Computer hardware

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Postby Ornette » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:59 pm

Well, in the case of Dwarf Fortress, which doesn't seem to give away its source so I can't verify, it may very well be that the game uses a single user thread to do everything, nothing wrong with that. But if it has anything that even remotely resembles a modern UI (like buttons etc) there's separate threads that are spawned to handle events and stuff for the UI. Not that they'll be taking up any large slice of CPU.
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Postby arkiel » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:08 pm

Now that I'm more or less sane again, I've decided to replace my gaming laptop. I had a wicked nice Gateway P-7811 FX. Really reliable computer that survived a trip to Japan, a trip to Europe, and got smashed by two living rooms during the fire. Had it work consistently for four years which, in laptop terms, is a fucking age.

Anyway, it ran me $1,400. I'd like the replacement to be inside that. I'm thinking about:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834246630
A lenovo, pursuant arsTechnica's recommendations here:
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/08/the-ars-pc-laptop-buying-guide-back-to-school-edition/3/

I was wondering if anyone had any advice on decent laptops. I know I really wasn't expecting to buy a laptop from Gateway in 2008, but that turned out great.

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Postby Mr. Tines » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:22 pm

Bumping per request
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Postby drinian » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:16 pm

The new high-end Asus Zenbook Primes are really excellent, especially given their 1080p displays. If you're a serious gamer you may be disappointed by the Intel graphics.

Whatever you buy, I have to recommend getting a solid-state disk. I have one of the first-generation Intels, from about four years ago, and it's been the single biggest improvement I've ever made to system performance. Not to mention that they are more reliable and less vulnerable to shock damage when you drop your laptop. (In my case, it was once thrown across a Greyhound bus; the battery is held in with duct tape now but everything else was fine).
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Postby arkiel » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:24 pm

http://www.amazon.com/Zenbook-Prime-UX31A-DB51-13-3-Inch-Ultrabook/dp/B00863L2PK
?
That does look pretty nice. But yeah, Intel Graphics + "non-standard" battery make me nervous. Dropping a Vertex 3/4 into a desktop replacement seems like it'd save a few bucks. The Ultrabook standard seems like an excuse to charge Mac-like premiums on hardware that really isn't that impressive.

Thanks for the suggestion!

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Postby drinian » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:37 pm

Not sure what "non-standard" battery means -- I have yet to see a laptop with a standard battery (AA? AAA?).

Otherwise, if you want a chunky laptop, Sager used to be the way to go. It's been a while. Small company rebranding Clevo laptops from Taiwan that are basically mobile desktops.

https://www.sagernotebook.com/

Also this for Linux:
https://www.system76.com/
https://zareason.com/shop/home.php
http://www.pcsforeveryone.com/
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Postby arkiel » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:34 am

Lithium Ion batteries are now their own standard. You can even buy replacements that work with different laptop models. I see "non-standard" battery and I think something wholly internal and inaccessible and unreplaceable. A sheet battery or something sodered into place.

I decided to hold off on the gaming laptop. Got a 24" Dell U2412m IPS monitor instead -- I prefer to write on a monitor that can pivot 90 degrees.

Also, don't buy PNY displayport-to-VGA dongles. Mine died on me :/

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Postby soul.assassin » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:39 am

Sorry for giving this thread a Frankenstein jolt, but seems that the DVD drive suddenly tries to read even without anything inside or under my control. Dunno, but I could be seeing possible failure within a few months (as I sometimes use it to burn discs, but never for playing anything on it).

It's a Liteon IHAP for IDE, that I purchased more than a year ago for the ancient Compaq.

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Postby arkiel » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:32 pm

Well, if the problem isn't software, a new DVD drive costs a little less than an actual DVD.

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Postby soul.assassin » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:56 pm

Nah, I found the culprit for the drive poltergeist: the old 250gb Hitachi hard drive I bought cheap as an emergency backup spare now gave in with a bad controller chip, and thus caused all that weird voodoo. Fortunately it contained mostly video files that I've since backed up to DVDs, and the rest transferred to the newer 500gb Seagate.

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Postby arkiel » Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:29 pm

This is not a hardware question, but still important:

On account of I'm sitting on a cable modem to which Charter has assigned a very guessable password, I guess I'm going to have to go end-to-end on encryption for everything. I need a VPN. There are about a million. I was thinking about either
http://btguard.com/?a=discounts
[s:3p4sgdy3]http://hidemyass.com/[/s:3p4sgdy3] (holy shit)
or
http://torguard.net/

Does anyone have any opinion on [s:3p4sgdy3]any[/s:3p4sgdy3] either of these services?
I'm going by this:
http://torrentfreak.com/vpn-services-that-take-your-anonymity-seriously-2013-edition-130302/
but don't know what to trust.

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Re: Computer hardware

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Postby Monk Ed » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:56 pm

:resurrect: Riiise from your grave.

