The Dream Machine Revealed--Part Three of Three!

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willsmith

Everyone always enjoys calling us sellouts, don't they. The fact that HP is an advertiser has absolutely nothing to do with our selection. There just isn't anything else new out there. Our choices were either a two-year old Silverstone case, the Cosmos we used last year, or a Lian-Li that's heavily branded with ATI's logos. None of these were good alternatives. We chose the Blackbird case because we really like it and thought it would look spectacular chromed.

In fact, I almost didn't pursue the Blackbird case because HP is an advertiser. Then, after a great deal of consideration and soul searching, I realized that not including the case that the staff considered the best would be damn near as wrong as if we were told to by the advertising department.

I can't speak for my editorial team, but if anyone outside Maximum PC's edit team tried to influence us or force us to include advertiser's hardware, I'd clean out my desk and be out the door in a minute (well, longer than that because my desk is messy, but the point is the same).

It's only because our editorial team is above reproach that I feel comfortable doing things that are as controversial as using the Blackbird case for Dream Machine will undoubtedly be.

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TheDuck

I would recommend a rack chassis or the Lian Li P80...

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nedwards

 Also MPC's choice of case I'm sure has something to do with the Magazine full front and back cover Ads from HP featuring Sood and The Vede.

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/ed_word_the_maximum_pc_promise_to_readers

 

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Moneyless

What's with all the bitching, whining, and flaming over ATI? The
HD4870 X2's are great cards, and so far from what I've seen should
stomp the GTX 280's when "mature" drivers come out. Everyone who is bitching and whining should just stop being a bunch of freaking FANBOYS.

And seriously if some people are willing to stop reading MAXIMUM
PC, or to not renew their subscription just because of an
article/feature of the magazine then WOW, that is pretty sad; besides if you're willing to stop reading a whole magazine just because of ONE article because of one or two things you don't approve of because of your fanboy views you probably don't deserve to read it anyway!

 

 PS. I <3 you guys and I love magazine and the podcast, and I'm sure there are more then 3 people listening to it. :P

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mikeart03a

Well, didn't take the fanboys long to start flaming again... I don't even know why people even bother to post junk like that in the threads...

Just a quick reminder for those of you who haven't perused the whole comments section, it was noted at the time of part selection that nVidia didn't have SLI skulltrail support yet, now they do.

However, the ATi card selection is a surprise for me. I thought I'd see 4 4870s or 3870s, the fact that you were able to get your hands on 4870 x2 engineering samples awes me. I've read that they were supposed to give the Geforce 280 the smackdown and I guess this proves it. Anyway, the overall part selection is pretty impressive.

- mike_art03a
IT Technician
Gov't of Canada

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TheMurph

to clarify -- I misspoke.  The Skulltrail motherboard had SLI support.  Nvidia did not support SLI on its 280-series cards, however.

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TheDuck

...but then try 2 GTX 260s!

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mikeart03a

Oops, my bad. Hehe... -.-;;

- mike_art03a
IT Technician
Gov't of Canada

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RodneySB

9800GX2 is even beating the 280 in many games running at high res.  The 4870 is a large chunk behind. 

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-4870,1964-11.html

Here you go on your pimp 30" monitor 

9800GX2 is the ONLY choice for running 2560 x 1600

9800GX2 got 68.8

GTX 280 got 49.6

HD 4870 got 45.2

You will notice on the last page of this review they do averages.  The average is not correct for the 9800GX2 cuase the bug for Crysis has been fixed and the GX2 is pumping out over 35FPS on Crysis now.  This would put the GX2 well over them all in averages for 30" joy.

 

Hd 4870 is not even in the same ballpark as the 9800GX2, there are many more tests and benchmarks that all show the same thing.  If your using a 30" monitor and gamming at 2560 X 1600 then the best card for that is being made right now on shelves is the 9800GX2.  If you do video editing etc then the new features on the GTX280.  If you are on a budget and can only afford second rate cards then get your ATI. Or if you are on the payroll and need to keep that fresh ad money flowing in.  

