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WANT TO COFIGURE RAID 0 FOR GAMING

Hi xxperts! I recently purchased a Dell 8400 w/P4 3.4 and 512MB DDR2 for gaming-first off, the ATI X-300 PCI express card IS LAME! got BETTER RESULTS W/ MY OLD ati 9200 pci!SUGGESTIONS FOR MODERATELY PRICED pci EXPRESS card? Considering Nvidia, as ATI has not been exceptional. Now- the main ??- I only have a 40GB hard drive and want to set up RAID 0- should I get an identical drive? 40GB SATA at 7,200 rpm? Mainly use only for gaming, no work, spreadsheets, movies, etc. Maxtor or Western digital? Any advice much appreciated!

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Why RAID?

In reply to: WANT TO COFIGURE RAID 0 FOR GAMING

What exactly do you hope to gain using a RAID configuration for gaming? If your motherboard doesn't have some sort of RAID controller, then you'd have to do it via software, and it'd just be extra load on your system dragging down your game performance.

Either you need to learn what RAID really is and does, or you need to better explain what you're hoping to gain.

And as for moderately priced PCI-E cards... No such thing. All PCI-E cards are going to be high end given the high end nature of the PCI-E bus right now.

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RAID-1 question - recommended card for ATA?

In reply to: Why RAID?

Hey - I'm looking for a standard PCI RAID card. No, no plans on RAID-0. I'm planning on RAID-1, for reliability. What's recommended, or where can I find some good reviews? Thanks.

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In addition to what Yewanchors said....

In reply to: WANT TO COFIGURE RAID 0 FOR GAMING

If you're a gamer and believe mags like MaximumPC- who gears alot of their articles towards gaming systems: MaxPC recently had an article after many readers wrote that setting up a RAID added VERY little towards performance speed-wise. MaxPC finally did some benchmarking themselves and came to the conclusion that setting up a RAID for gaming was of little benefit.

Personally, I'd suggest adding more ram- you need a minimum of 512 just for XP to run decently. Also, you may want to visit www.blkviper.com (believe that's the addy), where you'll get a list of Services to turn off for gaming purposes. Also, how much cache does your hardrive have? 2 megs is too little, imo. You need at least an 8 or even 16 meg cache. If you want to go a little crazy you can get a 10,000 rpm...I believe their Raptor drives...can't remember who makes 'em; think Western Digital. As to my own preference for drives, I like WD; you can get a 3 yr. extended warranty on those drives that only give you 1 yr. for about $20 or less during promotional periods- but check before you buy.

I'm playing Half-Life 2 right now, with a new 6800 GT card (yeah, the card the size of a tank!); I have only 1 gig of memory running on dual-channel and get over 100+ FPS at a resolution of 1024 x 768 (monitor doesn't support higher than that). Just my 2 cents.

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Raid array

In reply to: In addition to what Yewanchors said....

Hi- thx for advice. I got the idea from my Dell owner's manual that suggests it- from what you say, I won't bother. I have 512 DDR2 memory-better idea to get more memory or better video card? HL2 could look better and Doom3 is not at all up to par-not sure about cache- can I make the adjustment myself?

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Sorry for delay in answering

In reply to: Raid array

It's been awhile since I've contributed anything, and I don't remember where my notifications go....

Anyway, to answer your question, just personally speaking , I'd go with the ram upgrade. Why? Well, if you're gaming, you'd definitely need it, no matter what type of card you're using; also, as "they" say, a ram upgrade is the cheapest beneficial upgrade you can make. Before my 6800 upgrade, I played Doom3 (at a lower resolution of course) on a ti4200 card. As to whether you can make the adjustment yourself- you mean doing a hardware upgrade? Well, it depends on how confident/knowledgable you are about this kinda stuff. I've built plenty of systems, but always get nervous wiring the motherboard. If in doubt, hopefully you have a knowlegable friend. Installing a stick of ram is normally easy, unless you have a piece of hardware in the way which you have to remove to get to the ram slot. Also, double check with Dell if by opening up your case if you'll be voiding your warranty. A decent stick of 512 ddr2 memory should cost about $90 or less. Personally, I like to use the same brand of ram in the same system, but this isn't necessarily a must. Check out www.crucial.com and www.newegg.com for prices. Don't let Dell suck you into having them sell and install the stick for you. It's really pretty easy. Good luck.