Apropos of a mention by pwhodges in another topic, I'd like to ask both him and the forum at large: What are your experiences with and recommendations for passive cooling measures? I love quiet machines, and though I'm plenty used to the noise, I do also enjoy the utter peace that I feel when I realize how much more of the subtle background ambience I can hear because the computer isn't drowning it out. I recently moved my rig into a new case that's better in just about every way than my old one except for being probably louder (whether because of less muffling of noise or louder case fans), so this has been in the back of my mind starting recently.
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Re: Computer hardware

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Postby pwhodges » Wed Oct 12, 2016 6:34 am

Well, there's always a trade-off between processor power and power consumption, and gaming machines tend to be aimed at the highest processing power available. That said, the efficiency of processors has improved a lot of late, which makes looking at lower-powered processors more interesting.

In my case, the machine is a server. I'm not doing things like video transcoding on it, and cpu performance is simply not an issue - disk performance is, which is why there are 3 SSDs in there (as well as some rotating-rust devices for bulk storage). In this case the processor is an Avoton C2750 - an 8-core server-oriented version of the Atom with grown-up virtualisation facilities included which enable me to use it in a Hyper-V system. The cpu is fanless, and the small fast cpu fans are among the noisiest. The case has a large, slow fan to move air across the passive heatsink and round the disks - but slow fans are much quieter.

Of course, even a passive heatsink needs to be kept clean to ensure good airflow, though that's a bigger problem with elaborate blown cpu heatsinks - I have to blast the dust out of my Xeon desktop's heatsinks every few months, after which the machine becomes perceptibly quieter again, as the cpu fan doesn't have to work so hard to maintain the airflow. The server has externally-mounted filters which make the job trivial in that case.

For a desktop, especially for gaming, I'd have to defer to the experience of others. There are pretty powerful lower-power processors out there now (even some Xeons can be passively cooled). Liquid cooling is a way to reduce noise by transferring the heat to a place where a larger and quieter fan can be used. And of course top-end video cards may be a bigger problem than the cpu (not least because they have less space for the heatsink to fit in).

Of course, passive cooling can be far more effective if the whole system layout is designed to optimise it, in a way that a typical home-build will never be. The "Airtop" might be an interesting option (at a price), but you'd probably have to put even more effort into keeping it clear of dust. Note that the 200W power dissipation mentioned is hugely less than the 650W or more power consumptions of top-end machines only a few years ago.
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Postby Baz » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:45 pm

A few years ago I had a tower that I had to silence because it was going next to my TV as an A/V box. Work done: (1) buy a new quiet PSU with a big fan, (2) add a resistor to the existing case fan to slow it down, (3) cut a hole in the side of the case and install a new 120mm fan and grille, and (4) buy a passive heat-sink for the CPU. In my opinion, the passive heat sink was a wonderful investment. Don't forget that they require a well-ventilated case.
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Postby ChaddyManPrime » Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:09 pm

I want to create a gaming PC that does 1440 to 1080p with 60 frames per second or above, I want to create the cheapest one possible. Can anyone tell me what I need?

I want to be able to run Witcher 3 with absolutely no frame rate drops that go below 60 fps and at max settings.
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Postby Ornette » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:02 am

You could look into soundproof enclosures, most places will put something together to meet your dimensions. It's soundproof on the inside so when it's closed you can't hear anything and it has built in cooling that's completely quiet. That means you don't have to spend money on any low-noise or sound dampening on the computer case(s). It's not cheap, I think I got a quote from Ucoustic for a set of servers that was maybe around $2500, but you don't need to worry about power and it had wheels so you can easily move it around. There are other people who make enclosures but keep in mind most of them are probably fixed sized and for racks, and may not be soundproofed to be completely quiet.
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Postby soul.assassin » Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:02 am

View Original PostChaddyManPrime wrote:I want to create a gaming PC that does 1440 to 1080p with 60 frames per second or above, I want to create the cheapest one possible. Can anyone tell me what I need?

I want to be able to run Witcher 3 with absolutely no frame rate drops that go below 60 fps and at max settings.


To play on a bigger monitor, which means a more powerful system (and a bigger budget) you'll have to get the following:

* At least Intel i5 Skylake (requires DD4 memory)
* 8-16gb of DDR4 memory
* Compliant motherboard oriented for gaming performance (disregard the fancy ones with bling-bling lights). Personally contented with Gigabyte, ASRock or ASUS.
* Either the RX 480 (8gb) or GTX1070 (6gb). No need to use SLI or Crossfire unless you want a multi-monitor setup. Pick the RX 480 if you want to have a Freesync-compliant monitor to go with it.
* At least 250gb SSD drive. Samsung Evos are very popular.
* 1-2tb hard drive to store your media and downloads. Either WD Black or Seagate.
* 700w power supply unit. Seasonic is preferred due to its widespread reliability and RMA.
* It's up to you to choose the casing, but you'll need some sufficient cooling in the form of heatsinks and casing fans.

For further guidance, do look into here for lists and builds:

https://pcpartpicker.com/


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