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A GamePC

By: Mike Chambers - November 11, 1998



Introduction

This page documents my experiences in purchasing a computer system from GamePC.  The first section describes upgrades from the original system while the second, dated Friday - October 30, 1998, contains a review of the system I purchased from GamePC.

The section following the review is a list of events that occurred from the time I ordered the system until it was delivered.  Enjoy.

If you got to this page from GamePC's web site or via a search engine, please visit nV News (NVIDIA News).  I've posted plenty of benchmark results for the system.



Saturday - November 27, 1999

It's been just over a year since I got my GamePC (PII-450MHz) and thanks to NVIDIA, the life expectancy of my system has been prolonged without having to upgrade to a faster processor.  My original system came with a Diamond Viper V550, which is based on NVIDIA's TNT, and was replaced with a Viper V770 Ultra (TNT2) in May of 1999.

I was sweating bullets when Diamond was bought out by S3 and ultimately decided to change to an NVIDIA centric web site.  Soon after nV News came on-line, I managed to get in contact with NVIDIA and lobby to receive their next generation GeForce 256 graphics card for a review.  In late October, I published a comprehensive GeForce 256 review and was very impressed with it's overall performance.

For instance, take a look of the performance of Quake 2 on my system over the past year.  There is no way that a faster processor could accomplish the same increases in frame rate:

Quake 2 Demo1 - 16-Bit Color

GeForce 256 Quake 2 benchmarks


In addition, the benefits of the GeForce 256's on-board Graphics Processing Unit, which accelerate transformation and lighting (T&L), have yet to be fully realized in today's games.  OpenGL titles, such as Quake and it's derivatives, utilitze the GeForce's transform pipeline.  Also, it was recently announced that Raven's Soldier of Fortune will support lighting acceleration via their GHOUL rendering engine add-on to Quake 2.

At this time, there are only a few applications that utilitze the transform and lighting provided by Microsoft's DirectX 7 API (Application Programming Interface).  Since DirectX 7 is new, it will take time for developers to implement T&L, but there are commitments from quite a few gaming companies to provide T&L support in upcoming titles.

However, the benefits of hardware accelerated T&L under DirectX 7 can be measured now with applications such as ZDNET's 3D WinMark 2000 and The Whole Experiece demo:

3D WinMark 2000 - 800x600@16bpp

3D WinMark 2000: T&L Disabled - 69    T&L Enabled - 106

GeForce 256 3D WinMark 2000 benchmarks

The Whole Experience Demo - 1024x768 - 16-Bit Color

GeForce 256 Whole Experience benchmarks

Eventually, I will take the plunge an upgrade to a faster processor when the time is right.  Abit has released BIOS updates for their BH-6 motherboard throughout the year and now offer support for the Pentium III-600MHz.

With the addition of a cable modem a few months ago, I finally have a serious gaming rig on my hands.  One of the most exciting events will be the release of Quake 3 Arena in December of this year, and I am ready, willing, and able.  Yes, life is good.



Saturday - September 11, 1999

In late 1998, Cox Communications completed the installation of a fiber optic network in my neighborhood.  The purpose was to provide customers with high-quality digital TV and cable modem service.  On September 8, I had a cable modem installed and began using Cox@Home as my Internet Service Provider.

Signing Up

Cox@Home was offering a special $19.95 installation fee (normally $149.95) for cable modem installation during the month of August.  I signed up with Cox@Home on August 31 and scheduled an appointment to have a technician install a cable modem on September 8 from 12-2pm.

Playing The Waiting Game

I made it home from work at noon on September 12 and received a phone call shortly thereafter.  The technician told me that she would be arriving late due to an unexpected delay in the job she was currently working on.  She eventually showed up at 4:30pm.  This was a minor inconvienience for me, but I did receive my first months service for free (a $29.95 value)

Getting Down To Business

The technician was very competent as she proceeded to install an SMC 10Mbps Ethernet ISA network card in my machine.  The network card was Plug-and-Play compatible and the installation went without a hitch.  The next step was to connect a 10Base T Ethernet cable from the network card to the Motorola Cybersurfer Wave cable modem.  After installing the drivers for the network card and the @Home front-end software, my system was humming right along.

