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0 comments | Friday, December 8, 2006

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It's time to start with the 'best of 2006' lists, and with all the good stuff happening in the hardware department lately, what better way to start with than with the ultimate dream machine for the year 2006.

Although I usually write mostly about Internet-related topics, I'm also a hardware enthusiast, tracking new stuff and its prices all the time. I always have a list of components for a budget machine and an ideal, no-holds-barred, I'm-really-really-rich kind of machine, so why not share it here? My approach is a bit different than that of most hardware sites, who usually just recommend the most expensive stuff. I also take great care to choose the most silent components - even if they don't crank out maximum power. With that said, let's start.

1. Case

Antec Nine Hundred. This new product by Antec distinguishes itself from the rest by including spots for 5 120 mm fans and an additional 200 mm monster fan on top of the case. All these fans can make your computer really cool if you crank them up, but they won't produce much more than a hum if you keep them at 5V. Ideal.

2. PSU

Seasonic S12 Energy+ 650W
. Judged by Silentpcreview to be the one of the quietest PSUs on the market, Seasonic's Energy line will give enough power to your hardware and still keep at whisper quiet levels. Some might complain that they want a stronger PSU, but from my experience, no computer today draws more than 500W power. A stronger PSU will just make more noise.

3. Motherboard

Asus Striker Extreme. Simply put, the most powerful and versatile platform today offers me little choice than to include it in this list. For a (long) list of all of its features go here. I chose Asus because of the heatpipe cooling design, most effective I've seen of all n680i implementations.

4. CPU

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 2.66. Sure, you won't feel much difference between it and Core 2 Duo. But 4 cores are future-proof, and although I don't think that a quad-core CPU pays off at this moment, this is a dream computer, right? It's still quite cool and not nearly as power hungry as AMD's FX-70 (not to mention that you need two of those if you want 4 cores).

5.CPU cooler

Scythe Ninja PLUS Rev.B Scythe has positioned itself as one of the top manufacturers of high-end cooling equipment, and their latest cooler and its 12cm fan will keep your Core 2 Quad cool with a minimum of noise.


2xBFGTech GeForce 8800 GTX in SLI mode. Here the choice is easy, as noone disputes that 8800 GTX is currently the best GPU on the market. Why did we choose BFGTech? Well, this is supposed to be a silent computer, and BFGTech really went out of their way to please the enthusiast with this water-cooled version of 8800GTX. Personally, I don't use watercooling, but someone who does will appreciate the effort.


OCZ Dominator XMS2 2x2GB DDR I'm cheating a little on this one because 2GB Dominator modules are not yet available, but they should be by the end of the year. 4GB of RAM memory wouldn't make much of a difference compared to 2GB on WinXP, but in Vista you'll definitely notice it. OCZ's Dominator memory was used in many hardware benchmarks lately and it is generally accepted as one of the best modules available. They come with a cooling heatsink included.

8.Optical drive

Blu-Ray Sony BWU-100A Usually, I wouldn't give this much cash just to have a Blu-Ray reader. Especially if I were able to get a PS3, because I get a nice gaming console and a Blu-Ray reader for the same price. But in a dream machine, Blu-Ray is the logical choice.

9. Audio

M-Audio Audiophile 192. Most reviewers usually choose one of Creative's products here, but I'm going for the audio card for the true hi-fi enthusiast. It's not a sound card for professional use; it's just an affordable card that will produce really great sound from your PC. You can plug it into your receiver and it will sound good even on an expensive speaker system.

10. Speakers

Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 If you're not really into all that hi-fi stuff, but you still want a really good sound from your system, you won't go wrong with 5.1 system from Klipsch.

11. Screen

Samsung CX305T 30-inch LCD. With this model, Samsung positioned itself as the proud owner of the fastest 30-inch panel available, with just 6ms response time. Other characteristics are 2560x1600 resolution, contrast of 1000:1 and 400 cd/m2 brightness. And with those dual 8800GTX cards, you'll actually be able to play in this insane resolution without having to reduce the quality.

So, that's it: we have a real beast of a machine here, but also one that - if not overclocked - won't even make much noise. I hope someone has the money to actually buy all this stuff, because I know I don't. Cheers!

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