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2010 PC estimate (mine/newegg.com) (recommendations?)

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NathanJ79
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2010 PC estimate (mine/newegg.com) (recommendations?)

So, I was telling my wife how great it would be to build a second PC, five years after building the last one, to run Windows 7. I thought she'd tell me that XP is fine and that we don't need to throw money at a new PC, but she told me to draw up an estimate. I did, and here it is:

Tower alone: $566.92
Tower plus Win7 Home Premium OEM: $676.91
Tower plus Win7 Ultimate OEM: $756.91

These aren't offers for anyone; I'm certainly not spamming. These are raw parts cost. No labor charge because I'd be doing the work. I built my current system, I can build another one. Ironically, this will cost about $400 less than my last one.

What the Tower includes:

Case and Power Supply: $89.99
Sunbeam Transformer w/450W PSU

Motherboard: $79.99
GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770

CPU: $142.99
AMD Phenom II X4 810 2.6GHz Socket AM3

RAM: $109.99
CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

GPU: $69.99
GIGABYTE GV-R467D3-512I Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16

HDD: $34.99
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD800AAJS 80GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
(I have a 750GB SATA drive in my current box that would move to the new one to keep the lil' 80GB company.)

DVD Burner: $28.99
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW SATA CD/DVD Burner

Memory card reader: $9.99
SUPER TALENT INTAIN1MCR All-in-one Card Reader

Thoughts? Suggestions? Recommendations? Most likely I'll be buying Win7 Home Premium OEM to go on it. (I haven't given up on Linux; in fact I want to turn my current computer into a dedicated Linux box.)

And again, this ain't spam, there aren't any referral links, and Newegg isn't giving me anything for posting them. It's just who I choose to shop with, myself. I'm not encouraging anybody to click those links (they're just for reference, I think the titles I used tell people enough about 'em) but rather fishing for recommendations.

Mir
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just one DVD burner? No

just one DVD burner? No lightscribe?

Also i have never heard of that PSU before. you might get better long term savings using one of the GREEN PSU's. The one i had which was rated at 550watts actualy put out about 500 when it needed to. also because the cable system was and is modular only the cables plugged in use up power. i am saving a shiton of money on power now.

Good luck btw.

NathanJ79
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Reply

I only need one DVD burner. I always wanted to add a second one, but it's been almost five years, and I haven't burned the same thing twice enough to justify adding hardware, which is a power draw, airflow restricter, and space on the front of the tower.

And if I change my mind, it's only another $30 and a quick installation.

As for Lightscribe, it's a cool idea, but my brother has it. He says it doesn't look good unless you use the high quality writing, which takes about 45 minutes per disc. Then you have to get the Lightscribe media. Nah, I'll stick with a Sharpie.

I haven't heard of the PSU either. When a tower comes with a PSU, it's not gonna be one you've heard of. I may just get a cheaper case and spend the extra money on a well-reviewed PSU.

Might also need better cooling. Summer 2008 was almost unbearably hot. This summer, though, North Carolina got maybe 2 weeks of summer weather? June and July were all winter-spring weather, as was a lot of August. As opposed to a killer heatwave in June 2008. But I think if I can just open the side door and point a fan at it, it shouldn't get bad enough to really worry. It's not like Phoenix, AZ or something (I hear they get some horribly hot summers, but I've only been to their airport).

qwertymodo
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Not sure if it makes a

Not sure if it makes a difference price-wise, but the only difference between Windows 7 Pro/Ultimate is BitLocker. Unless you're paranoid, I'd go Pro over Ultimate. I was going to suggest a HD upgrade until I re-read the part about the 750... nice looking case Smile

...I want a Phenom IIx4 Sad

Quamquam omniam nescio, nec nihil scio.

NathanJ79
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That's it?

That's it? I thought Ultimate had all kinds of cool extras or something. Didn't Vista? I don't know...

What's Pro have that Home Premium doesn't? I think I'd go for Home Premium if not Ultimate. Does Pro have the Media Center? Because apparently I can make that talk to my Xbox 360.

qwertymodo
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Pro does have Media Center.

Pro does have Media Center. Unlike Vista, in 7, the more expensive versions have ALL of the features of the less expensive versions (e.g. Vista Business DIDN'T have MC). And I'm fairly sure almost all of those cool extras are in Pro as well, just not BitLocker. Oh, and the 35 different language packs...

Pro vs. Home Premium, looks like the main differences are Windows XP Mode (worth the upgrade right there), Domain joining, and network backup.

http://www.microsoft.com/Windows/windows-7/compare/default.aspx

Quamquam omniam nescio, nec nihil scio.

Bahamut
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From the looks of it,

From the looks of it, "Windows XP mode" isn't much different from running XP in a virtual machine.

Vintage!

qwertymodo
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You're right. It actually

You're right. It actually runs in VPC 2007, the only differences are seamless mode and the fact that it comes with a free XP license.

Quamquam omniam nescio, nec nihil scio.

jamvaru
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Try this... it is worth it

Don't skimp, or you are buying yesterday's computer, a regrettable decision I made recently. I'm saving for this type of thing:

HD - Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive ... Free Shipping - Your Price:$119.99

MB - XCLIO Windtunnel Fully Black Finish 1.0 mm SECC Chassis ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail (this one has 2 fans mounted external to the side panel for more interior room - definitely cool) Original Price: $139.99 - You Save: $50.00 - Your Price:$89.99

PS - Thermaltake Black Widow W0319RU 850W ATX 12V 2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power ... - Retail - Original Price: $119.99; You Save: $10.00; Free Shipping; Your Price:$109.99; Mail-In Rebate Card :N82E16817153106 $20.00 ; Price after Rebate CardN82E16817153106(s):$89.99 (PS could be economy version, if you want to upgrade later)

RAM - A-DATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1600GB2G9-AG - Retail - Free Shipping - Your Price:$79.99 (adjustable voltage, reasonable speed, ~75% of 2133)

more later

;>jamvaru

qwertymodo
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When I bought my new

When I bought my new computer, yesterday's computer was exactly what I was looking for. I figured I was likely to update some of the pieces eventually (GFX card, HD, maybe RAM, possibly even the processor if AM2's are still around in a few years), and I thought of it this way.

