Compuboost specialize in custom gaming computers, or PCs

Custom gaming computers are characterized by several features.

  1. PC Based. Although Macs can be made into gaming computers, because Macs have limited hardware choices, PC are usually chosen as the basis of a gaming computer.
  2. Gaming Computer has a very large full size case. This is to provide space for the large motherboard, one or more very large video cards, and adequate space for large cooling elements like fans and water cooling items.
  3. Gaming computers usually has an overclockable motherboard, overclockable Ram, overclockable CPU. Overclocking extracts more power than the stock components. This is similar to hot rodding an engine on a car. Generally, all warranties are voided but for the high performance seeker, that is the trade off to get performance exceeding the normal limits.
  4. High end Video card. The video card is generally the heart of the system, and the cost alone usually exceeds all other costs on the machine.
  5. Other accessories may be a gaming keyboard, VR device, gaming mouse, Gaming Headset and microphone.

Gaming Computers

Compuboost is very knowledgeable in building specialized gaming computer rigs. We can work with the customer to build the best price, best performance and some suitable combination of the two.

What is Overclocking?

All computers execute commands synchronously, meaning there is a clock that regulates when commands are executed. Basically a command is executed every clock cycle. CPUs are typically rated by the frequency of the clock. If a clock is faster, the computer is faster. So overclocking involves clocking the CPU faster than the manufacturer recommends.

Now doesn’t this violate the warranty and cause problems? Yes and no. Technically the manufacturer does not guarantee performance at the higher clock rate, but resourceful users over the years notice that in order to provide years of troublefree service, and in order to meet specifications over all temperature requirements (from cold to hot) the manufacturer is very conservative in their clock speed.

Resourceful users began to speed up the clock (overclock) the system until it failed, then backed off slightly and the system would run fine. Originally they did it by changing crystals and all kind of complex things. But with the gaming community getting large enough manufactures now make boards to make the overclocking easy. Basically you overclock until it stops working, then back off. Users can get as much as 100% improvement on performance.

Overclocking to computers is like hot rodding a car. You do not have to do it, but serious gamers have that capability. It is like taking the stock engine on a car, then doubling the horsepower by judicious tuning. Granted, the engine may not last as long as an unmodified engine, but for the hard core racer, that is not a problem.

Gaming Computer vs Workstations:

Basically, they use similarly priced points, but with different purposes. Because they are fast, there is always some crossover– you can play games easily with a workstation, and a gaming PC will do design work on a workstation, but to get the best of each world, you do need to tailor the hardware to each purpose.

Gamer PC needs powerful video cards, first and foremost. Since most of the computation is video based, the biggest budget allotment should be towards the video card. We recommend allocating 50% of the budget to the video card, then fit everything else to the rest of the budget, in this order: CPU, Ram, Hard Drive, Motherboard, Power supply, Case.

Workstations also need powerful video cards. But since many engineering and graphics programs are also CPU related, a higher proportion of the budget needs to be allocated to the CPU. We recommend 35% to the video card, 35% to the CPU/Ram combination, the rest in this order, Hard Drive, Motherboard, Power Supply, Case.

Workstations:

A workstation has specific components that make it run certain programs faster. For graphics designers like Adobe Photoshop, Drafting programs like Autocad, Video programs like AAvid, Engineering programs like ProCad or CAS3D, the hardware to run these big complex programs is very specific. CPUs are typically Xeon processors, and video cards like Nvidia Quadro.

Unlike gamers, workstation motherboards are not overclocked, for stability reasons, and to insure design integrity (you don’t want the bridge you are designing to have any possibility of glitches in the computer. With games, its no big deal, with real-life items, its a big deal to get things perfect). So to improve performance multiple CPU cores and huge memory support is used. Some workstations can support Ram sizes as large as a Terabyte, and high core count CPU. Rather than just quad core CPU, some Xeon CPU have as many as dozens of cores. They make CPU with 28 and even 32 cores.

Specialized Gaming Computer Components

Motherboard

We use MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS overclockable motherboards for gaming PCs., and Intel and Supermicro boards for workstations. For workstations, overclocking is undesired–the ability to support large CPUs and address huge amounts of memory is paramount.

