Like many gamers, we’ve often fantasized about owning a superpowerful gaming rig, so we wondered: If money were no object, what would be the most powerful PC we could build? Our criteria was simple; it had to contain the fastest parts we could lay our hands on, bear no consideration at all for power consumption, and be so ridiculously over the top that only a privileged few would ever get the chance to own one.
After much pondering and a heap of research, we chose a range of top-of-the-line components, which we believed to be the very best of the best. And we didn’t stop at the internals. We took our plan even further, listing what our dream peripherals would be, making sure they were also suitably over the top. What we ended up with was a list that would surely make gamers drool with excitement and credit cards shake with fear. Ladies and gentleman, let me welcome you to GameSpot UK’s Greatest Gaming Rig.
Over the next six weeks, we’ll be building the dream rig, which you can read all about here on the Hardware Blog and on GameSpot UK’s video show Start/Select. We’ll be covering each of our components in detail in future editions of this feature, but for now, let's take a look at what we chose when planning the rig. We started with the basics: motherboard, processor, and RAM. The first of those was an easy choice. There is only one motherboard out there that is so hardcore it can take two Intel Xeon processors, up to 48GB of RAM, and run four Nvidia graphics cards in four-way SLI. And there's only one so massive that it only fits in a handful of specially designed cases. We are of course referring to EVGA’s top-of-the-line Classified SR-2. It’s a board that is so beautifully constructed and incredibly massive that it’s awe inspiring just to look at it. To sit on the board, we chose a pair of Intel’s six-core x5680 Xeon processors, running at a speedy 3.33GHz. With their hyperthreading support, they’ll give the rig 24 cores of processing power, which is more than enough to crunch through the toughest of first-person shooters. To cap it all off, we chose 24GB of Crucial’s DDR3 Ballistix Tracer RAM. As much as we’d love to fill the full 48GB, 24GB is probably excessive enough. Plus, it wouldn’t be a gaming rig without a whole heap of lighting, and the Ballistix Tracers are equipped with a number of LEDs, which light up when the RAM is accessed.
Next up were the graphics cards. It was a tough call between ATI and Nvidia, but in the end, we settled on three of Zotac’s GTX 480s and a single GTX 460, which will be used exclusively for Physx processing. Not only are the GTX 480s the fastest single GPU cards out there, but they also offer 3D support with 3D Vision, which is exclusively supported by Nvidia. For storage, we chose Corsair’s 128GB Force solid state drive for booting the system and Western Digital’s Cavair Black SATA III 1TB hard drive for media storage. Both drives are immensely fast and make use of the new SATA III standard, which allows for transfer speeds of up to 6Gbit a second. To keep our CPUs cool, we chose Corsair’s H70 all-in-one water cooling kits, as well as Quiet PC UK’s Ninja Scythe III air coolers, which we’ll be pitting against each other in a temperature test.
With two CPUs, four graphics cards, 24GB of RAM, and tons of storage and cooling, we needed a power supply that had a multitude of connectors on board and could keep up with our demanding components. We chose Corsair’s AX1200, a 1200 watt PSU that peaks at 1500 watts, making it one of the most powerful out there. And with its modular connections, we should be able to keep the case clean and free from cable clutter. Housing this monstrosity of a computer presented us with a major challenge. Currently, there are only a handful of cases that actually fit the SR-2 board without any significant modification, with half of them not even in full production yet! We’re still scouring the interwebs for the ideal case, but rest assured, this rig will be fully housed when it’s complete.
Finally, we looked at our dream peripherals. We wanted the hardest wearing equipment available, preferably stuff that had been road tested by pro gamers. We chose Steel Series’ Xai laser mouse, 7G keyboard, and 9HD mouse mat, all of which have been used by a number of pro gaming teams. The keyboard in particular was a natural choice for us; it’s built to last with gold-plated connectors and mechanical switches. And, it isn’t as LED infused as many gaming keyboards out there, which can be distracting when playing. To cap it all off, we chose Astro Gaming’s A40 headset and Mix Amp for sound duties. Not only does the headset look extremely cool, but we’re going one step further by getting them customized with the GameSpot UK logo; it’s just how we roll.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: It’s all well and good that we’ve got this kit to play with, but what are the chances of owning it yourself? Well, you’re in luck! As much as we’d love to hang onto this machine ourselves, we’re giving you the chance to win it!* Just head over to http://tinyurl.com/gsukpccomp to find out more.
Check back here next week, which is when we’ll be starting to put the gaming behemoth together. We'll kick it off with an in-depth look at the processors, CPUs, and RAM. In the meantime, check out this week’s Start/Select for the first video feature and keep an eye on facebook.com/gamespotuk for a behind-the-scenes look at the build.
* To enter you have to be over 13 and a UK resident, and the competition is subject to our normal terms and conditions.