July 10th, 2008, 4:33 pm PDT by Greg

With my study leave coming up, I expect to have more free time on my hands. Don’t worry, watchers of the public purse: I do have a bunch of work stuff to do over the year, but that’s another blog post.

I think I need to reacquaint myself with PC gaming. I have a (slightly) old Athlon 64 system that isn’t actually being used right now with 1 GB RAM and 320 GB of hard drive. I figure this can be turned into a reasonable gaming rig with a minimal investment.

I would probably drop in a new processor (like the Athlon 64 X2 5400+) and new video card (perhaps an ASUS N7600GS). That would be enough to run the kind of games I’m actually interested in: Portal, Spore, SimCity Societies, Civilization IV. I likes me a good god-game. I really don’t care much about online/multiplayer gaming: I don’t need some 14 year old kid using the word “pwn” at me in my leisure time.

I’d need to get another keyboard and mouse, since USB+DVI KVM switches are unpleasantly expensive. (It’s probably harder to do the switching for USB than old PS2 connections. Don’t forget about buying cables with those too.) I can hook up to the VGA input on my LCD and switch the display that way.

After about $250, I should be ready to go. I can get a Windows XP license from work as long as I promise that it has something to do with teaching (which it undoubtedly will, regardless of the initial plan).

4 Responses to “Gaming”

  1. Brian Says:

    You’re lucky–it sounds like your “old” Athlon64 is at least an AM2 socket. I’m stuck with a 939, so any CPU upgrade I do at home would require a new motherboard…oh, and new memory.

    You might go for an 8000 series nvidia card…the 8600s are quite reasonable now. Who wants to be two generations behind at the start?

    Fun stuff.

  2. Greg Says:

    Sonofabitch! That motherboard isn’t an AM2 socket!

    I have no idea what made me think it was. Looks like a new motherboard is in order too. Maybe:

    As long as they haven’t also changed the RAM sockets (I’m pretty sure about this one), what I have is fast enough. And a PCI express slot opens up my graphics card options a lot too.

  3. Greg Says:

    Yes… maybe a video card like this:

  4. Brian Says:

    The fact that they can make a fanless 8600 blows my mind. I remember the original 8000 series cards were double thickness because the heat sinks and fans were monsters. You’ll probably want good air circulation in your case if you go fanless–I had to throw a PCI slot fan into my media pc to keep the fanless 7600 cool; of course it’s stashed in a cabinet with very little flow around the case.

    You may want to check on the memory, too–my 939 board uses DDR, while most of the new AM2 boards went to DDR2, and now there’s also DDR3; all incompatible, of course. Industry conspiracy or technological progress….you decide.