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I’ve been told that I have too many computers! I tend to agree especially with the number I have acquired in the past few years. Thankfully I’ve started pruning them out..


My first computer was an Amstrad cpc464 with colour monitor. Great for simple games, and it kept me occupied as a kid.

First PC was an AST pentium 133 with a 2.1gb harddrive and 16mb ram running Win95. It got upgraded and frankensteined over the next few years up to 64mb of ram, 2 harddrives for 20gb, a cd writer and other goodies like a network card and a voodoo1 card.

After I got bought some components from various people in UL such as a p3-500 chip, 265mb ram, 9gb scsi disc, 73gb scsi disc, a SoundBlaster Live! 64 soundcard and a TNT 16mb pci graphics card. I built up a rather nice pc from these, and I watched my first downloaded film on this – ‘The Matrix’ and I went to the cinema twice to see that film based purely on this!

I upgraded the motherboard, the graphics card, memory and a few other bits over the next year or so. It was great as a college machine, multibooting linux and various windows installations. This was the first case that I prepped and painted, and I installed a side-window in it as well. All long before it became popular.

I started overclocking this machine too, after buying a p3-650/100 socket chip on a slocket adapter. This chip ram at over 900 safely and booted at 1.1ghz. Fantastic performance from a cpu that I paid €150ish for.

I did an upgrade jump then to an AMD64 3000+ with 1gb of ram, geforce 6600gt vivo graphics and a Chieftec case that I prettified with EL cable along the louvres in the front, LED illumination inside, UV cable sleeving and UV cold-cathode lamps as well. This was a fantastic machine, and my girlfriend at the time bought me a 200gb harddrive as a wonderful Christmas present, I added another 400gb later. It’s a pity that this machine was stolen from the house in 109, and this pretty much killed my casemod desires. (may that thief get crotchrot.)

I bought a Lidl special athlon64 4200+ a few years later. I had a few issues with it but it was serviceable for the moment. I ordered a new upgrade/replacement motherboard as I was getting fed up of not being able to populate all 4 memory slots and I was getting fed up of the bluescreens and crashes in all operating systems caused by high SATA i/o. That new motherboard fixed a few issues for sure. Since then I had upgraded my graphics card to an MSI HD5770 Hawk as the 7600GT was no longer giving DVI output which was a bit of an issue. I also got a few harddrives which I’m using in Raid for speed and reliability. I also got my hands on an Athlonx2 5000+ Black Edition chip to allow me to move from the then standard 2.2ghz to about 3.2ghz for a faster machine. Pity that Damien allowed that chip and motherboard to literally rot un a shed when I gave him a lend of those components..

I also started up a bit of a retro computing journey. When I was in late primary school, my neighbour had an Amiga 500, and I loved playing the games on that. When I was working in Cork, I sourced an A500 and then an A1200 from Ebay. To the A1200 I added a 30Gb harddrive and a Blizzard 1230-IV, with the 50MHz processor and an additional 50MHz coprosser and sporting 32Mb of ram. With an HDLoad purchase and a torrent of all the Amiga games ever, I now had a perfect emulation of those gamin experiences as a kid. Adding a pcmcia network card meant that I could get this ancient machine actually onto the internet and browse the web. Mostly it gets used for nostalgia gaming.

As well as that 16-bit gaming nostalgia, I decided to build myself a set of proper gaming machines for the various era of PC gaming, all from the parts in the parts bins I had lying around. There’s no a Dos/win3.11 machine with a P2-450, a whopping 64Mb of RAM, a 2gb harddisk, Matrox Milennium 4gb pci graphics card and an Audician32 soundcard with midi soundbank daughterboard. Next up was a Win98se machine using a Tualatin P3-1.13 and 512Mb ram and a ti4200 graphics card, and an Audigy SB Audigy2 soundcard. The win2k gaming is taken care of by a P4-3.2 with 2Gb ram, a Quadro 600 graphics card, and an SB X-Fi Extreme soundcard. All more than powerful enough to run the games of their times at max settings or above I run their outputs through a KVM to my desktop monitor and wireless keyboard/mouse.

In the console corner I have a PS2 , a PS3, and a Wii. None of these are used that much, though I have a moderate library of the common good games for them.

My current desktop machine is a Behemoth of a machine: Intel Core I7-3930 running at ~4.3Ghz, 32Gb of ram, 4x1Tb drives in RAID 1+0 with an 240gb SSD for the OS, currently with an Asus GTX660, running current Gentoo and Windows 7. Definitely won’t be downgrading to Win8 or Win 1-0 as those are terrible UI experiences plus information leakers. This machine is more than good enough for almost all games at 1080p as well as excelling at computational tasks.

Machines I own that are used regularly:

  1. i7-3930@4.2Ghz/32Gb/SSD+Raid0+1 desktop
  2. Lenovo X220 tablet PC, i5/6Gb/SSD
  3. Galaxy S8, unmodified.
  4. AMD 3000+/1Gb desktop as a torrent server
  5. Core2Duo e8400/4Gb sff Dell as Plex/Motion server
  6. Raspberry Pi2 with 32Gb micro SD card and Rasbpian

Other machines that are lying around intermittently used.

  1. Win2k retro box; P4 3.2GHz/2Gb/Quadro600 sff Dell
  2. win98 retro box; Tualatin 1.13/512Mb/ti4200 desktop
  3. Dos/win3.1 retro box; P2-450/64Mb/Matrox desktop
  4. Asus Eeepc 1000h linux 160gb in white
  5. P3-1.13 dell Inspiron laptop. (effectively retired)

Here’s my desktop’s current performance metric, and it’s quite the beast especially for being over 6 years old now!:

PassMark Rating