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The 'Perfect' Gaming Setup 105

Posted by Zonk
from the better-than-good-its-great dept.
1up is running a fun piece looking at how to take your gaming setup from merely functional to truly outstanding. From the article: "So you already took the plunge on a hot new HDTV. You've got an Xbox 360, but you're hungering for more HD gaming goodness, and you don't care how much it costs to get there. If that's the case, you're ready to enter the extremely hardcore domain of rolling your own home theatre gaming PC. This is not a project for the light-hearted. If you've never built a computer before, you're better off experimenting on the one you already have first with simpler exercises, like RAM and video card upgrades. Get comfortable, expect mistakes, and don't be afraid to see your own blood - computers can be pointy on the inside."
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The 'Perfect' Gaming Setup

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  • by kickedfortrolling (952486) on Monday June 12, 2006 @07:29PM (#15520478)
    .. wise words.. i nearly ripped my finger off on the inside of a drive bay. sod bird flu.. coolermaster- the slient killer
    • by Hannah E. Davis (870669) on Monday June 12, 2006 @07:31PM (#15520490) Journal
      I still have my ex-boyfriends blood inside my old computer... he was helping me put in a graphics card, as I recall, and cut himself on one of the many many sharp and pointy bits inside the case.
    • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Monday June 12, 2006 @07:41PM (#15520550) Journal
      And when fans are makin noise, don't put your finger in to stop the fan.
    • Doesn't need to be running... every single time I've done assembly or reassembly involving a new motherboard, the case has drawn blood. A little matter of needing to use a little force to get something to snap into place... and it gives more suddenly than expected. About half the time has required a band-aid to prevent getting blood everywhere. I guess that's the main downside of many cheaper cases - sharper edges!
      • Sounds like you need more experience, instead of more band-aids. :-)

        And I'd say better-made cases would help, but I realize they are few and far between. Even the more expensive cases I've dealt with lately are stamped from steel (or aluminium) that seem about one or two gauges too thin. Of course once the motherboard is installed and a few drives are mounted in the cages, they seem to be rigid enough, but what that really means is that any motion of the computer is physically stressing the motherboard,

      • You need to buy Asus Cases. Definitley not budget, but a quality PSU and rounded edges on the inside. I haven't gotten cut in 4 years, but then, I work on the software side for a living, so most of my upgrading is done to my home comp.
        • Yeah, either Asus, or similar. But the cheapo cases should be avoided ... as they say, you'll pay the same, only in band-aids. ;)

          One of my boxes is an Antec Aria, and while the chosen CPU disappoints the case is an absolute dream to work with (and their P180-line is on my wish list).

          The rest of my boxes are originally from Fujitsu-Siemens (and are more or less hacked by YT), and while they are heavy (nothing but steel) and not very stylish, there's not a corner or a screw in them (and they're environmentall
        • Oh i probably would, given the choice... :) My problems are caused by these things:
          • I only assemble 1 PC every year or so...
          • Approximately half are for other people,
          • I insist that the I'd be happy with the box under the circumstances they're in,
          • They're on a budget, so I prefer to spend the little extra they can afford on an Asus mainboard instead of the case.
          • I also don't charge for the time or effort, as long as they're willing to wait for me to have the time to take them shopping for parts and make a m
        • No kidding. Reading all these stories of getting cut make me wonder where these guys are getting their cases. The only thing I can see that would draw blood on a decent modern case are the cutouts on the back panel (which could, admittedly, provide a nasty cut if not carefully handled). If you've got to jam a card into the slot with enough force to cut yourself, brother, you've done something really wrong in your build.

          -Eric

    • It's not a real build unless you bleed on it.
    • When I used to build and sell the odd pc for cash, I'd know that if I didn't cut myself or bleed somewhere on that machine - I'd see it back in a week. Silly superstition but seemed true.
    • As funny as this is when I was installing my new DFI mobo I got cut on the thin metal that is the backplating that outlines the ports....thing bled like crazy, stupid sheet metal.

      (Don't mod this funny as its a true story)

    • A better quality case with quick release bays and less general pointiness: $50 extra.

      A trip to the E.R. to stitch your finger back together: $50 co-pay.

      There's minimal cost difference between the two but one hurts a lot less and looks a lot cooler.

