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What’s your favourite PC you’ve got ever owned?

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Classic BEEFY computer setup in the source engine

(Picture credit score: Valve)

With the tempo of latest {hardware} generations and the inducement to iteratively improve a PC, I discover it straightforward to show my nostril up at “out of date” {hardware}. That stated, the extra time passes, the extra I get nostalgic for my rigs of previous, and retro computing content material creators like LGR (opens in new tab) definitely do not assist the sensation. I turned to our employees and neighborhood to see in the event that they’re vulnerable to the siren tune of twin core CPUs and megabytes of VRAM, or if it is Core i9, RTX 4090 all the way in which.

What’s your favourite PC you’ve got ever owned?

Listed here are our solutions, in addition to some from our discussion board (opens in new tab).

Robin Valentine, Print Editor: I stay a life freed from petty nostalgia. My favorite PC is my present one, as a result of it is probably the most highly effective one I’ve ever owned. After I ultimately get a brand new one, that’ll be my new favorite. I crave solely probably the most trendy {hardware} for enjoying probably the most trendy video games. 

It would not assist that I are inclined to run my PCs into the bottom—most of my earlier machines have been changed out of necessity, getting so outdated and unreliable that by the top I resent them. A brand new PC is a aid, an previous one is only a huge heavy field that I now should discover a approach of eliminating. 

If this makes me sound like some type of callous monster with no respect for his {hardware}, then… sure, that is principally correct. 

Lauren Morton, Affiliate Editor: I’m not resistant to nostalgia. I’ve a gentle spot for 3.5 floppy disks in rainbow, clear plastic. I noticed a TikTok gag about “how we turned on our PCs within the ’00s” that was an individual touching an influence button with their huge toe and smiled. However my present PC is unquestionably my favourite as a result of it is the primary time I’ve ever had one with an intentional aesthetic and never simply every part I might afford slapped collectively. My first gaming PC was my mother’s previous dwelling workplace Dell that I realized learn how to jam new RAM into to play Guild Wars and Fable on. After that lastly did in I took no matter I might get off CyberPowerPC with $800 I scraped collectively throughout Black Friday in 2013. I used to be operating that very same mobo till 2019, I am fairly positive, with each different half Frankenstein’d round it. So yeah, my present setup (opens in new tab) with its white case and glass wall and correct monitor arms is my favourite as a result of it was lastly, for as soon as, on objective.

Lauren's personal gaming setup.

Lauren’s private gaming setup. (Picture credit score: Future)

Fraser Brown, On-line Editor: I see my PC extra like an adversary. Positive, we’ve good instances, however simply once I’m like “This positive is a good PC”, that is when it strikes. A BSOD. A bizarre grinding noise. Why is that mild on the motherboard flashing? Over the past 20 years I’ve wasted a lot time troubleshooting, repairing, returning and screaming obscenities at PC parts. However I all the time get my revenge. Like that point I spilled a Pot Noodle on prime of it. And my lax angle to dusting. Which after all creates extra issues, and the cycle continues.

Given this combative relationship I do not actually have a favorite one. However my present PC has a window that permits me to stare harefully at its guts, in order that’s cool I suppose. 

Dave James, {Hardware} Lead: I do not even have a favorite PC. And it isn’t some ‘I really like all my youngsters equally’ type of factor, both. I’ve an advanced historical past with the PC, and largely a job which has meant, for the previous couple of a long time, I’ve had no steady platform, only a Ship of Theseus that is continually altering in and out. That is meant I do not actually have a lot of a gentle spot for any of them particularly.

My first was an SX-25 based mostly machine, a present born of my dad being made redundant, which had extra affect because the machine I first hung out writing on somewhat than as a result of it delivered something by way of gaming. I nonetheless went again to my Amiga 500 for that. Principally as a result of SX-25 meant a 486 chip that ran at 25MHz. It did, nevertheless, give me my first style of upgrading once I visited a neighborhood pc honest to purchase a DX4-100 chip. It was additionally my first style of improve failure as I had no clue that I additionally wanted to purchase a heatsink, too. 

Then I constructed my first system from components my brother purchased. It was a nightmare of motherboard jumper swap trial and error and I used to be bug fixing the fucker for years. Neither machine actually has me that nostalgic for a previous that was fraught with desperately attempting to release reminiscence in DOS and battling to get a 3DFX system steady on a Cyrix chip.

IBM PC illustration with IBM logo on blue gradient background

(Picture credit score: Dan Whittaker)

Then I purchased a laptop computer for college that put me on the restrict of my overdraft from day one, a spot my checking account would reside till lengthy after I might began my journalistic profession. That was murdered by revellers at a very damaging home get together in my third 12 months. Unhappy instances. 

