherboard provides a number of USB2 and USB3 connectors and I had a couple of hubs. I ended up having to get a PCIe USB card which Belarc Advisor claims is made by ASMedia.

UPS: I have a couple of the CyberPower CP850PFCLCD PFC Sinewave 850VA which I really like for the LCD readout. I also have a cheaper CyberPower model without the LCD readout. Three UPS’s? Yes. Total overkill, but I have a lot of devices to plug in.

OS: Windows 10. I significantly prefer the UI in Windows 7, but Windows 10 has enough improvements behind the scenes to justify the upgrade. DirectX 12 alone is probably enough to force the upgrade.

Alternate OS: I also run Debian 8 inside a VMWare Workstation Pro environment. This is for work. I’ve run all kinds of Linux distributions, stretching back to 1994. I ended up with Debian 8 because it’s sufficiently close to our production environment and sufficiently updated to run as a desktop OS.