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First week impression

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Nomiad View Drop Down
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  Quote Nomiad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: First week impression
    Posted: 09 Jun 2008 at 6:41pm
 
So far so good with the new system.  This is what I ordered...
 
  • INTEL, Core™ 2 Quad Q9450 Quad-Core 2.66GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 12MB (2 x 6MB) L2 Cache, 45nm, 95W, EM64T EIST VT XD, OEM
  • NOCTUA, NH-U12F Copper CPU Cooler, Socket LGA775/754/939/940/AM2
  • ARCTIC COOLING, MX-2 High-Performance Thermal Compound, Non-Electrical Conductive
  • SERVICE, Overclocking, Quad-Core CPU, 10-20% Performance Increase
  • ASUS, P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n, LGA775, Intel X38, 1600MHz FSB, DDR3-1800 8GB /4, PCIe x16 CF /3, SATA 3Gb/s RAID 5 /6+2, HDA, GbLAN /2, FW /2, WiFi, ATX, Retail
  • OCZ, 4GB (2 x 2GB) Platinum Edition PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz CL (7-7-7-24) 1.9V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
  • eVGA, e-GeForce® 9800 GX2 SSC 675MHz, 1GB (2 x 512MB) GDDR3 2100MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, DVI /2, HDMI, Retail
  • SERVICE, No GPU Overclocking
  • SEAGATE, 500GB Barracuda 7200.11, SATA NCQ 3 GB/s, 7200 RPM, 32MB cache
  • RAID, No RAID, Independent HDD Drives
  • LINKSKEY, LKA-CR15BW Black/White 52-in-1 Card Reader/Writer Drive, 3.5" Bay, Internal USB
  • SAMSUNG, Super-WriteMaster™ SH-S203B Black 20x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner, SATA, w/ Software, OEM
  • NETWORK, Integrated Dual 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN Network Controller
  • COOLERMASTER, Cosmos S (RC-1100-KKN1-GP) Black Tower Case, EATX, No PSU, Aluminum
  • CUSTOM WIRING, Standard Wiring with Round Cables
  • PC POWER & COOLING, Silencer®, 80 PLUS®, 750W Quad (Crossfire Edition) Power Supply, 24-pin ATX12V EPS12V, Single +12V Rail, CrossFire Certified
  • MICROSOFT, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition 64-bit, OEM
  • SERVICE, OEM System Recovery (secure HDD partition only)
  • SERVICE, System Binder
  • WOLF KING, Timber Wolf Ergonomics Keyboard, USB
  • LOGITECH, G5 Laser Mouse, USB
  • APC, PRO8T2C Professional SurgeArrest 8 Outlet w/Tel-2 Clear 120V
  • GAMING PC, Gold Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts & Lifetime Labor Warranty, Express/Priority Service)
  • SERVICE, Standard Shipping (UPS, DHL, or Fedex)
  • I went with AVA Direct due to the niche this company fills.  Many can build there own systems but don't want to or have the time to do so.  AVA provides so many components to select from that everything I ordered was what I would have from Newegg if I had built it myself.  I had actually priced the same components on Newegg and found that 2 of the above components weren't even in stock.  I have 2 little kids to watch while my wife is going to school so what little time I have to myself I want to spend playing games, not building a system.  I do suggest to everyone to build one sometime, as you learn a lot. 

