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Build workstation w/ gaming parts?

Last response: in Systems
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June 16, 2010 6:55:07 PM

I'm reposting my question in the format re-suggested yesterday.

I need help building a workstation, but at the cost of a gaming rig. Is it possible? I don't really understand the benefits of a workstation vs a gaming rig, and so I don't really understand the cost disparity.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week
BUDGET RANGE: approx $2300 After Rebates, incl Win7 Pro and Office 2010
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST: Adobe Suite (especially Photoshop, aftereffects, premier) I don't use these programs everyday, but when I do, I spend weeks working on something. Then I won't use it again like that for a couple of months.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: doesn't matter, currently using cyberpower, but any place will do. I know some people despise these sites b/c they aren't home build, but I have limited time) http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Mega_Special_IV
PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel i7, and the nvidia 470 (I've heard that it's better than ati in the editing department)
OVERCLOCKING: Yes (if it doesn't pose a threat to my workstation, and if someone else can set it up for me, again, limed time and skill)
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Probably not b/c it cost $$
MONITOR RESOLUTION: doesn't matter because I have several available to me, but right now i'm using 1680x1050


As far as the video card goes, I don't understand the difference between a workstation card and the 470. Someone told me it's just the level of support. Is that true? For the price, it seems that the workstation card isn't worth it.

Also, do i need the video to be liquid cooled as well?

This is what I've got so far: Mega Special IV
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Mega_Special_IV

I'm pretty much a noob, so thanks in advance for your input.
June 16, 2010 11:10:07 PM

No, No, No.

Build it yourself mate.
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June 16, 2010 11:14:12 PM

Here what you need to do:

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 260$
i7-930
Four Cores, 8MB L3 Cache $289 or 200$ At Mircocenter
Memory Crucial 6GB DDR3-1333 Triple-Channel Kit
3 x 2GB (6GB Total), CAS 9-9-9-28 $168
3x 2Gb (6Gb Total) Cas 9-9-9-28 168$
x Gigabyte GV-N470D5-13I-B i
1.28GB GDDR5-3482
GeForce GTX 470 GPU at 607 MHz 350$
Hard Drive Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ
1TB, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA 3 Gb/s $80
Optical Cheap Ass DVDRW Optical 21$
8X BD-ROM, 12X DVD-ROM DL, 16X DVD±R $108
Case COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SEC $70
Power Corsair TX-950 $120
SSD: X-25m 160gb 430$
CPU Cooler Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B $62
CPU Fan Scythe Slip Stream SY1225SL12LM-P $11
Total Current Cost $1940


That's under 2k$.

YOu have room for software there.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 17, 2010 12:05:22 AM

That's a fine, powerful rig for you. My build would be fairly similar, but I'll post it for you with links in a bit... you could order the parts and have it built locally probably.
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June 17, 2010 12:21:52 AM

Proximon said:
That's a fine, powerful rig for you. My build would be fairly similar, but I'll post it for you with links in a bit... you could order the parts and have it built locally probably.


Any changes Proxy?

I save my builds to a word file, and a folder, and I'm always lookin g for chages, not only could you help him, but you could help dozens of others.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 17, 2010 1:19:19 AM

That seems to come to $1900 with everything linked, except the Quaddro. That is before the discount codes and rebates and shipping.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 17, 2010 1:19:30 AM

Since he is working on 2D applications the GTX 470 is massive overkill. I do not see any major need for a workstation card however... perhaps if the OP will explain a bit more about the type of work being done.

Otherwise, a GTX 250 1GB would be fine...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is a PNY, since I trust their service dept a bit more.

If something better is needed, then the Quaddro FX 1800 would be far superior to the GTX 470:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
But this sort of thing is really for 3D work. Maya and such.

I would think a bit less SSD and a bit more HD would be just fine.

OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fast and affordable. For the OS and programs.

Caviar Green 2TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For storage. That's a whole lot of photos.

