Protego is the name I’ve given to my new Pee Cee. There’s a bit of a story behind this one, so bear with me.
So first up, we have the story of actually buying the thing. Originally, Protego was an server somewhere in Melbourne, when management had an “oh crap, we’re the largest Apple reseller in the world and we have too many PCs on hand” moment. Thus, the PC Clearance Sale was born.
I managed to obtain a copy of this catalogue through the usual official channels (that’s the email system, folks), and at the time, was looking for a cheap gaming machine to get my game on. My Steam account was filled up with games that I couldn’t play because the system requirements were too high for any machine that I had in my possession. Games like TF2, Left 4 Dead, CS:Source, and even Portal struggled on any hardware that I had, and only CS:Source even ran on my paltry GMA 950 MacBook… What I needed was a cheap gaming rig. I wasn’t prepared to fork out hundreds of dollars, though – the PC I bought had to be able to handle the games I wanted to play, while having a lifespan of a couple of years.
In any case, I managed to find a computer that suited me – an ex-server, something with a little grunt behind it, but also plenty of expansion options. If you’re interested, Protego is actually an IBM eServer xSeries server, the 8485 variant of the 206m models. It came with a 3.0GHz Pentium 4 CPU (with Hyper Threading), 2x1GB ECC DDR2 PC2-4200 RAM, as well as 2x80GB SATA HDDs.
Now obviously I’m going to be using a machine like this for gaming, and I don’t think the inbuilt ATi ES1000 graphics with 16MB ram are going to cut it. Luckily for me, an XFX 8400GS (w/ 256MB RAM) was also in the PC Clearance Sale – I managed to nab that as well. I put in my order for all the parts, and I was set. Or so I thought…
Elation turned to disappointment when the machine arrived at my location. I opened it up to find that it only had a physical 8x PCIe slot – not a 16x one, which most graphics cards take. Even more unfortunately, it wasn’t an open-ended slot either – the 8400GS that arrived with it was, unsurprisingly, a physical 16x card. Some research had to be done on my part.