Hardware Confusion 2009
Author: Koroush Ghazi
Last Modified: December 2014
Any true computer enthusiast understands that although pre-built systems are sufficient for most basic needs, to get a computer which has the desired level of performance and quality requires building one yourself. However the process of determining which particular components to purchase can be daunting. Correctly compiling a top-notch PC which is good value for money, relatively future-proof, and performs well with rock-solid stability is not that simple, even for experienced users.
Back in 2005 I wrote the original Hardware Confusion article as a means of both detailing my then recently-built machine for curious readers, and providing a set of guidelines and considerations which people could take into account when upgrading their own machines at that point in time. I'd like to think that I did something right, because not only was the article well-received, the machine at the center of it went on to serve me faithfully for three and a half years without a hitch, with only one major upgrade in the interim, namely a new graphics card in mid-2007.
However 2009 is now upon us, and although reluctant to let go of the familiarity and reliability of my old machine, I recognized that it was getting extremely out of date. There's only so long you can cling to an old machine like a security blanket before the urge to upgrade becomes overwhelming. It was once again time for me to dive into the oft-confusing world of new hardware and build an entirely new system. What I present to you then is the chronicle of one man's journey through the PC hardware selection, purchasing and building process. It's lengthy, and a tad self-indulgent at times, but within lies what I hope to be not only some useful information for those who wish to build a Core i7 system, but also a range of interesting facts and issues to consider for virtually anyone thinking about upgrading their system in the near future.
Note: This article was originally written in January 2009 when the system was built, however two hardware upgrades to the system have been made in September 2010 and October 2011, and these are covered at the bottom of Page 2. The general advice throughout this article is still valid for those building modern systems.