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  1. #11
    Senior Member Noel's Avatar
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    JJJ, I always had this feeling you were a [closet] gamer! Must of been your love for Penny Arcade that gave it away. Anyways...

    Couple of review sites:
    Tom's Hardware
    AnAndTech
    Guru3d

    Suggestions:

    I suggest investing in a 20"-24" wide screen monitor capable of handling 1680x1050. I bought this one a few weeks ago and boy, Wide screen gaming rules. An absolutely essential upgrade-especially from 1280x1024. Although, one caveat exists: in order to support this resolution, one needs to have powerful graphics card.

    A good pair of Cans/Speakers + sound card helps as well. If you listen to music/game frequently, dedicated hardware is simply superior to on board proprietary hardware.

    5000 dollars is a lot of money. And a lot of the suggestions Athenian proposed are a bit overkill. You can make a bitchin' computer with 2000 easy. Hell, I built mine a few months ago for 1300.

    DD3 memory, whilst the future, is ridiculously overpriced for the gains you receive and hardly any motherboards support it. DDR2 is dirt cheap right now and you could buy nearly triple the ram you could with DDR3. 2gb is pretty standard these days if you want a satisfactory amount of ram (only windows applicable) If you plan to run xp, the kernel caps out at 3.5gb because it's a 32-bit operating system. With the 64-bit version of xp / Vista, I think it's 16gb. Although, one caveat for 64-bit OS': driver support is worse than 32-bit - though it is improving significantly. In other words, 32-bit = 2gb & 64-bit = 2gb+.

    ATI/Nvidia, you can't go wrong with either of them. Nvidia has better linux support though.

    Raptors are fast. Really fast. But they're loud. Like RAM, hard drives have become extremely cheap. I'd pick up a Sata2 one with as much space as you want.

    Intel/AMD, well Intel is clearly winning the benchmarks. AMD is still a good choice, especially if you're looking for something not as expensive. If you go Intel, definitely try to procure one of the new 45nm chips.

    I feel most people misgauge how much power their system needs. This was the last thing I picked out. Research the required Amp rails needed to supply your graphics card.

    I can not stress the importance of having a quality power supply and RAM.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me a PM or reply here.
    I may be bested in battle, but I shall never be defeated.

  2. #12
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noel View Post
    JJJ, I always had this feeling you were a [closet] gamer! Must of been your love for Penny Arcade that gave it away. Anyways...

    Couple of review sites:
    Tom's Hardware
    AnAndTech
    Guru3d

    Suggestions:

    I suggest investing in a 20"-24" wide screen monitor capable of handling 1680x1050. I bought this one a few weeks ago and boy, Wide screen gaming rules. An absolutely essential upgrade-especially from 1280x1024. Although, one caveat exists: in order to support this resolution, one needs to have powerful graphics card.

    A good pair of Cans/Speakers + sound card helps as well. If you listen to music/game frequently, dedicated hardware is simply superior to on board proprietary hardware.

    5000 dollars is a lot of money. And a lot of the suggestions Athenian proposed are a bit overkill. You can make a bitchin' computer with 2000 easy. Hell, I built mine a few months ago for 1300.

    DD3 memory, whilst the future, is ridiculously overpriced for the gains you receive and hardly any motherboards support it. DDR2 is dirt cheap right now and you could buy nearly triple the ram you could with DDR3. 2gb is pretty standard these days if you want a satisfactory amount of ram (only windows applicable) If you plan to run xp, the kernel caps out at 3.5gb because it's a 32-bit operating system. With the 64-bit version of xp / Vista, I think it's 16gb. Although, one caveat for 64-bit OS': driver support is worse than 32-bit - though it is improving significantly. In other words, 32-bit = 2gb & 64-bit = 2gb+.

    ATI/Nvidia, you can't go wrong with either of them. Nvidia has better linux support though.

    Raptors are fast. Really fast. But they're loud. Like RAM, hard drives have become extremely cheap. I'd pick up a Sata2 one with as much space as you want.

    Intel/AMD, well Intel is clearly winning the benchmarks. AMD is still a good choice, especially if you're looking for something not as expensive. If you go Intel, definitely try to procure one of the new 45nm chips.

