CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Q8200 (Rs 9,200)
While Intel’s super powerful i7 range of processors have no competition in the performance stakes, they are also very expensive. Even the entry level processor was beyond our budget, so we settled for the Intel Q8200.
This processor is one of the first of their 8000 quad-based budget series. It sports a 2.33 GHz speed, 1333 FSB and 4 MB of L2 cache. It’s currently the cheapest available Intel C2D 45 nm Quad.
Motherboard: Gigabyte EP43-DS3L (Rs 6,500)
This P43 chipset offers the performance of a P45 chipset but on a budget.
Gigabyte as usual has done a stellar job with its motherboard. It offers very good performance, packs in support for Intel’s latest C2D/C2Q processors with FSB support of up to 1600 MHz, supports 8 GB of DDR2-1200 RAM, 1 PCIe slot and a whopping 12 USB slots.
RAM: Kingston DDR2 800 MHz — 2 sticks of 2 GB RAM each (Rs 2,200)
It’s time to take advantage of falling RAM prices. At least 4 GB of system memory is absolutely vital nowadays with the increased size and requirements of software. Kingston’s RAM stick, now available with a five-year warranty, is perfect for our machine.
Graphics: Zotac GeForce 9800 GTX+ (Rs 11,200)
Zotac is a well-established name in India offering some excellent Nvidia bundles. Their 9800 GTX+ standard package not only offers a great card, but also throws in an excellent five-year warranty.
The card by itself comes with a 740 MHz core clock, 2200 MHz memory clock, 128 Stream processors and runs on 512 MB of GDDR3 on a 256-bit bus. It offers 70.4 GB of memory bandwidth.
Sound: Onboard — Realtek ALC888 codec (N/A)
Onboard audio’s quality of output and standard support has increased rapidly over the years. The codec used here is the ALC662, which is 7.1 capable and even supports S/PDIF output. This chipset is a great bargain as it offers excellent audio quality output and does it for free.
LAN: Onboard 10/100/1000 (N/A)
This is the standard Gigabit onboard 10/100/1000 LAN that gives a maximum transfer speed of 1000 Mbps. It’s fast enough to take care of your broadband Internet (most users have a connection speed of 256 Kbps or 512 Kbps).
HDD: Seagate 500 GB SATA II (Rs 3,000)
Built on the SATA II platform, this drive has adequate storage. With its price now under Rs. 3,500 the drive is not only affordable but can also hold all your movies and songs.
Optical drive: : LG GH22 (Rs 1,200)
This drive supports 22x writing for DVD-R/+R, 16X for DVD+RW DL, 12x for DVD-R DL and 12x for DVD-RAM.
Monitor: BenQ E2200HD (Rs 12,600)
This LCD panel impressed us with its full HD resolution, incredible pricing and its support for a full range of connectivity options including HDMI. The monitor has a native resolution of 1920x1080.
When you consider the fact that the machine we are assembling can easily handle full-HD video, this monitor becomes more valuable.
Keyboard and mouse: Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 and Logitech MX518 (Rs 2,300)
Microsoft hardware tends to be very long-lasting, capable of flawless service for years. The CCK2k as it is popularly known, is one such product, with a fair share of fans of its basic split design, excellent typing and long lasting reliability.
Does the mouse even need an introduction? It has been around so long, bought so often and used by so many people — especially Counterstrike fans — that it has passed into immortality with an entire generation of PC gaming fans. Logitech hit the nail on the head with this mouse which has a no-nonsense design, excellent grip and a very competitive DPI of 1600.
Cabinet: NZXT Alpha Black x3Px32+CoolerMaster Extreme Power 500 Watts (Rs 5,800)
NZXT’s is well-known for its no-nonsense designs and competitive pricing. This cabinet featured here is part of their NZXT Alpha range which is a mainstream chassis designed for value. The Alpha features a steel chassis and support for up to three 120 mm fans when the optional side panel is included.
For the UPS, we suggest the sturdy CoolerMaster Extreme Power 500 Watts.
Speakers: Altec Lansing MX5021E (Rs 6,500)
The MX5021E is a 2.1 speaker set with THX support and is capable of outputting an astounding 90 Watts RMS. At its price, it has few competitors and offers some of the best VFM performance when it comes to games and movies.