 

I also have MAJOR issue with your case choice.  So now you guys are featuring guess visitor parts not the best case for the "Dream Machine" Build.  There are a DOZEN real cases on the market that spank this case in EVERY single catagory you could think of.  /cough the new Cosmos S

 

Sorry but once again I say Dream Machine 2008 is a complete SELL OUT!  

So very disappointed.  

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TheMurph

Shrug.  We can talk what-ifs all day.  Suffice, the 280 is beating the 9800 GX2 on overall scores.  But it's all irrelevant, because I run with Maximum PC benchmarks -- we have not yet compared a 280 to a GX2, to my knowledge, but we have shown that a prototype 280 beats SLI 9800 GTX cards.

And you'll note, we're not using a 4870 for the Dream Machine.  We're using two 4870 X2 cards -- double the GPUs.

The HP Blackbird case allowed us to do something special with the Dream Machine: turn a so-so rig into a gaming powerhouse, while still customizing our version of a sweet rig into a proprietary case.  Is it the best build-it scenario?  No.  But the Dream Machine isn't a how-to guide.  It's a reflection of computer-building masterwork.  Sometimes you'll want to follow our parts process as if it's a how-to, sometimes you won't. 

As for your case selections, yes, there are many EATX cases out on the market.  There are very few available that haven't come out yet, however, and we don't like using stuff you've already seen in the DM -- at least, not for the case.

 

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Keith E. Whisman

How long ago did you guys build this Dream Macine 2008? I read articles inside Maximum PC about Skulltrail supporting SLI and Crossfire almost a year ago. Is this when you guys started building DM08? The article explained that Skulltrail had a chip the Nforce 100 chip that allowed for SLI on the platform. My question was did this suddenly change? Did Nvidia suddenly stop supporting the Nforce 100 chip through it's drivers?

 

Perhaps the other poster is correct. Maximum PC is a sellout. Perhaps MaximumPC is on the take from Apple to help improve Mac sales and the like. Perhaps MaximumPC is being paid to help AMD/ATi recover. Perhaps it was TheMurph on that grassy knoll the day Kenedy was assassinated. Shame on you TheMurph.

LOL...

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TheMurph

Ahh, I'm sorry, I misspoke.  Nvidia chose not to support SLI with its 280-series cards on Skulltrail.  SLI works fine otherwise.

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franktank

So, TheMurph's comments have me thinking... is the choice not to support SLI on the 280-Series a sign of the CPU vs. GPU wars or is it the result of some technical flaw that has yet to be resolved?

It's one of those things that just make me go hmmmmm???

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TheMurph

Gordon can speak better on this, but I'm confident it's a reflection of the former: CPU versus GPU.

As it stands, Nvidia is now offering 280 SLI support for Skulltrail.  I would like to call this "caving in," but they have a better way to phrase that.

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TheDuck

Who started this CPU/GPU war anyway?

I don't pick sides on this, but my friend goes with Nvidia on GPU (9800 GT) Meh.

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Strongbad536

What about the PSU????

 

And what water blocks did you use for the GPUs? and why did you go with standard water cooling over Peltier cooling?

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TheMurph

Gotta have something to talk about next week, right?

And the GPUs are not water-cooled.  We used standard water cooling because, frankly, it's more akin to what a normal user would be able to configure.  If you want a peltier cooler (and don't want to DIY, which is always problematic), you have to have CoolIT plumb one up for your configuration.  We'd rather build our own cooling system, even given the advantages peltier cooling brings to the table.

And hey, we still have a 4 GHz Skulltrail machine!

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Strongbad536

Great, thanks for the info Dave

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Bender2000

Enough with the ATi flaming, it was nVidia's choice not to support SLi on Skulltrail, not Intels choice to. Or did all the intelligent, thorough naysayers just Tom Glancy the article and go off half cocked? Or did ATi use all that marketing money to buy ads in MaxPC AND influence the DM2008?

