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Any PC Gamers or PC Builders out there?
Old 07-06-2007, 08:27 PM   #1
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Any PC Gamers or PC Builders out there?

So my work changed it's tuition reimbursement policy and will now be paying for my entire Masters = extra $10,000 I get to keep!

This caused DW to relent and allow me to build a new PC. Now for those of you who know, the fact I'm running a Pentium III with a 20 Gig HD and all the other shortcomings that come with an old machine like this (133 FSB, etc.) should give me some credit for LBYM nursing this thing along for 6 years, even though I live for gaming.

So I have pretty much specced out my new rig, and I'm going with an Intel Core 2 Duo 6420 (more cache than 6400, still cheap), an MSI MOBO with SLI and an 800 M FSB, Kingston PC 800 6400 RAM. For the all important graphics card, I went with this:

Newegg.com - SAPPHIRE 100176L Radeon X1950PRO 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail

recently graphics cards came down in price, and toms hardware rates this as the best card under $150 (with rebate I'm getting this for ~130 incl shipping and tax).

Picked up a "Ninja" case at the local Fry's because of the screwless bays and the 450 watt power supply ( wanted 600, but it's just too much $$), case and ps set me back $70.

Then the fun begins! I'm going to build this, rebuild my current pc for DW, rewire my LAN to make better use of the printer, set up RAID 1 to protect all those pics (her pc will be the RAID1 box). I'm toying with RAID 0 for performance reasons, but I hear people are suffering much pain getting that working. Anyone have any advice or preferred products? Anybody have some WD Raptor HDs they'd like to give me?
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:33 PM   #2
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You're not going to let your crappy old monitor sit on top of all that screamin' fast hardware, are you?

You're going to have to plug a Kill-a-Watt meter into the wall receptacle so that you can budget for your next electric bill!

CFB will be along shortly to talk trash with you about your choices...
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:34 PM   #3
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I am a big gamer myself, even helped me retire early too hehe, another good site is monarch computers outa Atlanta, they are as cheap if not cheaper the Newegg and owned by a Vietnam vet too.

I build alot of my PCs too, will talk more after Bear Grills goes off tv
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:26 PM   #4
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You're not going to let your crappy old monitor sit on top of all that screamin' fast hardware, are you?

You're going to have to plug a Kill-a-Watt meter into the wall receptacle so that you can budget for your next electric bill!

CFB will be along shortly to talk trash with you about your choices...

Aww, he did great. And he wont need any fire extinguishers or chain mail underwear to use it!

Laurence...I've run both raid 0 and raid 1 with the standard stuff in the intel 965 mobos and its absolutely no problems. I've mostly just done a mirrored pair for redundancy. You're frankly not going to pick up a lot of performance gain with either a stripe or a mirror set...most desktop apps just dont do anything interesting enough for that to kick in. Now, if you were running a huge web site with a sql back end to a TB or two of data...might be a different story.

But big SATA drives are so cheap, its almost stupid to not run a mirrored pair.


Nice graphics card, you'll be pretty much fine with the 450w supply with that vid card unless you run more than two disks...

Only thing I can say in retrospect is that Dell sells stuff so cheap on their outlet site that if you scrounged for a day or two you'd probably have come up with something pre-made for about the same cost and you'd get a system warranty on it.

But what fun would THAT be?!?
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:38 PM   #5
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Dell won't put the components in a cool Ninja case with LED lights changing color on the front and a clear panel on the side to show of the gear! I work with a bunch of 25-35 year old engineer/computer science majors, this is the equivalent of tricking out Dad's car! "Dual carb?" "Quad." "Sweet."
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:55 PM   #6
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Dell won't put the components in a cool Ninja case with LED lights changing color on the front and a clear panel on the side to show of the gear! I work with a bunch of 25-35 year old engineer/computer science majors, this is the equivalent of tricking out Dad's car! "Dual carb?" "Quad." "Sweet."
Personally, I would make disparaging remarks about your manliness and / or sexual orientation if you showed up with that. But then, with my friends, I look for opportunities to make disparaging remarks about manliness and / or orientation and / or mothers.

Then again, I used to spend all sorts of time building my own computers (386 SX? Nah man, DX. Sweet!) Now I happily buy Dell.

Back in my day, we didn't have LEDs. We'd just duct tape a flashlight to our case and we liked it!
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:24 PM   #7
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"Dual carb?" "Quad." "Sweet."
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We'd just duct tape a flashlight to our case and we liked it!
I'm wondering what the odds are of a 25-year-old having ever TOUCHED a carburetor, let alone adjusting one...
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:11 PM   #8
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I would get the larger power supply, if you ever decide to upgrade cards later on you are going to need it, and if you run 2 cards SLI same problem.
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:51 PM   #9
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Ever think of RAID 5?
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:38 AM   #10
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Personally, I would make disparaging remarks about your manliness and / or sexual orientation if you showed up with that..

Yeah, Laurence is no stranger to such remarks. Pretty standard stuff around here.

As far as the power...if it makes you feel any better my e6400 rig runs 2gb of ram, a pair of 320gb drives mirrored, and a nice 150 watt video card, dl dvd writer, couple of other small draws...kill-a-watt says 67 watts with the video card disconnected, and around 7 in standby.

So it not only kicks ass, but the core2duo platform is cheaper on gas as well.

A very convenient truth.
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:32 AM   #11
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If I run into problems with power, I can always swap out the power supply. I've abandoned all legacy platforms, so the only internal removable media is DVD-R - no floppy, zip, etc.

