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Rogue Nine
02-21-2008, 12:33 AM
This thread is for discussion and advice on building and upgrading your computer. Got a video card you'd like some opinions on? Want to know which processor to buy? Unsure about what kind of RAM to get? This is the thread to ask these questions in. Please do not ask troubleshooting questions; for those issues, please follow the procedure described in the Forum FAQ thread (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=171526).

If this is your first time building a PC on your own, the Tech Report has published an awesome step-by-step guide (http://techreport.com/articles.x/13671) on how to do it.

There are a lot of places you can buy parts from online. However, if you're not sure whether or not a certain site is reputable, the following retailers have been generally agreed upon to be reputable and safe to use:
Newegg (http://www.newegg.com/) - Pretty much the computer enthusiast's dream site. Fast service, generally decent pricing, free shipping on certain items.
PC Connection (http://www.pcconnection.com/IPA/Home.htm)
TigerDirect (http://www.tigerdirect.com/)
Microcenter (http://www.microcenter.com/)
NCIX (http://www.ncix.com/) (for our Canadian brethren) and NCIXUS (http://www.ncixus.com/) (for the Yanks among us).
Scan.co.uk (http://scan.co.uk/) (UK)
Aria.co.uk (http://www.aria.co.uk/) (UK)

Feel free to recommend more sites and if they're up to snuff, they'll be added in.

Have fun!

Rogue Nine
02-21-2008, 12:35 AM
Recommended Parts - (March 31, 2008)
This is a list of parts that are all generally agreed upon to be good and solid choices for building a computer. It is by no means exhaustive and should be used only as a starting point, as everyone's needs in a computer are different. Nothing is set in stone, so feel free to ask questions on anything on this list.

It will be periodically updated as new and zingier technology comes out (which is pretty much everyday in the computer world), so keep checking back!

Everything linked here will be to Newegg, as they've got the most comprehensive page set up, however, you may find pricing for certain parts better at the other sites listed above. This is especially true for the current line of Intel Core 2 Duo processors, the 45nm Wolfdales. They are in such high demand that Newegg is consistently sold out and as such you would be better off trying to find it on other sites.

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115046)
Xeon E3110 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117165&Tpk=E3110) - just a re-branded E8400, pretty much the exact same specs
Core 2 Quad Q9300 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115040) - successor to the Q6600, Yorkfield core based on 45nm process
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103194)
Athlon X2 BE-2350 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103231)

Motherboard

Intel - Socket 775 Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L ATX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059)
abit IP35 Pro ATX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16813127030)
ASUS P5N-E SLI ATX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131142)
AMD - Socket AM2 ASUS M2N-SLI ATX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131013)
Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H Micro ATX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128056)
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Micro ATX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128090)

Memory G.Skill 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231098)
Corsair 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145184)
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146565)
Kingston ValueRAM 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134117)

Video Card (GPU)

Nvidia EVGA GeForce 8800GT 512MB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130319)
MSI GeForce 8800GT 512MB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127329)
EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 512MB (G92) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130325)
ATI Sapphire Radeon HD 3850 512MB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102715)
Diamond Radeon HD 3870 512MB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814103050)
Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102723)

Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar 500GB 7200RPM SATA 16MB Cache (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136073)
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200RPM SATA 32MB Cache (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148288)
Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10000RPM SATA 16MB Cache (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136012)

Optical Drive Samsung 20X DVD+/-R SATA (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151153)
Lite-On 20X DVD+/-R SATA (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106070)

Power Supply (PSU) Enermax Liberty 500W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194003)
Thermaltake W0093RU 500W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153028)
Antec earthwatts 500W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371007)
Corsair CMPSU 550W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139004)

Aftermarket Cooling

CPU - REQUIRED IF YOU PURCHASE AN OEM PROCESSOR! Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186134)
Zalman CNPS9700 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118019)
Thermaltake CL-P0401 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835106102)
Tuniq Tower 120 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835154001)
Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185125) (AMD chips)
GPU Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186016)

Case Antec Nine Hundred (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021)
Antec P182 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129025)
Raidmax Smilodon (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156062)
NXZT Alpha (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146041)
Thermaltake Armor VA8000BWS (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133154)
Cooler Master Centurion 5 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119068)
Cooler Master RC-690 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137)

Niner's Personal Picks for Performance/Sweet Spot
CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037) w/ Zalman CNPS9700 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118019)
Mobo - Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L ATX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059)
Memory - G.Skill 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231098)
Video Card - EVGA GeForce 8800GT 512MB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130319) w/ Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186016)
Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar 500GB 7200RPM SATA 16MB Cache (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136073)
Optical Drive - Samsung 20X DVD+/-R SATA (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151153)
Power Supply - Thermaltake W0093RU 500W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153028)
Case - Raidmax Smilodon (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156062)

If you have any other recommendations, please post them for review and I'll see about adding them to the list. :)

Rogue Nine
02-21-2008, 12:35 AM
General Hardware FAQ - (March 31, 2008)
This is designed to provide a broad overview of the most commonly asked questions pertaining to hardware. Again, as with the recommendations above, this is by no means an exhaustive compilation and is constantly subject to change, depending on the state of the computer industry.

Which is better: Intel or AMD?
Quite possibly the most oft-asked question not only in enthusiast circles, but by everyday users and novices alike. The short answer is: Intel, by virtue of its line of Core 2 Duo/Quad chips which consistently outperform their AMD counterparts in almost every benchmarking test undertaken. (http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu_2007.html?modelx=33&model1=946&model2=882&chart=438) Intel chips are fast, consume a conservative amount of power and run cool. This is not to say that AMD chips are not viable options as well; they are generally cheaper and many casual users and enthusiasts still use them, especially the Black Editions which are pretty much designed for overclocking. However, Intel has AMD beat in almost every way performance-wise.

Which is better: Nvidia or ATI?
Probably the second most oft-asked question by computer users. However, unlike Intel vs AMD, this one isn't so cut and dried. Nvidia has had the fastest cards on the market (GeForce 8800Ultra and 8800GTX) and a slew of high-end offerings at competitive prices (8800GTS, 8800GT) for quite some time now. ATI has recently released its latest high-end offering, the HD 3870 X2, that actually gives the 8800Ultra a run for its money (http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/01/28/ati_r680_the_rage_fury_maxx_2/) and has had some very good mid-range offerings (HD 3870, HD 3850) that appeal to those looking for cheaper GPU options. So, it's really up in the air right now. Nvidia and ATI are working feverishly to one-up each other, and that's a good thing for the industry.

Should I get a quad-core processor?
Not unless you do a lot of heavy video editing or some other function that takes full advantage of four cores. If you're just looking to do some gaming, then stick with a dual core as most games today still do not have support for quad core CPUs.

Should I get DDR3 memory?
Not at this point in time. It's ridiculously priced and not worth splurging for when DDR2 800 and 1066 are more than enough.

What is overclocking?
Simply put, it is making your processor run at a higher speed than it is rated for. This causes an increase in perfomance at the expense of possible instability and/or decreased part life. It's a simple enough concept, but takes a bit of practice and preparation to do. Tech Report has put together an excellent guide to overclocking (http://techreport.com/articles.x/13815) that addresses pretty much everything you need to know.

What is the difference between OEM vs. Retail?
You may notice that the parts in the lists above have either 'OEM' or 'Retail' listed at the end and you may wonder what that means and what effect it will have on your purchase. Basically, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are products that are sold by manufacturers without retail packaging to retailers for purchase in or with a complete system. For example, an OEM hard drive will probably come wrapped in anti-magnetic plastic, with no retail box or cables or software CDs or instructions. An OEM processor will come much the same way, without a heatsink and fan. Why are they sold without retail packaging? Because this makes them a lot cheaper and therefore more attractive to those looking to save a bunch of money when putting together a system.

So why would anyone buy Retail when OEM is cheaper?
The big difference is with warranties. Retail products come with instructions and well-defined service and support options. OEM parts often have limited instructions (if any at all) and shorter warranties, since they are meant to be sold as part of a complete system. Also, as stated above, OEM products are usually just the part you order, nothing more, nothing less. This means that you will have to provide any peripherals that you may need to hook it up to your system, like cables, connectors and the like. This is particularly important when purchasing OEM processors, as you MUST also purchase an aftermarket heatsink for them.

In the end, it is completely up to you whether or not you choose retail or OEM. It may give you peace of mind to know that your parts are backed up with a warranty and that you get everything you need, but your wallet might thank you more if you go OEM.

Why are some older components more expensive than newer ones?
This is a bit of an oddity in the computer hardware market. As newer things come out, one would expect for the older products to go down in price in order to liquidate inventory, right? For the most part, PC components do not follow this trend. A good example is that of the Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115003) and the E6750 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115029). The E6600 came out in early 2006 as the first chip in Intel's Conroe line, priced competitively around $250. After about a year and a number of improvements to the architecture, the E6750, also based on the Conroe core, came out in mid 2007 at around $190. It is a faster, better chip than the E6600 in almost every way, but yet is cheaper than its predecessor. Why is this? Nobody is really sure why retailers still choose to sell the older products at the same price point, but it's important for consumers to know, as they may be choosing pricier parts that are inferior to newer technology. So when shopping around for PC components, make sure you're getting the latest technology and not overpaying for outdated hardware!

These are all the questions I can think of at the moment, but I'm sure Astro, stingerhs and our other tech-heads will be able to contribute more later on. And maybe if there's enough interest, we can start another thread for peripherals/software/whatnot.

(I would like to thank stingerhs for tutoring me [read: putting up with my many stupid questions] about computer stuffs and providing me the inspiration to make this thread. He's my geeky computer hero. :))

El Sitherino
02-21-2008, 01:21 AM
Niner. This is why I want to host your unholy awesome spawn.

Astrotoy7
02-21-2008, 05:06 AM
That's it for now. Watch this space....

THIS was what I meant...hehehe lolz (One day I'll get started on that "how to build a pc" guide I was planning too :p )

Great Stuff Niner. Whilst we're applauding one another, I'd like to thank all the regular contributors here, especially stinger and T7 who put their hand up to help when I nagged D333 to let us have this place.

Kudos to Qliveur, tk and negsun for their amazing CPU knowledge, skill with weird glasses and news reporting skills(respectively)...and Ray, extremely knowledgeable on the software side of things(though sometimes grumpy)


* * *

Here's some bits I can add for the moment:

An Inconvenient PC Truth?
Q. Dear LFN Tech-heads. I love the environment. I was worried that PCs take up too much power. Can you tell me a bit more about this ?

A. Yes. You are quite right to be concerned! You may have been noticing the increasing trend for "power gaming pcs" to put absolutely zero consideration towards being energy efficient. Mainboards are being released that can take 2 separate CPUs, Multiple graphics cards and dual power supplies...(boo! to Intels Skulltrail Absurdity)

Here's some factors that cause increased power consumption:
*Large form factor(ATX and multi-socket mainboards)
*High end and/or Multiple GPUs(require higher wattage PSU to power them)
*Overclocking
*Thermal countermeasures. Apart from extra fans and the like, some thermal tech require their own independent power supply. Crazy.

What can you do?
*Decide on an appropriate form factor. Consider carefully how many peripherals and devices you intend you use. How many PCI, PCI-e etc slots do you actually need. From this you can decide whether you can use a smaller form board like m-ATX, or an ultra smallform like those sold by shuttle (http://www.shuttle.com) Smaller boards consume less power, but can fit less devices internally.

If you still decide to stick with the ATX size, you can use a A power supply calculator (http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp) to get a rough estimate of what the hardware you have picked will demand of your PSU.

Tips for decreased power bills?
*Have a closer look at power management settings.
*If you are not using your pc, consider standby/sleep/hibernate or even turn it fully off. Switch your monitor off rather than just leave your screen saver bouncing a round all day.
*Buy energy compliant kit. (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGro up&pgw_code=CO)
*Avoid marathon high end gaming sessions. The longer you stress a system, the more hotter it gets and the more power it consumes trying to cool itself down. Breaking your gaming jaunts up will allow you to naturally regulate temperature of your pc, as well as not overstress your components
*Do you really need to overclock? CPUs drop in price constantly... Unless you have an older CPU and upgrading is out of the question, anything more than a mild overclock is more than likely just shaving hours/days/weeks etc off the life of your CPU. If you haven't thought about suitable thermal control tech, you shouldn't even be thinking about high end overclocking, or even mid end overclocking on a rig that sees high load-duration usage.

OMG...what OS?
OK. Youve picked your 1337 parts using this guide. Now, what operating system are you going to use? Here are the big 3(as far as DIY)

Windows XP 32 bit:
Pros: Stable, mature. Many bugs ironed out and/or fixed. Wide driver and application compatabilty. Due to its Win2000 roots, will play alot of the older stuff too(apps/games)

Cons: Multi tiered installs - especially if you have an older install disc, a fresh install usually means sometimes hours of upgrade patches. Service Pack 3 will fix this a bit, theres still alot of junk to be got. Will not run pure DX10 games, or fully utilise the potential of DX10 hardware. (Not a huge concern momentarily, as these next gen titles haven't taken off yet) 32 bit limitations apply. Cost.

Windows Vista 32 bit:
Vista, you either quite like it, or really hate it :) Vista is not as stable as XP, but a full year since RTM, and countless bugs have been ironed out. Driver support from GPU manufacturers has been strong and steady. More driver revisions have been made in one year in Vista than over 5 in XP :p That being said, some hardware and software simply is not supported, and may never be. It is the responsibility of the consumer to find out if Vista is appropriate for them, and if they are unsure, there are many that can help! Just don't ask a slick haired salesman, thats all :p

People are going Vista for 4 main reasons:
*Their new PC came with it, they had no choice :D
*They are early adopters regardless of what it is
*They are excited by the potential of DX10 hardware and games
*They run home theater PCs(Vista media center is a superb home theater pc application)

Cons:
*Restrictive hardware and software compatbility
*32 bit restrictions still apply
*Cost
*Top heavy installation and spec footprint

Linux
There are many Linux variants, serving many purposes. All in all, Linux is a wonderful, free alternative to the above 2. Increasingly, Linux distributions are GUI and user friendly, making a windows>Linux transition an easy one. A distro that has been particularly successful at this is the wonderful and sensible Ubuntu :p

Main cons:
*support if you are stuck. Help might be easy to find(google!) but not always easy to follow. A simple conundrum can take days to sort out.If you have one linux only pc and cant get online, googling answers is hard :) (Thus a dual boot is recommended)
*Very limited gaming support

<<for later/anyone else: 64bit OS? Should I Go Mac? >>

mtfbwya

stingerhs
02-21-2008, 12:05 PM
hey, thanx folks. i just try to help how i can when i can. ;)
_______________

stingerhs' Hardware Buying Guide
1. Give yourself a budget
this is the one thing that most computer builders mess up on. if you don't start with a budget, you're just about guaranteed to spend more than you want. the main reason, from my experience, is that its easy to get caught up in marketing hype to splurge for one or two "high end" parts where cheaper priced parts would've sufficed.
2. Plan your build
this step is probably the most crucial part of the buying process because this is where you'll have to ask yourself a number of questions to which you'll want to answer as honestly as possible. when you have an idea of what you need in terms of upgrading or starting from scratch, then start planning out the hardware.

come up with several solutions with different hardware, and vary the hardware enough so that it will encompass a number of price ranges. it helps if you're somewhat well read with hardware reviews at this point since you can have a good idea of what works and what won't. even then, you'll still want to go for a second opinion from some knowledgeable folks (like us) since a fresh set of eyes is good at picking things out.
3. Price your hardware
once you're done planning, get prices on your hardware from a number of different sources. don't just stop at NewEgg or TigerDirect and get everything you want then and there. shop around and look for deals. another site you can check is Ebay.com. yes, the prices aren't guarantees because its an auction site, but if you do your bids right, it is possible to save yourself anywhere from $10-100 which you can use for your budget. just make sure the seller has a good reputation if you're uneasy about it.

the biggest thing here is to watch the budget. if none of your original plans fit your budget, then you'll need to step back and reevaluate your plans. depending on your financial situation, you'll need to decide if its worth getting everything you want or compromising to fit the budget. again, its worth getting a second opinion here since there are some hardware components that are basically the same except for something simple like clock speeds, and that second opinion might know what that lower priced option is.

and the last thing with pricing is this: don't forget shipping costs. yeah, you can probably stay in the budget with just the part prices, but you need to include shipping in there as well. sometimes, what you thought was a deal is offset by higher shipping costs, and that's where some online retailers will get you.

and that's really about it. once you got everything in place, just order it and be done with it. it probably goes without saying that some assembly is required, but hey, that was your call. ;)

Negative Sun
02-22-2008, 06:37 PM
Here's some of my additions:

CPU:
AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350 Brisbane 2.1GHz 45W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103231)
Energy efficient to the max and still quite overclockable, a very good performer for low power consumption PCs but it still packs enough power and OC headroom to be considered as an alternative to the 5000+ Black Edition, though only if the lower TDP appeals to you...It can be had cheaper than what it says on that newegg link though ;)

PSU:
Corsair CMPSU-550VX ATX12V V2.2 550W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139004)
Extremely good value for money, won some awards in the UK IIRC.

Case:
Coolermaster RC-690 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137)
It's just good and it looks good :)

CPU cooling:
Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro V2 (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=340993)
Cheap n awesome :)

* For the UK people among us, Scan.co.uk (http://www.scan.co.uk/) is the online retailer to use, hands down (compare it to newegg for the States ;) )



My ultimate value/killer rig (UK retailer orientated) would be:
CPU - AMD AM2 Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=691236) / Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro V2 (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=340993)
Mobo - Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe NF570 SLI (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=401838)
Memory - 2GB (2x1GB) Corsair TwinX XMS2 (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=255300)
GPU - 512MB Sapphire HD3850 (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=746249)
HDD - 500GB Samsung Spinpoint (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=494552)
Optical Drive - Samsung SH-S203D (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=704916)
PSU - 550w Corsair VX (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=664337)
Case - Coolermaster CM-690 V2 Dominator Black (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=644041)

And last but not least:

Monitor - 22" Samsung SM-2232BW Black (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=679564)

I do admit there are probably cheaper alternatives for the monitor, but none as awesome I'll tell you that ;)

For the record, this is what I'd love to build with the market being the way it is...Realistically, I'll probably jump on Astro's bandwagon and get a Shuttle for my next rig as it would be my first self-build and it would save me the whole Case/PSU/Mobo headache so I can minimize my screw-ups :)

Wow, is it bedtime already?

Edit: I just noticed this post has more smilies than I thought, I'm not an annoying twat just your friendly neighbourhood Belgian tech-enthusiast who likes to be nice, Goodnight :)

Balderdash
02-23-2008, 08:34 AM
I want something that's gonna be nice for gaming - isn't gonna lag when I turn the textures and the anti-aliasing up, etc.

I've never built any machine from scratch before so I'm unsure of where to begin. I've got an Antec 900 case coming though, and I've already selected a graphics card - its the nVidia Inno3D 8800GT that I'm thinking of running. Thoughts? Also, what motherboard and processor would best suit my needs, and be compatible? Please help a newbie!

Sabretooth
02-23-2008, 08:49 AM
All your questions are belong to this megathread. (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=186523)

Balderdash
02-23-2008, 09:14 AM
That's helpful, but I really need some hands-on advice on what to look for. As I say, I've never done this before.

even then, you'll still want to go for a second opinion from some knowledgeable folks (like us) since a fresh set of eyes is good at picking things out.
:)

Rogue Nine
02-23-2008, 12:34 PM
Sabretooth is on the ball, this is the thread to ask these questions in. After all, this is called the Hardware Discussion and Advice Megathread and I did say in the opening post:

This thread is for discussion and advice on building and upgrading your computer. Got a video card you'd like some opinions on? Want to know which processor to buy? Unsure about what kind of RAM to get? This is the thread to ask these questions in.
I created this thread for exactly this type of question, so please make use of it.

Anyway, down to the nitty gritty. The most important question (what do you want to do with your machine?) has already been answered, so the next most important question is: 'What is your budget?' All the parts I listed above are competitively priced and should be well within a frugal gamer's spending limit, but it helps to have a number to build around.