Using the graphics card as an example, if I were to buy the latest nVidia card, it would run me around $500. If I were to upgrade it 2 more times in the lifetime of this computer (or buy a second card for SLI, etc.), by then prices on the card I had would be down around $100 or so, and the new cards would be up at that $500 range. So I'd spend $1500 over the life of the computer. Now if instead I go with the GeForce 9800, a solid card that's been out for awhile, but has already dropped near the $100 mark, then in the future, upgrade twice more to newer "last-year's models" I'd be spendind $300 instead of $1500, and still be happy with what I had. I seriously can't complain about 2 GeForce 9800GT's running SLI, so I don't really need the $500 bleeding edge.

Quamquam omniam nescio, nec nihil scio.

jamvaru
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no complaints

sure, who wants eye candy, anyway?

You can play WoW, or whatever, on relatively old equipment.

My point is, and what I am planning on, myself, is to be able to upgrade into the future as much as possible.

The motherboard is the key, and a nice case. I found a link for a case that is very quiet and uses a different sort of design to cool. Check this out: oops, i can't find the link... anyways, it had two fans top rear ABOVE the power supply, a closed case system, with special intake ports in back only to minimize sound and maximize cooling. (here it is: arctic cooling

point is: shop around and look for something that is going to catch your eye "tomorrow", not just today, or yesterday.

get a mobo that can handle multiple GCs but don't buy ANY now... buy em later, so it keeps on giving back.

anyway...

good luck

probably just should buy a quad core win 7 comp from best buy

-----

there is a price/quality curve that turns up rather steeply after a certain point, $1000 intel cpu's for example. Taking memory we can see that the ddr3 @ 1600 is as good or better a deal than the weaker memory. The ~2100 memory is too much, but anything cheaper is a RIP-OFF. If you buy the cheaper stuff, meaning the weaker stuff, you are getting a worse deal, less bang for your buck, whereas if you buy the latest thing, ddr3-2100 you are getting more quality, but at a greater price per quality point. You are getting less bang for your buck, again.

So, where is the sweet spot? It is at the ddr3 1600 point, for now.
You buy a MOBO that can utilize 1600, has 2 or more pci-e 2.0 slots, raid 0/1/0+1, and you are good for a year or more, maybe 2.
Buy that cheapo low-end processor, and you can upgrade on your birthday or something.

The thing about AMD/INTEL, the 1376 chipset is supposed to be compatible with their soon to be released 6-core (6 CORE) processors. Of course you wont buy one, right away, but in a year or so the price will come down and your mobo will be able to upgrade again.

ANyway... go ahead and buy that cheapo 2nd rate computer. You can always buy another one next year.

1. A good case.
2. A good MOBO (with lots of upgrade potential - AMD is sucking right now, but they say they are sticking with the AM3 chipset, so... it is doable) DDR3 @ 1600 is IT.
3. The rest can suck for now. You can buy more later. Don't waste your time on anything less than a 1.5T 7200 HDD.

later

;>jamvaru

NathanJ79
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...

jamvaruDon't skimp, or you are buying yesterday's computer, a regrettable decision I made recently.

Last year's computer is kind of what I'm going for. In 2005 I made a solid computer which is still usable -- even decent, but not really great, today.

You can build a low-spec computer pretty cheap, or you can spend thousands of dollars on the best of the best. If you've got $13,664.75, you can build Ars Technica's "God Box". Read it and weep -- I did! Ironically, my build is closer to their "Budget Box", but I feel like I made a couple better choices. (What do you think?) The point is, it's best to find that happy medium between the latest and most expensive, and outdated but cheaper. There's always a sweet spot price-wise, and if you can find the sweet spot (best value for your money) AND make a future-proof purchase, you're doing something right.

What's future-proof? In 2005, Socket 939 wasn't future-proof, but I had no way of knowing that. And there's really no way of knowing now what technologies today will allow for cheap upgrades tomorrow.

jamvaruCase - XCLIO Windtunnel Fully Black Finish 1.0 mm SECC Chassis ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail (this one has 2 fans mounted external to the side panel for more interior room - definitely cool) Original Price: $139.99 - You Save: $50.00 - Your Price:$89.99

Just wanted to fix your link. Pretty sure I got the right one. Go ahead and fix yours if you can, not sure about the timing allowed for editing posts. But damn, I do like that case. I like the USB and audio stuff on the side, and I like external 250mm fans times two.

jamvaruget a mobo that can handle multiple GCs but don't buy ANY now... buy em later, so it keeps on giving back.

Good mobos that support multiple graphics cards usually don't have on-board video, so you've got to buy at least one. Though you could get a basic one for around $50 and upgrade it to something respectable later.

jamvaruprobably just should buy a quad core win 7 comp from best buy

Nope. Uh-uh. Isn't going to happen. Store-bought computers are a mess. They can keep 'em. Good processor but everything else is crap, no graphics card support, and you void the warranty opening it up? No thank you. (Best Buy is a great place to buy electronics though, we wouldn't have bought our Xbox 360 anywhere else. We got the RROD in May and they replaced it, not for nothing, but we got a $50 gift card because the price dropped. That went toward a new warranty for the new one, and $20 in Microsoft points that was used to buy 10 more songs for Rock Band.

jamvaruThe thing about AMD/INTEL, the 1376 chipset is supposed to be compatible with their soon to be released 6-core (6 CORE) processors. Of course you wont buy one, right away, but in a year or so the price will come down and your mobo will be able to upgrade again.

