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Final apart of last weeks gaming machine buildup
PC gaming rigs

The hard stuff
As you can see from the specs, this is a rather powerful machine, so I've added a few more things to really get the best out of it. The nVidia 6600 GT offers brilliant performance, although the Radeon offering is equally brilliant. We've also got an upgrade to a 17” LCD screen. The quality is nothing short of breathtaking and your games will tend to look rather amazing. If you want to save some cash, I've also included a downgrade to the 19” LG Flatron CRT. While it's not LCD, it still looks awesome and the extra screen size makes up for it in spades. I've stuck with the Audigy sound card since it offers an amazing sound experience regardless of the speakers! We've also got a nice little update to the Creative Inspire T7700 7.1 system; with 6 directional speakers and a central speaker you can experience true surround sound like never before! Also included are two optical drives as opposed to one. A DVD-ROM is a natural choice and the CD-RW drive really comes in handy when making back-ups, burning music CDs and what-have-you. I've also decided that with these components, a Thermal casing is a better choice and the monitor-display gives your casing a sophisticated 'tech' look. You can also do one thing: replace both optical drives with one DVD±RW drive since they're rather economically priced now. However, I recommend that you retain your DVD-ROM drive. Why? Because reading pirated discs on the DVD±RW drive will burn it out faster so you're better off relegating reading tasks to the ROM drive.

Extreme machine
Now, if you're a nutter with no concept of money, then this machine is what you need. Since we're looking for optimal gaming experiences, out goes the P4 processor and in comes the scarily powerful AMD Athlon64 64-bit processor (the P4 is a 32-bit processor). However, don't expect double the level of performance if that's what you're thinking. Nonetheless, you will notice a significant jump. Unfortunately, the motherboard doesn't support PCI-Express, so I tagged on the most powerful AGP graphics card you can find here: the nVidia 6800 Ultra. It is sh*t powerful. The X800 offering is also the best Radeon card you'll be able to buy as well. Coupled with the Athlon64 processor, you'll be in true gaming nirvana. For the best sound processor, I've chosen Creative's indomitable Audigy Platinum series which offers the richest, cleanest and sharpest 24-bit sound around. The added expansion bay also allows you to attach all manner of Auxiliary (aka Composite), S/P-DIF Digital and Optical connections to take advantage of Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II processing. A gargantuan 19” LCD will make the viewing experience even sweeter! For the speaker set-up I went with the GD580, which is Creative's brilliant 5.1 surround offering. True it's not 7.1, but the GD580 offers hardware-based real-time Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Pro Logic II processing. And man, unless you've heard true Dolby, you don't know what you're missing! I've upgraded the DVD±RW drive brand as well. Plextor offers absolutely superior performance for the premium price you're paying. Like I stated before, it's better to have a secondary DVD-ROM drive along with the DVD±RW drive. This is to make sure your RW drive doesn't get burned out from reading too many pirated discs. For the LAN card, I've gone with the expensive D.Link offering since their networking products offer unmatched performance. You'll definitely need a Server 600V ATX Thermal casing to make sure this beast gets enough power! Buy a few additional fans to make sure you're on the safe side with this one. And make sure it's a good-looking chassis, or you won't do the specs any justice!

Also as a side note, you may want to consider an alternate version:
Components Details Price+
Processor Intel Pentium 4 3.4 GHz HT 21, 000/=
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-8N-SLi Pro nVidia nForce4 Board 13, 000/=
RAM 2.0 GB DDR2 (533 Bus) 15, 000/=
Graphics 1 nVidia 6600 GT SLi 256MB PCI-E 34, 000/=
Graphics 2 nVidia 6600 GT SLi 256MB PCI-E
TOTAL 182, 750/=
Misc. Graphics ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum 512MB PCI-E* 40, 000/=
nVidia GeForce 6800 GT SLi 256MB PCI-E* x2 66, 000/=
nVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra SLi 512MB PCI-E* x2 78, 000/=

