The Tsunami

Strategize. Optimize. Pulverize.

  

How I Built a High-End Computing Environment for $2,628.50

Do you feel like your current computing environment is hampering your ability to multitable? Have you priced PCs and Macs and thought that a high-end machine was out of your price range? If so, then you should consider an alternative route: building your own computer. The high-end computing environment I recently built cost me $2,628.50, and to be honest, my machine is overkill if you’re mainly using your computer for online poker (believe it or not, I use my computer for things other than playing online poker, and some of the analysis I perform on my computer can be resource-intensive). If you want to build a computer that’s simply sufficient for massive megatabling, you can spend quite a bit less. 


I had built one computer previously - a machine that served me extremely well from about 2003 to 2008. As a result, creating my current computing environment was fairly easy (and to tell the truth, my first computer build was also fairly easy). In my opinion, the only difficulty in building a computer isn’t piecing the components together. The difficulty is ensuring that you’re getting the right components in the first place. I definitely wouldn’t recommend that everyone try building a computer. For example, I don’t even want to try imagining the ordeal my parents would go through trying to build their own computer – my father would probably throw the case through the living room bay window in frustration. However, if you’re patient and have good knowlege of how computers work, you shouldn’t be intimidated.


Here’s everything I bought:


Round 1 of Purchases:


Amazon.com (note that prices on Amazon sometimes shift, so the prices that I paid might not be the prices you’ll see for these items)

 

NewEgg.com

 


The motherboard I bought accomodates up to 24GB of RAM. I would have simply bought 24GB immediately; however, I thought that I might be able to score some cheap RAM in Taiwan. I was satisfied with the 20″ Dell Ultrasharp monitors I had (1600×1200 resolution), so I didn’t need to buy displays. I was also satisfied with my keyboard and mouse, so I saved a little money there.   


Round 2 of Purchases

 

In Taiwan, I ended up scoring cheaper RAM. Evelyn’s brother-in-law took me to some crazy electronics mall where all the stores were pretty much the same (to the point where I couldn’t really distinguish one from the other). After walking around a bunch of stores, I was able to find one that sold the same type of Kingston RAM as the original 12GB I got from NewEgg. Unfortunately, that store only sold 8GB packages (containing two 4GB sticks) for $3,500 NTD (about $115.78 USD) each. Fortunately, I was able to find another store that sold single sticks for $1,890 NTD (about $62.52 USD) each. In the end, I scored 12MB of RAM for $5,490 NTD = $178.30 (a savings of $58.67).


Round 3 of Purchases

 

I discovered an amazing value on monitors, and I decided to purchase an upgrade. I purchased two Asus VW266H 25.5″ Widescreen Monitors for a total of $603.49 (and each has a $30 rebate). The great thing about this monitor is that its native resolution is 1920×1200 instead of the ever-so-popular 1920×1080. A 1920×1080 resolution monitor can only fit 8 tables – regardless of how big it is since windows are sized using pixels. Meanwhile, a 1920×1200 resolution monitor can fit 12 tables. 


*If you do a little poking around on Amazon, you’ll see that there are some 27″ Asus monitors at an incredible price of $308.99 each; however, I didn’t get them for two reasons:

  • They are 1920×1080 resolution instead of 1920×1200 resolution
  • I feel like two 25.5″ monitors side-by-side is already ergonomically suboptimal 


I’ve been extremely happy with the upgrade. I only have one concern about my new Asus monitors: no VESA mount, meaning that going to a four monitor setup with two more of these monitors is going to be tricky. But given the extreme value of these displays, I think I’ll be able to find a way to make it doable when I decide to do it.


Summary, and a Less Expensive Alternative Suitable for Online Multitabling

 

In total, I spent $2,628.50 on my computing environment. Do you need a computer like this for 24-tabling on PokerStars? Definitely not…though it certainly doesn’t hurt! Again, I use my computer for things besides playing online poker. I also chose my motherboard, power supply, and case to give me the flexibility to add video cards and hard drives. If you’re looking for a more cost-efficient route towards a quality computer for online poker, consider the following parts:


Amazon.com (note that prices on Amazon sometimes shift, the prices I list here might not be the prices you’ll see for these items)

 

NewEgg.com

 

 

Grand Total: $1,917.20 with monitors; $1,313.71 without monitors

 

If you decide to build this less expensive machine, here are some final notes for you:

 

  • Skimping on buying the uninterruptable power supply is a bad idea. Getting a less expensive power supply that only supplies power for a few minutes is also a bad idea. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t have my cable modem and router plugged into an uninterruptible power supply beforehand. I now have my computer, my two monitors, my cable modem, and my router plugged into my UPS, which claims to be able to supply around 90 minutes of power at 1,320W (in other words, if power goes out, I’m not screwed if I just entered 15 MTT SNGs). The power supply I recommend is also flexible in case you decide that you want to build a machine in the future that consumes more power. 
  • You may only need 6GB of RAM; however, don’t skimp on the processor. The Intel Core i7 950 is currently the most cost-efficient high-end processor available.
  • The Sabretooth motherboard I recommend for the less expensive computer has slots for 2 video cards. If you’re going to get the 750W power supply instead of the 1kW power supply I put in my computer, installing a second video card in is debateable. If you think you might want to rock 4 monitors in the future, then you might want to get the 1kW power supply I used in my computer – just to be safe.
  • Skimping on the video card is a bad idea. As it is, I already went for performance/value with the video card I chose for my computer  


Wow…it’s 4:08AM on Black Friday! I hate pulling late nights like this, but I’m not quite adjusted to Vegas time yet (at least I’m doing much better than I was following my first trip to Taiwan). And though I should be asleep, at least I’m not stuck waiting in line for some Black Friday deal (I’ve never done it before, and I never will…unless I can be guaranteed something like a free car).


May Your EV Always be Positive!


The Tsunami



  



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