Anticipation

The next part of the job was to check the cable line from my house to the fiber optic hub.  The technician told me that the two connections leading from the house to the hub were using older lines and there was the possibility that they would need to be replaced.  Nevertheless, the connection to the cable modem was made and we all waited with anticipation for the modem to synchronize the connection.  After 3 minutes the test light on the modem finally went off and the cable light was activated.  Touchdown, we were in business!

Blazing The Trails

The technician gave us an overview of the @Home front-end software which allows administration capabilites such as changing your password and setting up 2 additional e-mail accounts.  The kids and myself watched in amazement as the web pages were appearing in an instant.  Our jaws dropped to the floor as she downloaded a 19MB game demo in about 60 seconds!  Of course this was downloading data directly from the @Home network.

Real Word Testing

The next day, I decided to run benchmarks comparing my 28.8K modem to the cable modem.  While the FTP test was done during an off-peak time (4am), the other tests were done during the evening hours using our favorite servers.

Test 28.8K Modem Cable Modem
Quake 1
quake.visi.net
250ms ping 60ms ping
Half-Life TFC
hudson.actgate.com
350ms ping 80ms ping
Quake 3 Test
acw-pc11.acw.vcu.edu
375ms ping 40ms ping
FTP Homeworld Demo
CDROM.com
4K bits/second
140K/minute
400K bits/second
2.8MB/minute
Browsing nV News
Half-Life TFC screenshots page
20 seconds to load 2 seconds to load
Browsing nV News
Half-Life TFC screenshot 1 - 124K
40 seconds to load 2 seconds to load

Conclusion

While I was paying $40 a month for a modem connection ($20 phone line and $20 to VisiNet), I am only paying an extra $5 a month for cable modem service.  I am renting a cable modem for $15 and the @Home service is $29.95.  For an additional $7, I can request another IP address from @Home and can share the connection with my other PC (hub and network card would be required).  Cox@Home also offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

Am I happy?  You bet!



Saturday - August 21, 1999

I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the PC I purchased almost a year ago and comment on the changes that have taken place in hardware since then.  To begin, let me say that the PC has performed flawlessly.  I normally keep it running 24x7 and it has experienced no down time at all.

To Upgrade Or Buy New

During the past few years, I've typically waited around 12-18 months before considering a major upgrade (motherboard, processor, memory, etc.).  Purchasing a new system is a 2-3 year cycle depending on the advances in technology compared to what I own at the time, in addition to the availability of funds.

I've always felt it best to purchase a system that is at the top of the line in CPU power since it takes longer to become "obsolete".  Of course, the time to obsolecence depends on advances that take place in the short-term (with or without your knowledge).

For instance, when I purchased this system back in October of '98, the Intel Pentium II-450MHz was the top of the line.  If memory serves me correctly, word on the upcoming Pentium III was not out on the street yet.  I was somewhat lucky since the Pentium III didn't appear until 4-6 months after my purchase and the Pentium II-450MHz stayed at the high end for quite some time.

What About 3D Cards

Well, what about them?  For starters, the hardware advances made in the 3D graphics card industry are now advancing at a faster rate than processors are.  Higher clock speeds, more and faster memory, and optimized drivers are just a few events that have taken place during the past 8 months.  Those of us with high end processors, which are needed to adequately feed these 3D beasts, are in a great situation.  For about one to two hundred dollars, you can grab a new 3D card to replace an outdated card, and get a significant increase in 3D performance.

A case in point is the Viper V770 Ultra, based on NVIDIA's TNT2 chipset, that Diamond generously provided me with to review (19 pages).  While I was getting great performance out of the V550, I couldn't turn down getting a V770 Ultra.  To show my good faith, I held a contest here at nV News and gave away my V550.  Anyway, performance in OpenGL based games nearly doubled and Direct 3D game performance increased around 25%.  Same system, just a new 3D card.

