The Dream Machine Revealed--Part One of Three!

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cc3d

What a friggin rip-off!!  I checked prices at a local chopper shop up the street and they quoted the high-end at $300!!

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AndyYankee17

why would you ever do raid 5 if money was no object?raid 10 or 0+1 would provide redundancy as well much faster speed, I would've opted for 6 raptors in raid 10, 3 of those in raid 0 would provide inredible speed and give me more space than I need, hell I'm living with just 160 GB (that's before formatting) right now and I'm doing ok

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atonal chaotic

My guess on the Super Secret Drives (note acronym.)

Running the OS off something with no moving parts is exactly the trick I would try if I had a Dream budget.

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bigboy

i have a good guess as to what those mystery har drives are. i do agree with a lot of you who say they are velociraptors, but what kind? i remember a while back reading that w.d. wanted to make a 20,000rpm verison of the velociraptor; what better place to debute it in then in the maximum pc dream machine edition.  i bet im right :)

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urmumsacow

Bit dissapointing you guys couldnt score some of the new 1.5 TB drives. Also whats up with only 3 of them? Why not 5? 2TB (more like 1.8TB) of storage is hardly dreamy if you ask me.

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TheMurph

The Seagate 1.5 terabyte drives won't be shipping until August, which places them outside of the scope of our Dream Machine by about two months.

Monday's hard drive announcement will reveal all...  have faith.

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Mathewpb

So whats the PSU going to be for this beastie since its going to run either SLI or Crossfire.

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TheNoob

It looks like the OCZ core series SATA II SSD drives. Lool at this link http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/flash_drives/ocz_core_series_sata_ii_2_5-ssd

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pseizure2000

The mouse you guys picked out seems all fine and dandy as I have used it myself in the past. However I am curious as to why you didn't pick out the seemingly better mouse, the MX Revolution, which is pretty affordable now. It has almost all the features of the G5, minus the two buttons near the mouse (although you could substitute the search button for one, plus it has the thumb scroll wheel which I love for using in games. Best of all though, the wireless part of the mouse makes it so much more worthwhile for all of us. I myself didn't think I'd be using my mouse away from my desk much but it makes it great to use when I'm away on my bed watching a movie and need to use it.  This seems quite an overlook if you ask me. I love the Revolution, help prove me wrong. you guys gave it a kickass rating yourselves.

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brokenmoth08

I bet they are WD Velociraptors.

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TheMurph

Oh, Photoshop works wonders...  :D

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hogkill

they blurred outline does look like the "icepack"

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Cache

The real meat and bones for me--especially this time around--is if they will move onto DDR3, given it's ever-dropping price point and wider motherboard support.  That the next chip will be Intel is a no-brainer, but I am curious if they managed to get a chip not-yet-released-to-the-public.  A mild curiosity, to be sure.

 And the case, I have always loved a good case--I was extremely pleased last year that they went to a case that actually looked something new.  Don't get me wrong, the Silverstone cases are usually excellent quality, but they are less imaginative on their execution.  

 Finally, any chances we'll be seeing ESA-certified components with the new system?  I know you can't tell, but it would definitely be something new to look at.

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pellier

With the Graphics controversy could it be possible that they are putting 4 ATI 4800 in Quad Crossfire? They may want to use and an intel mobo and this would be the best way. And the could even be using scsi drives in it. I also wonder about dual or tri booting it

Vista 32bit+ Vista 64bit

or Vista 32bit+ Vista 64bit+ Ubuntu/other linux distros

No Xp cause its no longer out. And as dave said in the 73rd podcast its worth putting in a computer that can handle it

Ifthey do 64bit I would hope that they have at least 4gigs of DDR3

 

 

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mc_rog46_sd1

Anyone consider that maybe they might use solid state drives?

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HitmanHybrid

I like the choices so far up to the harddrives. I mean holy crap, I can't believe you folks at MPC need that much storage on your comp. I still think 500GB is a lot, not to mention 1TB! But 3TB plus 2 other drives, wow. Anyway, I hope you guys have some cooling in mind for them :\

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pellier

its only 2 tb. the other tb went to protect the data cause its raid 5

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nebbuchanezzar

well, if that pic is any indication of what drives are being used, and not just a semi-blurred stock photo [my $$$ is on the former] i would definitely expect to see a WD drive in there...black housing, and its blurred, so i cant be 100%, but it looks like a typical WD sticker atop that drive, and it does appear the blurring left a nice trail of hs fins on the side of the hdd...i would definitely say it looks like a raptor of some variation, and knowing whats coming, i would definitely put my $$$ on it being the 20k RPM raptors...;-) i know MPC cant confirm or deny, but what do the rest of you think?

