First post, by Joseph_Joestar
- Intel Core i5 3550P (Ivy Bridge)
- MSI Z77A-G43 (MS-7758)
- 16GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 PC3-12800
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650Ti
- Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro PCIe (SB0880)
- Crucial 240GB SSD (WindowsXP + SP3)
- Samsung 500GB SSD (Windows7 + SP1)
- Samsung 500GB SSD (Debian Linux 11)
- Western Digital 4TB HDD (storage)
- Lite-On SH-16A7S DVD-RW
- Seasonic S12 III 650W PSU
- Blueberry BC-G52 case
- Sharkoon USB 3.0 front panel
- LG Flatron L1753HR 17" LCD monitor (1280x1024 native resolution)
- Logitech X-530 Surround Sound Speakers (5.1 system)
I bought this PC back in 2013 and mainly used it for work. Hence the 16GB RAM and only a GTX 650Ti. It served as my main rig running Win7 all the way until early 2020 when the extended support period ended. Honestly, I didn't even realize that this system had WinXP drivers until a year ago, which is when I decided to turn it into a retro rig. The main purpose of this build is to play 2002-2009 WinXP games at the 1280x1024 resolution using the best video and audio settings.
This Core i5 3550P CPU is more than enough for most WinXP games that I intend to play on this rig. The only downside is that I have to force CPU affinity to a single core for a few titles which have problems otherwise. I've replaced the stock cooler with an aftermarket one and also added two case fans. This keeps temperatures below 50C, even under full load.
This MSI board is based on Intel's Z77 chipset and works fine for my needs. Its WinXP drivers are stll hosted on the manufacturer's website and stability has been very good. I also like that it has a few PCI slots, in case I decide to put some older hardware in this rig at some point.
This Gigabyte GTX 650Ti fits my needs well enough, since I game at the 1280x1024 resolution 99% of the time. I appreciate that its DVI output paired with 320.18 drivers allows me to select the scaling options under WinXP and set them to my liking. This is useful for those few, edge case games which only run at a single, fixed resolution like 1024x768. BTW, I would have gone with something more powerful like a 960Ti, if GPU prices from that era were a bit more reasonable.
I recently got this X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro PCIe. I had the OEM version of that card before, but the Fatal1ty branded one comes with 64MB X-RAM, if that even matters in this day and age. Supposedly, that can improve performance in some games like Unreal Tournament 2004, but I doubt it will make much difference on this system. The main reason I'm using this card is because of its excellent EAX capabilities, since many WinXP games support EAX in some form. On that note, Thief: Deadly Shadows, Doom 3 and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory are true EAX showpieces in my book. For anyone with an X-Fi card, I can highly recommend trying those games and experiencing their masterful sound design.
I keep each of my three operating systems on a separate drive, so that they don't mess with each other. WinXP is used for gaming of course, Win7 for maintenance purposes and Debian for downloading GOG offline game installers from the internet which are then stored on the 4TB mechanical HDD for easy access from WinXP.
I'm fairly satisfied with this system as it plays WinXP games up to (and including) 2009 quite well. I figured, since that's the year when Win7 came out, it should be a good cutoff point for XP gaming. There's still some room for upgrading this rig, provided that I manage to find the relevant hardware for a reasonable price.