Your apologies are accepted. 

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RodneySB

Poor selection this mobo does support SLI and two 280s or a pair of 9800GX2s would smoke the crossfire set up.  So third rate of them to try and PIMP ATI to us in the dream machine.  Do you not think we actually read your articles with the benchmarks and breakdowns of performance? /sigh consider yourselves smacked on the hand for ruining the dream machine this year to pimp ATI's rise back to the cheap gammer PC with near but not top of the line performance.  Better yet a pair of 9800GTXs are cheaper and seem to tie the cards you picked.  But price isn't a consideration here so go big dog or delete the article cuase its worthless this year.  I see you pimped HP's case also.  What a load, yes I know they to buy lots of ad space.  Starting to see you guys are just like all the othe magazines.  Might not renew this year.

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TheDuck

My 'friend', did you see the benchmarks of the 4870 X2 vs. the GTX 280? AMD has
finally done it, they have finally beat Nvidia!

Postscriptum: Just build a machine that has 2 4870 X2s in Crossfire vs.
2 9800 GX2 in SLI, see who wins!
 

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TheMurph

Nvidia did not offer support for its Geforce 280 cards on Skulltrail machines at the time of the Dream Machine's creation.  The graphics company has only recently announced SLI Skulltrail support for these.

I don't see why we would pick a pair of 9800GTXs in place of the 4870s.  If I'm correct, a Geforce 280 is faster than a 9800 GTX GX2.  And a 4870 x2 is faster than a Geforce 280.  Crossfire versus SLI still has some ambiguity, but ATI has yet to polish the drivers on its card.

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kamman

wat???? i guessed the GPUS where is my recognition???

i feel sad now :(

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TheMurph

This just in:  Kamman correctly guessed the GPUs.  Let us all thank him for his predictive abilities. :D

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kamman

yay!!! thank you ;)

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brokenmoth08

Good job!(sry I'm not someone important like TheMurph)

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kamman

yay!!! thank you ;)

 

Everyone is important.

                          -Me

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Keith E. Whisman

Well this cheers me up. I've lost 4 family members this year and this really cheers me up. Wow what a setup. Makes me cry at the awsome power of it. Truely Excalibur. A computer God would build if he were building a pc.

As for graphics I believe that I'm guilty of being faithful to the Nvidia Brand regardless of performance. The GTX280 is frigging amazing. Why are'nt two or three of these being used in SLI? The major selling point for the Skulltrail platform is that it supports both SLI and Crossfire. You mentioned above that Nvidia decided not to support the Skulltrail with SLI? Is'nt there a chip on the Skulltrail Motherboard that allows for SLI? Is nvidia turning off support for SLI on this motherboard in their drivers? That would mean that Nvidia is screwing all the people that are using the skulltrail motherboard with SLI.

Please explain..

 

Keith

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Budgetperson

Is it just me - or did you guys not post the power supply...?

http://22tech.blogspot.com

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TheDuck

Custom PSU (1,200 Watt)

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GreenTurtle

 I uhhhh.....I was way off on just about everything..... LOL!!! what can I say; different dream I guess. Except the ATI GPU's though; I would love to do that but I don't think My Maximus Formula can handle them, We'll see. That rig is fantastic though!!! You guys did an excellent job (and gave Me some great ideas)!!!! I would love to build that exact machine but My wife would probably divorce Me:)

The grass is always greener on the other side.

 

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bholstege

hurray! I guessed the case!

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TheMurph

Either you got access to our issue way early (or rather, exactly on the on-sale date), or you are just awesome.

I will assume it is the latter.  Well done.  :D

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TheDuck

I would say it's not the latter, it's just that he visited the Computer Choppers website (http://tinyurl.com/golden-apple), and he glanced at the text or the picture of your
cover.