 

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Fold for MPC team 11108!!!

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TheMurph

Wrong.  It's three 500GB IDE drives.

The ribbon cable is back!

:D

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ehasoon

From the pic.. it looks like 3 velociraptors.. fastest consumer drives on the market today, and they're a 'sensible' choice too. I think.

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TheMurph

Well that doesn't make sense, given that everyone's been free to talk about Velociraptors for what, a month now?

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zeringue

I am surprised that you chose raid 5 for your dream machine, why not just go for Raid 10. It requires one more drive but yields the same space and performs much better than raid 5.

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TheMurph

Answer:  "It requires one more drive"

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usp211816

you sound like RAID is painfull

if u realy have a drive throughput issue get a rack slap in a RAID 50 fiber mesh (4GBper Line)NAS

oh wait theres no room for a fiber nic with all those video cards in the way.

 if all else fails...

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SpazzAttack

I give up trying to post a comment. 

This text editor you guys installed is a real POS.

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franktank

yet you manged to post this POS

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jtroll

No one's going to comment on Norm's tie? No one? Really? It had to be me?

 Anyway, I'm just wondering how you guys are going to go about overclocking this beast. Murph, I hope you're not using any radioactive materials over there... a nuclear-powered machine would be awesome, but think of the fallout, man. You've got coworkers to worry about here.

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fake gordon mah ung

Why is Norm dressed so much better than eveyone else. He already got a promotion.

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DanAmrich

Unlike most of the MPC crew, Norm has fashion sense. Anything less would be uncivilized.

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TheMurph

It's this weird fashion thing norm does.  Between the occasional loose tie, the flaps of the dress shirt hanging out from under the sweater...  I think he's aiming to be America's Next Top Editor.  :D

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TheMurph

We actually forced our interns to find large palm leaves and fan the machine whilst Gordon overclocked it.  Worked like a charm.

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dreamreality

They were some big leaves.

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whisp

 :0

We plan for Tomorrow, but we Live for Today

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Bashar42

Glad you guys are going with RAID5. I'm also in the process of building my own Dream Machine, and also decided to go with RAID5. But I've been unable to proceed...

 A Dream Machine has got to have the fastest graphics solution... right now thats three Geforce GTX 280s in Triple SLI config... check. 

 For that you'll need an Nvidia 790i Ultra based Motherboard.... check.

 As Maximum PC's own recently published RAID article exhibits, host-based RAID controllers, especally those built into the motherboard (i.e Nvidia and Intel) perform like crap when set up to do RAID5. There are two reasons for this: 1. they tap the CPU for number crunching (they lack their own dedicated processor for RAID) and 2. they only have and old PCI channel for bus. Bandwidth is completely lacking. Even in RAID0, motherboard-hosted RAID controllers start to fall apart if you strip more then 2 HHD together. Sure you get a benefit from 3 or 4 drives, but the bottleneck is killing their potential benefit. 

Again, as your recent article shows, the only way to get around this is by investing in a dedicated RAID controller with its own processor to do the lifting. Such as the Highpoint model you guys recommended... check,

Now here is the rub: It requires a PCIe x8 slot.

Every 790i motherboard (except for one, MSI's P7N2) is basicly a refrence board with only 3 PCIe x16/x8 slots. That leaves only MSI's new board which has 4. Ironicly, the P7N2 has been out for several months... everywhere else on the planet except for the good old USA. But even if I decide to pony up for overseas shipping and taxes, the 4th PCIe slot is right next to another, and right on the edge of the motherboard. Using double-slot graphics cards like... well any high end card in the last 18 months... and that 4th PCIe slot might as well be a 16bit ISA slot. Try to put your beefy graphics card on the last slot, and it hangs out over the edge of the motherboard, and touches the case. 

So how did you guys build a Dream Machine with RAID5? Please don't tell me you went with vanilla double-SLI or with the crappy on-board controler for RAID5. Sacrificing either of these two would strip the DREAM from this machine. 

 

Bashar42

 

 

 

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yr

After reading the RAID controller article (MAY 2008), I was amazed at what a difference it could make, and then was amazed that last years dream machine used RAID 5 on the 680i's host! What a pity! This dream machine better be a "dream" and not "sleep" through by using host-controlled RAID. For a dream machine; nothing less than the ADAPTEC 5405 reviewed in that artice!!!

 Oh, and  eSATA (even with is a MUST)!

