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Th is will be my first build

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April 1, 2010 3:36:06 PM

Hey guys, I've been going through and researching and think I have found a build i'm pretty happy with but I want to post it to see if there's something that i coulda missed in the details that will make this build impossible. please let me know if you find anything. I will be using this build for everything from gaming (nothing hardcore) to just piddaling around with music and music software.

Case- Cooler master storm Sniper
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo- ASRock H55M Pro LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

processor- Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 3.06GHz 4MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power-CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics- XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM-G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL (8Gb)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD- Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor-Insignia® - 22" Class / 720p / 60Hz / LCD HDTV
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Insignia%26%23174%3B+-+22%2...


I know this is alot to run through but please let me know if you see anything wrong. Im about to start purchasing and i dont wanna get screwed.

More about : build

April 1, 2010 4:33:08 PM

You might want to take a look at the guidelines. To be of any real help, we need a budget.

Some general observations:

CPU: The i3 isn't good for much outside of HTPCs. I'd go with a cheaper/better AMD build.
Mobo: Not exactly a quality board there. I'd stick with a Gigabyte or an Asus.
RAM: Slightly slower RAM. Look at the 1333 mhz CL 7 sticks from G.Skill or the 1600 mhz CL 7 ones.
HDD: This is a slower drive than others. Grab either a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB or Seagate 7200.12 1 TB.

EDIT: Forgot to mention the case and PSU. I'm not a huge fan of the Storm Sniper. It's expensive, smaller and generally not as good as many others out there. For your uses, I would look at this combo: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 650W (assuming you can/want to Crossfire later). 750W is huge overkill for a single 5770, or even two in Crossfire.
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April 1, 2010 5:06:51 PM

Sorry my budget will probably be about $1200 max is what im shooting for
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April 1, 2010 5:13:23 PM

Is that including the monitor/TV?

If the monitor isn't included, this would be a better build:

CPU: i5-750 and Asus P7P55D-E Pro $375
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
GPU: HD 5870 $420
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
PSU: Corsair 750W 80+ $100 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $90 after rebate
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $24

Total: $1,184 (or $1,219 with the 1 TB HDD below)

If the monitor is included:

CPU/Mobo: X4 955 and Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $265 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
GPU: HD 5850 $300
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $90
Case/PSU: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 650W $130
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $24

Total: $929 ($1,159 total)

Either one of these would be better all around builds
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April 1, 2010 10:10:33 PM

The one reason to take a Storm Scout over another case is the handles for easy transport if you take it with you to LAN parties and such.

The Storm Sniper doesnt really have any features that would make it preferable to a 922 or 300.
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April 2, 2010 12:29:23 AM

1) Do you need the TV capability of that monitor? If not, consider a PC monitor. In any case, I would look at a 1080P tv/monitor which will give you much better resolution.

2) I like the i3-540/H55 choice. It should be able to drive the 5770 well.

3) The WD 1TB drive is good. Would you consider adding an Intel X25-V 40gb SSD for your OS drive? They are currently reduced to $99 at newegg.

4) That is a good looking $150 case. If you love it, fine. The storm scout is similar, but cheaper. Otherwise consider the Antec 300 illusion model which is half the price:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Go to a store and look at cases in person if you can .

5) Hope you are planning on windows-7

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April 2, 2010 4:02:27 AM

geofelt said:
1) Do you need the TV capability of that monitor? If not, consider a PC monitor. In any case, I would look at a 1080P tv/monitor which will give you much better resolution.

2) I like the i3-540/H55 choice. It should be able to drive the 5770 well.

3) The WD 1TB drive is good. Would you consider adding an Intel X25-V 40gb SSD for your OS drive? They are currently reduced to $99 at newegg.

4) That is a good looking $150 case. If you love it, fine. The storm scout is similar, but cheaper. Otherwise consider the Antec 300 illusion model which is half the price:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Go to a store and look at cases in person if you can .

5) Hope you are planning on windows-7


1. ya i need the tv tuner, my room is small so i have to incorporate alot of this into one space. The monitor will be used for desktop, xbox, and tv.

