UGM 2008

Ten years ago we launched ZDTV (which later became TechTV) and The Screen Savers, its most popular show. We wanted to begin with a bang, so Kate Botello and I decided to build the “Ultimate Gaming Machine” basing it on Lloyd Case’s design from Computer Gaming World. In 1998, that meant a PII 400 Mhz, 128 MB of RAM, and a fabulously expensive widescreen Sony CRT (and a price tag of over $10,000). Here’s what it looked like back then…

There have been 9 UGMs built since then, the most recent for Attack of the Show in 2005 (which cost around $6000 and was a lot faster). Since I’m launching TWiT Live 10 years later I thought it would be fun to see what the UGM would look like these days. Only this time, we’re going to let you build it.

Starting Friday, June 6, we’ll be inviting you to pick the parts for UGM 2008. From processors, to motherboard, to video and sound system, the choice will be yours. We’ll spend a couple of hours debating the merits of each component, with expert commentary to help you decide, then when we reach consensus we’ll buy it. At the end of the month we’ll assemble our creation and then give it away to some lucky TWiT Live viewer.

I’m not sure exactly how we’ll give it away. I know I mentioned this on TWiT and proposed a crazy scheme to get me more followers on Twitter. All I can say is I must have been drunk. It won’t be necessary to follow me, or Dvorak, and it definitely won’t be necessary to unfollow Kevin. I’m going to check with the legal department and find a fair way to do this that doesn’t require anyone to join Twitter!

We’ll kick things off Friday, June 6, at 3p Pacific, 6p Eastern, 2200 UTC with a processor showdown. AMD or Intel, which will it be? I’ll have experts on both sides then I’ll ask you to decide. June 13 it’s Motherboards and Memory. June 20th, video cards and monitors. June 27th storage and peripherals. We’ll finish the machine on the 4th of July, choose the best five games for it, and award it to a lucky winner.

So join us Fridays starting in June as we recreate one of the most loved bits we ever did on The Screen Savers. It should be a lot of fun, and who knows, you could walk away with UGM 10!

167 Replies to “UGM 2008”

  1. I miss Kate Botello so much. When will you ever do a gaming podcast with Kate Botello, Leo? Hey, maybe even do the UGM contest through that! I think it'd be awesome!BJ

  2. Leo, more videos like that would be great, I personally was not able to watch TechTV until around 2000 -2005 or something like that and a week later well it went off the air on Foxtel… 🙁 it was a sad dayI now own shoutoo.com and would like to sponsor Net@nite please email me or shoutoo.com me….We will also hopefully be touring the US by early 09.ThanksRussell Harrower

  3. DDR3 is nice for overclock-ability. Alienware is selling a quad core gaming machine overclocked to 4GHz using 1600MHz RAM. I'd also go for a RAID-0 of solid-state hard drives for the system/apps drives on a dedicated LSI controller (we're going all the way here, right?) That would be quite a bit faster for app and system loading which are random-read intensive, which SSDs excel at.For the big storage, 4 1TB drives are hard to beat, but I'd do a RAID6 that works a lot better with fewer, larger drives than RAID5, which tends to work well with several lower-capacity drives. You'll probably need another LSI controller to do it, though. If you're really going nuts just do a fiber-channel host adapter connected to a SAN.I'd tack on water cooling for the video cards, chipset, memory and CPU. Probably some cable extenders so you can put this beast in another room or in the basement, it's going to be LOUD. A USB2 DVD+RW drive would be good, too. A nice, big fast-response monitor, I don't think the 30″ models are up to par with the smaller units, I think Samsung makes a 27″ LCD with a 4ms response time which is pretty good. For sound (usually overlooked, but very important) I'd stick with a SoundBlaster X-Fi platinum, the drivers are crap but almost every new game takes some advantage of the newer EAX features. I'd wire it straight into a dedicated 7-channel surround amp, driving THX-Select certified Altec Lansing home theater speakers.For the whole experience, add user input (Logitech G-mouse/keyboard, Microsoft sidewinder mouse, whatever floats your boat.) Custom anthrocart designed to hold all your gaming peripherals. A nice chair, how about an Herman Miller Areon customized to your height and weight?

  4. Man !!!!! Just sitting back and Googlinglingling for all my old Friends from ZD-TV, then TechTV, but most of all the Screensavers. I miss you guys and that show ….. and YES it was a sad sad day when G-what ever bought TechTV and Raped it. I could name an old Ex-Microsoft Multi-Millionaires name as being greedy and perhaps throwing away the most innovative and fun Tech Shows that has or will ever be televised – – not to mention that he gave the Entire Station to a bunch of Technical Idiots who knew nothing about Prime Tech Television ….. just for the money …… sad sad sad. I guess when you are Filthy Rich and don’t have to care about anything or anyone, you would rather go down in history as being a total A-Hole, than be hailed as one of the Greatest Technical Television Geniuses the world has ever known. What a real chip off the old Microsoft Shoulder boy …… But it is good to see all of you TechTV guys still hammering away in the Technical World. And I will say it again ….. I MISS YOU GUYS !!!!!!!!!!! “R is short for Star”

  5. Wow this is before my time watching ZDTV. I think I started watching about 3 months before it became TechTV. I did watch The Site on MSNBC, and loved it. I remember on one episode for the first time seeing someone play Super Mario 64 on the N64, and it looked great LOL. I was however horrible confused for about a week when it went off air, because there was no last show or notice that it was over, so I kept trying to catch it on but it wasn't! 🙁

  6. I miss Tech TV. I was a viewer from the very beginning. Twit and Rev 3 gives me my fix. Ok, how do I sign up to win the UGM?

  7. hi are you going to put the video on the net i have looked for it and can not find it ThanksMike W W

  8. I'm seeing lots of back-and-forth about ddr2 vs ddr3. This is the wrong argument. No one is arguing that ddr3 is needed for performance – what is needed is 790i. There is some evidence that significant performance gains will be seen with triple-sli on 790i. Since no one seems interested in producing a 790i mobo with support for DDR2, and no one cares about how much more expensive DDR3 is (it's the ULTIMATE gaming machine), clearly we should be looking at a 790i w/DDR3 mobo – given that we want triple-sli, which no one seems to be arguing against 🙂

  9. I was more in admiration of your dancing skills than anything, Leo!It just astounds me how far we have come since then. Perhaps, within the next ten or so years, we will be looking back at the UGM you are putting together now and thinkng that the difference is just beyond outrageous.128 MB of RAM today is, well, pretty bad, but it can still power some Linux distros. I believe that system had 10 – 20 GB, and I managed to run my Windows computer for a few months with that much a few years ago. (Nowadays, I have about 140 GB of data—minimum—that I bring onto each new system I build.)The technical achievements are astounding, but I think it is even more impressive how so many people nowadays can geek out with this technology. I love the fact that my friends (and not just me) are beginning to be real tech savvy. (I was always the technology geek back in school.)It was really cool to see that video though. Brought back great memories. I only began watching TSS when Megan and Patrick were on.

  10. Leo, been listening since the 80's; I think it is the voice. 🙂 Did you already give away the PC? PC specs link? Putting a system together for someone and wanted to compare choices and components. Thanks! Huggies, Davina

  11. WOW I remember thinking I was the big thing when I got the PII 400Mhz. Now My Cell Phone is equvilant to 400Mhz LOL

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