Balderdash
02-23-2008, 02:00 PM
Fair enough.

Basically I want some decent hardware that'll support Direct X 10 and isn't gonna put me completely out of pocket. I was hoping to spend around £750-£1000, but I'm willing to spend more if that's what it takes.

You probably noticed the £ sterling sign, which brings me to my next question. Which sites will ship to the UK at affordable prices? Worst comes to worse I could always use Amazon UK, but their prices are not all that attractive so it'd be nice to know where builders in Europe typically go to shop around.

So far I'm thinking the Q6600 looks very nice, and with the 8800 that I mentioned before, it should offer fairly impressive performance for gaming.

Negative Sun
02-23-2008, 02:05 PM
You probably noticed the £ sterling sign, which brings me to my next question. Which sites will ship to the UK at affordable prices?

For the UK people among us, Scan.co.uk (http://www.scan.co.uk/) is the online retailer to use, hands down (compare it to newegg for the States ;) )
The Truth is out there dude, or in this case, up a bit in this thread...

Scan is where you need to be in the UK, got any more questions for UK pricing or anything? PM me or fire away in this thread ;)

As for the components you need, If you want to go Intel, go for Niner's system at the end of his second post, definitely go for the core components, the Intel Q6600 G0 Stepping and the nVidia 8800GT 512Mb are a sure hit, I'm an AMD fanboy and would also recommend the HD3870 512Mb, but the 8800GT is much better for gaming, albeit a bit more expensive.

Balderdash
02-23-2008, 02:07 PM
I missed that before... cheers!

Rogue Nine
02-23-2008, 03:48 PM
Will you overclock your CPU and GPU?

Balderdash
02-23-2008, 06:04 PM
Will you overclock your CPU and GPU?
If I can figure out how to do so then I'll give it some thought, but I will just be happy to get a machine working right now, to be honest with you. What would you advise? Are the potential instability issues that overclocking causes worth overlooking in the name of better performance? I guess I'll have a read through that webpage and get back to you on that one.

CPU - Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q6600 G0
Mobo - Gigabyte GA P31-DS3L
GPU - nVidia GeForce 8800GT 512MB
RAM - Corsair 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800
HDD - Western Digital 500GB 7200RPM SATAII 16MB Cache

Okay, so what about the power supply? Are you guys telling me that a 500W PSU will definitely be powerful enough?

stingerhs
02-23-2008, 06:23 PM
most likely, although it wouldn't hurt to go with a 600W unit. with power supplies, there's a couple things to watch for: amperage across the 12V rail(s), efficiency, and brand name.

for the amperage, you'll want to see if the amperage on the 12V+ is at least 26A, but you'll preferably want it to be 35A or better. just keep in mind that most power supplies today have 2 12V rails, but some still only have one. it doesn't make that much of a difference between a single or duel rail PSU as long as the amperage rating is where it needs to be.

as for efficiency, you'll want to check that the power supply can run at 80% or better. the best way is to check and see if the power supply in question is 80-Plus certified. these units usually cost a bit more, but a highly efficient power supply is easier on the electric bill and have a longer life span which makes them well worth the extra money.

finally, you'll want to pick a good, reliable brand. Antec is a great choice, and i've been using Antec power supplies for the past several years. i've never had one fail (except for one case where the unit i had wasn't powerful enough for the system), and they do have a very solid reputation. other brands that tend to be very good in quality: Thermaltake, Rosewill, and Silverstone.

anyways, just follow those guidelines, and i'm sure you can find a solid power supply for the money. :)

as for everything else in your system, don't forget the operating system. since you mentioned DX10, i'm assuming that you'll be going with Windows Vista. just remember, if you want more than 3GB of RAM, you'll need to go with the 64-bit version of Vista so you can utilize all the RAM. if not, the 32-bit version will be just fine. also, unless your computer is on a network, Home Premium is the best choice for you. if you are on a network, and you need a lot of client-side networking options, then Vista Ultimate or Vista Business will be a better choice.

i'd also recommend that you invest in an X-Fi sound card from Creative Labs. the XtremeGamer version is an excellent value, and it will have a profound impact on audio quality in everything from games to music.

finally, don't forget the optical drive(s), too. ;)

well, good luck, and if you need some more advice, just let us know. :)

Negative Sun
02-23-2008, 06:44 PM
Okay, so what about the power supply? Are you guys telling me that a 500W PSU will definitely be powerful enough?
I'd recommend this one:

550W Corsair VX (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=664337)

Balderdash
02-24-2008, 07:27 AM
finally, don't forget the optical drive(s), too. ;)
Already got a Liteon 20X drive for Christmas that I was originally gonna put in the current machine, but never bothered with, so I'll just go with that. I've had two optical drives before at one point, and I never did do a whole lot of copying from one to the other with them, so I'll just stick with the one drive.

Thanks for the pointers on the PSU, I'm obliged to you. As for the OS, it will be Vista Home Premium, yes. Is it worth having 4GB of RAM though, really? DDR2 RAM is far from expensive really, so I definitely could go with a bit more if I had to, but I figured 2GB would be enough...

And that soundcard looks alright. I'll have a shop around though. Are there any issues with compatibility with speakers, with soundcards? I was just gonna use the Dell speakers and sub (and monitor, mouse and keyboard) that I'm using now.

Q
02-24-2008, 06:23 PM
I'd recommend this one:

550W Corsair VX (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=664337)
Seconded. That PSU rocks! :thumbsup: Perfect for a single video card setup.

MY recommendations:

1) I don't know about the UK, but here in the States most hardware manufacturers offer rebates quite regularly on their products through different e-tailers and brick & morter (b&m) stores. Try to keep your eyes peeled for these if they're available in the UK/EU as some of them can be quite large and can end up saving you hundreds of dollars (hundreds of pounds even!) when building an entire system. There are several forums in the U.S. that are dedicated to finding these types of deals on just about anything (not just computer parts!), and I'm sure that there are forums like that in the UK/EU as well.

2) The 45nm (Yorkfield core) replacement for the Q6600 is due to come out shortly (March 15). You can then get the Q9450 for the same price as the Q6600 is today or get the Q6600 for less (probably far less). I wish I'd been able to get online (bad phone lines & no internets :rolleyes: ) to give similar advice to Niner, as the dual-core situation was the same (E8400 vs E6750) not long ago.

3) For those of us in the States, Fry's Electronics consistently has the craziest deals around. It's the home of the "free after rebate" deal. If there's one in your area, I envy you. Just a month or so ago when Wolfdale was released they were dumping their Conroes for a fraction of of their MSRP, and they do stuff like this every time a new model comes out. They were selling E6600s for $75.00, E6300s for $35.00, and E6400s, E6320s and E6420s were priced somewhere in between the two. Their madness persists online as well, (http://www.outpost.com/) but the best deals are in-store. It's the geek Mecca if there ever was one. ;)

Negative Sun
02-24-2008, 06:36 PM
Seconded. That PSU rocks! :thumbsup: Perfect for a single video card setup.
Considering that Sli or Crossfire is pretty pointless or at least very inconsistent in gaming performance, this would make it perfect allround don't you think? ;)

Q
02-24-2008, 07:03 PM
^^^
Excellent point. :)

Astrotoy7
02-25-2008, 07:23 AM
I wouldnt rag on SLI/Xfire too much.... although (IMO) undesirable from a power efficiency point of view [/tree hugger], the benchies are plentiful that at HD and UHD resolutions, which is what SLI/Xf really is targeted towards, that these setups outshine single card setups.

The fact that SLI/XF optimised mainboards and cards exist are testament to this. The manufacturers wouldnt make em if people didnt want them.

Another good example is the only setup where a testbed has gotten anywhere near decent HD performance in crysis is a TRI-SLI setup(see news thread). I dont think a single card is going to get near crysis at UHD/Maxxed for 18months at least. Maybe the 9800/9950(or AMD equivalent) in SLI will give it a good wallop - but not on its own at 1600p.

I would love to see what an optimised QUAD-SLI 8800Ultra setup will do to crysis, replete with decent QSLI drivers of course, though a small forest may need to be cleared to power such a rig :(

SLI is one of those love hate things, I think most people are wary of it because of the price factor, others the power consumption. Then you have those richer enthusiasts who occupy the other end of the spectrum ;)

mtfbwya

Negative Sun
03-03-2008, 04:42 PM
SLI is one of those love hate things, I think most people are wary of it because of the price factor, others the power consumption. Then you have those richer enthusiasts who occupy the other end of the spectrum ;)
*cough* screen junkies who would actually be able to use all their pixels thanks to Sli/XFire *cough*

urluckyday
03-03-2008, 05:42 PM
Hello once again.

Well, it's that time again. It's time for me to get a new computer.
Here's what I know what I want thus far:
1) Serious gaming capability (as in, being able to play the latest, but not excessive power)
2) Vista Home Premium (yea...I know...but it's me...seriously)
3) Even a 150 gig hard drive would do
4) I'd really want this thing pre-built (I don't want to hassle putting it together...)

I really don't have that massive of a budget ($700-900), and before you tell me I know that I'm not going to get that much out of that little amount of money, I just want some advice.

I'd be fine with getting a good base system and upgrading the RAM and Video Card, but not the processor. Any suggestions for what machine to get (include links to the sites and whatnot...and yes, I know bout upgrading w/ Newegg and stuff...).

Well, I hope that wasn't too hard to understand.

Thanks!

Rogue Nine
03-03-2008, 08:26 PM
Well, what are your preferences for processors? Intel will give you better bang for your buck, but if you can't splurge for it, there are a host of good AMD processors that will offer great performance. And will you be overclocking the CPU?

I'm thinking of a couple of options for you. One would be to get an AMD chip, probably an Athlon X2 5000+ Black Edition and pair that with an 8800GT. The other option is to get an Intel chip along with the new Nvidia 9600GT, which offers great performance at its price point.

Let us know on the processor and overclocking fronts and we'll be better able to help you.

Q
03-03-2008, 08:51 PM
I'd be fine with getting a good base system and upgrading the RAM and Video Card, but not the processor.
Yes, this would be the best way since OEMs usually charge a premium for more memory and high performance video cards. They also charge a similar premium for the better CPUs as well, and most OEM systems have a locked BIOS that won't let you overclock a cheaper CPU, which sucks, IMO, so you might have to splurge a little to get a decent CPU.

Oh, and save yourself some headache and get an OEM copy of XP Home and set up a dual boot with Vista, so you can still play old games on your new system.

urluckyday
03-03-2008, 09:28 PM
I might eventually pick up an OEM of XP, but to start off, I'll see how Vista works with all my games...from what I hear, it'll run most of my older games pretty well (including Grim Fandango)...it doesn't seem as bad as everyone seems to make it out to be.
Idk, Vista seems right for me.

Oh and btw...no, im not into the overclocking stuff...I really just want to get a nice CPU that will last me until I get my next computer. I'm running on a 2.4 ghz single core right now (P4), and it still meets the minimum req. for a lot of newer games even (That's right Bioshock). I also need to find a video card that will run with not a ton of power consumption (simply b/c I don't feel like upgrading the power supply again if I'm not the one building it in the first place).

Rogue Nine
03-03-2008, 09:57 PM
http://www.ibuypower.com/mall/lobby.htm
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/

Both of those sites will let you configure your system to your specifications. I was able to piece together a decent AMD system with an Athlon X2 5000+ Black Edition, an Nvidia 9600GT, a decent 600W PSU and Microsoft Vista Home Premium at both sites for about $800-$850, depending on the other parts you pick. Should you want to venture into Intel, the price inflates a bit to over $900. I don't know how tight you are with your budget, but there you go.

Play around with the configurations and see what suits you best. If you have any questions on any of the parts, feel free to post them here for feedback.

urluckyday
03-03-2008, 10:31 PM
Yeah, I've actually been looking at those two recently...both good sites.

I like your configuration...has a lot of power for minimal bucks...very nice recommendation...and they do all the building correct?

Also, I was looking at the customization...what is recommended when choosing cooling systems and motherboards? I'm really not great with the computer hardware stuff (I'm more of a software guy)...thanks!

Rogue Nine
03-03-2008, 11:51 PM
Yes, they do all the building and OS installation. They also burn-in (test for functionality) the system before shipping it.

As for the specs themselves, here's what I was able to come up with. I've only listed the major parts, you can decide the other things like cases, peripherals, etc. for yourself.

IBuyPower
Intel System - Rough Total: $950
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6750 2.66Ghz - Best processor for your money offered
Mobo: Asus P5N-E SLI or MSI P6N SLI-F
Processor Cooling: INTEL CPU Cooling Fan System Kit - If you're not overclocking, then you really won't need more than this.
RAM: 2GB Corsair
PSU: 600W Power Supply - I think the manufacturer is either Xion or NZXT, they don't say. :/
Video Card: EVGA Nvidia 9600GT
HDD: 320GB Hard drive - They use Western Digital Caviar drives, which are some of the best out there.
OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium

AMD System - Rough Total: $850
CPU: AMD Athlon™64 X2 5000+ Black Edition 2.6Ghz
Mobo: Asus M2N-SLI NVIDIA nForce 560 SLI Chipset
Processor Cooling: AMD CPU Cooling Fan System Kit - Again, if not overclocking, you won't need more than this.
RAM: 2GB Corsair
PSU: 600W Power Supply - Same as above.
Video Card: EVGA Nvidia 9600GT
HDD: 320GB Hard drive
OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium

CyberPowerPC
Intel System - Rough Total: $925
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6750 2.66Ghz
Mobo: Asus P5N-E SLI or MSI P6N SLI-F
Processor Cooling: Raidmax Maxcool Intel CPU Cooling Fan - Pretty much the same as the IBuyPower part above.
RAM: 2GB Mushkin
PSU: Cooler Master 600W Power Supply - A good, reputable PSU maker.
Video Card: EVGA Nvidia 9600GT
HDD: 320GB Hard drive - Not sure if they use Seagate or WD...
OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium

AMD System = Rough Total: $825
CPU: AMD Athlon™64 X2 5000+ Black Edition 2.6Ghz
Mobo: Asus M2N-SLI NVIDIA nForce 560 SLI Chipset
Processor Cooling: Raidmax Maxcool AMD CPU Cooling Fan
RAM: 2GB Mushkin
PSU: Cooler Master 600W Power Supply
Video Card: EVGA Nvidia 9600GT
HDD: 320GB Hard drive
OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium

You can tweak these builds as you like, they're just meant as a basic framework. You can cut more corners by lowering the HDD capacity or by going with the cheaper mobo. I wouldn't skimp on the PSU as getting enough power to your system is important and I definitely wouldn't skimp on the RAM because you need at the very minimum 2GB for Vista to run properly. I can vouch for the quality of the ASUS P5N-E mobo and the Intel E6750 CPU as I own both of them and they're pretty darn awesome should you decide to go the Intel route. If you find you can spend a little bit more money, then go with the Nvidia 8800GT, it will give you better gaming performance than the 9600GT.

Hope this all helped.

urluckyday
03-04-2008, 08:44 AM
It definitely did. Thank you so much! I'll letchya know what happens with it, but this is a good possibility...

Astrotoy7
03-04-2008, 11:49 PM
great stuff niner. How about that for service urluckyday Arriving at those options would take most people weeks of internet-trawling. Niner's provided you with the answers in one fell swoop!

mtfbwya

urluckyday
03-05-2008, 03:16 PM
That he has...thanks again!

urluckyday
03-09-2008, 06:04 PM
Hey,
I'm still working on getting a new computer...I haven't decided if I want a desktop anymore...we'll see. But I have one major question that's been bothering me. Is there a major speed/efficiency difference between the AMD Dual Cores and the Intel Core 2 Duos? If you can offer any answer, first-hand experience, or even test results, that'd be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

Rogue Nine
03-09-2008, 06:26 PM
From the second post of this thread:

Which is better: Intel or AMD?
Quite possibly the most oft-asked question not only in enthusiast circles, but by everyday users and novices alike. The short answer is: Intel, by virtue of its line of Core 2 Duo/Quad chips which consistently outperform their AMD counterparts in almost every benchmarking test undertaken. (http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu_2007.html?modelx=33&model1=946&model2=882&chart=438) Intel chips are fast, consume a conservative amount of power and run cool. This is not to say that AMD chips are not viable options as well; they are generally cheaper and many casual users and enthusiasts still use them, especially the Black Editions which are pretty much designed for overclocking. However, Intel has AMD beat in almost every way performance-wise.
Intel's newest chip, the 3.0Ghz E8400, runs on a 45nm manufacturing process, which means it can fit a larger quantity of small, efficient semiconductors onto a microprocessor chip. The end result is a CPU that runs cooler and more power-efficient than the previous generation of chips which uses a 65nm process. Right now, AMD currently has no 45nm chips on the market as they're still promoting their 65nm and 90nm CPUs.

So in summary, Intel is better in both categories you mention. Intel chips tend to have a higher stock speed than their AMD contemporaries and also tend to be more efficient as well, consuming as much, if not less power than their AMD contemporaries.

urluckyday
03-09-2008, 07:28 PM
Ah, sorry bout the question already being asked, but thanks for the response!

I was looking through newegg, and I found a laptop that I think is slick (don't worry bout battery life or anything). Any thoughts?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220297

Det. Bart Lasiter
03-09-2008, 11:57 PM
The E8400 is ****ing insane. I just did an overhaul of my system and threw one into it, it's fast as hell.

As for the laptop, I've got an Asus laptop with an 8600 GS instead of an ATi card and I'm pretty happy with it. The only problem I have with it is that it comes with Vista and only 1 GB of RAM.

Q
03-10-2008, 10:17 AM
^^^
Plus it'll do 4GHZ on air cooling.

@urluckyday: The general rule of thumb when comparing the Athlon64 X2 to Core2 Duo is that the 65nm (Conroe) C2D is about 25% faster at the same clockspeed than A64, and the 45nm (Wolfdale) C2D is between 5-10% faster at the same clockspeed than Conroe.

Astrotoy7
03-10-2008, 01:07 PM
....and also tend to be more efficient as well, consuming as much, if not less power than their AMD contemporaries.

sorry niner, you cant make a statement like that without some testbed articles to back it up!!

Its one of the most contentious issue for those of us that are into power efficiency. The testing for this stuff is done in such specific conditions, its hard to fully extrapolate those into energy consumption per user year. Of course, not all homes contain pc that rip crysis for 3+ hrs a day either. ie. how do lower loaded CPUS handle prolonged vs intermittent use ?? The information on this type of stuff is scant.

It is also a *serious* joke when someone even mentions they are thinking about how wonderfully power efficient their CPU is when they are high load-duration users of full sized boards with SLI/XF ready 700-1500W PSUs!

To those buying a CPU, I'd look most closely at price rather than reported high level performance on a testbed you most likely will not have. There is a well demonstrated ceiling effect currently demonstrated in the way CPU v GPU are handling higher end games. You get to a certain level of graphical output and the CPU marks hit a plateux, whereupon the GPUs capabilities are the final telling factor of what you're system can handle.

If you are a professional video editor and the like, sure, a powerful system is always going to benefit you. 99% of the people Ive met that do that professionally are mac-users, tinkering away on teh wonderful Final Cut Pro.

So apart from lame bragging rights, a CPU that can be 'mad overclocked' is a waste of money(and power!)... put your money into a nicer GPU and some RAM< you'll have more fun on your rig!! >> I guarantee it.

mtfbwya

Det. Bart Lasiter
03-10-2008, 01:13 PM
sorry niner, you cant make a statement like that without some testbed articles to back it up!!http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/01/30/processor_efficiency_compared/page12.html

...Intel's Core 2 processor family, which still is the champion when it comes to performance, and often the leader in performance per watt as well.

Astrotoy7
03-10-2008, 02:33 PM
http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/01/30/processor_efficiency_compared/page12.html

cmon jmac, we all know that stuff!! Do you think we've not read the reviews as well ;) With our magnificent tech reporter NegSun, such tidbits will never escape us!

However, we used the SYSmark 2007 Preview suite as it represents the majority of workloads applicable to a wide user base, and also because it does include some idle time, which we believe reflects real user behavior pretty well.

