PDA

View Full Version : PC Recommendations


Char Ell
09-03-2005, 01:09 PM
I'm about ready to bite the bullet and get a new system. My P4 1.5 GHz w/ 64 MB Nvidia GeForce graphics just doesn't cut it anymore. Well, it hasn't for a while but the time has fully arrived for me to get the latest and greatest I can afford...

I've pretty much decided on the Dell XPS Gen 5. I find It offers the most bang for the buck but I thought that maybe some of our more tech savvy forum members might have some other suggestions on a good gaming platform that might be better than Dell's gaming system.

Ideas/comments anyone?

EmptyWords
09-03-2005, 09:05 PM
if you wanna get something 100% gaming, go for alienware, but since they charge you LIST prices for everything, i say go to a store and get a custom ordered pc, and you might come off better. but im not a computer genius, im jsut speaking what i think would be better

stingerhs
09-03-2005, 11:12 PM
well, i wouldn't so much as recommend a specific brand as opposed to simply recommending different pieces of hardware, since that's what will deturmine how well you system runs in the first place. basically, i'd follow a couple of guidelines:

When you pick your processor, keep in mind one very important detail: Intel does not make the best processors. this has been proven a number of times, and especially recently with the duel-core processors. currently, the performance leader is AMD in both the single-core and duel-core markets, and not to mention AMD is way ahead in terms of 64-bit capable processors. if you have money to spend, i personally recommend either the Athlon64 FX-57 (single-core) or the Athlon64 4800 X2 (duel-core). at the moment, that also means that i don't recommend any Dell system due to Dell only offering Intel processors in their systems.
be very careful at the moment with video cards. if you're searching for a deal, this is not the time. a lot of people are watching ATI very closely for the pending release of the R230-based card. supposedly, it has the power to spank the living crap out of nVidia's GeForce 7800 GTX. and once its released, you can be sure that the prices for video cards might go down a bit. but if you're insistant on getting a new computer now, you could splurge for a system with an SLI setup with TWO GeForce 7800 GTX cards. granted, that'll set you back about $1200 without buying anything else. from what i hear, though, that's currently the fastest setup for gaming you can get. my personal recommendation: wait for ATI to release their next generation of cards. nVidia is bound to lower prices in order to steal sales away from ATI. and my recommendation there is to go with a GeForce 7800 GT. its not quite as fast as the GTX, but you definately can't go wrong there.
get a sound card of some kind, preferably a Sound Blaster X-Fi. personally, i wouldn't recommend shelling out the dough for the X-Fi Fatal1ty or the X-Fi Pro since they don't get you that much more for your money. but i do recommend going for one of the X-Fi processors due to all the audio goodies they come with. sure you could stick with integrated sound, but you will miss out on the quality.
Get a DVD-burner of some kind. trust me, it comes in handy when you need to back up a lot of files.
unless you're really into video editting or audio editting, i wouldn't recommend going for a HD larger than 120GB in size. honestly, if you can fill up a 120GB HD with nothing but game installs and MP3's, you really need to get a life.
if you're gonna get a monitor, you really need to take a hard look at what's more important. LCD monitors are finally catching up to the quality of CRT monitors in terms of graphics quality in gaming, so you won't find much of a difference there. otherwise, you need to decide what's more important: deskspace or money. CRT's are much cheaper than LCD's, but they take up a ton of space (and they weigh a ton). LCD's are still quite expensive, but they don't take up hardly any deskspace. so, you'll just have to decide for yourself which is more important.

that's really about it, unless you decide to build your own computer from the ground up, which is what i plan to do in about a year or so. things get a bit more complicated if you take that route, but i think just paying attention to what i suggested in terms of hardware will go a long way for you. remember: if you don't pay attention to what you buy, then don't complain when something goes wrong. ;)

EmptyWords
09-04-2005, 12:03 AM
try newegg.com they usualy have the best prices around, unless you wanna try ebay, but i wouldnt trust ebay

Char Ell
09-04-2005, 02:26 AM
Thanks for the advice stinger. I've built a couple of systems but it's been a few years since I built my last. It seems to be though that unless I want to pirate software (and I don't) it's cheaper to buy from a manufacturer. I would go with Alienware like EmptyWords recommends because I like their Aurora 7500 but they're $400-$500 US dollars more expensive than a comparatively equipped Dell system. I can't justify spending that much more to myself. And as far as the AMD vs. Intel performance goes I've always used Intel. It's not that I'm against AMD but Intel is all I've ever dealt with. And since I live in the Phoenix area and Intel has a couple of fabs some miles south of where I live there is always the possibility I could get a job there... Then what would I do with my AMD system? :scare5:

But seriously though, do you think I could build a complete system with:

Athlon64 4800 X2 CPU
1 GB RAM (hi-performance)
256 MB video card (performance equivalent to ATI Radeon X850 XT PE or better)
SoundBlaster X-Fi
80 GB SATA 10,000 RPM HDD and 160 GB SATA 7,200 RPM HDD
DVD+/-R+/-RW drive
24" LCD


along with licenses for Windows XP Pro and a leading anti-virus product for < $2700 US? If you think I can then I'm interested in hearing more because it doesn't seem possible to me. I haven't really done any serious recent research on this though. I'm just going off my experience of about 3+ years ago when I did a cost analysis of building my own system or buying one from a manufacturer. Buying was definitely cheaper than building my own at that time.

