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Cody Coyote

Finally Going to Start Playing OFF - Need PC Help

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I've been following OFF since the SOH days; in fact, since before it was even called "OFF". I rarely post, but I visit the forum repeatedly throughout the day to keep up on what is happening. I have P1, P2, and P3, although I've never flown any of them. According to MS my PC specs are well above what is needed for CFS3 but the reality is that CFS3 was never anything more than a slide show for me with frame rates in the single digits. I didn't even waste my time trying to install OFF, always hoping for a better system. Today my PC is about 10 years old and so bloated and bogged down that I can't even play CFS2 any more!

 

So I've reached the point that I'm buying a new PC and I wanted to come here to get advice on what to purchase so that I can enjoy the same kind of positive OFF experience that so many of you have. I want a system that will be powerful enough to play OFF stutter free and allow me to take full advantage of all of the eye candy that the developers have worked so hard to create. Additionally, as you can tell by my current 10 year old machine, I can't be buying a new box every few years so I'm looking for something capable of handling Phase 4 as well.

 

I'm looking for a machine that can easily handle CFS2 and OFF, but at the same time it will be my box for word processing, surfing the Net, email, photo and video editing, storage, etc. In other words it can't be a dedicated gaming PC but needs to serve all my needs. Considering my age, this may be the last desktop PC I ever purchase and I want to do it right.

 

I have some old notes on PC specs posted by one of the developers some time back as well as the reviewer over at SimHQ, but things change so quickly in the PC world that I wanted to get the latest thoughts and input before I plunk down my money.

 

I'd be interested in hearing any recommendations of what to get and what to stay away from. At this time nothing is set in stone other than that the new machine will have Windows 7 Home Premium and a 64 bit OS.

 

Any help will be appreciated. I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines while the rest of you fly off to battle overhead.

 

Thanks

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.

 

First of all Cody Coyote, welcome, (back), to the OFF skies, (don't recall if I'd welcomed you earlier, so better safe than sorry). New guys buy the drinks!

 

I imagine you will get a fair amount of input here, but I think it would be helpful if yo could give us a price range you are wanting to work in.

 

 

Now then, I believe I'll have a pinta' extra stout and a wee dram a' the Tullamore, if you'd be so kind lad.

 

Cheers!

 

Lou

 

.

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Buy the drinks? What happened to the tenner I left on the bar when I first visited? drinks.gif

 

I purposely didn't mention price because I was curious to see what my options were. I know that I'm not going to drop $7k on a Maingear Shift. I priced an Alienware a year or so ago at $5k+ and that is still a little high. I'd like to keep it under $3k, but I really need to know what my options are. I won't build my own, so I am thinking off-the-shelf. However, with the right company, off-the-shelf means specifying a lot of your major options which is virtually akin to having it built for you.

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Off the shelf... I'm afraid I can't help you out with any advice on what to buy there. It seems the choices would be no-name/proprietary motherboards and other cut rate components, all for the sake of maximum profit margin. I built my current system a year and a half ago for less than $2000 and I made no compromises. Is it possible to find a local builder near you who can build your system with the name brand parts you specify?

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Where are you located, Cody? I'm sure you've got a locally-owned 'Geek Store' (not a Best Buy) somewhere nearby. I use one called Golden Tech here in northern Virginia. They build to order, but they also have a bunch of pre-builts on the shelf. They're fairly cheap and they seem to be very reasonable in price. And as a bonus, the only software they installed on my last machine almost 3 years ago was the OS, benchmarking software, and a full version of Crysis. That means no endless hours deleting crapware like demo versions of AOL, Norton, McAfee and MS Works.

 

I don't know if this is up to date, but they were running a special for an Intel Core i7 920 2.66/4.8GT/S, 6 GB 1333 RAM, 500 GB Hard Drive, GeForce GTX260 896MB PCIE 16X and Windows 7 Home Premium (among other things) for under $1,500.

Edited by NS13Jarhead

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I built my current system a year and a half ago for less than $2000 and I made no compromises. Is it possible to find a local builder near you who can build your system with the name brand parts you specify?

