Well folks, in the last month I went from hardcore console gamer with a 360 and PS3, to a person who swears by his PC. I went from a 360 to dell Inspiron 530 to a custom rig.
I had gotten out of PC gaming a few years ago as my son was born with some pretty severe health problems that consumed me fulltime. So I traded in my PC hardware and bought a laptop for use at hospitals and such. For the past 5 years my computer has been used for E-mail, downloading, reading and basic surfing. My PS3 and 360 were my main gaming devices. I had went through 5 360's and gave that up about 2 years ago and was basically gaming only on my PS3. Until about June last year when Microsoft released a new 360 with a new chipset that was supposed to do away with the 3 red lights, so I jumped back on, bought a new 360, another year of live, some games, etc and off I went. Never really knowing how the PC gaming scene was doing. Constantly arguing with my peers at work that PC gaming was dying and consoles were where it was at.
Then in January my Laptop died and I was left with no PC, so I had to order something cheap and reliable. So I purchased a Dell Inspiron 530. This was a basic system including an Intel e2220, 2 gig of ram, Vista home Premium, 300 gig hard drive and DVD Drive, as well as a Radeon 3450. Now this was all good, I was enjoying my new PC and trying some news apps and such, and thought I should try a new game on this thing. Totally ignorant to the changes in the hardware and PC games of the last few years, I remembered hearing about Crysis so I thought well I will try that. As soon as I loaded the game I thought I could max everything out and just hit go. Well, the next few minutes were pretty funny I am sure as I was getting about 4 FPS, not able to play at all, but the frames that were being rendered just amazed me. So the next day I ran to futureshop and looked at some Geforce cards. I saw a 9800 GT 169$, then looked over and say a GTX 9800 for 149 on sale. I looked at the BFG scale and it said it was 2 notches away from "best" for gaming. So I grabbed that and off I went.
Ok first off, when did Video cards need their own power supplies? Good lord, did my little Inspiron 530 have a power supply strong enough? I cracked the case and nope, it was only a 300 watt and the box said need at least a 450 watt. So back in the car I went and and headed to Futureshop again as I needed to get a couple backup power supplies for some work computers anyway. I picked up a 750 watt PSU and off I went again to do some testing.
I got my new power supply all installed, again, it used to be the board only needed 1 power connection, the ATX, but now, I noticed there was a power source next to the CPU, man, I am old, this has changed. I managed to get it all hooked up and then opened up the Geforce GTX 9800 and when I pulled it out of the packaging I actually started laughing to myself, this thing was a monster compared to my radeon 3450. Now I have another question hopefully someone here can answer...when did we kick AGP out of the slot party? Why?
So I got it put in and played some games, GRID, FarCry 2, GoW, etc, all played ok, I was happy. I went reading some reviews of the card and found it was a pretty basic card, and there was another series called the GTX 200 that was the card series to use. So I looked at futureshop and they had the GTX 260s there for 429. I managed to find it online for 327, and after some discussion with shoulder devil and shoulder angle we all agreed to take this 9800 GTX out, box it up and exchange it for the 260. Off to Futureshop I went and with no questions asked, had the new 260 in my hand. Again, I plug it into my little Inspiron 530 and it fits, barley, 2 inches to spare. This card needed 2 power sources, holy crap, this thing costs more to run than my dryer hah.
Again I go and do some games, Crysis runs much better, Farcry 2 and Grid run almost perfectly. Now this is where I made the mistake of going and reading reviews on the 260. Folks like this card, but keep saying things like "A great card if you can't afford the GTX 295 or 280". The conversation starts again with my little shoulder friends, and we all agree what the hell, lets try the GTX 295. I look at futureshop.ca and almost had a stroke when I saw the 600+$ price tag. Wow, so much for that. The next day I was in a local PC shop getting some supplies for work and mention to the PC fellow that I got the GTX 260, to which he laughed and said "you have an inspiron 530 and you have a GTX 260, the card is worth more than your PC" hah. He said, you know, "I have a BFG GTX 295 that is a week old you can have for 440$ as I have a crossfire setup that I don't want to change". BASTARD!!!! POP, both lil shoulder dudes show up, BOTH TELLING ME TO GET IT. Ok Ill do it. So I pick him up and the end of his work day and we go to his place to get the card. About an hour later I am playing Crysis with my new GTX 295. And it's awesome.....drool worthy. This is was I am talking about.
During this time, my 360, the new one, with the new chipset, that is supposed to cut down on 3 red lights, well, 3 red lighted on me. I am lucky enough to have a friend at a local store and he straight swapped it out for me for a new one. But this time instead of taking it and playing it until it dies, I decided to sell it. You see this was my 6th 360, And I just can't put money into a product that has a 100% failure rate any longer. I have my PS3 and now have a GTX 295. So, I sold it to some poor chap who I am sure will be calling Microsoft for a coffin within the year.
Now I am playing Crysis and GRID non stop, and while I am impressed It doesn’t appear I am getting the performance I should be. I start looking online and seeing folks on different forums saying that a GTX can be limited by your motherboard and CPU. Well, I guess that’s it. I can't afford 1500$ for parts to get the full performance, it will have to do.
About 3 days later I am down at my local shop again getting some things for work, and the computer fellow asks me how I like the GTX 295 and I proceed to tell him the above, he says, "You know, I just ordered myself a new core I7 extreme, Asus Crossfire, etc etc, and would sell you my system, power supply, chassis included. I ask him what the parts are other than that and he tells me...
"Intel Core i7 920
12 Gig Patriot DDR 3
Gigabyte EX58-DS4 motherboard
E-Sata/Fan Control/Card reader
LG Bluray player /DVDRW
850 Watt Zalman power supply
Coolmaster Sileo 500 Case
Coolmaster Hyper N520 CPU cooler"
He tells me the motherboard can NOT do SLI, just crossfire, just as an FYI. I ask how much and he tells me. I say ok, let me get back to the office and think about it. On my return to work I proceed to NCIX.com and do some shopping. All of the above added up to over 1600$ Canadian, and he quoted me 800$ for everything. I am the type of guy who looks at this deal as, I am stupid if I don't take it. So, I call him and say deal. Again I pick him up after work and go grab everything. The man has everything, boxes, books, wires, screws, everything. I eagerly take it all to the car and race home, god this drive is brutal. I get home and find my son is eating, so I can plug this bad boy in now before he finishes super and wants to see everything I am doing. After plugging in my Sata drive and installing Vista 64, and god awful long windows updates, I am ready to benchmark. Of course I start with Crysis.
My pants are still wet 2 days later.
And this is where I sit. I am a proud owner of a new gaming rig, back into the PC thing, without fear of 3 red lights, and a smile that is as wide as my room. I will share it's even wider because I thought hey this card has DVI and HDMI, I wonder how this would look on my Samsung 46" LCD 1080P Tv. Man, consoles of the next next generation really need to work on AA, because my god, never has a game look so godamn good. I thought it was good on my 24" dell monitor.
Some of you are to blame for this, answering my questions, showing your benchmarks, sharing your system specs. In a way, some of you, are like crack dealers, and you should be proud of yourselves, I converted, and holy **** do I love it. Now, back to Warhead
The one thing I can not get used to again, is games with a keyboard and mouse. I had to purchase a new 360 controller and wireless received for windows. As hard as I try, I just can't do that Keyboard and mouse thing...but fear not, I shall keep trying
The Coolmaster Hyper n520 was not hooked up, just the stock cooler. Is there any reason I should pull the system apart to put this fan on?
Thanks for reading all, long I know, but I had to share how I went from an Inspiron 530 to a..well..rig.