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Shiny new toy! - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
void where prohibited, except by law
sesquipedality
sesquipedality
Shiny new toy!
Goods Ordered (prices in GBP)
£17.99 x 1 - Scythe Card Reader & Floppy Drive - Black
£264.99 x 1 - OcUK GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - OEM
£53.99 x 3 - Samsung SpinPoint T HD501LJ 500GB SATA-II 16MB Cache - OEM
£44.99 x 1 - Logitech MX Revolution Advanced Cordless Mouse - Retail
£26.99 x 1 - Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (B2M-00008)
£50.99 x 1 - Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer 7.1 Soundcard - Retail
£72.99 x 1 - Antec P182 Super Midi Tower Case - No PSU (Gun Metal Black)
£16.99 x 1 - NEC ND7173 18x18 DVD±RW Dual Layer LabelFlash ReWriter (Black) - OEM
£16.99 x 1 - NEC AD7170S Serial ATA 18x18 DVD±RW Dual Layer ReWriter (Black) - OEM
£204.99 x 1 - GeIL 4GB (4x1GB) PC8500C5 1066MHz Black Dragon DDR2 Dual Channel Kit (GB24GB8500C5QC)
£134.99 x 1 - Enermax Galaxy 850W EGX850EWL ATX2.2 Modular PSU
£124.99 x 1 - Asus P5K Deluxe WiFi Intel P35 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard
£149.99 x 1 - Intel Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 "LGA775 Kentsfield" 2.40GHz (1066FSB) - Retail

Sub-Total: 1289.85
Shipping: 24.95
VAT: 230.09
Total: 1544.89

markbanang (have I mentioned how lovely he is?) has also blagged me a couple of 36GB WD Raptors, which will be arriving in due course. (This is my Xmas present from 2 years ago, btw.)
28 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: sea_cucumber Date: August 16th, 2007 09:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Mmmm, shiny :)
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burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: August 16th, 2007 10:18 am (UTC) (Link)
it's a sure sign of geekiness bordering on nerdiness when the most expensive piece of TEH SHINY! on there by a large margin is the graphics card.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 16th, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think mostly it's just a sign I like games.
markbanang From: markbanang Date: August 17th, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, I think it's a reflection on the fact that if your graphics card doesn't perform as well as you want it to, it doesn't matter how much you spend on the rest of the system. In gaming it really is the weakest link that determines performance.

The lack of competition in the the Graphics card market doesn't help though. nVidia has no-one to challenge it at the high end, so prices are kept high and innovation doesn't get shuffled down into the midrange so quickly.
imc From: imc Date: August 16th, 2007 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)
My word, that is one expensive bunch of stuff (is it really going to be five times as good as the modest Sempron 2800 desktop in the corner of my living room? <g>). I'm slightly confused by the two rather similar but slightly different DVD drives. Impressed by the three 500GB disks, though.
bellinghman From: bellinghman Date: August 16th, 2007 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
It could be a million times better - or no better at all - depending on what it's used for. If your Semporn hasn't got the grunt to do something in real time that our host needs to be done in real time, then it's a paperweight. On the other hand, it's perfectly possible your Someporn never has to break a sweat doing what you're asking of it, in which case it's just as good as this.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 16th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes. Everytime you say "disk is cheap" these days, it then proceeds to amaze you by getting cheaper still.

As to whether or not it'll be five times as good, I expect not. What it will be is 95% as good as the 3000-4000 quid computer you could buy by paying for the fastest shiniest everything. I think I'll see much benefit over the Sempron,as I seem to go in for heavy multitasking and my current Athlon 2600 really isn't cutting it any more. Value is, as always, in the eye of the beholder.

My first proper PC, bought in 1994, cost £3,500. (£700 of that was the 17" monitor, admittedly.) Now that *was* a waste of money. It was so new and shiny nothing worked. This is the first time since then that I've done a full hardware refresh rather than rolling upgrades, which means I'll need a new computer name, I suppose.

One's SATA, one's not. Ran out of SATA ports and also wanted a Labelflash drive anyway. Labelflash seems to be losing the burn cover on disk wars to Lightscribe, which is a shame, becuase it looks way cooler.
imc From: imc Date: August 16th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
One's SATA, one's not. Ran out of SATA ports and also wanted a Labelflash drive anyway. Labelflash seems to be losing the burn cover on disk wars to Lightscribe, which is a shame, becuase it looks way cooler.

I have a Lightscribe capable drive, but no Lightscribe capable media (and I'm not sure there's a Linux app for it anyway). Hadn't heard of Labelflash before now.

Still. Two DVD writers?
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 16th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
2 DVD drives is good for disk to disk copies. And you might as well buy another writer.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 16th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just an an exercise, I decided to spec up what I'd buy if a friend asked me to build a good value general purpose PC that's suitable for gaming.