TheOssusKeeper
09-04-2005, 04:27 AM
I have done both, built my own and bought a new pc, they both have their pros and cons. The one i built was a good mid range pc at the time for the money i spent on building it, but after a couple of years, there was so many advancements that it more or less became out-dated compared to the newer cpu's and the software demanding a faster cpu speed just to run. If you go with new bought pc, go with one that will cover all the requirements of some of the most demanding software. Cpu speed (GHz), Memory (RAM), Storage space (HDD), etc. and also pick a pc that will allow you room to grow (upgrade things)... basically it boils down to personal preference, but you don't want to sell yourself short either when comes to getting a pc. If you get a new one, you might as well get one of the top of the line models of which ever brand you go with. The same can be said if you build a pc, go with top quality parts. And leave yourself room for upgrades. Personally, I like the Dell XPS Gen 5 and the AlienWare pc's, but thats just me, I'm sure there are others out there that are comparable.

EmptyWords
09-04-2005, 11:58 AM
Thanks for the advice stinger. I've built a couple of systems but it's been a few years since I built my last. It seems to be though that unless I want to pirate software (and I don't) it's cheaper to buy from a manufacturer. I would go with Alienware like EmptyWords recommends because I like their Aurora 7500 but they're $400-$500 US dollars more expensive than a comparatively equipped Dell system. I can't justify spending that much more to myself. And as far as the AMD vs. Intel performance goes I've always used Intel. It's not that I'm against AMD but Intel is all I've ever dealt with. And since I live in the Phoenix area and Intel has a couple of fabs some miles south of where I live there is always the possibility I could get a job there... Then what would I do with my AMD system? :scare5:

But seriously though, do you think I could build a complete system with:

Athlon64 4800 X2 CPU
1 GB RAM (hi-performance)
256 MB video card (performance equivalent to ATI Radeon X850 XT PE or better)
SoundBlaster X-Fi
80 GB SATA 10,000 RPM HDD and 160 GB SATA 7,200 RPM HDD
DVD+/-R+/-RW drive
24" LCD


along with licenses for Windows XP Pro and a leading anti-virus product for < $2700 US? If you think I can then I'm interested in hearing more because it doesn't seem possible to me. I haven't really done any serious recent research on this though. I'm just going off my experience of about 3+ years ago when I did a cost analysis of building my own system or buying one from a manufacturer. Buying was definitely cheaper than building my own at that time.


go to newegg.com and check out the prices there, from there you would probably get an idea of how much everythign would cost, and i think you should get 2 gigs of ram instead of 1.

stingerhs
09-04-2005, 06:44 PM
And as far as the AMD vs. Intel performance goes I've always used Intel. It's not that I'm against AMD but Intel is all I've ever dealt with. And since I live in the Phoenix area and Intel has a couple of fabs some miles south of where I live there is always the possibility I could get a job there... Then what would I do with my AMD system? :scare5:i don't think Intel execs are going to care that one of their employees uses a competitor's stuff. still, it would have a bit of irony to it. :DBut seriously though, do you think I could build a complete system with:

Athlon64 4800 X2 CPU
1 GB RAM (hi-performance)
256 MB video card (performance equivalent to ATI Radeon X850 XT PE or better)
SoundBlaster X-Fi
80 GB SATA 10,000 RPM HDD and 160 GB SATA 7,200 RPM HDD
DVD+/-R+/-RW drive
24" LCD


along with licenses for Windows XP Pro and a leading anti-virus product for < $2700 US? If you think I can then I'm interested in hearing more because it doesn't seem possible to me. I haven't really done any serious recent research on this though. I'm just going off my experience of about 3+ years ago when I did a cost analysis of building my own system or buying one from a manufacturer. Buying was definitely cheaper than building my own at that time.well, give me about an hour, and i'll get back to ya.... ;)

stingerhs
09-04-2005, 07:38 PM
i had to make three compromises, but for the most part, its exactly what you wanted. here ya go:

Motherboard- ASUS A8N-SLI Premium Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
$176 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131540)

CPU- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Toledo 1GHz FSB 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket 939 Dual Core Processor - Retail
$559 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103546)

GPU- BFG Tech BFGR78256GTOC Geforce 7800GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
$405 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814143037)

Power Supply- Antec TRUE CONTROL 550 ATX 550W Power Supply 115/230 V
$99 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103922)

