If you are reading this you are either a) Intending to build an all powerful system b) Wanting to see what the latest developments in computing can do in a home system, or c) you intend to use these components to construct a time machine and enact some convoluted plan to take over the world. In either case the following PC parts I am about to recommend should easily run any application you intend to run, I can’t guarantee the time travel stuff, and should future proof your system for some time, unless you are the type of person that keeps buying new components every time they release a new series. So shall we?
The CPU’s in question are the companies flagship processors utilizing the cutting edge developments that they have put their time and resources into developing so don’t expect any bargain basement stuff here.
Clock Speed- 5.0GHz
Stare in wonderment, O reader, at pure power. The first commercial processor on the market to have a base clock speed of 5.0GHz, AMD’s newest processor utilizes AMD’s Pile-driver architecture which is key to the speed on offer here. The funny thing is you can, if you really want to, still overclock this thing at which point I would recommend running liquid nitrogen through your system to cool the thing. Yes the main and obvious drawback to this processor will be the amount of heat it generates. It also has the appetite of a hungry hungry hippo requiring 220 watts of power to run. Whilst we are still waiting and hoping AMD will release a new FX line using the new Kaveri Steamroller tech the FX 9590 can at least brute force its way through any task you throw in front of it until they do.
Socket- Ivy Bridge
Clock Speed- 3.50GHz
The processor of choice for many factory built systems, Intel’s i7 is considered the premium of high performance builds. Whilst not even coming close to the clock speed of AMD’s 8 core offerings it is again through the use of multithreading that Intel produces unrivaled single computational power, this teamed with the latest in Intel’s integrated graphics chip range makes it a solid choice for those just looking for the processing power on offer. However it does seem wasteful to buy this chip and not opt for a dedicated graphics card to run with it. With this being a K class chip it does provide the user the option to overclock to a degree, allowing for a bit of flexibility in Intel’s crackdown on tweaking, but again it won’t come close to the clock speed of AMD’s top end offering, opting on the side better efficiency in the speeds it does clock to, providing more finesse to AMD’s literal Bulldozer
A high end graphics card will usually be the most expensive component in your system with many of the top range stuff exceeding the £300 barrier with ease, furthermore most enthusiast will opt for multiple cards taking advantage of the SLI/ Crossfire capabilities of the GPUs to further enhance their capabilities often resulting in frame rate benchmarks exceeding 100 fps. With that in mind let us take a look at the flagship cards and dream of frame rates that most console gamers can’t even comprehend.
Memory- 6GB GDDR5
Ask any enthusiast what graphics card they would recommend and 9 times out of 10 this one will come up. Nvidia’s flagship card boasts impressive credentials key of which is tech lifted from a super computer and a pretty stylish cooler. Nvidia’s flagship card comes with all the tech you would expect from their GPUs including SLI support and physx. The only issue with this card is the price, with some brands of this card nearing the £1000 mark, makes it easily the most expensive piece of hardware in your system and justifying it when Nvidia has just released a better card is difficult. Nvidia have claimed that the Titan is slightly better at raw data computation when compared to their new card, leaving the Titan for people who value that raw compute power above all else.
Memory- 3GB DDR5
Whilst the Titan may still be considered the flagship card of Nvidia’s range, there is in fact a cheaper more powerful card on offer in the form of the 780 Ti. Whilst the GTX 700’s weren’t anything to write home about at launch, the 780 Ti finally offers something other than a tweaked GTX 600 card with a new cooler case. Most of the things said about the Titan can be said about the 780Ti apart from where the Titian has better raw data handling the 780 does better in the department that gamers care about, graphical computation. When compared to the R9 290 X, there are only marginal differences in frame counts, bringing into question the price premiums of the card, in this regard what card you choose will depnd on your brand loyalty and how price conscious you are.
Memory- 4GB GDDR5
Running AMD’s new Hawaii architecture the R9 290X brings an unexpected blow to Nvidia’s high end line up. However I wouldn’t recommend this card for anyone other than an enthusiast. Although it is estimated to be more powerful than a Titian and about half the price, this power does come at a cost. the 290X has a large appetite and runs at a temperature that could probably fry an egg. AMD assures us that it’s 90 degrees Celsius operating temperature is normal and is simply a by product of the speed this card clocks in at, nether the less I would still only go for this card in it’s stock cooler form if you are intending to run a full liquid cooled system as I really wouldn’t feel comfortable with those temperature readings. If at all possible buy this card with an aftermarket cooler, brands such as Sapphire do a good job of offering better cooling options for, often, less money and now that AMD have shipped enough of the stock formats, partner companies are now free to sell their own cooler designs that do a better job at keeping the excess heat in check.
No mater how you look at a top end PC build you will always be way south of £1,000 by the end, but on the bright side you will have a system that will run anything you throw at it and if Mac Pro users can justify the amount they spend on their system then you can easily justify this as it has infinitely more flexibility. Things to look out for in future to further perfect the ultimate system build will be the next generation of processors from Intel, in the form of their Broadwell series, and AMD, in the form of their Steamroller/ Kaveri series, along with developments in the monitor market with the introduction of 4K native resolution panels. What you do with this all powerful system is up to you but keep in mind if you are planning on opting for the time travel scheme, no where in this guide have I accounted for calculating and correcting temporal paradoxes so if you run into that problem you are on your own, semi liquid science might help but who has that just laying around?
Go read part 1 here: PC Upgrade Time: Part 1