Thread: Gaming PC, a good idea?

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  1. #1 Gaming PC, a good idea? 
    Senior Member Josef Gatti's Avatar
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    Hey team,

    I've had a bit of a bad experience here in Australia with a custom built PC. Long story short, I'm going to try and buy something off the shelf in the gaming realm, along the lines of Alienware, ROG, etc.

    Would be good to hear from anyone that's gone down this path before and whether it was or wasn't a good move.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2  
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    I've had a lot of experience with those products from a gaming perspective and can tell you that MSI, ASUS and Acer stuff is usually crap. Alienware is pretty solid, but is generally the most expensive, BUT you can haggle with Dell and they have hidden/secret deals from affiliates all the time. Be prepared spend a long time removing the bloatware from an Alienware though. If you end up going with Alienware I have a little tip, try to return it a week after you get it and they will beg you to death to keep it and give you a huge discount to keep the thing.

    My last endeavor was buying an MSI Nightblade Barebones Chassis and adding my own CPU and GPU, it works OK, but the BIOS are the worst thing I've ever dealt with. If you want to use your M2 slot good luck. Other than the crappy BIOS and no M2 slot working it hasn't had any issues but that all irked me when forking over 2k to build a rig and the m2 didn't work.

    I have a couple different friends with ASUS ROGs and get blue screens on them, multiple warranty swaps etc.
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  3. #3  
    There is a fine line between a "gaming system" and "graphics workstation" -- it really comes down to the marketing and bundled software along with the flashy style that the gaming rigs usually have. I mostly concur with Tims assessment above, but not a fan of Alienware myself. I had a real bad experience with them back before Dell acquired them and perhaps I'm biased, but I would recommend rolling your own system if you have the time. OTOH, Alienware typically does alright since Dell is backing your purchase and they want you to be happy.

    Regardless of who you buy from, plan on wiping the system and installing a fresh copy of Windows with only the software you want on there. The amount of bloat and extra fluff all these guys put on their systems these days is terrible. Even commercial / enterprise class workstations have additional bloat.

    Bad experiences are reasonably common with custom built systems, but also with those bought from vendors like Alienware, MSI, ASUS, etc.. It's really inexcusable for these semi-custom integrators to have the problems they do, but it really comes down to them trying to be on the cutting edge and getting products to market. Often without the requisite amount of testing for new components and it often takes several BIOS updates and firmware/driver/Windows updates to get everything running smoothly. And sometimes you will just get a dud that never fully works as it should. I guess what I'm saying is that don't just assume you will get a bullet-proof system by purchasing from one of the bigger names. If you want bullet-proof, then go for the HP Z series or Dell Precision workstation and call it a day. You'll spend a good bit more and won't have the latest GPUs to pick from, but generally speaking everything is going to work as expected.
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  4. #4  
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    MSI had a dual sli mini Mac Pro like PC, but the new version ditches the SLI or high end spec (which is MXM anyway, but I think there might be titan mxm, but not as good as 1080ti) due to thermal issues. But not easy to change anyway I think. So trendy, but only for light weight.

    Harvey Norman are pushing big rigs in store, but what Jeff and Tim said is probably a guiding light.

    Look at the HP workstation rigs, Jeff knows about them.

    Jeff, how does it fair for an upgrade to workstation CPU's, or is an i7 still pretty good?
    Since when has denying that the possible is possible been reason? Such is the life of some skepticism.

    Normalcy involves what is realistically possible, not just what you say.

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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Josef Gatti's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information guys. I'll definitely look into the HP Z series and Dell Precision, didn't even know they existed. I really would have thought those gaming systems would have been tested vigorously before going to market, which is a shame.

    Does anyone have an opinion on an iMac? I know apple are shying away from the professional computer scene but all my experience working on mac (never owned one however) have been pretty great.

    edit: Anyone tried to edit 6k on a Surface Studio? Would be interested in how that goes!
    Last edited by Josef Gatti; 03-20-2017 at 04:22 AM.
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  6. #6  
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    Ask Jeff about the Imac. Apparently the workstation CPU's weren't keeping up development and the i7 was catching up. Frankly CPU is useful because things are built to use it, but if they rolled CPU calculation ability into the GPU card, apart from administration, what use would they really add of the card.

    The issue about game machines, commodity consumer market, and workstation processing differs from game 3D fps processing requirements. If servers didn't differ again, I would say we should all go that way, but they do. You can get rack systems where every rack is full of several CPU systems. If only the hardware was conducive to workstation, and importantly, the software written to use it properly, it would be great.

    Surface Pro is probably more of a style machine then a heavy power machine.
    Since when has denying that the possible is possible been reason? Such is the life of some skepticism.

    Normalcy involves what is realistically possible, not just what you say.

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  7. #7  
    The iMac is a great system - although due for an update. Lots of people using them for R3D workflow and they work great for general editing / finishing purposes. They're too light on CPU / GPU for the heavy tasks if you need to do real color grading, compositing and or finishing at > 4K.