Hard Drive- Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 SATA NCQ ST3160827AS 160GB 7200 RPM 8M Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM
$86.50 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148034)

DVD-Burner- Pioneer Black 16X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 16X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM 2M Cache IDE DVD Burner - OEM
$46.99 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827129164)

RAM- Crucial 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) System Memory - OEM
$105.98 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820146545)

Case- Thermaltake Armor VA8000BNS Black Chassis: 1.0mm SECC, Front Bezel: Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
$159 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811133163)

Monitor- ViewSonic VP201B Black 20.1" 16ms LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 400:1 0.255mm Pixel Pitch - Retail
$599.95 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16824116285)

Sound Card- Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum (SB0460P)
$199.99 linky (http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd/productDetail.do?oid=132979&WT.mc_n=4&WT.mc_t=U&cm_ven=COMPARISON%20SHOPPING&cm_cat=GOOGLE&cm_pla=DATAFEED-%3EPRODUCTS&cm_ite=1%20PRODUCT&cm_keycode=4)

OS- Microsoft Windows XP Professional w/SP2 and MS Plus! - OEM
$169.95 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16837116203)

System Security- VCOM System Suite 6.0 - Retail
$44.99 linky (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16832294013)

Total Price- $2652.35

in case your wondering, i compromised on the HD (couldn't find a 10,000 RPM SATA HD) and the monitor. i still hooked you up with a very nice 21", so i don't think its too much of a compromise. i also slighty compromised on the CPU. instead of the Athlon 4800X2, i posted the Athlon 4400X2. however, both CPU's are literally the same architecture except for the clock speeds, so its pretty easy to just slighty overclock the 4400X2 and get the same chip. ;)

note: the X-Fi series of cards hasn't been released to the public just yet, so i had to post a preorder from Circuit City. otherwise, you can pick up everything today straight from NewEgg.com.

hope that helps. :)

edit: okay, fixed it. still came in under $2700. :D

and before you start asking about VCOM SystemSuite, i've seen a number of tests to show that it's just as good or better than Norton System Works in a variety of tests. and it nets you a very good firewall, virus protection, and a bunch of other tools that are just plain out nice to have. ;)

Char Ell
09-05-2005, 02:13 AM
:horn: :king2:All hail the mighty stingerhs!!! :king2: :horn:

Hey man, that was a yeoman's job you did there. All I was really expecting was a "Yeah, you can do it for less than $2700" or "Nope, can't really do it. You're gonna hafta spend more dough." ;)

OK. I'm going to look over your numbers with links (thank you very much) and see if this will work for me.

TheOssusKeeper
09-05-2005, 06:36 AM
here is a link to Pricewatch.com...
http://www.pricewatch.com/
it's a search engine of sorts that will help find the lowests prices available for all sorts of pc parts...

here is a link i use sometimes for parts... they are not always the cheapest price around but sometimes they have some really good deals...
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Home.jsp

stingerhs
09-05-2005, 11:24 AM
oh yeah, and i forgot to mention that i got you an SLI motherboard, so if you want to get a second GeForce 7800 GT, you'll have that option open to you. good luck man. :D

Bob Lion54
09-05-2005, 11:33 AM
Running 2 video cards dosen't conflict or cause issues? (I've heard that wierd things can happen with a duel-prossesor. Or maybe I'm just thinking of certain things being incompatible with a "duely". If I understand correctly.)

If not, I might have to look into that.

Killwithhonor
09-05-2005, 12:03 PM
heres a link, better than alien ware and u cant customize this stuff here u go, dont listen to anything else this is the best you can get!
http://www.cyberpowersystem.com/

ChAiNz.2da
09-05-2005, 02:47 PM
Running 2 video cards dosen't conflict or cause issues?
If it's an SLI bridge enabled video card it won't conflict. They're built specifically for that reason :)

I have SLI bridged video cards on a dual processor setup and it runs like a dream... unfortunately, if the game/software isn't designed to accomodate it, you won't see any "miracle" performance hikes... :fist:

Bob Lion54
09-05-2005, 03:06 PM
^^^^^
Ah. Thanks for the info. I was at best buy a few hours ago. Well, I figured I might as well check out the video cards. I saw a Geforce 7800 GT SLI for $499!!!!

And thats for 1!

By the way, do you need duel processors to run SLI?

Also what do you guys think of the GeForce 6800 GT Overclocked? Seems reasonably priced at $399.
Right now I have the GeForce 5600 FX at 256mb. Would I notice a hugh difference?

Oh, and by the way, one of the things I want to be able do is use the DVI capabilities of my monitor.

http://www.kirikaeki.net/qa/image/dvi.jpg
My card looks like the one on the left. My monitor , the one on the right.
Are they compatible? I've been looking into it, but my all I could figure out is my head hurt.

