I would like to introduce everyone to my first ever "custom" computer build which I feature here on PCPartPicker. What is the goal for this build? I wanted to focus my attention on creating a desktop which was a themed video game build and based on one of my favorite video game series-- Fallout. (Granted I actually play SWTOR or World of Warcraft more but NZXT hasn't gotten around to those games for their crafted series.)
Why Fallout? Fallout remains one of the epitome of Bethesda's storytelling and cultural criticism about the collapsed state of America after a nuclear holocaust. Granted the story is re-invented after each iteration but considering that we live in dangerous times, I decided to make this computer build a specifically political one at best. I culled all of the parts and finished the first draft on Election Day (similar to the concept of Reclamation Day).
I figured that this would be a good time for me to provide an aside to the art of PC building while I am here. PC building in its general mantra has always been a fundamentally pro-capitalist activity of spending a few thousand dollars for the latest and greatest and about keeping up with the Joneses. I desired to go the completely opposite route and celebrate the everyman's computer instead. Kinda the build which would emerge from Reclamation Day if it occurred in real life. Most folks would get the slickest AMD Ryzen 7 2700x or Intel Core i9 9900k, etc. etc. and show off that you have a huge amount of capital to make a build which is futureproof and "better than everyone else's"... For me, Nuka Cola Throwback is designed as a political sculpture about reclaiming neglected computer parts while reconstructing the configuration of my first ever PC gaming build I had about 6 or 7 years ago. Think of the novel "Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon but in a different media. Instead of trading or burning or tossing items from the late 2000's or early 2010's I decided to create this lovely computer which would be a daily driver.
Over the past few weeks I collected and dismantled a lot of setups and began to order or grab the parts which would comprise the Nuka Cola Throwback first draft. Here is my controversial reasoning for what I selected what I selected.
Case- NZXT CRFT-02 H700 Nuka-Cola Limited Edition CA-H700B-NC Nuka-Cola SECC Steel, Tempered Glass, Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case.
Ironically as a gesture to the great American economic step of capitalism I actually ordered this directly from Newegg, brand spanking new in the box since this item didn't appear on eBay or used obviously. Like a rare Jasper Johns print, this case is numbered 1637/2000 which is a later one in the series and possibly I have a strong feeling that this one is selling out relatively quickly online due to the impending release of Fallout 76 soon.
I am new to Fallout but I found the world there fascinating. I did get to play the beta for a few hours at least which is a blessing. I love the Nuka Cola theme because it reminds of 1950's pin-up art smashed in with gaudy pop art concepts. The combination of high and low art is flawless for my ironic indictment of our hyper-capitalist culture.
CPU- AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition Deneb Quad-Core 3.5 GHz Socket AM3 125W HDZ970FBGMBOX Desktop Processor
This controversial choice of processor was determined by the fact that the very first CPU I ever gamed with since my ex-wife introduced me to video gaming years ago. I have loved this CPU a ton and granted I used it a ton of when I played SWTOR which was my first ever PC game I spent hours in. Props.
Motherboard- ASUS 970 Pro Gaming/Aura ATX DDR3 AM3+ AMD 970 + SB 950 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 ATX AMD Motherboard
This is truly one of the best motherboards Asus ever designed. Sadly enough this has been discontinued and considering that I would be using this build mainly for listening to music while I raid in WoW or watching YouTube or Discord usage I am astonished at the sound quality coming out directly from this particular motherboard. I do want my own sound card at some point. Also the motherboard was super feature rich and I love the red/black color theme which was a must for keeping the exterior of the Nuka Cola case.
RAM- G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
This is a temporary RAM setup as I am using the RAM from my first ever gaming desktop which was in a Fractal Design Define Mini that I still own but is unused. Eventually I plan to upgrade this to a full set of red matching 4 x 8 GB G.SKILL red colored RAM but right now I have four sticks of 4 Gb RAM installed for a total of 16 GB.
SSD- Intel SSDSA2CW120G3 - 2.5" 120GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Solid State Drive (SSD)
This is a temporary SSD setup until I get 2 x 1 TB SSD's for this setup so I can house my iTunes/music collection. I scrapped this up from my parts bin and so far this has been running stably.
I also plan to upgrade with 2 x 4 TB of 7200 rpm drives since this will double up as a media server for my bedroom.
Graphics Card- EVGA GeForce GTX 660Ti SUPERCLOCKED 2048MB GDDR5 DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI, DP, SLI Graphics Card (02G-P4-3662-KR) Graphics Cards 02G-P4-3662-KR
I wanted to go with a Radeon RX 560 which I had laying around and run a Crossfire setup but that wasn't happening since I didn't have two of those so I went with the first ever major graphics card I gamed with. I didn't have the original GTX 560Ti which I used when I started in SWTOR since I had given that to one of my WoW buddies so this was the closest I could get to the original configuration I was aspiring to.
This graphics card has been plagued with a lot of problems. I had used this in a Fractal Design Node 202 case earlier and it always overheated there. I think it works consistently enough within a much larger case and so far I have had no issues with the light gaming that I have been putting in its paces during the past few years of usage (as I use a GTX 970 in my main Ryzen gaming rig). The black color is perfect for my red/black theme in any case. I probably will replace this maybe with those two Radeon RX 560's if I wanted to get into the red/black theme a bit harder.
At some point, I plan to replace the wireless card with a dual band one and toss in an actual high definition sound card maybe from HT OMEGA?
I tossed all of these over the past two weeks and deliberately completed my build on Election Day 2018 so I feel proud that I managed to get a functional build. Right now I'm using Ubuntu Linux as proof of concept and when I get my new SSD later on this month or next I will have Windows 10 (*cries) so I can test actually the performance of Fallout 76 on this retro-based politically-themed build. The build lives on!
So I will end this quote with the best quote which befits this Nuka Cola mix and Fallout...
“The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning systems cooling empty hotels in the desert and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them. The mindless luxury of a rich civilization, and yet of a civilization perhaps as scared to see the lights go out as was the hunter in his primitive night.”
― Jean Baudrillard, America