Again New Computer

A few weeks ago, I wrote about what I was looking for in a new computer, and various buying options. I had it narrowed down to a few options, but being cognizant of the paradox of choice, I decided on ordering a Prelude system from Maingear, a small custom computer shop that actually had reasonable prices (I got the system I was looking for: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, 2 GB RAM, 320 GB Hard Drive, etc...). I probably paid a little more than I would have if I just bought all the components and then put it together myself, but I was willing to pay for the convenience of a pre-configured system. Also, unlike other cheap custom PC shops like CyberPowerPC, Maingear has a fantastic reputation for building quality systems and providing excellent support. I'm pleased to report that Maingear lives up to its reputation. Shortly after ordering my PC, they contacted me to confirm a few things and ask if I had any questions or special requests (I understand they'll preinstall various games for you if you want, provided you have the CD Key. Alas, I have no such games, so I didn't get to request this, but that's a neat service.)

They also informed me that they (like every other retailer) were quite busy at this time of the year, but that they would try to get me the PC before Christmas. And it arrived just in the nick of time, on Saturday, December 23 (another Festivus miracle!). It was well packaged, and appeared to be in working order (as compared to a friend's experience with CyberPowerPC where his DVD drive was mounted incorrectly amongst a bunch of other strange problems). The case looks great (I don't know why, but most custom PC cases are very crappy looking or obscenely gaudy):

PC Case

The insides are arranged about as neat as could be expected, with all the various wires and connectors hidden or tied tightly together. This is nothing short of amazing when compared to my previous computer.

PC Case

And it came with a nice personalized binder that had all of the installation CDs, backup CDs, and documentation for the computer.

PC Case

When I fired up the computer, I was pleased to find that no Windows configuration was really necessary. The desktop was relatively clean (no annoying special offers from AOL, etc...), all the latest patches and updated drivers had been installed, and everything was ready for me to install my favorite apps. As far as performance goes, it appears to be a champ (according to a screenshot they included, it scores a 5453 in 3DMark06 - but I have no frame of reference for telling just how good that is). They also included a copy of Hitman: Blood Money (an unexpected and pleasant bonus), which I've been working my way through ( it's one of those annoying DIAS type of games, but hey, I'm not complaining).

All in all, I couldn't be happier with my new computer. For something I use as often as I use my computer, I think it was worth every penny.