2. im not sure theres too much of a differnce between the two (i3 build and AMD build)

3. dude im newbie and nont even know what a SSD for my OS drive does (dont laugh to hard)

4. i really just dont like the antec, i really do like alot of the coolermaster's though.

5. and yes on 7 :D 
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April 2, 2010 12:20:59 PM

1.) He wasn't asking if you needed a TV tuner, he was commenting that you can get monitor with better resolutions for less than that TV. And TV tuners aren't that useful, as they can't record from premium channels.

2.) The difference is the i3 is a weaker processor (actual processing power), but has the best integrated graphics. Since you should be getting a video card any way, the integrated graphics don't really help. The AMD build has a more powerful processor, a bigger GPU, and a more future proof board. All in all, the AMD build is much, much better.

3.) SSDs are super fast HDDs that don't have moving parts. They don't actually do a whole lot in terms of performance, but they make the computer seem extremely fast (boot times decrease, load times decrease). The problem is that a useful sized one is $300. I say useful size because SSDs need to have 20% free space at least and should only store the OS and apps, so 80 GB is about as low as I would recommend to have space for everything.

4.) That Antec is the best case in the price range. What exactly don't you like about it?

EDIT: Most of those deals disappeared yesterday afternoon. Here's the revised AMD build (includes a different case):

CPU: X4 955 $160
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $125 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
GPU: HD 5850 $300
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
Case: Coolermaster 690 $70
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 650W $80
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20

Total: $930.
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April 2, 2010 9:01:00 PM

I actually researched out the SSD's some last night and will probably get one in the future but not intially since your dead on about the space for money issue they have for now.

Right after i read your AMD build I dived into a blur of google searches and forum boards and pretty much fell in love with the X4 955. But lemme ask you this, is the GIGABYTE GA-790FXTA-UD5 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) worth the $40 difference im finding it hard to get a solid answer on that other than the integrated graphics and sound difference.

It's nothing personal against Antec I just like the wire hide away of the coolermaster. But so many ppl swear by the Antec it's starting to convince me so I might get it anyway.

Last thing, I know the 5850 is a great card, but for what I will be playing and watching im sure the 5770 will be more than enough for the time being, unless you have a convincing argument.
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April 2, 2010 9:07:48 PM

I got a similar gigabyte board but with (2) pci-e 16x slots. As such I would never add a 3rd vid card. Besides the 6 g/s sata and usb 3.0 it's a good solid board. And the 955 works very well with it. I'm currently running mine at 3.4 ghz (fake amd 965 :) ) until I get better fans, then I hope to leave it at 3.8-4.0 ghz.

5770 is a good card but 5850 is a better card. Get what you can afford.
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April 2, 2010 9:11:17 PM

o yes the 5850 is a great card but to spend a quarter of my build money on it wouldn't be smart for me right now. what mobo are you running exactly?
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April 2, 2010 9:19:00 PM

Let me see This One. After a quick look it looks like the exact same boards (even north and south bridges) but one 16x pci-e short. Again I have no complaints about mine so far.

And about the 5850, using mine on crysis set to high with AA 4x I still see lag "sometimes." That just goes to show you how graphics demanding some games are. I'm sure the 5770 will handle most games well but at lower settings, and if that is ok with you then go for it.

edit: Am I having a brain fart or something? I could have sworn I saw someone link a similar gigabyte board with 3 pci-e 16x slots. It's been a long work day for me :) .
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April 2, 2010 9:19:34 PM

If you want to any kind of serious gaming, I would definitely get the 5850. It's not that uncommon to spend a large percentage of the build on the video card.

The extra PCIe 2.0 slot is not worth $40. Multiple card solutions don't scale well past two cards. If you add a third card, you're just wasting your money.

Neither is the 16x/16x speeds on the first two PCIe slots. The performance gain of a 16x/16x setup over an 8x/8x one is only 4%, and not noticeable unless you're using 5970s.
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April 2, 2010 9:39:45 PM

so far my most serious gaming has been WoW now of course after this i will be able to do some real games
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April 2, 2010 11:12:02 PM

A good monitor is one of the few pc components that you can expect to carry forward to the next build. I suggest you get a good 1080P monitor like this Samsung 23" for $250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Do not settle for 720P resolution, you will regret it forever.