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TheMurph

Undoubtedly so.  :D

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wk

It is really a Dream Machine, but how much it will cost?

MPC is my home page

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TheDuck

The price of this machine should be above $8,000:

-I'm guessing $2000 for the case
-About $6,000 for the machine.

But this is only my estimate, it's probably not correct.

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vistageek

The magizine picture says "Build the best pc ever!!!"

Are you going to tell us to go buy a blackbird and then rip everything out of it and crome it? This is not mod shop.

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franktank

I would say the case portion of this build is not obtainable for the average user unless HP or it's supplier has plans to sell the Blackbird case. They mentioned modding the case so I think it's not on sale for the average user now or anytime soon.

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TheMurph

Oh, they'll sell it... if I'm correct, for around the $1,000 pricepoint in a limited release-type fashion.

To acquire one, you must call this number:  877.776.4752

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TheDuck

How much for the case after you gave it to Computer Choppers? The case's 'After' looks fantastic, and it was jaw-dropping. I have craving a chassis like since 2 years ago!

Postscriptum: If you were to ask me, I would have asked Computer Choppers to chrome it in gold. That's right. 18 kt. gold. Since they did it with a Macbook Pro and an iPhone, why not do it to the Blackbird Case?

(See http://tinyurl.com/golden-apple  for the golden iPhone 3G and a Macbook Pro )

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pellier

Is that butters number

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nedwards

Frighteningly close, but nope; not my number.

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TheDuck

What's your number anyway? My friend said your number was in the Jan '08 maganizine. I own the magazine, but I just want to make sure...

PS. Do you have those PJs that were stated in the Gift Guide for Size 16?

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nedwards

My number is listed in the Jan 08 magazine as 1-800-BUTTERS. I do not recommend calling this number. You can find the PJs at http://thepajamacompany.com/store/index.php.

They're quite comfortable. 

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Mathewpb

Is there a way users can buy just the case instead of buyinh the blackbird then ripping all the part out? Also you said that two of ATI's cards was better than one of the 280's....Maybe you should do a comparision of a Crossfire and a SLI (not using immature drivers) between the two cards then state the results. I have nothing against ATI, its just you should run benchmarks to prove that the 4870 X2 in crossfire outpaces the 280 in SLI because I remember when you compared Nvidia's card vs ATI's, the ATI card did not scale in Crysis at all.

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SpazzAttack

The case was a surprise.  It dosen't do anything for me, but then again, there's no accounting for taste.  It looks good though. You need to put a Maximum PC logo over HP's on the front.

Skulltrail does support SLI the last time I heard.  Maybe it dosen't work under Vista x64.  Regardless, I still like your choice for the video cards.

The soundcard? Bah! I'm moving away from Windows XP.  There are no drivers for this card available on Creative's web site for 64-bit Vista as far as I can tell.  The only X-Fi drivers I see are the "other" ones that are crippled to encourage upgrading to the X-Fi 2 when it's released.  I guess I'll just br sticking with my HT OMEGA CLARO Plus+ 7.1 for now.

Update: LOL, you changed the photo of the finished case as I was editing this comment.  That looks much better with the MPC graphics on it now!

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franktank

I made a comment on the 1st installment about using a ton of velociraptor drives in raid 0 and one of the reasons "The Murph" wasn't behind that was a price vs. performace gap. It seems to me the price vs. performance gap on this case is so large you could divert a river through it. :-)

 

Nice job but in my humble opionion I would have rather seen an army of velociprators in raid 0 than a chromed out HP case. Maybe you can redeem the Max PC staff by showing the reflection of some bodatious tata's in the chrome.

Anyway... keep up the KICK ASS work!

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brokenmoth08

WHAT ABOUT THE TWO MYSTERY DRIVES?!

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TheMurph

No less than one inch or so above your comment lies this:

"And we haven't forgotten about those two mysterious hard drives from the first Dream Machine Unveiled article.  We'll have the full details of those come July 21--see you then!"

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