      At least, that was my argument to my wife for my new Antec case. Granted, I was pushing it somewhat on the Zalman watercooling system when I told her it was "to avoid the risk of burns" but, fortunately, she's not a geek and thus accepts what I tell her.
  • by nbannerman (974715) on Monday June 12, 2006 @07:30PM (#15520486)
    You can wait 6 months, and pick up the required parts for half the cost, or even just buy an off the shelf system. I guess it depends which you value more; an immediate payback for the time you spent, or money in the bank and time saved.
    • u haven't factored in the value of working on something. i don't think many people would mind so much about getting prepackaged computers if that's all that was there... but there's always something about doing the research, buying your own parts, and putting it all together

      it's a geek's way of working on a car or building a treehouse.

      all we need now is some geek beer and a geeky bbq where we can all geek around trying to figure out the most entertaining, and therefore the most stupid and irresponsible
      • Yeah, thinking about it I probably was a little hasty to ignore that aspect. Considering I've spent hours building computers for a variety of uses, I'm not sure why I ignored that part. Must be getting cynical in my old age ;)
    • I guess it depends which you value more; an immediate payback for the time you spent, or money in the bank and time saved.
      Dont be so quick to consider just saving in the short term will do fine. If you want to be constantly bleeding cash for parts, fine. Just dont be disappointed by the low quality.

      Start with a very highend setup(proven components that are built solidly) and keep the configuration relatively unchanged until you cannot go further with that setup. Only add components infreque
      • Things that last and are worth buying top quality - motherboards, hard disks, memory (especially memory)

        Things that aren't worth buying top quality - CPUs and grafix cards. The upgrade cycle is too intense and the price/performance doesn't scale linearly. Buy one step below top of the range because you're going to be upgrading both long before 2-3 years.

    • It's like somebodies sig I read, Jedis build their own lightsaber, slashdotters build their own computer.
    • You forgot the e-peen factor
    • During those six months new state-of-the-art components will have come out. Wait another six months and pick them up for half the cost. Same money, better system!
  • Most of the nicer chassis don't have razor sharp edges on the inside. Spend $35 on a case and PS, and you may need a Band-Aid or two - but most folks who are building even mid range gaming rigs will spend money on a case.
    • Most of the nicer chassis don't have razor sharp edges on the inside. Spend $35 on a case and PS, and you may need a Band-Aid or two - but most folks who are building even mid range gaming rigs will spend money on a case.

      Skimping a little bit on things like the case is what allows some of us to build nice systems. If the budget is a concern in a build, the case is the most obvious thing to go cheap on. Afterall, it is basically just a box for your stuff. I wouldn't just use anything that is available, but

      • If you're patient and have time, Fry's will have decent $90+ Antec cases on sale for as little as $15 after rebates etc. I picked up one two weeks ago for $14.95, and it includes a 350W PS. I also picked up the SmartPower 500W PS for $15.
    • I've never cut myself while doing something with the hardware, no matter what case I've been using.
    • Yes, but don't forget all the pointy end-points on soldering of the motherboard, video cards, etc... even with a nice case those litle guys are still around to remove some skin from your knuckles (of course, with a nice case one oftimes has more room to work with too, so less knuckle-skinning).
  • by Rapter09 (866502) on Monday June 12, 2006 @08:01PM (#15520641)
    ...I was expecting a nice PC setup and hardware tips, but I see its unfortunately aimed heavily towards superfluous things to add to your console.
    • Wow - what insiteful reporting. Get rechargable batteries and have one set in the charger and one set in the controller. How did this get posted to slashdot anyway - TFA certainly didn't mention anything that would involve openning a case - just "Let me use my 7eet skilz to use a wireless controller". How lame. Let me get back to my prototype Conroe rig and I'll get back to you with an ultimate system in a month.
  • by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Monday June 12, 2006 @08:04PM (#15520654)
    Here's my current gaming rig, I need SLI to drive the very high resolution 37"(1920X1080) display (anti-aliasing etc.)

    CPU: AMD 3700+ SD Overclocked to 2530mhz (230X11 Aircooled 80mm @ 5,500RPM w/ 4 Heatpipes 1.456V 36C/44C) (very loud, my PC is in a seperate sound isolated room...I have been considering water cooling but have yet to take the plunge)
    Board: ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe
    RAM: 4 X 512 OCZ Platinum EL Rev. 2 TCCD (230mhz 2,3,3,5 Aircooled NB 2.8V 37C/41C)
    Video: 2 X eVGA 7800GT SLI (stock)
    Drive: 74GB WD Raptor
    Sound: Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic + PA2v2 Headphone Amp + Sennheiser HD595 Headphones
    PSU: Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-550 550W Power Supply (not recommended, poor quality control on these...some are fine others are not...I got a not)
    Case: CM Stacker [coolermaster.com]
    Display: Westinghouse 37" 1920X1080 LCD [westinghousedigital.com] (best purchase of my life)

    37" may seem too large for a PC display, but I sit back in a reclining chair with a viewing distance of about 6 feet. It's so comfortable I can game for 16 hours straight(which I do on occasion).