Is 1376 chipset (you mean socket type, like AM3 and Socket 939, e.g.?) Intel? Doesn't sound like AMD. Anyway, I would not upgrade to a hexa-core proc from a quad-core proc, that wouldn't be very efficient. Dual-core to hexa-core would be a heck of an upgrade, but the upgrade path from a quad-core that makes the most sense is the octa-core proc, and those can't be too far off. (Hexa's 6 and Octa's 8 in case anyone's wondering.)

jamvaruANyway... go ahead and buy that cheapo 2nd rate computer. You can always buy another one next year.

Or wait five years until it's really necessary. Again, I'm not trying to ride the cutting edge every year.

jamvaru3. The rest can suck for now. You can buy more later. Don't waste your time on anything less than a 1.5T 7200 HDD.

I've never heard of a good reason to run more than an 80GB hard drive for the OS. Everything else can go on secondary internal drives. At one point I may take out my 300GB internal and replace it with a 1.5-2TB internal to complement the 750B I have in there, but again, I really don't need more space.

Thanks again for the replies, everyone.

jamvaru
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ok... keep it simple

1. MB - amd and intel have specified what socket they are going with in the future, AM3 and 1366, so... get one that at least does those or a combo, like am2/2+/3

2. Case - I like the one with the fans, but the quiet one interests me as well. A link to both, for the fun of it: fanboyfans and ssshhhhhh... -important as the mobo for future stability

3. PS - also important, but replaceable... let's do a price curve newegg search... interesting, there is a middle and a low price bubble... as this is the budget build: a good budget alternative - upgradeable - i wish i knew more about how much power we really need, but for now this is good enough. Or, spend another 40 bucks, if you want:) search: crossfire certified

4. Memory - having a MB with multiple memory capacities is nice, but few also support ddr3@1600. Anything less is just too much less. 1600 is the minimum, and also the maximum, as the price for 2100 is too much, also in the MB. So, perhaps

;>jamvaru

dwebb5
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First thoughts

I'd pick another PSU. The case is unique and may work for you, but you probably will end up replacing that PSU in 2 years. If you want it to last 5+ get a name brand.
I have been building with PC Power & Cooling and Antec.
PC Power will be out of that price range but an Antec case will be close.
Look at Sonata and others.
Other name brands are Thermaltake, Cooler Master.

Motherboard has $10 rebate. Looks good.
Processor deactivated? I'm sure there is a similar one.

Good RAM

HD: I agree with you 80GB is enough for the operating system.

GPU: I LOVE Tom's Hardware list: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,2464.html
Your pick looks OK. Another rebate available.

DVD is OK. That does a lot for

ZachHudock
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For Windows 7, just go with

For Windows 7, just go with Home Premium. Home Premium does have Windows Media Center included.

To get the major features of Ultimate, there are some free and OSS programs.

XP Mode:
provided you have a valid licensed copy of Windows XP, just download VirtualBox, set up a vm in that, and install their GuestAdditions tool (comes with the main VirtualBox download). Now you have seamless XP integration.

BitLocker:
TrueCrypt

Backup and Restore:
Home Premium already has enough features for most users.

Windows 7 Version Comparison

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705

jamvaru
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wine?

how's the wine for XP based software? Can it do dx9? Just curious, as that alternative seems to be preferrable to a virtual box with a real copy of XP installed in it.

a couple of links that require human intervention, no automatic choices, but a couple of interesting ones:

Mobo: intel, amd
better intel, better amd

Memory: ddr3 1600

of course, newegg is not the only place to shop, but it does have nice features

perhaps the winner (full crossfire 2x16 is not necessary except at the very tweakiest of game settings at full max res) asrock!

;>jamvaru

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umm Wine is for non-Windows

umm Wine is for non-Windows operating systems. if he's using Windows 7 as a base, and wants XP mode w/o shelling out the extra $ for Pro, Virtual Box is the way to go

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705

jamvaru
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free XP?

so "Virtual Box" comes with a free version of winXP?

and i meant to:

generate an additional partition or 2 or 3... whether by shrinking windows partition or installing new HDD.

install linux and dual boot Smile

>chuckles

;>jamvaru

ZachHudock
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Virtualbox does not come with

Virtualbox does not come with XP...i said if you already have a copy of XP, download virtualbox and create a VM with that.

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705

jamvaru
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I threw my $300 computer in the trash

I built one like you are describing. Turned out to be a so-what sort of endeavor. Taught me to raise my expectations a bit higher. If you are making a FIVE year investment in a computer, it should be the best 'five year plan' you can imagine.

my latest inspiration:

triple-channel memory (i don't see quad channel yet):

great quad-channel info page: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel,1149-7.html

interesting blurb about memory, seems 4x1gb is better than 2x2gb: http://forums.techarena.in/motherboard-processor-ram/1141216.htm

looks like quad is out and triple only marginally, around +8%, helps.

However, this page makes triple channel out to be the bee's knees: http://www.cluboc.net/reviews/memory/ocz/triple_channel/pc3_10666_3gb_7-...

and here we find that AMD is playing catch-up with 3ch: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/1311435.html

It seems that AMD puts the memory controller on the chip so 3c is possible, but not if the motherboard can't handle it, i think.

Looks like a good reason to go with i7-1366 from intel.