Also, the TNT2 was designed by NVIDIA to run more efficiently in 32-bit color then it's predeccessor, and allowed us to run the games we enjoy at higher resolutions.  About the time I finished the V770 Ultra review, Quake 3 test appeared on the scene.  The graphics in Quake 3 test are great and as with many recent games, you can easily "tweak" the graphics to obtain a balance between frame rates and graphics (be sure to check out the Quake 3 Test Graphics Tweaking article).

Internet Connectivitiy

I recall, way back in 1995, playing my first ever modem-to-modem game.  Chuck Jackson and myself, both Little League coaches at the time, used to get together on weekends to play co-operative matches of Doom.  We both had 14.4K modems and thought it was the greatest thing going at the time.  After Quake 1 entered the scene, I soon relaized the a 14.4K modem wasn't going to cut-it and bought a US Robotics 28.8K Sportster which I still use today.  I was so hung up with getting the most out of on-line gaming with Quake 1, that I tried 3 local ISP's and ran trace routes before I settled with VisiNet.  The fact that VisiNet also ran their own Quake servers made the decision a no-brainer.

But times have changed in this area as well.  While ISDN never took off like it could have, the availability of cable modems makes great on-line gaming affordable.  In my case, connecting to the Internet with a cable modem will cost me only four dollars more a month than I currently pay the phone company and VisiNet.  I will be upgrading to a cable modem at the end of August using the Cox@Home service.

Wrapping Things Up

Remeber back in the mid-90's when the price of memory skyrocketed?  Today, memory is not only faster, but much cheaper as well.  Faster processors are being introduced for PC's at lower prices due to healthy competition between Intel and AMD. And as previsouly mentioned, 3D graphics cards are taking center stage.  While Intel continues to increase the speeds of the Intel Pentium III and Celeron processors, AMD finally has made a major breakthrough with the Athon processor.

Another decision that will require attention is the ability to purchase dual-processor systems.  Motherboard makers, such as ABIT, are offering dual-processor motherboards and the upcoming release of Windows 2000 will support dual processors.  Quake 3 has been programmed to use a second processor if available.

However, the most exciting area is in the next generation of 3D cards.  While many of the specifications that the major chip makers are being kept under wraps, NVIDIA once again appears to be on the leading edge in this industry with the upcoming NV10.



Wednesday - November 4, 1998

As much as I hate to do it, I am returning the Hitachi SuperScan Supreme 752 monitor that I ordered with my system.  I say this because other than a minor flaw, it is truely an outstanding monitor.  Initially, I felt it wasn't going to be a problem, but the more I started seeing it, the more it bothered me.

When using a light background in Windows, especially white, there is an area that begins in the center of the screen and extends towards the upper left about 5 inches.  This area is a shade darker than the rest of the screen and looks similar to a shadow.  If I stand about 5 feet away from the monitor and look at it from an angle, it is very noticable.  I tested all screen resolutions from 640x480 to 1600x1200 at various refresh rates and even connected the monitor up to my old PC.  Unfortunately, I could still see the shadow.

A thought that crossed my mind was that the monitor could have been damaged during shipping.  I went to the garage to further inspect the box the monitor came in and saw a rather long gash in the corner of the box.  The gash extended about 6 inches in either direction from the corner in the middle of the box and was deep enough in some areas that it penetrated the box.

After mulling this over for a few days, I called GamePC last night and explained the problem.  They agreed that it was a monitor problem and said that a replacement would be shipped to me.  I am to receive instructions on where to ship the current monitor.  GamePC will pay all shipping charges.

Other than this minor problem, the monitor is truely awesome.  I'm kind of bummed out that I have to return it, but want to make sure I get one that is to my satisfaction.

I also noticed that GamePC is now offering Hitachi's new SuperScan 753 19-inch monitor.