 

Now that sounds really promising. Unfortunately my local "Geek Store" as NS13Jarhead puts it, is a Best Buy and I have no intention of picking up a PC there. Over the years I've purchased three PC's mail order and I am certainly not opposed to doing that again. While it's nice to pick one up locally, I realize that to get what I want may require a special order and I am OK with that.

 

My question is, regardless of where I purchase, what should I be getting with regards to processor speed, RAM, graphics card, etc. No matter who builds it, if I don't put in the right components I haven't gained anything. By the way, thanks Winston for posting your system specs.

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My question is, regardless of where I purchase, what should I be getting with regards to processor speed, RAM, graphics card, etc. No matter who builds it, if I don't put in the right components I haven't gained anything. By the way, thanks Winston for posting your system specs.

 

OFF benefits from a powerful CPU - so max that out - and then get a decent vid card - or two - and at least 4 Gigs of RAM.

 

Best approach: Pick one out and then post the specs. There are a few here who will tell you if you are doing the right thing.

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These recommendations about companies like iBuyPower, Golden Tech, and Cyber Power are very helpful as I see myself as more likely to purchase from one of these "custom" builders than from a Dell or HP. I'm curious Barkhorn1x, did you have any service issues with Cyber Power? I live in a rural area and the downside of mail order can be getting service if something goes bad.

 

I appreciate the input so far and a couple of things have jumped out at me: as powerful a CPU as I can afford; at least 4 GB of RAM; set aside $20 for good packaging!

 

What about video cards? The market is flooded with a hodgepodge of letters and numbers that are confusing to say the least. What cards do those of you that play OFF frequently like? Does one brand really have an edge over another or is it more of a Ford vs. Chevy thing?

 

Also what about AMD vs. Intel? Does it really make a difference and does the chip affect what vid card I should buy?

 

I appreciate everyone's opinion on this. Thanks for all of the comments.

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I'm curious Barkhorn1x, did you have any service issues with Cyber Power? I live in a rural area and the downside of mail order can be getting service if something goes bad.

Nope. None.

Edited by Barkhorn1x

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Hi Coyote,

 

I built my own rig about a year ago. It was a first time build for me. It was easier than I thought it would be. After a bit of research, I used Tiger Direct mainly to buy the components, and it pretty much fell together. The guys on this site were a big help. I'm afraid I don't keep up with the latest computer trends, but I'm sure you could build my rig for a song now, and it was under $2000 when I built it. Through Dell it would have cost a fortune.

 

....Just some words of encouragement if you go down the build yourself route.

 

Velvet

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It was suggested that maybe a thread should be put in the Knowledge Base for PC's to run OFF. Maybe list your systems and any issues you may have had and help someone avoid the same ones. I am also looking to build one fairly soon, and have the same questions.

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Well,based on some of the things I've read here and my long term goals I am considering having a system built around these basics:

 

Intel i7 980X Processor Extreme Edition (6x 3.33GHz/12MB L3 Cache)

6 GB DDR3 memory

3-way SLI ASUS P6T Motherboard

 

ATI Radeon HD 5870 - 2GB - ASUS ROG MATRIX Single Card

++++++++ OR

ATI Radeon HD 5870 - 1GB - Single Card

+++++++++ OR

NVIDIA GeForce CTX 480 - 1.5GB - Single Card

 

Either an 850 or 1000 Watt power supply

 

Dual 1TB Drives - Raid 0

 

I'm really up in the air regarding the video card and nothing is firm yet, just penciling in my short list of specs.

 

Thoughts? Overkill? Is there something I can cut back and save on? How does this look for OFF P3 and the future P4?

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I7-980x it's a "monster" processor. It's too expensive in my humble opinion.

while 3.3Ghz at stock seems nice and excelent overclocking capabilities sound great, it's too expensive (around $1000).

The first thing before choosing any component should be, who's going to assemble it?

Are there any stores/shops in your living area that can build it? Or do you know anybody with enough expertize to assemble it and if necessary to overclocked it?

If you find someone with that ability, in the end it will cost you less than half.

 

I wouldn't choose that motherboard. The second and the third video option are the best for single display. The first one is only if you going to use resolutions above 1900 and pretend to use more than one monitor.