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Raid 0

In reply to: Sorry for delay in answering

Hi Brandon- yes, I'm pretty familiar w/ upgrading memory and as you said Crucial has 512 mb going for $90.00- not bad! I'll do that first, as all the PCI express card reviews (less than $200.00) have been sub-par, according to C-net and Tom's hardware-heard so much hype about the advancements PCI-e was spose to bring- not impressed so far. Still- Dell user manual insists that Raid 0 will improve gaming, and provides detailed instructions as to how to configure- should I bother? I need another hard drive anyway, as this 40 GB is filling up fast- I brought this Dell 8400 w/bare minimums- 40gb,512 ddr2, x-300 ati, and cd-rom only- so I could pick and choose my upgrades- got a great deal on a Sony DRU710aA (67.00!) that I'm installing now-any advice? Want to play Doom 3 in all it's gory-oh1 I meant"glory!".

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Just my personal opinion

In reply to: Raid 0

Hi- well, as to whether you should bother setting up a raid array is up to you. Personally speaking, I wouldn't bother. When I built my current system, which I built last October, pci-E wasn't even available yet. I had to return my Nvidia 6800 card (ROCKS!) for repair and just got it back; whoa, amazing. Cost me $425! I really have no advice, just an opinion. I don't really think you'll get much performace gain setting up a raid. Why not upgrade the ram first and see how it goes? If you have a "sub-par" card, you know that no matter what you do, you're probably not going to be happy in the end. I didn't know there was such a thing as a sub-par pci-E card. From everything I read about it, I thought pci-E= expensive, lol. If you're not happy with the results after the ram upgrade, then give the raid a shot- still, I doubt you'll see much of a performance increase. Just my opinion from what I've read on the subject. As form me, I just use my second hardrive for storage purposes. My master is a WD 250 gigger, slave 80 gigs. I read up on raid setups eons ago and decided it just wasn't for me. And after reading the MaxPC article recently, I'm glad I didn't. I'm speaking in terms of setting up a raid to increase performance; the increase will be so negligible you'd hardly notice. I think the only realistic thing is to upgrade the ram, and ultimately the card if you're a serious gamer. Sorry, that's really all I have to offer.

On a different note, I just finished Half-Life2 at a resolution of 1024x768- the card can go about twice that, but my monitor doesn't support that. But I'm not complaining. I just may play Doom3 over again; that was the most visually amazing game I've ever played- and pretty difficult too! Good luck on whatever you do. But I think in the end, even after a ram upgrade, setting up a raid, you're probably gonna want an 'ABOVE-PAR' vid card. I'd be curious how things work out. But for some reason, I'm not getting notifications when someone responds in a thread I've subscribed to...

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Raid 0

In reply to: Just my personal opinion

Hi - I appreciate the time u took and the advice! I will first upgrade to 1gb ddr2 before I consider a new video card-- question- I have 4 memory slots and currently have 2 x256 MB sticks- should I buy 2 more of the same, or 1 stick of 512? I am sure 1 GB of memory will suffice 4 a long time! I will go w/ quality brand such as Crucial or Corsair-not happy w/ previous lower-cost memory performance. BTW, there is no noticeable diff between my ATI x-300 pci e and my old ATI 9200 pci card! Also, much enthusiasm!1 Just purchased a Hyundai 19" LCD (L90D+) - with 8ms response time! Do you know anything about LCD vs CRT 4 gaming? General consensus is CRT's are better- but this LCD got awesome reviews and I got it 4 $344.00 SHIPPED on e-bay! I trust your advice- thanks!

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Check your manual. (John Robie, you out there?)

