Just before I get round to posting my new machine, I thought I'd let you all see what I have had to work with for the last 10 years, although obviously it's not always been this dusty, this messy, and this full of cables.
Originally built for around £800 in 2003, the only upgrades it has received that are worth mentioning are moving from an initial 1GB to the current 3GB of RAM, and through a couple of iterations of graphics card. I started originally with an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB, then I'm sure I switched over to an Nvidia GeForce card (I think it was 200-series) but I can't find record of it other than the PNY sticker on the front of the case (!), and then finally to the Radeon HD 3850 as listed.
The 3850 was as far as I could go - the best graphics card you could buy that supported the AGP architecture (certainly at the time, and everything became PCI shortly after so possibly nothing better was ever released either). The CPU from the start was the best/fastest the motherboard could handle too. So basically for at least the last 7 years I have had no major upgrades (replaced a dead PSU, added hard drive space) and been limited to what you see in the list below.
The thing has been very faithful, a generally solid performer but one that for the last five years or so has been HOT and LOUD. Now that I've got back into PC building (as mentioned, new build will be published here soon) I now realise what I didn't know at the time, that cable management could really have helped me keep the system in a better shape. However, I'm fairly sure that case designers didn't know that at the time either, and certainly this particular case, for all its fancy windows and front bubble lights, has zero in the way of cable management support.
As you can imagine I haven't used it for mainstream gaming since, hmm, Call of Duty Modern Warfare. Grid, F.E.A.R., even the first Crysis all ran perfectly nicely. I remember installing GTA 4 and getting an unplayable frame rate and since then haven't been able to consider myself a gamer for some time. So it's a work (web design and development mainly) and media storing (big mp3 collection, tons of D-SLR photos, and just started with my digital HD camcorder) PC and down the years has been a study/university PC too, along with lots of Photoshop image processing and even Premiere Pro video editing.
And there we have it. I know it's a bit awkward posting PCs this old, but it's also a bit of fun. I don't expect upvotes for it! (Though trust me, at the time I built it this thing kicked ***.) And no, I'm not doing benchmarks either :)
Stickers: PNY, Threadless, I <3 Webgeek, Steel Series, Sapphire ATI, AMD 64, DC Shoes, Dephect, Vans
Other modifications: silver painted the original NEC optical drive and the card reader, never got round to doing the LiteOn drive!