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TheMurph

Oh, Bashar42.  You make excellent points.  However, even our Dream Machine has limits in its functionality.  Will you see a RAID card?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not... and have you pegged the motherboard correctly?  Perhaps... perhaps not.

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Bashar42

Murph,

Perhaps I didn't make myself to clear. I could care less about what other yet-to-be-revealed parts went into your Dream Machine. I'm just asking one techie to another how to get around this issue of trying to fit a RAID controller for RAID5 and triple SLI into the same system. I was hoping you would actually give me a good answer, regardless of what you did or didn't do in your new Dream Machine.

Right now, the only two solutions I see for this problem is to go with the aforementioned MSI P7N2 and either:

1: Pony up for liquid cooling water blocks on each of your three GTX 280s so as to turn them all into single-slot cards. A lot of companies are rolling out these waterblocks, but few are smart enough to make them low-profile so that they turn each card into a one-slot wide part. One of these few, is Danger Den and BFG, who have teamed up to release a highly overclocked GTX 280 with the waterblock preinstalled. The only down side to this is that its extremely expensive. For example, this watercooled GTX 280 from BFG/Danger Den costs $50 (~$750) more then a similar offering from eVGA (~$700) which is similarly OCed, but still takes up two slots on the motherboard. Danger Den sells the waterblock by itself... for a whopping $150. Sure the factory OCing is nice, and yes, the air-cooled 280s are reputed to by as loud as my gardener when he comes around with his leaf blower, but really the extra $50 over their already-overprices competitors models is for the single-slot solution. These prices are rediculus, even for hard core people with money to burn on their own personal Dream Machine.

2: Buy a flexible PCIe extender so you can reposition the RAID controller somewhere else inside the case. Frankly I'm not sure this will work, or even where to begin modifying a standard case to have a "free floating" expansion card mounted somewhere else on the inside. A bigger unknown with this is whether you can find such an extender that has a low enough profile when connected, to allow the fat 2-slot graphics cardnext to it to slid over it. Most of these extenders I've looked at need at least an inch for their connecters on the PCIe slot. I'm thinking this is probibly too much. 

Bashar42

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ehasoon

Hey Bashar, 1 way to get around the 3rd graphx card touching the case is to get a case that mounts the mobo higher, like the cosmos S or the armor+. Just my 2cents.

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TheMurph

Unfortunately, I can't expose more of our decision-making process without revealing more parts of the Dream Machine that have yet to be unveiled.  I'm not dodging the question.  But certain things I simply cannot discuss at this point in time.

What I can say is this: while the Dream Machine is supposed to be an exemplifier of the most powerful system we can build, we do take into consideration what an user could or would do, as many attempt to replicate our system throughout the course of the year.  We also have to take price versus performance into consideration.  While this may not seem apparent given our (typically) outlandish system builds, it does play into the decision-making process regarding some of the hardware.  That's why you're only seeing one 30-inch monitor, not two.  And it's why certain other parts of the Dream Machine 2008 may shock and/or astound you.

You'll note, for example, that one of the better RAID cards we've tested, Adaptec's 5405, is a honkin' $425.  That doesn't seem like much given the grand total of the DM, but it's still enough to make us pause and consider our options.

 

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Strongbad536

 Brash, somehow I doubt that they used Tri SLI, as I havent seen it in recent years, from what I hear its overkill, and depending on the motherboard selection, there may be no room for a sound card since the 280s are dual slot videocards.  But after seeing some ATI benchmarks, I wouldn't be suprised if they got a 4870X2 and used a couple of thos.  Plus, after reading the article on RAID controllers, you can see that most motherboards perform fine in a RAID configuration.  

 

P.S. Murph, I totally see your point about only using one display, 60inches of LCD would be extreme overkill.  

 

 

 

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Strongbad536

 

 Those secret hard drives, are they the supposed 20,000RPM Velociraptors that WD has coming?  Thats my guess, and I thought you woul've used more of a gaming keyboard like the G15 or Saitek Cyborg instead of an ergonomic model, but still, the peripherals are not really what were interested in.  

Do you know how many of those Gateway panels you're using, or is it just one?

 

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TheMurph

Just one Gateway monitor...

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linuxcrazy

Aw, just one?

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TheMurph

Both Katherine and I agreed that two thirty-inch panels would be pushing the limits of insanity, not to mention desk space.  Seriously.  I love huge monitors, and even I would be scared at the thought of two giant displays staring down at me all the time.

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willsmith

For what it's worth, I'm all for two thirty-inch panels. I use two 24s and 19 on my desk right now, and it's spectacular!

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