This post says wait for the USB 3.0 and sata 6g motherboards: http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1462923

really nice article testing DDR3 memory: http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?id=2957&cid=4&pg=13
"Kingston was the indisputable winner here, with its US$65 online listing easily beating the rest."

yep, no triple channel from amd, yet, and no am3 triple channel motherboards.

really interesting post about an AMD ddr3 build: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/267229-31-range-gaming-final-build

have to say i dig the quad qrossfire idea... lots of upgrade potential!: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130223

another mb has options for dual (also single I suppose) as well as triple and quad!

On the intel side, a 1366 mb with triple channel support (of course): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813153148
Pricier, but has triple channel and multiple graphics card slots.

this one is more impressive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131358

final thoughs:

It seems that triple channel memory is the next wave, one that AMD hasn't caught onto, yet. I am an AMD fan and abhor spending money unnecessarily. I have read that 2 Graphics CArds in a pcie 2.0 x8 setup are more than enough for games today, and whatever else you want to do. So, the AMD motherboards listed above are certainly dandy... You miss out on triple channel but stick with the good 'ol underdog, AMD. (My theory is that AMD is actually intel's punch puppet, but we can pretend it is a fair market)

so, dual channel memory, 2x2gb should be fine.
AM3 motherboard capable of doing dual channel 1600 mhz ddr3 with at least 2 graphics slots at pcie2.0x8 each, preferrably more.
the motherboard should have upgrade potential for 2 more 2gb sticks and hopefully 2 more graphics cards.

perhaps: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130235 the cheap one
or: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131363R open box

notyhing else available yet... go figure

;>jamvaru

NathanJ79
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Fantasy vs. Reality

The problem with fantasy builds (again, see Ars Technica's "God Box") is that while they're great for credit card kids and trust fund babies and dreams, most of us (I think) work for a living, and as such, are held back from these dreams by things called bills you have to pay monthly, or you lose your place, or your transportation (which you need to get to that job where you make that money), or they turn out the lights (which you need to power that computer), or you can't buy food (which you need to power yourself)... you get the idea.

And then, consider function. If for ~$600 I can build a computer that runs Windows, what more can a $10,000 computer do? I know it can do the same stuff faster, but at some point, you're talking about paying thousands of dollars to shave a few seconds off here and there. And in a few years, it's still outdated.

Again, nice if you have the money, but those of us who live in the real world gotta make compromises.

jamvaru
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upgrade potential

my point is that it is fine to build a budget rig that will do whatever right now.

without any upgrade potential your only option is to build another rig, when you decide there is something more to do with it. An example was the upgrade furor surrounding the release of Crysis.

If you never want to play any games or watch streaming HD tv and movies,e tc... then you can do it for around $300 or less. I have done this.

It is for newbies.

If you can afford $300, then save another 1-200 and get somethign with some upgrade potential.

like: at least dual channel ddr3 1600 with multiple 2 or more graphics card slots.

(sheesh)

;>jamvaru

NathanJ79
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Gaming = Xbox

Oh yeah, I really only need a desktop PC to burn discs, otherwise, I'd just get a Blackberry or netbook. All my wife needs out of a computer, she can get out of a Blackberry (MySpace, forums, Facebook, etc.). Try convincing her of that, though... <_ we="" could="" pretty="" much="" go="" to="" linux="" but="" there="" are="" just="" a="" couple="" things="" windows="" does="" better="" then="" the="" laziness="" learn="" new="" programs="" pc="" gaming="" hasn="" ruled="" for="" years.="" get="" an="" xbox="" and="" it="" can="" do="" most="" of="" what="" do.="" if="" you="" hard="" drive="" on="" cheap.="" ok="" pirate="" your="" games="" i="" don="" care="" play="" not="" worth="" paying="" catch="" my="" meaning.="" lot="" want="" too="" every="" two="" years="" be="" buying="" computer.="" had="" buy="" anyway="" so="" wife="" rock="" band="" even="" that.="" maybe="" with="" ps2="" emulator="" suppose="" tricky.="" such="" thing="" look="" at="" assassin="" creed="" was="" used="" though="" have="" knowledge="" bandwidth="" version="" parts="" need="" upgrade="" looks="" plays="" great.="" besides="" tv="" beats="" square="" monitor="" any="" day.="" oblivion="" computer="" run="" minimum="" specs="" despite="" exceeding="" them="" again="" fine="" xbox.="" comes="" dlc.="" ended="" up="" another="" or="" rest="" dlc="" horse="" armor="" that="" one="" innovative="" year.="" crysis="" next="" far="" cry="" yawn.="" shooter="" more="" polygons="" pixels="" shooters="" been="" done="" death.="" gears="" war="" tried="" innovate="" kind="" take-it-or-leave-it="" cover="" system="" bestselling="" call="" duty="" series="" didn="" adopt="" it.="">

Bahamut
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Off-topic

A cover system would ruin CoD. It may be appropriate for other shooters, but a cover system would be extremely out of place in a CoD game.

Vintage!

Bahamut
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On topic (somewhat anyway)

It's a different story with every generation. This generation, consoles rule. Both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 are sold at below cost and both are powerful. Not to mention they can both be used for other purposes, which was not true for previous generations (technically, the previous generation could, but it was very limited). The PC vs. console war will get more complicated as consoles become more multi-purpose.

As for piracy, consoles are far from immune. AFAIK, the only current gen console (including handhelds) that has not been hacked to play backups is the PS3. If I'm not mistaken, all consoles of the previous generation have been.

Vintage!