Sorry if I'm "hijacking" the thread, but I think(hope) these questions might help Hai Wan, too. That, and I'm thinking of an upgrade myself.

ChAiNz.2da
09-05-2005, 03:17 PM
Nope, single GPU's will work fine for SLI bridging :)

The 6800 GT OC is a great card. I believe Achilles has one...

I'm using the GeForce 6800 Ultra PCI Express 512MB DDR3 cards (SLI Bridged) and they (of course) work much better than my system that has an old FX5200 Ultra in it...

Still though, my system is not the "norm"... I'm a professional video editor and my job pretty much requires having these specs. Dual processing of course will have it's advantages, as well as SLI bridging... but if your system is for gaming and the occasional word processing / typical computer uses... I'd advise to save your pennies and don't go overboard with unnecessary 'horsepower'... ;)

The 6800 GT OC or ATI comparable (stingerhs would know what to suggest), some decent RAM and a single processor in the 2.0-3.0+ ghz range would be an ideal system with mega performance that anyone would drool over :)

Bob Lion54
09-05-2005, 03:18 PM
AH crap! I was editing when you posted!

But cool , thanks for the info. Again!

ChAiNz.2da
09-05-2005, 03:22 PM
AH crap! I was editing when you posted!

But cool , thanks for the info. Again!
DVI capability should be 'standard' with the 6800's, even my FX5200 works with dual monitor setups ;)

You'll need a DVI to VGA (or vice versa) adapter to take advantage of the setup. Unless of course one of your monitors is VGA and the other is DVI... hehehe

Bob Lion54
09-05-2005, 03:26 PM
Ok thanks again.
I think I'll have a good setup with the 6800. Just FYI, right now I have
Pentium 4 @ 3ghtz
1.2 gb ram

Sorry if I hijacked, but hopefully others will find the info usefull too.

EmptyWords
09-05-2005, 05:23 PM
^^^^^
Ah. Thanks for the info. I was at best buy a few hours ago. Well, I figured I might as well check out the video cards. I saw a Geforce 7800 GT SLI for $499!!!!

And thats for 1!

By the way, do you need duel processors to run SLI?

Also what do you guys think of the GeForce 6800 GT Overclocked? Seems reasonably priced at $399.
Right now I have the GeForce 5600 FX at 256mb. Would I notice a hugh difference?

Oh, and by the way, one of the things I want to be able do is use the DVI capabilities of my monitor.

http://www.kirikaeki.net/qa/image/dvi.jpg
My card looks like the one on the left. My monitor , the one on the right.
Are they compatible? I've been looking into it, but my all I could figure out is my head hurt.

Sorry if I'm "hijacking" the thread, but I think(hope) these questions might help Hai Wan, too. That, and I'm thinking of an upgrade myself.

for 399 you can buy a damn 7800GT, noadays you can buy a 6800gt for around 250 even less sometimes

Det. Bart Lasiter
09-05-2005, 07:44 PM
couldn't find a 10,000 RPM SATA HD

What about the WD Raptors (SATA 150)? Also, I'd recommend at least 600 watts for better stability, the 7-series eats up a lot of power.

DVI capability should be 'standard' with the 6800's, even my FX5200 works with dual monitor setups You'll need a DVI to VGA (or vice versa) adapter

I'd recommend getting a monitor that uses DVI though (the video cards come with the connectors anyway though), playing games in HD is awesome. For something like that, I'd recommend an LCD TV that doubles as a monitor, you can usually get them bigger for less money. For instance a Samsung 23.4" LCD monitor is around $800, but I got a 32" LCD TV for the same, which also functions at higher resolutions (up to 1920x1080), than the Samsung. Also, the ATi R230 isn't living up to the hype in most tests, it also comes with 16 pipelines, instead of 24 like the 7-series. But here are my recommended specs:

ABIT Fatal1ty A8N-SLI
AMD FX-55 San Diego
OCZ Dual-Channel Platinum (DDR-400, 2 Gb)
WD Raptor 10,000 RPM (74 Gb)
BFG Tech GeForce 6800 GT OC's (1 or 2)
Case (pick one, I'd recommend a Lian Li though)

It comes to $2103, plus whatever other accessories you may need (CD-DVD, monitor, OS).

stingerhs
09-05-2005, 09:59 PM
Also, the ATi R230 isn't living up to the hype in most tests, it also comes with 16 pipelines, instead of 24 like the 7-series.Also, the ATi R230 isn't living up to the hype in most tests, it also comes with 16 pipelines, instead of 24 like the 7-series.first, the R230 hasn't even been released yet, and we still don't have any word from ATI as to what the specs are. however, it is rumored that th R230 card is going to have a whopping 32 pixel pipelines combined with a 90 nanometer chip (a first for ATI). technically, that translates into a performance increase roughly equivalent to about 30-55% over the current ATI frontrunner, the RX850 XT.

