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Down the rabbit hole

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I built computers; and they were mainly shit.

They (usually) worked, but they ran on abortions such as Windows Vista, and the hardware looked like it had come out of a shed in China, which it usually had. The cases were black metal made from old baked bean cans and the stuff inside looked as exciting as a rusting fairground ride in Stalingrad. The whole induced zero pride of ownership, and it was almost a relief to destroy it with a hammer when either the motherboard exploded and/or Windows expired.

My life of technical disappointment was relieved more than ten years ago when I discovered Apple. First there was a laptop, then there was an iMac, then there was a Mac Pro, then there was another Mac Pro.

This latest Mac Pro has been with me for six years and is still adequately processes photos, and plays games in Windows with reasonable performance. But wouldn’t it be good to view photos in 4K and play games at the highest settings? Of course it would, so I have decided to build a new Windows computer and sell my Mac.

To be clear, I am not interested in replacing my beautiful Mac Pro with a Lenovo Shitabox piece of plastic crap as can be found gathering dust on the shelves of Power Buy. Oh no, gentle reader, we are talking hard core, bleeding edge technology, capable of pushing pixels at warp speed and guaranteed to generate enough heat to be detectable from space.

Having received some valuable advice from reader Clive and The Son, I disappeared down the rabbit hole three days ago and have only now emerged, blinking in the cold bright light of reality. My research can be summarised in three words: Complicated. Sexy. Expensive.

It’s complicated because there is so much damn choice. I started with looking at cases, expecting maybe a choice of three Chinese shed construction offerings in either black, grey or rust. But the choices at Invade IT extend to more than 300 cases, priced between 1,000 and 45,000 Thai baht. So it was off to the wide wide world of web looking at “best of” reviews to narrow down the options. Home in on a case and watch some specific reviews on YouTube, it’s great! Read the comments under the video; actually, it’s shit. Back to square one. Repeat this process for every single component to be installed inside the case. Arrive at a final list, then discover that some components are not compatible with other components. Start again.

It’s sexy because a tin case with drab internals doesn’t cut it any more. Cases must be sleek, with windows that reveal components in various shades of vibrant colours. And there must be lights. Not just a string of crappy LEDs, but programmable lights on the motherboard, graphics card and memory sticks. Even keyboards have programmable lights. If I wanted to look at a disco, I would don ear defenders and head for the centre of town; so none of the lighting nonsense for me; but I must admit getting caught up in seeking some colour co-ordination in the internals (black with red accents if you want to know, which you almost certainly don’t).

Talking of keyboards, do you favour Cherry MX red, blue or brown key actions? Given the multi-hued extravaganza that is the computer marketplace, you could be forgiven for thinking that this refers to colour options for the keys, but each offer different levels of tactile and noise feedback, and it is of course very important to choose the right one. After an evening of deliberation and confusion I think I am going with brown. Which leads to the inevitable conclusion: what the fuck am I being sucked into….?

Finally: expensive. I remember that 30,000 baht would buy you a capable PC. Not any more. Suffice it to say I will not be investing until after the credit card bill creation date later in the month.

Right, if you will excuse me I must head down the rabbit hole again; I am struggling to decide as to the size of the radiator required for my liquid cooling solution.

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