"we" ?? The people at Toms are qualified to conclusively report on long term effects of consumer energy consumption profiles?? I haven't come across any report of a longitudinal study design (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitudinal_study) of theirs to test this.. I doubt we ever will.. people who soil themslves at TRI-SLI setups and glowing case fans are less likely to be concerned about this issue at any further depth than a SYSmark test.

There are a number of initiatives research centres/energy providers are undertaking to look into this type of stuff. One of the most notable being Project NOAH(University Of California, Irvine) (http://www.crito.uci.edu/noah/NOAH/index.htm) of course. There's some great articles analysing their methodology and the unique "AppTrack" (http://www.crito.uci.edu/noah/apptrack.htm) software they developed.

One of the challenging aspects(from a research POV) of the IT world is the high rate of change for new hardware, due to ever improving engineering standards. This is perfectly summed up by Moore's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_Law) which any hardware geek worth their salt will know intimately :p

A contiguous research model is something that is necessary to keep up with all this, which is an expensive undertaking for governments and energy providers, who are skilled at penny pinching :(

Now, I wonder if "Tom's Hardware" can meet that challenge instead?[/bollocks they can]

What it boils down to:
True, representative data about energy consumption for home computer use is complex to gather, requiring a specialised research methodology that will not only gather the data correctly, but also keep up with ever evolving computer hardware standards. The information reported in small scale hardware reviews, whilst interesting to read, can in no way approximate an adequate research design, neither in scale nor intention.

mtfbwya

Rogue Nine
03-10-2008, 02:39 PM
But they can answer simple questions like those posed in this thread. :p

No one asked for an academic paper on computer component power usage, just a general thought on CPU efficiency to aid in the purchase of one.

Det. Bart Lasiter
03-10-2008, 03:42 PM
because i'm biased towards amd i refuse to believe the test data from your article from a reliable source and their conclusion that in general, intel gets the most performance per watt words words wordsOkay then. The fact remains that when Tom's Hardware ran their tests, most Core 2 Duos used less power than their AMD counterparts and that their tests were accurate enough for an argument on an internet forum.

And I ran AMD processors for most of my builds. In fact, the E8400 is the first Intel processor I've used in a build, so my bias is towards the company that puts out the best-performing product.

Astrotoy7
03-11-2008, 11:11 AM
But they can answer simple questions like those posed in this thread. :p

No one asked for an academic paper on computer component power usage, just a general thought on CPU efficiency to aid in the purchase of one.

...a general thought? How informative are they! The greater the quality of information you give to people, the better they are armed to make a sound, informed decision.

People around the world ask this very question all the time...

Is there a major speed/efficiency difference between the AMD Dual Cores and the Intel Core 2 Duos? If you can offer any answer, first-hand experience, or even test results, that'd be greatly appreciated.

...and receive the stock standard answers, based on those limited test bed results. That's fine, but as long as people who rely on you for that information are told the limitations of what you are actually telling them. If you're not doing that than you really are no better than a slick salesperson :p

@jmac >> yes, we get all that stuff from Tom's etc. But it simply doesnt translate into real-world usage terms we can understand. If two almost identically spec'd pcs were used identically, what is the difference, both in terms of watt-hours and $$$ ?? This type of info is never given in such reports.

A report finding that has no practical relevance should carry little weight in terms of influencing purchase decisions.. however, when people report on/recommend a certain product(as you have done), giving testbed links is a trite way of backing up your recommendation as far as basing it on facts that actually mean something. Doesnt matter if its Intel/AMD or Ronald McDonald, those numbers and observations are simply not the "whole story"! I wish those testbed clowns would add a...

"*your individual results may vary, depending on overall component wattage and usage profile."

...disclaimer/caveat on their findings as far as power efficiency is concerned.

If people are making a query about energy efficiency, what is wrong with trying to arm them a fuller understanding of what pertinent factors are? I am thankful to the various persons that got me thinking about this stuff over the years. Ive been able to make changes that have literally saved me $100s of dollars a year as far as power bills are concerned..... surely thats more useful than a "general thought" ??! :p

so to urluckyday etc, from a power efficiency point of view, here are the basics to keep in mind:
*Your PC and peripherals are made of many current carrying parts. These coupled with the overall way you use them contribute to a more accurate description of your power consumption.

Rather than considering what the impact of one component will be on this energy consumption profile, you're better off thinking about:

Total power consumption of *all* your parts. Are their any particular parts you have that predispose your rig to being inefficient off the bat ? ie. why ask a question about power efficiency for a CPU when you have a 750W PSU, and an X2 gfx card or SLI/XF setup?

There are many online power supply calculators (http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp) that will give an *approximation* of the wattage load ALL your components alone will be draining. if you are really keen on it, you can get meters that will *accurately* measure how much juice your pc is actually using. If you are really keen on seeing what changes you can affect that will impact on your power use/power bill, this is the best way. You can then change different variables, be it individual components, or (more usually) usage patterns to see what impact you will have.

Some quick n easy ways to make sure you are being power efficient.
1. Tweak your power management settings. Make a profile that is appropriate for the time you are actually on the pc

2. Not using the monitor? switch it off(or have your power management profile do it for you)

3. Game in shorter bursts. Helps naturally regulate temp of your whole system(not just the cpu)

4. Make sure there is good ventilation around the pc.. so many desk sets nowdays have a little cupboard or compartment the pc gets stuffed in.... these "pc incubators" do no favours to a pc as far as heat dissipation goes :(

5. Use Blackle! (http://www.blackle.com/) :D a truly great idea! lolz

I wont rabbit on about small form factor and energy star compliant kit, as Ive done that enough before :p They are worth considering though, if you are super keen on energy efficiency.

The great thing about optimising energy efficiency of your pc use is that it will maximise the lifespan of your kit(as opposed to thrashing and overheating it), and benefit your hip pocket with lower energy bills. The environmental benefits also go without saying ;) 'Tis a win-win

mtfbwya

Rogue Nine
03-11-2008, 01:13 PM
Well, there you go, urluckyday. Now that Astro has given his whole big dissertation on power consumption and what not, I hope you feel that much more informed.

And that laptop actually looks pretty nice for that price. Decent video card, fairly fast (for a laptop CPU) processor, reputable manufacturer. It has Vista on it, which isn't the greatest option for laptops, but it has 2GB of RAM, so it should be able to handle it. I'd say go for it if that's what you're looking for.

urluckyday
03-11-2008, 03:28 PM
I think I will, and I'll letchya guys know what happens! Thanks for all your help!

Negative Sun
03-11-2008, 05:21 PM
Who on earth got Astro started about power efficiency? :carms:

I agree with Niner, that laptop is very good value for money (especially when a laptop of that spec in the UK would cost you $2,000, I kid you not), and unless you want to slap Crysis on that, it should be able to handle pretty much anything you throw at it...

urluckyday
03-11-2008, 08:01 PM
I know, I can't wait...I think that's the ONE.

Negative Sun
03-12-2008, 08:17 PM
Another one for the AMD list:

GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H (Newegg.com) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128090)

GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H (Scan.co.uk) (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=775308)

And an in depth review (http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/03/04/amd_780g_integrated_graphics_chipset/1) of the 780G chipset and the above mentioned board...

This is now hands down my mobo of choice as I'm an AMD fanboy and this actually doen't make me feel ashamed to say it anymore, with a low TDP, Hybrid Crossfire, integrated GPU that's better than some discrete GPUs and an insanely low price, I wish I could buy it this second cause I wouldn't hesitate!

Astrotoy7
03-13-2008, 01:09 PM
I know, I can't wait...I think that's the ONE.

I know Im going to sound like a sour ole basted but do you really need a lappie? Is portability a huge issue? Speaking purely from experience(I had a Toshiba Satteliite 5200 which was awesome back in its day!!)

1. The cost, damn :( Can build a damn fine deskie for the cost of a higher end gaming ready lappie.

2. Important bits not upgradeable.. Driver support for Mobile GPUs is woeful! Watch the deskie world go through 50 revisions and you get a handful if youre lucky :D

3. Heat! Heat! Heat! It was lucky I had a 3 year warranty on it as I thrashed it so hard it needed to have the drive replaced twice and the CPU once, simply from being overcooked.

If you do decide to go with it, please get yourself a cooling pad, if you're the heavy use type.

mtfbwya

urluckyday
03-14-2008, 03:36 PM
Hey...thanks for the advice, but I ended up getting that one...I love it...
Heat is not an issue thus far, and I love Vista (as I knew I would)...
Thanks for all the help guys!

urluckyday
03-15-2008, 02:40 AM
Update:
I love this computer. Grim Fandango wouldn't even install one file, so I used the installer that put it directly onto my HD, and it now works like a charm...not possible to be mad or upset if GF works...

Astrotoy7
03-15-2008, 11:04 AM
Update:
I love this computer. Grim Fandango wouldn't even install one file, so I used the installer that put it directly onto my HD, and it now works like a charm...not possible to be mad or upset if GF works...

ok then. Have fun! Just remember Old Astro's advice about cooling pads will ya ;)

mtfbwya

Char Ell
03-30-2008, 01:37 PM
Another one for the AMD list:

GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H (Newegg.com) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128090)

GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H (Scan.co.uk) (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=775308)

And an in depth review (http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/03/04/amd_780g_integrated_graphics_chipset/1) of the 780G chipset and the above mentioned board...

This is now hands down my mobo of choice as I'm an AMD fanboy and this actually doen't make me feel ashamed to say it anymore, with a low TDP, Hybrid Crossfire, integrated GPU that's better than some discrete GPUs and an insanely low price, I wish I could buy it this second cause I wouldn't hesitate! So what exactly does Hybrid Crossfire do? If I were to get this mobo and install a HD 3870 discrete card on it would my games be able to utilize both the HD 3870 and the onboard HD 3200 to render the display or only the 3870? From the bit-tech article it doesn't sound like Hybrid Crossfire will initially support switching between the onboard and the discrete GPU.

Negative Sun
03-30-2008, 05:44 PM
So what exactly does Hybrid Crossfire do? If I were to get this mobo and install a HD 3870 discrete card on it would my games be able to utilize both the HD 3870 and the onboard HD 3200 to render the display or only the 3870? From the bit-tech article it doesn't sound like Hybrid Crossfire will initially support switching between the onboard and the discrete GPU.
Sorry I thought it explained that in the article, but I've definitely read it somewhere, I'll maybe try and dig it up at some point.

Hybrid CrossFire means just that, instead of having to use two identical cards, you can use two different ones, but in this particular case, it's an on-board GPU with a discrete card.

The on-board handles pretty much everything in Windows (even Vista Aero) as it's the most powerful on-board solution to date.
When you start up a game, the discrete card will kick in on top of the on-board graphics to give you Hybrid Crossfire, which gives you a decent boost in certain games apparently, even more so because the on-board GPU on the above mentioned mobo is apparently a doozy to overclock without any extra need for cooling. Even though it's not as powerful as an HD3870 or even 3850, boosting the core from 500Mhz to about 700/750Mhz is nothing to sniff at, couple that with a decent mid-range GPU (HD3850/3870) and the mid-range isn't quite as dull anymore!

Rogue Nine
03-31-2008, 11:31 AM
Updated the second (recommended parts list - new Intel Quad Core!) and third (General FAQ - OEM vs Retail, hardware pricing) posts of this thread with new information. :)

Char Ell
04-01-2008, 12:49 AM
Hybrid CrossFire means just that, instead of having to use two identical cards, you can use two different ones, but in this particular case, it's an on-board GPU with a discrete card.

The on-board handles pretty much everything in Windows (even Vista Aero) as it's the most powerful on-board solution to date.
When you start up a game, the discrete card will kick in on top of the on-board graphics to give you Hybrid Crossfire, which gives you a decent boost in certain games apparently, even more so because the on-board GPU on the above mentioned mobo is apparently a doozy to overclock without any extra need for cooling. Even though it's not as powerful as an HD3870 or even 3850, boosting the core from 500Mhz to about 700/750Mhz is nothing to sniff at, couple that with a decent mid-range GPU (HD3850/3870) and the mid-range isn't quite as dull anymore! That sounds pretty much like what I'm looking for. Mid-range to high-end discrete card is in a powered off or very low standby power state while low to mid-range onboard GPU runs non-GPU intensive apps like general web browsing, e-mail, office apps, etc. But when GPU activity starts to hit 85-90% utilization or so then the chipset, GPU, or other h/w device powers up the discrete card and both onboard and discrete GPU's are used to render the display.

I'm not sure I'd go for the idea of the onboard GPU switching over to the discrete card and not being used until the GPU load drops enough that the switchback threshold is reached and the discrete hands off GP to the onboard again. I don't know, maybe there are technical limitations around running two GPU's with significant differences in GP computational capabilities but if that is the way it works it seems to me that this becomes a one-dimensional benefit of power savings instead of power savings with increased GP power. I look forward to reading in-depth reviews of hybrid GP products to learn more about how this works.

Balderdash
04-05-2008, 10:15 AM
I need some more help...

I got everything a while back, and last weekend I just got around to putting it all together. But I ran into a problem. The motherboard I bought apparently needs to be plugged into the PSU via a 4-pin ATX 12V cable... it definitely says so in the manual. But I don't have one. I read up on it, and apparently older motherboards tended to require the 4-pin cable in order to give the processor a bit more juice. Is that right? But the mobo I have definitely supports Core 2 Duo. The cable didn't come with the mobo and it didn't come with the PSU either. There doesn't seem to be anywhere where you can buy said cable seperately. What can I do about it?

http://img166.imageshack.us/img166/7043/12v4pinlz8.th.jpg (http://img166.imageshack.us/my.php?image=12v4pinlz8.jpg)

^ Picture (not of my hardware, but a picture of what I mean, in case I haven't explained anything properly).

Q
04-05-2008, 10:45 AM
Huh?

I thought all PSUs came with those. What type of PSU are you using? Are you sure that there isn't one on the PSU?

Balderdash
04-05-2008, 11:08 AM
Positive. I've got somewhere to plug one in to...

http://img518.imageshack.us/img518/4036/psuja0.th.jpg (http://img518.imageshack.us/my.php?image=psuja0.jpg)

...but no cable.

(excuse the quality of the pic, it's from a phone since I couldn't be bothered to find the digital camera).

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=602505

^ This was what I ended up getting.

stingerhs
04-05-2008, 11:47 AM
every computer i know of uses a 12V ATX cable (mostly 4-pin, but some use an 8-pin), and as far as i know, every ATX PSU comes with one. check and see if you didn't confuse it with a PCI-E connector (those should be 6-pin, but sometimes they'll be 8-pin).

if you're using a modular PSU, the 12V ATX connector should be on the non-detachable strands of wires from the back of the unit. and, no, it doesn't detach from the 24-pin main power connector (the part that detaches does so to fit older motherboards with a 20-pin connector).

anyways, let us know if that helps. ;)

Astrotoy7
04-05-2008, 11:55 AM
unusual.... does the rig start without it??? Check your PSU manual, it should say what cables should be included. Thats a decent PSU btw, silverstone make some good kit ;)

mtfbwya

Balderdash
04-05-2008, 12:21 PM
It's definitely not there. There's even a key next to it on the PSU itself to show you where the cable should be, and it's just not there. All of the cables on the back of the PSU are detachable...

I also seem to be missing a PCI-E cable, but that isn't really needed anyway since I don't have that many expansions. :p

I've just emailed the people I got it from. Hopefully they'll be able to just send me a cable for it, but I'm not gonna get my hopes up.

@ Astro, I just checked the manual and the manual seems to indicate that it should be there, as well as the relevant technical specs on the site I got it from, but it's not there. I haven't tried attempting to boot it, though. Do you think it's worth bothering?

Negative Sun
04-05-2008, 04:56 PM
Is it a modular PSU you've got?

Balderdash
04-05-2008, 05:54 PM
I don't even know what that means, but yeah supposedly it is. Click on the link in post #61 and click on the technical specs tab on that page, and it should tell you everything relevant there is to know... it clearly states there that there is an ATX connector but I never got one!

Negative Sun
04-05-2008, 07:05 PM
My bad, I should've just checked that...I've no personal experience with modular PSUs, so I don't know if the 4-pin 12V ATX cable would come separately from the 20-pin one, or if it's the 20+4-pin one that's incomplete...

What motherboard have you got?
And when you connected the motherboard cable, does it fit properly? I doesn't have an excess on either side does it? Cause your pic only shows one side of it...

Balderdash
04-05-2008, 09:43 PM
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=657881
^ Mobo.

The 20+4 pin cable is fine, I'm just missing the seperate 4-pin cable.

Astrotoy7
04-06-2008, 09:01 AM
yes, it is a modular PSU ;)

This means that rather than one mess of cables snaking out of a PSU, that there are specific individual cables/connections for each area of a mainboard ie. "module"

The pci-e cabe usually comes with your 1337 powered graphics card. If I were you, I'd
contact the place you got it from to inquire about the seemingly missing cable!

Funny that you havent tried booting it though ;)

good luck

mtfbwya

Q
04-06-2008, 09:42 PM
Looks like that 4-pin and the PCI-E cables were just left out. Weird.:(

Yeah, you should contact who you got it from because it's definitely supposed to come with those. Ask for the PCI-E cable as well because a lot of video cards require 2 of those now.

Balderdash
04-08-2008, 06:23 AM
Just an update: it turns out that I was not missing anything. The 8-pin connector that came with the PSU splits into two 4-pin connectors., and you're supposed to use that. Nothing in the manual tells you that, though.

Astrotoy7
04-08-2008, 10:35 AM
Just an update: it turns out that I was not missing anything. The 8-pin connector that came with the PSU splits into two 4-pin connectors., and you're supposed to use that. Nothing in the manual tells you that, though.

ah, I remember a similar caper on a build using a Thermaltake Toughpower 750W modular PSU....!

glad to hear it's sorted!

mtfbwya

stingerhs
04-08-2008, 11:58 AM
i had a funny feeling about that. oh well, best of luck getting it all together. hopefully, you won't run into any other problems. :)

Q
04-12-2008, 06:40 AM
You know, it just occured to me that these new 780G motherboards would make terrific HTPCs on their own; no video card required.

They also appear to be very reasonably priced.

Astrotoy7
04-12-2008, 10:03 AM
You know, it just occured to me that these new 780G motherboards would make terrific HTPCs on their own; no video card required.

They also appear to be very reasonably priced.

lolz...just occurred to you! The HTPC milieu have been excited about that for a whiles now. Im sure Iv ebeen rabbiting on about it in the news thread. :D

I use onboard video for my main HTPC... intel, would you believe... the shame of it...!! :p Shared 256, works fine at 720p. As I am limited by my smallform case which has only two exp slots(being used for dvb-t and dvb-sat tuners) onboard video is a must, alas.

mtfbwya

Negative Sun
04-12-2008, 02:03 PM
lolz...just occurred to you! The HTPC milieu have been excited about that for a whiles now. Im sure Iv ebeen rabbiting on about it in the news thread. :D
I concur that Astro has been raving about it in the news thread, a lot :xp:

Q
04-12-2008, 10:57 PM
Yeah, well, it's my fault for not paying any attention to anything that AMD is doing as of late. It's usually too damned depressing. :xp:

Astrotoy7
04-13-2008, 07:16 AM
Yeah, well, it's my fault for not paying any attention to anything that AMD is doing as of late. It's usually too damned depressing. :xp:

I think people are starting to wrongly focus in on the brute power pissing contest.... when the CPU market is so much more than that... what % of world users want a fully decked out crysis rig?? (replete with over $1000US of GPU hardware!) ...lolz

Hence, for most users, as long as AMD can out out some competitive prices on the low to mid end stuff, then their sales will augur will. As for the server and HTPC market, AMD are deifnitely starting to look like they have a an edge.

mtfbwya

stingerhs
05-29-2008, 09:09 PM
hey, real quick: i'm looking to get a new monitor so that i can finally put to rest my old 2x 17" CRT monitors (both monitors are over 10 years old). i'm looking for a widescreen monitor, probably in the 22-24" range. my main caveat is that it needs have a max resolution that can support a full 1080p resolution since i'll have my Xbox 360 hooked up to it in addition to my computer.

right now, i'm looking at the following manufacturers: Gateway, Dell, and Viewsonic. i also prefer to use Newegg, but let me know if i can get one cheaper somewhere else, too.

thanks for the help. :)

M@RS
05-29-2008, 09:15 PM
Nope, Newegg is the best place to go and I would prefer ViewSonic I've had a ViewSonic monitor for 3 years and they rock.