and with the GF7800 GTX only giving about 20-40% better performance over the RX850 XT, the R230 is supposed to be about 10-15% better performance-wise than the GF7800 GTX. that doesn't sound like much (and it isn't), but it will probably give ATI the edge it needs to regain the market it lost by releasing the card months after the GF7800 GTX.The 6800 GT OC or ATI comparable (stingerhs would know what to suggest), some decent RAM and a single processor in the 2.0-3.0+ ghz range would be an ideal system with mega performance that anyone would drool overthe ATI comparable would be the Radeon X800 XT. if you want something even faster, the Radeon X850 XT is also available (for a $150 upcharge).

and so you guys are aware, the ATI equivalent of the SLI configuration will be released soon. i forget what its called, but its supposed to allow both ATI cards to act like one unified card. its also supposed to effectively double the available pixel pipelines (in theory, anyway) since both cards will function as one unified card. the real benefit to this setup will come whenever graphics are fed in multi-threaded as you'll be able to render almost double the amount of polygons while getting the same speed. but until that day, performance gains are likely to be like the SLI setup: fairly modest at best.

hope that technical babble makes sense. ;)

Char Ell
09-05-2005, 11:40 PM
Thanks to everyone for the helpful advice!

@ChAiNz - I'm suffering from serious computer envy after your posting about your system specs :D

I'm definitely getting an SLI capable setup but I think I'm just going to go with one video card for now (financial constraints). If however (please let there be) KotOR 3 is coded such that it will be able to take full advantage of two vid cards in an SLI config...oooooo...ahhhhhh..... :drool1: I would definitely buy the 2nd card for that!!!

*** Hai Wan crosses fingers and toes and wiggles his nose in hopes that his wish will come true***

ChAiNz.2da
09-06-2005, 11:09 AM
I'd recommend getting a monitor that uses DVI though (the video cards come with the connectors anyway though), playing games in HD is awesome. For something like that, I'd recommend an LCD TV that doubles as a monitor
I definitely and completely agree :D

My 6800's are dual DVI's since my Apple cinema displays require them, but I also made sure my TV had monitor capabilty as well. You never know what will happen, so I like having options ;)

question though. The 10,000rpm WD Raptors (SATA 150). Do they have to be configured in a RAID array? Or will they work with a PCI Express hook? Speeds like that remind me of the old SCSI days and the hours of cursing getting the damn RAID to work right... hehehe

@Hai Wan
hehehe... trust me, if it wasn't for my job... I wouldn't have half the system I have now (nor would really need it)...

Det. Bart Lasiter
09-06-2005, 10:16 PM
^^^^
Nope, no RAID necessary, especially now with the horrible nForce RAID program. Just make sure you have enough power (SATA or legacy/4-pin molex), as well as a SATA 150, SATA 3 Gb/s, or SATA 2 cable and available port. But I have to stress about the power supply, I have two, and that, along with an FX-55 SD, 4 Gb DDR-400 (that have activity lights), and twin 7800 GTX's at 525/1326 mhz I've had it with not having enough power, and got an 850 watt, but make sure (especially with 6800 Ultras), that you have at least a 575-600 watt for stability.


My card looks like the one on the left. My monitor , the one on the right.
Are they compatible? I've been looking into it, but my all I could figure out is my head hurt.

Just get a DVI-D cable, that way it's compatible (which they are :))

***edit***
Also, just because it's SCSI you don't need a RAID array...

Det. Bart Lasiter
09-06-2005, 10:44 PM
first, the R230 hasn't even been released yet, and we still don't have any word from ATI as to what the specs are. however, it is rumored that th R230 card is going to have a whopping 32 pixel pipelines combined with a 90 nanometer chip (a first for ATI). technically, that translates into a performance increase roughly equivalent to about 30-55% over the current ATI frontrunner, the RX850 XT.

They've had them in benchmarks for the release in Taiwan (which is a lot sooner than here), it has a 7-- mhz core (depending on the variation), and a 1400 mhz mem-clock, but you are right about the 90 nm process. But actually, isn't it the R520?

Char Ell
09-20-2005, 09:04 PM
@ Killwithhonor - I checked out Cyber Power systems and decided I liked what I saw. I could get a custom case w/ temperature sensors and display, they seemed to have good components, and the price was quite reasonable. So I ordered what I wanted from them. My experience with CyberPower systems after that has been nothing but disappointing and frustrating.

1) THEY TOOK MY MONEY BEFORE SHIPPING MY ORDER - They charged my credit card the day after I ordered the system but didn't ship the system until 10 days later. My experience with other online merchants has been they don't actually charge my card until they ship the merchandise.

