YC's Computer Advice Disclaimer: Under construction. Eventually, I intend to put some good links to hardware etc sites and critical comments about them. But you should know the standard ones, Tom's Hardware, Anands Tech, Voodoo Guru, etc

My Computer Stuff

My first computer was an Apple ][+ clone when I was 12. Being on the cutting edge for computers is way too expensive. If you're satisfied with older technology, its much cheaper. As of July '98, I don't really see the need for a Pentium II yet; I'm sure the frame rates on Quake II will improve, but so what, its the latency that kills you in deathmatch :) I was given my P-133 processor only this year. Previously, I was living with a P-75 (overclocked).

P-233 overclocked to 266 (3.5 x 75), QDI TX motherboard, 64Mb SDRAM, old Quantum 1.2 Fireball, IBM 4.3 Deskstar 5, 32x Sony CD Rom (UDMA), Stealth 2000 3D, Orchid Righteous, ADI 4GP 15" monitor, AWE32 with 8Mb, plenty of game controllers (Logitech Thunderpad digital, ACT Powerramp, CH F-16 flightstick), a Wacom Penpartner (pressure sensitive graphics tablet --wonderful), and a Microtek Scanmaker E-6 (old model, but still the best at its price point)

Around the house, theres an 'internet' computer, a P-133 overclocked to P-150, and a 'word processing' and 'power-point' computer, a Pentium II 233 with a Matrox Millenium II and a beautiful Sony SFII 17" monitor (I also want one, but where to get the $$$ after I spend it all on hi-fi? :))

Hardware Recommendations
You can read Tom's Hardware guide etc, but remember that hardware companies send these guys free stuff. If people gave you free stuff, would you be brutally frank? :) Also, as usual, they are all obsessed with the latest, greatest hardware. Juvenile. (pot calling the kettle black :))

As for my own qualifications, I don't have any formal training, but I have um, 4 computers around the house, all self-assembled (everyone in my family assembles their own computer :)). A P-133, P-200, P-233MMX, P2-233. No plans to set up a LAN yet... Hard Disks
IBM Deskstars are probably the quietest harddisks around. Quantum has a good reputation but they're so annoyingly noisy. Also, the deskstars don't give anything up in speed to the others. (I have both Quantums and IBM harddisks) Deskstar 8 is the newest iteration, I have the Deskstar 5. Seems the same to me. Both 5400 rpm harddisks.

Anything with a Sony Trintron tube. Most excellent picture. Save your eyes.
Something cheaper? NEC A700. It is 0.28mm dot pitch but outperforms similarly priced 0.25mm dot pitch models. Just like watts, speaker sensitivity, dot pitch is highly misleading as it doesn't relate at all to image quality.

VGA Card
Of course, I don't care about 3D performance as if I want 3D, I'll get a proper 3Dfx card. But what matters the most to me is the user interface for the VGA card. In this respect, Diamond's interface is far superior to Hercules and Matrox (all of which I have). The key advantage of Diamond is switchable resolutions and colour depth on the fly using the right mouse key. Depending on the application, I frequently switch resolutions and I hate having to reboot. For other cards, if you want to switch, you have to reboot. (notwithstanding the fact that some cards have the option to switch resolutions without booting etc, for most switches, you have to reboot).

Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Diamond Drivers. Prior to the Stealth 3D 2000, I owned a Stealth 64 1 Mb which served me faithfully without any driver updates. :)

For 3D, you need a Voodoo Card. Whether you need a more expensive Voodoo 2, I'm not very sure. For sure, all games in the future will be written for Voodoo 1. Theres no news about games written for Voodoo 2 only...

Computer Links and Comments
;nbsp PC Magazine Best PC Magazine.
Technotopus Singapore computer hardware website. Not on par with the US ones, but has Singapore related info and links. Devotes entire article to overclocking a P2-233 to 350 and doesn't seem to realise that overclocking P2 is pointless because the L2 is still running at the same speed (unlike Slot 7 CPUs and Celerons - which have no L2 and thus benefit from overclocking)
Voodoo Guru Website of everybody's favourite VGA card. Nearly daily updates.
Desktoppublishing Brilliant Desktop Publishing Resource. Inspires me to constantly improve the graphics quality on my webppages
Rita Peitz's Design Sets Need free web graphics? These are the best available. I think everyone should try to create their own, so browse through these to get inspired. Your end-result may not be as good, but at least it will be original :)
Maxxum Sim Lim Square pricelist and recommendations. But, the very infrequent updates make the information obsolete as prices change fast. However, I like the hardware recommendations section as they do recommend the good stuff (except for the Philips monitor recommendation, but I can forgive them for that :))