"We've all done it. You find yourself at the computer late at night. It's dark out, and maybe the lights are off. You're alone. Inevitably, your mind wanders from the task at hand to a far more carnal desire... for the perfect enthusiast's PC. Some build dream rigs in their heads, while others prefer to fill online shopping carts with their perfect mix of components. Occasionally, I'll consider the sort of world-beating machine I'd assemble if money were no object. But I'm a realist at heart, and most of the time I end up contemplating a sweet spot rig—the perfect mix of components that I'd actually buy if tasked with building myself a new desktop.
At the moment, my hypothetical sweet spot sits somewhere between our system guide's Utility Player and Sweeter Spot configs. As much as I'm tempted by the Sweeter Spot's Hyper-Threading-equipped Core i7-860, the Utility Player's quad-core i5-750 is plenty of CPU for the sort of things I do with my desktop on a day-to-day basis. I'd spring for the Sweeter Spot's Radeon HD 5850 graphics card in a heartbeat, though. This perfect desktop of mine is paired with three 24", 1920x1200 IPS panels for multitasking real estate, and I want enough horsepower to handle recent games in a three-way Eyefinity config.
I also want my ideal desktop to be as quiet as possible, which is why I'd move upmarket from the Sweeter Spot's single hard drive to a hybrid combo that melds an SSD with a pair of low-RPM mechanical hard drives running in a fault-tolerant RAID 1 array. This sort of setup isn't cheap, but it offers jaw-dropping performance backed by redundant mass storage that barely makes a peep.
Solid-state drives have been on the radar for a while now, but they've long been regarded as far too expensive to be practical, even with phenomenal performance. Prices have fallen dramatically in recent years, though, and we're finally at a point where it isn't so outlandish to consider seriously purchasing an SSD for a high-performance desktop PC."
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