    About every three years since 1998 I've bought a new system.  The first was from Alienware when the first mega monster systems started showing up.  Anyone remember those?  I had the 3Dfx Voodoo2 12MB SLI for a whopping 24MB of graphics power.  That was a very solid system and had no problems.  In 2001 I bought a VooDoo EGAD with the first GForce 3 cards (before NVidia SLI) and that was when the problems began.  Voodoo decided to ship the system with a Gremlin.  That little bastard corrupted my memory which I had to swap out.  It next tried to destroy my graphics card with IRQ Driver blue screen errors and other various crashes.  Even after I swapped out the card with a GForce 4 the problems came back a few months later.  I ended up giving that system away hoping to be rid of the Gremlin but it just decided to hide in the kitchen lights until my next system arrived.  2004 was the Falcon NW Mach V.  I got one of the first NVidia SLI systems with two 6800 Ultra cards.  On the second day of playing Counterstrike, the Gremlin decided to destroy the power supply.  I sent the system back hopping the Falcon guys would find and kill it but they were unable to as I suspect it can make itself invisible.  They replaced the power supply but there was a little jitter in the display after the system returned.  I first thought the Gremlin was in the monitor jiggling the screen but after I re-seated the graphic cards in opposite slots the jitter went away (go figure).  The Gremlin must have been trying to pull the cards out but I still can't figure out how he swapped slots on them with the panel shut.  Anyways, no problems for 3 years until the card in slot 2 died.  Fortunately my warranty was still good for another month so Falcon sent me a new one.  Gremlin, however, killed that card 2 weeks later.  I was running on only one 6800 Ultra card when Conan was approaching release.  I then decided to buy from AVA due to price/component selection reasons.  Since it was going to be a few weeks from order to arrival and my Conan game was sitting on the fireplace mantle, I couldn't wait any longer and ordered a 8800 GTS 512MB for the Falcon.  Even though my CPU is probably bottlenecking it, I was still able to play Conan with Medium settings at 1280 x 1024 at about 50fps avg.  I did have to scale down some draw distances though.  Of course Gremlin had to screw with that by giving me an NVidia Sentinel message saying the card wasn't getting enough power.  I have an Enermax 600w supply in there so I know it's the creature messing with me again.  Last night on the AVA system I got a blue screen error playing Conan but still too early to tell if it's the game, gremlin or system.  The hall light by the front door started to flicker this morning so gremlin must be up there chewing on wires, so I'm safe for the time being. 
     
    The AVA system was well built.  Way better than the Falcon.  Falcon bundled and tied the cables but AVA's build just seems tighter and better organized.  Booted right out of the box with no issues.  There was a red glow coming from the front that scared me but my wife told me that it wasn't a Demon and was just the LED on the front fan.  Graphic drivers up to date.  Surprisingly the most quiet system I've ever owned.  I love that Noctua CPU fan and the fan on the GX2 isn't as loud as I thought it would be from the reviews.
     
    From the first week impression I'd have to say that I'd order from AVA again.  I just wish they were closer to the west coast so ground shipping wouldn't take so long.  Also, if anyone has a way to permanently destroy a Gremlin (ant insecticide doesn't work) please post this information.  Don't worry what people will think of you.  Even if your wife says you're paranoid and makes you take a pill every morning, Gremlin's do exist!  Information on how to destroy them should be shared. 
      


    Edited by Nomiad - 09 Jun 2008 at 9:27pm
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      Quote AndonSage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2008 at 7:31pm
    What speed did they get your Q9450 up to?
    My AVA computer: Q9450 @ 3.2GHz | eVGA 750i SLI FTW | 8GB OCZ Reaper HPC 1066HZ RAM | TRUE-120 HS w/Scythe S-Flex 120mm fan | eVGA GTX 280 621/1350/1134(2268)MHz | 320/640GB WD HDDs | Antec P182 | Corsair CMPSU-1000HX | Samsung S203N DVD burner | Scythe Kama-Meter Fan Control | Vista Ultimate 64-bit | Soyo 24" 1920 x 1200 | Logitech G15 keyboard | Logitech MX518 mouse
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      Quote Nomiad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2008 at 7:35pm
    3.21
    I thought it'd be a little higher but I've read 3.2 is about as high as people are going when OC'ing on this board paired with the 9800 gx2.  I almost got that 750 you're ordering.


    Edited by Nomiad - 09 Jun 2008 at 7:36pm
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      Quote AndonSage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2008 at 9:32am
    Originally posted by Nomiad

    I almost got that 750 you're ordering.

    Well, nVidia chipsets have their own set of problems, hehe. I had originally picked the Gigabyte GA-EX38-DS4, but when I talked to Joe about wanting to get a 3.6GHz overclock, he said they were only getting around 3.2GHz with the DS4, and suggested the eVGA 750i SLI FTW, because they were consistently hitting 3.6GHz on that board. So I read six reviews of the 750i FTW and all of them said it was a good board, and great for overclocking, so I switched to that board. I just recently read that all of the 7x0i chipset motherboards have the possibility of video corruption when playing videos, so I'm hoping I get a board without that problem.

