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. Lucky me.. My PC JUST broke down this yesterday/sunday/May 19th. and wont even boot to bios screen.. tryed everything I could think of to fix it o.0… now i just need to be REAL lucky…

  2. Hey Leo you didnt clear up in TWIT if the give away is for US listeners only or world wide

  3. Ahh.. i remmber gaming back then.. i cried when quake 2 ran like a dog on my Cyrix 133mhz. Looking forward to winning this bad boy.. and laughing in another 10 years when its a dust collector =p

  4. While I didn't get to witness the first UGM, I do remember the 2nd one!! UGM FTW

  5. I dunno Mr. Laporte. I thought the idea of following you and doing it via twitter was quite interesting. The unfollowing others idea was the part that sort of lost me.Kevin, Alex, and the Rev3 crew are pretty much all giving respective items away, and I understand the way they will do it is by making a twitter comment and having everyone reply to it within a certain time frame. THEN, at random, they would select one name from that list of replies. It seemed rather fair and a good way to garner followers while at the same time being easily accessible and most of all “free” to the participants.I can't wait to see what the UGM 10 will end up being like!

  6. Hey Leo,Is this competition open to non-US residents? There are lots of us overseas, and so many of these twitter giveaways refuse to send stuff overseas because of the shippings costs. Just think you should make it clear one way or the other.cheers,itsross

  7. I can only say that it was at the end of the week, I was tired, and I was a little too focused on the TWiT Twitter derby. In the cool light of day it's apparent that it's totally irrelevant. No matter what I do Kevin's going to win in the long run!Also, I don't really see why Twitter should be the beneficiary of all this. Making people join Twitter to win UGM makes no sense at all! I'll figure out a better way that's more equitable.As for International viewers, I have no idea what the legality of all this is. If it's possible to give it away internationally without getting put out of business I'll do it!

  8. Excellent, excellent idea! This is going to be great, commence the fanboi army , j/k! Ask them diggnation boys to drop in and give us some advice, maybe darktipper can tell us something we don't know yet.

  9. If I might offer a suggestion as to how to do the giveaway:Ask people to write a blog post about their favourite TWiT/Screen Savers/ ZDTV moments from the past 10 years. Link the post to TWiT live and tag it UGM10. Then, either pick the one that you like best or just randomly choose one.Benefit of this approach is that you limit it to folks who are actual fans as opposed to those that just want 'free stuff' and you generate a lot of link love for yourself whilst introducing new folks to the show the best way possible, through word of mouth.

  10. LOL this is great. I can't wait for the hardware discussion to begin for the new system. I thought you were taking today off and going to go get a massage. You deserve a break today.

  11. See, I don't see it as so much a benefit to Twitter, the service, as much as it is helping people find a unique service that they genuinely enjoy. If not for your show, I'd have never discovered Twitter, and now I use it daily and love it.But I understand and respect the desire to make it genuinely accessible by more people. In the end it equates to more activity towards your IP, so limiting things to Twitter would indeed be counter-productive to push your network.Glad to see you have seen the light as it were, in regards to the twitter derby. As you mentioned in twitlive yesterday, competing with the diggnation is a moot point since you are both obviously aiming for different target audiences. Quality over quantity is the high road and you get all of my praise for sticking to that.

  12. I agree re: making people join Twitter. I would be quite disappointed if this turned into a “Twitter only” event. I'm over at Pownce almost exclusively and is how I found out about this post. I signed up for Twitter years ago just to secure my username and have never used it since. Don't do it, Leo!

  13. You don't dance enough on your shows any more Mr. Laporte! Shake what yo mamma gave ya! 😛

  14. I give up. Even if I won the Derby Kevin would ultimately win the race. The TWiT Army is mighty, but it's no match for the Digg Nation!

  15. I'm probably crazy to attempt this – it's going to be a lot of work (and money) but it's just too exciting to pass up.

  16. Leo — The UGM has been done to death. Take a new spin on it!You just said on Twitter that you want to get XBMC working on your Mac Mini. How about building the Ultimate Media Computer instead?

  17. This is a good idea and will be a lot of fun.But I think for your next computer project after this, you should go for a green and quiet computer, that can play every game, with the possible exception of Crysis. This is the direction that most computer buyers are going.

  18. Good decision leo. I thought you'd gone a little too far yesterday when you added the need to unfriend kevin and alex. I understand your sense of competition with Rev3, but that was very out of character.

  19. Exactly, Carolyn. One problem with all these live hours on the air is I often say things I don't think through and later regret. I have a problem with speaking before I think anyway.We'll find a way that includes everyone and makes it fun.

  20. As long as I can legally do it I have no problem paying for the shipping. I think most of the time people make it US only because there are so many legal jurisdictions it's impossible to make sure it's legal everywhere. I guess we could just say “contest void where not legal” or something. Any lawyers out there who can help?

  21. Yeah I was way out of line – and I immediately regretted it! Stupid stupid stupid. It was meant in good fun in the spirit of competition, but it definitely came off as rude.Please don't unfollow anyone!

  22. Sounds like a great idea. did raffles for charity a few years ago through paypal, but I do not remember how he handled international patrons.

  23. I think anyone who knows you (if only in the watching or listening of your shows kind of way) knows that it was not meant in a malicious manor and was all in good fun.

  24. Awesome awesome. Leo, you mentioned that you would not move to h.264 for about 6 months, presumably to give people chance to upgrade flash and give those with slower computers and Internet chance to catch up. But you turned the 264 switch on already and it seems to be causing problems.I have a 20mbit connection and a quad core PC and yet the streaming yesterday was chugging along. I scrolled up the chat in IRC and stickam and there were hundreds of similar complaints, with people often saying they had fast connection etc.Do you think it was a bad idea to flick the 264 switch?

  25. Since this contest is tied to TWIT, I think the lucky UGM 2008 winner should travel to Petaluma and pick up their prize “live and in person” at a taping of TWIT.

  26. Great Idea Leo, but it's an expensive one!If I win, can I swap it for one on your XL-2s? :-)Also in the UK, should be no problem with getting it into the country as a gift, which means we don't end up with a TAX bill of 20-30% in import. Ouch. I so hate the UK sometimes.

  27. I am testing various settings. So far it looks like the best compromise between quality and accessibility is 500kpbs VP6 for video and 64kbps mono MP3 for audio. We'll probably stick with that unless a lot of people complain.But down the road we'll turn up the quality as most people can receive it.

  28. Oh we definitely will. This will probably be the inaugural series on the Best of TWiT Live podcast. I'll post details when they're available, but it will be on iTunes like any podcast.Mostly I just have to find bandwidth!

  29. It's going to be expensive, but with any luck I can find a sponsor for it. (Crossing fingers.) This whole TWiT Live thing is a bit of a gamble, frankly.

  30. Are you going to post this kind of stuff on the TWiT Calendar – this is also some of the stuff I would like to see on there rather than only just the recording of the shows. Can't wait, I'm under 16 so wasn't really a big geek when I was 5 or 6 😉 so it'll be nice to see this reincarnation of tech video this time round. Loving TWiT Live so far and it can only get better, wish all the best for you Leo.

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