As to the case and PSU, the OP will not need that much power. I'm going to guess the OP is older and will appreciate the more conservative style of a Lian Li case, which comes in combo with a very nice Seasonic PSU from newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

This low voltage 12GB kit from G.skill caught my eye:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
I imagine 1333 CL8 or even CL7 might be possible there, making it a good buy. If the OP is not dealing with very large files and will not have a lot of projects open at once, he can probably get buy with 6GB.

Let's throw that together with the rest of the build at newegg and see where it goes pricewise.

I7 930 and UD5 board
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

LG Blu-ray burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
10% off through tomorrow, will handle all your optical media, you shouldn't need another.

MS Win 7 Pro FULL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's pricey and we can reduce this if needed. The advantage here is
- You can install it on future computers, whereas you are limited with an OEM version
- It comes with 32 and 64 bit versions, although what you need is 64-bit.

MS Office home
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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June 17, 2010 3:08:24 AM

Thanks for the input.

To clarify, I will be working in 3D space. AfterEffects is my number 1 reason for upgrading (should have mentioned that before). I spend hours waiting for a 3D sequence to render, then realize I want to tweak it, wait forever again, tweak, wait...etc.

Here are two quick examples that I could find: announcement1 and announcement2

I was sooo limited. I had to just stop working on them because it took so much time to tweak even one little thing, so I couldn't put the finishing touches on it that would turn it into something very cool.

Does that help?
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June 17, 2010 3:23:04 AM

Proximon said:
As to the case and PSU, the OP will not need that much power. I'm going to guess the OP is older and will appreciate the more conservative style of a Lian Li case, which comes in combo with a very nice Seasonic PSU from newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

WTF? unless 29 is "older"... lol What made you think I was old? I do work at law firm though, and the attorneys bitch if it's "too fancy".
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
June 17, 2010 4:17:00 AM

LOL, primarily the lack of reference to gaming and such. Since the budget has wiggle room, by all means choose whatever case you like as long as it passes our review here :)  There are probably over 100 cases of many styles that will fit your needs. Considerations beyond style are quiet and cooling, possibly USB ports.

As to rendering times, that is mostly CPU bound. It can be mitigated further by offloading work to the GPU though, through CUDA... but not in the case of AE, which does not use CUDA according to my quick research.

So, the only place a video card is going to benefit you is in moving around an image, or panning and zooming, etc. GTS 250 would be fine.

Back to the case though. If you want a classy law-firm look I recommend Silverstone. I use the TJ09 personally and it's full of class.... pricey though.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 17, 2010 5:27:23 PM

So would I benefit from just building a server with a xeon processor? and if so, could I do it, and be worth while, within budget?
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June 17, 2010 5:33:28 PM

Proximon said:
LOL, primarily the lack of reference to gaming and such. Since the budget has wiggle room, by all means choose whatever case you like as long as it passes our review here :)  There are probably over 100 cases of many styles that will fit your needs. Considerations beyond style are quiet and cooling, possibly USB ports.

Back to the case though. If you want a classy law-firm look I recommend Silverstone. I use the TJ09 personally and it's full of class.... pricey though.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Yeah, I mostly play MW2 on 360. I figured out a few years ago that with kids, I don't have time to play more than one game. Nor do they give me a big enough allowance to buy gaming rigs.

The silvertones are nice cases. I spotted those on cyberpower, but they put me over budget. I've been using the kandalf case for a few years. It worked great until someone (not me) dropped it on its radiator/door, actually they let it fall out of their SUV on the pavement in front of the courthouse. Alas, it's also a little out dated now.
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June 17, 2010 7:57:08 PM

aking said:
So would I benefit from just building a server with a xeon processor? and if so, could I do it, and be worth while, within budget?


Nope.

Most Xeons are just noraml chips binned to run at lower voltage, so they last 60 years without failure instead of 16 years without failure, while being clocked lower and costing 3x as much.