Here, I've nixed the Athlon64 for the conventional P4. As of printing, there were no PCI-Express AMD Motherboards so in order to take advantage of the extreme speeds of PCI-E cards, I've found this bloody sweet (and brand new) motherboard: the Gigabyte GA-8N-SLi Pro nVidia nForce4 Board (say that 10 times, fast). As you can see, the nVidia CPU chipset used is the brand new nForce4 SLi as opposed to the ASUS one's nForce3. And, for graphics whores, you'll be extremely pleased to know that this particular board supports nVidia's proprietary SLi technology. What does that mean? It means that you can simultaneously connect TWO SLi-supported nVidia graphics cards for TWICE the performance as opposed to a single card! (Thus, the Graphics 1 and 2 options.) So connect up to two 6600 GT SLi's for 512MB of VRAM and an insane level of graphical prowess! If you can wing it, then go for TWO GeForce 6800 GT SLi's! For reference, note that the Xbox 360 graphics processor is better than two GeForce 6800 GTs(!!!!) while that of the PS3 surpasses two GeForce 6800 ULTRAs(even more !!!!s) [the ULTRA is more powerful than the GT] working in tandem!!! And lastly, I've given a RAM upgrade to the much faster DDR2 RAM which runs at an insanely fast 533MHz Bus speed.

This combined with the P4 3.4GHz HT processor, MORE than makes up for the loss of the AMD Athlon64's 64-bit game crunching action! All other things remain as per the main list, so I've only taken the new stuff into consideration for the new total. As always, Misc. Options are not included in the total. I'd like to add that this combination of the GigaByte GA-8N-SLi Pro nForce4 SLi Motherboard and TWO GeForce 6600 GTs running on PCI-E buses, with DDR2 memory for RAM is probably the most powerful configuration and I recommend this version without any reservation whatsoever! The motherboard itself is extremely feature-laden; it's a gaming freak's dream come true! The large leeway it offers when it comes to overclocking abilities also gives it an unprecedented level of flexibility when compared to other board solutions!

By Le Chupacabra

Teen central

Of M&B's, love songs, and romantic movies
He was a duke, the most eligible bachelor in the kingdom, and a notorious rake. She was of noble birth, but meagre means. He was jaded by the circumstances of youth, and had no respect for women. She was refreshingly innocent, eyes full of stars, and full of fire and spirit. It was lust at first sight when they met. He was determined to have her; she was equally determined to avoid him at any cost. Only she never thought she'd want him this badly, just as he never thought he'd need her this badly. And so after a lot of beating about the bush, extended making-out sessions, and scandals, they finally realised they loved each other, and so they finally got married and rode off into the sunset, and those of us reading the novel or watching the movie sighed and wiped a tear.

When it comes to taking a break from reality, there's nothing more satisfying than a good old love story. Whether it's a historical novel about a handsome duke/earl/count and a beauty, or a modern-day affair, with a bold and beautiful career-minded heroine winning the heart of an equally bold and beautiful hero, these stories have a way of transporting us to a place where dreams come true.

Let's face it. Love is a theme that never grows old. Authors like Judith Mcnaught and Johanna Lindsay have strings of best-sellers under their belts, while movies like Pretty Woman, My Best Friend's Wedding, and Titanic did pretty darn well at the box office. Come Valentine's Day, and the card companies make booming business. That's all good, right? Well, you know what they say about too much of a good thing.

There's this saying that if you repeat a lie long enough it will become believable. The same may be said of romance stories. Give a gullible young girl too many M & B's to read, and while her writing may improve drastically (this has been tried and tested by yours truly and her friends!), she might actually start believing in the whole 'love at first sight and ever after' spin. The result can be comically (for the observer, that is) disastrous for young relationships.

Says Shams, a disgruntled dater, “There are some girls who actually believe in the 'knight-in-shining armour' BS, and they expect relationships to be like a Backstreet Boys song. Then, on the other extreme, are girls who are very anti-romance…they are suspicious of any guy who says “I love you”. If it wasn't hard enough to figure them out as it is, now we have to worry about which category our girlfriends fall into!” Indeed, the media has been bombarding us with exaggerated ideals of what love should be like, and people who don't know better are left with unrealistic expectations of what their boyfriends should be like. Let's face it girls, Mr. Perfect is a fictional character, just like Santa Claus. At the same time, you won't find too many 'reformed rake' characters in real life, so just because you fancy the 'bad boy' who has a reputation, doesn't mean he's going to be bowled over by your love for him and change into a perfect angel. Not that we're saying it can never happen…but don't count on it.

The point to remember is that romance novels and mushy novels are nice to read and watch, and they give you a nice fuzzy feeling inside, but let's keep our feet on the ground, why don't we?

By The Girl Next Door


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