Lets start off with the hardware. Before it was equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 CPU, it stared with a little Pentium D 805. Let me tell you the 805 was no ordinary CPU. On the lovely site known as Tomshardware, I came across a little article stating that a specific lot of Pentium D 805's have a high overclock capability. An I thought with the Proc only costing around 80$ at the time, I thought why not.
To break it down, the bottom line was that you could overclock the 805 CPU from its stock speed of 2.66GHz to over 4GHz with not a lot of effort. An sure enough it was true. With some simple tuning and BIOS modifications, it was easily reached. I managed to get as high as 4.1GHz "stable". In conjunction with the 805 it had 4Gb of ram and 2 Nvidia 7600GT's in SLi. So back then it was a pretty kick ass rig for around $800-$1000. I sould also add that with the 805, air cooling at those speeds was not an option. So I turned to the Corsair Nautilus 500 Water Cooling system. Which did a wonderful job if I might add.
Since then I went from the Pentium D 805 to the Core 2 Duo E6850, then the 2 7600GT's to one 8800GTS and finally to a eVGA Nvidia 8800GT (Kick ass card, G92). Coming up last was the switch to the P5B-Deluxe MoBo. After about a 2 years I upgraded from the 8800GT to the GTS 250.
In the beginning I used Windows XP to start with. When Vista arrived I used it for about 8 months then went back to XP. You may be thinking I went back to XP because I didn't like Vista, not true. The whole purpose of using Vista for a period of time was because I knew friends, family and other students would be coming to me with their computer "Vista" related questions. So I thought why not get a chance to learn the new OS while I have a chance. I Dual booted different Linux OS's off an on but couldn't find one that set right. Until I tried Linux Mint 9 Isador just recently. Needless to say I was pretty impressed. Currently I am using Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and Mint 9.
On a side note I would like to point out how revolutionary the 8800GT was for its time. Going from the G80 chip to the G92 made such a huge difference. I remember going to Fry's Electronics like I usually do and seeing that gold eVGA box for the 8800GT on the shelf. Thinking to myself like what kind of card is this ? Why does this thing stick out an say, "I'm so special I have a gold box!". Little did I know what it was capable of. After I went home and did some research on it I couldn't believe the numbers it was posting, I was just blow away.
The next day I went back to the store, and sadly they were all gone! I looked online to order one, and every resource was sold out. Most places had a waiting list just to get a hold of an 8800GT. The edition I bought at the time was an eVGA Superclocked edition. An to this day it still kicks ass. It was an amazing card and will always have a place in my heart.