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LilBudyWizer

A compromise machine

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My wife got a hefty bonus and decided she wanted a nice gaming machine. We settled on the $2k-$3k range. I consider that a compromise machine. You can't afford to get carried away, but you can afford some nice components. I generally by $600-$800 off the shelf machines. So, to me, an important point was having an upgrade path. If I'm going to spend that much then I want to be able to keep it current and use it for a long time. So rather than the high end of the low end I wanted to be at the low end of the high end. We looked at Alienware and Falcon Northwest. When it comes to compromises they don't have a lot of options. It gave me a good guide for what a high performance machine is though in this day and age. Particularly that, apparently, an Intel i7-975 extreme processor is the top of the line. That line being Bloomfield. That requires a X58 northbridge and LGA 1366 socket. The upcoming six-core processors are assumed to go into that same socket and use the same chipset. That makes the tri-channel memory make more sense. That gave me a starting point. I needed a motherboard to plug it into. I decided an eye towards the future required SATA III and USB 3.0. That cut the list down to Gigabyte and Asus. I decided to go with the Asus P6X58D Premium mainly because of the layout of the PCI slots. Just to be safe I checked reviews of the board and there wasn't any indication of any performance issues with the board. Whether it's the best board or not I do not know, but it should be more than adequate. For memory I just went with 3x2GB Kingston 1066 1.5v DDR3 since I have no current plans to overclock it. I decided to go with the Corsair 1000TX power supply. I wanted plenty of power for SLI/Crossfire should I decide to go that route short term and the ability to load it up with drives and turn it into a server long-term. No particularly reason for that particular PSU other than it was used in the review for the board so I figured it was compatible. I went with the Antex Six Hundred case mostly because I liked the look and it was a name I knew. Had I thought to use NewEgg's power search it would have been a lot easier to cut the list down. As it was I was happy to just find something that seemed good enough. When it comes to drives I decided to go with a OSC Vertex Turbo 60GB SSD. It's for my wife and she mainly plays WoW. So I figured fast boot and startup of WoW off of it. I went with a VelociRaptor 10k RPM 300GB drive as a work drive. With games taking 10GB+ not much is going to fit on a 60GB drive. I also worried a bit about cell wear with not much free space left. I figure I have an upgrade path to dual SSD's or dual VelociRaptors in a raid config. I'm not sure if I can do both at the same time. I figured a cheap 3rd drive as a backup. Finally was the video card. I figured either the nVidia GTX 260 or GTX 275. Both are the same price point with the GTX 275 seeming to perform slightly better. I decided to go with the GTX 275 simply because it's newer. I figured adding a second one for SLI gives a cheap upgrade path. That would get me to the performance level of a single GTX 295 without requiring an outright replacement. Finally I added in a Pioneer Blu-ray writer and external media card reader. I would have preferred an internal media card reader, but the cases only externally accessible 3.5" bay is a hot swap bay. I didn't feel like searching out a new case I liked and it's easier to use on the desktop than in the case. Overall, in total, I came in right at $2500. I bought everything at NewEgg except the video card which they were stocked out of so I bought it at CompUSA. Next will be putting it all together.

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You,... you spent $2500 for a computer with the goal of being able to play WoW on? WoW, a game designed to cater to computers that can be had for $300 these days?

So, was there a point to this thread? :P or were you just gloating?

Personally I would have gone with 1.5TB drives in a RAID setup over the Raptor. You end up with fairly similar performance specs for similar cost, but far far more storage space.

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She's a raider. It might be silly to spend $3k just to play WoW, but her fellow raiders do it. She's been having latency problems that's dropping her dps and getting her killed. That makes her a leper, they don't want her with them on raids. When she discusses her problems with her fellow raiders then inevitably ask what she's running on. When she tells them they tell her there's her problem, she running on a cheap pos. That makes her even more of a leper, she either too poor or too cheap to get a decent machine.

So, yeah, it's gloating rights. She makes $180k/year and I make nothing. So whatever she wants she gets. We can afford to keep one machine up at that level on an ongoing basis. I've been buying computers for going on 30 years. That's what I've found to be important, the habit you can afford to feed. If you can't afford to keep it up to date then don't bother. Plus I figured it would be fun to build a machine. I haven't done so in a long time.

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Virtually every major game on the market is built to run just fine on a four yo $300 machine, i.e. a console. My PC is three years old and runs most every game just fine. If you think 120 fps is twice as good as 60 fps and four times better than 30 fps then I guess some game is worth paying $2k-$3k for a gaming rig to play it. Apparently the vast majority of the market finds a $300 machine does just fine.

What I'm hoping makes it worth it is editing, processing and transcoding video. Space isn't a real issue. Starting out about 40GB raw input is about it. It's enough to be useful and demonstrate the concept. Hopefully once I'm through that I can set it up quickly, batch it and process it overnight. Starting out I'll be doing it manually. I'm going to have to figure out exactly what I want to do. So a lot of editing and re-editing of videos.

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That's not really a comparable GPU. The 5850 would be closer, but costs 1/3rd more while only performing maybe 1/5th better. The problem is you start paying a little bit more for a little bit better performance and, pretty soon, you're paying a whole lot more for a marginally faster machine.

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Well, I got all the pieces and put it together. Actually I put it together three times. I started out just trying to figure out what plugs in where which led to a mess of wires. So I redid it so it was tider. Then I found the drives were in the way of the GPU and several of the wires as well so I had to move the drives. The only problem I found was the wire for the front panel HD Audio was too short. The actual plug is the far corner of the motherboard from the front panel. It reachs, but it has to run diagonally across the motherboard. Also there's no speaker in the case so I guess I'll be guessing if there's a problem at boot.

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Quote:
Original post by Talroth
You,... you spent $2500 for a computer with the goal of being able to play WoW on? WoW, a game designed to cater to computers that can be had for $300 these days?

So, was there a point to this thread? :P or were you just gloating?

Personally I would have gone with 1.5TB drives in a RAID setup over the Raptor. You end up with fairly similar performance specs for similar cost, but far far more storage space.


I thought about it and decided you were right. Best Buy had the VelociRaptor on sale for $190 so I got a second one to run Raid 0. I also got a WD 1TB Black to use as a backup drive.

When it comes to WoW she seems stuck now at 1k fps, just can't get above that frame rate. Within Ironforge she can sustain about 200 fps, but when she get in Dalarian she drops to the 30-60 fps range depending upon which way she faces. I don't raid so I don't know how Dalarian compares to raid instances in terms of primative counts.

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