Tuesday - November 3, 1998

Well, it's been a almost a week since I recieved my system from GamePC.  To tell you the truth, I am hard pressed to find anything wrong with it.  About the only thing that surprised me was how loud the system runs due to the number of fans.  This is really not a problem as I have already gotten used to it.  It's a small price to pay for adequate cooling.

So far, I have thrown almost every piece of software I own at it, and everything has run flawlessly.

What's great about GamePC is that they offer the latest hardware to use as components when customizing a system.  The hardest part about configuring a system is trying to figure out the components you want in it.  This is where a little research can go a long way.

From the time I placed my initial order until I received the system, the staff at GamePC answered all of my questions to my satisfaction.  In every case, I received an answer the same day and most of the time within a few hours.

If you are in the market to buy a new system, I highly recommend GamePC.  When I get my next system 2 to 3 years down the road, I will be a repeat customer.  I would like to especially thank Chip Loeber of GamePC for the outstanding customer support he provided.  Thanks Chip!



Friday - October 30, 1998

Wow!  What an incredible time we had last night.  After pulling an all-nighter, my PII-450/128MB/Viper V550 (TNT) GamePC is up and running...and it screams!  Here are a few observations I would like to make about the system:
  • The system was delivered by UPS in 6 business days.  The packages for both the speakers and system were double-boxed and the monitor was in it's original box.  Other than a few minor dings here and there, it appears that nothing was damaged during shipping.
  • Unpacking the system and hooking up all the components took about an hour.  The kids and myself crossed our fingers as we turned on the power.  The system booted up and Windows 98 was ready for business.  I noticed that the system runs a bit loud due to the number of fans needed to adequately cool this beast.  According to the BIOS, the internal temperature hovers around 31 degress celcius/89 degrees farenheit.
  • The Diamond Viper V550 was initially set at a resolution of 800x600, 32-bit color, and a 75Mhz refresh rate in Windows 98.  The images were extemely crisp and sharp on the 19-inch Hitachi SuperScan Supreme monitor.

    After testing various resolutions ranging from 800x600 to 1600x1200, I finally settled for 1152x864 in 32-bit color at a 100Mhz refresh rate.  After a few adjustments, I was able to square all the edges of the monitor and save the settings for this resolution.  In fact, I saw no geometry or convergence problems with the monitor.  Moving from a 15-inch to a 19-inch monitor is truely an awesome experience.  Very nice indeed!
  • OK, what to test now?  How about loading up a Metallica CD and checking out the Toshiba 32X CD, Sound Blaster Live! Value soundcard, and the Altec Lansing ACS48 speakers and sub-woofer.  I placed my existing Yamaha powered speakers in the rear of the room on top of a bookcase.

    "King Nothing" sounded great, but I noticed that no sound was coming out of the rear speakers.  I found the SB Live speaker configuration software, which was already installed by GamePC, and set it up to use 4 speakers.  After positioning the speaker sound sources (left, right, front, and back) using the software, I was engulfed in a surround-sound experience along with deep bass pumping out of the sub-woofer.  This was only the beginning, as I spent another two hours playing with additional features of the SB Live card.
  • I was looking thru the Windows 98 start menu and noticed that the special version of Motorhead, which was created especially for the Viper V550, was installed.  While I am not a really huge racing fan,  I configured the game to run at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color with all the graphics options turned on to their highest settings.  I rounded up my kids, Steve is 13 and Dave 11, gave them the Sidewinder Precision Pro joystick, and let them have at it.

    I took an hour break, then went back up and told the kids it was almost time for bed.  Not a popular move at that point, but I needed to get back on the system and install the modem.  Motorhead uses some of the advanced Direct 3D features built in to the TNT chipset.  Running the game at these settings with no slowdown at all.  I was impressed.
  • My next step was installing my existing US Robotics 28.8 Sportster modem.  I had to read the Addtronics manual to figure how to get inside the case.  I used a key to unlock the front panel and then removed it.  Removing 2 screws on the left front side of the case allows the side panel to swing open like a door with hinges attached.  Very user friendly.

