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Building a Poker Machine

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March 11, 2009 7:33:16 PM

Strictly a poker machine capable of handling 3 monitors with at least 1 dual link dvi. Able to handle large SQL databases and multiple sites and programs running similtaneously.

I currently have a DELL XPS: Duo Core 2.4GHZ, 2GB RAM, RAID 0 150GB raptors (10k RPM), Nvidia 7900GS which isn't terrible by any means but it does get laggy at times.

I'm really struggling with all the options available and trying to decid where to spend the most money as I rarely play videos games (Maybe need a video card for SC2)

Cost is not really an problem but ideally I will go with the best bang for the buck. $2000 range is ok.


Processor:
Intel Core i7 920 - probably the only thing i'm sure about

Memory:
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ?

Harddrive:
Critical point that I am very unsure of. SSD? 15K? 10K? RAID?
I don't know if i'm better off raiding some 7200RPM drives or getting a dedicated drive for my SQL database (which gets heavily used). Also I would love to add some redundancy in RAID as I don't back up nearly enough and I have been very fortunate with my RAID 0 Raptors. (which I love and I hear the velicoraptors are even better) Also I think Asus P6T has an integrated SAS controller which might make the 15k drives even more appealing? I understand noise is a problem with the 15k drives and I would prefer something more on the quiet side.

Motherboard:
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ?

Videocard:
SAPPHIRE 100260SR Radeon HD 4850 X2 1GB 512-bit (2 x 256-bit) ?
This particular card has 4 DVI ports which would be ideal (I forgot to check if any were dual link dvi). Would I be better getting off 1 good dedicated card incase I decide to game a little and just buy a cheapie to get me a couple more DVI ports?

Case:
Not a clue. I don't care how it looks but ideally something that gets the job done and if it's smaller then my behemoth of an XPS case all the better.

Power Supply:
Again no idea really.


Any advice would be greatly appreiated.

More about : building poker machine

March 12, 2009 2:35:37 AM

I'd get a bunch of WD6401AALS disks and setup RAID 5.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID

PSU: a Corsair 750TX or PC Power & Cooling 750W is about right for a HD 4850X2 and an i7 and a bunch of HDDs.

MB: Asus P6T Deluxe V2 is pretty good. GA-EX58-UD3R has fewer features but costs less and will still be good enough here.
March 12, 2009 2:38:52 AM

I forgot: you should probably reuse the behemoth, because the HD 4850 X2 is pretty big and may not fit in a tiny new case.
Related resources
March 12, 2009 2:47:04 AM

Its hard to justify $2000 on what you need a system for.

I played on Poker Stars 24 tables on dual 24" monitors with Poker Tracker 3 on an E8400 w/4GB ram no problem at all. I mean if you have money to spend than get the i7 920 but a lesser processor like Q6600 and DDR2 will do you just as well.

SSD won't give any advantage over 7200 RPMs, while there is a lot information going on its all super small amount of data. I mean a buddy of mine who recently stopped playing online poker for a living had millions of hands in his database which took up no more than 20GB I think he said. SSD are untested waters with their long term reliability atm anyways. You'll want to protect your precious PT3 database though so you'll want to run raid 1 (2 drives).

If you want to spend and invest a little into the longevity of the system I'd look at CM Cosmos 1000 case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $200
and the ENERMAX REVOLUTION85+ ERV1050EWT its the one of the, if not thee quietest PSU an its extremely energy efficent with modular cabling $300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooler XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler it either keep your system cool and quiet or allow you to overclock if you need to $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 12, 2009 3:03:53 AM

Also How many tables are you playing? What size are your monitors? If your playing at any resolution less than 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 you probably want to look into making a switch to these sizes as you can fit 12 tables or 9 with a little more or 6 with most room you'd really want on each monitor.
March 12, 2009 3:17:39 AM

I do desire a certain ammount of overkill. Stars from my experience is one of the best poker sites in terms of software, it's all the other ones that are really bogging me down.

My database is presently 60GB. I would like to have at least 200GB dedicated for it.

I do agree though that running raid 1 might be a must, if I lost my database I would not be pleased. Possibly even RAID 5 like Aevm mention or a 1/0 combo?

I have a fear that going from raided 0 raptor drives to 7200RPM will be somehow noticeable for me but with the increases in technology I suspect it will be much faster?
March 12, 2009 3:19:07 AM

Got the monitors covered: 2500x1600 and 2 1920x1200's
March 12, 2009 3:34:37 AM

The WD Caviar Black 640 HDDs that aevm linked arent that far off of the Velciraptors in performance.
TechReport VelociRaptor review (note that the Caviar 640GB HDD used in the review is the Blue model and not the faster Black model).
Four of the WD Caviar Black 640 HDDs in RAID 10 should get you the performance and redundancy you're looking for.
And the larger RAM amount, and larger CPU cache, faster CPU processor should help your system run faster under load.