No real point to them.

The Xeons that ARE diffrent, (more cores, more cache) are outrageously expensive, and would chew up almost your entrie budget with one chip.

Also, The CM 690 Advanced 2 isn't that flashy, it's very nice, and cheap.

And my ram is a better choice in my opinion.

Some people at Tom's agree with me, it was the RAM that receved steallr rewiews and was featured in the SMB contest.

And Photoshop uses GPU power. And a lot of it.

Why do you need a blue ray?

Also, Don't buy a quadro, it's just a normal overpriced card wiht flashed bios. You can do that yourself.

And the TX-950 is a fine choice, it is cheap, and awesome.

It might be overkill, but that like saying:

I went to a restaurant and ordered a hamburger for 5$, but instead I got a 5$ 16oz Beef Tenderloin steak, I hate this place!

Sure, beef tenderloin is "overkill" becuase hamburger will fill you up also. But Beef Tenderloin does a better job, and at the same price (In this senariop)
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June 17, 2010 9:46:13 PM

My opinion (been through this tons of times) is that self-built is not a good idea for a business if problems with it could put your job in jeapordy. I buy pre-built junk at my business because all problems get blamed on HP or insight and I just have to deal with their RMA depts to get it resolved.

IMO, Self built and business only go together once you are large enough to stock spare PCs and have at least one full time computer tech.
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June 17, 2010 10:39:13 PM

I have to agree with dnd. If crap hits the fan, and I've built the machine, to whom do I turn? And you know how it goes, things never go wrong when you have time to deal with it.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 17, 2010 11:19:38 PM

That's why I suggested using a local builder. For instance, in my town, we have several businesses that build and service office machines. You get quick service and a real person to talk with. Most of them would be delighted to build your machine for you and warranty it.

You can have a dual Xeon WS, and it will probably be faster in AE. There would be a price jump for sure.... around 400 for the board and 300 or so per CPU. It would however be slower in programs that cannot use multiple CPUs.
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June 17, 2010 11:20:36 PM

Now if I could find a local person who actually knows what they're doing, that would rock. Anyone know somebody GOOD in Houston? I'm really tired of doing the job of the technicians I hire.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 18, 2010 3:01:05 PM

CyberPower is fine and the cost of a Building (Yourself) vs CyberPower is negligible at best. For my office [workstation PCs] they built 15 with NO problems. My profession revolves around databases and our servers all run dual Xeon; we do very little Photoshop, but some Flash.

For myself, I find little "joy" in building non-WOW PCs, CyberPower did an excellent job (good wiring/setup/etc) + offer a 3-year warranty.

HOWEVER, a true [Workstation] as mentioned above generally runs on Xeon (dual) and if you are running CAD / VIDEO / 3D rendering for commercial, CyberPower is NOT for you. Mainstream GPUs are NOT part of the Professional Workstaion, and the PRO GPUs are EXPENSIVE!!! A mid-level single GPU cost $600-$800+++.

Pro GPU; Quality vs Quantity:
1. nVidia - http://www.nvidia.com/page/workstation.html
2. ATI - http://www.amd.com/us/products/workstation/Pages/workst...
* ATI - 2D/3D - http://www.amd.com/us/products/workstation/graphics/Pag...

Workstation PC Builders (Dell & HP - Workstations don't remotely compare to their consumer lines w/professional lines ; people saying otherwise don't know what they're talking about)
AVA Direct - http://workstations.avadirect.com/Workstations
Maingear - http://www.maingear.com/quadro-adobecs5/
HP - http://www.hp.com/united-states/campaigns/z-workstation...
Dell - http://www.dell.com/workstations
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June 18, 2010 3:11:46 PM

jaquith said:
HOWEVER, a true [Workstation] as mentioned above generally runs on Xeon (dual) and if you are running CAD / VIDEO / 3D rendering for commercial, CyberPower is NOT for you. Mainstream GPUs are NOT part of the Professional Workstaion, and the PRO GPUs are EXPENSIVE!!! A mid-level single GPU cost $600-$800+++.

