Building the hottest, fastest computer…for 1999

A recent discovery in my ‘archive’ uncovered a ‘PC Accelerator’ Magazine that has a cover date of January 1999.  In it, there was a short article on building the best gaming rig, one that will last you all the way to January of 2000…a whole year.  I get it, the idea was to stay ahead of the technology.

To put things into perspective…The internet was just starting to come into its own. The “dot-com” bubble was starting to expand.  Bill Clinton was the President. Still.  There was no Wii, XBOX or PS 2.  The Sega Dreamcast was the latest console.  There was still a ‘World Trade Center’ in New York.  Bob Dole’s wife was the leading Republican…for President.  Al Gore was starting to distance himself from his boss.  Star Trek was still a weekly series on UPN.  Remember them?

The article begins with the motherboard and they suggested Asus, Abit and FIC, among others.  They advise a Pentium II board with an Intel BX chipset.  Stay away from those dying dinosaurs from AMD. The CPU of choice was the Pentium II 450 since it was, naturally, the fastest processor ‘as of this writing.’   However, if you are on a budget and can upgrade to that Pentium later, then get the Celeron A since it was fast (remember, the Celeron had little or no cache.) 

RAM was something else.  I had forgotten about the multitude of RAM sticks over the years.  Then, the PC100 was the hot stuff.  “Get as much as you can afford.’  Get a minimum of 64mb, but spring for 128mb since RAM is so cheap now.  Ignore the EDO crap as it is only 83mhz and PC 100 is, well, 100mhz…soooo much faster.

Get that Voodoo 2 video card.  A ‘surefire winner.’  For maximum performance, go SLI. Hmm…haven’t I heard this recently too?

Since 3d sound is EVERYWHERE, spring for that Creative Lab’s SoundBlaster Live!  Quality stuff.  These newfangled A3D boards are the bomb.  The sound is oh so realistic.

For all of the really hot games, you’ll need lots of space.  Go as big as you can.  What, with games as large as 200mb, you’ll need lots of space. Five, seven, even TEN GIGABYTES will be taken up before you know it.

Of course, no hot gaming rig would be complete without the most advanced operating system running it.  Naturally, that means Windows 98.  AGP and USB support are top notch, you know.  Oh, the new troubleshooting tools(!) are tops, for a Microsoft OS.  Of course, Windows 2000 is right around the corner and is THE future of computing.

Really!?  It’s always fun to unearth treasures such as these.  Reading the reviews, how to articles and other such stuff.  I probably read this very same article, thinking ‘you won’t need all of that!’  I was wrong, of course, but had convinced myself otherwise.  Money was not the issue, I was just cheap and wanted to believe that I had already made sound decisions.  The article is written in a very condescending manner.  They could probably get by with it then, but, then again, it could be one reason why this magazine did not last very long.  Hell, I had forgotten it until I unearthed it. 

It is interesting to see the march of technology in the last decade.  That ‘hot system’ is not as powerful as my kids video game console…the last gen console, I mean.  The GameCube, which came out only two years later, has more graphical and computing power than the hot system that would get you through the year.  I suppose true ‘hard core’ gamers update their systems every few months.  Not me.  The computer I’m writing this on is nearly three years old now.  It still feels as snappy is it did…this morning.  The march of technology.  Amazing.

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