    The inside of the case was spacious and the wires and ribbons were neatly organized.  As I expected, there were fans all over the place.  A dual fan blowing on the CPU, one near the power supply, and 2 others in the front of the case.

    I removed the COM and IRQ jumpers from the modem to enable the Plug-and-Play feature, and seated it into an ISA slot.  After rebooting the system, Windows 98 recognized the modem and provided me with a list of drivers.  I spent another 30 minutes setting up my Internet connection, Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express.  It felt good to be back on-line.
  • Excellent.  Time to fire up Quake for some multi-player action at my ISP's server.  I never got around to Quake 2 yet since my previous machine choked when running it.  First a little background info.  I've been playing Quake since it came out in 1996 and have enjoyed it tremendously.  A few of us that play on our ISP's servers have had a few get togethers during this time.  What else could bring together a bunch of guys ranging in ages from 14 to 49 from all walks of life?

    I had always played software mode Quake at 320x200 primarily for performance reasons.  That is until tonight!  After using the idGamma utility to brighten up the gamma, I set up GLQuake to run a resolution of 1024x768 and watched the demo.  My jaw dropped to the floor as I watched the demo run at a blazing speed (around 50 frames per second) along with absolutely stunning image quality.

    I thought to myself, "man, there is no way I am going to be able to play at this resolution on the Internet with my 28.8 modem."  Well, not only was is playable, but it ran much better than when I was using the 320x200 software mode resolution on my Pentium 120.  In fact, the combination of a much faster system and upgrading to Windows 98 lowered my ping from an average of 220ms to around 180ms!

    The sound effects were equally as stunning.  I especially like the deep bass generated by the explosion of a grenade.  I could feel the floor and walls shake!  This experience was the "icing on the cake."

    I will wrap up this mini-review by giving GamePC my seal of approval.  I sure am glad I found these guys and hope they stay around for a long time to come.  Now for some much needed sleep.  So long for now and have a Happy Halloween!


Wednesday - October 28, 1998

  • The monitor and system arrived in Richmond at 1 PM.  Still no status on the speakers.  I ended up calling GamePC and they said UPS expects that package to catch up with the others today.
  • Checked UPS tracking this morning and saw that both the system and monitor arrived in Pennsylvania at 12 AM and departed at 6 AM.  Also noticed that the speakers still have yet to arrive anywhere since they were shipped last Wednesday.


Tuesday - October 27, 1998

  • Checked the UPS tracking web site and received an updated status.  My packages arrived in Illinois at 8 PM and left at 11 PM.  Hopefully I will get the system within the next couple of days.  This waiting is killin' me :)


Friday - October 23, 1998

  • After reading a post at GamePC's Tips of the week page, I noticed that a customer had asked about some of the testing that is done by GamePC on systems.  I asked them what software was tested on my system:
    "GamePC actually owns Quake II, Unreal and Tomb Raider II.  One of our marketing partners is closely associated with the makers of Shogo and we expect to get a complimentary "gift" of it shortly.  We used Unreal and Motorhead for testing your machine.  Motorhead is the racing software that comes with the Viper and that you are getting with yours."
    It's great that GamePC tested a few leading edge games with my system.  Needless to say, if a game is not bundled with the hardware, it is removed from the system prior to shipping.

    Anyway, why test Microsoft Word or Excel when the main reason one gets a PII-450 and Diamond Viper V550 in the first place is to play games?  Kind of an expensive hobby, but the wife has learned to live with me for 15 years so far.  LOL.


Thursday - October 21, 1998

  • Checked out the UPS tracking web site and received a status for each of the three tracking numbers I entered. 


Wednesday - October 21, 1998

  • My system was shipped today!  Three seperate packages (system, monitor, and speakers) will be delivered and each has been assigned a UPS tracking number.  Since it's being shipped via UPS ground, it can take anywhere from 3 to 8 days before it arrives.  Just enough time to put the finishing touches on the newly remodeled "computer" room.