In reply to: Raid 0

Since you have a Dell, I'd check just to be sure if you can mix different ram. If your motherboard supports dual-channel memory, then you absolutely must have the same amount of ram in pairs of 2. I have an Asus board with 4 slots, but running on 1 gig of ram (2x512) with dual channel. So, you absolutely have to check your manual. btw, what's the speed of your cpu? That's a consideration also. Lots of ram and a good vid card is still gonna chug slowly with a slow cpu. I have a 3.06 Intel, and my mobo runs @ 800 Mhz front side bus. So those are other considerations. You can only upgrade so much before you have to do a MAJOR upgrade to get everything you want.

As far as LCD vs. CRT, ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT A DOUBT, CRT for gaming- unless you have a super high-end LCD monitor, low dot-pitch, and an incredibly high contrast ratio. Keep in mind LCD monitors are just a bunch of bulbs- some have interpolation, where they kinda "mush" the colors together. Also, if a bulb dies, it'll probably drive you crazy (well, it drove ME crazy when my laptop had a dead bulb.)

Back to your vid card- I've never been a fan of ATI cards; hear too many problems with the catalyst drivers. Have you upgraded them? Could make a difference. I think I saw a Leadtek (same make as my 6800) PCI-E version of the 6800 that got very good reviews; costs about $400+ though.

I've called on John Robie, a really nice guy, and a gamer himself. Very knowledgable. Hopefully he'll see your thread and give some input.

Well, I'm gonna pop in Far Cry to see how it looks with my new card and call it a night. Later!

Oh, 1 last thing about ram. Personally, I like to use the same make in the same system to avoid any possible problems with timings and CAS latency- their can be slight differences in ram that can cause instability, especially when gaming.

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Raid 0

In reply to: Check your manual. (John Robie, you out there?)

HI - Got a P4 3.2 w/hyper-threading, 800 FSB- bought this Dell 8400 w/bare minimums so i could pick and choose my upgrades- I'll let you know how the Hyundai LCD performs- arrives(hopefully) Friday- guess I'll go w/your reco and add 2 stix of 256 instead of 1x512- since that's what's already installed in slots 1&3. No more ATI for me either- Nvidia Geforce 6800 seems like a good choice- BTW- I also love Far Cry (and Painkiller) as well! Thanks 4 input

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FYI: Tigerdirect has sale on 1 gig ram stick for $60

In reply to: Raid 0

Check out www.tigerdirect.com . There's a sale for 1 gig of ram for about $60 after rebate. I think it's 2x512 though. I don't recall if you have 2 or 4 slots, but wanted to post this before it's too late. Made by "Ultra"-can't say it's good, bad or not. But see it on sale everywhere.

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Raid 0

In reply to: FYI: Tigerdirect has sale on 1 gig ram stick for $60

Hey Brandon- Yeah- i saw that ad from Tiger Direct- don't know much about ultra- see it mentioned alot- but have heard that Tiger is VERY BAD about issuing rebates! I do have 4 slots,w/2x256 in slots i&3- so I guess the question is: Buy 1 stick of 1GB ram or 2 more 256 MB?Could always sell my 2 x256 mb on e-bay, do you have any experience w/ Tiger? Newegg has a much better rep according to C-net.

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Not allotta experience w/Tiger

In reply to: Raid 0

hi-only thing I order from TigerDirect are blank DVDs. They seem to ship pretty quickly, but charge alot for shipping. I *think I saw cheaper ram @ newegg, but not sure. Just thought I'd let ya know, since you said you were going the ram upgrade route.

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Why hello Brandon...

In reply to: Check your manual. (John Robie, you out there?)

WOW guy, haven't heard from you in some time and you done passed me up with your GeForce 6800GT, 800MHz FSB, 1Gig RAM, & 3.06Ghz. I'm still chugging along with the GF4 TI4600, which to my surprise plays Doom3 & along with FarCry and Half-Life 2 pretty well. Purchased Brothers In Arms RT Hill 30 last week for $10 off and just starting to play it. I do plan on upgrading to the GF 6600GT AGP($184)as soon as my cookie jar gets enough penneys in it. Wife says with 3 desktops we are computer poor, and I do want to buy that big ole new pickup truck before long. Happy Considering I can't get a new computer now, the 6600GT AGP will do good for what I currently have.