NathanJ79
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Cover, consoles, piracy

You're right, Gears of War was built around the cover system (and, presumably, GoW2 as well). So not all games use all forms of innovation, and sometimes the best innovation doesn't take because gamers are uncomfortable with it, or other reasons. Look at Deus Ex (2000), they built an RPG on the first Unreal engine. Brilliant game, attained a cult following, but was never really "big" despite mostly glowing reviews. It also had a system where if bad guys couldn't *see* you, they couldn't see you, and that was that. Metal Gear Solid did this as well, but in most shooters, every bad guy knows exactly where you are. This is sloppy programming, but I guess it makes a game harder.

Pretty sure every CD-based console (from Sega CD onward) could play music CDs and every DVD-based console could play DVDs. The advantage of the 360 is that it has a real solid platform aside from the games. There's the arcade, the multimedia marketplace, and the media player. And achievements. PS3 has most of the same stuff.

As for piracy, no console has ever supported piracy on its own. You can't pirate with just an Xbox -- you need a PC as well. With a PC, you can pirate stuff onto it. Weak, but that's the distinction. Also, modding an Xbox 360 is highly risky. They've banned over 600,000 pirates from LIVE, but it goes beyond that. They can trip a killswitch and brick your Xbox 360 if they want to. Since news of that feature leaked, I don't think they will actually do it, but they reserve the ability. "Oh, they'll be sued," people love to say, but the thing is, to claim they did that, you'd be going on record admitting to piracy. They're out $200 for an Arcade model at the least (hard drive won't be broken), but at the same time they'll get you for piracy, which will cost you a lot more than it would have to just shut your mouth and shell out the $200 yourself.

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I forgot about CDs, but

I forgot about CDs, but didn't most people have CD players already? It had the novelty of playing a CD on the TV, but did it really drive sales up? The DVD player was the first major non-gaming feature that consoles had, but most people didn't play DVDs on their computers anyway. This generation's consoles are the first to really do things that people do on PCs. It is possible now (for certain people) to buy a cheap desktop or even a netbook to do basic things that a console can't do (or do well) and use a console for everything else. With a cheap desktop system, you can pirate every exploitable console if you have the knowledge. The 600,000 figure seems astronomical since I don't think there are even 600,000 hacked Xbox 360s. I've never heard of Microsoft being able to brick your 360 like that (and they could get in a lot of trouble if they can't prove you did anything wrong. Besides, with the failure rate being as high as it is, it's only a matter of time before the red ring of death comes along ( Blum ), and of course modifying the console voids the warranty. I may be off since I haven't paid too much attention to PC piracy lately, but can't pirated PC games only be played on very limited and small servers if at all when it comes to multiplayer? AFAIK, pirated Xbox 360 games can be played over LIVE without risk if done properly.

Vintage!

NathanJ79
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Clarifications

No, CD and DVD didn't really drive sales, and yes, most people who had those consoles had a CD player, or later, a DVD player, although Sony pushed the PS2's ability to double as a DVD player more than they or Sega pushed the ability of their earlier consoles to play CDs. The only one to drive sales is the PS3 for its Blu-ray player.

The 600k figure comes from various news outlets. I can't speak to its authenticity.

The bricking ability comes from a guy who was laid off from Microsoft who worked in the Xbox/gaming division. He said it was to be used as a last resort for repeat offenders. Also, they reportedly only ban people who they conclusively know hacked their console. The ban wave came after Modern Warfare 2 was widely pirated. People who got it early, but legitimately (e.g. GameStop or whomever sold it early) were not banned. Microsoft isn't sharing their detection methods.

I for one am not willing to doubt their methods. If it were you, and hypothetically speaking, you had pirated a bunch of games, saved yourself a few hundred dollars, and all of a sudden you got the red rings, and Best Buy or whomever told you they wouldn't fix/replace it because "you know why", would you A) take $200 and buy a new Xbox 360 Arcade, or B) lawyer up and take on Microsoft? I think most reasonable folks would cut their losses. You'll pay the lawyer more than $200, I can just about guarantee that. And you just don't know what Microsoft knows about your habits. They could have proof in a folder somewhere that you've run copied versions of this game, that game... it could be tricky if it were third-party games like Modern Warfare 2, but if you pirated Halo games, or Fable games, those are theirs, and they could countersue for a lot more. You can say "oh they probably don't know" but the fact is, you just don't know.

Backdoors... we don't tolerate this kind of thing in our operating system and other PC software. Some software does have it, though. Invision Power Board, probably the most advanced forum platform out there, has a backdoor, or had one in their 2.x version. Someone I knew ran one, and someone asked where to get the PC version of Final Fantasy 8. It was actually available, a limited-edition run. The admin said "try emule" and months went by, but one day they went to sign in and it was completely dismantled. Support, after much hassle, said they didn't appreciate their software being used to promote software piracy, and explained what the issue was. So they made the software, but licensed it to someone, and were able to go in and take it down because they didn't like what it was being used for. Could that person have sued? I don't know. So you really can't say "oh they won't flip that killswitch" or "oh they don't have a backdoor" because "they'd be liable".

They'd probably do a lot more to hurt or hinder Windows piracy if Linux weren't a viable alternative. They want people to pay for Windows, but they don't want people to go to Linux if they can't afford Windows. I heard if you can get ahold of a Windows Vista or Windows 7 disc, you can install it without a CD key, and it'll nag you for 30 days, after which it'll remove your wallpaper, leaving your background black, and have "This copy of Windows is not genuine" on the desktop, but otherwise leave you alone. Someone commenting on a tech story on Ars Technica said their Windows does this, even though it's legal, because they're opposed to "activation". But if that's the case, why not just open-source Windows 2000 Pro and let folks have it for free? Let the community support it like they do with Linux or something. That way they keep people on the Windows platform they know and they're really not losing money.