I have a co-worker who's every response is "your mom". "You know what's crazy?" "Your mom?" "What's first on the agenda?" "Your mom?" "What's for lunch?" "Your mom?"

and it's usually followed by "yes!" in his excitement at working in his favorite line into normal conversation.


Nords, you are right, my '83 Accord had a carb, but it's been FI since then (sold it in '00).
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Old 07-07-2007, 07:25 AM   #12
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I built a new gaming PC in JAN of this year. I don't do first person shooters, mostly MMORPGs and real time strategy games so it is not cutting edge, but is expandable to faster dual core and even quad core CPUs.

I used an Antec 180 case, Corsair 520 watt PSU, Dual core E6300, 2 Gig G.Skill SDRAM, Western Dig Caviar 72000 RPM SATA drive, Radeon X1800GTO (first Radeon, I usually go NVIDIA), GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 mobo and artic cooling freezer 7 pro.

Also bought from Newegg. I've had very good luck with them.

Get a good tier 1 or 2 PSU of 500 Watts+. All the new video cards suck power.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:56 AM   #13
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I have a co-worker who's every response is "your mom". "You know what's crazy?" "Your mom?" "What's first on the agenda?" "Your mom?" "What's for lunch?" "Your mom?"
Cool. You *know* you'll be getting this back with regularity, right?
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:29 PM   #14
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I enjoy PC Building but have not had a desktop in a couple years since I have been traveling. I love to cut Dell's profit margins with deals on their site. I got my current laptop 2.5 years ago for $570. It's amazing it has lasted so long but I have upgraded the hard drive and had to buy a new battery.

The fun computer stuff I have been working on in the last month is a new hardware infrastructure for Social Knowledge. I recently got some new servers that are monsters (dual quad core 1.86 64bit Xeons with 4MB Cache with 4GB each). Thats 14.88 Ghz of power on each server with all 64bit optimized software (OS, MySQL, etc). They are being put online this weekend and E-R.org will be moving over to this new system in the next few weeks (I will post an announcement when the move will happen).

Oh yeah, in order to get the best read write performance I am using 15k rpm drives in a RAID10 which is a Raid 0 + Raid 1. That means two disks are striped together for twice the speed and each one then has a backup for redundancy, super fast. Another cool think I have seen are the new non-volatile hard drives (basically like huge SSD cards) that have super fast access times. I hear they are great for bootup OS disk and are now coming out in highend laptops.

Of course the best system is only as fast as the slowest bottleneck. So having fast RAM is also important. It's amazing to see how fast things move forward (Moores Law), take a look at this chart I found when shopping for RAM this morning.



Of course for gaming the video card is going to need to fly and nowadays they are so fast. I think fast RAM usually comes out for video cards first and then makes it's way to the motherboard with time.

I don't actually do a lot of gaming (no time these days) but it is amazing to see the virtual environments rendered. I think with time that technology is going to merge more and more with the web. Maybe we need to setup the E-R.org island on Second Life?
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:43 PM   #15
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Gosh, looks like I can safely throw away the PCI IDE ATA133 HD expander card and the 24" IDE ATA 100 cable that I've been saving for all these years.

Might be time to part with a couple of the 5.25" & 3.5" drives I've been saving, too!
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:49 PM   #16
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Gosh, looks like I can safely throw away the PCI IDE ATA133 HD expander card and the 24" IDE ATA 100 cable that I've been saving for all these years.
Heyyy...is that the one I mailed you two years ago?
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Old 07-07-2007, 02:00 PM   #17
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Heyyy...is that the one I mailed you two years ago?
(Cough, cough) Ahem, if hypothetically they were, would you want them back? If we split the eBay profits would they be "computer equipment", "collectibles", or "antiques"?

They've seen constant use in the last two PCs but I haven't had a reason to insert them into our Compaq yet. I think the PCI card would drag everything else down, and for backups these days I'm using a USB connector to one of the hypothetical hard drives that's still seeing heavy use!

This PC is gonna limp along for a couple more years until spouse's retirement from the Reserves. Once I no longer have to support an ActivCard Gold reader for her ID card, we're goin' Mac. But maybe I'll add a wireless network for our laptops...
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Old 07-07-2007, 02:02 PM   #18
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Nah, I dont want them back. I was just wondering if I could send you 3-4 more cases of junk crap I dont want but wont throw out.
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Old 07-07-2007, 03:37 PM   #19
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I wanted to go RAID with some Raptor drives (10,000 RPM SATA), but the cost makes me say caviar will do just fine. What happens if a power supply can't handle your rig? Does it just power down? I'm imagining a brown on my PC...
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Old 07-07-2007, 03:42 PM   #20
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Remember that power supplies get weaker over time, which is one reason for overdoing it a bit.

Basically you'll get all sorts of weird little glitches that'll get worse over time. In fact, many people who report lots of weird problems and think its the OS or some virus or something turn out to actually just have a weak power supply. A very common problem in super-el-cheapo desktops where they spec the PS to barely spin the system up and after 18 months the PS has degraded by 15-20%. System gets weird.

A lot of power supplies also state a peak power output when they cant produce that wattage on a sustained basis.

Lots of good information found if you google "power supply shootout" and similar. Some companies are good actors that make good PS's that really put out the juice, nice and clean output, and will hang in there for the long haul. Lots of fakers and BS artists too.

This is an area where unfortunately many people cut corners, dont bother doing any research, and just use what comes in the cool looking case. And it ends up creating the most problems down the road.
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