So what would you suggest for a workstation within budget, and would it perform as well as the gaming station? After all, I don't run on that stuff everyday? My typical workload is Word and Acrobat, nothing huge. But when I do run AE, I need it to work well enough so I'm not cursing the thing for the smallest edits.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 18, 2010 3:37:41 PM

aking said:
workstation within budget, and would it perform as well as the gaming station? After all, I don't run on that stuff everyday?


For starts Xeon runs MS Windows just fine, and all of the Productivity apps. There are people "gaming" on Xeon CPUs. It "Sounds" like you are exploring a new realm into pro level quality. IF you are working on web-based projects vs movies/publication/CAD then don't bother with any of this, but instead look more "mainstream."

No, you will find professional GPUs are geared towards "hyper-accurate" rendering NOT 70+ FPS gaming.

Therefore, what EXACTLY do you do for a living using all the Adobe apps you mentioned??
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June 18, 2010 3:46:00 PM

jaquith said:
what EXACTLY do you do for a living using all the Adobe apps you mentioned??


I am exploring a new realm. I built a gaming machine a few years ago, but used it for video editing and normal work stuff (word, excel, etc.). Now I'm moving toward animation. I work at a law firm where I'm the everything guy. We use acrobat extensively for portfolios, ocr'ing, file storage, etc.

Sometimes, like for trial, I might try an animation of a brain swelling, of some other CSI like thing. I'm also doing this because I'm going to start animation classes in the fall, so I'm using my excuse at work to buy a new computer as an excuse to build a more apt editing/animating rig.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 18, 2010 4:00:04 PM

aking said:
I might try an animation of a brain swelling, of some other CSI like thing. I'm also doing this because I'm going to start animation classes in the fall, so I'm using my excuse at work to buy a new computer as an excuse to build a more apt editing/animating rig.


I would recommend keeping to the i7 and perhaps using (2) GPUs. The nVidia 470 that you mentioned is obviously great for gaming (good cost:FPS), and nVida Quadro line. Typically, the class(es) will give you a recommended GPU. I wouldn't spend a ton ($150-$500) on the pro GPU.

As you "determine" how much you actually "like" doing animation then you can always trade-up. However, spending $2,000+ on a [very specific] Xeon Workstation "I fell" would be ill advised. Pros spend $5,000 - $15,000+ for their single-purpose machines. If and when you get employed by one of those companies they'll supply you with a workstation.
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June 18, 2010 4:39:06 PM

The question I have about the quadro line is that their specs seem outdated (DirectX 10, Open GL 3.0, DDR3). For the money (410.99 @ overstock) the ATI v5800 looks like the best option. Is there a reason why people prefer the nvidia over this?
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June 18, 2010 4:44:39 PM

All Quadro/FireGL cards are just outdated gaming cards with flashed bios and a 1000% markup.
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June 18, 2010 4:48:17 PM

builderbobftw said:
All Quadro/FireGL cards are just outdated gaming cards with flashed bios and a 1000% markup.

That is something that I would love to be true. Do you know of any performance tests comparing similar cards in a design situation?
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a b 4 Gaming
June 18, 2010 4:53:58 PM

builderbobftw said:
All Quadro/FireGL cards are just outdated gaming cards with flashed bios and a 1000% markup.


Yeah...then I guess all of folks using Quadro/FireGL made a mistake.
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June 18, 2010 4:58:18 PM

It doesn't seem out of the question that an industry would mark up something to make it seem more valuable (e.g. the diamond industry, or even the i7-975). I've heard a lot of people say that the video card industry does that, but I can't find a comparisons.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 18, 2010 5:05:47 PM

aking said:
It doesn't seem out of the question that an industry would mark up something to make it seem more valuable (e.g. the diamond industry, or even the i7-975). I've heard a lot of people say that the video card industry does that, but I can't find a comparisons.