March 12, 2009 3:36:04 AM

Raid 5 isn't going to be necessary in your case since raid 5 is really only for large amounts of data need to backed up, but if your going to buy more than 2 drives of the same size you can run it in raid.

The system that I was running 24 tables on had a single 7200 RPM Western Digtal drive. Like I said it didn't have any problems, I had small dbase in comparison though. I don't know how PT3 (I assume thats what your using) dbase scales with size if it needs anymore power. Since the only real realtime reads off the dbase is needed is looking up a new players stats is a super quick call (even with a million players in dbase it on 10 loops away from finding any player) from dbase compared to majority of the work while playing which is just recording hand data and updating active players stats (which 24 tables only produces about 1000-1200 hand and hour which is nothing for a computer).
March 12, 2009 3:51:09 AM

I also use several programs to scan poker lobbies and draw stats from the database as I play. I'll run as many as 4 scans at a time and these seem to be what slow me down more then anything.

Is there really little benefit from doing a dedicated drive for SQL? and you guys also agree that the benefits from SSD/15k/10K RPM drives is not enough to outweight the cost for having my OS+apps on it?
March 12, 2009 4:03:12 AM

There isn't enough corporate knowledge to know for sure that a SSD will have a significant improvement in performance for what you want. Note the differences in SSD READ vs Write speeds. Look over the other benchmarks for ideas on what the SSDs do well (and what they don't do so well). You'll see an early SSD along with the more recent, faster Intel X25-M.

SAS 15K arrays are best for multi-user server environments, not a single multi-tasking desktop user.
March 12, 2009 4:03:17 AM

Quote:
Is there really little benefit from doing a dedicated drive for SQL?
I really can't think off one unless you like to run a torrent tracker with 20 torrents open at once while you working. Although I always like to keep my OS/Apps disk seperate from my large storage movies/movies/torrents/user created files/long term back since it makes it much easier to do a quick format if I need to.
March 12, 2009 4:06:05 AM

Two other questions:
Thoughts on that video card? Would I be better off buying a mid-ranged card that could handle some video games and just a junker card to get my extra monitors up?

RAID 1/0:
If I go with this configurations would I benefit from purchasing a raid controller or is the P6T solid enough?
March 12, 2009 4:10:17 AM

Man you guys are awesome. You have no idea how much this is helping me narrow down what I need.

I believe I will go ahead with 4 of the WD Caviar Black 640 HDDs and do a raid 1/0. If I go with 10k/15k/SSD drives its going to get very expensive very quickly to even consider doing any raid 1, and I think as MykC pointed out that is incredibly important to me.
March 12, 2009 4:28:53 AM

Gaming on the 30" or the 24"? Makes a pretty big difference if you're interested in the eye-candy settings.
For the 24" a 9800GTX+/GTX 250 would be a stretch, you'd have to back off some of the higher graphics options. 4870 or GTX 260 would be a reasonable choice IMO.
For the 30" to be playable at the same settings as the 24" with 870 or GTX 260 you'd want that 4850x2, or 4870x2 / GTX 295.
March 12, 2009 4:32:00 AM

Yeah any gaming I do will be on the 30"
March 12, 2009 4:35:01 AM

Why am I not too surprised? I suppose you could use 2x GTX 260/Core 216 GPUs in SLI for gaming
......and you'd have two decent GPUs :D  for playing poker as well?
March 14, 2009 12:06:52 AM

Quick bump. I am still unsure if I will need a RAID controller. If so can anyone recommend one? If so i've also heard I need a battery backed write cache (?)
March 14, 2009 12:20:00 AM

Any motherboard you buy will have a raid controller, maybe two onboard.
March 14, 2009 12:54:09 AM

JohnnySky said:
i've also heard I need a battery backed write cache (?)
Where did you hear that?
Usually you only find the RAID array backed write cache on mission critical systems. You're talking high end RAID cards there, usually with a separate battery back up unit as an option.

For about half the cost of a battery backed up RAID card you could get a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) battery backup for your whole system.
UPS examples compare prices, features (and shipping charges).

I would expect the motherboard RAID option will meet your requirements.
A RAID array is still never a good replacement for backups of critical or irreplaceable data and files.
March 15, 2009 9:27:13 PM

I must be getting some bad advice, glade I came here. I actually have a UPS already for my current PC so thats good news! Thanks.
!