Wednesday, October 07, 2009

CyberpowerPC from NewEgg

On Tuesday, 9/29/09, I purchased a new desktop from NewEgg. It was delivered on Friday, 10/2/09. So far, I must say that I'm quite impressed with the service/shipping of NewEgg.

I didn't need a new desktop but I this one to replace (or compliment as they still function) two home-built machines that I put together about 5+ years ago. I figured that any PC that I purchased would be 5-10 times better than what I have because they've made such strides over the years since I built mine. My old PCs are exact in specs. I used an ASUS motherboard, 2 gigs of ram, AMD AthlonXP processors, 128MB ATI Radeon vid cards, my own WinXP Pro (2) operating system, some leftover CD burners that I later upgraded to DVD burners, etc. You get the picture...anything bought today will pretty much be faster than what I have...although they work with everything I currently play and use them for.

Anyway, the PC that I purchased was a CyberpowerPC. I can't say I've really heard of the Cyberpower brand but that doesn't mean too much. I researched quite a bit Of brands and waited for some time before purchasing. I initially looked at another brand that was on a really good sale. I saw it on SlickDeals. I can't remember the brand but I thought about it too damn long. You know, "Do I really need it? Is it really a good deal? How about I just upgrade some parts to my old machines. Do I really need it?" On and on and on. It lasted about an hour and then I decided to go for it and the "in-stock" status changed to "This item is temporarily out of stock." WTF?

So, with further research, I found the CyberpowerPC at NewEgg. I read the reviews there and other places before making my final decision. Once I was satisfied, I purchased because I didn't want to miss out on a good deal again. I didn't need a monitor as I have three 19" LCD monitors that work just fine and they were free. Maybe eventually I'll upgrade a bigger monitor but we'll have to see what the need will be later on.

So far, I think the new PC is speedy. It's only got one DVD burner and one 500GB hard drive but I will remedy that soon. I have two DVD and 2 CD burners in my old machine but I think I will just transfer one of the DVD burners to the new machine. I also have some extra older IDE (PATA?) drives at 120GB and 160GB that I may add to the new machine. I'm not totally positive on that as I can get a 500GB SATA drive for about $60 these days and there are like eight SATA ports on this motherboard. It does have the IDE slot which is convenient but I'm not sure I am still in the need of 120-160GBs of space. With so many different machines for the wife, kids and myself, backing up to a 120GB hard drive is not feasible unless I'm using it for one person which in itself is not feasible.

The things I don't like about this PC so far are minimal but noticeable and maybe fixable. I don't know why at this time but the power supply seems to be louder than the reviewers stated. I haven't checked it out thoroughly (at all...yet) but it could be anything from where I have it sitting to a vibration issue to ???. I just haven't taken the time to investigate yet because I've been loading it up with Office 2007, Firefox, Eraser, Replicator, Revo Uninstaller, and other programs.

I did run into an issue with an older game: Medal of Honor Allied Assault: Spearhead. I just installed it a few nights ago. I updated the game with it's required patches and quite a few downloaded maps. I started the game and it when through the initial loading screen and then I get the message about the program failing to start properly. It shuts down and Windows looks for a solution. No solution is found and so I'm stuck at this time not knowing what's wrong. I did take the time to Google the issue and some people have gotten it to work in various ways. I will try again when I have time but this is obviously a Vista problem as I've never had issue on my XP machines. It pisses me off because I think the programs should run without issue but who am I to criticize those that make software that isn't easily compatible with future upgrades. Again, I'm not sure what the culprit is but when I get around to it in the next few days or so, I will completely uninstall and retry. If I still have issue, I may just keep MOHAA:SH on my XP machine and play from there which sort of defeats the purpose of a new machine, right?! Oh well.

Another issue that is Vista related, is file/folder sharing. It's not easily done in Vista. Well, it may be easy for those who are "Vista experts" but for me who just started using Vista back in April and is probably not too invested in learning it because Windows 7 is on the breakout, it is annoying...no, it's fucking annoying! I have turned off password protected sharing thinking it would be easier. I right-click on the folder I want to share and click SHARE. I go through the steps of adding a user...one already on the machine as it hates me when I try to add someone not on the machine. Actually, I tried adding a name that is not a user on the machine and it pops up another window. I haven't fully read and comprehended what this window is asking because I got frustrated thinking this should be way easier and just closed it. I will try to pay more attention next time. Anyway, I have also right-clicked on the folder to share and selected PROPERTIES. In the properties box, I select the SHARING tab and create a name for the folder ending with the dollar sign ($ - although I'm not sure if this is still required for the 'secret' folder sharing). On this same tab, I add permissions for a user account on the machine and off with the same outcome as before. I then go on another XP and Vista machine and try to access that folder through the network. I got it to work on 2 out of 3 folders for the Vista machine and 1 out of 3 (I only tried one) on the XP machine. I don't know for sure why the 3rd folder is inaccessible other than maybe because it's not under one of the three folders of DOCUMENTS, MUSIC, or VIDEOS in Vista. I just don't think it should be this hard and involved to share a fucking folder on my own internal network. Again, it could be that I'm pretty much a Vista virgin but if I'm having troubles, just think of the people that are really ignorant to technology since I consider myself as a power user (maybe more) but I also know how to Google for solutions or troubleshoot on my own. I just loved the convenience in XP of right-clicking the folder, selecting share, check two boxes, name the folder mydocs$, then OK or APPLY. B a.m! Done! Lickity split!

I really like the machine overall so far. I haven't done a whole lot with it. I have burned a DVD (my own copy for testing), downloaded files via uTorrent, and watched a few DVD, AVI, MPEG, MP4 movies via WMP and VLC. I've done a few other things like installing/using Picasa3, Media Monkey but when I have a new laptop, netbook, reloading the older XP machine (2 down to 1), and a new desktop, I don't always get to put a whole lot of time into one thing for an extended amount of time. I have to multitask and sometimes it's only 2-3 or 3-4 things at a time or just one. With work, family and school, it's tough to find the "Jay time."

Oh yeah, the mouse and keyboard that come with it is functional although there aren't any hot keys to mute or adjust volume, to control media, or whatever. They are basically for input only. The included video handles dual monitor just fine. Now, it doesn't do the SLI (I think) handling but it allows you to extend your desktop without issue. I don't need this functionality but it has been nice when I am watching a movie in the VLC player and then I surf the web or whatever on the other screen. The 500GB hard drive is small compared to other newer machines but it's not like I can't get a 640GB, 750GB, 1TB drive for $100 or less these days if need be. I do have a 640GB SATA drive that I will probably add as an extra drive and down the road a 1TB as I need more room for backups from the many machines I previously mentioned. I also removed the cover/door to the disk drives as it was a pain in the ass to have to open it and close it and open it and close it to put in a CD/DVD. It does detract from the sleekness of the tower but I'm more about convenience and ease...if you haven't already gotten that.

And that's my basic review of the CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra 2012. I've included some unboxing photos just for the hell of it. I swear I turned the ones that needed it in Picasa (and saved changes) but for some reason they uploaded in their original format. I think it still works though.

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