It is all about the [rendering] speed & accuracy. Certainly, the 470 "can" do rendering, but the Apps + HW in a Pro card are night and day in speed + quality of the final product.

Do research yourself. Google it. Ignore what anyone says here, ask your professor/teacher.

Ex - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-04JrDRjiU&feature=fvw
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June 18, 2010 5:55:02 PM

jaquith said:
Yeah...then I guess all of folks using them are idiots! Dumb post.


Dude, are you goddamn serious?

That common knowlege!

LAWL

If you dont know that, you should not advise poeple since you barly no anyhting yourself.

I'll repeat again:

All Quadro/FireGL cards are just outdated gaming cards with flashed bios and a 1000% markup.

Some have added memory. Some are just flat old rebrands wit bios flashs.

Dozens of epople on the fourm have bought gaming cards for 60$ and flashed them into 450$ Quadros/FireGls/


Someone i know perssonally, Charles, took a GTX 280 and flashed it into an expensive Quadro card when he upgraded to a Dual Fermi setup.

It's all the same stuff.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 18, 2010 6:12:46 PM

builderbobftw said:
Dude, are you goddamn serious?

That common knowlege!

All Quadro/FireGL cards are just outdated gaming cards with flashed bios and a 1000% markup.

Some have added memory. Some are just flat old rebrands wit bios flashs.

Dozens of epople on the fourm have bought gaming cards for 60$ and flashed them into 450$ Quadros/FireGls/

It's all the same stuff.


Dude,
Go Flash added image processor, high-bit color, additional on-board accelerating H/W, etc. Perhaps making YouTube videos. The cards are indeed worth the 2x+ speed, quality they produce, etc.

[Forum Footnote & Observations]
Some of the folks here are extremely knowledgeable and helpful, but most are NOT. "Google'ling" an unsubstantiated answer from something they themselves have NO knowledge of NOR experience.
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June 18, 2010 7:09:53 PM

Here you go:

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-...

Also, here s list of flashable cards, fromt he Nvidia side:

8800gt to FX3700
8800gtx to FX4600
GTX260 to FX4800
GTX280 to FX5800

Buy a GTX280, and flash it to a FX5800.

/Done.

Also, cruise around the web a bit more, find some people that auctaully know what they are doing, unlike you!

Also, here you go, under 200$ FX5800:

http://cgi.ebay.com/MSI-GeForce-GTX-280-1GB-512-bit-GDD...

IF you wnated a lfashable ATI card, you could buy a 5870 and flash it into ATi's flagship multi thousand dollar Firegl card.
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June 18, 2010 7:31:54 PM

those are three year old cards. I can't find anyone who knows how to flash the 470, then again, I'm kind of a newb, so I'm not the most capable person in the world.
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June 18, 2010 7:35:08 PM

There is no Quadro based off of Fermi yet.

So no, you can't have a Fermi Quadro, wether you Softmod/Flash or if you buy it.

You're SOL.

I would just buy a GTX 280, Charles's GTX 280/FX5800 does more than everything fine.

(He uses Photoshop CS5 for a living)
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June 18, 2010 7:52:56 PM

I can't use the Graphics sction, I have a temp ban there for calling someone an idiot or something whne he said the the GTX 260 was faster than the 5970, or something along those lines.

Anyways, You're anology fails becuase there are mechanical diffrences bewteen the VW and the Ferrari, unlike Quadro vs Non Quadro.
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June 18, 2010 7:55:36 PM

Ok, i looked at the thread you linked me to.

Did you read it before you linked it?

I think not.

