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Green Gaming PC - Help Please

by bullwinkle12 / March 27, 2008 5:22 AM PDT

Hey all,

I am going to be purchasing a new PC this summer and am looking for advice. I have recently become a gamer, but would still like to get a PC that is as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.

I am not closed to the idea of building my own, but I have no experience, and am a little afraid of the idea. So, even though I will have to spend more, I am looking to buy from a PC manufacturer.

The brands I have looked at so far are Dell and Velocity Micro. My questions for you guys are:

- What brands/models do you recommend for my green gaming quest?
- What parts (i.e. cpu, motherboard, etc.) should I look for?

Thanks. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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green pc
by welrdelr / March 28, 2008 8:45 AM PDT

You may want to contect the companies and ask how their products are more environmentally friendly.

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Green Gaming PC
by the_eternal_dark / March 30, 2008 6:49 PM PDT

Depends on what kind of games you like to play. Are you one who is only fascinated with graphics and wants to have bleeding-edge gear to play games like Crysis? or are you wanting to just player Half-Life 2, World of Warcraft, and the like at good settings without breaking the bank and the environment?

For my Green PC, I built one that drains at max load, LESS than 200w, plus it is using modern parts and capable of running Crysis on low/mid settings with no problem (in XP). This may be overkill for some games being sold still. This includes a decent monitor in the setup as well.

My parts:

Case: AeroCool M40 - Black - microATX cube case - holds the smallest desktop motherboards and biggest of graphics cards

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-G31M-S2L - microATX motherboard

Graphics Card: EVGA 8800GS, model 384-P3-N851-AR

Processor: Intel Core2Duo E6600 @ 2.4GHZ - low consumption, powerful processor

RAM: GeIL 2GB (2x1GB set) DDR2 800 - decent ram for games like Half-Life 2, WoW, Guild Wars, etc.

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160GB - this is a single platter drive, resulting in a smaller, cooler, and more energy efficient hard drive, 160GB should be plenty for anything you throw at it (unless you plan on pirating stuff, which is a big no-no). For a bigger capacity, get 2.

Optical Drive: Lite-On DVD+/-R Burner SATA model LH-20A1S - this is one dirt cheap, reliable, and mostly quiet burner that drains little power.

Monitor: 19" LG L1933TR-SF monitor - this monitor consumes only 33w while in use, has a 2ms response time and costs right at $200.00. remember, only buy a monitor only if you really need one.

Cooling: 3x Rexus 80mm Panaflo case fans, ZEROtherm CF800 92mm CPU cooler, Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound (drops CPU temps 5-10*C compared to stock compound included with cooler)

Speakers/Headset: anything you want really, I got a pair of Sennheiser HD 485 for a good price and I highly recommend them.

Power Supply: Enermax MODU82+ 425w - this is a modular supply with removable cables, making cable management a snap. Also, this is one of the highest rated PSU's in efficiency, ~82-88%.

Keyboard/Mouse: Logitech Wave ergonomic keyboard, Logitech MX518 mouse

Cost: ~$950-$1200 depending on prices on the net.

Power consumption: ~130w at idle, ~195w at full use

OS: Ubuntu 7.10 w/ Wine 0.9.55

I know, Ubuntu, it's Linux and something else you probably never heard of. Well, first off, I want to let you know it's free. Second, Cannonical (the company behind Ubuntu) is behind giving free software to children all around the world, and has made a huge impact in Africa and is also pushing for a cleaner world (as are most Linux developers). Also, Ubuntu, with the help of Wine (think of Wine as a translator between Windows programs and the Linux OS) is able to run many games, and is the setup I use to play on my PC. Games I have running on this computer that are "Windows only" include Half-Life 2, Half-Life Episode 1&2, WoW, Guild Wars, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, just to name a few. I also recommend the use of Linux if you have no remaining Windows XP licenses available as I would rather not have another person pirating software just to play games, its just bad business. Plus if you decide to use Linux, 99.8% of the software available to that OS is free, legally, plus I'll personally send you a copy of Ubuntu 7.10 for free if you'd like to try it out.

If you want to contact me about more info about building a system or anything else, you can email me at the-eternal-dark@(no spam)hotmail.com, remove the no spam part, just let me know who you are in the subject line and I'll try to respond quickly before the end of this week (April 6th I ship out for the Navy). I'm sorry in advance that I can't promise give help further in the near distant future, but basic only lasts 9 weeks, so you can contact me after that time period as well.

