Thread: Completed The Lounge.
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Old September 8, 2010, 05:15 PM
tzetsin tzetsin is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: AB
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Ok, so for this section of the worklog I've decided that its necessary to explain what it is exactly I've decided to build.

In todays world of Xbox 360s and PS3s pay for play gaming machines really have to put out something vastly unique and exciting to entice players to actually pay to play a game. Fortunatly we've all just came around the bend of some pretty damn exciting technologies. Some of them so new that when I put together the machine they weren't even "officially" supported yet, and because of this my budget officially went out of the window.

So what does a person who wants to build an exciting gaming machine with no budget decide to build?

Nvidia's Surround 3D of course. Three small words with one very large price tag. Big price tag = not common, not common = unique enough to charge for ;D

I'd imagine that a few of you folks out there are probably thinking, ooo woopy, its not that expensive... but let me tell you this. Adding 3D to this project has MORE THAN DOUBLED the cost of surround gaming by itself, And because of that, I can assure you, you wont be seeing very many surround 3d gaming setups anytime soon.

So, with a destination in mind all that is left is to get down to brass tacks, order up the required parts and put it all together right? I only wish it was so simple.

Naturally, even without a budget in mind I want to make the project affordable. I've got a bit of last gen hardware kicking around, good stuff only barely past its prime, and powerful enough to play any modern game at triple widescreen resolutions. The hardware mentioned is:

EVGA 780i FTW motherboard
6 gigs Mushkin Redlines
Intel 9450 @ a comfortable 3.3ghz (she'll do more, but i like to keep it down)
Antec True power 850W PSU.

(you might recognize this equipment in my sig ;)

So I got all the parts ordered up;

3 x Acer 23.6" HD 3D ready monitors
1 x Nvidia's 3d kit
1 x Nvidia's extra glasses
2 x Noise canceling headphones

And of course the glue that makes it all possible;

2 x EVGA 480GTX Graphic cards.

At this point I should let it be known that I didnt have the cabinet ready, nor decided to get the tech-station. I did have a huge hankering to try out nvidia's 3d though, so I put everything in my antec P182SE just to see what it was like.

And there began a 2 week long struggle.

Problem #1 SLI.

Try as I might I could NOT get SLI to enable in surround mode. Because this tech was still in beta I didnt know if it was something I was doing wrong, If it was the driver, the hardware or if it was even supported. (there was very little documentation at the time) So I fiddled with everything that I could to see if I could make it work.

It never did.

I never did find the solution to that particular problem. After 2 weeks of banging my head against the wall I decided to break down and swap the mobo out. I would have been happy buying a different 775 board and keeping the CPU and RAM, but finding a NEW 775 board FAST wasnt so easy. By now time is beginning to become a factor, so I splurged and swapped up to a 1366 board.

So NOW the project has;

Asus p6t mobo
6 gigs Patriot Viper 2 ram
Intel 930 @ a comfortable 3.3 ghz (she'll go MUCH higher, but I like to keep it down)
And because the old equipment is still usable as a system I bought a Coolermaster 850W modular PSU.

I was in a bit of a rush to get the project started again so either I dont remember taking pics of the parts, or i never did. Either way, NO PICS of these parts ;)


I know I know, I'll get 20 guys that tell me to STFU I dont know wtf I'm talking about. Well whomever presumes to tell you that the 480GTX doesnt run "that" hot, and they arnt "that" noisy has never run them in a system that pushes them THIS hard.

3 x 1920 x 1080 = 5760 x 1080 PLUS Nvidia's 3D = an effective 11520 x 1080. This aint your grandma's resolution my friends.

The reason for this statement is that with 3d your computer is actually outputting a unique frame for EACH EYE. That means for every 1 frame an average computer renders, this computer has to render 2. That being said, if your computer can play a modern game at say, 60 FPS, as soon as you enable 3d, your cut down by HALF. This project is destined for a commercial market, so it goes without saying that it MUST be able to play all games at MAX IQ at a reasonable average frame rate. This machine CANNOT pull it off. Even with 2 480s, I still have to reduce IQ to maintain playable frames.

Ok, all that said, every game I played with this machine would quickly cause the 480s temps to spiral to absolute. The 2 fans on the cards were at 100% ALWAYS, and the lowest gaming temp was 96C. Some might say that I probably had poor airflow... well come on guys, who takes a project on like this and DOESNT already know a thing or two about AIRFLOW. Airflow wasnt the issue. The cards just plain run hot, especially when pushed hard.

The temps of the GPUs cause two rather LARGE problems for the project and threaten to stall the whole thing altogether.

At this point I'd already decided to use the cabinet as a case, had it built and the techstation installed. Because of the design of the cabinet computer area and the large amount of potential dead air pockets in it having TWO almost 100 C little Ambiant heaters inside that pocket would cause them to overheat in pretty short order. Remember that this machine is intended to be ON and running a game for at least TWELVE hours every day. This is far far more work than an average computer is expected to put out.

Unless I could get these cards to run cooler... ALOT cooler this project is destined for the scrap pile.

I havnt even bitched too much about the noise. lets just say that even if the cards ran cool enough, the noise would have stalled it just as fast. there is NO way a machine that is ment to be enjoyed could be that loud and get away with it.

More to come!

vista 64 on these rigs
Q9450 @ 3.5Ghz | E8400 @ 4.2Ghz
8gb Muskin Redline. | 2gb Kingston Hyperx
________________________________|_________________ ______________
EVGA 780i FTW ----\--||___||--/---- EVGA 780i SLI
Antec TP Quatro 1000W \ :==^==: / Antec TP Quatro 850W.
Nvidia 9800 GX2 X 2 SLI \|--o--|/ Nvidia 8800 GTS X 2 SLI
1X 500GB Western Digital. \_____/ 3X 150GB WD RAPTOR RAID-0

Last edited by tzetsin; September 11, 2010 at 07:57 PM.
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