    It's pretty ironic, but my 5-year old Mag Innvosion MX15 montior is starting to develop some serious problems.  The green gun goes out every now and then resulting in a pinkish display.  Ugh!  Other than that, this monitor has served me very well.
  • As per my request, the monitor I am getting with my system was tested by GamePC:

    "Quality control personnel called me down to their department to take a look at the monitor.  I looked at it with different resolutions from low to high, with still and moving displays.  I'm certain you will be very happy.  There's no sign of any convergence problems and the display is consistently bright and crisp.  As I believe we've communicated to you before, we think that this monitor (Hitachi SuperScan Supreme 752)is the best amongst comparably featured units.

    Here's hoping you receive everything in satisfactory working order.  Let me know if there is any problem at all."


Tuesday - October 20, 1998

  • Based on GamePC's recommendation I went to my local Radio Shack to purchase a 20-foot stereo extension cable.  I will use my existing Yamaha YST-M10 powered speakers as part of a 4-speaker/sub-woofer surround sound system which is a feature supported by the Sound Blaster Live soundcard.  The cable will provide an extensition to the rear of the computer room where I can place the speakers on a bookshelf.


Monday - October 19, 1998

  • My question today was about a cooling soution for the Diamond Viper V550 and how it may affect the cards warranty:
    "Most fans attach with screws going into and between the raised cooling pins on the heatsink and this leads to an obvious sign that the fan was put on by scraping off the black covering and leaving shiny metal where the screws were.  This may be construed as physical abuse by a supplier.  If the fan were installed using two sided foam adhesive tape (a little at each corner) then the fan could be later removed with no sign of damage.  This is all I can suggest.   We haven't had to deal with any warranty returns for TNT cards yet (amazing what with the volume we've shipped) so I can't say exactly what the response of the suppliers will be."


Thursday - October 15, 1998

  • I asked GamePC about configuring my existing US Robotics Sportster 28.8 modem to use in the system:
    "PNP is a great way to go.  Your modem will most likely come up on COM 3 automatically.   Keep the PNP settings as we have them in your BIOS.  If that modem is anything like the latest PNP US Robotics modems, the PNP feature may be enabled by removing all of the jumpers.

    This should do it for ya'!"
  • After reading a review of the Seagate Medalist Pro Hard Drive (7200 rpm) at BXBoards, I asked GamePC about potential heat related issues mentioned in the article.  Here is what they said:
    "You've got the Addtronic 6890A case which includes two fans that will be moving lots of air around the hard drive.  We've put a number of systems together this way and it appears to be both stable and dependable.  We expect no degradation of the drive's longevity as it is getting adequate ventilation.


Friday - October 9, 1998

  • Was notified by GamePC that they had received the cashiers check.  They assigned an order number for my system and told me they would keep me informed about the status.


Thursday - October 8, 1998

  • Send a cashiers check via United States Postal Service Priority Mail from Virginia to California.  The cost was $9.75 and was scheduled to arrive in California within 24 hours.


Wednesday - October 7, 1998

  • Used GamePC's on-line configuration applet to place an order.  I also requested special instructions regarding the monitor.


  • Received a finalized price quote for the system within a matter of hours after placing my order.  The price included shipping, handling, and insurance charges.


  • The special instructions that I included with my order were to specifically test the monitor for any defects.  I also requested that their technicians run Windows resolutions at 1024x768 and 1280x1024 in both 16 and 32 bit color.  GamePC was more than happy to test the monitor.


A New PC

For the past 6 weeks, I have been evaluating components that will make up a new PC.  After determining the products I wanted, my next step was to find a vendor who could build a custom PC based on my specifications.  It became frustrating dealing with local PC shops and their inability to provide price quotes.  I've never mail ordered a complete system before, and had to consider that option.  Fortunately, I ran across GamePC.