Rogue Nine
05-29-2008, 10:12 PM
How much are you willing to spend? There's a pretty big jump in price from 22" to 24" and up. Bear in mind that 24"+ LCDs are able to display 1080p natively, anything lower is not going to be able to display it pixel by pixel.

stingerhs
05-30-2008, 11:39 AM
well, the price isn't that much of an issue since my parents are going to pay for either all or part of it as a birthday present. i've already done some pricing, and anything under $500 should be more than reasonable.

**Edit**
i found one that i'm going to go ahead and grab. its an Acer 24" monitor from Newegg. (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009125) its a good price for a nice monitor; so, i can't complain too much.

anyways, thanks for the help. :)

Astrotoy7
05-30-2008, 02:23 PM
welcome to the world of HD stinger, soon you'll be wanting a bigger one with more pixels, believe me [/screenjunkie]

mtfbwya

Negative Sun
05-30-2008, 04:58 PM
Hmm, I would've gone for a 22" ViewSonic VX2240W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824116096)

"Why?" You say?

I think going above that for a 360 is overkill as anything above 720p is upscaled anyways (there's even controversy about certain games being upscaled to 720p, making the 1080p and upscaling of an upscaled image = ouch!), and you will lose some of the sharpness in the image (some people say that it makes no difference, but if you're a psycho purist like me, it would bother you ;) )

Here's (http://www.lesnumeriques.com/article-312-2827-41.html) an excellent review of that Viewsonic screen, which got the much sought after 5 star rating on LesNumeriques.com, there's even a video of it in action there...

If you must go 24" I'd get the Viewsonic VX2435WM, of which you can read the review here (http://www.lesnumeriques.com/article-240-2024-41.html) (can't seem to find it on Newegg though), though it expresses my concerns about upscaling, and more!
It says that from a PC input, everything looks amazing, but from consoles or other inputs, 1080p gets upscaled (once again!!!) to 1200p, which means another loss in quality! Like I said, maybe it's not that bad, but I know it would bother me personally...

Just my two cents ;)

stingerhs
05-30-2008, 11:33 PM
well, the 1080p thing isn't just for the 360. i'm going to be getting a BD drive for my computer soon anyways. having a monitor that can support full 1080p natively will be a big plus for that, too. ;)

M@RS
05-31-2008, 01:32 AM
I would rather have a projector that I could use to change the size of the screen...
perfect for gaming! :D

Astrotoy7
05-31-2008, 07:29 AM
I would rather have a projector that I could use to change the size of the screen...
perfect for gaming! :D

I have one. projectors are ok for movies and some types of games.... the image just isnt bright or pristine enough for games where you have alot of detail on screen. Not to mention that a decent 1080p projector will kick the bejesus out of your bank balance :D

@negsun. dont mistake a a gfx cards straining for upscaling ;) Some 360 and ps3 are capable of true 1080, the rest 720. They still look cool on a monitor simply because images are non interlaces, as opposed to your run of the mill TV ;)

Stingers monitor is future proof and blu-ray ready. The bluray+PC paradigm shift is almost here ;)

mtfbwya

Negative Sun
05-31-2008, 07:43 PM
@negsun. dont mistake a a gfx cards straining for upscaling ;)
I'm not, I know full well that 1920x1200 will strain your GPU way more than 1680x1050, and I'm sure stinger does too ;)

Some 360 and ps3 are capable of true 1080, the rest 720. They still look cool on a monitor simply because images are non interlaces, as opposed to your run of the mill TV ;)
I know some are capable of running movies and such at 1080p, but gaming wise, virtually nothing on the 360 has a native 1080p resolution, the 1080p a 360 puts out is an upscaling of whatever resolution that game was made in, mostly 720p or under...Hence the loss of quality I was talking about ;)

M@RS
05-31-2008, 07:47 PM
I have one. projectors are ok for movies and some types of games.... the image just isnt bright or pristine enough for games where you have alot of detail on screen. Not to mention that a decent 1080p projector will kick the bejesus out of your bank balance :D

@negsun. dont mistake a a gfx cards straining for upscaling ;) Some 360 and ps3 are capable of true 1080, the rest 720. They still look cool on a monitor simply because images are non interlaces, as opposed to your run of the mill TV ;)

Stingers monitor is future proof and blu-ray ready. The bluray+PC paradigm shift is almost here ;)

mtfbwya

you should get one of those super bright projectors that you can see with a lot of lights on, my church has one of those, it's freakin' bright, it gives new meaning to "Blinde by the light" ;)

Astrotoy7
06-01-2008, 01:18 PM
Negsun, the quality loss you should be thinking about more is when your GPU drops frames, or simply cant draw them quick enough :) The quality of our kit improves rather than goes backwards...many games I had trouble running at full spec with my 7950GX2 get murdered on 1080p(and beyond) on my measly 8800GTS.

In one year, simply because of BR drives alone, having a 1080+ display is going to be run of the mill. PC gamers always look onwards and upwards.... so how could they ever say no to 1080+ display :D

M@RS >> are you kidding ?? I do custom home theater installations, I know my projectors undies out! ;) Unless you belong to a super rich church, that feels ok at squandering $50,000 on a theatre grade HD digital projector, you'll find most standard projectors clock in at 2000-3000 ANSI Lumens. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumens) I have no need for a 3000+ lumen device in my modest home theater/projection room ;)

Even with one of those, you can never have the sharpness that you get when you have your eyes peering at some tiny detail on an LCD/OLED display some 30cms from your face :)

mfbwya

Char Ell
08-01-2008, 10:14 AM
This is the 4850 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127370) I'm looking at getting. The one thing I don't like about the 4800's is how hot they run. I've been looking for a dual slot 4850 that would vent air to the outside of the case like the 4870 does (per Q's recommendation) but haven't found any of those around and this looks like the closest I can come to an OEM over-cooled solution. If anybody has any better suggestions I'm open to hearing them. :)

On another note, I guess it's an expansion card design standard but I think it counterintuitive that single slot graphics cards have the cooling fan mounted so that it points down instead of up in a tower case. Heat rises right?

Negative Sun
08-01-2008, 06:07 PM
On another note, I guess it's an expansion card design standard but I think it counterintuitive that single slot graphics cards have the cooling fan mounted so that it points down instead of up in a tower case. Heat rises right?
That's why it's important to have good airflow in your case, at least one intake at the front and one exhaust at the back is a must...

The GPU you've linked to looks like it's got a Zalman VGA cooler on it, which is like the Mecca of VGA coolers for most PC enthusiasts (before liquid cooling that is), so I'd say it's very adequate, as long as all the hot air gets extracted from your case properly...

stingerhs
08-03-2008, 10:35 AM
i'm still waiting for Sapphire to put out a 4850 with one of their Atomic coolers on it. those things did an incredible job with the 3800 series, and they should do a good job with keeping the 4800 series running cool.

Astrotoy7
08-03-2008, 01:14 PM
i'm still waiting for Sapphire to put out a 4850 with one of their Atomic coolers on it. those things did an incredible job with the 3800 series, and they should do a good job with keeping the 4800 series running cool.

In the meantime stinger > why dont you and your 8800GTS join our folding team. The 8800GTS does some phenomenal work once CUDA drivers are installed.

mtfbwya

Negative Sun
08-04-2008, 02:41 PM
i'm still waiting for Sapphire to put out a 4850 with one of their Atomic coolers on it. those things did an incredible job with the 3800 series, and they should do a good job with keeping the 4800 series running cool.
Is that the vapor cooled ones aye?

Char Ell
08-04-2008, 08:40 PM
i'm still waiting for Sapphire to put out a 4850 with one of their Atomic coolers on it. those things did an incredible job with the 3800 series, and they should do a good job with keeping the 4800 series running cool.

Is that the vapor cooled ones aye?
Very interesting. Not having purchased an ATI/AMD product in quite some time I haven't paid much attention to Sapphire and this Vapor Chamber Cooling technology appears to be quite effective. Looks like Sapphire has put out a Toxic version of the HD 4850 (Zalman cooler) but so far no Atomic versions of HD 4800 series GPU's. Also checked Sapphire's forums but no indication that an Atomic 4800 is on its way. Maybe I can wait for another month to see if something comes out but I'm really starting to feel the need for a new graphics card (games, video editing, folding@home) so I don't know if my patience will last that long. :D

stingerhs
08-05-2008, 12:33 AM
In the meantime stinger > why dont you and your 8800GTS join our folding team. The 8800GTS does some phenomenal work once CUDA drivers are installed.

mtfbwyaactually, its a Radeon 2900 Pro, if you remember correctly. ;)

and, yes, i'm planning on joining the LF team. right now, though, i'm currently undergoing a maintenance cycle (driver updates, HD defrag, antivirus upgrade, etc), so its probably going to be a couple of days before i get everything going. if its any consolation, i've downloaded the installation files already. ;)

@ Char Ell - i would be surprised if Sapphire didn't come up with an Atomic product for the 4800 series, but that's not to say that a lack of one wouldn't catch me off guard, neither. :)

Astrotoy7
08-05-2008, 03:36 AM
lolz..stinger I couldve sworn you had a 8800GTS... ah well ;) anyway, for folding you may just want to run the standard, console or GPU client. If you want to be a points mogul... on your setup you could get A GPU client going for your 2900 and at least one cpu core with a console client. DONT mix to gui clients together ;)

I'd be extremely interested to see what the 4870 does with FAH. I was a bit dissapointed with the HD3450 folding prowess...

mtfbwya

Negative Sun
08-05-2008, 04:41 AM
The HD4000 series fares no better compared to the nVidia client because atm F@H attributes more points to nVidia hardware than Ati, because Ati's been doing this for a while, but nVidia just jumped on the bandwagon last month or so...

Astrotoy7
08-06-2008, 09:40 AM
there's a bit mere to it than that negsun. Nvidia Gpus are faster at folding... even folding project designer said so source (http://www.legitreviews.com/article/713/1/)

The 3450 256 isnt exactly a bottom barrel card, yet it folds 100 times slower than the 8800gts. From all i've read on it, The CUDA functionality is the key difference. Of course, it is probably the only thing CUDA is good for ATM :p

mtfbwya

Char Ell
08-26-2008, 11:24 AM
So I'm looking at the Enermax MODU82+ 625W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194027) as the power supply I want to get in conjunction with my new graphics card.
- I would probably be fine with a 500 W PSU but I want to have some room to grow if I need to without having to get a new PSU.
- Trying to get peak efficiency while gaming. Not as critical when doing non-CPU intensive tasks like web browsing where the system won't be generating as much heat.

Concerns:
- Exhaust fan on the top of the PSU. My current PSU has two exhaust fans, one in the interior side of the PSU pushing air from inside the case into the PSU and the other on the back of the PSU pushing the air outside of the case. My case has an exhaust fan on the top as well but I'd prefer having the PSU push the air outside the case rather than inside the case and let my case exhaust fans pull the PSU-generated heat out.
- Modular cabling. I like the idea of only using the cables I need and not having to tie up the non-used cables and leave them inside the case. Don't know if there are any issues with modular cabling's longevity though.

ChAiNz.2da
08-26-2008, 11:42 AM
Concerns:
- Exhaust fan on the top of the PSU. My current PSU has two exhaust fans, one in the interior side of the PSU pushing air from inside the case into the PSU and the other on the back of the PSU pushing the air outside of the case. My case has an exhaust fan on the top as well but I'd prefer having the PSU push the air outside the case rather than inside the case and let my case exhaust fans pull the PSU-generated heat out.
I wouldn't worry too much to be honest. What the design of this fan does (by drawing air in and pushing it down) is cause a circular airflow inside your case. You want to keep the air, and more importantly, dust, moving and the psu generates a "jet stream" if you will of forced air. Although the fan is on top of the case, it will actually point down when you mount it (notice the off corner screw is on the bottom of the psu casing) Same as how my psu (http://www.sharkyextreme.com/img/2007/07/ex_guide/ultra_x3.jpg) is pictured. ;)

Drawing air in the psu from the back, then pushing it out/down cools the psu, generates the 'jet stream' and allows your case fans to complete the cycle. It's along the same system as when ppl mount front case fans. Those should always be mounted to bring air "IN" not push air out ;)

- Modular cabling. I like the idea of only using the cables I need and not having to tie up the non-used cables and leave them inside the case. Don't know if there are any issues with modular cabling's longevity though.I swear by modular cabling since while its convenient to use only the cables you want.. it's also more streamlining to let air flow freely without too much breaking up (see jet stream above). The cabling is actually far sturdier than most people think and it's often flexible enough to zip-tie etc to your hearts' desire.

Char Ell
09-08-2008, 07:22 PM
The 80 mm fan on my current Cooler Master Mini Aquagate is locking up on me. I checked and Cooler Master doesn't sell the Mini Aquagates anymore so I interpret that as meaning it's time to find a different CPU cooler for my system. :D

I'm looking for recommendations for an effective air-cooled solution for my socket LGA 775 mobo but not wanting to invest a lot of money into it since I plan on upgrading to a Bloomfield CPU next summer/fall. So I guess a good value cooler sums it up.

stingerhs
09-08-2008, 10:00 PM
i'm guessing that you have a Core 2, right?? if you don't have it overclocked, these will do just fine:

Thermaltake CL-P0378 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835106106) - $22.99 @ Newegg
Cooler Master Dream 4 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103039) - $9.99 @ Newegg (this one very closely resembles the stock coolers that ship with the Core 2 processors)

if you do have it overclocked, well, you shouldn't have much to worry about since your sticking with Intel. most coolers that work for the 775 socket work just fine since Intel didn't mess with the mounting method for the coolers. that is, of course, assuming that you'll be taking parts out of your current rig for the new one. if not, then i would go with the Cooler Master i picked out earlier. its cheap, and it will do the job.

happy shopping. :)

Q
09-08-2008, 11:55 PM
It would depend on how much room is in your case, but right now this Xigmatek direct-touch heatpipe cooler (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233014) is on sale for $12.99 after rebate at GougeEgg, and looks like a great deal as long as you don't mind mail-in rebates. If you don't like the push-pins you'll have to get the bolt-through mounting bracket, though. These direct-touch heatpipe Xigmateks have the performance of the high-end (>$50.00) coolers and are quite a bit cheaper. They offer monster overclocking headroom if you're into that kind of thing.

Char Ell
09-09-2008, 09:47 AM
stinger and Q,
Thanks for the advice. As for my CPU it's a Pentium 4 660 running at a factory clocked 3.6 GHz.

Negative Sun
09-09-2008, 01:44 PM
Just to drop in here, my favorite PC modding magazine swears by the ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186134), at $24.99 it's great value, amazingly quiet and it can keep even a heavily overclocked C2D cool ;)

It's a legend amongst the C2D overclockers!

So it should be more than adequate for a P4, even though they run notoriously hot :)

ChAiNz.2da
09-10-2008, 02:27 PM
Just to drop in here, my favorite PC modding magazine swears by the ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186134), at $24.99 it's great value, amazingly quiet and it can keep even a heavily overclocked C2D cool ;)

It's a legend amongst the C2D overclockers!

So it should be more than adequate for a P4, even though they run notoriously hot :)
Yeah, this thing is looking better and better every time I see it. Wouldn't mind getting one myself as I'm liking the direct touch, copper base and directional fan (up/down/front/back as opposed to 'out' ).

Not exactly 'hardware' but can anyone suggest a nice ceramique based paste? I know the silver based cools a little better.. but ceramique is comparable and won't short my board should any drip.

I usually use Arctic Silver's (http://www.arcticsilver.com/ceramique.htm) but if anyone knows of/has better experience with a different compund.. any feedback is greatly appreciated. :)

stingerhs
09-10-2008, 11:22 PM
^^^^
out of luck here, man. the only thing i use is Arctic Silver. and if you're worried about drips, just remember: more does not equal better with thermal grease/paste. ;)

A_Dead_Jedi
01-02-2009, 04:37 PM
Hey, right now I'm using a Pentium D 920 2.8ghz, and I was looking toward a cheap upgrade, possibly to one of the Phenom quad-cores.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

stingerhs
01-03-2009, 11:08 AM
its always a matter of how much you'll be willing to spend. its possible that you could be able to pick up a Core2 for your current system, but i don't think you'll find any available (and determining compatibility could be a nightmare as well). of course, that means a new motherboard, and that opens up a whole new can of worms.

before you can really even think processor, you're going to have think about what hardware you can reuse with the new board such as the hard drive(s), disc drives, PSU, RAM, and video card (if you have one). just keep in mind that some of that hardware isn't going to transfer well or at all. if you have an AGP-based video card, then you'll have to think about a new video card as well. you'll also want to check what kind of RAM is currently installed on your system. if you have DDR, you're out of luck since all boards from the past couple of years use either DDR2 or DDR3 RAM.

you'll also have to keep in mind that it will invalidate your copy of Windows installed on your current hard drive which means that you'll have to at least uninstall Windows on that hard drive. you'll have to reinstall it and then activate it somehow depending on what version you have.

anyways, just keep these things in mind for the moment. since you'll probably have to upgrade the motherboard, you'll probably want to start thinking about just getting a new system entirely. again, though, its all going to come down to how much you're willing to spend. ;)

Char Ell
03-12-2009, 10:38 AM
OK. So I want to build a PC for both folding and HTPC use.
- want to go with an AMD quad-core CPU
- want to use the SMP client
- want it to be as power-efficient as possible within economic reason (it will be folding when it's not doing recording or playback so I realize this won't be a low power setup)
- HD playback/recording capability is a nice to have but not required
- I was also thinking of possibly using a Linux OS
- and of course I want to spend as little as possible, hopefully less than USD$500

Recommendations? :D

Astrotoy7
03-13-2009, 11:46 PM
a low power folder/htpc is entirely possible on a shuttle ;)

I have similar plans to yourself and am looking at the SN78SH7 (http://us.shuttle.com/barebone/Models/SN78SH7.html)

getting a barebone is cheaper. Add your own GPU, HD, RAM and CPU...

The only problem with this setup is if you have a dual slot card, you are limited to using a usb tuner for htpc functionality. If youre not planning on using this with a dual slot card, you could go for a cheaper variant. Of course, you could ditch the card altogether and use the onboard nv8200 for htpc purposes. You could likely use it for folding as well as integrated 8200 is cuda enabled (http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_8200_mgpu_us.html)

There are many linux htpc variants. These sre chiefly used by 3 types:
*advanced setups, arch linux severs etc
*people who like the advanced tinkering
*people who hate MS

Feel free to have a squiz around the Linux area at the htpc site (http://www.xpmediacentre.com.au/community/linux-media-center-solutions/) I contribute at. I have a cataclysmic personality clash with the guy who presides over this area, so you wont see much of me in there :D Lots of great info though...

Alternately, you could get a ps3..games, folds, bluray and pvr functionality with playtv addon. ;)

mtfbwya

Char Ell
03-14-2009, 03:27 PM
I've considered the PS3 but haven't researched it a great deal. It doesn't seem like PlayTV has made it to the U.S.A. and even if it has I'm not so sure I want to risk getting locked into a Sony proprietary system.

I looked at the SN78SH7 but it doesn't support AM3 processors and I really wanted to get a Phenom II. Also I would much prefer to get a system with NVIDIA 9300 onboard graphics. Only problem seems to be that there aren't any motherboards out there that support AM3 processors and NVIDIA 9300. Maybe I should just wait to see what Shuttle comes out with later in the year since they're the only ones who seem able/willing to support AMD and NVIDIA on the same motherboard.