High Tulsaterry. Brandon has been around the CNet forums quite a long time since the ZDNet days, and I always like to read his good post on what he is doing to his computers... next.
Yep, since your main interest is gaming and you are going to upgrade the graphics, the increase in RAM will help. The ATI Radeon X-300 PCI-e is your current bottleneck. It is like the FX 5200 bottom of the line for gaming that Dell used to put in their AGP slots. You must use a PCI-Express x16 card and the Nvidia 6800GT in PCIe like Brandons AGP, will be a tremendous improvement for your gaming over the X300.

If you can afford it go for the yet ULTRA version of the 6800. If you start having problems, it may be because the Dell Power Supply may need to be boosted in Watts. I believe these new cards require at least 350W and I would get a quality one even higher. Dell power supply's are usually special for Dell and when you buy one outside of Dell order one special configured for Dell or you can fry your mobo using a regular power supply.

Your LCD monitor that you selected has 8ms response time which is much better than most LCD monitors and should do pretty good with gaming....let us know. Course' hard core gamers prefer the CRT, but LCD with low ms response has improved as of late (the wife would prefer LCD for looks instead of that 'bulk' bigger than TV ;-).

I also like Western Digital. My WD 100GB 7200RPM is almost full mostly with games on my main PC . I have read that the WD Raptor 10,000 RPM will give a slight boost to gaming, and hard core gamers use them. Newegg has the WD 36.7GB for $126 and the 74GB for $187 in the Raptor 10,000RPM.

Regards,

JR

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Hello back, John!

In reply to: Why hello Brandon...

Been awhile!

Tulsa- didn't I say that John knows his stuff? I was going to post something about the power supply, but John beat me to it ;-). Just to reiterate, Dell has a proprietary PSU/motherboard setup, so don't think you can just swap out PSUs w/out checking. You almost definitely will fry your mobo.

John: the 6800 is AMAZING! Smart of you to point out the power needs of a higher end card. Personally, I think you should do fine with the ti4600; unless of course, you want to see every tiny detail. Amazingly, on my daughter's cheap Biostar motherboard, I'm able to play all the games you mentioned using ONBOARD vid- at a very low resolution of course, but I was surprised they played at all. I'm heading off to work; glad to see you around. I just finished Half-Life 2- I admit I had to look for cheats cuz I simply got stuck in certain areas. My 6 yr. old is good at spotting things, but my wife gets annoyed when we play shooter games. Women just don't get it's in our genes! Gotta run, stay well, and thanks for answering my call for help.

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Re: Gaming....

In reply to: Hello back, John!

I haven't finished Doom3 or Half-Life2. Yes, like my wife doesn't play the shoot-um-up games, BUT I sometimes get to a dead end and can't find my way out, sometimes going back to play the event over more than once. I have used 'cheats' before in games, but don't like to use them as I usually play on the 'easy' settings. Well, having been married more than once, taking women fishing, I found out they have an instinct natural ability to untwine huge tangles in fishing line...sorta like them handling sewing/darning/knitting thread. So, about a year ago when I was stuck on one of the games and couldn't make progress, she walked into the room and said, "let me try it". In no time she had me through the 'dead end' and turned the game back over to me. She will not start one of my action shooting games, but now I notice when I ask her to get me out of a "dead end" she wants to play the game all the way through ;-). She has played several of the Tomb Raider games all the way through without using the book or cheats. She likes the puzzles and mystery of the game figuring it on her own, or maybe it is because the star is a female and Angelina Jolie(s) did such a good job in the movies with Lara.

When my grandson was born, my daughter-inlaw said he would not be playing with toy guns. Well, when he got older that didn't last long, she had to buy him a toy gun or three. He is now 22 years old and hasn't shot anyone yet. Besides, if he ever gets in the military, that childhood toy gun experience may save his or someone's life.