    It's a sweet setup...I'm CPU and fsb limited but I can play almost all games at max settings 1920X1080. Low resolution emulated games (Dos, MAME, Atari ST, NES, commodore, amiga, apple IIgs) etc. all look great on this screen.
  • Easier setup... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 12, 2006 @08:19PM (#15520729)
    1 Copy Super Smash Bros. Melee
    1 Bigass Couch
    4 Wavebirds
    1 Gamecube
    1 Decent-Sized Television

    I'm not sure what other equipment anyone could EVER need.
  • Is the source code for the cluster raytraced quake3 out yet? A couple of dozen dual CPU nodes would be pretty ideal if that's the case.
  • A stoned little dwarf throws a nasty-looking knife at you and misses. What more do you need?

    Actually I'm exaggerating a bit - plug a Vax of just about any flavor into the back end of the VT100 and you can play Nethack, or get a PC with Win95 or better and run the color version.

    • A stoned little dwarf throws a nasty-looking knife at you and misses. What more do you need?

      What version of Adventure are you playing. In the version I played on a PDP11/35, the dwarf wasn't stoned and was deadly. Sometimes I was lucky and tossed the axe back killing the dwarf, but I could never get the dwarf. He always dissappeared in a cloud of greasy black smoke.
    • by Vo0k (760020) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @03:33AM (#15522356) Journal
      Ever tried "UNIX DOOM"?

      4 serial terminals plugged into a SGI Challenge running IRIX. 4 guys with root access. The task: Stay logged on and kill (-9) the others. The most ultimate deathmatch.
      Log in.
      Use 'ps', try to figure out which login is yours. Kill -9 the other processes kicking the others. Watch "ps" list for new logons. More than once you'll kill -9 yourself. More than once they will kill your logon process before you do. Spawn extra shells as decoys. Attempt to append another line to your "ultimate weapon" script. Try to read manpage to find what option on IRIX version of 'ps' displays terminal you're connected from. Remember login process number of the opponent who kicked you before you managed to finish typing the PID and use it immediately after the last login.

      That was about the most fun multiplayer game I ever played :D
  • Recently Upgraded... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ewhac (5844) on Monday June 12, 2006 @09:10PM (#15520984) Homepage Journal
    Ooo! Is this where we get to compare the sizes of our dic^H^H^Hgaming rigs?

    I just bought myself a completely new gaming rig -- my first such rig in about seven years. Prior to that I'd been upgrading various components in my old box. But the newest games were starting to far outstrip my machine's ability to play them (Doom 3/Quake 4 were the earliest offenders). Thanks to a pleasant year-end bonus from my employer (and rather serious prodding from my partner), I got a completely new box:

    Sadly, the graphics card has turned out to be the biggest problem in the new rig. It seems that everyone is having trouble with the new NVidia 7900-based boards. My first card would display "exploding" geometry once it warmed up a bit. Happily, eVGA have been very good to deal with, and performed a free cross-ship RMA. The new card still exhibits a few glitches, but only when I expressly go looking for them. When actually playing games, it's been very well behaved. It's only done the exploding geometry thing once since then, during a game of Oblivion. I'll keep leaning on eVGA to perfect this card.

    I have very mixed feelings about the Creative sound card. Creative has a very spotty reputation for drivers, especially when multiple CPUs are involved. However, virtually all the competing sound card vendors have gone away, or have chosen instead to go for a race to the bottom in terms of price (and, sadly, quality). So I got the Creative X-Fi. It makes the games sound pretty good (it's breathed new life into QuakeWorld), but I would have much preferred something that works with Linux. I have my eye on the upcoming Razer Barracuda sound card, though...

    I'd have to say that I'm probably happiest with the case. I was very paranoid that I wouldn't have enough space for all the cruft I planned on putting in it, or that it would be very difficult to work with, but it's turned out to be just lovely. It weighs a ton, but no more than the old Antec tower it's replacing. It's very accessible, has a large interior, very well ventilated, very sturdy, has a clean appearance, and the blue LEDs don't hurt, either.

    As I said, this is the first new rig I've put together in seven years (the last machine I built was a dual-Pentium III on a PC-100 motherboard). I'd appreciate commentary from a more experienced eye. Could I have selected better RAM? Better drives?

    Schwab

    • Really any "perfect setup" is in the eyes of the beholder. Whats important is that it works for you.

      My build philosophy, as a semi-broke college student, is that your money goes further when you purchase just below top of the line (law of diminishing returns). I look at my system more as a process than a static unit, so I wouldn't have gone with that CPU. But everything else is pretty reasonable, including the GPU. Since you can double it later, it makes sense to reach for just near top of the line.

