Time for a New Desktop

by Matt Cholick

Looking at the Skyrim screenshots and the age of my desktop, I think it's finally time for a new machine. This one has lasted quite a while, actually; it's nearly at the four year mark. Interestingly enough, one of the reasons I built this current box was to be able to play Skyrim's predecessor, Oblivion. Looking back over the years, I'm amazed at the changes since just the first computer that I purchased.

My first box was a NEC Pentium II 333 in 1998. My family had a computer before then, but this was the first machine that was completely mine. NEC doesn't even make desktops now. At 64mb ram, it wasn't exactly a powerhouse. My phone actually has better specs. MP3s and Everquest are the two things this I remember most from this computer. I also played the two best games ever made on this machine: Fallout and Torment. Man, I still miss Black Isle.

Its successor, in 2001, was a 1.1GHz Athlon with 256mb ram. I sunk hours and hours into Asheron's Call, Dark Ages of Camelot, Anarchy Online, and Star Wars Galaxies with this machine.

2004 brought a 2800 MHz Athlon XP with 1g ram. This was still in the day when Moore's law held for a single processor, and the machine progression to date shows it. This is the box got me through college. It was also a dual boot machine. The Linux partition got some definite use too. It's the first machine with which I did some real programming. When I first picked up this box I was a dabbler. When I retired it, I was a programmer.

2007 is when I bought my current workstation. It was my first machine with multiple cores, though the individual cores raw speed actually went down to 2.6 GHz. This trend still continues today: raw speed of current processors is still only about what it was in 2004, though the number of cores is still increasing. This was my first post XP machine; that transition is what convinced me to move to Linux for day-to-day work. The box hasn't seen all that much gaming though. Maybe it's successor will do better in that respect.