Regards,

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Gaming...most women just don't understand us, lol

In reply to: Re: Gaming....

I played Doom3 with a ti4200 card. That was a pretty hard game to finish, and the graphics are pretty astounding. I just may play it again with my new card. Half-Life was fun and pretty challenging in some areas. I was stuck in one area for a coupla days wandering around until my 6 yr. old spotted a vent, lol. I was about to lose my mind in there. In the last chapter, there's simply amazing graphics. I found Far Cry pretty easy, and it wasn't as demanding on my ti4200 as I thought it would- at lower resolutions anyway.

Far's guns are concerned- as a NY liberal (how much more liberal can ya get than that?) I personally don't find anything wrong with kids playing with toy guns. First time we brought our son to the playground with a coupla waterguns, most of the mothers were up in arms, cuz my son shared his guns with some of the kids. One mother forced her son to give a gun back, and her kid gave her a good kick in the shins and a tantrum to boot. I can say this- neither of my kids wouldn't even *think* of kicking or hitting us. I just think as long as you keep the kid grounded in reality, there's no harm. I think repression breeds rebellion. I was gun crazy as a kid too, playing cowboys and Indians, war. I haven't sniped anyone from rooftops as of yet, and I'm licensed to carry (but don't). Well, someone may yell at us for turning this into a chat room, so feel free to email me if you want; Ray Harinec and I communicate fairly often. Good to see you. Now I need a new game to play...mebbe Half-Life 1, since I've never played that.

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Raid 0

In reply to: Gaming...most women just don't understand us, lol

Hey Guys- I seem to have a lot in common w/y'all as far as HL2, Doom3 and Far Cry! Will follow your expert advice-first get a quality stick of 1GB memory-leaving 3 open slots for expansion, and sell my 2x256 DDR's on e-bay.Then I'll go for that Geforce 6800(someday, somehow!) I think my power supply should be able to cope-only have 1 hard drive and one Sony dual-layer combo drive- no floppy, no add'l drives- like to stay mean and lean. New problem: Silent Hill 4 won't play on this Dell 8400- would play on my old Sony w/ATI 9200 card fine- suspect this disappointing x-300PCI-E is the culprit! Any thoughts? Keeps crashing at startup screen (SH4 has encountered a prob,etc) AND NOW-Got that Hyundai L90D+ up and running today and so far am VERY impressed!Nodead pixels, easy to setup, 19 spacious inches of real estate- got it for $344.00 shipped on e-bay. Still afraid to run the acid test-Doom3- HL2 looks great (at 800x600)- still some skips and stutters-but that's the card I guess-no noticeable smearing and good contrast- still too early to give the final word though- more later.. thanks 4 all advice! tulsaterry BTW Half life source and opposing force are worth the time-happy gaming!

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Silent Hill

In reply to: Gaming...most women just don't understand us, lol

Hi tulsa- glad you're happy with your new LCD. I to respond here, cuz in your last post, you see that message where you can't repy. I really don't know what the problem is with SH4. I bought a (Russian!) version on Ebay and just got it last week ($8 total!). Loaded just fine. Assuming you have the retail American version, check the specs- I recall 1 game...could have been Call of Duty, where the specs specifically said the game would NOT run on ATI cards. In the meantime I'd google something like- "Silent Hill 4 issues catalyst" or something like that. Maybe there's a patch out there. As far as the game itself, I really haven't played it- downloaded the manual, but can't find it right now- DUH. You may want to start a new thread regarding the SH4 proble. btw, I wasn't impressed with SH3, and didn't even finish the game. SH4 looked more impressive, and for $8, I figgered it'd be no big deal if I didn't like it. I did a quick google, and here's the recommended system requirements for SH4:
RECOMMENDED

Windows XP/2000
1.4 GHz Pentium 4 or Athlon processor
512 MB RAM
GeForce4 Ti/Radeon 8500 Video Chipset w/64MB VRAM
8X CD-ROM or 4X DVD-ROM drive

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