      I tell t
    • While I agree with another comment posted as reply to this, I think you could have done a better job on the RAM, but thats completly opinionated. I've checking out RAM, and assuming that price is a concern, you still could have gone with PC3200 - 2-2-2-5 for a reasonable cost. A quick look at newegg today: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N8 2 E16820134062 [newegg.com] or with a different RAM configuration: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82 E16820148007 [newegg.com] Just my 2 cents...
    • Personally, I prefer the Gigabyte Aurora [newegg.com] for a case. It's freaking spectacular.

      Other than that, I'd have said that if you ever planned on overclocking then a dual core Opteron 170 [newegg.com] will easily trump a 4400 X2. Without overclocking, go with the 4400+. If you're OCing, Opteron can go above an beyond most chips. I've gotten my 170 blazing nearly as fast as the FX-60. On air cooling. And it doesn't get that hot either thanks in part to Opteron's additional heat pipes. Getting them for OC purposes can be a crapsh
  • by darkhitman (939662)
    A "Perfect Gaming Setup", eh?

    I hope this begins and ends with two words: Spend Money.

    In-between, details can be added about spending lots of money and, if they really need to add more length, advice on where and what.
  • before I hit submit.

    Oh, I'm sorry, I thought this was an Ask Slashdot..
  • What a waste of 10 minutes of my life. There were no real guidelines on how to do this as the original title implied. This article is just filled with a bunch of stuff a 10 year old already knows. Anyone have any real links to how to do this??
    • tomshardware.com, hardocp.com, etc. frequently run articles on what their "perfect" rig would be.

      if you're looking for advice on how to actually go about it, my advice is to find a friend who's done it before and have him talk you through it the first time. it's really not such a tough process - you just have to know the steps.
  • Rechargable batteries? 1up.com being too stupid to work their HDTV into the non stretch mode? Playing PCs on an HDTV (gee, what a novel idea considering there's a subclass of HDTV's without built in tuners made for just this purpose), "building" an arcade machine? And the FINAL piece to perfect the ULTIMATE GAMING SYSTEM is importing games from Japan- something no one has suggested before.

    I was hoping this article would cover important things, like making sure your reciever is getting surround sound from th
  • I just found this site while researching HD-compatible games for my HTPC: http://www.widescreengamingforum.com/ [widescreen...gforum.com]

    They have a list of PC games with their widescreen status, and how to get it working if it's not officially supported.
  • It's pretty bad when they shoot both their feet in the opening paragraph:

    Yeah, you're hardcore. You probably own most every console that's still seeing new games; you have a few games you play all the time, and several that you've never touched. You probably even bit the bullet when you got that launch 360 and picked up a brand new HDTV to act as its window-dressing. You've got it all... right?

    Sorry, since when did "owning all the current consoles (plus an HDTV)" become the definition of hardcore? The

    • Still, then what is the definition of a "hardcore" gamer? I am really wondering whether I am one.
      • The definition I use for "hardcore" is basically "extremely nerdy". The nerdier you are about your hobby, the more you are into it. The more you are into it, the more the term "hardcore" probably applies to you. I realize that's a circular definition, but hopefully you understand what I'm trying to say.
      • Well by 1Up's consumerist definition of a hardcore gamer you can only be hardcore if you have enough money to buy all the games systems. When I was at University I could hardly afford any games let alone all the systems, yet I was still a hardcore gamer.

        I would have expected 1Up's definition from a website like IGN, but sadly some of the 1Up writers are as equally vapid these days (e.g. SL1p).

        And of course I would think a true hard core gamer would already know they want a decent games PC, if 1Up readers st
        • So, I expect that I am not hardcore since I read neither 1Up nor IGN.

          Anyway, I thought I may count as a hardcore gamer since games are an integral part of my life, and have been for the last 25 years. I have never stopped caring about games, and never stopped playing them, even when real life started to interfere with my gaming time. But I have never bought a console, since I think that, in general, console games suck and are far too expensive. I guess that that particular thought, in itself, clearly remo

  • My perfect setup doesn't involve an HDTV or an Xbox 360, but instead consists of a full audio cabinet that includes every system from an original Pong, Atari 2600, SMS, NES, Genesis, SNES, N64, Dreamcast, PS1, PS2, GC, and a few others like Neo Geo, 3D0, etc. all hooked up and playable.

    The sheer fun factor blows any HDTV/Xbox 360 setup away. There isn't a human alive (including grandparents with Pong) that can resist playing something. It's kinda like a large scale Nintendo Wii.

    They all see a fair bit of pl
  • The author mentions building an arcade cabinet, but doesn't say anything about gutting an existing cabinet. I was able to get a hold of a cabinet with a dead screen at a local arcade auction for $40. Since the only thing that was dead was the screen, I was able to sell the innards to a professional restoration company for $30, and netted a perfectly good stable cabinet for $10.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

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