    I feel most people misgauge how much power their system needs. This was the last thing I picked out. Research the required Amp rails needed to supply your graphics card.

    I can not stress the importance of having a quality power supply and RAM.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me a PM or reply here.

    If I may say so... running a bigger monitor doesn't make a program run better, or even improve the graphics quality. All it does is make it slower and increase the viewable area, especially in games. Sure, some people prefer the size advantage, but if you're comfortable with lower resolution, you can have a really fast computer with excellent graphics. I've personally always hated widescreen displays, because they feel awkward and disproportional.

    He might be able to get triple the ram, but 8GB (which is what my recommendation gave him) is all most motherboards can handle, and games benefit greatly from better RAM. Unless you're building a server, it pays more to have fast RAM than simply more RAM, especially after you hit about 2GB or 4GB. And I'm focused on the future. If he builds the best system now, he can hold off for at least 2-3 years before upgrading, possibly more depending on his needs. People only have to upgrade annually because they go cheaper with their components all the time.

    Then again, maybe I just don't get the value of quality sound and display because I'm focused on the technical aspects of what the computer can do and is actually outputting in hardware, rather than what's showing up on the screen. That and the fact that I'm deaf in one ear, and can't even tell 16-bit sound from 32-bit sound.

    I did select a quality power supply that would handle those components, and maybe more.

    Your approach is far too Te (and not great Te either, I might add). You don't understand how the components work together.

  3. #13
    Senior Member millerm277's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    If I may say so... running a bigger monitor doesn't make a program run better, or even improve the graphics quality.
    I assume you mean a higher resolution...in which case, you're somewhat correct, but it sure is nice if you ever want to do much in watching video (especially HD). I personally love widescreens (I've got a Samsung 906BW 19" widescreen), go to a store and try them out, see if you like them. And, personally...I do find a higher resolution to be nicer for games.

    He might be able to get triple the ram, but 8GB (which is what my recommendation gave him) is all most motherboards can handle, and games benefit greatly from better RAM. Unless you're building a server, it pays more to have fast RAM than simply more RAM, especially after you hit about 2GB or 4GB. And I'm focused on the future.
    Most games won't run on 64-bit windows, therefore...there is no real point to getting over 4GB. I'd say go with DDR3, as while it's more expensive, it still isn't that much in the overall total, and is slightly faster, and is the future.

    If he builds the best system now, he can hold off for at least 2-3 years before upgrading, possibly more depending on his needs. People only have to upgrade annually because they go cheaper with their components all the time.
    To a point, but...cheapening the components a bit makes sense. You will notice virtually no performance difference, and save a lot of money, and by the time it needs to be upgraded, the more expensive system would too. (Such as with my processor comparison).

    I did select a quality power supply that would handle those components, and maybe more.
    I like your power supply choice, PC Power and Cooling makes very good stuff as well.

    Also, for review sites...be careful with Tom's Hardware, they aren't always truthful, and I recommend HardOCP in addition to the others mentioned.

    You can get a nice set of speakers from anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on what you want. (2 speakers, 5 or 7? Subwoofer or no?)
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  4. #14
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Good stuff posted here, here's my two cents:

    1. A large monitor that is well built--Dell LCD monitors usually are (<3 my Dell 20" widescreen 1680x1050)--is a must. You're going to be staring at this for many many hours, so choose wisely. And Athenian's point about resolution on large monitors is a bit moot--you can drive a large monitor at a lower resolution just fine, might look a little pixellated (assuming you put the LCD in "stretch" mode) but I've never been bothered by that.

