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Poll- Gamer server
Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:04 am by Jerms
Well- I think it's time to decide.
Poll in News section.
What game should Chill Gaming start a server for?
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Minecraft
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Garry's Mod
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Counter Strike
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Other
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*Click "Comments" to answer poll.

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 New Computer: READ ME!!

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vanhelsing

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PostSubject: New Computer: READ ME!!   Mon May 17, 2010 4:22 pm

Welcome!

This originally was designed to help Grover, he was looking into buying a new system. What I want to do here is help ease the process of upgrading etc etc.

There is a very specific criteria involved initially as the core pieces are vital choices (Motherboard in my opinion the most critical) which will effect the resulting other choices.

In every computer you need at least:
- Case
- Power Supply (PSU)
- Motherboard (Mobo)
- Central Processor Unit (CPU)
- Random Access Memory (RAM)
- Video Output (Either Motherboard or Graphics Card)
- Hard Disk Drive(s)

Theres a list of optionals that help make computing easier;
- Mouse/Keyboard & other Input devices
- Sound (Motherboard or Sound Card)
- Audio Output (Speakers, Headset etc)

What the MOST IMPORTANT, honestly, it depends on what you're building. I think in all systems typically speaking, the Motherboard is the most important. Why? Simple. Everything connects via the motherboard, the PSU, CPU, RAM, GPU, HDD, everything... If this fails, then its usually tough to fix since it requires taking everything apart. Buying big on the Mobo will also help future-proof the computer a little (getting a current-gen socket (CPU House) will make future upgrades cheaper since you wont need to re-buy new motherboards often)
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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Mon May 17, 2010 4:56 pm

What took look for in a mobo?
I find the most important characteristic is the "CPU Socket" and USB slots. Also, the PCI_Slots will effect your choice also? (go with 1 or 2 slots?) Also the SATA slots sometimes are vital. Depending on the heavy useage of HDDs can impact how many slots you will need.
Choosing is down to the personal user. Using a website called "New Egg" I feel makes choosing parts *VERY* easy, but beware, they DO NOT ship to Australia. But take the "Manufacturer's Name" and just find one at your local store.

Lets consider this,
Mouse
Keyboard
Headphones
Microphone

All use 1x USB slot. That's 4 slots taken up, lets assume maybe later we buy some external HDDs, youll want slots for those also. Typically taking ~8 USB slots on a mobo would be a wise choice.

When choosing the mobo, remember to factor in CPU Socket, DDR-RAM and PCI_Slots. The CPU Socket is either i5 (1156), i7 (1366) for Intel machines or AM3+ for AMD machines. When you ask me what do I prefer? I prefer AMD, but I know that the current i5/i7 Intel processors are superior. Also remember that DDR2 RAM is slowly being phased out in favour or DDR3 RAM, getting a DDR3 RAM machine will be more beneifcial as changing from either side required a new motherboard (unless it says it has DDR2 and DDR3 slots -- but this is rare.)

So currently,
i5 Core
minimum 8x USB slots
2x PCI 2.0 slots
DDR3 RAM compatible.

Lastly, there are 2 more factors that will decide what type of mobo should you consider. MTBF and Brand. I know this seems silly and/or insignificant. But ASUS, EVGA and Gigabyte arn't industry leaders by making crappy products. I own a Gigabyte, althought I prefer ASUS but both are great board makers.
MTBF = Mean-Time Before Failure. Basically, how long will this last for in hours. The higher the better, if you find similar mobos. Search for their MTBFs as sometimes this can be the difference in finding the better on. I'll openly admit, I don't put too much value on this as most are pretty close to together, but it's another tool at your disposal.

So what advice do I give?

ASUS P7P55D Motherboard

After going with this motherboard, I did some reading. The 'customer reviews' are often mis-leading, so reading why there are 1 or 2 (somtimes 3) "eggs" will give a clear idea what/if theres problems.
First review was it not working with Windows 7, but theres 100+ 4/5 "eggs" that say Windows 7 is fine, I'd call that isolated problem and nothing to worry about.
2nd review, doesnt load Windows Server 2008 - dont worry about that! lol
A couple DOAs (Dead-on-Arrival) that are impossible to predict and its pretty far (worst case, maybe 1% chance if ur unlucky)

From 121 Reviews, 9 were 1 eggs, and combined 12 more were 2 and 3 "eggs" with 83x 5 eggs and 17x 4 eggs. That tells me theres a good chance the board is fairly good! But along with this, you need a few "external" reviews also. Like Tom's Hardware or something fairly credible.