After that got here a PC I constructed for £150, which was unremarkably shit and died from sogginess saved in a good friend’s basement whereas I lived on a ship. Then I upgraded my companion’s previous pupil PC with a second-hand Pentium III and shoddy ATI GPU, earlier than lastly dropping £500 on a gaming PC after I grew to become employees author on PC Format. Although it nonetheless had a dodgy graphics card, which ultimately our then Tech Editor upgraded for me, and that began me on a path to my present PC. 

Via many iterations of CPU, GPU, motherboard platform, chassis, storage, and reminiscence, that machine has over time remodeled into the machine I run at the moment. I suppose that is my favorite PC, possibly simply because it is the system I am utilizing on a regular basis, and possibly due to its illustration of the PC’s fixed evolution.

Lauren Aitken, Guides Editor: I miss my earlier PC. It wasn’t as highly effective as my present setup, but it surely had clear sides so I might see all my lovely RGB lights. RIP, bb.

Imogen Mellor, Options Producer: I’ve solely ever had one PC, the one I personal now. (opens in new tab) I admit, I’ve not all the time been a PC gamer, my mother and father purchased into the Apple ecosystem earlier than I even knew there was a distinction between the computer systems. I keep in mind going to Steam on my handed-down MacBook to see what I might play and located it surprising that there have been solely a handful of video games out there. 

I could not play something on PC till I used to be at college and had a boyfriend with a gaming PC then. That is when my conversion began from console gamer to PC gamer and now, nicely, it is palms down my favorite platform. As quickly as I left college I constructed the PC I am nonetheless utilizing at the moment and it is a workhorse. It is a bit… janky and I’ve needed to improve the RAM to maintain up with my wants however I adore it all the identical.

Imogen's PC setup.

Imogen’s PC setup. (Picture credit score: Future)

Jacob Ridley, Senior {Hardware} Editor: My favorite PC was from an organization known as Tiny Computer systems. If you understand something about British PC manufacturers from the late ’90s, you is perhaps conscious that Tiny Computer systems didn’t survive lengthy into the ’00s. But nonetheless I liked the PC my household bought from the corporate. For the PC, positive, however largely due to what got here bundled with it.

I used to be, I do not know, it is a blur, round six. It was 1998 or early 1999, in any case. My Dad was within the technique of ordering us a PC for the home, which was very thrilling. This was our first household PC, and up till now I might probably not had a lot time round computer systems. So, my Dad orders the PC over the telephone, as you do within the ’90s, however when he comes off the decision he is clearly had a foul time of it. 

Seems, when the decision was wrapped up, the parents over at Tiny Computer systems hadn’t truly hung up on him, and he had heard down the telephone a bunch of swearing and normal unhealthy language, which can or could not have been at his expense. I genuinely do not keep in mind. So he calls them again, tells them about it, and I’ll guess some type of backroom dealing passed off.

The original blocky Laura Croft of your, turning around while holding dual pistols.

(Picture credit score: Core Design)

Subsequent factor we all know, we obtain our first PC. It is a lumbering field containing a tall tower. Now that might be thrilling sufficient, however lo and behold my total PC gaming passion would additionally kickstart that day. As a result of additionally included with that PC had been a handful of luminescent orange, inexperienced, and pink CD instances, and inside every one a PC sport, together with Tomb Raider and Motocross Insanity.

A type of make-up present from Tiny. Or extra probably a technique to bribe my Dad into not telling anybody extra senior what went on.

And I spent many hours attempting to yeet my polygonal motocross bike up the facet of a cliff in Motocross Insanity thereafter. Time nicely spent, in the event you ask me. I am positive my mum was pondering the PC was for homework or one thing, however destiny introduced PC gaming and me collectively. And that Tiny Pc grew to become one thing additional particular even when it wasn’t truly superb. 

Tiny Computer systems went bust a number of years later—possibly it was all of the free video games they had been freely giving. 

Joshua Wolens, Information Author: It is gotta be your first, proper? Mine was a laptop computer: a slab of glowing plastic emblazoned with an Alienware brand that my dad managed to get low-cost on eBay in 2009. It weighed like 50 kilos, vented warmth like a Victorian steam engine, and in some unspecified time in the future its tiny ATI GPU overheated and warped in such a approach that the textures of any sport I performed would extrude haphazardly in the direction of the centre of the display. 