 

So I've reached the point that I'm buying a new PC and I wanted to come here to get advice on what to purchase so that I can enjoy the same kind of positive OFF experience that so many of you have. I want a system that will be powerful enough to play OFF stutter free and allow me to take full advantage of all of the eye candy that the developers have worked so hard to create. Additionally, as you can tell by my current 10 year old machine, I can't be buying a new box every few years so I'm looking for something capable of handling Phase 4 as well.

There's no such thing as "stutter free". Some people claim it, and I believe them, but most of us, even with good spec rigs, don't have that El Dorado thing. The world of PC gaming, as opposite to the consoles world, is a complex one; each machine has a unique behavior. That doesn't sound much scientific, but it's like that. There are a lot of variables, like user, software and hardware. Not all the users have the same sensibility, what is perfect for some it isn't for others. However this doesn't mean that by buying a new machine you aren't getting a 90% better overall experience.

 

Considering my age, this may be the last desktop PC I ever purchase and I want to do it right.

The last person I know who said it, already changed his PC two times after that. :grin:

 

That 10 year period, is too much large, in terms of computer development. It engulfs several generations. It's a bad, bad politic. In my humble opinion, that period should be narrowed to 5/6 year at most. And in between you should expect to two or even three components upgrade. And that won't cost in the end so much more as too buy top of the notch systems, that tends to devalorize after the first year. I'm referring, for example, to that CPU you chose.

I understand, that with age, we haven't the same patient to replace components and change the hardware and software. It's happening with me and I'm "only" 45. But using a quote of the great John Wayne ( I didn't agree with a lot of his political positions, but nonetheless he was a great actor for me) "A man's got to do what a man's got to do." :grin:

 

 

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Are there any stores/shops in your living area that can build it? Or do you know anybody with enough expertize to assemble it and if necessary to overclocked it?

If you find someone with that ability, in the end it will cost you less than half.

 

No, not an option. I'd be looking at one of the on-line companies such as iBUYPOWER, CyberPower, Alienware, etc.

 

I wouldn't choose that motherboard. The second and the third video option are the best for single display. The first one is only if you going to use resolutions above 1900 and pretend to use more than one monitor.

 

What board or boards would you recommend?

 

There's no such thing as "stutter free". Some people claim it, and I believe them, but most of us, even with good spec rigs, don't have that El Dorado thing.

 

I suspected as much reading this forum over the years. Even those who are having a wonderful experience hint at occasional stutters. Recognize that I can't even run it today so I'm willing to accept "minimal" stutters (whatever that is).

 

The last person I know who said it, already changed his PC two times after that. :grin:

 

Works for me! good.gif I'd love to buy ten more PC's between now and then but don't think it will happen. Over the past 10 years I did various upgrades on this box until the technology outstripped my ability to keep up with it. I't time to move forward and I want that move to be a leap, not a step.

 

Anyone else have thoughts on these rudimentary specs and Von Paulus' comments?

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Let's play with this idyllic scenery. I've some money and want to buy a new PC, without having to spend enormous amounts of money, but want to be able to play with some quality and smoothness. I'd definitely overclocked it and in two years or three would be ready to change one or two things.

 

For the CPU I'd choose I7-930, and I'd overclocked it to 3.6Ghz (maybe 3.8). The motherboard I'd go for Asus PX58D-Premium, memories GSKill Trident 6GB, Video Card I'd choose Asus 5850 1GB, the PSU would be Corsair HX-850 (not TX), the case I'd have my doubts but Cooler Master HAF 932 could be a solution.

As ideal, I'd have two OS installed, XP and win7 x64 (because OFF and other games can run sometimes better in XP). I'd buy in this case three hardisks. One for installing W7, other for XP, and a good one (quick) for gaming and storage. In this way I'd able to run the pagefile in a different hardisk than from the one where the game is stored and from the WIndows is installed. Later in two years I'd add a SSD hardrive for gaming and would also change the graphic card.

In this way you will spare a lot of bucks, specially if you choose not to go that monster I7 980X.