This bit is fairly easy, just google the product name. Just look for some of the reviews and just look at the bad ones and what they didnt like. Normally most issues are going to revolve around the same issues; drivers.

Most of the smaller issues were also RAID striping (pointless also) and there were "limitations on SATA RAID because of chipset issues" which tells me that unless your running RAID you'll be fine. Again, RAID is silly, just use backups and computer images -- must simplier and easier way of backup.

The website above will give full specs list (also have a link to ASUS' site) but I'll list the factors I looked for when looking for a mobo.
CPU Socket - LGA 115 (i5/i7 compat.)
RAM - 4x DDR3 2200/1600/1333/1066 Dual Channel
2x PCIe 2.0 slots
3x PCI slots (8x) which can connect a sound card or WiFi card etc.
- Warning, using a 2nd GPU results in you loosing 1 of these slots if the card needs 2 slots
7x SATA 3Gb/s - so 7 HDDs which is way more than enough
On-Board Sound Card (Realtek 8112L)
Has PS/2 connector (in case you have a mouse from pre-century lol)
8x USB2.0 with 3x more on-board which is a fair amount
Company: ASUS - I really do like ASUS, they make very good Intel boards and generally from I've seen never really fail, I've had a friend melt his CPU on an ASUS board and the board still works fine.

Next post! CPU & RAM
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vanhelsing

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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Mon May 17, 2010 5:28 pm

Central Processing Units.

What do we know?
It must fit our mobo, a ASUS LGA1156 socket. Thats a i5/i7 type of core.
Recently, I've found myself only pushing 3GHz+ CPUs since most people dont/wont OC their CPUs (which is a great way to void warranty) and usually if going for an i5 core, it wont be too bad in speed if its above 3GHz.

The next debate is, Quad or Dual core?
I have to side on the Quad side, though you loose around .2GHz but you gain more cores, and cores > GHz I feel in this debate. IT's really upto preference, but I own nothing but Quad-Cores now and can't ever see myself going back to dual.

Finally, price!
Theres a Dual-Core 3.2GHz for $200, but
Theres a Quad-Core 2.8GHz for $220

What do you do? I can't tell anyone how to spend, if you can pony up the extra $20 then you should. But really it's a price issue as the more money you spend, the better CPU you can get. Mine was about $600 but I got a i7-980 CPU which is very much near the top (when I bought it) and buying computers is more about future-proofing on a tight budget than just dumping 10k every 3-4 years on insane machines.

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz - is my suggestion. A little expensive possibly, but it meets the Quad-Core, LGA1156 criteria and for the money, ti's certainly a good value CPU.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The other aspect that the mobo also gives us, is the RAM.
We know from our motherboard above, that; we can run "DDR3 2200/1600/1333/1066" which is nice, and generally it's a latency and price issue. RAM is RAM, having more or less is pretty negligible in my opinion.

Getting a DDR3-1333 sticks (preferably 2x 2GB or 2x 4GB) as I for a weird reason, dont like flooding all 4 slots up. DDR3 is getting cheaper day by day so it's really a price issue and brand name. Corsair are a brand I particularly like, I own their Case and use their H50 cooling and RAM also. Maybe I'm a fanboy but I feel they're top of the PC Memory game.

CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

I really did like this RAM, the 1.65V did scare me initially but newegg users have reviewed that 1.85V RAM works well enough though some did burn out the CPU -- so shouldnt be any major problems here. It's DDR3-1600 which is a good set of RAM, 4GB should be more than enough.

Next, Graphics Card and Case and finally the PSU
I'm leaving the keyboard/mouse upto personal preference. Grover already has a monitor so I don't need to help him what that process, but if I feel upto it, I will write something about monitors.
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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Mon May 17, 2010 6:26 pm

Graphics Cards (aka. GPU) is probably the most expensive part purely from the fact if you want to play the newest games, then get ready to pay out the nose.

I use a very nice website to see what sort of demands, certain games place on your machine.
http://cyri.systemrequirementslab.com/
Learn to LOVE it!!!

It takes your computers specs, and minimum/reccomended specs of your facourite games and shows you if your able to run it @ max.