It sucked and I liked it. Positive, it was a battle to make use of, but it surely additionally gave me my first shot to check out all of the video games folks had been yammering about on the boards I might haunted for many of my adolescence and childhood: Deus Ex, Planescape, Baldur’s Gate, VtM: Bloodlines, and so forth and so forth. No machine since has been as a lot of a dedication or as a lot of an eye-opener.

a 2007 Alienware M9700 laptop with Adam Sandler on the screen

A circa-2007 Alienware M9700 laptop computer, courtesy of TechRadar (opens in new tab)‘s evaluation from the time. (Picture credit score: Alienware, Techradar)

Alan Dexter, Senior {Hardware} Editor: My present PC is with out query my favorite gaming system to this point. It is nothing significantly particular by most requirements, but it surely’s quiet and is a lot highly effective for gaming. Though, not fairly as stellar because it was simply a few weeks in the past when it packed an RTX 3080. Sadly, Dave wanted to steal that from below my nostril as his trusty Founders Version died throughout a bout of benchmarking. 

Nonetheless, the RTX 2080 Ti I am utilizing in its stead is succesful sufficient for many of my gaming library—Hearthstone, OW2, Magic Enviornment, and the odd return to Evening Metropolis to see if there are any stones left unturned. It’s going to greater than deal with WoW: Dragonflight swooping in to covet my time within the foreseeable future, too.

I nonetheless have a gentle spot for my first gaming PC although, a secondhand 486-DX50 system I purchased within the mid-90s that required fixed tinkering to get it truly gaming. It was a time while you wanted to know your approach across the config.sys file—I might spend far an excessive amount of time attempting to release house to run the most recent, biggest video games and much an excessive amount of cash searching down parts that might solely enhance issues by the smallest quantities. However I realized a factor or two, and it might ultimately set me on the observe to working for PC Gamer, so all these hours messing with parts and sure, gaming, would ultimately repay.

The inside of one of Counter-Strike's

(Picture credit score: Valve)

Andy Chalk, Information Lead: I believe I’ve to agree with Josh on this. For all sensible functions my present rig is my “favorite” as a result of it is the largest and greatest and all that, however the thrill of getting my first PC (and my first PC video games) is hard to beat. And I miss how far more tactile these previous PCs had been in comparison with new techniques: The satisfying clunk of a 3.5″ diskette popping in, the scary grind of a 5.25″, the extremely loud keyboard clicks, that bizarre shit the monitor would do from time to time that appeared to presage an explosion that by no means occurred—all nostalgia, completely, and if pressed I might should admit that I would not need to surrender the comfort and bounty of the present day. But it surely was an amazing machine and it served me nicely, and if I am selecting a favorite, that’d be it.

Ted Litchfield, Affiliate Editor: I’ve actually fond reminiscences of my highschool PC. My uncle constructed it for me as a birthday present and I “helped” by passing him instruments and listening as he defined what every part did. That factor totally transitioned me from taking part in half-and-half on Xbox 360 and the household PC, to being a PC gamer

I did not even know what the parts in it had been till I did some analysis this 12 months. I acknowledge the distinctive shroud of XFX’s Radeon HD 6790 (opens in new tab) as my previous PC’s GPU, a extra price range card that actually clashes with my reminiscences of that factor being so highly effective! I do want I nonetheless had that 6790 as a memento of all of the hours of Neverwinter Nights 2 and Dragon Age: Origins it rendered for me.

Neverwinter Nights 2 gameplay of a man standing in an urban setting.

(Picture credit score: Obsidian)

From our discussion board (opens in new tab)

Kaamos_Llama: I had poor excuses for gaming machines earlier than 2004 once I lastly had sufficient of my very own cash to select up a Dell XPS ( Pre Alienware buyout XPS was Dell’s gaming vary).

One in all these:

Dell Dimension XPS with associated black CRT and keyboard.

(Picture credit score: Dell)

I bloody liked this factor, regardless that it was a Pentium 4 540 (with HT!) on the time AMD had been first pulling forward of Intel. I initially had a Radeon X300 SE GPU in it as a result of I had no concept that it was horrible once I was configuring it. Not too lengthy after I changed that with an ATI Radeon X800 GTO, which was unbelievable to me on the time. F.E.A.R, HL2, and Doom 3 appeared nice in SVGA on my large 17″ CRT.

However am I nostalgic? Not likely. Liked that machine however rattling I’ve entry to a extra video games and higher {hardware} now. I might nonetheless like to construct retro machines from the time, all the time preferred LGR and Clint, however I haven’t got house or time to do it.