2) SYSTEM MALFUNCTIONS FROM THE START - I was quite giddy when I received my system this last Saturday. After about an hour of unpacking and getting everything plugged in I fired the system up. The splashscreen for the mainboard came up and then blackness. Uh-oh is right. After a few reboots I finally got the Windows XP setup screen to come up. Once Windows XP was set up and updated I installed KotOR. Oh the graphics were so sweet. I could actually see the force power effects on force push and knight speed. The GeForce 7800 GTX was rendering like I've never seen before. I turned shadows and grass on. All was good for about 10 minutes and then my system locked hard. Couldn't bring up task manager, couldn't move the mouse cursor on the screen and so my only recourse was to hit the reset button on the case. The system came up OK but locked up again after about 2 minutes of KotOR. AARRGGHH! So I installed Jedi Academy to see how that worked. The system hard locked when I was setting up my character! Not good. Then I decided to try playing a DVD movie (AotC) and after about a minute I got the BSOD. I reseated the 7800 GTX, checked everything else but couldn't get the system to work without hard freezing, sometimes even when I was just using a web browser!

3) CLUELESS TECH SUPPORT - So today I called their tech support. At this point I know I've got some bum h/w I just don't know what part or parts are bad. They told me to try pulling one and then the other stick of RAM to see if that fixed it. No dice. Then they had me pull the sound card. Still no good. The system kept getting worse and worse. After this my second hard drive stopped working. I don't know if it died or if the mainboard was having problems (probably the mainboard). So finally after being off and on the phone with them all morning (they don't answer the phone much so I had to keep calling back until someone would pick up) I told them I wanted to send my system back to them and have them send me a replacement. The tech told me that would take 3 weeks! I'm really not happy at this point :firehead So in exasperation I ask what else he wants me to try. He has me get into the BIOS, puts me on hold, some other tech gets on the line and asks how he can help me, I tell him I'm holding for the other tech, he talks to me about my issues for a while until the original tech comes back after a few minutes. Then the tech tells me he wants to change the BIOS settings because sometimes the BIOS resets during shipping. The tech explains that the battery on the mainboard goes out sometimes. I question why he thinks that because I never saw a message advising me that the BIOS was reset and although the time was a few hours off the date on the system was correct when I powered it up the first time. He still thinks it could be a BIOS problem so he has me go in and change the RAM clock speed from the auto setting of 666.7 MHz to 667.5 MHz! Then he says, "Now, try this for a day and if it doesn't work then we'll look into having you send your system in." It should be needless to say that the little RAM speed tweak did jack squat!

So I decided to cut my losses and invoke their warranty for a full refund if the system is not functioning properly within 7 days of receipt, got my RMA #, and shipped the systsem back to Cyber Power today, 4 days after I received it. This little experience required I take the day off todya and has put me in the hole for US$110 for shipping. That is a smaller price to pay and less headache than having to deal with that company any further. Once I get the proper credit back to my card and this is all straightened out I'll build my own system.

stingerhs
09-20-2005, 11:37 PM
sounds like they gave you crappy hard disks and possibly didn't bother to give you a power supply that could handle the GeForce. as far as the tech support goes, he might have been thinking that the memory wasn't writing fast enough and could have been causing a massive leak in the memory. hey, i've heard of worse off-beat suggestions, but all you really needed to do would have been to find the CMOS reset button on the mainboard to reset the BIOS to the factory specs. why they didn't bother to suggest that is beyond my understanding.

anyways, i think you can understand why i highly prefer building my own system: you know exactly what you're getting, and the warranty on individual parts is usually going to benefit you more than to simply return your entire machine which is what most manufacturers do to compensate for ****ty tech support.

oh well, good luck with the build. ;)

Char Ell
09-21-2005, 01:55 AM
There was nothing wrong with the BIOS settings. I had already reset the BIOS before I even called tech support. And I had a 600W power supply so there should have been no problem w/ power :D It just came down to something was wrong with the h/w. I suspect it was the mainboard or the PNY GeForce 7800GTX. Does 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit sound like a normal temperature for a 7800GTX GPU? That was about what the card was running when I wasn't playing any games. The few minutes of game time I got in got the temp up to mid 130's.

Thanks for the advice on the parts. I got most of what you recommended only I didn't get it on my own of course. So now I'll just buy my own parts and do my own assembly.

vanir
09-21-2005, 03:36 AM
Well personally I start to panic at about 105-110F (but alarms/shutdown are usually set at 140F).