    2. Quality sound card is a must--it's not so much the bit level of the sound as the quality of the DAC chip onboard. I've never been happy with any onboard sound, but my Creative Labs SoundBlaster Audigy2 ZS is a damned good sound card for listening to music or anything game-related -- very clear sound all the way from bass to treble. Likewise, quality speakers go along with this, though most stuff works well (I'm using a cassette/radio/CD/aux input receiver, set to aux mode, with a pair of large 3-way bookshelf speakers attached--think one of those personal music systems you buy for ~$150 at Best Buy)

  5. #15
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spirilis View Post
    Good stuff posted here, here's my two cents:

    1. A large monitor that is well built--Dell LCD monitors usually are (<3 my Dell 20" widescreen 1680x1050)--is a must. You're going to be staring at this for many many hours, so choose wisely. And Athenian's point about resolution on large monitors is a bit moot--you can drive a large monitor at a lower resolution just fine, might look a little pixellated (assuming you put the LCD in "stretch" mode) but I've never been bothered by that.
    Okay, that's a good point. But my father recently bought me a new computer with an LG 1900x1200 resolution monitor, and games run a lot slower and crash more on it, even though the processor is a Q6600, and the graphics card is nVidia 8800GTX (although it could be due to his installing 32-bit Vista Ultimate). The rectangular shape feels weird, and web pages look way too stretched out so I have to keep tilting my head side-to-side to read anything (the graphics quality is okay, though). Heck, if JJJ builds his computer with good components, I'd be willing to send him that monitor for nothing and put my Samsung 1280x1024 back in, because I prefer it anyway.

    If I run it a lower resolution, it's irritating to have the display either letterboxed or distorted... I like 1:1 pixel ratio and no waste.
    2. Quality sound card is a must--it's not so much the bit level of the sound as the quality of the DAC chip onboard. I've never been happy with any onboard sound, but my Creative Labs SoundBlaster Audigy2 ZS is a damned good sound card for listening to music or anything game-related -- very clear sound all the way from bass to treble. Likewise, quality speakers go along with this, though most stuff works well (I'm using a cassette/radio/CD/aux input receiver, set to aux mode, with a pair of large 3-way bookshelf speakers attached--think one of those personal music systems you buy for ~$150 at Best Buy)
    That might be good -- I don't know, I can't tell any difference between anything better than 16-bit sound. Anything less than that and it seems less quality, but more than that and I can't tell. Then again, I'm deaf in one ear.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Noel's Avatar
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    Athenian, the system specs you listed are the cream of the crop - there's no doubt about that. What I'm suggesting to JJJ is that one can have an excellent system without spending an arm and a leg. It maybe 10-15% slower but at least you could invest the money you saved into food to prepare for the upcoming food shortage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    If I may say so... running a bigger monitor doesn't make a program run better, or even improve the graphics quality. All it does is make it slower and increase the viewable area, especially in games. Sure, some people prefer the size advantage, but if you're comfortable with lower resolution, you can have a really fast computer with excellent graphics. I've personally always hated widescreen displays, because they feel awkward and disproportional.
    Why even invest in those graphics cards, especially SLI configured, if you won't even run at a higher resolution? FPS' cap out on smaller resolutions - it would seem if you have those powerful cards, then a lot of its potential is wasted. Certainly it will last you a longer time if you continued to use the cards under a smaller resolution but remember the higher the resolution, the higher amount of viewable megapixels to the viewer increases. Of course there will be a performance loss, but with the high end components you suggested (especially), it's rather minute. E.g. I'm sure everyone can't tell the difference in an fps between 80fps vs. 100fps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    He might be able to get triple the ram, but 8GB (which is what my recommendation gave him) is all most motherboards can handle, and games benefit greatly from better RAM. Unless you're building a server, it pays more to have fast RAM than simply more RAM, especially after you hit about 2GB or 4GB. And I'm focused on the future. If he builds the best system now, he can hold off for at least 2-3 years before upgrading, possibly more depending on his needs. People only have to upgrade annually because they go cheaper with their components all the time.
    It has taken years for engineers to even fully optimize ddr2 modules and dd3 performance mirrors ddr2 as of now, hence why I suggested ddr2 rather than ddr3. The sheer amount of money you save from ddr3 would allow you to purchase the best ddr2 modules. I agree with you that DDR3 is certainly future proof, but expect engineers to fully optimize them in several years. Why pay 700 for ram that is just as good as ram that is 150?