Scythe Card Reader & Floppy Drive - Black £17.99
Samsung SpinPoint T HD501LJ 500GB SATA-II 16MB Cache - OEM £53.99
Logitech MX Revolution Advanced Cordless Mouse - Retail £44.99
Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (B2M-00008) £26.99
Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer 7.1 Soundcard - Retail £39.99
Antec P182 Super Midi Tower Case - No PSU (Gun Metal Black) £72.99
NEC AD7170S Serial ATA 18x18 DVD±RW Dual Layer ReWriter (Black) - OEM £16.99
Antec TruePower Trio 650W PSU £67.99
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 PC2-8500C5 1066MHz Dual Channel Kit (BL2KIT12864AA1065) £114.99
OcUK GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail £149.99
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 "LGA775 Conroe" 2.33GHz (1333FSB) - Retail £94.99
Asus P5K Deluxe WiFi Intel P35 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard £124.99

Sub Total : £826.88
Shipping : £14.95
VAT is being charged at 17.5% VAT : £147.32
Total : £989.15

So, there you have it. Mine is excessive to a tune of about a third of the price in my opinion. (Let's just not talk about the water-cooling system I'm thinking of adding, OK?) I strongly believe in quality components being important for reliability and feel that going any cheaper than this would result in worse value for money.
zandev From: zandev Date: August 16th, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you are doing midrange stuff, then pre-built systems are possibly better value.

For instance, you can configure a much faster Dell 9200 than that for roughly the same money.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 16th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
On one level you're correct. However, I'd bet on my system outlasting the Dell. I can't hope to compete with Dell on price performance in the benchmark sense. But I bet my system would be quieter and run more smoothly.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 16th, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and look prettier too.
zandev From: zandev Date: August 16th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice configuration. Where are you getting the parts from?

I'm interested that you've gone with 4GB RAM.

If you are gaming on it, presumably you're going to be running 32bit Vista or XP, so does 4GB help?

I've been thinking about upgrading myself. However, I can't really justify it at the moment. I'm holding out for solid state drives to become more available. :)
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 16th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Overclockers UK. Not the cheapest out there, but they do have a decent range and keep it mostly in stock.

4GB is better than 2GB, but not necessarily much better than 3GB, since you're up against addressability issues, and let's not forget that your graphics card is eating almost a gig from your 4GB address space even before you get to OS overhead. However, for Dual Channel to work, you've gotta fit paired RAM. You're right in thinking it will make much more sense once a move to 64bit is practical.

SSD is nice, but I think until it becomes affordable I'll take the dual Raptors. The price is right.
zandev From: zandev Date: August 16th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I'm just a bit fed up that even Vista 64bit is a bit of a disaster. I'd hoped that 64bit would be standard by now...
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 16th, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well MS have done the right thing with Vista by making sure you can't get hardware certification unless you support 64bit. I think in a year or two we'll start to see obvious end user benefit to the switch and games that therefore run *better* under 64bit, which will drive wider adoption.

As to what OS to use, I'm torn. I have a copy of Vista sitting on my shelf thanks to the upgrade offer they were doing a while back. On the other hand, it's still not really done yet, is it?
zandev From: zandev Date: August 16th, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Vista 32bit should be fairly solid (not that I've actually used it myself).

It's just that the 64bit versions are not very compatible.

markbanang From: markbanang Date: August 17th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
The problem is the device drivers. XP 64 wouldn't even support my 1680x1050 monitor when I tried last year!

And 32bit device drivers are the reason XP SP2 removed the remapping of memory below 4GB which is hidden behind memory mapped I/O, to be above 4GB. That's why I'd be surprised if Vista reports more than about 3GB of available memory, and with 768MB needed for the GTX it may be even less than that.

In theory, there's no reason Windows couldn't use the memory as cache storage, or make it available to applications (such as photoshop, or even games) as long as they managed all their memory transactions themselves, and never expected the memory to be accessed by any device drivers. Unfortunately it was easier for M$ to resolve the problem by simply removing the remapping and effectively disabling the memory.
zandev From: zandev Date: August 18th, 2007 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I read through the Microsoft documents about this, and it does look a bit pants.

Particularly as the 32 bit Server versions have no trouble using more than 4GB of RAM.

The only reason they removed it seems to be that poorly written 32bit drivers can cause crashes. Sigh.

I'm also a bit baffled as to how Microsoft managed to cock up the driver architecture so badly. If I recall correctly, the 64bit MacOS X has no trouble running 32bit drivers.
zandev From: zandev Date: August 18th, 2007 10:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Anandtech has a review of a new Solid State drive just out that significantly outperforms Raptors.

Sadly, it's ludicrously overpriced.

I really wish the manufacturers would get there act together on this one, as there is really no technical reason why cheap fast flash drives are not here now.
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sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 17th, 2007 08:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I was planning to RAID0 them yes. Thanks for the heads up. I'll check the net for details.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 17th, 2007 08:09 am (UTC) (Link)
One of the advantages of buying a high end case is that it comes with decent fans as standard. As you correctly surmised I'll be running with the stock cooler until I'm ready to put in the watercooling (I'm planning on getting a Zalman Reserator XT but want to read reviews first) which is mostly for noise rather than speed reasons.

Nope the motivation for buying such a high end card is to get the most out of my Dell 2405 monitor. It's 1920x1200, and reviews of modern games seem to indicate that smooth graphics at that resolution take a GTS 640MB or GTX.

Nice rig, btw.
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sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 17th, 2007 09:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, but it's cheaper to buy a stock GTX and your own water block. The XT is the new model of the 2 with a hybrid active/passive design. Want to read a review to see if it's any good before I order though. Looks shiny.
28 comments or Leave a comment