Astrotoy7
03-15-2009, 09:11 AM
....Only problem seems to be that there aren't any motherboards out there that support AM3 processors and NVIDIA 9300... Maybe I should just wait......

lolz. I dont think there's any other course of action if those are your requirements Char! :D Give it to the end of the year

mtfbwya

Char Ell
03-15-2009, 02:18 PM
Well, not requirements exactly but yes, as I continued doing more research that is kind of where I ended up with. :)

I decided I wanted a 45 nm processor and it seems like the Phenom II's are the only AMD processor that meets that. Of course I could always go with Core 2 Quad but I did want to try an AMD processor in this setup. I think I could be happy with an AMD Phenom II x3 720. I've read a few accounts of people saying they've been able to unlock the 4th processor on these but I'm good with this CPU even if I can't unlock the 4th core.

I'm curious what your thoughts as to the onboard graphics solution would you go with for an HTPC setup right now. My initial thought is that NVIDIA 9300/9400 is one of the best onboard solutions out there for this and a significant step up from the 8200. Maybe I've missed seeing a better solution in the onboard graphics arena.

Q
03-15-2009, 03:12 PM
If you want more than 2 cores, the PII X3 is simply the best value out there right now.

As far as onboard graphics go, the AMD 790 is the most powerful, but since you're a Folder, Nvidia may be a better option for you. Don't expect stellar gaming performance from either one of them, though. ;)

Char Ell
03-15-2009, 10:06 PM
I definitely like the price point on the Phenom II X3's. :D

Don't plan on playing any games on this system. The only reason I want to go with NVIDIA 9300 is because it seems to consume significantly less electricity than the 790 GX according to this Anandtech report (http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3432&p=11). Otherwise the two seem to be comparable in overall performance.

Astrotoy7
03-16-2009, 07:59 AM
I definitely like the price point on the Phenom II X3's. :D

Don't plan on playing any games on this system. The only reason I want to go with NVIDIA 9300 is because it seems to consume significantly less electricity than the 790 GX according to this Anandtech report (http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3432&p=11). Otherwise the two seem to be comparable in overall performance.

Low power AM2 folder with onboard nv GPU... cant beat this atm:
- Socket AM2 HTT 3000 MHz AMD® Opteron™ with HyperTransport Technology
- AMD Phenom, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 (CPU ≤ 65W)
- NVIDIA GeForce 8200 mGPU (MCP78S) single chipset supports DirectX 10 / PureVideo HD
- 1 * 240-pin DIMM Sockets for unbuffered Dual DDR2 800 SDRAM up to 2 GB
- Support 4 * SATA-2 Devices with RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 Functions
- Realtek ALC883 8-Channel Azalia HD Audio CODEC
- Advanced 3-Phase PWM Design W / OC-CON Capacitors
- Support 1080i / 1080p / HDCP / Blu-Ray HD DVD playback
- Dual Gigabit LAN / Dual Display / Dual Core Supported
- 1 * 32-bit PCI Slots
- 2 * Ultra DMA 133 / 100 / 66 IDE Devices Supported
- 1 * VGA / 1 * DVI / HDMI 1.3 Ready / SPDIF out

http://www.jetwaycomputer.com/NC62K.html

http://www.jetwaycomputer.com/images/j6c2_large.jpg

put in in a lovely mimi-itx case by www.aywun.com and you're all set ;)

There are mini-itx boards touting 9300, but intel flavour only atm(they also have pcie x16!) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500022)

mtfbwya

Achilles
04-16-2009, 01:47 PM
On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer, but I've been burned enough times to know to ask first. Do I need to worry about compatibility with slightly older games like SW:KotOR - TSL or Morrowind?

Should I spend the $20 extra and get the EVGA GTS 250 SC instead?

Thanks in advance!

ChAiNz.2da
04-16-2009, 05:39 PM
On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer, but I've been burned enough times to know to ask first. Do I need to worry about compatibility with slightly older games like SW:KotOR - TSL or Morrowind?

Should I spend the $20 extra and get the EVGA GTS 250 SC instead?

Thanks in advance!

Just make sure you have the proper PSU for it.. I'm having a hell of a time with my 280 :headbump Check those amps and make sure you have the proper connectors. Looks like the 250 only requires a 6pin (not the dreaded 8pin) so as long as you have the amps I'd say you won't have any problems.

Are you using XP or Vista? (32 or 64 bit). Alot of users don't seem to have 'much' problems getting older games to work in Vista... but 64 bit is a different story. (again, I've learned the hard way... hehehe) ;)

Q
04-16-2009, 08:26 PM
On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer, but I've been burned enough times to know to ask first. Do I need to worry about compatibility with slightly older games like SW:KotOR - TSL or Morrowind?
It shouldn't have any compatibility problems that your 8600GTS didn't.
Should I spend the $20 extra and get the EVGA GTS 250 SC instead?

Thanks in advance!
I don't know why you would want to do that. The GTS 250 is nothing but a re-badged 9800GTX. Yes, it would appear that Nvidia has taken a page from the George Lucas turd-polishing handbook (8800GTS 512 to 9800GTX to GTS 250). There are minor hardware changes between them, but all three are essentially the same card.

BTW: don't you have a 30" monitor? Wouldn't you want something a little more capable of running games at native res? How much were you willing to spend on that 9800GTX/GTS 250? There is a huge price war going on between ATI and Nvidia right now, and you should be able to pick up something a lot better like a GTX 260 or 275 (if you must have Nvidia -with notable exceptions, the real bargains have all been ATI cards) for not much more green. A card like that would provide a lot more horsepower to feed your monster monitor. To give you a ballpark figure, the most recent killer deals have been an XFX GTX 260 (216-shader) for $155.00 and an MSI HD 4890 for $183.00. With prices that low, the 9800GTX/GTS 250 has ceased to be any kind of a bargain unless you can find one for ~$100.00.

Oh, and please take ChAiNz's advice and check your PSU's +12V amperage and connections and tell us what you've got.

Achilles
04-16-2009, 09:26 PM
It shouldn't have any compatibility problems that your 8600GTS didn't. Great news. Thanks!

I don't know why you would want to do that. The GTS 250 is nothing but a re-badged 9800GTX. Yes, it would appear that Nvidia has taken a page from the George Lucas turd-polishing handbook (8800GTS 512 to 9800GTX to GTS 250). There are minor hardware changes between them, but all three are essentially the same card.I'll take your word for it re: GPU, but the RAM increase is dramatic (8600 = 256, 9800 = 512, GTS 250 = 1GB). That's really the motivation behind my sudden desire to shop..

BTW: don't you have a 30" monitor? Wouldn't you want something a little more capable of running games at native res?Meh. I'm pretty happy with 1280x800 (or 1440x900).

How much were you willing to spend on that 9800GTX/GTS 250?140 vs 160 respectively. I'm not unhappy with the card I have now, but it wouldn't hurt my feeling to run NWN2 with a few more bells and whistles either.

Oh, and please take ChAiNz's advice and check your PSU's +12V amperage and connections and tell us what you've got.Will do when I get home. :)

Thanks again, guys!

Q
04-16-2009, 10:30 PM
Great news. Thanks!
Compatibility would be the same for cards with the newer GT200 GPU as well. The architecture is very much the same as the older G92; there's just a lot more of it.
I'll take your word for it re: GPU, but the RAM increase is dramatic (8600 = 256, 9800 = 512, GTS 250 = 1GB). That's really the motivation behind my sudden desire to shop..
It's been argued that the G92 (the GPU on a 9800GTX/GTS 250) lacks the power to take advantage of that extra VRAM except in very specific situations, and that it's mostly a marketing gimmick (think 6200 256MB, if you remember that fiasco). I'll admit that I'm not 100% sure about it, myself, but it certainly wouldn't be the first time that either Nvidia or ATI has stuck a ton of memory on a less-capable card as a selling point.
Meh. I'm pretty happy with 1280x800 (or 1440x900).
A GTX 260 would reliably allow you to play most modern games at 1920x1200, and older ones at your monitor's native 2560x1600. Ask Astro about KotOR2 at 1600p. From what he tells me, it's awesome.
140 vs 160 respectively. I'm not unhappy with the card I have now, but it wouldn't hurt my feeling to run NWN2 with a few more bells and whistles either.
In that price range, I would definitely recommend the GTX 260 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150361), because it is a significant improvement over a 9800GTX/GTS 250. Just take a look at the number of stream processors (shaders) in their respective GPUs: 216 vs. 128. The GTS 250 would have to be sub-$125.00 to be worth buying, IMO.

It's basically all going to come down to your power supply and how much juice it puts out. You might have to get a new one for either card.

Achilles
04-16-2009, 11:56 PM
POWER
· Silent X 400W(PFC) Power Supply Unit
· Input 100-240V AC???

Q
04-17-2009, 12:28 AM
Searching...

Do you have a Shuttle PC? I see a lot of references to Shuttles when I Google this particular model. It will complicate things if you do.

Achilles
04-17-2009, 12:30 AM
I do. I have the SN27P2 (http://global.shuttle.com/product_detail.jsp?PI=189).

Edit: *reads*

"New for 2006...". My baby is not old!

Q
04-17-2009, 01:07 AM
Uh-oh. :(

I don't know if that PSU design is proprietary, but it is certainly non-standard and would be difficult and expensive to replace, especially on a computer that's what, 2 years old now? I don't think that it would be worth the investment. At least you have the 400W model and aren't stuck with a 300W.

I think that you would be better off getting a card that will work with your current PSU. The GTS 250 may indeed be a better choice for you. It would still be a monster improvement over what you have. As long as your PSU has one 6-pin PCIe plug, which I think it does, you should be OK. One of the improvements of the GTS 250 compared to the 9800GTX+ is reduced power consumption; it only requires 1 6-pin plug instead of 2. Astro is the Shuttle guy here, and would know way more about anything regarding Shuttles than I do.

PSU aside, we'll need to know if the card will fit in that itty-bitty case. IIRC, Astro has managed to fit first a 7950GX2 and later on an 8800GTS 640MB into his Shuttle case, so I'm sure that it's possible, but once again he's the guy to ask.

In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes open for a bargain GTS 250 for you. :)

Achilles
04-17-2009, 01:13 AM
Ok, I'll hit Astro up via PM (not sure how regularly he visits here). Thanks for all your help!

Q
04-17-2009, 01:35 AM
Are you kidding? This is his lair. :p

And you're welcome!

Achilles
04-17-2009, 02:33 AM
Are you kidding? This is his lair. :pNote to self: Pay more attention.

Astrotoy7
04-17-2009, 09:20 AM
Are you kidding? This is his lair

lolz... now I have a lair :D A trait common among arch criminals, satanists and despots.

I do. I have the SN27P2 (http://global.shuttle.com/product_detail.jsp?PI=189).

Edit: *reads*

"New for 2006...". My baby is not old!

oooh....a kindred spirit :)

Ive got, and am now stuck with the very same model :D It still works super mind you, but is a bit limited from a GPU upgrade perspective.

The 400WPSU is not an issue for the 250 at all ;) The only issue is the size of the case.

As the the SN27P2 is an older model, its support list is not updated on shuttle's site. The best other resource for all things shuttle are sudhian forums. (http://www.sudhian.com/index.php?/forums/viewforum/4/)

Ive had a quick squiz for you and it looks sorta promising ;) One user reports sucessfully cramming the evga GTX 250 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130470) into his SD27P2(the intel version of the SN37P2)

see this thread for more info about the P/P2 chassis GPU limitations. (http://www.sudhian.com/index.php?/forums/viewthread/105356/)

and this thread about the SN27P2 specifically (http://www.sudhian.com/index.php?/forums/viewthread/104387/) Of course, you can always join and ask the specific question if need be. Im not 100% sure how identical the SD37P2 and SN37P2 are in terms of connector placement near the pcie - which is teh crucial factor. Youd want to compare notes with a SD37P2 owner first before forking out for the 250 ;) The specific post by the user who has the 250 for his SD37P2 is here (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130470)

I am currently using an 8800GTS 640 and dont have any difficulties with the type of games you mentioned, including at resolutions above 1440x900. I play mass effect at 1080p, NWN2 even higher, crysis at 1080p but uber effects dumbed down a bit ;) I have to admit, since I discovered the EVGA overclocking app, I can get much more out of the 8800GTS than I believed possible, though I dont game that much to really test it out on a wider range of games.

good luck mang ;)

mtfbwya

Q
04-17-2009, 11:58 AM
Achilles, if you're looking for a ridiculously cheap solution that would cost you less than half of what a GTS 250 would, then look no further than this card (http://shop1.frys.com/product/5837943). This is the older (and better) 96-shader model (the new 9600GSO only has 48 and isn't worth buying). It might not have 1GB, but 768MB isn't too shabby at all and is probably all that the card can handle. When overclocked, this baby is roughly comparable with Astro's 8800GTS 640MB. The only hangup is the cut-down memory bus, but I have one of these cards myself and both the core and the memory overclock very well. I've got mine at 650/1630/950 (core/shader/memory) and I haven't even begun to push it yet.

Best of all for your case, this card is truly single-slot and will not intrude into the adjacent expansion slot on your motherboard. Even so, its cooler is still effective because it has a shroud that directs airflow over the memory as well as the GPU. This card is easily twice the card of your 8600GTS. You can't do better for $50.00, and this is the most sensible upgrade for a computer that's approaching 3 years old, IMO.

The rebate is large, yes, but PNY rebates are known to be reliable. As long as you jump through all of the hoops you'll get your money. I bought one of these for the workstation that I'm borrowing from my folks, and right now it's making a lot of sense to get a second one for the computer that I'm building for a $100.00 SLI setup that would approach a GTX 280 in performance. I just need to find a good, cheap SLI motherboard and decide whether to go with an Intel or AMD CPU.

Achilles
04-17-2009, 01:49 PM
I have no experience with PNY. Should I take this as an endorsement?

EDIT: Also, I have no experience with overclocking. How does one go about doing this and what other considerations do I need to take into account (aside from voiding warranties, potentially shortening lifespan...). You mentioned that this card runs fairly cool. Will I need to purchase additional cooling equipment?

Sorry for the n00b questions.

@Astro: thank you, sir!

Q
04-17-2009, 04:49 PM
I have no experience with PNY. Should I take this as an endorsement?
Yes. The build quality on my card is good. I haven't gotten my rebate yet, but I just checked their site today and it has gone through and the check is on its way. Several other people at Anandtech forums have bought this card and all have gotten their rebates. This card is immensely popular over there because of cheap SLI and it's usefulness with Folding@home (Nvidia cards are better at folding). I can't believe that there are any left. So yeah, I endorse this card wholeheartedly. I think that it would perfect for your needs since you don't require native res, and it's extremely cheap to boot.
EDIT: Also, I have no experience with overclocking. How does one go about doing this and what other considerations do I need to take into account (aside from voiding warranties, potentially shortening lifespan...). You mentioned that this card runs fairly cool. Will I need to purchase additional cooling equipment?
No. I'm doing my O/C with the standard cooler, which is quite good for a single-slot job. Overclocking is perfectly safe with the right utilities. Download and install RivaTuner (http://downloads.guru3d.com/RivaTuner-v2.24-download-163.html) from Guru3D and use it to adjust your fan speed up from the woefully inadequate stock settings (where it was idling in the 70s) to a level where the noise is as loud as you can stand. I only have mine turned up to 58%, which is the highest I can set it before I can hear it over my case fans, and you'd probably want to do the same. At 100% it sounds like a blow-dryer.

When overclocked to 653/1633/950 over the stock speed of 575/1438/850 at 58% fan speed, the GPU idles at 52° C and doesn't go over 60° C when playing VtMB, which is sadly the most demanding I have ATM. Modern games would be way more demanding, but GPUs are built to function at 90+° C if you can believe it, so there is really no danger of damaging it as long as you're sensible. Anything under 80° C is totally safe. The card will start to display artifacts onscreen or start to CTD when you've reached the limits of it's clockspeed, and that will usually happen well within its thermal envelope.

And you don't have to operate it overclocked 24/7 like you would a CPU. Once you learn your card's limits you can put it back to its factory settings for everyday operation, open RivaTuner and overclock it before starting up your game, then return it to factory settings when you're done.

So let's go over the card details, shall we? This card used to be known as the 8800GS (yes, more Nvidia turd-polishing). Basically, it's a cut-down version of the 9800GT (8800GT), which is itself a cut-down version of the 9800GTX (8800GTS 512). This 9600GSO has the same GPU as the 9800GT and the 9800GTX (the G92), only it has 96 stream processors compared to 112 for the 9800GT and 128 for the 9800GTX, and its memory bus has been cut down from 256 bits to 192 bits. It's performance is roughly equal to the 9600GT when it's been mildly overclocked, and comes close to the 9800GT when heavily (but still safely) overclocked. You can expect roughly double the performance of your 8600GTS from it.

At half the cost of a 9800GT and little more than a third of the cost of a GTS 250 it's easily the best bang for the buck out there ATM. Your power supply will have no problems with it, because it only requires 26 amps on the +12v rail and one 6-pin PCIe plug. The card is 9 inches long, so if Astro can fit an 8800GTS in his Shuttle, you should have little trouble fitting it in yours. Just measure from the back of your case 9 inches towards the front and see if you run into anything. Since the card is no longer than a micro-ATX motherboard, the most likely obstruction that you're going to encounter are cables that are plugged into your motherboard, so in a worst-case scenario you'd have to buy a flat-plugged cable to fit under it.

*returns to hunting down a cheap SLI motherboard*

Achilles
04-17-2009, 05:04 PM
Card has been ordered and I am installing RivaTuner right now.

I really do appreciate all the work you've put in to helping me with this. Thank you.

Q
04-17-2009, 05:19 PM
You're most welcome. :)

Are your drivers up to date? You won't have to change them if they are. GeForce 8 and 9 cards use the same driver. If they're not up to date, then you should update them. Nvidia has made some big improvements in performance over the last few months that have been confirmed by independent users.

Did you print the online receipt? You'll need a copy of it for the rebate.

Achilles
04-17-2009, 05:28 PM
You're most welcome. :)

Are your drivers up to date? You won't have to change them if they are. GeForce 8 and 9 cards use the same driver. If they're not up to date, then you should update them. Nvidia has made some big improvements in performance over the last few months that have been confirmed by independent users.

Did you print the online receipt? You'll need a copy of it for the rebate.No printer, though I did take a screen shot so that I could print it later from another PC. I also have the email receipt.

Q
04-17-2009, 05:47 PM
You might want to call the number on the rebate form to make sure, but the screenshot should work, as it is a copy of the original receipt.

I'm just uber-paranoid about rebates, even though I've always received every one that I've ever applied for. Their whole purpose is to get people to pay full price for an item while offering the manufacturer the opportunity to get out of paying the rebate on a technicality.

Achilles
04-17-2009, 09:43 PM
You might want to call the number on the rebate form to make sure, but the screenshot should work, as it is a copy of the original receipt.

I'm just uber-paranoid about rebates, even though I've always received every one that I've ever applied for. Their whole purpose is to get people to pay full price for an item while offering the manufacturer the opportunity to get out of paying the rebate on a technicality.The website didn't really give me a "print receipt" option. It did tell me that I would be receiving an email, which I should print (and I intend to print at some point from another PC), but I always take screenshots as a backup.

Q
04-17-2009, 10:22 PM
I printed the page with the order summary as soon as my order was confirmed, and PNY accepted that. The email receipt would probably do as well, but like I said, it wouldn't hurt to call and ask just to be sure before you send it in. The number is (888)808-5931.

As far as RivaTuner goes, it's installation is hardware-specific, meaning that it configures itself to your particular hardware configuration as it installs, so you'll want to install it after you've installed the new card. If you have already installed it, it's no problem; just completely uninstall it and reinstall it when you get the new card. If you do already have it installed, you can learn how to use it with your old card.

Astrotoy7
04-18-2009, 02:42 PM
Amazing stuff Q, where did you source that deal from, thats a darn good buy for $50USD(after rebate)!

I really do appreciate all the work you've put in to helping me with this. Thank you.

When it comes to sourcing a bargain, Q is the man ;)

@Astro: thank you, sir!
No probs... thats what we set up this place for after all. It was curious for me to come across another shuttle owner here, esp one with the same model.

and this is the most sensible upgrade for a computer that's approaching 3 years old, IMO.