 

EDIT: In case of overclocking the CPU, I'd buy an Corsair H50 cooler or a Prolimatech Megahalems with a fan.

Edited by Von Paulus

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I have bought 2 PC's from Cyberpower over the past 3 years and I can tell you that I will buy my next one from them too (zero problems either time). I can also tell you that buying from them was about the same price as me building the same thing because I used to build all of my own PCs years ago.

 

The last one I bought (plays OFF from 20 to 60 FPS)is a i7 -975, Crossfire 4890's with dual boot (XP & Win7). Like Von Paulus said "some games play better on one OS versus another".

Edited by Panama Red

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Cyberpower is definitely on my short list. As I begin to zero in on some things they seem to consistently be at or near the best price.

 

i7 -975, Crossfire 4890's with dual boot (XP & Win7). Like Von Paulus said "some games play better on one OS versus another".

 

Interesting comment as I never thought of that before. I plan to get my new system with Windows 7 Professional but I also own a copy of XP Pro so could do a dual boot I suppose.

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Since you guys were so helpful with your input, I thought I'd revisit this post and let you know what I decided on.

 

ASUS P6X58D-E motherboard

Intel i7-980X Extreme 3.33 GHZ over clocked by 10-15%

12GB DDR3

NVIDIA GTX-470 1.25GB single card

80GB Solid State Drive for the OS and some programs (such as OFF)

640GB SATA-3 hard drive for data

Corsair H50 liquid cooling system

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit with ability to run XP in a virtual environment

 

No decision on a monitor yet. I may keep my current 19" conventional flat screen. I'm not sold on wide screens for gaming, but we shall see.

 

Best of all, I did find an outfit to build it for me. Hopefully the day will soon come when I too can complain about how hard it is to survive 17 hours in OFF.

 

Thanks again to all those who provided input.

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If you don't want to wait for the I9 release, go ahead. I don't know when it will be. I thought it would be in the first half of 2010, but it wasn't.

If you go for the I7-980X, than overclock it to 3.6 or 3.8Ghz.. With that processor and with that cooling system it will be ok, if it's done by someone who knows how to do it.

Edited by Von Paulus

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Since you guys were so helpful with your input, I thought I'd revisit this post and let you know what I decided on.

 

ASUS P6X58D-E motherboard

Intel i7-980X Extreme 3.33 GHZ over clocked by 10-15%

12GB DDR3

NVIDIA GTX-470 1.25GB single card

80GB Solid State Drive for the OS and some programs (such as OFF)

640GB SATA-3 hard drive for data

Corsair H50 liquid cooling system

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit with ability to run XP in a virtual environment

 

No decision on a monitor yet. I may keep my current 19" conventional flat screen. I'm not sold on wide screens for gaming, but we shall see.

 

Best of all, I did find an outfit to build it for me. Hopefully the day will soon come when I too can complain about how hard it is to survive 17 hours in OFF.

 

Thanks again to all those who provided input.

 

Nice, but don't skimp on the PSU whatever you do!

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You must remember, unless you can pick-up the CPU in person.

That was sage advice. I will be able to pick the unit up in person so anything that happens in transit is my responsibility.

Nice, but don't skimp on the PSU whatever you do!

 

I'm putting in a Corsair 850W unit.

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.

 

That should be enough power for what you are going to be pushing, Cody Coyote. I will stress one more item...lots of case fans, and make them big ones. I have four in my set-up, not counting the fans on the graphics card or in the PS. Plus I have a mondo Arctic Cooler on the CPU that also has it's own fan.

 

Did I mention fans? You will want a lot.

 

Oh, and one more thing...case fans.

 

:grin:

 

Cheers!

 

Lou

 

.

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I always OVER SPEC the PSU. The reason is you can expect 10-20 drop in power output after a year or so. as a result,, if you plan on keeping the PC for that long or longer, look at what your power needs will be then and spec you PSU for that lower number.

 

My PSU is a 1,000W and it is well above the 1 year drop off.

 

Also, Corsair has come out with a new H70 cooler that is more effecient than the older H50, so you might want to consider that since you have overclocked your CPU.

Edited by Panama Red

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