I’ve got my new desktop birthday gift essentially planned at this point. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on Tom’s Hardware and Ars Technica, and both of them are pointing at Intel for solid mid-range desktops nowadays. There’s some disagreement over whether the Core i7 (Quad-core on one die! Triple-channel DDR3!) is worth the price premium over the Core 2 Duo. I’ve decided that, for me, it’s not. I don’t do enough video gaming anymore for four cores to be effectively utilized. Even two cores feels like a bit of a waste.

We’re still deciding on a case (although I really like everything Lian Li, like the PC-7B plus II) since the case is a part that I feel that M should have a say in. But the guts are going to be as follows:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 (Dual core, 3.16GHz)
  • Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P (Intel P45 Northbridge. X48 was tempting, but I don't need that much PCIe, and I probably never will.)
  • Video card: Radeon HD 4850 512MB (This was a hard decision. The HD 4870 1GB would be so much faster, but in the end I don't game as much as I used to, and another $100 for the performance is too much.)
  • Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) (DDR2 800, Dual Channel, CAS 5. The Motherboard has four slots, so if when I need more memory, it'll be simple.)
  • Hard drive: Western Digital Caviar 640GB (7200 RPM, SATA 3.0Gb. I'm a hard drive miser. I could splurge for a 1TB drive, but I've never even filled my current 160GB disk.)
  • Optical drive: I'll move the NEC ND-3550A DVD-RW from my current desktop. It's still solid.

Update, Mar 3: I just ordered the parts, but not before a whole bunch of stuff changed.