I agree the whole overpowered system issue is a big financial hole. Considering I built a perfectly capable system for around US$750 (AU$1000), I can play TSL and my other fave game IL2:FB/AEP with most of the graphics settings turned up on 1024x768 with no troubles and very rare FPS losses, all the Force power effects looking smooth, etc.
My sound is on board sis virtual-surround driving 2.1 that can still shake windows at 30 yards and make your skin feel funny with the bass when I pump it, my video/cpu overclocked to a (wow) 2.6G/405MHz and my huuuuuge 768m ram still means I have to shut down all services before I start switching games on, but it runs anything I've tried on it, ya know?
Keeping in mind I pay like $1.25 for every US dollar, my cool looking aluminium case with funky "soft touch" features and plenty of fans cost me $135
My motherboard-chipset (GE M2 Pro, yeah cheap but hey, it works), Celeron 2.4 CPU (hence I can only clock it to a whopping 2.6), a 256m DDR all cost $250 as a package.
upgrading to 768m ram another $100.
A 400MHz/256m ATI 9600Pro $250
And the colour monitor somebody left on a junk pile in the next street and has kept me going for the last year with a perfect record. My 40G HDD cost $30, my CD-RW/DVD-R combo drive $80 and my powersupply came with the case but it's a new one geared for a P4 setup so has little troubles with mine.
XP Home edition cost me $135 and Nortons $80.

Let's see, that's a total of AU$1060 which amounts to <US$800 and I can play TSL fine with 2 anis/x4 aa and all the bells and whistles. I just switch off soft shaders and grass but have the detail up high and all the rest.
My other game like I said IL2 comes up fantastic, I just don't turn the water up full detail for weather effects on the waves but get awesome flight sim action.

My other uses as a dvd player/bedroom entertainment system (where I spend 98% of my spare time), it's more than enough.

ahem, not saying you shouldn't go out and spend nearly AU$3500 immediately, just well, you could get buy a car for stock racing with that or a boat.

SITHSLAYER133
09-21-2005, 04:05 AM
the best one isnt one brought from the store its the one built by the major nerd not being mean but they no the ****

Det. Bart Lasiter
09-21-2005, 03:04 PM
There was nothing wrong with the BIOS settings. I had already reset the BIOS before I even called tech support. And I had a 600W power supply so there should have been no problem w/ power It just came down to something was wrong with the h/w. I suspect it was the mainboard or the PNY GeForce 7800GTX. Does 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit sound like a normal temperature for a 7800GTX GPU? That was about what the card was running when I wasn't playing any games. The few minutes of game time I got in got the temp up to mid 130's.

Thanks for the advice on the parts. I got most of what you recommended only I didn't get it on my own of course. So now I'll just buy my own parts and do my own assembly.

Unfortunately, wattage isn't enough, for any card above a 6800 GT I recommend 500+ watts, and at least 36 amps on the +12v rail for system stability. For that I recommend a the new Thermaltake PSU's, $180 retail, 680 watts, 38 amp +12v, and it's cool looking if you have a case window. Also the GPU temp you have is slightly above normal(I have an XFX 7800 GTX, only it's in SLI), but it's nothing to be concerned about, for instance, mine is currently at 42 C/107.6 F, but I don't have a stock heatsink. Anyways, as for system instability, the PSU should solve that(make sure the amperage is as high as you can get), and if that fails, try getting a WD Raptor, they're made for high-end servers so from that and personal experience I can say they're reliable, plus the OEM comes well-packaged(from newegg anyways). But I cannot say it enough, GET A HIGH AMPERAGE PSU.

stingerhs
09-21-2005, 06:50 PM
yep, jmac got the point. Watts is merely a measure of power, not the measure of current that the system actually needs. still, you should be okay with the power supply i reccommended.

and are you sure the readings were in Fahrenheit?? the computer industry uses Centigrade for temp readings, in which case overheating definately would have been the culprit on your system.

generally, if it gets above 100C, then you should consider improving the cooling systems. if it gets above 120C, usually the heat diodes implanted into the chips are going to start going off which would have been causing the crashes. if you had the chips getting into the 130C range, my guess is that you probably blew out one of the heat diodes which would have seriously hindered system stability, not to mention made the GPU just about useless since it could get inaccurate temp readings.

my guess is that either the case wasn't rated for the type of heat put out by hardware or the cooling system on the GeForce wasn't doing the job. that means one of two things: either Cyber Power ****ed you over with a poorly designed case or PNY didn't design the cooling system to properly handle the heat generated by the GPU. either way: you were pretty much screwed over from the start. personally, i'd raise hell with the PR folks @ Cyber Power for having to pay $110 to ship their piece of crap back to them. it either wasn't designed properly, or they didn't put in the necessary research to deturmine that PNY didn't design the cooling system properly. either way, Cyber Power is at fault and you really shouldn't have to pay for their mistakes.

but thats just my two pennies. ;)

Palpatine_dc
09-22-2005, 04:50 PM
I also have a Geforce 7800 GTX installed and when running normal it has a av. t of 40-45 Celcius. There is a threshhold that stands at 115 C (default setting). Check your t, if it's C you should really check your cooling.

My last system also had a lot of random chrashes and it turned out that 3 pins of my ATX connector melted. As a result I had to throw away my Mainboard and power supply.