    Anyway, 3.21GHz is still fast :) I'm getting 8GB RAM, and I know that it's harder to overclock with four sticks of RAM, so if they can hit 3.2GHz with 8GB RAM on my computer, I'll be happy.
    My AVA computer: Q9450 @ 3.2GHz | eVGA 750i SLI FTW | 8GB OCZ Reaper HPC 1066HZ RAM | TRUE-120 HS w/Scythe S-Flex 120mm fan | eVGA GTX 280 621/1350/1134(2268)MHz | 320/640GB WD HDDs | Antec P182 | Corsair CMPSU-1000HX | Samsung S203N DVD burner | Scythe Kama-Meter Fan Control | Vista Ultimate 64-bit | Soyo 24" 1920 x 1200 | Logitech G15 keyboard | Logitech MX518 mouse
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      Quote Nomiad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2008 at 6:43pm
    Yeah, I was about to order a system with the 750i FTW due to the reviews I've read but once I started seeing people with the video corruption problems I switched the day before I ordered.  I knew with my luck that I'd be one that got a problem board.  Most of what I ordered was just from matching Maximum PC best of the year devices and looking up other reviews online about them.  I couldn't find one substantial gripe about the X38 board I ordered and wanted to avoid SLI for a while.  I did really enjoy having it and benefited from the increased performance on games that utilized it.  However, after having 2 video cards die in the second slot I wanted a system with the least amount of components possible.  Less devices = less problems has been my experience.  I figured with that GX2 i'd have basically an SLI system along with the reliability of the X38 board I read so much about.  If the new NVidia cards come out and slaughter the GX2 I'll get with AVA to do that EVGA card swap deal.  I think I would have been just as happy with the 750i board though.  It would be nice to have an SLI option for the future.  This board is crossfire ready so maybe the new cards that ATI is coming out with will be the way to go with this system. 
     
    I'm happy with the overclock.  I basically now have a stock QX9770 minus the $1000 extra dollars it would have cost for it.  Having a builder that warranties their overclocking is totally worth it.


    Edited by Nomiad - 10 Jun 2008 at 6:45pm
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      Quote AndonSage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2008 at 7:34pm
    I'm planning on using the eVGA Step-Up Program also, if the new GTX 2x0 cards are better than the new HD 48x0 cards. I only got the 8800 GTS 512MB with my system, though, in case I end up getting a new ATI card, I wouldn't have spent as much money on the temporary video card. I'll definitely be getting one of the new cards though, whether ATI or nVidia. I had wanted to wait to order my computer until the new cards were out, but I'm only getting 10 FPS in Age of Conan with my current computer, and just can't take it any more.
    My AVA computer: Q9450 @ 3.2GHz | eVGA 750i SLI FTW | 8GB OCZ Reaper HPC 1066HZ RAM | TRUE-120 HS w/Scythe S-Flex 120mm fan | eVGA GTX 280 621/1350/1134(2268)MHz | 320/640GB WD HDDs | Antec P182 | Corsair CMPSU-1000HX | Samsung S203N DVD burner | Scythe Kama-Meter Fan Control | Vista Ultimate 64-bit | Soyo 24" 1920 x 1200 | Logitech G15 keyboard | Logitech MX518 mouse
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      Quote Nomiad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 3:26am
    Originally posted by AndonSage

    I had wanted to wait to order my computer until the new cards were out, but I'm only getting 10 FPS in Age of Conan with my current computer, and just can't take it any more.
     
    I know the feeling.  I don't know what system you have now but I did read that disabling shadows completely really boosted frame rates for people with older set ups.  You probably already tried that though.  On the 6800 ultra card I first tried it on was set at 1024 x 768 with graphics at low.  I was able to get 30 fps but it looked like I was playing a mod using the first Quake engine.  It's funny, the mimimum graphic card requirement is a 6600.  Sheesh, toontown even looked better then Conan did on that 6800 card.  Funcom still has some patching to do on that game.  Even with my new system I notice the game has problems loading graphics quickly.  Most MMO's start off rough though. 
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      Quote MattSlagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 10:08am
    Originally posted by Nomiad

      If the new NVidia cards come out and slaughter the GX2 I'll get with AVA to do that EVGA card swap deal.
     
    To do the step up, you work directly with eVGA.  While being a qualified step up partner means that your video card in our system qualifies it for step up, you will still have to work directly with eVGA.
     
