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Building 15 Comps, Would love suggestions

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June 9, 2008 7:59:39 PM

I have been asked to put together 15 computers for an internet cafe. The computers are to be used for gaming. The price range isnt defined yet, but im looking for an affordable solution. 6months ago i made a computer (e2160 (overclocked), 2gb crucial cas4 ram, gigabyte p35-dsl mainboard, 8800gt top and a sweet modular ps from hyper) the whole system was rather cheap but performs really well. I was hoping to build a system similar to this, but with up to date parts. Anyone have a few mins to recommend a few pieces of hardware? Key words are affordability and ability to play new 3d games, overclockability would be appreciated as well.
June 9, 2008 8:14:11 PM

I assume since you're looking for affordability you're not going to go SLI or xfire. Here are some thoughts:

Motherboard: Gigabyte EP35 DS3L

Proc: E8400 (or possibly the E7200 if the E8400 is too much. I'd definitely try for the E8400 though.)

Video: Wait for the 4000 series from ATI, but if you have to build now, go with an 8800GTS (G92) 512MB card.

RAM: Cheap 2x2gb DDR2 800 with decent timings from a good brand like crucial, corsair, maybe G Skill.

HSF: Xigmatek HDT-S1283
June 9, 2008 9:09:03 PM

uguv said:
I assume since you're looking for affordability you're not going to go SLI or xfire. Here are some thoughts:

Motherboard: Gigabyte EP35 DS3L

Proc: E8400 (or possibly the E7200 if the E8400 is too much. I'd definitely try for the E8400 though.)

Video: Wait for the 4000 series from ATI, but if you have to build now, go with an 8800GTS (G92) 512MB card.

RAM: Cheap 2x2gb DDR2 800 with decent timings from a good brand like crucial, corsair, maybe G Skill.

HSF: Xigmatek HDT-S1283



go for a OCZ 600 watt psu too atleast. Spend more if you can and buy a decent psu as its gonna be on most of the day...
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June 9, 2008 9:21:18 PM

E7200 is nice. And if you can wait for a couple weeks, choose 4850 or 9800GTX(assume Nvidia cut the price after the lauch of GT200).Plus the best affordable cooling fans: Arctic Alpine 7($13)/Freezer 7 Pro($23). Some ddr2 800 ram.
June 9, 2008 11:06:31 PM

uguv said:
I assume since you're looking for affordability you're not going to go SLI or xfire. Here are some thoughts:

Motherboard: Gigabyte EP35 DS3L

Proc: E8400 (or possibly the E7200 if the E8400 is too much. I'd definitely try for the E8400 though.)

Video: Wait for the 4000 series from ATI, but if you have to build now, go with an 8800GTS (G92) 512MB card.

RAM: Cheap 2x2gb DDR2 800 with decent timings from a good brand like crucial, corsair, maybe G Skill.

HSF: Xigmatek HDT-S1283


Can't fault these choices... But I don't think anyone on a budget should go for the bleeding edge. The ATI 4xxx series will be pricey at launch. The 8800GTS is still one of the best cards out there. Get no-name Nvidia own brand cards... much cheaper!!

An E7200 would be the best choice for a budget CPU. This CPU will blow away the E2160. Anything more is shear indulgence at someone else's expense!! Most games will be GPU limited (after all) at this level of CPU power. Overclock if you really want/need more speed...

Aren't Crucial Ballistix still good DDR2 RAM sticks?? They get good reviews for overclockability and are cheap....
A (UK) link which makes them sound pretty sweet:
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY-090-CR&tool=3
OCZ Platinum sticks I tried on a Gigabyte P35 DS3 board didn't overclock well at all... If you aren't running Vista than 2x 1Gb RAM is still fine (otherwise 2x 2Gb with Vista as suggested).

Put the money you saved on the CPU towards a batch of Corsair modular HX520 PSUs. (Better build quality than the Hyper ones - I have used both.)