Bahamut
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The bricking ability comes

The bricking ability comes from a guy who was laid off from Microsoft who worked in the Xbox/gaming division. He said it was to be used as a last resort for repeat offenders. Also, they reportedly only ban people who they conclusively know hacked their console.

That seems like a lot of trouble to go to and carries more risk with very little reward compared to banning the console from LIVE (not the account, but the console). A pirate would likely tell everyone he could about what happened. If the console is banned, people see it as MS punishing pirates and protecting their investments. If the console is intentionally, bricked, people will see that as MS taking things way too far and some will be concerned that the same could happen to them, even if they do everything completely legitimately, and go with the competition. As for repeat offenses, there's very little they can do. Get caught once, and you can research how they caught you, buy another console, register another account with different information and go on LIVE again as essentially another person. Tracking someone by IP isn't as easy as you might think, especially if they don't use external resources (unless of course you have a static IP and used it for the banned console as well).

If it were you, and hypothetically speaking, you had pirated a bunch of games, saved yourself a few hundred dollars, and all of a sudden you got the red rings, and Best Buy or whomever told you they wouldn't fix/replace it because "you know why"

Very few places will refuse to fix a modified console if you're not bound to any terms by a warranty. Some places will even offer to mod the DVD drive to play backups.

And you just don't know what Microsoft knows about your habits. They could have proof in a folder somewhere that you've run copied versions of this game, that game... it could be tricky if it were third-party games like Modern Warfare 2, but if you pirated Halo games, or Fable games, those are theirs, and they could countersue for a lot more. You can say "oh they probably don't know" but the fact is, you just don't know.

True, but obviously if certain pirates who know what they're doing aren't getting banned and the less careful/less knowledgeable ones are, it's clear that Microsoft is banning people, but they aren't catching everyone. It's still a better deal than PC piracy where online multiplayer is pretty much only available on small servers made for pirates if at all.

But if that's the case, why not just open-source Windows 2000 Pro and let folks have it for free?

MS is the mortal enemy of open source. There's no way they'd release source of anything (unless it's necessary as part of their world domination plan :lol: ), especially when it comes to Windows.

Vintage!

NathanJ79
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Brick vs. ban, et al

Brick vs. Ban
The difference is that with a ban, you can continue to play your copied games, you just can't play them online. Also, they break your ability to create trusted content (in their words) so you can't use the media functions, nor install games to your hard drive. Since most people seem to favor online gaming, they end up buying a new console. With the brick, they must buy a new console to do anything with it. As for Microsoft bricking someone who did nothing wrong, I trust them enough to only ban/brick people they are sure did wrong. Like I said, people bought Modern Warfare 2 early, and were not banned or anything. Rock Band 2, to go off on a tangent for a second, features a message of the day on its title screen, and that congratulated people for getting it early last year.

Detection
If they see you playing a game online that was leaked and it's not for sale (officially) yet, they obviously won't ban you. So they have other detection methods. Their detection methods are as of yet unknown; I read in a report that someone from Microsoft said that they have various methods, and that a lot of people running illegally modified consoles are getting away with it, because they don't want to create patterns, help people see what causes them to become detected.

You're right about IP addresses, but Microsoft isn't trying to identify people. No, if you sue them, you'll identify your Gamertag or they'll subpoena it. The Gamertag... more accurately, your Microsoft account it's tied to, is what they know you by. If you have a credit card associated with it, or a Hotmail/Windows Live Mail account, they might not even need your IP address, might not even need to mess with your ISP. They already know who you are. They know good and well who I am, but I got nothing to hide.

Alternatives
The competition is no better. The Sony PSP has a few booby traps, I hear, to automatically brick itself if you try to modify it with custom firmware. The PS3 is as of yet unbroken, so it's unattractive to pirates. And let us not forget that this is the company that put a rootkit virus on music CDs as a preemptive strike against people who might upload music to the Net (while the real pirates downloaded the MP3s from the Net from folks to put it up via Linux machines).

Smart pirates know not to use LIVE in the first place, they use LAN tunneling (so they tell me over at GameFAQs) to virtually extend your LAN, so your Xbox thinks it's playing with people on the local network. This is apparently perfectly legal. I don't know that much about networking, just passing words along, but it sounds legit enough, I guess.

The DLC factor
Downloadable content is still unable to be pirated, am I right? Shadow Complex is one of the best games of the year. It's basically a clone of Super Metroid, rendered with the Unreal Engine 3, with a military-type setting. I'm on my sixth run through the game, now on the hardest difficulty. Not to mention all the Rock Band songs. So while there is some stuff on the Xbox 360 that can be pirated, so much of the best cannot be. I am not quite as opposed to video game and software piracy as I let on sometimes, but the Xbox 360 really makes one (well, me anyway) want to play honestly. As such, and for other reasons, I think it's really where some of the best gaming is at now.

In closing...
Besides, PCs don't have Shadow Complex. You can emulate Super Metroid and you can emulate Symphony of the Night (the latter of which is available on Xbox Live Arcade as well) and while those are both great games, they don't quite add up to Shadow Complex. You can't play Rock Band at all on the PC. Guitar Hero 3 was ported to the PC, but the software is very bad, lags so bad playing at anything but Easy is impossible. Lag and a game that requires precision do not play well together, and Aspyr should be ashamed of themselves over that port. I hear it even lags on quad cores. Reportedly, next month, they're porting Guitar Hero World Tour to the PC. GHWT is an embarrassment on the consoles despite music from Jimi Hendrix and TOOL, just a badly programmed game. If they put those songs in the Guitar Hero 5 rendering engine, it would be fine, but they won't do anything nearly that smart. But in any case, music party games aren't really meant for PCs in bedrooms and dens, they're meant to be played on a TV in a living room, the bigger the better. Here's a quick example of Rock Band gameplay... never mind that everyone but the singer is playing via the Internet, imagine you have four people, one with a drum set the size of a small desk, and two with nearly full-sized guitar controllers... do you really want them all crowding around your 17" monitor? Our 32" HDTV is good for it, but could be bigger still. We have a square 19" monitor... wouldn't be good for the game. Even if you've got that pretty 24" Apple Cinema Display, it's still too small. It can be done, but again, you come back to the issue that the game is not available on the PC, and the developer has no plans to port it to the PC.

