I’ve always been a PC gamer at heart only owning PlayStations in order to play the Metal Gear series. In 2008 I got what I’d call my first real Gaming PC. It had an Intel Q9550 (one of the first quad cores) and a 9800GTX+; I was thrilled that I was able to play all the latest releases at decent settings. This pc lasted me until 2012 when I decided that it was long overdue for an upgrade although I could still get away with running most games on medium.

I finally bit the bullet when I started Northern Ireland Film School, Ballynahinch and needed a machine for editing. This is my list of specs:

Case – Corsair Vengeance C70

PSU (Power Supply) – Seasonic Gold 750watt.

Processor – Intel 3930k                                                                                                                                                                          
GPU (Graphics Card)– EVGA GTX 680 SC                                                                                                                             
RAM (Random Access Memory) – 32GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 1600 MHz                 
SSD (Solid State Drive) – Crucial M4 128GB                                                                                     
Motherboard – Gigabyte GA-X79- UP4                                                                                                                                   
CPU Cooler – Thermalright Silver Arrow Special Edition

I also bought a few Seagate barracuda drives for storage.

Before I even installed any games the first thing I did to my system was overclock the CPU to 4.5GHz in order to eliminate any bottlenecks with the GPU. I found the cooler worked great although at 100% load things did get a little toasty topping out at around 90°c.

I tested some rendering times first against my old system and while it was faster I was a little disappointed. A short film I had edited only took 3 minutes less time to render. I needed to find the problem and after some googling I discovered that Adobe premiere did not recognise the GTX 600 series as CUDA capable cards. CUDA is a technology that allows Adobe software to offload some of the processing work onto the graphics card in order to speed the rendering time, effectively having two processors. Luckily after some more searching I found a fix and tried the render again. The 5 minute film took 6 minutes to render with a 2 pass VBR, I was quite pleased with myself.

Gaming performance was more than satisfactory as  my heavily modded Skyrim was pinned at 60 fps with vsync enabled. Games I could never play before where reaching frames in excess of 50, games like “Metro 2033” and the “Witcher 2”.

Being the pc enthusiast that I am this is only the first stage of my build. I plan to incorporate a full water cooling loop and remove all mechanical hard drives in favour of an SSD RAID array as my boot drive and use a NAS to store all my media. The benefits of this are faster load times form the boot drive and a more secure storage solution in the NAS (Network Attached storage) which can incorporate redundant drives that can be replaced if a drive fails without losing data due to data being wrote to more than one drive simultaneously.