Bob



June 9, 2008 11:43:59 PM

uguv said:
I assume since you're looking for affordability you're not going to go SLI or xfire. Here are some thoughts:

Motherboard: Gigabyte EP35 DS3L

Proc: E8400 (or possibly the E7200 if the E8400 is too much. I'd definitely try for the E8400 though.)

Video: Wait for the 4000 series from ATI, but if you have to build now, go with an 8800GTS (G92) 512MB card.

RAM: Cheap 2x2gb DDR2 800 with decent timings from a good brand like crucial, corsair, maybe G Skill.

HSF: Xigmatek HDT-S1283


Id have to agree with everythiing here... e7200 if you can overclock (dont know if the client would like that or not) ive got one at 3.2ghz atm with no voltage increase.

I think the 8800GT would still be enough and would save some more dough, i assume these wont be running high resolutions so you wont need anything bleeding edge anywho
a c 108 à CPUs
June 10, 2008 12:37:17 AM

Suggestion #1: volume discount
Suggestion #2: think twice about overclocking
Suggestion #3: find the right marketing people

AMD / Intel / nVidia will be more than happy to work with you if you have a decent business model and plan.

Intel, particularly, will slap their logo anywhere - from print advertising to the wall of the cafe. AMD distributors may be more likely to give you product discount to 'brand'
June 10, 2008 3:06:43 PM

Thanks for all the advice guys.

Uguv, yea thats what i was aiming for.

Bob, thx for the heads up on the psu, i use the hyper myself, havent tried corsair.

Chook, the client isnt really a client, just a friend. He heard i made 4 of the other sytems for friends who were happy and so he tohught that i could make some for him.

Wisecracker, nice idea. I ll see if any of them wants to slap some sponsor discount on em. Dunno if 15 comps would be enough for that.
a b à CPUs
June 10, 2008 3:13:48 PM

Jeez you will go broke listening to these fools.

AM2+ mobo's and 6000+ cpu's.

Throw 8800GS cards in them

1Gb RAM is plenty

XP ... forget Vista.

Standard off the shelf 400W cases but make sure they have the rear 120mm fans and you machine out the rear ali grilles to improve airflow.

Network the lost and make a ghost image from one machine once the games you want are on.

Expect to have to ghost these every 4 weeks anyway.

These will play most of the n00b FPS games the kids like.

Stick 320Gb HDD's in them - Vanilla. They are at about the cheapest price point now ...

No floppies ...

Disable USB's ...

June 10, 2008 4:06:00 PM

I'd tend to agree with the last poster that the other builds are a bit too high end for a cafe setting.

I'd go for 2gb of ram. It's practically free anyhow. It really improves general responsiveness of a system, especially when you're running a cheap HDD.

You're looking at what 17" or 19" monitors, so you're not going to be playing at huge resolutions. You'll likely be in 1440x900 max if you go widescreen or 1280x1024, so a GT or GTS would be on the very very high end for these machines. Depending on the price difference they might be worthwhile as a future proofing measure, but they're not needed right now.

I'd stick with quality brand HDDs and PSUs as they are a real pain when they go out and I'd look for something with decent energy effeciency. The 400W and 250-320gb range is probably a good place to be.

I'd say you can't beat some good ol' cheap Raidmax cases. Make sure your local hospital has plenty of your blood type on hand cause you'll be losing plenty. I think they sharpen the edges in their cases. They are hard to beat for price and that cheesy gamer look though. Some cheap cold cathodes in windowed cases would probably go a long way towards impressing the end clients as well.
June 10, 2008 4:59:27 PM

yes go with th cheaper amd systems but id go with cheap 3850 graphic cards :)  on low cost 770 chipsets as the are pcie 2.0 and so is the 3850 :) 

also u could throw in a low cost quad when the prices go down in the future to lengthen the life. just make sure you get an asus or some other brand mobo that supports the low end 770 chipset with 125 wat cpu. some 770 mobos only support 95 watt phenoms
June 10, 2008 5:37:01 PM