    Its painless to do.  You basically register your card on the website, and then click the step up button.  You have to make sure that you have a copy of your order so that can verify that you bought the card with our system.  The bad news is that you will have no card for about two weeks as you have to send in your card first, then they send you the new card about a week later.
     
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      Quote AndonSage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 11:26am
    Originally posted by Nomiad

    I don't know what system you have now but I did read that disabling shadows completely really boosted frame rates for people with older set ups.  You probably already tried that though.

    My current system is a P4 3.0GHz, 2GB RAM, HD 3850 512MB AGP video card. It's a Dell XPS first generation from 2003, although I increased the memory from 1GB to 2GB and of course the HD 3850 512MB AGP video card is new. Funcom lists a P4 3.0GHz as the minimum CPU specification, and trust me, it's definitely minimum. I use a Logitech G15 keyboard, and have the CPU and RAM usage listed on the LCD display. The CPU is almost constantly at 100% while playing AoC, although the RAM is only about 60%. Lots of times the hard drive light is constantly on, and always when the screen freezes for several seconds.

    I have disabled Bloom and Shadows, set Water Reflection off, set Shader level to 2.0, and reduced the resolution from 1920 x 1200 down to 1650 x 1080 (I don't like playing at a lower resolution). I guess the game is "playable" but it's not fun playing at only 10 FPS. The main problem is that without an auto-attack, when the screen freezes, there is nothing you can do. The mob is still hitting you, but you're not hitting back because the game isn't accepting your input. The only thing that keeps me occasionally playing AoC on this computer is that the death penalty is almost negligible. I'm just trying to keep my main character's level up with most of the other people in my guild.

    Wow, didn't expect to write a reply this long, I just needed to vent, I guess
    My AVA computer: Q9450 @ 3.2GHz | eVGA 750i SLI FTW | 8GB OCZ Reaper HPC 1066HZ RAM | TRUE-120 HS w/Scythe S-Flex 120mm fan | eVGA GTX 280 621/1350/1134(2268)MHz | 320/640GB WD HDDs | Antec P182 | Corsair CMPSU-1000HX | Samsung S203N DVD burner | Scythe Kama-Meter Fan Control | Vista Ultimate 64-bit | Soyo 24" 1920 x 1200 | Logitech G15 keyboard | Logitech MX518 mouse
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      Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 11:47am

    Vent away, AndonSage, haha, vent away. You will be relieved to know the GTX cards look very promising. I found a japenese benchmark test that they ran with Crisis. Highest resoultion, highest graphic settings, EVERYTHING set to the highest settings. They got 30-35 FPS!! I was expecting maybe 20-25 , with a brand new card....Imagine SLI...::feels a chill:: :-D



    Edited by Jmundy - 11 Jun 2008 at 11:47am
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      Quote AndonSage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 12:27pm
    Originally posted by Jmundy

    You will be relieved to know the GTX cards look very promising.

    Yeah, I've been following the various threads on the [H] forum that talk about the new cards. It looks like both ATI and nVidia will have some very nice new cards
    My AVA computer: Q9450 @ 3.2GHz | eVGA 750i SLI FTW | 8GB OCZ Reaper HPC 1066HZ RAM | TRUE-120 HS w/Scythe S-Flex 120mm fan | eVGA GTX 280 621/1350/1134(2268)MHz | 320/640GB WD HDDs | Antec P182 | Corsair CMPSU-1000HX | Samsung S203N DVD burner | Scythe Kama-Meter Fan Control | Vista Ultimate 64-bit | Soyo 24" 1920 x 1200 | Logitech G15 keyboard | Logitech MX518 mouse
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      Quote Nomiad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 3:00pm
    Originally posted by MattSlagle

    To do the step up, you work directly with eVGA.  While being a qualified step up partner means that your video card in our system qualifies it for step up, you will still have to work directly with eVGA.
     
    Its painless to do.  You basically register your card on the website, and then click the step up button.  You have to make sure that you have a copy of your order so that can verify that you bought the card with our system.  The bad news is that you will have no card for about two weeks as you have to send in your card first, then they send you the new card about a week later.
     
     
    eVGA should just send me the new card and I'll send them the old card, I promise.  I'm on the stepup site but it's asking me for a serial number.  Do I need to open the case and get it from the card?  I don't see one in the folder or order papers.
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      Quote MattSlagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 3:05pm
    Originally posted by Nomiad

     
    eVGA should just send me the new card and I'll send them the old card, I promise.  I'm on the stepup site but it's asking me for a serial number.  Do I need to open the case and get it from the card?  I don't see one in the folder or order papers.
     