What you need is a bench of:

GTX 280 with bios flash vs FX5800

Or shut up and sit down.
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June 18, 2010 7:59:38 PM

One last question re ram, why is the 1333 memory so much more expensive than the 1800?
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June 18, 2010 8:00:23 PM

VWs run ferrari engines (at least the ones he would be talking about for this analogy). Doesnt make them high performance sports cars because the surrounding suspension, etc are not the same. I think thats what he is trying to get through to you. The core chip may be the same, but the card architecture isnt. Flashing it to "run like" and quadro doesnt mean it will perform as well as a quadro at those tasks.



Not that I am claiming to know if he is right or not, I just think I understand the analogy.
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June 18, 2010 8:00:30 PM

Ummm...

DDR3 1600 ram is the best bet.

To awnser the question, lots of idiots out there.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 18, 2010 8:03:06 PM

There are Chip sets for HW acceleration on the Quadro; a/k/a they are missing on the GTX. So, can you flash similar architecture boards, obviously someone did.

However, like my example the cards are not physically the same.

It has been nice, but I've got other stuff to do...
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June 18, 2010 8:05:09 PM

dndhatcher said:
VWs run ferrari engines (at least the ones he would be talking about for this analogy). Doesnt make them high performance sports cars because the surrounding suspension, etc are not the same. I think thats what he is trying to get through to you. The core chip may be the same, but the card architecture isnt. Flashing it to "run like" and quadro doesnt mean it will perform as well as a quadro at those tasks.


I know what he meant.

But it still doesnt work becuase a GTX 280 bios flash runs exactly like a FX5800 in every way.

The only diffrence is the RAM, the FX5800 has a bit more ram.

And the ram isnt wotrth 1k$ a gb, no way.

especcialy since it almost never gets used, its just a marketng gimmick/excuse for charging so much,
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June 18, 2010 8:05:23 PM

jaquith said:
There are ADDED Chip sets for HW acceleration on the Quadro; a/k/a they are missing on the GTX. So, can you flash similar architecture boards, obviously someone did.

However, like my example the cards are not physically the same.

It has been nice, but I've got other stuff to do...


Prove it.

Proof.

Come on, i'm waiting.
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June 18, 2010 8:14:02 PM

Here's what I'm thinking I'm going to do. Buy the main thing from cyberpower with some changes (128g ssd, 12g 1600, i7-930 oc'd) minus the video card. I checked around town, people cant beat their prices. I'm going to get the v5800 for video.

Big thanks to everyone for your input. Everyone helped me a lot, making it tough to pick one answer. I've never really participated in a forum before b/c the one time i did, i got poor feedback.

Builderbobftw, thanks for being the first to comment. thats seems to be the hardest comment to get.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my invitation. Big help.

Thanks to my parents and friends, my wife and children, and the academy.
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June 18, 2010 8:17:28 PM

fx5800?

Dude, that's 4k$.

Good luck with that.

Also, dude, you need to buy a GTX 280 nand Softmod.

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June 18, 2010 8:18:05 PM

Insulting other members of the forum is against the ToS. Stop the name calling, and relax a little.
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June 18, 2010 8:23:37 PM

^

"Look'n dumber by the minute..."
"YOU are 1000% wrong and clearly don't know anything!"
"You or your imaginary friends must be stuck to making YouTube videos."
"NO knowledge of NOR experience."
"Educate yourself some more then maybe I'll listen to you."
"Yeah...then I guess all of folks using them are idiots! Dumb post."

I think you need to ban him IMHO.

Bad enough he has no clue wahat he talking about, he's misleading the OP and inuslting poeple tryign to help him.
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June 18, 2010 9:12:24 PM

I'm going to seriously think about it over the weekend. I see some legitimacy to the VW/Ferrari analogy.
What makes the v5800 slow?
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June 18, 2010 9:13:07 PM

Hey bob, we just surpassed the number of posts in your "bob is protesting this Subforum" thread, making this the number one thread on this subforum. I feel a little excitement, mainly b/c I thought my chances of getting help were slim to none. glad I was wrong. :) 
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!