Erm, sorry 2 interupt... Bt I think in Malaysia,
the Phenom Price is pretty much affordable than the Intel Quad Processor.
Phenom X4 9550 costs MYR595 in my country(Approximately US$186).
In terms of overall performance vs prive, AMD beats Intel.
We don't just judge the processor only, take a look at the whole platform as well.
Sorry to say that Intel's latest DirectX 10 Platform G35 lacks far behind if compared to AMD 790G chipset(for mainstream computers).
This chipset supports Hybrid crossfire which combines mo/bo graphics with
ur graphic card but limited to Ati Radeon HD2400pro, 2400xt, 3450 & 3470 only. After Hybrid crossfire, this system could run crysis on 1024x768 on pretty much medium settings decently (around 20 FPS).
80% of peoples all around the world wouldn't spend much on computers.
AMD mainstream rigs are much more reliable than of Intel's.
I'm working as a computer technician, recieved A lot of "Intel junks"(worn out pentium 4s & Ds).
Only 1 out of 160+ AMD returned during warranty period.^^ Proven!!!^^v
My words: For enthusiast, price doesn't matter, go for intel!!!
If price is concerned, I'd pick AMD out of an Intel.
June 10, 2008 5:48:44 PM

My Pick:
Processor: AMD Phenom 9550 US$186
Motherboard: MSI K9A2GM-FIH-S(solid capacitors) US$105
Ram: Kingston Value Ram 800Mhz 2GB US$49
HDD: Seagate 500GB 32MB buffer US$90
Graphics: ATi Radeon HD3450 US$49
System Protection:Juzt-Reboot/American Secure *System Restore US$40
Monitor: Acer X193W US$139
Windows XP Home Edition US$99
Total: US$757
June 10, 2008 6:16:09 PM

Reynod said:
Jeez you will go broke listening to these fools.

AM2+ mobo's and 6000+ cpu's.

Throw 8800GS cards in them

1Gb RAM is plenty

XP ... forget Vista.

Standard off the shelf 400W cases but make sure they have the rear 120mm fans and you machine out the rear ali grilles to improve airflow.

Network the lost and make a ghost image from one machine once the games you want are on.

Expect to have to ghost these every 4 weeks anyway.

These will play most of the n00b FPS games the kids like.

Stick 320Gb HDD's in them - Vanilla. They are at about the cheapest price point now ...

No floppies ...

Disable USB's ...


Some good ideas here, but he said he wanted to use updated tech from the E2160 overclocked, and the 6000+ CPUs aren't much of an upgrade. For a good budget build that will outperform both the 6000+ and the x4 9550 (at games) the E7200 is probably the perfect processor. If you're not overclocking too much the stock HSF would probably work, otherwise the Freezer 7 Pro or the Xigmatek S1283 are both reasonably priced and perform well.

I do like the 8800GS idea. Unfortunately some of the "n00b FPS games" the kids like do put a strain on the video card. The 8800GS might be able to handle it, but it really depends on what kinds of games they're trying to play. If you have such crappy performance that the game doesn't play well then you will not have repeat customers. If the 8800GS can do an adequate job running the games expected to be played then it's an excellent choice. If they're looking to play games that need a bit more juice, the 9600GT or 3870 might be reasonable alternatives if the 8800GTS (G92) breaks the budget. I'd suggest researching which games are likely to be running on the PCs before deciding on the video card.

4gb of RAM can be had for under $70 these days, where 2gb is usually around $50. $20 to double the ram seems like a no-brainer.

Ghost is a great idea. I think you could get something like DriveImage (which would work well enough for this scenario) for free.
June 10, 2008 8:10:14 PM

Yea. so far im at something close to this

Cpu = e7200
Gpu = 8800gts
Mb = P35-ds3l (ep35?)
Freezer 7 pro
4gb ram (prolly balistix)


As for the ghosting etc, im gonna set him up with deepfreeze instead, with unlocked drives for maps/savegames
June 10, 2008 10:39:13 PM

1) Honestly I'd save the money and stick with 2 Gig of ram. I've read a lot of games not being compatible with Vista so 2 gig is very good for XP, many user's (ie customers) won't notice the difference.