How much do you need 4 cores? Very few games can utilize more than two cores. A strong duo can give you as good gameplay as a quad driving a 5850 at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Read this older article which was done using a E8400 duo @3.0:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/vga-charts-december-2008/
The 5850 is somewhat comparable to the GTX280 on the charts.

The i5-530 at 2.93 is stronger than the E8400 @3.0 and it also has hyperthreading. If you ever need to, it can overclock higher and easier because of the 32nm manufacturing process. I would not bother to pay the extra $20 premium to increase by just one multiplier of the 540. If, in the future, you ever need 4 cores or 8 threads, The H55 chipset will support the i5-750i7-860 and higher

There is another advantage of going the 530/H55 route. Because of the integrated graphics, you do not initially need to commit to a graphics card. I installed civilization 4 on a i5 system using the integrated graphics, and it played fine. You get a lower initial build price, and can better evaluate your discrete graphics needs after playing YOUR games.
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April 3, 2010 4:35:25 AM

geofelt said:
A good monitor is one of the few pc components that you can expect to carry forward to the next build. I suggest you get a good 1080P monitor like this Samsung 23" for $250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Do not settle for 720P resolution, you will regret it forever.

How much do you need 4 cores? Very few games can utilize more than two cores. A strong duo can give you as good gameplay as a quad driving a 5850 at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Read this older article which was done using a E8400 duo @3.0:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/vga-charts-december-2008/
The 5850 is somewhat comparable to the GTX280 on the charts.

The i5-530 at 2.93 is stronger than the E8400 @3.0 and it also has hyperthreading. If you ever need to, it can overclock higher and easier because of the 32nm manufacturing process. I would not bother to pay the extra $20 premium to increase by just one multiplier of the 540. If, in the future, you ever need 4 cores or 8 threads, The H55 chipset will support the i5-750i7-860 and higher

There is another advantage of going the 530/H55 route. Because of the integrated graphics, you do not initially need to commit to a graphics card. I installed civilization 4 on a i5 system using the integrated graphics, and it played fine. You get a lower initial build price, and can better evaluate your discrete graphics needs after playing YOUR games.



What kind of build do you suggest thats similar to the AMD above?
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April 3, 2010 1:32:04 PM

I agree on the monitor. However, that Samsung is expensive. Here's an Asus 23" 1080p that is $50 cheaper, and still very high quality.

I cannot get behind the dual core argument. You don't really need four cores for gaming, but the third core adds a lot of performance. For proof, search the articles here at Tom's for "how many cores do you need". They did an exhaustive review on the effect of the number of core on gaming performance. Duals are better than singles because a lot of the background processes are offloaded to the second core. Triple cores are better than duals for the same reason, plus the fact that games are beginning to use two cores.

Furthermore, I absolutely disagree about getting an i5 dual core. They're as expensive as the i5-750 and have a lot less gaming performance. Also, hyperthreading is basically useless to gamers. Games don't take advantage of it. Heck, most games don't even use all four cores (see the above). Which makes the i5-750 so good. It's turbo boost allows automatic overclocking if some cores aren't being used. The more cores that aren't doing anything, the higher the clock speed goes for the ones that are working. That means that in game, when you're only using one or two cores exhaustively, you're going to get a fairly substantial overclock. Also, if you got one of the i5 dualies, you wouldn't have much of an upgrade path. You could only move up to the i5-750 or i7-860, as the LGA1156 socket is not going to be getting any more powerful CPUs. Intel's making it their mainstream socket, which means cheaper CPUs and less power.

Not only that, but the i5 dualies are as weak as the cheapest AMD quad core, which is half the price. And that's only in the true CPU applications that use hyperthreading. They're actually worse for gaming.