I was told by Grover (via Jerms) to be able to run Far Cry 2 with ease. Looking at FC2 we have;

Recommended: Intel Core 2 Duo Family, AMD 64 X2 5200+, AMD Phenom or better
Recommended: 2 GB RAM
Recommended: 512 MB video card with Shader model 3 (NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS + / ATI Radeon X1900 +)
Recommended: 12 GB HDD

Lets recap then:
Core2Duo - CHECK - we're using a i5 Core, easily passes.
2GB RAM - CHECK - we're using 2x 2GB
512MB video - MINIMUM of: 8600GTS or X1900+

Now we know our "floor" we should look for anything later/better than those cards. This cost sometimes makes or breaks our computer builds.

Dilemma 1: ATI or NVIDIA???
I'm an NVIDIA fanboy, using 2x XFX Radeon's -- should say something about Quality of these cards. Though they are 4890s (and still rock the damn boat! lol) which are now old-gen since 5xxx series are out.
Our "floor" doesnt require a 5xxx series, so a 4xxx series will probably be more than enough. I've ran my 4890 (single card only) with STALKER: Call of Pripyat on *Maximum DX10* and didnt break a sweat @ 60fps. So something ball-park a 4800 might be worthwhile, but again, totally dictated by price.

Dilemma 2: 512MB/750MB/1GB Video RAM???
Since our "floor" is 512MB, you'd want something above this. I personally Crossfire so I dont worry about it since I tend to have up around 2-4GB Video RAM but this makes a difference down lower. I did find good 1GB cards that will be relatively cheap $100-150 roughly.

I couldn't come out with just 1, so i got 3 cards, a 4770, 4850 & 5750 cards.
XFX HD-477A-YDFC Radeon HD 4770 512MB - Will run your games very well, is the cheapest of the three, and a 4770 is still going to run Crysis (neesd a 8800GTS for reccomended which was released roughly the same time as the 4xxx series)

XFX HD-485X-ZNFC Radeon HD 4850 1GB - A 4850, with 1GB Video RAM. This card is definately good, it was about $20 or more on newegg so might be a good cheap upgrade option depending on your budget.

XFX HD-575X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5750 1GB - Lastly a big mutha!! 5750, might be a tad expensive for Grover's budget but this card is very darn good. If you're getting a 5xxx card, I would suggest this. All the reviews I've read have all been raving about this cards power!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Computer Cases

A pretty personal subject here. There area few things to keep in mind when choosing one. The mobo type (micro-ATX, ATX, EATX etc) since our mobo is a normal ATX. Then anything that is ATX/EATX etc or larger would be fine.
Secondly, the "type," or more commonly named Midi-tower, Full-tower etc.. These are mostly preference, but take into consideration the SIZE OF YOUR GPU! And ensure that it fits. Getting the dimensions of the GPU and the Case right is pretty big deal, dont want to spend more money on buying new case or GPU. Sometimes if you have a common card, there are plenty of reviewers with reviews if your card can fit certain cases.

Personally, I love Full-Towers, the space is more friendly. I run 2x big 4890s with a X-Fi card and I manage to have 4x 120mm Side Fans and have plenty of room left!!

Last Post is next! (Seemed it didnt like me posting this all as one)
PSU's and Recaps left!


Last edited by vanhelsing on Mon May 17, 2010 6:27 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : didnt post any writing...had to re-edit *cries*)
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vanhelsing

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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Mon May 17, 2010 6:28 pm

Power Supplies.

You should leave this until last. Why? Because your GPU, CPU, Motherboard etc etc all use power. Your PSU supplies this power, so it needs to be powerful enough to cope.

Our CPU says it uses 95W
The mobo is a 24-pin ATX board. Check that your PSU can connect to this.
The 5750 card (since its the most power hungry) says *minimum 450W* PSU, and is a 6-pin connector. This is also vital to ensure your PSU can connect to this.

Most PSU's will have a "included in package" place where it'll tell you what connectors it has. Some GPU's have 6-to-4-pin connectors, but I prefer not using adapters (im funny like that huh?) and most PSU's I know have interchangeable power cables so there shouldnt be an issue.

Lets add our totals:
95 + 450 = 600W min.
Typically I'll take a step up (700W range) just to be safe (USBs, other input/output devices needing power also, etc etc..)