I found my way to GamePC after reading a review of one of their systems which was published by Cyrellis 3D (now known as Sharky Extreme).  Yesterday afternoon - October 1, 1998 - I ended up placing an order with them.

GamePC is located in Palo Alto, California and they offer very competitive prices.  These guys have an awesome on-line price quote applet which includes many selections of leading edge hardware.  In addition to a hardware news page, GamePC provides a product information page to assist customers with commonly asked questions.

Within a few hours after placing my order, I received a finalized price quote for the system.  This was much more convienient than hassling with a bunch of local PC shops that typically want to sell overpriced products.  Frankly, I was suprised at how out of touch many of these shops are with new technology.

My budget for a system was $3000 and overall I am very pleased with what I will be getting.



Big Screen Monitor

This was by far the hardest decision to make.  All along I wanted a 19-inch monitor since the prices for them have been dropping substantially over the past year.  The 19-inch monitor poll I had been conducting was a great help and I would like to thank everyone who voted; especially those who took the time to provide comments.

After all, choosing a monitor is not something to be taken lightly.  It is the presentation layer of your PC and will typically last through a couple of upgrade cycles.  Early on during my evaluation of monitors, I asked Sam Goldwasser, who is an electrical engineer and maintains a Electronics Repair Site, for some advice on monitors.

Based on his experience with repairing monitors, Sam recommended either a Hitachi or Sony.  I ended up choosing the Hitachi SuperScan Supreme 752.  Almost every brand of 19-inch monitor uses a Hitachi tube and the first time I saw this monitor on display at CompUSA I was impressed.  Judging monitors is ultimately a matter of personal taste.  After seeing the Sony GDM-400PS in action, I still preferred the Hitachi.

Sam also frequently posts messages at the comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.video newsgroup.

On a final note, I asked GamePC to check out the monitor for any defects that could not be corrected using the monitors' controls.  They replied by saying that they would do so.



2D/3D Graphics Accelerator

Choosing a 2D/3D graphics accelerator was a no-brainer.  A card based on NVIDIA's RIVA TNT chipset was a must have component.  The difficulty came in choosing a graphics card based on the variety of manufacturers that use the TNT chipset.

I maintain a page with a comprehensive list of TNT related articles to reviews and benchmarks and based on this information, I chose the Diamond Viper V550.  I have always used Diamond's video cards in my PC's and have had good results with them.  The Viper V550 should perform admirably.



3D Graphics Accelerator

Due to last minute system configuration changes, I decided to pass on a purchasing a dedicated 3D card.  This allowed me to move up to a 450Mhz processor and a faster hard drive.



System Components

  • CPU: Intel Pentium II 450 MHz w/dual fans
  • M/B: ABIT BH6 440BX, 5 PCI, 2 ISA, AGP, USB
  • RAM: PC100 128MB SDRAM (1 DIMM)
  • HDD: Seagate Medalist Pro - 9.5ms, 7200 RPM, 512K cache-6.5 GB
  • FDD: TEAC 1.44MB Floppy
  • CD: TEAC 32X Max EIDE
  • VIDEO: Diamond Viper V550 TNT AGP 2X - 16MB SDRAM
  • SOUND: Sound Blaster Live! Value - PCI
  • SPEAKERS: Altec Lansing ACS48 Power Cube Plus
  • CASE: Addtronic 6890A Full Tower ATX, 300W w/3 fans
  • KB: Keytronic Win95
  • MOUSE: Logitech Mouseman +
  • JOYSTICK: Microsoft SideWinder Precision Pro
  • OS: Windows 98 CD w/manual
  • MONITOR: Hitachi (CM752) 19" .26dp, 1600 x 1200 @ 80 Hz

  • SHIPPING, HANDLING, and INSURANCE


  • Existing Items:

  • SPEAKERS: Yamaha YST-M10 Amplified Speakers
  • MODEM: US Robotics 28.8 (upgraded to CABLE in 1999)



  • Last Updated on November 27, 1999

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