You definitely need a discrete gaming card to do any kind of gaming at 1080p. That is if you actually want to see what's going on. The i3/H55 builds are great for HTPCs because their graphics can play media at 1080p. They can even play older games at decent frame rates. But asking them to play anything somewhat new at anything above 1280x is just asking too much.

Also, don't compare a newer CPU to an older generation. Of course the new one is going to win, but no one is going to recommend the Core 2 Duos. Compare it to what would actually be a good idea to use now.

@l0new0lf: If you don't want to expand outside of WoW, you can drop the GPU to an HD 5770 and save another $150. That will still allow you to play at maximum settings at 1080p. However, that will be too little graphics power to play other new games at that resolution with higher details. I don't know how you feel about building a new computer, buying a new game, and then having to turn down the details to play. It always makes me feel like the new computer was a waste of money, but that's me...
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April 3, 2010 3:09:32 PM

Here is a budget i3=530 gaming build from tom's:
http://www.tomshardware.com/system-configuration-recomm...

Because of the savings on the i3-530, you can spend more on the 5850 which is THE important factor in gaming.

The i3-530 cpu's will overclock easily if necessary, but even at stock you can game well.

How important is the cpu compared to the graphics card?

Here are two articles to read: The first was done two years ago, using a E8400@3.0. That processor is less capable than the i3-530, and the 530 has hyperthreading(you see 4 threads). The second is more current, and uses a i7-965 overclocked to 3.75. At your resolution of 1920 x 1080, you will see that performance using the same graphics card is relatively close. Unfortunately, the articles did not compare the exact same games, but if you compare cod-4 vs. cod-5, and crysys two variants, you can get some idea. Also, see what graphics configuration you need to get to the desired 60fps for best gameplay. The net is that once you have an adequate duo @3.0 or better, it is the graphics card that determines how well you do.

http://www.guru3d.com/article/vga-charts-december-2008/

http://www.guru3d.com/article/vga-charts-december-2009/...

Here is a cpu heirarchy chart from tom's. You will see that the i3-530 is just one tier below the X4-955

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu,257...

There is no doubt that a faster cpu or more cores will improve performance, But there is diminishing returns. The $90 or so that you will save with the i3-530 approach can be spent better on a 5850 to give a more balanced gaming system.
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April 3, 2010 3:48:41 PM

the fact remains the i3 is still a dual core and the amd quad cores are at the same price point i dunno bout you but id rather have a lower revving 4 cylinder engine then a high revving 2 cylinder engine
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April 3, 2010 7:43:04 PM

Actually, the X4 955 is cheaper than the i5/i3 dual cores. So there isn't any cost savings to plug into the GPU. Besides, this build isn't strictly a gaming build. So you'd be sacrificing a lot and gaining nothing.

Keep in mind that you're arguing for an i3/i5 dual core with a 5850 versus a X4 955 and a 5850. It doesn't make any sense...
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April 4, 2010 5:34:07 AM

admiral do you like your ASUS board or do ya think the gigabyte is better for what i will probably be doing?
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April 4, 2010 3:29:16 PM

I like the Asus board I have (the XTD Evo), but it's not as future proof as many out there. I got it just before the USB 3/SATA III boards were released. If I were buying a new board now, I would definitely get the Gigabyte one.
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April 5, 2010 5:50:43 AM

its a bout as hard as reading a manual
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April 5, 2010 6:06:23 AM