There are PSU cacluators around. Newegg (how convient? lol) has a PSU Calculator
http://c1.neweggimages.com/BizIntell/tool/psucalc/index.html?cm_sp=Subcat58_PowerSupply_left-_-PowerSupplyFinder022610-_-http%3a%2f%2fpromotions.newegg.com%2fproductfinders%2fpowersupply.jpg
*NOTE* I've had trouble getting this to post as a url. Just Google "Newegg PSU Calculator" if you're having troubles.

I put in "Core i5 CPU, High-End Mobo, 2x 2GB DDR3 RAM, 4x Optic Drives and 4x Hard Drives along with the 5750 Card"
It suggested 536W about what I said (600W) which I think 600-ish is fine, but for maybe 10$ more get a 700W just to be sure? Again, like 99% of these posts, totally preference based.

There's a pretty big debate going on at my work -- Name Brands or not?
Personally, along with the mobo, PSU is an area you dont want to skimp on. It's a pain to fix and like a mobo, mostly are user-end problems (like switching the Volts output lol, seriously, seen it done before) so spending good money is advised here.
ThermalTake, CoolerMaster, OCZ and Corsair are good companies to use I find.

Another few issues, "Modular or not?"
Modular is basically allowing you to remove the cable from both the PSU source and the internal hardware it's connected to. I hate clutter and love my ThermalTake ToughPower 1500W, pure sexy machine (bought it like 4 years ago when I was running Quad-SLI like a noob lol)

COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 700 RS-700-AMBA-D3 700W

Lets check our criteria!
700W - reccomended 600W
PCI Connectors = 2x 6(+2) pins - needed a 6-pin connector
SATA Power = 9 - our mobo has 7. 2 spare!
MTBF = >100,000Hrs - thats about what 90% of them all are now
Efficiency = >85% - this is a good figure, mines like 70% lol, anything 80% above is good
Modular? YES!!
Lastly, 20(+4) pin main connector - our mobo is a 24-pin connector so its good!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RECAP!
Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz (LGA1156)
ASUS P7P55D Motherboard (LGA1156 & DDR3)
CORSAIR XMS3 2 x 2GB DDR3-1600
XFX Radeon HD 4850 1GB (I feel its the best-value card of the three)
COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 700W

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If anyone wants to take a look, I have my rig posted below.
Im aware of the irony between my Case and GPU - When I bought the case originally, I put 2x 8800 Ultra 'Leviathans' in there.
Case - CoolerMaster Stacker830 - NVIDIA Edition
PSU - (Newegg didnt have a link, so used ThermalTake's website)ThermalTake ToughPower 1500W
CPU - Intel Core i7 980X 3.66GHz
CPU Cooling - Corsair H50 Cooling Hydro Series
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7
GPU (its XFXs site, newegg dont carry anymore) XFX Radeon 4890 Black Edition (x2)
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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Tue May 18, 2010 3:25 am

THANKS VAN, this should me amazingly helpful. Very Happy , appericate the effort you went through to post this. just need a bit more cash. cheers
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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Tue May 18, 2010 9:23 am

Grover wrote:
THANKS VAN, this should me amazingly helpful. Very Happy , appericate the effort you went through to post this. just need a bit more cash. cheers

I can't really give exact quotes, as shipping and how you want to shop around etc. Generally;

$1 - $999 = Decent machine, nothing special
$1,000 - $1,200 = Somewhat good, usually an old GPU though
$1,201 - $1,400 = Pretty good, will run alotta newer games on med/high

Thank you, was a guide for all as well as yourself.
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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Tue May 18, 2010 10:38 am

The next major issue, what website/store to use?
If you get 10 stores, you'll get 10x prices and I'm yet to find 1 single store to be the lowest in *all* areas, it's just how it goes. Typically you'll just suck it up and add all your items into a 'Cart' and research the site-map for their standard delivery prices.

Computer Cases will cost you a bomb. Try a local store, they might have second one guys for sale. But I remember paying $20 to get a Case from Silverwater to North Sydney (honestly you'd pay less taking 4x buses each way to pick it up.)

What websites are good to use? Again, location plays a part. Buying from a WA store that's overall $20 less probably not a good idea since you'll waste whatever savings on shipping. NSW/VIC probably going to be your best bet. VIC is the IT capitol and NSW just has more competition and stores typically.

I tend to hover around 3-4 places, but using as many as humanly possible is nice.