Eek. Long post.

Bahamut
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As for Microsoft bricking

As for Microsoft bricking someone who did nothing wrong, I trust them enough to only ban/brick people they are sure did wrong.

You and I may, but there a lot of uninformed people who take in only bits of information out there. With enough halfwit journalists reporting half the facts, a lot of people will get the wrong impression. I'm not saying it's necessarily likely, but it carries more risk than it's worth.

No, if you sue them, you'll identify your Gamertag or they'll subpoena it. The Gamertag... more accurately, your Microsoft account it's tied to, is what they know you by. If you have a credit card associated with it, or a Hotmail/Windows Live Mail account, they might not even need your IP address, might not even need to mess with your ISP. They already know who you are. They know good and well who I am, but I got nothing to hide.

Unless you plan on buying MS points, you don't need to give them your credit card info, at least not your real info anyway.

The Sony PSP has a few booby traps, I hear, to automatically brick itself if you try to modify it with custom firmware.

Absolutely untrue. A bricked PSP is always the result of doing things wrong. The new motherboards can't be exploited like the old ones, so doing certain things that would be appropriate for the old PSPs would brick new ones, not because of booby traps, but because things don't do what they were intended to do. It's like removing the battery while installing CFW on an old PSP.

Downloadable content is still unable to be pirated, am I right?

The 360 has not been hacked via software and the PS3 hasn't been hacked at all, so DLC is still protected there. The PSP and I think the DS and Wii have, so it isn't there. I know for a fact that DLC for the PSP can be decrypted and played on CFW. I think it's the same for the Wii, but I'm not sure.

You can't play Rock Band at all on the PC.
...

There are plenty of games that don't work well on PC, like Rock Band et al., but there are also games that don't work well on consoles, like flight sims (not that there aren't any good flying games for consoles, but sims require a keyboard and a good joystick). PCs are more flexible with the right equipment, though. PCs can be hooked up to HDTVs via HDMI or DVI (many TVs even have regular monitor inputs). PCs are compatible with pretty much every game controller in existence; even the Xbox 360 controller (and the PS3 controller in a limited fashion) can be used on PC. Party games would require special setup, so consoles win there.

Right now, I still say consoles rule for gaming primarily because of how cheap and powerful they are compared to gaming rigs and secondarily because they can play videos and do basic PC tasks (pictures/music/internet browsing). PCs still have the edge for everyday things, and there are still CPU-intensive tasks that consoles cannot/will not do (e.g. video transcoding).

Vintage!

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wow, er, WoW

Can you play WoW (or any other MMO, aside from FFXI) on a console?

I admit I haven't checked. I don't believe there is a console version of EVE Online, though I haven't checked.

I liken consoles to crack. They love to addict you and keep you tied to their system. People are generally addicts of one system or another and even avoid computer gaming due to their addiction. After all, it costs money to play xbox, so you better get your money's worth, and any other system detracts from your xbox time, so you are getting less xbox valuation if you play PC games.

Anyway... adults graduate to PC gaming, eventually... unless they die first.

What about champions online? Warhammer?

The primary market of console games is teenagers. PC game manufacturers target more mature players. This is common sense. If a console is 2-300 bucks, and a gaming rig is 1000 - 3000 ... the parents are going to go for the console. And you can't play mariokart on a pc, or whatever the latest thing is... oh, rock band.

Rock band! This game amazes me! How can you justify playing a game that requires you to push colored buttons to pretend you are actually playing music?

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ahem...

(the current winner at newegg: msi have to settle for only 2 video cards, but you can wait to buy them later, because it comes with onboard video, that is also available when you get a video card via "hybrid sli"

;>jamvaru

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Can you play WoW (or any

Can you play WoW (or any other MMO, aside from FFXI) on a console?

Final Fantasy XIV is in development. :lol:

Vintage!

NathanJ79
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Replies

(Replying to this one since the other thread was getting rather long.)

Uninformed people and halfwit journalists
Yeah, you're right about this. I forget most people are more gullible than your average tech forum member (us).

PSP bricking
Not untrue at all. Well, it could be argued that any system modification is "doing things wrong". Is it 'wrong' to alter the firmware? Morally, perhaps, but it's debatable. Like emulators. I have heard -- and as it's secondhand, I don't really vouch for it -- that even if you're careful, you can brick a PSP by trying to modify it. Not sure if that's intentional or not on Sony's part, but it's par for the course for them.

DS and Wii
Yep, both Nintendo consoles are busted wide open. For the DS Phat and DS Lite, you can get a microSD-to-Nitro adapter, looks like a Nitro cartridge but has a microSD slot in the back. Very slick. Up to 2GB (no SDHC support) and you can run most games. I miss my DS Lite.