Whoa....has it really been that long. Man Im getting old :( Unless shuttle comes up with a high end Phenom supporting platform... my next upgrade may be to the SX58H7 which is an Intel only rig.... the shame of it. The two rigs I have that are intel have free (salvaged) or very cheap CPUs($30 for a celeron I put into a shuttle kpc for the missus recently), the thought of paying intel full price for one irks me :p

*goes off to search soul and ponder* :p

mtfbwya

Q
04-18-2009, 03:51 PM
Amazing stuff Q, where did you source that deal from, thats a darn good buy for $50USD(after rebate)!
Anandtech's Hot Deals forum (http://forums.anandtech.com/categories.aspx?catid=40&flcache=1180535). It's very convenient because it distills all of the exploits in the RPG of life deals found at forums like FatWallet.com and SlickDeals.com by filtering out most of the uninteresting crap and mainly featuring the deals that suit my interests such as computer hardware and electronics.
Whoa....has it really been that long. Man Im getting old :( Unless shuttle comes up with a high end Phenom supporting platform... my next upgrade may be to the SX58H7 which is an Intel only rig.... the shame of it. The two rigs I have that are intel have free (salvaged) or very cheap CPUs($30 for a celeron I put into a shuttle kpc for the missus recently), the thought of paying intel full price for one irks me :p

*goes off to search soul and ponder* :p
Surely there's a DIY alternative to Shuttle? One that doesn't try to pigeon-hole you by using (*shudders*) proprietary components? (*shudders again*)

Astrotoy7
04-19-2009, 09:07 AM
Surely there's a DIY alternative to Shuttle? One that doesn't try to pigeon-hole you by using (*shudders*) proprietary components? (*shudders again*)

Yes and no there :) As you know, the case is specially designed small form factor where everything fits in like an intricate lego set, sometimes allowing literally milimters leeway. In this instance, its no surprise that they came with their own speciallty designed PSU. Its a simple fact that shuttle PSU do their job spectacularly... eg. a 500W PSU that can run a GTX 295. If you fool around with the case and trays etc, you can fit thrid party PSUs in there, but a 500W Thermaltake etc will NOT run the GTX 295 the 500W shuttle PSU can.

mtfbwya

Q
04-19-2009, 12:12 PM
Yeah, I noticed that they were high-quality units when I was searching for an amperage rating for Achilles. Active power factor correction and 80+% efficiency (I assume that it's 80+ from the fact that it has such high +12v amperage) were not the norm for OEM PSUs three years ago. Is the motherboard of a proprietary form factor as well?

BTW: I just received my $40.00 rebate from PNY yesterday. Less than 2 months from the purchase date is awesomely fast for a mail-in rebate, and I didn't even mail it in right away. Achilles, if you mail in the form as soon as you get your card, you can expect your rebate check in about 6 weeks. :)

Astrotoy7
04-20-2009, 05:23 AM
Is the motherboard of a proprietary form factor as well?

Its ALL custom/propietary. The maiboard format is called Flex-ATX IIRC, made only by/for shuttle. They are the bees knees [IMO] :D Whatever I may think about intel and their business policies... the SX58H7 is one fine piece of work..

Astro

Q
05-02-2009, 02:54 AM
I thought that I'd add that the price on those 9600GSOs has just fallen to $39.99 after rebate with free shipping, so I bought 2 of them to throw in the new rig that I'm building. Yes, I know that I'll have to buy an SLI motherboard and put up with one of those craptastic Nvidia chipsets, but for $80.00, I just couldn't resist, since the performance level is comparable to a GTX 260 at half the price. It ought to be a F@H monster. :D

If I can find an Nforce 780a or 780i at a good price (I haven't made up my mind whether to go with AMD or Intel yet), I might even get a third one and blow the GTX 285 away with 288 stream processors. :p

Astrotoy7
05-02-2009, 11:19 AM
It ought to be a F@H monster. :D

teamLFN will always welcome you back Q.

OffTopic: Those fractal avvies of yours, they arent fractalised rude pictures are they?? I know a guy who does that, and claims he can see the original picture just as clearly.... I'd dismiss him as an idiot were he not a PhD in mathematics

Here is a julia fractal he showed me once, the original of which would have me banned in about 3 seconds flat. In its current form, its quite pretty :)
http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc288/Astrotoy7/julia.png

mtfbwya

Q
05-02-2009, 03:43 PM
Nope, no hidden pr0n. :p

I believe that both of the ones that I've used are, um, religious in nature, actually. ;)

EDIT: HAHA! I found a motherboard! (http://www.amazon.com/Zotac-NF780I-A-E-nForce780i-Supreme-SLI-Motherboard/dp/B001NGP6F4/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1)

nice bit o kit indeed Q. To grab one of those down here is near $400AUD :(

mtfbwya

Char Ell
05-22-2009, 10:30 AM
For Core i7 mainboard, I'm considering Gigabyte's GA-EX58-UD4P (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128374) and Asus P6T (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131359). Anybody want to offer opinions on which board would be the better choice? :)

Astrotoy7
05-22-2009, 11:54 AM
I've heard good reports about the Asus.

But as you can guess Char, If I was going to commit to corei7, I'd go for the Shuttle SX58H7 in a snap ;)

mtfbwya

Q
05-22-2009, 08:24 PM
Man, what's it going to take to cure you of your proprietary hardware madness? :p

Anywho, I'm gathering the final pieces of the puzzle together now, and I should get them by the middle of next week. It's going to come to ~$600.00 after rebates and other discounts, but it's going to be a lot nicer than I had originally planned for ~$50.00-$100.00 more than I was originally intending to spend (ain't that always the way it goes? ;)), while still being about 2/3 of the cost of a Core i7 system.

stingerhs
05-22-2009, 09:56 PM
Core i7??? a bit too overpriced and slightly overhyped, IMHO. is there any hope in me convincing you to go with a high end Core 2 Quad or a Phenom II?? :p

at least prices on DDR3 are a lot lower than they were a year ago. :)

Q
05-22-2009, 11:54 PM
I mostly agree, but I dont think that Core i7 is overhyped, sporting a 17% single-threaded IPC advantage over Core 2 Quad like it does, even with it's anemic L2 cache. And Hyper-Threading enables it to handle 8 simultaneous threads almost as well as 2 C2Qs put together. Recent BIOS and driver revisions have really improved its performance in the ~6 months since it was released. It's really all about what you'll need it for. Avery's building a new rig for graphics design and she'll definitely need Core i7. I'm not even going quad-core, ATM; I just don't need it. What I do need is maximum single- and dual-core performance for gaming.

Here's the hardware and OS that I've already bought with prices adjusted for rebates and discounts:

Motherboard: Zotac nForce 780i Supreme -$116.08
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Wolfdale 6M E8400 -$128.79
RAM: Corsair XMS2 2x2GB PC2-8500 (5-5-5-15) -$30.00
Graphics Cards: 2xPNY 9600 GSO (96SP, 192-bit model) 768MB GDDR3 -These two cards in SLI should deliver the performance level of the GTX 260 at least -$80.00 for both! :rock:
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB -$68.24
Optical Drive: Sony 24x SATA DVD burner -$22.80
CPU Heatsink: Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer 120mm -$28.99
Case Fans: Scythe 120mm and Cooler Master 80mm -$15.58
Case: Ultra Wizard (Junky, but it works. Hell, I don't care what it looks like. :p) -FREE*
Power Supply: Ultra X-Finity 600W (definitely NOT junk) -FREE*
Operating System: MS Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit -$77.99

Total: (so far): $568.47, and I didn't have to pay tax or shipping on any of it. :D



*Yes, FREE. Fry's Electronics and Ultra were running these crazy promotions a couple of years ago when Ultra was first entering the US market. I got a case and a couple of PSUs for free after rebate. Good times. :)

And, yes, I'm going to overclock the absolute crap out of this thing once I get it put together. 4+GHz, here I come! :emodanc:

Char Ell
05-23-2009, 10:43 AM
Those are some amazing prices Q. You are definitely a bargain hunting master. ;)

I've heard good reports about the Asus.

But as you can guess Char, If I was going to commit to corei7, I'd go for the Shuttle SX58H7 in a snap ;)

mtfbwya Good to know. To me it's a toss up between these two. As far as h/w choice goes, I already have a case and 80+ Bronze PSU that I don't feel like sidelining. Still waiting for Shuttle to come out with an AM3 model so I can use it to try my hand at running a media center. ;)

Core i7??? a bit too overpriced and slightly overhyped, IMHO. is there any hope in me convincing you to go with a high end Core 2 Quad or a Phenom II?? :p Considering I'm currently using a Pentium 4 and am on a 4-5 year upgrade cycle, probably not. Besides, I do want the multi-threading horsepower for video editing. The Pentium 4 just isn't making it happen. And I'd rather go with the integrated memory controller solution than Core 2 Quad FSB. As for Phenom II, its performance really doesn't match up to Core i7. That being said, I'm trying to hold out for a price drop so I can buy a Core i7 920 for $250 or less. Not sure how much longer I'll manage to wait though. :)

Q
05-23-2009, 01:45 PM
You can already get a 920 for $229.99 if you live near a Micro Center. It was down to $199.99 for a few days recently.

Char Ell
05-24-2009, 06:25 PM
Hmmm.... Unfortunately I do not live within a reasonable driving distance from any Micro Center. I'll keep that in mind though so thanks. :)

Q
05-24-2009, 07:06 PM
Yeah, neither do I. :(

It shouldn't be too long before the 920's price comes down elsewhere, if only temporarily.

Sabretooth
08-23-2009, 03:30 AM
Oh great Tech Community, I invoke thy powers to give me advice!

As some of you may know, I happen to have a spanking new computer that has a decent onboard video solution to boot. I plan on buying a video card by Christmas this year, so I was wondering what the local rap is about graphic cards.

I have my eyes on ATi's 4470 and 4850, the latter appears to have higher benchmarks, but the latter has some sexy tech wizardry with GDDR5 memory or some such. I do not know about the nVidia camp, so I'm especially interested if there are any nVidia cards worth their salt (I hear they have that fancy new PhysX thingie included now).

Budget is $100, low cost is appreciated. Card should last out for some 3-4 years (be able to play new games at Highest/High/Medium-High at least), and I'm not too interested in overclocking.

Current system:

AMD Phenom X4 9950 BE
2 GB RAM (will prolly buy another 2GB stick with the GPU)
One PCIe slot (no crossfire/SLI kthxbai)

Char Ell
08-23-2009, 12:32 PM
Congrats on the new rig, Sabretooth. As far as I know the Radeon HD 4850 uses GDDR3 memory so nothing particularly unusual or snazzy about its memory. From an initial search it appears there are a few of these cards that can be purchased for USD$100 or slightly less. If rumors are true though and AMD launches its next gen of GPU's in the next couple of months we may see more price drops for the 48xx cards before too long.

Also, if you're in India then what merchants can you purchase from? I don't want to quote some prices from different websites only to find out you can't buy from them. Q is pretty good at finding smoking deals though so hopefully he'll chime in with some recommendations.

What resolution do you plan/want to use when playing your games over the next couple of years? That will play a big role in determining what card you will need to meet your Very High/High quality graphic gameplay requirements.

Sabretooth
08-23-2009, 01:45 PM
My monitor only goes upto 1360x768, so I don't think that's very huge. :D

I'll most probably get the card off a local dealer who generally sells cheap, but I just wanted to know what the perfect card will be. I'll be buying somewhere around Christmas, so that's some 4 months left for prices to drop. So the price issue is kinda vague, just give me a good mainstream card to consider that'll retail at around $100.

And btw, I meant to say former, the 4770 has GDDR5, not 4850. :D

Astrotoy7
08-23-2009, 01:51 PM
wow - If Q can find cheap deals in India, then that will be a super effort!

Surely you have a local pc shops sabre? If nit, there's always ebay India.

Finally, you did not mention which power supply you had - it has some bearing on certain card choices.

mtfbwya

stingerhs
08-23-2009, 01:54 PM
by that time, i wouldn't be surprised to see Radeon 4890 prices at around $100 or so, knowing AMD's strategy of price cutting these days. and don't count out Nvidia, either. i highly doubt that they'll just sit by and do nothing while AMD launches a whole new line of graphics cards in time for the holidays.

you have to remember that all bets are off with pricing in the PC Hardware market when something new comes around. there's always a lot of savings to be had as companies try to stay competitive price-wise, so keep that in mind. ;)

Astrotoy7
08-23-2009, 01:56 PM
GDDR5 isnt all it's cracked up to be. You have a performance boost to measure against increased power draw and heat production...which then affects performance!! *sigh* why the heck did AMD buy ATI....

*laments*

mtfbwya

Q
08-23-2009, 03:27 PM
Because it happened during the reign of Ruinz?

Still, I'd be willing to bet that Nvidia's next top-line cards will be using GDDR5. ;)

Astrotoy7
08-23-2009, 11:43 PM
Because it happened during the reign of Ruinz?

Still, I'd be willing to bet that Nvidia's next top-line cards will be using GDDR5. ;)

I posted the GT300s reported/leaked specs earlier on - Ive gone blank in recalling them :( Not a suprise at all. Some of their mid end cards already do sport it.

Im thinking nvidia were hoping to pair the 'hot-hot-hot- GDDR5 with the relatively cooler 55nm(and smaller) parts and arrive at some type of happier medium than the Radeon 4870X2 marshmallow cooker

Astro

Q
08-25-2009, 04:21 PM
My monitor only goes upto 1360x768, so I don't think that's very huge. :D

I'll most probably get the card off a local dealer who generally sells cheap, but I just wanted to know what the perfect card will be. I'll be buying somewhere around Christmas, so that's some 4 months left for prices to drop. So the price issue is kinda vague, just give me a good mainstream card to consider that'll retail at around $100.

And btw, I meant to say former, the 4770 has GDDR5, not 4850. :D
Those two cards are similar in performance, with the 4770 sporting the newer tech (45nm GPU, GDDR5 using a 128-bit bus) and the 4850 using slighly older tech (55nm GPU, GDDR3 on a 256-bit bus). I would still get the 4850, because its GPU features the full 800 shaders compared with the 4770's 640(?). Both can be had for about the same price here in the states. At your resolution you shouldn't need a frame buffer any larger than 512MB. Just make sure that it comes with adequate cooling, or that your case has good ventilation, and be sure to use a utility to adjust the fan speed. Some of those 4850s have downright crappy coolers.

Sabretooth
08-28-2009, 12:14 AM
Okey-do then, no 4770. Do I get any special bonuses for an AMD/ATi pair? :p

As for the PSU, I currently have a 400W I got with the case. I'm guessing these new hotshots will need a 500? I've got two extra fan slots too, I'm guessing I'll have to get them filled to cool the GPU.

Hopefully that should keep temperatures cool, but I really am impressed by how these new swanky computers can handle well under pressure. My old PC was very cranky with temperature, had to keep the window open or it overheated and went dud until it cooled down. And on the opposite end, if temps got too low in the monsoon, I had to resurrect it with a hair dryer. :D

Is nVidia's PhysX thingie worth the buy? Anything from the green camp I should be interested in?

Astrotoy7
08-28-2009, 01:18 AM
Hopefully that should keep temperatures cool, but I really am impressed by how these new swanky computers can handle well under pressure...

Tell me about it. I have 295 and a core i7 in a case the size of a loaf of bread. If it was a prescott and a 7950GX2, there'd me a mushroom cloud over my house after 2 mins of any newer game at higher rez'

Some people can hate on it as much as they want, some of the credit for this does go to Vista, and its capacity to handle higher processing demands and Dx10 games

mtfbwya

Q
08-28-2009, 03:01 PM
Oh, crap. I forgot about the PSU demands. :whacked:

Sabre, at your resolution, just get a 4770 512MB and call it a day. Its GPU is actually 40nm, not the 45nm that I initially believed it was, and it barely draws 80W (80 watts/12 volts=6.67 amps) so there'd no extra expense involved. Like I said, you wouldn't notice much of a difference in performance because of the 4770's higher clockspeed. :)

Oh, and you do get a (sort of) bonus by combining that motherboard, which features an integrated ATI GPU, with an ATI video card. It's called Hybrid Crossfire, which combines the power of both GPUs. I'll admit that I don't know much about it, though. I would theorize, however, that if the motherboard GPU is that much weaker than the one in the video card, which in this case it definitely would be, it might actually degrade the overall video performance. It'd definitely be worth checking out, though. ;)

Sabretooth
08-28-2009, 09:22 PM
Nah, I checked out the Crossfire, the HD 3200 is only compatible with HD 3450 or and one other card that's weaker. In any case, it's not recommended. :D

So I can jack in a 4770 without requiring a PSU upgrade? This thingie can work with a measly 400 W of power, you say?

Q
08-28-2009, 09:44 PM
It should be able to, yes. It's performance should also be quite adequate at your resolution. It supposedly overclocks well, too. You may not be interested in that feature right now, but you might later on when the card gets older and doesn't perform as well with newer games, or if you end up getting a higher-resolution monitor down the line. ATI's drivers also feature built-in overclocking, up to a certain point.

Told you that I didn't know very much about Hybrid Crossfire. :xp:

Sabretooth
08-28-2009, 10:18 PM
Alrighty then, I think the 4770 should be it, unless some other card drops down to $100-ish by year-end. >_>

Sure I shouldn't be looking at nVidia? Because that's what I was actually curious about, I've no idea about what they're doing.

Q
08-28-2009, 11:47 PM
You'll pay more for the same level of performance. ;)

Nvidia's main advantages lie with CUDA which helps give it awesome (as in 2x) F@H performance when compared to ATI, Phys-X, which is available on a few titles but hasn't really taken off yet because it's an Nvidia exclusive and most game developers aren't going to use the resources to support something that isn't an industry standard, and drivers that are arguably easier to use.

The only reason that I chose Nvdia for my current build was because I found two 9600 GSO 768MB cards for $40.00 apiece and a 780i SLI motherboard for $116.00. Phys-X, F@H performance and a driver interface that I'm used to are just nice bonuses.

For around $100.00, ATI rules the roost when it comes to getting the most bang for the buck. If you like Nvidia, though, look around for an 8800 GTS 512MB, 9800GTX 512MB, 98000GTX+ 512MB or a GTS 250 512MB. They're all pretty much the same card and in he same performance category as the 4770/4850. For slightly less performance you could try an 8800GT or 9800GT. Whether or not they will run on that 400W PSU of yours, I don't know, but I believe that they draw a little less power than the 4850. I still think that the 4770 would be your best bet, though, because I know that it would run on it. Its performance per Watt is probably the best of any video card on the market right now.

stingerhs
09-15-2009, 12:19 AM
ok, so i'm looking to start a new build for my next computer (the old one is up for sale now). normally, i'm not one to look for advise in this particular area, but i managed to get myself a pretty good deal by trading a 500GB WD Caviar Black for a small-form factor ATX case (in particular, its a Shuttle, although i forgot the model number). i'm probably going to use it since i need something more portable this time around for a number of reasons (such as switching residences, LAN parties, etc).

now, i'm aware that i need a mini ATX factor board and so on, but i do have a couple of quick questions:

1. is there a way i can get my hands on a power supply that's designed for small form factors (ie, shorter cables, smaller size, etc) that can also put out big power??

2. i'm also concerned with cooling because of the thermal properties of a smaller case. should i stick with the stock coolers for whatever CPU i use, or is there something better (and noise is not a factor)??

and finally, i'm aiming to have all the parts ordered probably in November so i can take advantage of the W7 launch, the Radeon 58xx launch, and the Intel Core i5/i7 launch. the problem right now is that i'm not really wanting to go Intel (my heart aches at the thought), and i'm not convinced that a PII 940 BE is going to cut it for future proofing. given AMD's track record of supporting the AM2/AM2+ Socket, though, i'm wondering if there wouldn't be some merit in going AMD with an AM3 board and upgrading to the latest and greatest AMD has when it comes out.

basically, should i commit to an AMD platform with reduced performance with the inent of upgrading later, or should i just give in and go Intel and get the high end performance i want right now??

Balderdash
09-27-2009, 04:02 AM
Hello people, I suppose I should start by thanking you all for your help before, way back on pages one and two.