I used uMart for this base.
$235.00 Intel i5 750 2.66GHz
$165.00 ASUS P7P55D Motherboard
$165.00 Corsair RAM (Different from above - "CMX4GX3M2A1600C7" Newegg, "CMX4GX3M2A1600C9" on uMart, same type but different product number)
$139.00 XFX Radeon 5770 1GB (Direct-X11 card ftw! as freaking cheap enough to maybe run Crossfire!?!?)
$159.00 CoolerMaster Silent Pro 700W

$863.00 pre delivery Total -- I feel thats pretty good. You'd look $50-100 on a Case (make sure the Case has NO PSU or make the sure the PSU supplied is enough)
There are still Hard Drives to buy but they're so cheap its hilarious.
$16.00 Postage. This was to ulladulla and only a couple item, just a rough idea. I don't think that will change unless you buy the case along with it. Though its probably cheaper just using some old box (remember to make sure the CPU can fit in the case! lol)

Anyways, later on, I'll use another website. This was just an example. I have excel sheets a-plenty with all this stuff lol.
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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Tue May 18, 2010 12:49 pm

Usually some people or companies will build your computer custom, if you gather all the parts and have some more cash


If you are rich, Alienware
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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Tue May 18, 2010 1:40 pm

EXCELLENT. MOST EXCELLENT WORK. Van, epic website there (Umart) Thanks for posting that!

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vanhelsing

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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Tue May 18, 2010 2:26 pm

Madness wrote:
Usually some people or companies will build your computer custom, if you gather all the parts and have some more cash


If you are rich, Alienware

I'm of personal opinion that you *could easily* build itself rather than spend alot of money in paying someone else. Plus there's that sense of accomplishment -- It's like changing to oil of your own car etc etc..

Alienware? Crap-tacular Crap-sational and Crappy all-round. I really dont like AW after (i think it was) Dell bought them out? I think I recall that Alienware's top guys all left and made a new company -- might research this later on.

Worst comes to worst, youtube would easily show you how to build your computer, and the manuals are usually good (from a reliable company.)

Jerms wrote:
EXCELLENT. MOST EXCELLENT WORK. Van, epic website there (Umart) Thanks for posting that!

I have to say uMart isnt my #1 but its a very good place.
Like I said before, prices are all over the place on every website, shopping around is the key. Using places like 'staticice' or 'shopbot' that give a huge library of prices from alot of vendors is what I use to make large spreadsheets of the products I eye off (99% time I never buy, lol) and feel that at least keeping up with price trends lets me buy stuff somtimes cheaper etc etc.

PC Case Gear is another good place, but sometimes, their stock isn't very deep and that annoys me sometimes.

When researching, use NewEgg, then read their reviews. Hit up the manufacturer's website for better information then search local vendors/e-vendors etc, for your prices. I do know the pain of US-only shipping from NewEgg but it's not too bad what we have in AU.
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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Tue May 18, 2010 2:43 pm

Yea i have heard alienware computer quality has begun to decline. i persoanlly never owned or used one, but i thought they were a resonallby respected brand
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PostSubject: Re: New Computer: READ ME!!   Tue May 18, 2010 2:50 pm

Grover wrote:
Yea i have heard alienware computer quality has begun to decline. i persoanlly never owned or used one, but i thought they were a resonallby respected brand

Couple Years ago? YES!

Present-Day? Not really, not when you can build your own.
Remember if they assemble it, you're paying them to do a job that you can pretty much do yourself.

Since we're on that topic, if you're going to build it yourself. #1 is "Anti-Static" protection, Im personally not a fan of the wrist straps, I use gloves (MJ-style, they're white(ish) lol) but the wrist straps are fine, as long as you earth yourself. Static + Mobo = ByeBye!

On topc again,

http://www.tgdaily.com/business-and-law-features/25307-dell-buyout-of-alienware-now-official

Dell bought out Alienware, and all the big-AW guys left just before. They made another company (cant recall their new name, sorry) so in short, AW = Bad now.
Dell XPS are a joke and I wouldnt use a (free/stolen) Dell XPS as a paper weight or as plush tissue paper. -- Im pretty anti-Dell for gaming etc, if you're going to game, you need to build you're own or you're wasting your money. Though Im not like "real men build their own" it's more a deal of getting to know your hardware and buy building your own machine you can take better care/maintainence of it.
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