Alm: I believe my present PC is my favorite. I like how highly effective and handy gaming PCs are today. I’ve fond reminiscences of the primary PC I used (my Dad’s 486 SX-25), and the primary pc I purchased with my very own cash in 2001. It had a Chieftec Dragon case that was later utilized by Alienware.

the Chieftec Dragon case from the early 2000s

Chieftec’s early aughts “Dragon” case. (Picture credit score: Chieftec, Frindis on the PC Gamer Boards)

Brian Boru: For its time, the primary IBM PC I personally owned in 1990. I labored for Wang (opens in new tab) on the time, and put my identify in for an in-house lottery sell-off of some dozen PCs. Since we made the machine (opens in new tab), I used to be in a position to get it juiced up above the norm 

Even with critical low cost, it price ~£3,000 which is roughly $8,000 at the moment—which demonstrates the unbelievable worth we get at the moment from PCs. I keep in mind I used to be in a position to get a 40MB HDD and 8MB of RAM, plus twin floppy drives! Oh, and a shade monitor

In fact a PC is simply a doorstop by itself. That PC is wrapped up in my first huge intro into the entire {hardware} & software program world, exterior and past the narrower confines of labor PCs within the 80s. In order that after all enhances its stature—you always remember your first, proper?

la Wang manufactured IBM-compatible PC

A Wang-designed IBM-compatible PC. (Picture credit score: Brian Boru on the PC Gamer Boards)

A Wang-designed IBM-compatible PC.

Frindis: My favourite must be the primary PC that launched me to gaming – the Atari 520 ST (opens in new tab).

I had a giant crimson joystick to go together with the PC and used to play Past the Ice Palace, Ikari Warriors, Zenon, Arkanoid, Wizzball, and Buggy Boy, to say a number of the cool video games. It was additionally a PC that I used to play with my household, particularly by way of the Arkanoid sport, so it was a enjoyable technique to get the entire household taking part in collectively and having enjoyable.

Krud: After I think about my ENTIRE pc gaming historical past (which I admitted wasn’t doing once I first answered), by way of bang-for-buck, lifechanging components, and no matter else, my all-time “favourite” PC was the Packard Bell 286 I obtained in highschool, arguably my first “actual” PC (from a gaming perspective), on which I performed a few of my all-time favourite video games, from House Quest I and the Hitchhiker’s Information textual content journey, to Sam & Max Hit The Highway and the world’s slowest model of X-Wing. (I used some sketchy shareware driver known as EMM286 to make the sport assume I had EMS reminiscence. I believe I obtained it to run at 60 frames per minute. Yep, not a typo.)

mainer: As others have acknowledged, my present PC is my favourite, regardless that it is virtually 3 1/2 years previous now (July 2019), it nonetheless does every part I would like it to do and run video games at excessive/extremely settings (admittedly I play extra older titles than new). The one upgrades I’ve executed is a video card again in 2020.

I do not miss my older PCs, particularly again within the days of looking at a CRT monitor for hours (which regularly weighed 30lbs or extra).

A large desktop tower with disk drive and swing-open glass panel, upside down, top mount GPU and red LEDs

Mainer’s rig, shared with the PC Gamer boards. (Picture credit score: mainer on the PC Gamer boards)

WoodenSaucer: My favourite of all time was my Commodore 64. It was my first expertise in computing, and I ate it up. I began studying to program on Day One, and I ended up figuring out that factor in and out.

My subsequent favourite pc was most likely my first Home windows based mostly PC, which got here a lot later in 1995 as a result of I used to be broke. But it surely was my re-entry into the PC world, and it was very thrilling. It was a Packard Bell with a 75MHz Pentium, 8MB of RAM, and a 540MB exhausting drive. It had SVGA graphics, and I could not consider how nice it was in comparison with my Commodore. It was so thrilling.

Clearly, I’ve had PCs and laptops since then that had been a lot, a lot extra succesful than these. However they had been all simply incremental upgrades, and people two had been probably the most thrilling for me.

The Commodore 64

(Picture credit score: Wikimedia commons)

Johnway: if I needed to decide one PC? I believe will probably be my Amiga 500. It had been my trustworthy companion once I was a 5 years previous and had been taking part in it for practically a decade. Made many good, completely satisfied reminiscences taking part in the amiga. While everybody in school had NES, SNES, Megadrive/Genesis, I used to be the Amiga child and nobody knew any of the video games I performed.

Ultimately I needed to ditch it in 1999 when the mouse on the amiga lastly gave up the ghost. Plus I wanted a Home windows PC for varsity work and needed to transfer with the instances. Did not make eliminating it any simpler, felt responsible for a number of days as if I had betrayed an excellent good friend for private causes. I nonetheless sometimes discover myself reminiscing concerning the Amiga and taking time to go to the Corridor of Gentle Amiga database (opens in new tab) to learn the previous amiga magazines and opinions.

Ted has been excited about PC video games and bothering anybody who would pay attention along with his ideas on them ever since he booted up his sister’s copy of Neverwinter Nights on the household pc. He’s obsessive about all issues CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, however has additionally lined esports, modding, and uncommon sport amassing. When he is not taking part in or writing about video games, yow will discover Ted lifting weights on his again porch.

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