Hope it helps

Char Ell
09-23-2005, 09:39 AM
'Tis good to know that a high wattage PSU doesn't necessarily cover my future 7800 GTX vid card's power requirements. I'll make sure to look at the amp rating as well.

I do find it kind of strange that jmac recommends such a high wattage PSU. Most of the PSU's I've seen advertised as SLI ready are in the 550W-600W range, but of course I wasn't paying attention to the amp rating at the time.

As far as the GPU temp goes the numbers I gaver were definitely Fahrenheit. I think I may have put the temperature probe in the wrong place though. I don't know where Cyber Power originally placed it because I pulled the 7800 GTX and reseated it before I realized that it had a temp probe attached to it. I didn't see any tape or tape marks to indicate where it was attached so I slipped it in between the card and the heat sink on the bottom of the card. It probably should have been taped to the other side of the heat sink instead of between the card and the heat sink.

Anyway, anybody have anything to say, one way or the other, about MSI motherboards?

Det. Bart Lasiter
09-23-2005, 01:03 PM
MSI is a pretty good company, I personally like my ASUS A8N-SLI Premium, you don't have to switch the SLI chip around. Also, those numbers were definitely in Fahrenheit, mine's 43 C, with a core slow-down/shut-down at 125 C. Also, you don't need that much wattage for running your system, but it will be more stable, the PSU I recommended will definitely work with your system too, I have one with a similar setup.

stingerhs
09-23-2005, 01:19 PM
well, i think i'm gonna head out to ask a couple of guys with even more tech knowledge than me to see what their opinion is on the wattage requirements on a PSU for a system with a GeForce 7800. i say its best to clear out the confusion about how much power the card really needs before you go spend $200+ for a beefy PSU.

be back later. ;)

Edit: well, that took me less than 5min. :rolleyes:

okay, straight from Nvidia's FAQ sheet for the GeForce 7800 GTX:Q: What power supply does it require?
Current recommendations are 350W for single, 500W for SLI.that should clear up the confusion just a tad. ;)

citation: http://www.nvidia.com/page/geforce_7800_faq.html

Det. Bart Lasiter
09-23-2005, 07:05 PM
^^^^
Those are just to run it, I'd recommend more though. My system uses a lot of power, but 550 watts was enough for my 6800 GT setup... That being said, don't underestimate how much of a power-hog the 6800 Ultra and 7800-series cards are.

stingerhs
09-23-2005, 07:12 PM
very true. but a 400W PSU would probably be just fine for most applications if you use that card. ;)

ChAiNz.2da
09-25-2005, 09:01 AM
yup, I'm running a 520 Watt PSU pumping out a little over 38amps.. but it runs my 2 SLI 6800 Ultras, Floppy Drive, 2 internal SATA's, internal ZIP drive and my 2 DVD burners without a hitch...

Though I would suggest a "non" generic PSU. Don't buy a store brand PSU unless it includes certain 'protections' (and a warranty wouldn't hurt ;) ).

Unbeknowst to alot of users, most power you get from your wall outlets aren't a "steady" stream... meaning, it's not officially a regulated event. Power companies have a range that they are required to stay in, but not a particular constant...

This means surges, brown-outs and spikes are going to be a killer for your machine (moreso than usual)...

Spend a few dimes more for a brand name PSU, particulary look for protections against over temperature, voltage, current & short circuit protection... and fans! (plural)

I use Master Power or Mad Dog brands mostly when I build a system.. but there's others that are just as good (if not better)... I like those 2 mainly because they have "smart cable" capability where you only use the power connectors you need. You simply plug in the connector that you need into the main unit. They also have thermostats that only run the fans when necessary (over 40 Celsius)

No clutter, no mess & especially easy on your Utilities bill :D

TheOssusKeeper
09-25-2005, 08:01 PM
hehe, chainz has a pimped out pc... :p

i've got 450w ps in my pc...

RedHawke
09-25-2005, 11:21 PM
To add to what ChAiNz stated above about Power Supplies...

Always, and I do mean always! Use a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) with your PC! Remember to protect your Power Supply and PC from those little variances in power. ;)

Those power surge protector strips aren't enough, I thought they were once upon a time, and I had to learn an expensive lesson about what ChAiNz described above about Power Companies, you can still get a fried PC if you have a power outage just using those surge strips...

Also never just plug your PC directly into the wall that's just basically "assisted suicide" to your poor PC. :D

ChAiNz.2da
09-26-2005, 09:03 AM
Also never just plug your PC directly into the wall that's just basically "assisted suicide" to your poor PC. :D
I couldn't agree more with RedHawke's suggestions...UPS's are lifesavers (err.. system savers) ;)

and that quote just made the All-time classics RH! :lol: :thumbsup:

RedHawke
09-27-2005, 12:51 AM
and that quote just made the All-time classics RH! :lol: :thumbsup:
:D

Hello, Dr. Kavorkian we got an AS/400 that needs your help! ;)