    The Surface Studio is also a great system. I think of it as the ultimate arts and crafts computer. Microsoft locked in the specs before Intel launched the latest CPUs, so it's running the same 6th generation i7 and i5 CPUs that are in the iMac and the same generation of GPUs, although they give us nVidia where Apple gives us AMD. Microsoft did a lot of things right with the Surface Studio, but missed the mark for external connectivity as we're limited to 4 x 5Gbps USB 3 and a single mini-DisplayPort (1.2) for a second monitor. Oh and there's a SDXC card slot. This is a real deal breaker for a lot of graphics pros who rely on high speed storage. The internal storage is also severely lacking as we only get a 1TB or 2TB 5400rpm HDD with the added bonus of a 64GB SSD cache. Apple has been offering that for ages as their "Fusion Drive" and has since gone to full SSD.

    Lots of people saying that Apple has abandoned the pro market. That's not really true... They just have a different idea of what the pro market is or should be than what we do around here. This community is a very small bubble. The PC market in general is in huge decline and Apple is managing to stay on top of a sinking ship. Intel has shifted their focus on CPU development away from the desktop and is concentrating on server and virtualization products and mobile products, the desktop space is somewhat dead and ignored. Sure they throw us a new i7 every 18 months or so, but the improvements are slight in relation to the expense. For bigger workstations we're in a bind -- this market has all but disappeared. We can build a system with a couple Xeon CPUs and we have to choose if we want a fast CPU or one with lots of cores, can't have both. The compromise is the "turbo" implementation that Intel currently uses where it will allow the CPU to run a few cores at higher speed rather than all the cores at the slower base clock speed. Unfortunately the base clocks, and also the turbo speeds, decrease as a whole with more cores. This is the primary reason we see dual-CPU workstations these days. It's a way of increasing overall clock speeds in relation to the number of cores as well as gaining more PCIe lanes and a second memory bus.

    Add to this the very slow pace at which CPU, or "core" performance as it is these days, evolves. The x86 chip architecture is stagnant due to lack of competition and a clear market direction for it. The latest 7th gen core design is only about 8% faster or more powerful per clock cycle than 3rd gen core design launched 9 years ago. We have seen improvements in supporting tech and infrastructure, much faster memory interfaces, better PCIe tech and more lanes (yet still not enough). With current 2400MHz+ DDR4 RAM, memory is rarely a bottleneck. Only a couple years ago it was and we were often not fully utilizing the capabilities of the CPUs of that time period.

    This disparity in performance over time tends to generate a lot of backlash against computer makers, especially in the Apple camp. We see it time and time again where Apple doesn't update to the latest Intel CPU for a couple cycles and their user base is hungry for a new product. Then they launch the new product and it doesn't live up to the hype that the industry has built up for it. ...Like the new MacBook Pro -- it lives up to Apple's claims just fine. It falls way short of what the Apple fan base was hoping for and expecting.
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  8. #8  
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    Jeff, as far as through put per cycle on demanding tasks, how would you say the i7 and server CPU's compare to the workstation ones?

    Ultimately they could run all the cores at speed with big enough socket or 2-4 socket main board. So, if i7 or server keep up per core under that regime, it would be a solution for Intel.
    Since when has denying that the possible is possible been reason? Such is the life of some skepticism.

    Normalcy involves what is realistically possible, not just what you say.

    Inferiorly superior (humbleness) rather than superiorly inferior (arrogance). -
    Reputation is something the unwise apply. But integrity is what the wise apply.
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe View Post
    Lots of people saying that Apple has abandoned the pro market. That's not really true... They just have a different idea of what the pro market is or should be than what we do around here.
    Well that's one way of putting it.
    Which is very considerate to the Company.

    "Johnny didn't abandon his family.
    He just had a different idea of what a family is".


    Another way of putting it is that the idea is appeal to masses and stockholders, along the way screwing tens of thousands of their premium paying, petition signing, workflow relying, long-time professional customers and chasing them away with:

    - Mutilating pro-apps and throwing in the trash very capable tools made by great effort of many and used frequently by many
    - Shit drivers and buggy software
    - Shit hardware not working properly when put to power usage
    - Corporate arrogance
    - Form over function
    - Non-upgradeable half-usable workstation hardware
    - Connector/ dongle / fiddling circus
    - Deliberately reduced performance

    The fact that many people using these tools for work are now going through all the trouble with building Hacks, with last generation hardware which existing drivers allow, only to get lower performance compared to today's PC variants and to use predominantly other software, on a platform of a company sitting on a mountain of money, using common sense brings the conclusion that there is something seriously messed up in this story.
    Analog > Camera feel optimization http://omeneo.com
    Digital > Camera performance optimization http://omeneo.com/primers

    imdb


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  10. #10  
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    They have friendliness, but if pro users can't recommend them to normal people, how are they going to get sales?
    Since when has denying that the possible is possible been reason? Such is the life of some skepticism.

    Normalcy involves what is realistically possible, not just what you say.

    Inferiorly superior (humbleness) rather than superiorly inferior (arrogance). -
    Reputation is something the unwise apply. But integrity is what the wise apply.
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