I just recently got my self a Phenom 955 and i heavily suggest it. It's more than you're really going to need unless you're doing a bunch of media editing and such. One thing to pay attention to is to make sure you get the 955 C3 stepping version. the model number ends with MBOX (c2 is IBOX) and at the moment it is the 955 with the lowest amount of reviews on Newegg. It will run cooler and overclock better. on another note if you intend to overclock the 955 is a beast waiting to be unleashed. It easily gets to 4ghz on air. As for 4 cores vs 2 cores it's more future safe to just get 4, especially when the 955 is only $160. Also if you intend to play games like Dragon age and Mass Effect 2 the quad will show it's self(to my understanding and experience). For the motherboard option try the GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H. Again future proof (to me is a big deal) and it's a very good option. AM3, USB 3, and sata 6gb/s all backwards compatible so even if you dont need them doesnt matter. I'm using one atm and everything is flawless, the bios is easy to manage, and the layout is nice. Supports crossfire x (2 PCI-e one 16x one 8x) and ddr3, though if you get 1600 ram you will need to go into the bios and manually set it from 1333 to 1600, it's easy to do. It's not overclocking the ram it's just that the mobo auto sets it to that. Also i use a 5770 and i love it but get what you can afford. of course the 5850 will be better but if you really aren't playing games like crysis and what not i would just save the money. I play mid/high level games such as Mass Effect 2, Dragon age origins, Fallout 3, and Oblivion. I can play all maxed out even maxed AA smoothly with the exception of some lag in highly demanding areas. I just turn down AA a few notches and everything runs beautifully and the difference from 8x AA and 4x AA doesn't make a bit of difference, at least to me. Also if you aren't picky about lower game settings or are just going to be playing wow the on-board graphics on the motherboard i suggested should do pretty well. It's a decent bit better than my laptop graphics and i play dragon age origins on medium settings with no lag.
On the point of the monitor i personally like 16x10 monitors for gaming better as well as for normal everyday use. you can also pick up a good 22inch 1680x1050 monitor for $150-$180. they support 720p and i don't really see a difference in gaming from 1680x1050 and 1920x1080. I use my HD tv for gaming sometimes and just to compare it to my monitor and it doesn't make a bit of a difference. I've even set up a 22 inch 1680x1050 monitor right next to a 1080p 22 inch and ran the same game and tasks and it's not really any difference unless you are watching a 1080p movie. Also if you have a 1080p TV like i do just buy an HDMI cable and link it up to your computer. wanna watch a movie? just switch it over as easy as that. 1080p monitors have become a huge thing with new computers these days and I personally never saw the point. also don't worry about use an HDMI cable over a DVI cable. The DVI wont give you worse quality (I'm pretty sure they even work better) it just wont transfer audio.

Here's some links to the things I've talked about.
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MOBO: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Monitor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (monitor i have also/ works perfect for me)
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April 5, 2010 6:18:09 AM

MadAdmiral said:

Not only that, but the i5 dualies are as weak as the cheapest AMD quad core, which is half the price. And that's only in the true CPU applications that use hyperthreading. They're actually worse for gaming.

I'm sorry, what? I think you have that messed around a bit. The i5's are definitely not worse for gaming over other CPU intensive tasks. The Core i3 (which is worse than the i5) does better than most of the AMD X4s for gaming, and is only worse than some of them when doing stuff like video coding (source). Since you can get an i3 for $120 compared to getting a Phenom II X4 965 for $180 or so it may be a better idea to get an i3 over an AMD CPU and sink the savings into something else.
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April 5, 2010 12:18:47 PM

I'm not talking about the X4 965. It's the X4 955, which is $160, not counting the large number of combos with great boards that Newegg usually has. And you're not factoring in the cost of a good board into that. A good future proof LGA1156 board is $50 more expensive than a similar AM3 board (compare the Asus P7P55D-E Pro at $190 to the Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 for $125).

I did get the performance mixed up. The Intel dual cores are absolutely terrible outside of gaming. In gaming, the CPU doesn't matter. However, this build ISN'T a strictly gaming build. It's an all around build. That means the CPU and the GPU are of similar importance, so the new dual cores are a bad idea.

EDIT: Also, the dual core that has the same performance as the X4 955 in those tests is the i5-661, which is $200. That's the same price as the i5-750 (unquestionable superior) and $40 more expensive than the X4 955 (about the same performance).
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April 6, 2010 4:55:17 AM

the only real extra im thinkin bout getting for the case (going antec 902) is a fan for the side panel and maybe a fan for the CPU. Also was thinking some cold cathodes. The fan control panel with thermal readers seems like a nice touch but maybe unnesecary for me.
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April 15, 2010 11:55:51 PM

Best answer selected by l0new0lf7.
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