If you decide to buy from a manufacturer, I recommend Dell. The model I recommend is the Inspiron 530 with a dual core processor (either the pentium dual core or the core 2 duo), XP Pro, 1-2GB ram, Nvidia 8300 GS, and they will even plant a tree for you for an additional $6, totalling you about $695 without a monitor, $885 with the cheapest 19" Dell monitor. it is capable of running Half-Life 2 games at medium/high settings, but don't expect stellar performance. This is less powerful with equal power requirements and a little bit cheaper, so it's really up to you what you want to do.

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thanks
by bullwinkle12 / March 30, 2008 11:48 PM PDT
In reply to: Green Gaming PC

Thanks. I like you're setup, but I'm a little hesitant to build my own PC, especially if something goes wrong in the future. I'll have to think about it some more.

What's it like running Ubuntu with Wine? Do you run mostly Windows or Linux apps? How buggy is it?

Thanks again, and good luck when you ship out.

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Green Gaming PC with Linux
by the_eternal_dark / March 31, 2008 6:15 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks

Each individual part has a killer warranty so it shouldn't be a big worry. Also, if you order from Newegg.com, they are really good about taking care of their customers when something goes wrong, plus each part is cheap enough to be replaced in the future for next to nothing. I don't recommend overclocking, for one it wastes energy and two it voids the warranty of your processor, memory, and motherboard.

3 year limited warranty on the processor, power supply, and motherboard, limited lifetime warranty on the memory, case fans/cpu cooler, and graphics card, limited 1 year warranty on the case and optical drive, and monitor is 1 year limited warranty. The parts warranties outlives most system manufacturers standard warranties.

The only problem I have encountered was with Steam, and it was only Steam Friends that caused any problem. Steam Friends didn't render correctly in Wine, but there are some reports that Friends is working in the Ubuntu 8.04 Beta using Wine 0.9.58. To me, Friends isn't that essential to me. I've been able to buy games, play Portal, Team Fortress 2, Half-Life 2 & ep1&2, Lost Coast, Vampire Slayer, CS 1.6 & Source, CS Zombie Mod, Half-Life, Opposing Force, Blue Shift, tons of mods, all with Steam. Call of Duty 4 works but Punk Buster seems to be faulty, so I am only able to connect to unprotected servers, no biggie to me. WoW plays perfect, Guild Wars plays perfect, STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl has a few graphics bugs, but nothing major. Quake Wars Enemy Territory is a native Linux game, so there isn't a need for Wine to run it. ETQW in Linux runs circles around the Windows installed versions.

I run a combination of Windows apps (via Wine) and Linux apps natively. I have noticed that my frame rates in games are on par with or even faster than they were in Windows using this setup. As for bugs, I haven't experienced any, and I haven't used Windows since SP2 first came out for XP, if that lets you know how stable it is.

If in the future you decide you want to switch to Linux and have any questions that I am unable to answer quickly, visit the Ubuntu forums at http://ubuntuforums.org/. They are full of great people willing to help with any problems or curiosities you may have. I hope this has helped you.

Also, if you have an iPod, it's supported by Amarok, an iTunes replacement for Linux. Works like a charm.

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Another thought on a HDD...
by the_eternal_dark / March 31, 2008 9:59 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks

You could also save even more power by using a CF to SATA adapter and use a Compact Flash card as a hdd. CF cards sip very little electricity in comparison, but storage at the moment is limited between 32-64GB cards at a reasonable price. Starting at $130, it's not that bad of a deal. Raid 3 of these and use them as one big hdd that's faster and more energy efficient.

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That's a good idea
by bullwinkle12 / March 31, 2008 10:19 AM PDT

I'll look at the end cost and see if I can fit the compact flash in there. My budget isn't very much, plus I also want to get a low end laptop to have something on the go. But I can definitely save a bunch using opensource software. Thanks, you've been a lot of help.

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Green Laptops available...
by the_eternal_dark / March 31, 2008 2:37 PM PDT
In reply to: That's a good idea

There are a number of dirt cheap, awesome, and green laptops available as well. They are a little underpowered, but damn are they functional as hell. My two favorite that I have test driven were the Everex Cloudbook and the Asus EEE PC 4G. Both cost roughly $400.00.