    The serial number is in two places.  One location is on the box, which we discard.  The other location is directly on the card.  There should be a small sticker directly on the back of the card.  That should have your serial.
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      Quote AndonSage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 4:46pm
    Originally posted by MattSlagle

    The serial number is in two places.  One location is on the box, which we discard.  The other location is directly on the card.  There should be a small sticker directly on the back of the card.  That should have your serial.

    This sounds like an opportunity for improvement :) You should put the serial number on the paperwork, to make it easier for people. Like Nomiad, he gets to the web site, and only then finds out that he needs to open up his case and find the serial number.
    My AVA computer: Q9450 @ 3.2GHz | eVGA 750i SLI FTW | 8GB OCZ Reaper HPC 1066HZ RAM | TRUE-120 HS w/Scythe S-Flex 120mm fan | eVGA GTX 280 621/1350/1134(2268)MHz | 320/640GB WD HDDs | Antec P182 | Corsair CMPSU-1000HX | Samsung S203N DVD burner | Scythe Kama-Meter Fan Control | Vista Ultimate 64-bit | Soyo 24" 1920 x 1200 | Logitech G15 keyboard | Logitech MX518 mouse
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      Quote MattSlagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 4:54pm
    Originally posted by AndonSage

    Originally posted by MattSlagle

    The serial number is in two places.  One location is on the box, which we discard.  The other location is directly on the card.  There should be a small sticker directly on the back of the card.  That should have your serial.

    This sounds like an opportunity for improvement :) You should put the serial number on the paperwork, to make it easier for people. Like Nomiad, he gets to the web site, and only then finds out that he needs to open up his case and find the serial number.
     
    Well I already have a few ideas about improving the info binder that came with systems.  Since about 75% of our systems come with an eVGA GPU, we could maybe throw in a single page that describes what the step up is and the serial number.
     
    This is something that would need to be approved and then put into place later on.
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      Quote Nomiad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 8:06pm
    Thanks, I'll get it registered.
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      Quote AndonSage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2008 at 9:46pm
    Originally posted by MattSlagle

    Since about 75% of our systems come with an eVGA GPU, we could maybe throw in a single page that describes what the step up is and the serial number.

    Heck, even easier, just cut out the serial number from the box and put it in a pocket in the folder, or tape it to a piece of paper :)
    My AVA computer: Q9450 @ 3.2GHz | eVGA 750i SLI FTW | 8GB OCZ Reaper HPC 1066HZ RAM | TRUE-120 HS w/Scythe S-Flex 120mm fan | eVGA GTX 280 621/1350/1134(2268)MHz | 320/640GB WD HDDs | Antec P182 | Corsair CMPSU-1000HX | Samsung S203N DVD burner | Scythe Kama-Meter Fan Control | Vista Ultimate 64-bit | Soyo 24" 1920 x 1200 | Logitech G15 keyboard | Logitech MX518 mouse
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      Quote MattSlagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2008 at 9:39am
    You know as well as I do that would not look professional at all.  Since we have to print out a new systems folder everytime we sell a system, how hard would it to be to pull up a word document and type in the serial?
     
    It would at most take the guys back there 1 minute.
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      Quote AndonSage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2008 at 11:50am
    Originally posted by MattSlagle

    You know as well as I do that would not look professional at all.

    Yes, I was teasing. That's why I had the :) at the end. I'm used to other forums where that is converted into a smiley
    My AVA computer: Q9450 @ 3.2GHz | eVGA 750i SLI FTW | 8GB OCZ Reaper HPC 1066HZ RAM | TRUE-120 HS w/Scythe S-Flex 120mm fan | eVGA GTX 280 621/1350/1134(2268)MHz | 320/640GB WD HDDs | Antec P182 | Corsair CMPSU-1000HX | Samsung S203N DVD burner | Scythe Kama-Meter Fan Control | Vista Ultimate 64-bit | Soyo 24" 1920 x 1200 | Logitech G15 keyboard | Logitech MX518 mouse
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