2) Video card really depends on what games and quality you are planning to run them at. If you want to have all of them play Crysis at max settings then you are going to needs the best. But if you plan to play most of the other games I'd stick with the 8800GTS that you quoted. The ATI cards are good for games if you can get a good price for it, but they do not perform as good as the nVidia cards when AA is turned on, and now that the prices are dropping for both of them I'd stick with nVidia.

3) Overclocking: Are you sure you want to do that for an internet cafe??? If you do how much overclocking are you looking at? 10% gain or 50% gain? Depending on how much you plan on overclocking, that decision will help you decide what board you want.
July 1, 2008 8:50:11 PM

rune1980 said:
Yea. so far im at something close to this

Cpu = e7200
Gpu = 8800gts
Mb = P35-ds3l (ep35?)
Freezer 7 pro
4gb ram (prolly balistix)


As for the ghosting etc, im gonna set him up with deepfreeze instead, with unlocked drives for maps/savegames


If you are still prattling around deciding on the gear then the ATI 4850 cards already look like a better alternative to the 8800GT/S... Shame about the poor cooling for the card (single slot)...

Bob
July 2, 2008 4:04:52 AM

??? these responses are crazy.

Take one of your games you're going to have, look at the recommended requirements for your most advance game you have licenses for, then go one or two steps higher.

For example if you're going to have Age of Conan - that being you're most advanced game and the recommended requirements is a dual core 2ghz, 1gig ram, and a 8600gt graphics card ... take that and go one up. So go dual core 2.4ghz, 2 gigs of ram, and 8800gt. You may even want to go quad core.

you cannot think of the now you gotta think ahead of time otherwise people won;t show up to play games if the game plays lousy.

You don't need a 600 watt power supply for a mainstream gaming cafe'. 500 at most.

You don't want to break the bank but at the same time you want to make sure the games you have can play and future games will play as well. Giving you enough time to recover the funds.

You also HAVE to think of warranties and repairs. When something dies will you have time to fix it? You may want to go with a brand name that offers a nice warranty that can get things fixed quickly without hassles.

That would be my recommendation on the business side.
July 2, 2008 6:51:55 AM

rune1980 said:
I have been asked to put together 15 computers for an internet cafe. The computers are to be used for gaming. The price range isnt defined yet, but im looking for an affordable solution. 6months ago i made a computer (e2160 (overclocked), 2gb crucial cas4 ram, gigabyte p35-dsl mainboard, 8800gt top and a sweet modular ps from hyper) the whole system was rather cheap but performs really well. I was hoping to build a system similar to this, but with up to date parts. Anyone have a few mins to recommend a few pieces of hardware? Key words are affordability and ability to play new 3d games, overclockability would be appreciated as well.


This is an internet cafe with mass hardware purchase, so warranties are absolutely important. So do not Overclock those systems, unless you plan to cover any fried hardware due to OCing. I'd go with Windows XP pro, the cafe would likely be able to get ahold of a volume license they can use on their computers, which also makes installing on multiple machines much easier, not to mention it would cost less than buying several OEM copies. I'd only recommend Vista if they're really adamant about it, but then you gotta look at the higher OS cost.

Many others are right, for the CPU the E7200 looks like a pretty good option, even at stock.
Mainboard I'd go with something p43/p45 based, cost about $20 more per board for the equivalent of what you chose, but also insures future upgrade ability better OCing and support for faster Ram, as well as CrossfireX.
GPU, The 8800GTS is still too much above $200, which isn't good when the 4850 can perform just as well, better with AA enabled, at $199 or less. All you need to do about the high heat is use something to tune up the speed of the fan on the cooler, thats the major issue. Like others have said, you'll likely be using 17-19" widescreen LCDs on these, so the need for high res horsepower really doesn't matter, where as the ability to run AA+AF at lower reses does.

Something like this would be a good start. https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=7930371
You could probably find a bit different case with included PSU's. Preferably something with a locking front door. Other option would be a bunch of Lan boxes.

But, since it's an internet Cafe, I can already tell you the most likely games that will be played. Unreal Tournament 3, World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, ET:Quake Wars, FEAR, Valve Orange Box games. Can't think of a lot of others off the top of my head. Also expect classics like Starcraft, Warcraft 3, and C&C.