    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I did select a quality power supply that would handle those components, and maybe more.
    I never implied you didn't. I just suggested not to skimp on those two components when he is in his finally formulating his purchase.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Your approach is far too Te (and not great Te either, I might add). You don't understand how the components work together.
    I don't understand what you mean here. Would you like me to show more F in the sense of being a part of a consumer movement and purchase a mac? I know you took my post as a personal attack because Ender said your specs were overkill as well, but it seems you have a bone to pick with me. I think you were unjust in your proposal that I know nothing of how computer components work together and I would like an apology.



    Another resource:
    SilentPCreview - if noise is an issue to you. They also review power supply efficiencies to test manufacturers claims.
    I may be bested in battle, but I shall never be defeated.

  7. #17
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noel View Post
    I don't understand what you mean here. Would you like me to show more F in the sense of being a part of a consumer movement and purchase a mac? I know you took my post as a personal attack because Ender said your specs were overkill as well, but it seems you have a bone to pick with me. I think you were unjust in your proposal that I know nothing of how computer components work together and I would like an apology.
    I'm sorry, then.

    I just think that if you're going to spend that much on a computer, you should get the best. I've just personally always felt a little frustated when I know that a computer (not peripherals) isn't as good as it could be in terms of processing power. And I think that at $5000, you should be able to feel like you have the most powerful system available, because you can. I could easily send him that monitor that isn't working out for me, and maybe even get him one of those Audigy card-things spiris was talking about too, so that he could easily still spend most of it on the computer itself. Basically, I don't like to see people go cheaper/lower quality on components if they don't have to, and many times I'd actually rather pay part of it myself (even if I'll never touch the computer) than see them do that.

    Also, you said that most motherboards weren't DDR3 compatible. I had already made sure that wasn't an issue by selecting one that had good DDR3 performance, but you didn't seem to realize that.

    If anything, I was hinting that you had inferior Te, and I had tertiary Ti, so I obviously understood how systems worked better than you did. It was kind of a cheap shot on the INFP's functional order, and I probably did it because I was still irritated about that time you mocked me. Well, I guess we're even now.

    Anyway, I really didn't mean to ridicule your suggestions, but some of that information is based on typical scenarios rather than the one I created. I'm glad that you seem to understand where I'm coming from with "If you're going to spend that much, why not get the best?" I mean, if he were only out to spend $2000, I would have suggested cheaper components. I just believe in getting the best possible system for your money.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Noel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I'm sorry, then.

    I just think that if you're going to spend that much on a computer, you should get the best. I've just personally always felt a little frustated when I know that a computer (not peripherals) isn't as good as it could be in terms of processing power. And I think that at $5000, you should be able to feel like you have the most powerful system available, because you can. I could easily send him that monitor that isn't working out for me, and maybe even get him one of those Audigy card-things spiris was talking about too, so that he could easily still spend most of it on the computer itself. Basically, I don't like to see people go cheaper/lower quality on components if they don't have to, and many times I'd actually rather pay part of it myself (even if I'll never touch the computer) than see them do that.

    If anything, I was hinting that you had inferior Te, and I had tertiary Ti, so I obviously understood how systems worked better than you did. It was kind of a cheap shot on the INFP's functional order, and I probably did it because I was still irritated about that time you mocked me. Well, I guess we're even now.
    Fair enough. Carry on.
    I may be bested in battle, but I shall never be defeated.

  9. #19
    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips so far guys! Keep em coming. My eyes are opening.


    As for sound (re harddrives etc), it's really not an issue for me. If I can hear my hardware then my music/game volume clearly isn't high enough.

    And $5000 isn't a totally iron-clad cap. Alas, I have no sense of perspective when it comes to Fallout 3. Tips for saving money are still appreciated, though, and will get due consideration.

  10. #20
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    That might be good -- I don't know, I can't tell any difference between anything better than 16-bit sound. Anything less than that and it seems less quality, but more than that and I can't tell. Then again, I'm deaf in one ear.
    Yeah, that's the thing--I'm talking about 16-bit sound here. 16 bit sound usually sounds like hollow dog-crap on the onboard chipsets I've had in my last 2 motherboards, but when you play it (talking MP3s here with all their lossyness) through the Audigy2 ZS, something just... "sounds right" about it. It's a much fuller bass response, for one thing.

    I will admit though, I am a bit sensitive to those kinds of fine details in music.

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