I'm building another machine. I've agreed to build a PC for my sister's boyfriend. He wants a gaming rig which he wants to connect to a HDTV, and it has to have a blu-ray player. He hasn't asked for anything more specific than that, so I was wondering what you guys thought, since you were so helpful before? Obviously it's quite a big responsibility spending what is probably a good portion of his paycheck for him. ;)

I was thinking that crossfire/SLI might possibly be the way to go with an HDTV in the equation. I've never gone in this direction before though. Thoughts?

TIA.

stingerhs
09-27-2009, 12:03 PM
you don't need Xfire or SLI for an HDTV. most mid to high end of the current generation can easily handle the majority of games @ 1080p. if you're looking for extra oomph at 1080p, all you really need is a card with 1GB of video RAM on it.

Hawkstrong16
12-13-2009, 07:32 PM
Well I'm sure some of you are aware I have been having a hard time coming up with a half decent system to use and I was wondering. Would it be possible to put a newish CPU on a system with a Intel Pentium III. I'm not talking about anything super fast, I just want to know if its possible. I'm having a hell of a time with computers lately.

Another question: I have a motherboard here that quit working one day. I was wondering if the CPU would still be any good to try in another motherboard. There were some light burn marks where the PSU connected, it was with the older 20-pin connector, the burn marks were where the two side by side red wires connect.

Thanks for any help!

Hawkstrong16
12-16-2009, 09:21 PM
Well I thought I would see what you guys think about the Barebone Kit I've ordered. As I got word today that my motherboard is shot in my laptop. Damn HP burned up

Click (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5205403&Sku=B69-1107)

I have a 450 Watt Power supply I will be putting in. As well as a 160GB HDD. I also have a old CDRW drive for it. I don't have the money for a new one atm.

But for a simple replacement computer I think it is a good deal. I opted for not getting another laptop, seeing as how when I go to collage I'll just have to buy a new one, anyway. lol. But what do you guys think? And it will play Kotor :)

stingerhs
12-18-2009, 10:41 AM
its not bad. its not a screaming fast system mind you, but if its just something for the short term, then its not a bad deal. ;)

Hawkstrong16
12-18-2009, 01:06 PM
It will be faster then my Laptop was. The laptop was a AMD Athlon X2 at 1.6GHz with 1GB of RAM. I figure I can upgrade this as I need to. And like I said I don't need much.
I will let you guys know when I get it all set up and running.
Plus this will be a good first build computer. Remember I'm just a beginner. haha :)

Hawkstrong16
12-22-2009, 12:18 PM
Well now I'm having some problems, Im not sure if I should post here or make a new thread. So bare with me.

When I got This (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5205403&Sku=B69-1107) computer all put together and tried to start it up the first time, the power supply and the CPU fan started. But the screen stayed blank and it issued 9 beeps. Then it would be quiet, then 9 more, quiet 9 more etc. I've been trying to figure it out all night with no luck. The manual says 1 long with 9 short beeps is a BIOS ROM error. But it was 9 long beeps. and the book doesn't give me any help on it.

I have both my HDD and my CD drive on the same IDE since there is only one connector. Idk if that makes a difference or not.

I'm almost positive I have it all hooked up right. there isn't any question on where to put everything its all pretty straight forward. So I'm lost and really want the first computer I try to build to work

Soo.... Please help me!

Thanks in advance for any help. I know I'm in good hands with the people here :)

Q
12-22-2009, 03:58 PM
Try unplugging it and removing the battery. If there's a clear CMOS jumper, then jump it, replace the battery, plug it in and see if it POSTs. f there is no jumper, then leaving the battery out for ~20 minutes should do the same thing, but it should have a jumper.

stingerhs
12-22-2009, 06:11 PM
you'll also want to research what those beeps actually mean since its actually an excellent diagnostic tool. what is the make and model of the motherboard??

Q
12-22-2009, 06:19 PM
The parts are in the link he provided (it isn't obvious, and I nearly missed it, myself). It's a Gigabyte G41M-ES2L. I've been Googling it, but haven't managed to find out what nine long beeps mean yet.

Hawkstrong16
12-22-2009, 10:57 PM
The parts are in the link he provided (it isn't obvious, and I nearly missed it, myself). It's a Gigabyte G41M-ES2L. I've been Googling it, but haven't managed to find out what nine long beeps mean yet.


Sorry about that :/ Its been a irritating day trying to figure this out. I've spent all day Googling my motherboard with no luck.

I did try clearing the CMOS, there is a jumper. I tried both jumping it and taking the battery out with no change.

I also tried laying it on cardboard and just hooking up the PSU to the motherboard with just the RAM and CPU in it. and the speaker. No luck.

I found one person that has had a simmilar problems. its not the same but its close Problem (http://support.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=pbgt&thread=337527&page=1#3796776)

stingerhs
12-23-2009, 12:26 AM
well, after doing a bit of research, you'll probably have to contact Gigabyte about the problem. that board uses the Award BIOS, and that means that the error codes are not all universally the same since Award BIOS are open for modification by the manufacturers. Gigabyte should have a database somewhere that their tech support can access that will tell you what the error code means.

you can try here for e-mail (http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/ServiceCenter.aspx), but i usually just use the phone. ;)

Hawkstrong16
12-23-2009, 12:34 AM
Well thanks for your help. I think I'll try e-mailing them. Or have dad call them. Hopefully this turns out to be simple so I can have a working computer soon


EDIT: I did some searching on Award BIOS and everything I have been able to find has said that the beeps I have been getting mean I have a RAM error.

So should I replace my RAM first or just contact Gigabyte?

Here is what I have for RAM now. It came with the barebone kit I got.

Ultra DDR2 2048MB PC2-5300 667MHz

EDIT AGAIN::
Here are the beep codes in my Users Manual

1 short: System boots successfully
2 short: CMOS setting error
1 long 1 short: DRAM or M/B error
1 long 2 short: Monitor or display card error
1 long 3 short: Keyboard error
1 long 9 short: BIOS ROM error
Continuous long beeps: DRAM error
Continuous short beeps: Power error

Non of those seem to apply to whats happening to me. But I thought I'd share them

Q
12-24-2009, 07:23 AM
Try it again with only 1 RAM stick in the first slot. First one and then the other.

If you're still having trouble, try reseating the CPU.

Hawkstrong16
12-24-2009, 05:43 PM
Try it again with only 1 RAM stick in the first slot. First one and then the other.

If you're still having trouble, try reseating the CPU.

I only have one RAM stick. Its a single 2GB stick. But I tried it in both slots.

I tried reseating the CPU(taking it out checking it and putting it back in, I made sure it was in right even though its impossible to put it in wrong)

So either bad RAM or I got a bad board. Which happens so I'm not mad so long as I can a replacement

Q
12-25-2009, 04:36 AM
Try testing the RAM stick in someone else's computer. DDR2 machines are pretty common, and you'll be able to tell right away if that stick is bad.

BTW: what version of Windows were you planning on using?

Hawkstrong16
12-26-2009, 03:06 PM
Try testing the RAM stick in someone else's computer. DDR2 machines are pretty common, and you'll be able to tell right away if that stick is bad.

BTW: what version of Windows were you planning on using?

I tested the RAM in my dads computer. It didn't work. So I took it out and it worked again. So I took one of his RAM stick(he had 8GB of ram he can afford the lose of 2GB, lol) and put it in my rig and it worked!! Thank you all so much for your help. I'm gonna have dad call tiger direct and get my RAM replaced.. But for now I'm up and running.

Thank you stingerhs and Q. You have both helped so much! I'll let you know when I get my rig finished and my OS setup.

I'm planning on using XP Pro SP3. Since I have a copy of that already. I may upgrade to 7 though if I feel it will be cost effective. But XP still works for me. And I hated Vista


EDIT: Hey is it possible to have both a IDE HDD and CD drive on the same IDE cable? Because if not then I need either a new CD drive or HDD

Q
12-26-2009, 05:33 PM
Yeah, one will be the master and one will be the slave, with the top (black) plug for the master the lower (gray) plug for the slave and the blue plug for the motherboard. There are jumpers on the backs of IDE drives which you have to set to "master", "slave" or "cable select". If you set both drives to "cable select", master and slave will be determined by what plug they're plugged into, so I usually just use the "cable select" setting for both drives.

Glad to hear that you figured out your problem. :)

Hawkstrong16
12-26-2009, 09:32 PM
Does it matter which is the Slave and which the master? since one is a CD/DVD drive and the other is a Hard Drive? Will it make a difference one way or another?
The motherboard end is green now. at least on this one. lol

Thanks for your help, Q. I couldn't have done it without you :)

stingerhs
12-26-2009, 10:35 PM
^^^^
all it does is set which channel the two drives are using on the cable so the signals don't get mixed up on that same cable. channel 0 is the master while channel 1 is the slave. it has nothing to do with boot priority or one drive controlling the other.

while that matters to the tech world, its easier to just have the jumper in the "cable select" setting. in fact, most IDE devices nowadays are shipped with the jumper already set in the "cable select" setting to make the drives easier to install. ;)

Hawkstrong16
12-27-2009, 12:10 AM
I set my CD/DVD drive to slave and the HDD to master. In fact I am typing this from my new computer. So far everything is working great! I got all my drivers and updates installed and its working fine. I love it!

Thank you for your help. I learned a lot doing this. Thanks :)
If I have anymore problems I will post here first.

Hawkstrong16
03-19-2010, 11:41 AM
Well I am in need of a video card. I want something that will play Star Wars the force unleashed USE.

I need something on the cheaper side. I have a 450watt PSU

I was thinking something like this This Card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161319)
or
This one (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125238)

I need something that is decent for under $150. I know I'm asking a lot.
Thanks for any help!

Q
03-31-2010, 10:07 PM
Sorry that I didn't see this sooner. :(

Actually, you're not asking for too much at all. Not for $150 or less. This (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131328&nm_mc=OTC-C173T&cm_mmc=OTC-C173T-_-Video+Cards-_-Powercolor-_-14131328) is easily the most powerful card that your PSU can handle. It's quite a bit faster than either of those other cards that you linked to and it's within your budget. You can get an additional 2% off if you have a Windows Live ID and go to Newegg via Bing Shopping, making the final price $117.29.

EDIT: I'll keep you up to date when I find new deals if you want. I may be able to find a 1GB model for not much more if you want a bigger frame buffer. The 5770 is definitely the card to get in your price range that will run on your power supply.

Hawkstrong16
04-15-2010, 08:56 PM
I actually went for the HIS ATI Radeon HD 4670 1GBDDR3 and I love it. I can't hear it at all, and in runs very cool. I forget how much I paid. but it was under $100. And it plays the force unleashed flawlessly! So I should be set for awhile. Maybe when I update my PSU I'll look in to a more powerful card. Or else on my next build..

Thanks anyway though, Q!

DarthSlinky
04-16-2010, 12:14 AM
I actually went for the HIS ATI Radeon HD 4670 1GBDDR3 and I love it. I can't hear it at all, and in runs very cool. I forget how much I paid. but it was under $100. And it plays the force unleashed flawlessly! So I should be set for awhile. Maybe when I update my PSU I'll look in to a more powerful card. Or else on my next build..


Hey I just got the same card, works wonderfully, plans TFU nicely (except the first level), plays every other game I have tried at a decent frame rate, even crysis, not bad for a card I payed $60 for. :thmbup1:

acdcfanbill
06-06-2010, 04:11 PM
Anyone had any experience with the new XFX PSU's? I'm looking to put together a new system and found that SeaSonic (a PSU Mfg I trust) made the PSU's for XFX's foray into the Power Supply market.

Been looking at his one (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817207003) because it was rock solid in johnny guru's tests (http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=184)

Anyway, just wondering if anyone else had an XFX here with any good/bad experiance.

Astrotoy7
06-07-2010, 12:18 AM
I've definitely heard good things about it Billy. Its XFX after all ;) It also seems to sport the 8pin setups the pesky newer cards need. What GPU will you be powering ?

The 5 year warranty on it should keep you covered long enough until we all start needing 1500W units to power the 2015 gen GPUs :p

mtfbwya

acdcfanbill
06-07-2010, 03:29 AM
I'm looking at either a 5770 or a 5870 depending on what the cash situation is after i pickup an asus board, phenom ii 955 BE and some crucial ddr3. The board i'm looking at (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131633) has a 4290 onboard so I might just bum around with that for a month or two til I can spring for the nicer 5870. 700+ watts might be a bit overkill, but the thermaltake i have now has lasted since 2004, and would barely be enough according to some calculators i used, so i figured might as well spring for a new one that will future proof any new vid cards and i'm sure my capacitors have degraded a bit too.

This will be the first ATI card since I threw away my 2nd dead radeon 8500 several years back and switched to nvidia. hopefully that doesn't come back to bite me in the ass xD

Astrotoy7
06-08-2010, 12:12 AM
What is your display's native rez Bill - that'd be the crucial factor for choosing between a 5870 and a 5770. The 5870 will better equip you for native HD gaming.

Also, did you see those Asus mainboards that have inbuilt 5770 that I reported on in tech thread - plus two extra PCIe slost if you wanted discrete cards on there.

edit: Ive just remembered youre an AMD phan so may not like those corei7 boards I mentioned ;)

mtfbwya

acdcfanbill
06-08-2010, 02:30 AM
my native rez is anything up to 2048 x 1536 cause I'm using this older (and friggen heavy) badass 22" flat-CRT :) Second monitor is a 19" that goes to 1600x1200. The second monitor might get replaced with a widescreen LCD at some point, but that's a ways off.

The reason I'm leaning toward the 5870 is cause of it's 256 bit bus and 2x stream processors/transistors vs 57xx. though the 370-410 price point keeps me looking at that 5770 :p

Q
06-08-2010, 03:52 AM
One thing that the 5770 has going for it is that it can often be had for <$150. With its power consumption being as good as it is, it's a natural choice for Crossfire, and 2 5770s are faster and cheaper than a 5870.

acdcfanbill
06-08-2010, 11:05 AM
I'd not really planned to go with crossfire as the board I'm looking at reverts to x8 lanes when the two pic-e 2.0 lanes are both in use. It'd be another 40-80 bucks to bump up to a board with the 890FX chipset (the board I'm looking at uses 890GX) to get 2 pcie 2.0 x16 lanes to use. Which puts 2 5770 and 1 5870 at pratically the same pricepoint.

Astrotoy7
06-08-2010, 12:47 PM
my native rez is anything up to 2048 x 1536

Well if you want to game at anywhere near that you really don't want to skimp too much on a GPU - The 5770 should definitely be your minimum starting point.

Speaking of high rez outputs... almost exactly 6 months since my samsung 305T started playing up, the Dell 3008WFP arrived today. I love the connectivity support - 2 x DVI-D, HDMI, Display Port, plus the others. A friend bought over his PS3 and the 1080p scaling performed admirably with audio handled via monitor internal audio out which includes 5.1 support.

Fig.1. After Spending the last few months at 1024x768, Femshep and Kasumi can again strut around in glorious 1600p!
http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc288/Astrotoy7/SHepOnDell.jpg

If displays are your thing, and you don't mind paying a premium for it, this is one decent monitor ;) There are a few other more esoteric 1600P displays out there preferred by high end graphical professionals, but at $10K+ even I'm not that silly ;) :thmbup1:

mtfbwya

Q
06-13-2010, 01:53 AM
Dell sells quality monitors and backs them with a great warranty. :)
Anyone had any experience with the new XFX PSU's? I'm looking to put together a new system and found that SeaSonic (a PSU Mfg I trust) made the PSU's for XFX's foray into the Power Supply market.

Been looking at his one (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817207003) because it was rock solid in johnny guru's tests (http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=184)

Anyway, just wondering if anyone else had an XFX here with any good/bad experiance.
I missed this earlier. Seasonic makes quality PSUs for several brands such as Corsair and Antec, and it's very possible to get essentially the same unit, but wearing a different badge, for a lot less. Take the True Power New 750W (http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=140), for instance. Like that XFX, at heart it's a Seasonic M12D and it also sports a 5-year warranty, but I've seen Newegg sell the Antec for as low as $70.00 after rebate with free shipping, which is half of what they're selling that XFX model for, and it's the same PSU. I'm pretty sure that one of Corsair's 750W models is also the same unit, but I'm not sure which one. I'd just get whichever one you can find the best deal on whenever you're ready to buy it.
I'd not really planned to go with crossfire as the board I'm looking at reverts to x8 lanes when the two pic-e 2.0 lanes are both in use. It'd be another 40-80 bucks to bump up to a board with the 890FX chipset (the board I'm looking at uses 890GX) to get 2 pcie 2.0 x16 lanes to use. Which puts 2 5770 and 1 5870 at pratically the same pricepoint.
Single-GPU is usually preferable to multi-GPU, but in this case dual 5770s would be cheaper to get. While there is a loss of performance while running at x8, remember that PCIE 2.0 has twice the bandwidth of 1.0, so 2.0@x8 is like 1.0@x16 and is pushing nearly 4GBs/sec, so the loss in performance, while measurable, isn't that great like it was with 1.0 (note the difference between X48 @x16 and P45 @x8). (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crossfire-pci-express,2095-7.html) In other words, you wouldn't have to spring for the better motherboard at all. Two 5770s would still be faster than a single 5870 on that same motherboard, even at x8. You could also get one 5770 at first and then wait for a killer deal on a second one. A couple of years ago I would've never recommended doing this, but support for SLI/Crossfire has improved so much lately that it's become a really attractive option, IMO, especially with a great bang/buck card like the 5770.

Finding the best deal on computer parts is sort of a(n) obsession hobby of mine, so, if you want, I could keep an eye out for deals on what you're looking for. You wouldn't believe some of the deals I've come across.

Astrotoy7
06-13-2010, 02:22 AM
Indeed. Q is the LFNTech Indy Jones when it comes to discovering great deals for US users ;)

mtfbwya

acdcfanbill
06-13-2010, 03:37 AM
good suggestion about the antec version of that seasonic psu. Never used them before, but the review seems to put it at pretty solid, and it's currently $20 bucks cheaper than the xfx on newegg.

I think I'm pretty much leaning toward 5770 atm, but I still might give it a few weeks to mull over. I'm thinking about ordering my cpu/mobo/psu/ram this week though. So I wouldn't be adverse to you keeping your ear to the ground for some 5770 deals :)

acdcfanbill
06-25-2010, 01:25 AM
bah, screw ATI altogether. After reading stuff for the last week or so, I think i'll prob just save up and get a nvidia 470. Needed a pretty compelling reason to switch from nvidia and i'm just not feeling it

Astrotoy7
06-25-2010, 05:06 AM
Needed a pretty compelling reason to switch from nvidia and i'm just not feeling it

The Catalyst Control Center is the most compelling reason to not go near AMD GPUs ever again. What a load of bloated junk.

If you ever do get that 470 Bill, we would be honoured if you could chip in some work units for teamLFN. :thmbup1:

mtfbwya

Q
06-27-2010, 02:08 AM
bah, screw ATI altogether. After reading stuff for the last week or so, I think i'll prob just save up and get a nvidia 470. Needed a pretty compelling reason to switch from nvidia and i'm just not feeling it
I agree with Astro. I'm certainly no fan of Nvidia, but their drivers have proven themselves (to me, at least) to be more trouble-free with the games that I play than ATI's and they're definitely a lot easier to use. Sure, they've had the occasional hiccup, and, as a matter of fact, there was one just recently, but that's why I usually hold off on updating my drivers for a week or so until I know that everything's cool.