4GB ram is really overkill, and very likely won't be needed for those apps. so I selected a 2x1gb kit of DDR2 1066Mhz ballistix Tracer. Which the p43/45 boards will be able to take advantage of.

I could probably come up with a good AMD AM2+ build that would be good for this kind of situation as well. Something based off the 9600be or one of the newer low power phenoms. Pair that with the 790gx chipset and you have a pretty good performing IGP that can in fact play a lot of modern games at the lower reses.
July 19, 2008 12:01:06 AM

Id like to add my 2 cents. Get an Asus mobo over a Gigabyte. Gigabytes RMA/support is horrid. Its been almost 2 weeks and I still havent gotten a response to my request for an RMA... You will be confident, if a mobo fails, that you can get a new one out to you quick.
July 19, 2008 12:11:28 AM

Reynod said:
1Gb RAM is plenty


I don't agree with that.

I would say I HIGHLY recommend 2 gigs. 1 gig would be the absolute minimum. I just think it would cripple some games, even if you're just running XP.
July 19, 2008 12:17:01 AM

I would go with a fast dual core. AMD has some good choices, as well as Intel. Intel might have the minor benefit of more headroom. I don't say this for overclocking, but for longevity. For example, my wife's computer, a P4 @2.8 GHZ started throttling and the fan was in overdrive, and it was because the system got really dusty in the heatsink and exhaust fan. I feel that the AMD machine would be more prone to something like that. However, it's an internet cafe and it would only take 30 minutes to clean out all the machines with a vaaccum or compressed air.

So, if you went with a comparable Intel dual core for probably about the same price, there would be a little bit more headroom. However, a AMD 6000 or 6400 would also rock the house without breaking the budget.

I wouldn't go quad core if you're looking for a budget gamer. AMD's cheapest quad-cores won't keep up with the dual cores in games and Intel's cheapest quad-core is $200, but you could get a dual core for much less with the same gaming performance in most games (with a few exceptions, like Crysis, when physics are turned high it uses a lot of CPU horsepower and is multi-threaded).

In terms of video cards, both AMD and nVidia have some rocking options. Pick a price point and then look at the performance that each company offers at that price point and go with the winner.
July 19, 2008 1:08:02 AM

rune1980 said:
I have been asked to put together 15 computers for an internet cafe. The computers are to be used for gaming. The price range isnt defined yet, but im looking for an affordable solution. 6months ago i made a computer (e2160 (overclocked), 2gb crucial cas4 ram, gigabyte p35-dsl mainboard, 8800gt top and a sweet modular ps from hyper) the whole system was rather cheap but performs really well. I was hoping to build a system similar to this, but with up to date parts. Anyone have a few mins to recommend a few pieces of hardware? Key words are affordability and ability to play new 3d games, overclockability would be appreciated as well.


Easy. Get EVGA 790i Ultra board, Q6600, and a U-120E. Set Vcore to 1.55V, and overclock to 3.6Ghz. /dragon :p 

On a more serious note, you can try:

E2160
GA-EP35-DS3
2GB Crucial DD2-800
ATi 3870 / Nvidia 9600GT
500W Power supply.

That will cost you about...400~500USD per machine.
July 20, 2008 12:20:14 AM

yomamafor1 said:
Easy. Get EVGA 790i Ultra board, Q6600, and a U-120E. Set Vcore to 1.55V, and overclock to 3.6Ghz. /dragon :p 

On a more serious note, you can try:

E2160
GA-EP35-DS3
2GB Crucial DD2-800
ATi 3870 / Nvidia 9600GT
500W Power supply.

That will cost you about...400~500USD per machine.


Without Eventual OCing, which I don't recommend in this case, they wouldn't have a very long useful life cycle. Would cost more but probably be better to go with the e7200 p45 combo. 2gb of G.Skill, Mushkin, or Crucial ram. 8800gt or 4850 for video, whatever decent size hdd you can find for a low price. I picked up my second 320gb 7200.10 barracuda driver for $50 for example.
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