Everex Cloudbook - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloudbook

Stats for the Cloudbook are:

CPU: 1.2 GHz Via C7-M Processor (ultra low voltage version)
RAM: 512 MB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM Memory (maximum is 1 GB)
HDD: 30 GB Hard Disk Drive
Screen: 7" 800x480 LED backlit LCD
Graphics: Via Unichrome Pro IGP Graphics
Wifi: 802.11 B/G
LAN: 10/100 Ethernet
USB: 2 USB 2.0 Ports
Expansion: 4-in-1 memory card reader
Webcam: 0.3 MP Webcam
Battery: 4 cell lithium ion battery (5 hour life per charge)
OS: gOS Rocket OS (based on Ubuntu, software includes Google Apps integration)
Price: $399.00


Asus EEE PC - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASUS_Eee_PC

Stats for the EEE PC 4G (standard w/ webcam):
CPU: Intel mobile Celeron CPU @ 630MHz (underclocked, can be "up" clocked to 900MHz, the processors stock speed)
RAM: 512MB (up to 2GB expandable)
HDD: 4GB SSD (solid state drive)
Screen: 7" 800

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laptops
by bullwinkle12 / March 31, 2008 2:54 PM PDT

I was actually thinking about getting the Eee, but I was going to wait until the 9" version comes out. What do you think? I'm not sure if the specs are out yet, but do you think the Cloudbook will still trump the Eee? My biggest concerns are battery life, wireless fidelity, build quality (doesn't feel like its going to break), and ability to type (although I could always get an external keyboard, I suppose).

I think I read somewhere that HP is making an "Eee killer" 9" notebook as well.

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RE: Laptops
by the_eternal_dark / March 31, 2008 3:22 PM PDT
In reply to: laptops

I have seen reports that the 9" EEE PC will be spec'ed the same as the 7", but with a larger SSD and a $500-$600 price tag. The price of the Cloudbook has no where to go but lower, into the >$350 range in the next few months. Everex is also releasing a few more small form laptops as well, at cheaper prices: http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/02/everex-hatches-plans-for-sub-300-gos-wal-mart-laptop/

I think the Cloudbook is a much "greener" computer than the EEE PC, and the build quality is pretty much the same as any $500-$1200 laptop on the market at the moment. I believe that both of them use the same wifi card, I'm not sure exactly, but when I tested my neighbor's Cloudbook and my best friend's EEE PC, the connectivity was equal in both as was the signal strength. I may be mistaken, but I believe that both use the same wifi card.

In my experience with working for HP/Gateway/Compaq (Quanta Manufacturing, LaVergne, TN), the build quality is terrible until you get into the $2000 price range. Most of the repair jobs I had were failed video chips, bad LCDs, and random motherboard burn outs (some boards actually caught fire during diagnostics). I'll have to test it (HP 2133), but it looks to be a bit bigger than the 9" EEE PC, nearly the size of a Sony Vaio. The price has also been reported at $650.00, which may be a little expensive for an ultra portable. You could easily get a Dell Inspiron 1525 for about $534 with Ubuntu 7.10, and have them plant a tree for you (if they are still doing this) but you would be consuming a considerable amount more in electricity with that laptop.

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battery life
by bullwinkle12 / April 1, 2008 12:49 AM PDT
In reply to: RE: Laptops

Do you know what kind of battery life your friends get? I'm in college and need something that can last at least 3 hrs during lectures. (With usage being word processing and internet browsing.) Also, do you know if any retail stores carry these so I can test them out? Thanks again.

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Battery Life
by the_eternal_dark / April 1, 2008 4:02 AM PDT
In reply to: battery life

On average, they both push 3-3.5 hours a piece. The EEE PC also has a higher capacity battery that lasts a bit longer, which I did not know about earlier.

In my town, Circuit City carried the EEE PC during Christmas, but that was the only time I've seen one outside of the internet for sale.

To get an idea on how both look and feel in use, check out reviews on youtube.

Cloudbook - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DilTbHjRSQ0

Asus EEE PC (7 inch screen) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSg2zjkWqwI

Comparison of both against each other:

Overall Comparison
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAzxvHYO3pM

Boot Up speed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ_66F42JNE

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Forgot something...
by the_eternal_dark / April 1, 2008 4:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Battery Life

The 8.9" screen version of the EEE PC will have a higher resolution of 1024x600 and some models will include a touchscreen. If the touchscreen part is true, I recommend holding off until it comes out before you make a decision, because the touchscreen could be the deal maker, as well as a larger capacity battery.

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Re: Forgot something...
by bullwinkle12 / April 1, 2008 8:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Forgot something...

I just read on engadget that there's going to be a flood of Eee competitors in the market soon, so I'll take you're advice and wait for those. Meanwhile, I'll probably wait til summer to make my PC.

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