PC games and controllers
Well, I'll be the first to advocate WASD+Mouselook for shooters. I struggle with Gears of War -- it's OK, it's doable, but give me a keyboard and mouse, and I'll clean house. The one that was absolutely stupid was the N64 controller. Oh, I hated that thing. Told my brother the same thing when he said he could smoke me at Goldeneye. Yeah -- give me a keyboard and mouse setup and you're goin' down, boy! Over on GameFAQs, we came to the conclusion that the gamepad handicaps everyone equally. Meh.

Any Xbox 360 controller can be used on the PC thus far with an adapter from Microsoft. Even the guitars and drum sets. In fact, the wired Guitar Hero 3 X-Plorer controller (the white X-shaped one) is recognized by Windows directly for what it is. The tilt sensor counts as an axis, the strum bar is up and down (redundant of the D-pad -- yes, you can strum with the D-pad in GH3, lol). The fret buttons are regular buttons. Rock Band uses a USB mic, so at least you can have the two guitarists and a vocalist without the Microsoft adapter. (The Rock Band 1 drum set is USB as well, but I've never tried connecting it to a PC. That would be interesting, though.)

Age differences and consoles vs. PCs
How old are you, anyway, jamvaru?

I'm 30 years old, and started with console gaming with the Atari 2600, then the NES and the Super NES. I switched to PC gaming for the Commodore-Amiga 1000, then DOS/Windows 95 onward. I stayed with PC gaming until the PC I built in 2005 (AMD64 3200+ 2.01GHz single core, 2GB RAM, 256MB GeForce 6600) wasn't good enough to play games anymore... which was... the next year. I actually went to Nintendo DS at that point, it wasn't until a year later we got the 360 for my wife. RB/GH has always been her gig, I'm OK at it, and I love the hell out of the concept, but I'm just not great at it like she and her brother are. Meh. I like to sing, and occasionally play bass. Then I discovered Oblivion, which my computer can't even handle at 640x480, let alone 720p, which is what I got on the 360.

Despite the fact that a lot of kids make Xbox Live look bad, the Xbox 360 really transcends age.

To be a successful PC gamer, you have to have money. A lot of money. And either not a lot of bills, or just that much money. But even if I were a trust fund baby or a credit card kid, while I might have a nice PC with three flat-panel monitors (probably a Falcon Northwest PC), I'd still game with both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (Blu-ray plus a couple nice exclusives) on a big HDTV.

PC gaming is mostly a joke now. To have to buy hundreds of dollars in new hardware annually, to have to deal with spyware-infested DRM that just slows the computer down (Google Starforce, I think it's called, to see all the problems it causes). Then you have client-side anti-cheat software, stuff like Punkbuster, which causes even more problems. Xbox (and presumably PlayStation) DRM is so transparent, if you're playing legally, you never even see it. And the anti-cheat is server side, as I understand it.

And I can play Mario Kart on my PC. The original one, anyway. DS games can be played on the PC -- some of 'em, anyway -- but not Wii. N64 games are hit and miss. All the Game Boy games can be played on a PC. Don't think you can play Gamecube games either. But while Mario Kart was a hit, there are good games similar to it. The PC had Death Rally years ago (with Duke Nukem in a cameo role, LOL) and that was good for the same reasons. While World of Warcraft has its fans, I think the only real unique, real exclusive-to-one-side series is Rock Band. There's really nothing like it. Frets on Fire tries to do the same thing, for single-player (we even have it as a PortableApp on this site) but it falls so short. The best the PC can do to meet Rock Band is the iTunes Music Store on one side, and Audiosurf on the other. As awesome as the latter is, the two just don't add up to the experience of RB.

Bahamut
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Well, it could be argued that

Well, it could be argued that any system modification is "doing things wrong". Is it 'wrong' to alter the firmware? Morally, perhaps, but it's debatable.

By "wrong", I meant "incorrect". As in "A herring is the wrong tool for cutting down a tree."

Well, I'll be the first to advocate WASD+Mouselook for shooters. I struggle with Gears of War -- it's OK, it's doable, but give me a keyboard and mouse, and I'll clean house.

WADS is a good system, but a gamepad works well for shooters if the controls are set up correctly. If the controls are unintuitive (or just different from conventions) or if the sensitivity is off, it fails miserably.

To be a successful PC gamer, you have to have money. A lot of money.

I'll likely spend a lot on my next PC, but I won't use it for much gaming. I like to do a lot of video transcoding.

PC gaming is mostly a joke now. To have to buy hundreds of dollars in new hardware annually, to have to deal with spyware-infested DRM that just slows the computer down (Google Starforce, I think it's called, to see all the problems it causes). Then you have client-side anti-cheat software, stuff like Punkbuster, which causes even more problems.

Starforce is an extreme case, but you are right. A lot of the anti-piracy measures used these days not only fail to do their job (this is obvious to anyone who visits a general or gaming BT tracker), but annoy legitimate users. They should either use basic anti-piracy measures and cut their losses or get out of the PC gaming business.

Vintage!

jamvaru
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heh

at least buy a better motherboard, which you can then expand on at a later date.

I would pick up a ps1 just to play the original gran turismo (and gt2 - didn't like gt3)

;>jamvaru

crux
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Gaming consoles don't beat PCs.

If I only wanted to buy mass market games I would consider a gaming console.

I would also consider a PlayStation if I wanted to play with a powerful Linux machine. Out of all the consoles, PlayStation is by far the best.

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Updated build list

$48 more across the board plus the cost of a 450W PSU for the current computer (new box will get the nice OCZ 700W PSU I got now) gets me .2GHz more per core (CPU is $2 less!), an updated mobo, twice the GPU power, and a much better case, thanks to the experts at Ars Technica. This is the latest build specs/estimate, link goes to the Ars Technica forum. Didn't feel like converting the post to Drupal-spec HTML. And the comments are worth reading, too.

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