Video Cards

AMD and Nvidia are the two brands most commonly used for gaming, and Nvida for Workstations. Both make very competitive video boards, and the highest end ones allow parallel processing, buy installing multiple video cards and then strapping them together with specific cables. Workstations generally have only one video card, but perhaps multiple CPUs and the aforementioned multi cores.

CPU

AMD Ryzen R7-2700Xand Intel i7-9700K or i9-9900K are most commonly used for High end Gaming computers, and the Intel Xeon for workstations. AMD does have a 32 core CPU, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, so it can double as a workstation CPU as well. It compares will to big Xeons like the Intel Xeon E7-8990 with 24 Cores.

These are the high end cpus. There are many cost effective CPUs as well and Compuboost will build you one with the maximum hardware at your budget price point. The primary difference between the Xeons for workstations versus the Intel i series is how Xeons handle memory. Again, for server and workstations, large memory capacity is important, as well as something called internal data path width. Terabyte class memory capability requires larger internal data path width, and specialized hardware to handle this by breaking up the memory for all of the multiple cores, which the Xeon provides.

For gamers, whose internal memory will never exceed what can be displayed on the screen and what the game needs, higher clock speeds is more important, so more circuitry is devoted to that aspect rather than huge data path requirements.

Memory

Overclockable ram is used for gaming machines (typically with heat sinks) because the higher the clock, the more power dissipation. Again, for workstations, faster memory is not as important as having lots of it. Workstation motherboards sometimes have as much as 32 memory slots and support up to a Terabyte of ram. For stability reasons, workstation memory is usually never overclocked, and so usually do not or need heatsinks.

Power Supply

Unlike regular computers, Gaming computers and workstations require large, and very reliable power supplies.

High power, up to 1500W is required to power large CPUs and even larger Video boards. Each high end video card can draw as much as 200W of power. Big CPUs can draw as much as 200W each as well, so a big motherboard with dual Xeons or i9 processors with quad video cards can draw in excess of one thousand watts, not counting all the peripherals like hard drives, cooling fans and radiators, water pumps (if so equipped) and wireless and other items. For overclocking, huge cooling requirements are needed as well, meaning many fans, water pumps and other power requirements.

The maximum power drain of a standard 15A socket at 110V is 1500Watts, so that is the upper limit that is possible. At that power level, many power supplies use something called Active PFC (Power Factor Correction). You can easily tell PFC is on a power supply or not if it is missing the 110V/220V switch on the supply itself.

Gaming Notebook and Workstation Notebook

Custom MSI Gaming Laptop

Sometimes, a portable package is needed. We carry customizable MSI gaming and workstations notebooks and laptops. These can be very powerful. However, several things need to be noted.

  • Max power is limited by size. Even though the best notebooks are very powerful, the physics of having limited space for cooling means better than average desktops will easily be more powerful than even the best laptop.
  • More expensive per performance feature. Again, the price of portability means for a given performance level, the laptop is much more expensive.
  • Limited battery life. Gaming notebooks and workstations are more portable computers rather true notebooks. Because they draw so much power, battery life is limited to two hours at best, and more likely less than one hour or even less at full power draw. So they generally have to be plugged it to run all day.
  • Really heavy. To supply power, large cooling fans and other methods increase the size of gaming notebooks and workstations typically to the 12lb to 15lb category, which is really heavy for todays laptops. On top of that, most also have a huge power adapter (brick) that is normally over 200W, so it by itself is larger and heavier than many laptops. Some bricks weigh up to 4 to 5 lbs by itself.

However, because they are portable, sometimes there is no substitute for having a super powerful laptop you can take anywhere, and not be tied down to the large gaming desktop or workstation.

Manufacturers List

Here is a partial list of some of the major manufactures we use.

Intel: CPUs (i7, i9 and Xeon brands) and workstation motherboards

AMD; CPUs and video cards (Ryzen)

Nvidia: Video cards (Geforce and Quadro brands)

MSI: Motherboards and Gaming Laptops

Supermicro: Workstation and Server Motherboards

Thermaltake: Gaming Computer Chassis, fans and power supplies

CoolerMaster: Gaming Computer Chassis, fans and power supplies

Anthem: Gaming Computer Chassis, fans and power supplies

Other Services

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