It sucks that ATI's drivers are such a pain, because their hardware is actually very good. :(

stingerhs
06-28-2010, 12:32 AM
It sucks that ATI's drivers are such a pain, because their hardware is actually very good. :(time out for a sec. since when did ATI have bad drivers all the sudden?? sure, their drivers were nothing to shout about several years ago, but i can't say the same about their current drivers. these drivers have been rock solid for me, and if you're talking about "bloatware", give me a break. yeah it uses more memory than Nvidia drivers, but if you're running 4GB+ of RAM, then what difference is 6-7MB really going to make??

the past couple of driver releases have been bang on, too. ATI has been doing a great job of keeping their drivers up to date in regards to the latest and greatest games coming out, and their support for other features like Eyefinity and Crossfire are consistently improving with each release.

and yes, i do have room to complain about Nvidia's drivers. on my old system, their drivers were the cause of my system's instability (as in BSOD instability). low and behold, switching to an ATI card fixed the issue.

as for your current predicament, acdcfanbill, i'd have to say that you should consider a 5850 instead of a 5870 or a GTX 470. its considerably lighter on the power draw, and the difference in performance really isn't all that bad. its also a shorter card, too, and that makes it more desirable if you're working in a more confined case. since its a slower part, you save some money, and you'll save money in the long run as well with the power savings.

just my two copper coins. ;)

Astrotoy7
06-28-2010, 04:29 AM
cmon stinger, the CCC, even in lighter form is way too top heavy.

Nvidia is getting on the bloatier side too mind you, you should be able to opt out of the 3DVision stuff on installation if you don't need it.

At the end of the day, both sets of cards have demonstrated problems for different people across different setups. It comes down to budget + personal preference.

mtfbwya

Q
06-28-2010, 02:19 PM
Well, the reason I dumped ATI was KotOR, and that was years ago, so my view could be a narrow one. Perhaps they have improved since then, but even today, just about every second or third request for help in the Work Bench involves some poor bastard trying in vain to get KotOR to run on an ATI card, while, aside from having to use the Dantooine lag fix, I've never had any trouble getting it to run on Nvidia hardware.

Canderis
06-20-2011, 09:46 PM
I plan on building my own rig in a few months, and i was wondering where i can find a list of the most advanced stuff as of june 2011.

acdcfanbill
06-21-2011, 03:03 AM
other guys might ahve other links, but i ususally just look up the recent reviews on toms hardware. they are sometimes behind on mobos/chipsets so you might look elsewhere for those. they have good cpu/gpu charts, and usually monthly best bang for buck per price brackets.

Q
06-21-2011, 06:35 AM
AMD is supposed to be releasing Bulldozer, which is the first major redesign of their CPU architecture since the Athlon 64, sometime in the near future. I'd wait and see how it compares to Intel's Sandy Bridge. Since it's a complete redesign, there's no way of telling until it's released and benchmarked.

After all of the setbacks that AMD has suffered in recent years I hope it's a beast.

Char Ell
06-21-2011, 11:55 PM
I like TechReport's computer build lists they put together and as a matter of fact the TR guys just published their Summer 2011 System Guide (http://techreport.com/articles.x/21164/1). Talk about great timing! ;)

But I'd recommend going with Q's advice and waiting to see what Bulldozer is all about.

Miltiades
06-22-2011, 01:30 PM
Hi guys

I'd like to upgrade my PC and I'm having some trouble deciding. The main thing I'm aiming at is getting a better processor. The one I got now, is a Core 2 Duo with 2.13 Ghz. I'd like to use that one for another rig composed of spare parts. So I was first thinking of buying an i5, but then I'd need to buy another motherboard and new memory. Seeing as I've already bought a few motherboards, I'm not sure I want to change again for the foreseeable future. Besides, this would cost me quite much, considering I'm also going for a SSD drive.

So I was wondering if upgrading from a Core 2 Duo to a Core 2 Quad is still worth it. Will it be able to hold its own for the games of the next 2 years? Won't I miss the advantages of SATA III and DDR3 in the mean time?

Canderis
06-22-2011, 04:35 PM
So after a few hours of research, I have put together a list of parts for my computer. I am not entirely sure all of the stuff is compatible, i am mostly sure, but i want to make sure. Also if you guys know of any better deals on the stuff, please tell me.

Shell- $256.40
http://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Hot-Swappable-Radiator-Included-VN10001W2N/dp/tags-on-product/B004K1ELF0

Motherboard: $209.26
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00503EA80/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller=

Processor: $314.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115070&CMP=OTC-TechReport&ATT=19-115-070&nm_mc=OTC-TechReport&cm_mmc=OTC-TechReport-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA

Power Supply: $189.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139015&CMP=OTC-TechReport&ATT=17-139-015&nm_mc=OTC-TechReport&cm_mmc=OTC-TechReport-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA

RAM: $239.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231357

Graphics Card: $279.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127588&CMP=OTC-TechReport&ATT=14-127-588&nm_mc=OTC-TechReport&cm_mmc=OTC-TechReport-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA

Harddrives: $214.99+$444.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148736
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148443

CD Drives: $19.99+$19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204 2x

Sound Card: $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132006&CMP=OTC-TechReport&ATT=29-132-006&nm_mc=OTC-TechReport&cm_mmc=OTC-TechReport-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA

Liverandbacon
06-23-2011, 12:18 AM
I'm curious, any specific reason you're going with the Thermaltake Lvl 10 GT case? I'm asking because a CoolerMaster HAF 932 or HAF X would cost ~$100 and $80 less, respectively. I've been very happy with my 932 for the past 2 years, and from what I've been hearing, the only advantage the Level 10 has to a noticeable extent is looking nicer (Though IMO, the HAF looks fine, if not better; I'm not sure why some people hate the look so much).

Unless there's an advantage I haven't been made aware of (entirely possible, please tell me what it is), or you're rich enough that spending $100 more for a case you think looks a bit nicer (in which case, can I borrow some cash? And by borrow I mean take and never return), I would recommend looking at the X and 932 as cheaper options.

Canderis
06-23-2011, 12:54 AM
I was considering those till I found this one. I think it looks cooler, but the main thing is how it holds your harddrives. Since I constantly open up my computers to flop drives, having a convienient little hatch for each drive seems like a cool thing to have. It also comes with more USB slots, and it's a bit roomier.

Q
06-23-2011, 12:43 PM
1) Sign up for the Newegg newsletter.

2) Check deal forums like FatWallet and SlickDeals for sales.

3) Don't pay full price for anything.

4) If you're in the US, do you live near a Fry's and/or a MicroCenter?

5) Still messing around with KotOR? You'll need an Nvidia card.

6) You can get a 2TB HDD for less than half of what that 3TB will cost you.

Canderis
06-24-2011, 09:11 AM
1) Sign up for the Newegg newsletter.

Ok, Will do.

2) Check deal forums like FatWallet and SlickDeals for sales.
Ok.


3) Don't pay full price for anything.
Dont plan to


4) If you're in the US, do you live near a Fry's and/or a MicroCenter?
I do live near a Fry's


5) Still messing around with KotOR? You'll need an Nvidia card.
Ill look into one


6) You can get a 2TB HDD for less than half of what that 3TB will cost you.With the same rpm?

Char Ell
06-24-2011, 09:50 AM
Hi guys

I'd like to upgrade my PC and I'm having some trouble deciding. The main thing I'm aiming at is getting a better processor. The one I got now, is a Core 2 Duo with 2.13 Ghz. I'd like to use that one for another rig composed of spare parts. So I was first thinking of buying an i5, but then I'd need to buy another motherboard and new memory. Seeing as I've already bought a few motherboards, I'm not sure I want to change again for the foreseeable future. Besides, this would cost me quite much, considering I'm also going for a SSD drive.

So I was wondering if upgrading from a Core 2 Duo to a Core 2 Quad is still worth it. Will it be able to hold its own for the games of the next 2 years? Won't I miss the advantages of SATA III and DDR3 in the mean time? My first question is what is the make and model of the current mainboard your Core 2 Duo is installed in? We need to determine what type of Intel processors it can support.

After a cursory search it looks like Core 2 Quads still cost a pretty penny. The Core 2 Quad Q9505 is listed for 180,11 euros at Microstar.be (http://microstar.e-nitiative.be/product/details/INTEL/Cartes-m%C3%A8res-M%C3%A9moire-Processeurs/BX80580Q9505/27305549)

I'm not too concerned about the lack of DDR3 support your system would have. SATA III may be another matter but probably a minor concern. Without accounting for your graphics card, I do think upgrading to SSD and Core 2 Quad should keep you playing new games for another couple of years though.

Miltiades
06-24-2011, 10:35 AM
Thanks for the reply, Char!

Motherboard is an Asus P5K-E/WiFi-AP. I think I bought the thing because of the chance I could upgrade to a Quad if I ever wanted to, and looking at the CPU Support list, it does support both older and newer versions of the Quad Core. Also, I might go for a Q8400, which is significantly cheaper and can hold its own against the Q9400, if hardware reviews are anything to go by.

The graphics card is another thing I'd wanted to upgrade, but all in good time. It's an 8800GT 512mb. It's getting a hard time when playing the heavier games, but in my opinion, getting more processor power is a priority right now.

Q
06-24-2011, 01:57 PM
At this point, you might want to look on the Euro version of Ebay, or the US version for sellers who ship internationally, and get a used C2Q from a reputable dealer. You could probably score a Q9550 for the same price as the cheaper CPUs, or get a Q9400 or Q8400 significantly cheaper than a new one.

Also, if you want to save some money, have you considered overclocking your C2D? If yours is an E6400, you could increase its clock speed by at least 1GHz.

EDIT: Even a Q6600 would be a good upgrade option for you, especially if you overclocked it.

The best deal in Nvidia cards, at least for the moment, is the GTX 460 768MB. I have no idea what sort of deals are going on in Europe, but I got a Galaxy model for $80 after a massive rebate last December. It's still a pretty competent card, and it's much faster than anything else in the $100 price range.

Char Ell
06-25-2011, 02:30 AM
Q,
Any thoughts on how much L2 cache is required for gaming? I've always preferred 2MB per core. My concern about the Q8400 is it only has 1 MB per core, 4 MB total L2 cache.

Q
06-25-2011, 04:16 AM
Supposedly, when it comes to gaming, the more the better, but, according to Anandtech Bench (http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/89?vs=76), it doesn't seem to make much of a difference; at least not in the benchmarks that make up its testing suite.

Actually, there doesn't seem to be a huge difference between the Q8400 and the Q9450 (http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/89?vs=51), which has the full 12MB of L2.

Miltiades
06-25-2011, 09:17 AM
Thanks guys. I think I am going for the Q8400. I'll see if I can get it somewhat cheap. A GTX 460 (or even 480) was the initial plan, but I'll wait a few months and see if there's even a better deal then. The only issue I can see is the graphics card not fitting into the case, which is an Antex Three Hundred and doesn't allow for a lot of room.

Char Ell
06-25-2011, 09:59 AM
Good luck with finding a good deal on a Q8400 Miltiades! Will this be your b-day present to yourself? ;) Also, if you plan on overclocking then it's probably a good idea to invest in a good aftermarket cooler. Let us know if you're looking for any recommendations in that area.

Q,
Interesting how the Q8400 and the Q9450 are clocked at the same 2.66 GHz. But the Q9450 with its 12 MB L2 cache has a minimum 3 FPS advantage in all the tested games versus the Q8400. However L2 cache is expensive and IMHO 3 MB L2 cache per core is overkill for most uses.

Q
06-25-2011, 01:48 PM
The models with more cache do much better in software that takes advantage of it (like archiving and video editing), and they scale better at higher clock speeds, which makes them more desirable for overclockers.

I, too, would recommend an aftermarket heatsink, because the ones that Intel packs with their CPUs are woefully inadequate, even at stock speed.

Miltiades
06-25-2011, 01:54 PM
I don't have any experience with coolers, I've always used the ones that came with the CPU. Recommendations would be welcome, yeah.

Q
06-25-2011, 08:42 PM
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065) is what I use.

I have no idea how much it would be in Europe, but it's available for $29.50 from Amazon, so don't let Newegg's ridiculous price-gouging fool you. I used their ad because it's got the best description and pics.

EDIT: That Antec 300 (which is a great case for the money, BTW) shouldn't have any problems fitting just about any modern video card. My GTX 460 is actually a good bit shorter than your 8800GT.

Char Ell
06-26-2011, 10:26 AM
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065) is what I use. Me too and I second this recommendation. I've been quite satisfied with the Hyper 212 Plus's cooling performance. I'm not sure how much noise the fan produces but it supports PWM so the fan speed varies depending on how much the CPU is being used.

Miltiades
06-26-2011, 11:56 AM
Alright, I think that settles things. Thanks for all the advice, guys! :)

Q
07-05-2011, 11:48 AM
My only other advice would be that, unless it now ships with vastly superior ThermalFusion 400, you should use a different thermal compound than what Cooler Master supplies with that 212 Plus. The plain Cooler Master stuff is terrible (http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/thermal-interface-roundup-2_7.html#sect0).

Here (http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/thermal-interface-roundup-1_12.html#sect0) is a fairly up-to-date list of some of the better thermal compounds.

Ferc Kast
07-13-2011, 12:58 PM
Well, I noticed a good deal on a laptop for about $400. Though, I was wondering with most laptops having either a dual or quad core processor, would a single core processor be worth it to get or would it be better to look at one with a multi-core processor?

Q
07-13-2011, 11:01 PM
Since software is finally becoming more multi-threaded, I think that it's pretty pointless to have a single-core CPU in a machine that you'll be using a lot. That's probably why there are so few of them available now.

acdcfanbill
03-19-2012, 01:58 AM
Anyone have a NAS here? I've have a htpc up and running now, ubuntu+xbmc samba thru my windows shares but I'd like to have a dedicated storage/media server. I plan on running 4-5 drives, raid1+0, linux etc. I'd like it to be pretty quiet and low powered, just sit around and serve media or accept backups. hot swapping drives would be nice, but not required.

Canderis
04-21-2013, 11:29 PM
My laptop's motherboard is failing so I've been forced to accelerate my plans for a new gaming computer build. I'm unsure on what processor/motherboard/power supply I should use. Google brings up many options but I trust you people here much more than a google search. Any suggestions?

Note: this is for gaming so I am looking for something good. I have a very nice graphics card picked out already. But I would still like to keep this at a reasonable price.

Thanks in advance!

Q
04-26-2013, 12:15 AM
Couple of questions:

Do you live near a Micro Center store?

How old is your laptop? Would it be worth buying another motherboard for it? Depending on the model, replacement laptop motherboards can be had for < $100.

Canderis
04-26-2013, 04:48 PM
Couple of questions:

Do you live near a Micro Center store?

How old is your laptop? Would it be worth buying another motherboard for it? Depending on the model, replacement laptop motherboards can be had for < $100.

Its been replaced once already and the amount of effort required to do so is immense. It took a trained repairman 2 hours. I needed a new computer sooner or later, i was just hoping for another year. I got this laptop in 2009. Its an alienware. The cd drive, the sound card, harddrive and motherboard are all failing.
Don't buy alienwares. They are not worth the hassle.
And no, there isn't one of those stores near me.

Q
04-26-2013, 05:55 PM
OK, so you probably are better off selling it for parts/repair on ebay and not sinking any more money into it, then.

Some more questions:
What type of video card do you have in mind? If you're still playing/modding KotOR, I'd suggest an Nvidia card.
What resolution will you be gaming at?
What's your budget?

For gaming, you're going to want to go with an Intel CPU. Since you don't live near a Micro Center, an Intel Core i5 3570K CPU and a decent motherboard together are going to run you about $300. 8GB of memory is going to cost another $40-$50.

Seasonic is generally regarded as the best overall power supply manufacturer. They make PSUs for several different companies, and they also sell them under their own brand. You shouldn't need one any bigger than 650W, with 54-55 amps on the 12-volt rail. The mid-grade (80Plus Bronze) ones go for around $60, while the ultra-high-end model (80Plus Platinum) is sometimes on sale for $90. If you want a bullet-proof PSU with a 7-year warranty, I'd go ahead and get the Platinum. It'll likely last you through several builds. If you don't want to shell out that much, there are definitely cheaper alternatives out there that will still serve you well.

Canderis
04-26-2013, 08:05 PM
This is the combo i had come up with:

Processor:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116504
(as per your recommendation, is this correct?)

Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131837
(Price saving combo with the processor, ~300$)

Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153158
(Would this be good? It can be bundled with my shell for around 100$ less than buying them both separate.)

Graphics Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130768

Sound Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132006&CMP=OTC-TechReport&ATT=29-132-006&nm_mc=OTC-TechReport&cm_mmc=OTC-TechReport-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA

Also on my list is a solid state 256gb for the os and games, and a 2tb storage drive, 16(or 8, depending on final budget)gb of RAM, a CD drive & BluRay drive. I feel like i'm missing something else important too.
I don't really have a set budget, and my current resolution is 720p 1600X900, but i plan on getting a new monitor in the near future. 1080p.

Also i'm unsure of what speed of RAM i should use.

I am unsure if these all will fit together well and also, if i can save any cash that would be good, but i really don't want to lose out on much performance. I'd like this to last without too much upgrades through the next few years as I am starting college soon. And, because i'm a gaming nerd i'd like to be able to run games on highest settings for as long as i can push it.
As for kotor modding, i have a desktop i prefer to do that with.

Currently the price is stiing around 1600$

By the way, thanks so much for helping with this!

EDIT:
I was re-looking at SSD drives and i am unsure of what one i should get. I'm stuck on these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147193
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-148-443&SortField=2&SummaryType=0&Pagesize=10&PurchaseMark=&SelectedRating=-1&VideoOnlyMark=False&VendorMark=&IsFeedbackTab=true&Keywords=%28keywords%29&Page=1#scrollFullInfo
The one is quite a bit more money than the other, but it seems to be higher rated. I'd be open to an entirely different one as well.

EDIT 2:
I'm starting to deem my graphics card, which was nvidia actually, as not worth the price. I'm looking for a card that can support HDMI, 3 monitor support, and powerful enough to last me a while playing the newest game on highest graphics with any enhancement mods for a while.
The card i had been considering was http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130768 but i think that it's not worth the price to what i need it to do. Suggestions? I would like to keep it a nvidia too if possible.

Q
05-16-2013, 11:33 PM
Sorry I haven't answered this till now. :(

You haven't bought anything yet, have you?

If you haven't, and you can wait just a little while longer, Haswell, Intel's new CPU architecture, launches June 4. With an investment this big, it's always best to get the newest stuff that you can, and getting the newest Intel CPU is a big deal. It shouldn't be any more expensive than Ivy Bridge is now.

Motherboard: You pretty much can't go wrong with either ASUS or Gigabyte.

As far as a power supply is concerned, you really should get one that's made by Seasonic. Channel Well (CWT), who makes that Thermaltake, is certainly OK, but Seasonic is better. If you're going to spend $100 on a PSU, do yourself a favor get a Seasonic. 650 watts is plenty. Newegg has the Seasonic 660W 80Plus platinum on sale for $90 every once in a while, and I strongly recommend it. This database (http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page541.htm) will tell you who makes what.

Graphics card: Never buy a high-end graphics card. Not worth it, IMO. Get 2 mid-grade ones and SLI them together. The best ones to do this with are the GTX 660 and the new GTX 650 Ti BOOST. They are the best bang-for-the-buck option, and will save you as much as $200 over a GTX 680 and give similar performance. Just make sure they have at least a 2GB frame buffer per card. 1GB just doesn't cut it anymore. For reference, I'm still gaming on 2 GTX 460s that I bought new for about $62.50 apiece after rebate!

Sound card: Try using your motherboard's on-board sound chip before buying one. Chances are, it'll be good enough.

SSD: The Samsung 840 Pro is the best one on the market right now. It's on sale sometimes for $200, though this is really not a good time to be buying an SSD because prices are high right now.

RAM: At least DDR3 1600. 8GB should be plenty, unless you use software that requires more. Most people don't. Corsair, GSkill and Crucial are my usual go-to brands, though my latest has been Samsung.


EDIT: If you haven't yet, sign up for the Newegg newsletter to get their coupon codes. The AnandTech Bench (http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/2) is also extremely useful in cases such as yours.

Canderis
05-20-2013, 06:25 PM
Ok, so pre-SSD and the motherboard/processor combo (waiting till june 4th) this is what i have:

Power Supply: 140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151121&Tpk=seasonic&IsVirtualParent=1

RAM: 80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148560

Graphics Card: 198+180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130826
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130910

Hard-drives: 100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148834

CD Drives: 20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

Sound Card: 60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132053

I do need the sound card because i have speakers and headphones meant for a 7.1 sound card, unless my motherboard comes with one.